5 Essential Games For iPad

Lately it feels like more and more of my friends are purchasing iPads.  And while we do talk about which e-reader app we use and how we get our news and other appropriately intellectual subjects, somehow the most animated conversations start when the subject turns to games.

When I first got my iPad, months and months ago, I didn’t have a smart phone, so I was totally clueless about the world of game apps.  And the first thing everyone chimed in with was which games to try.  So if you, like me, are taking your first step into the world of iPad games, here are five you absolutely must experience.

Plants vs. Zombies

Believe it or not, this was one of the first tower defense games I’ve ever played.  In this case, the “tower” is your house, and you defend it from zombies with your army of flora.  Chances are you’ve heard of this game, or even played it on one of its many platforms.  It works perfectly with iPad, however – the touch screen makes it all the more frantic and fast-paced.  It’s just creepy enough to make the stakes real, but cute and cartoony enough that I even know toddlers who like it.  Even when you beat it, the replay value is high.

Angry Birds

In this game, you load birds into a slingshot and attempt to destroy rickety wooden structures, with the intent of collapsing and killing the pigs holed up within.  This was one of the first games I purchased, on a whim, for iPad, though I’d never heard of it before.  Now, less than a year later, it’s probably one of the biggest games for smartphone and iPad.  And why is it so popular?  In my opinion, it’s due to some of the most adorable and infuriating bad guys ever – a team of pigs that want to steal your babies (eggs) and eat them.  Not only are the green pigs evil, they actually mock you when you fail, grinning and chuckling.  I might not personally identify with the birds (they are essentially weapons, after all) but few things are more satisfying than defeating those smug swine.

Babel Rising

In this game (truly the first tower defense game I’ve played) the “tower” is literally the Tower of Babel.  You, as God, need to use a selection of your divine powers to stop your industrious little heathens from completing it.

I really love this lesser-known game.  With the powers of fire, wind, water, earth, and a zappy lightning bolt literally at your fingers, it’s an instantly satisfying way to wreak havoc.  Who knew squishing mortals like ants could be so fun?

Jumbline

This simple anagram game isn’t mind-blowingly better on iPad than iPhone, but for me it’s a must on both.  Sometimes you want something just a little more cerebral than how-fast-can-I-poke-the-screen games, and this tests the speed of your mind instead.

Canabalt

On the other hand, sometimes you want simple, frantic speed.  And that’s what this game deliciously delivers.  You’re a man, strangely reminiscent of Michael Jackson, trying desperately to escape your city, which is literally crumbling beneath your feet.  You jump from rooftop to rooftop, doing your best to avoid office chairs, plate glass… oh, and some rampaging robots.

You’ll notice most of these games are fast and fun.  The truth is, I think World of Warcraft has sucked up all my long-term gaming attention span, and now these quick-and-easy games are just perfect for me.  It’s easy to set a game aside, come back to it months later, and jump right back into the action.

Granted, some of these games are obvious must-haves; they’re mainstream and super-popular (but in my opinion, popular because they’re so awesome).  Still, there are always fantastic but little-known games out there, especially in the world of apps.  So I want to know: what are your must-have game apps?

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