The best iPad Pro gamesJanuary 7, 2022
Even the best video game consoles don’t offer the same combination of freedom and power as the iPad Pro. In addition to the massive library of available titles (many of which you can download in just a few minutes), you get a big, beautiful screen with excellent touch controls and the ability to play anywhere, at any time. The best iPad Pro games leverage all these advantages, letting players enjoy awesome games on the go, usually at a fraction of the price that console and PC titles cost.
The nearly unlimited library of games comes with a caveat, though — it’s hard to hack through all the rough to find the diamonds. If you’re gaming on an iPad Pro, you will want to check out graphically impressive titles that maximize your screen’s real estate and take advantage of the Retina display. If you’re looking for suggestions, you’ve come to the right place — here are our picks for the best games to play on your iPad Pro. You may also want to check out our favorite iPhone games.
The best iPad Pro games at a glance:
Magic the Gathering: Arena
League of Legends: Wild Rift
Divinity: Original Sin II
The Oregon Trail
Call of Duty: Mobile
Hyper Light Drifter
Star Traders: Frontier
Asphalt 9: Legends
The Room: Old Sins
Bastion is one of those games that sticks with you long after the end credits roll. The hand-painted artwork, critically-acclaimed score of original music, and deep, fulfilling story make it a really memorable experience. It’s great to play on the iPad Pro thanks to touch controls created for iOS, and there are over 40 hand-painted environments to explore as you discover what happened during the Calamity, a catastrophe that decimated the world. Combat is fast-paced and action-packed as you take on new beasts roaming the planet, with a choice of more than 10 unique upgradeable weapons to wield, and varied difficulty settings are available to suit all levels of player and gameplay styles. You can play the start of the game for free — a great way to get a feel for it — after which it costs $5 to unlock the full game, and it’s definitely worth the price of entry.
Genshin Impact was arguably one of the most-played games of last year, and for good reason. For one, the game is gorgeous, with its JRPG-style art direction, but the game also has an addicting gameplay loop, loads of collectible fully-voiced characters, and a lengthy story with tons of side content.
Genshin Impact is available on every platform imaginable, but it’s particularly enjoyable on the iPad Pro. The larger and higher-quality screen lets the animation pop, and the beefed-up processors ensure the game always runs smoothly. Players can either use the touch controls or a controller.
If you haven’t given Genshin Impact a chance yet, you’re really missing out.
Fans of Magic the Gathering: Arena have been patiently waiting for a mobile release of the game for some time, and iOS and Mac users had to wait longer than their counterparts to get the game. But at long last, it is here, and it was well worth the wait.
Arena is a mobile version of the popular strategy collectible trading card game. The game has solid animations as well as lengthy and informative tutorials. These tutorials cover the basics of the game as well as the ins and outs of the various deck colors players can use. That makes Arena a great starting place for people new to the game. Combine that with digital card packs that line up with the physical releases and an active online community, and Arena is shaping up to be a game people will play for a long time to come.
League of Legends popularized the MOBA genre on PC and helped push esports into the mainstream. Now players can enjoy the game as their favorite champions in Wild Rift, a version of the game built from the ground up for mobile. While a lot of the controls have been streamlined for touch controls, Wild Rift is very much the game fans know and love. Players can unlock new champions and compete in ranked matches to test their skills against other top players.
The game is free to play, just like the PC version. Players can use in-app purchases to unlock champions faster and get unique skins, but it certainly isn’t a pay-to-win game.
Whether you’re a League veteran or new to the game, Wild Rift is a great time that is all the better on the iPad Pro.
With the power of the A12Z chip and now the M1 in the latest iPad Pros, ports of popular PC and console titles are becoming more common. Probably the most impressive of these is Divinity: Original Sin II. The Divinity series helped re-popularize the isometric RPG genre, with this sequel improving on the already impressive original game.
Players can explore a vast and open world with a branching narrative system. There is enough content here to make every playthrough a wholly different experience. The game only works on the latest iPad Pro models (2018 and newer), and as such, it can push the graphics to the very limit.
There are also multiple ways to play the game. Players can use touch controls, a Bluetooth controller, and even a mouse and keyboard. Although it’s by far the most expensive game on our list, Divinity: Original Sin II is a landmark game that’s a must-play, and having it on the iPad Pro will fundamentally change mobile gaming for a long time to come.
Apple Arcade may have been a bit barebones when it first rolled out, but Apple is steadily fleshing out its catalog with a list of great games. The Oregon Trail is a remake of the classic educational title, and it more or less maintains the same core mechanics but updates the game to be more lively and modern.
The game has a lovely and distinctive art direction, which makes the game’s perilous journeys across the American West all the more exciting to play. There’s also plenty of mini-games and content to keep players returning. It’s a treat for fans of the original or younger kids being introduced to the series for the first time.
There are plenty of racing games available for iOS, but there aren’t any quite like Grid Autosport. For one, the game has absolutely stunning visuals, with some of the most realistically rendered vehicles ever seen on a mobile platform. The game features 100 cars and 100 circuits, so there is an absolute ton of content for users to explore and master.
The game also has a robust amount of customization for the controls. Players can use tilt controls or touch inputs, and they can fine-tune everything to make the game precisely how they want it to be. If you’re looking for a realistic racing sim with some arcade-like fun, Grid Autosport is a must for you.
Also available on PC, PS4, Xbox, and Android, Oxenfree is a game for those who like a good supernatural mystery. With a bit of an 80s, Stranger Things vibe going on, a haunting synth-pop soundtrack, and gorgeous visuals, each decision you make and every conversation you have in the game changes the lives of you and your friends. You play as Alex, a rebellious teenager attending an overnight party on a creepy old island with her stepbrother, Jonas. The night takes a turn for the worse when you and your friends accidentally open a ghostly gate that releases ominous creatures and sets a strange series of events in motion. You can choose to play in touchscreen or controller mode, depending on your preferences. The game looks great on the iPad’s large screen, and you’re likely to find yourself listening to the soundtrack on Spotify long after the end credits roll.
If you’re missing playing Fortnite on your iPad since its removal from the Apple store then Call of Duty: Mobile is well worth playing. This free-to-play mobile version includes multiplayer maps from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Team up with friends in the 100-player Battle Royale deathmatch, take on your enemies in a sniper-vs.-sniper battle, and compete for top place in Ranked Mode. With dozens of characters, outfits, and weapons to unlock, there’s plenty to keep you entertained, and there are new seasons released regularly with events, modes, and maps.
Travel deep into the lands of Buried Time, collecting forgotten knowledge, broken histories, and lost technologies along the way as you fight to cure your mysterious illness in Hyper Light Drifter. This award-winning action-adventure RPG has a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of 16-bit classics, with gorgeous art, a beautiful original soundtrack composed by Disasterpeace, and a vast world to explore. Easy to get into, difficult to master, the game lets the player figure things out as they go — which makes for a real challenge at times. You can play using the touchscreen or — as we’d recommend — use a controller. Either way, it’s an immersive experience that is hard to step away from once you start playing.
Take on the role of a starship captain, put a crew together, and carve a path through a war-torn galaxy full of opportunity and threat. This epic space RPG allows you to play as a pirate, merchant, explorer, smuggler, or something else entirely — there are 26 potential careers. You can fully customize your ship and crew — with over 350 upgrades to choose from — but they’ll change as you make decisions in the game. The open universe is there to be explored and there are all sorts of stories waiting to unfold. Will you ally with a specific faction, or try to walk your own path? This is a deep, addictive sci-fi game that you can really get your teeth into.
Who would have imagined that we would ever see the grandaddy of deep turn-based strategy on a mobile device? But here it is in all its complex glory. The game challenges you to shepherd your fledgling civilization from a single village to a globe-dominating nation. Exploration, city building, research, trade, religion, and war — Civilization VI has it all. Impressively, most of the features that grace the full PC game are present and correct in this port, though there is no online multiplayer option. You can try it out for free for 60 turns, which we strongly recommend you do, particularly if you’re not familiar with the franchise. You may balk at the full $10 price, but it’s no exaggeration to suggest that this game will hungrily devour hundreds of hours of your time.
Ready for some shooting mayhem on your iPad Pro? Parachute onto a remote island and duke it out with 99 other players to see who can survive this Battle Royale and secure ultimate bragging rights. There is plenty of loot to scavenge, boatloads of weaponry, and vehicles galore. Get tooled up, hunt your enemies mercilessly, and try not to get killed. The controls take some getting used to and there are some simplifications to make it playable on a tablet or phone, but make no mistake, this is PUBG all the way. The iPad Pro makes the most of the visuals and sound, with the extra screen real estate boosting your chances of picking out enemies in the landscape and putting them down.
The first Monument Valley blew players away with its MC Escher-style optical illusion puzzles, all of which were set against gorgeous, colorful backgrounds. Excellent sound design and smooth, mind-twisting animations provided the perfect vehicle for a brief 10-level story that followed a silent princess through a series of ever-evolving geometric worlds. The sequel brings back the puzzle-based gameplay and adds several new elements, like a new playable character and tools like light and water that you’ll use to navigate the game’s 14 levels. Art design is more varied this time around, too, and the graphics are better than ever — perfect for showing off your iPad Pro.
If you want to play a Legend of Zelda game on the fly, you’ll have to shell out $300 or so for a Nintendo Switch. Luckily, there are similar games out there, and Oceanhorn is among the best. Players control a young man who sets out to find his father, who has been lost after heading to find the Oceanhorn, a mystical beast that resides in the sea. Gameplay is quite similar to the Zelda games — namely, The Wind Waker — as you’ll complete small puzzles to receive loot, collect hearts to replenish lost HP, and drop bombs to uncover hidden paths. Combat is simple yet enjoyable — and not a chore, which is all too common on touchscreen devices — and exploration is absolutely exhilarating, especially while sailing. If you enjoy the game, you might want to check out Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, which is also excellent.
The newest version of this thrilling racing game, Asphalt 9: Legends takes you to over 80 tracks in real-world locations and puts you behind the wheel of countless sports cars. Legends starts you in Career mode and once you complete over 60 seasons and 800 races you can become a real legend. Also, for the first time in the Asphalt series, you can create your own private races in Club Race Mode. Challenge your friends to see who is truly the best. Recently added cars include the super exclusive Bugatti La Voiture Noire and Apollo IE — and you can now race in the Wild West in Nevada, with 12 new tracks to master. Like most games of this caliber, Legends takes a lot of storage, so, if your iPad is already pretty full, you may want to clear some room.
For many gamers, Advance Wars — released back in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance — was a seminal title, bringing turn-based tactics to the mobile realm in an accessible and fun way. Warbits takes that formula and retreads it, adding some nice graphical touches and online play in the process. Learning how each unit works is more enjoyable than frustrating, and the levels ramp up in difficulty to a satisfying degree. This is a premium game — with a pay-once price tag — that looks great on the big screen. It’s a game that needs time and effort, and unlike some strategy games, it’s not all about who has the biggest army. Show some love for a game that hasn’t gone down the freemium road, when it so easily could have.
Before the release of Fallout 4, Bethesda rolled out a mobile game with the same theme: Fallout Shelter. In it, you recruit new adventurers into your vault and build it out, crafting a community and balancing resources to keep your dwellers alive. Matching your citizens’ stats to the correct room type will boost your production, but you’ll need to carefully manage everything in case of a raid or fire. Little comedic touches and dialogue are nice tributes to the Fallout universe, and the game is a perfect fit for those looking to kill some time on the bus or train. Whether you’ve been playing the game since it was first released or just getting started — don’t worry, we have plenty of Fallout Shelter tips if you fall in the latter category- your vault will never look as good as it does on the iPad Pro.
Most of us are familiar with the Where’s Waldo series of books, which tasks readers with finding the titular character — and, eventually, other characters — in vast, two-page illustrations that teem with people and objects. Hidden Folks takes the same idea and modifies it for a contemporary audience, adding tons of cool sound effects and responsive animations to make the game more engaging. For example, one portrait requires you to find a chicken; tap on a snake with a bulge in its belly and the bird will come squawking out. Later levels ramp up in complexity, providing even the most experienced Waldo-finders with a stiff challenge.
SimCity BuildIt has been around on iOS for a while, and although it’s playable on the iPhone, it has always been more enjoyable on the iPad. Now, the iPad Pro’s large screen takes it that step further, particularly because the game’s control system is all about pinching, zooming, and rotating highly detailed 3D buildings. Fans of the SimCity series should enjoy building massive metropolitan centers, and the game keeps things fresh by introducing new requirements — such as fire departments, police stations, and city utility services — without which your town has no hope of survival. The graphics are stellar, with lots of little touches that’ll surprise and impress you. Keep your wits, though — there are also plenty of in-app purchases.
You’d think making a mobile game for a AAA franchise sounds like a cash grab (cough, cough, Final Fantasy), but Hitman Go does it right because it keeps the core of the game’s strategy alive. Hitman Go strips the expansive set pieces, convoluted plot, and action over strategy gameplay that’s plagued some recent Hitman games, and brings it down to a literal board game. Like a board game, you take one turn at a time as you try and sneak past guards and kill your target. Even with its minimalist approach, Hitman Go looks great, and it immerses you just like a big-budget Hitman game would. The game shares a lot of similarities with indie favorite Hotline Miami in the sense that you have to learn from your mistakes, so there’s a lot of replaying of the same level over and over again. That doesn’t sound fun to some, but it’s definitely rewarding to see your hard work pay off once you succeed.
This beautiful black-and-white puzzle game was created by two brothers, who also happen to be architects. Starman is a challenging game where you won’t find a single puzzle twice. Guide Starman through breathtaking architectural scenarios with soothing music. The game features feedback on each touch including sound, haptic vibrations, light, and effects.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of The Room series or a complete newbie to the franchise, The Room: Old Sins is a must-have for iPad Pro owners. In this first-person tangible journey with stimulating puzzles, you are commissioned to help solve the mystery of why the aspiring engineer and his wife suddenly disappeared and start by hunting down precious artifacts. Learn disturbing secrets and follow cryptic clues as you attempt to unravel the mysteries that lie within Waldegrave Manor. The striking 3D puzzle experience is paired with an eerie soundtrack and compelling sound effects.
First advertised for Xbox One and Windows PC, Inside by Playdead is a frightful adventure game where a little boy stumbles across an unusual scene of people being packed into trucks. From the same developer as the 2010 game Limbo, both games feature spooky graphics, a ghoulish soundtrack, and efficacious yet straightforward animations. The prizewinner of more than 100 awards, Inside is an intriguing 2D puzzle sure to horrify and delight.
The game is plain: In Leo’s Fortune, you need to track down the thief that took your gold. Fortunately for you, the thief has left gold pieces behind like breadcrumbs, allowing you to follow them into the woods. Featuring 24 levels where you must withstand wicked snares and solve physics-based problems, Leo’s Fortune is enjoyable for the entire family. The incredible adventure is showcased best on your iPad Pro.
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