Skip to main content

The best adventure games for the Apple iPad

The Apple iPad, in both the standard and mini varieties, is a highly underrated video game platform. The PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, and 3DS may command the attention of most "real gamers," but the iPad – despite lacking physical buttons and being most closely associated with Angry Birds and other casual fare – shouldn't be overlooked.

Only ten years ago, the mobile video game space was dominated by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony – no other company made a significant play, especially in hardware. Then the rapid growth of Apple's App Store combined with the wild success of the iPad created the perfect environment for the mobile video game market to truly take off. And it's done so marvellously.

The iPad and iPad mini's expansive displays give gamers a more open visual experience that isn't as restricted as the smaller displays on the iPhone, Nintendo DS, 3DS, or PlayStation Vita. The screen size alone makes it an excellent device for many sorts of games, but it especially benefits those with large footprints, excelling at porting board games from Checkers to Puerto Rico.

Initially, most iPad games fell into the casual category (think Temple Run), but an increasing number of great iPad games are aimed at the dedicated, or "core," gaming audience. Gameloft, for example, has excelled at creating "inspired by" mobile versions of hit console games – for example 9MM is a rather entertaining Max Payne clone which we covered in our first article looking at the top iPad shooters (we’ve also covered the best action games here).

Anyhow, this is another article in our weekend series looking at some of the best in games which are produced specifically for the iPad (with the occasional iPhone-only game that still looks great in 2X mode). This week, we’re looking at adventure games, so dive on in for our pick of the best. Think we missed a game? Let us know about it in the comments section!

Crow (£2.99)

Sunside's Crow is an iPad game that beckons you to take flight through the dark side of existence in an adventure that lets you choose your own path. In it, you control an ebony bird tasked with eradicating evil from the land – or do you?

A mysterious haunting story will keep you guessing as you determine your destiny.

Frotz (free)

Text-based adventures may be the most niche game genre, but the category lives on with the iPad in the form of Frotz. This free iPad game doesn't focus on explosions or twitch gaming; instead it's all about interactive fiction. In fact, you can download several free text adventure games, including the original Zork. If you like quality storytelling in your games, check this one out.

Machinarium (£2.99)

Machinarium is an award-winning adventure game developed by Amanita Designs. Gameplay consists of solving a series of puzzles by hunting for items that are within arm's reach. The real treat here is the beautifully intricate 2D art that is simply a joy to behold.

Organ Trail: Director's Cut (£1.99)

Read the title again – Organ Trail isn't quite the retro PC adventure game that you remember from your Apple II days. This quirky spin on that classic title retains the 8-bit visuals and grand sense of westward adventure, but adds flesh-eating zombies. How times have changed.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (£2.99)

Featuring pixel-heavy visuals that hark back to the 8-bit and 16-bit era, dynamic lighting effects, and incredible trance-like music, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP combines the best of the retro and contemporary gaming landscapes into a killer adventure game.

Walking Dead: The Game (free)

Telltale Games' zombie apocalypse-based adventure still serves up the same thrills and gut-wrenching choices it always did. Fans of strong storytelling and blood-drenched maws, this is the game for you – and it’s free these days. Part 2 will cost you £2.99, though.

Walking Mars (£2.99)

Tiger Style's Walking Mars puts you in the role of a scientist who is separated from the rest of his Mars exploration crew after a cave-in. Your survival demands that you navigate the red planet's harsh environments, discover ancient ruins, and interact with alien life-forms to cultivate the ecosystem.