Best iPad games for the casual gamer

So you've just taken in a brand new iPad. Great, but you'll soon realise that on its own the iPad doesn't do that much.

We've scoured the 3,500 dedicated iPad apps to bring you what we think are the best apps available at the moment (early April) to get you started if you want to play games, but just don't want to be fussed with killing people, driving fast around a race track or generally having no real idea what you are doing from the moment you press start.

We've tried, tested and reviewed all the below ourselves rather than just guessing whether they are good or not. Yes these are games - but relax - they are nice and easy.

Labyrinth 2 HD 

Designed for the bigger iPad screen, Labyrinth 2 HD is a game based on the Victorian marble in a maze game and for those who've played the first outing brings a host of new elements to the game like cannons, bumpers multiple balls and magnets to work your way around.

The idea is you've got to get your steel ball down the hole across the wooden course. Using the accelerometer in the iPad you tilt or shake the board to control your marble to victory.

If you're unsure about the whole idea, you can download the Labyrinth 2 HD Lite version first which will give you plenty of levels to get you started and enough to give you an idea of whether or not you want to upgrade to the full version.

If you really get carried away you can make your own levels, and if you've convinced your mates to buy an iPad you can play 4-player multiplayer.

Price £4.99 / $7.99

Rating 7/10


Harbor Master

While most will tell you to go for Flight Control HD, Harbor Master is virtually the same deal but with boats, and more importantly free so you can see whether you like the concept before parting with your cash.

The idea is that you control more and more boats as they travel across the screen unloading their cargo and making sure no one crashes. If it sounds simple, or even dull, that's because it is. But it's also strangely addictive as your screen slowly gets more and more crowded and you've got to manage where your boats are, make sure they don't crash and get them out of the dock before the next ship arrives. 

With little else to do it's a fairly linear game that can become tiresome quickly. Those looking for more of a challenge would be better getting Flight Control HD, but at least this gives you a taster of what you will be getting. 

Price Free

Rating 6/10 


Game Table

Letting you play checkers (draughts), chess and cards is the aim of Game Table. At 59p or 99 cents, it's a steal and there is a good reason for that. There is no computer involvement. 

What that means is that this really is an app that only lets you move pieces around a static board. You have to know how to play, there is no option to play against the computer and card games have to involve you seeing each others' hands in the open.

Still, think of you and a friend playing on a long train journey, or on the sofa without the hassle of losing all the pieces.

Basic but good.

Price 59p / 99c

Rating 7/10


Air Hockey

Yep, the game that you spent all that time on in the arcade as a kid is now on the iPad ready for you to play against. There are two options here, 1 player and 2 player, allowing you to whittle away an hour or two playing against the iPad or with another mate on the other side of the iPad. 

While Air Hockey has been around for some time on the iPhone, what works here is that you've got considerably more room to enjoy it.

On your own you get six levels from Kiddie to INSANE! and then the added bonus of one or two pucks to play with, and yes insane really is just that.

The two player mode does involve you finding a friend and the only downside to the whole experience is that with its rounded back you'll have to find a cushion or a case to stop it moving around if you put it on the table.

There are two versions of Air Hockey in the app store - Air Hockey and Air Hockey Gold - the difference being that Air Hockey doesn't come with adverts after the game. 

Price 59p / 99c

Rating 8/10


Scrabble 

Currently only available in the US iPad store, EA's scrabble is very exciting if you are into scrabble. 

There are multiple options available, like playing on your own or against a friend, and you'll be able to play against Facebook friends, with another iPad owner over a local network, pass and play style with someone else, or party play which allows you to connect up to four iPhones (via a free app for the iPhone) to the iPad so people can see their own tiles on their phone rather than on the iPad screen. 

In-game you get the board big and clean. Your tiles are kept to the bottom and there is a chance to shuffle them or swap them out. Other icons let you know how many tiles are left, there is a dictionary to look up words before you put them down on the board and even a "Best Word" option that will pick the best word available to you if you are struggling.

Scrabble aficionados will relish the idea of being able to set different game styles (classic, 75-point, 150-point, 8-round, 12-round), difficulty ratings, which dictionary (English TWL or M-Webster) and whether or not to duplicate points for tiles already used.

Very polished.

Price $9.99

Rating 9/10


  

Rush Hour HD

Puzzle games are always great and that goes for Rush Hour, a puzzle game that sees you move cars out of gridlock so you can get the red car out of the box.

It's a classic game that involves lots of pieces that you'll eventually loose or not be able to fit in your carry on luggage when you jump on a plane for your holidays. Now you don't have to, as the sales blurb would say.

There are two versions of Rush Hour HD in the app store for the iPad - a free version with 35 scenarios and a full version with over 200 that will cost you £1.79 / $2.99.

The game is simple as it is frustrating. Something you don't get in the original game is the ability to reset the cars and trucks if you've got hopelessly lost or the chance for the iPad app to give you a hint. You can even get it to solve the whole level for you, but that's just cheating.

Price £1.79 / $2.99

Rating 8/10


Minesweeper Boom!

You've just spent all that money on the latest, cutting edge device going and you want to play Minesweeper as found on your work PC. Damn you must be addicted to finding bombs.

Here you can really go to town as if you are starring in Hurt Locker with five difficulty levels and the chance to have up to 980 squares to hunt. There are other settings too like a timer and the ability to double tap safety to save you ruining 30 minutes of your life for nothing.

Yes it's very Microsoft, yes it's very hardcore, but if Minesweeper is your thing then this is the iPad app to get.

Price Free

Rating 7/10


Tap Tap Radiation

If bashing mindlessly at your iPad with your finger to a rhythm is your kind of thing then Tap Tap Radiation is the iPad game for you.

Here the idea is to touch the circle as a flying orb lands within it in time with the music. The more times you do that the more points you get and the more you'll feel proud about yourself as if you've actually achieved something with your 20 minutes of spare time.

iPad users are treated to a further 30 free songs from the in-app store and you'll be able to buy further tracks (Lady Gaga 6 track pack is $2.99 for example). 

Back to keeping it cheap and you get to play with the game or "Freestyle" which means you do all that taping for no points - fairly pointless if you ask us.

The tracks aren't probably won't be recognisable to you if you like chess or the quieter things in life, but it doesn't involve killing anyone so you should still be able to get the grasp of things very quickly. Be warned - we did experience a couple of crashes suggesting this is an app that might need an update if you don't want to be disappointed mid gaming session.

Price Free

Rating 6/10


Pac-Man

Pac-Man, of course, is the retro classic arcade game brought to life on the iPad screen for you to get excited about. Created by Namco it's as if you've been transported 20 years back in time. There isn't much here apart from eating pellets and avoiding ghosts, although there are two control methods giving you a joystick or swipe mode (swipe is infinitely better). 

With three difficulty levels and the ability for the app to remember where you were if you have to stop to get off the bus. And yes the sound effects are still very annoying.

Price £2.99 / $4.99

Rating 7/10


Tetris, Flight Control HD, Plants vs Zombies HD

Yep, there are lots of games that you can dip and dive into without having to shoot things, drive things, or generally be confused. Nintendo Gameboy fans will like giant Tetris, while as we've said Flight Control HD is basically a more detailed and advanced version of Harbor Master. Plants vs Zombies HD is the same game found elsewhere only bigger and therefore doesn't really benefit the iPad that much.


You

What apps have you found that are really good for making the most out of your iPad and keeping you entertained? Let us know in the comments below.

Liked this article? Why not read our Best iPad apps for the TV and Movie fans.