Best iPad games: Casual

The iPad can be a serious time killer. Hand the slate over to any grumpy kids on a long car journey and you can pretty much guarantee silence, or a broken iPad. It is the perfect device to just casually tap away at a game, or nip at something much bigger.

So what to download? Given that just about every app under the sun is in some way casual, the real best ones are hard to find. Thankfully we have a handy list of the best downloads already lined up. So read on to find out.

Ben 10 Alien Locator

If you are not familiar with Ben 10, allow us to give you a brief bio. It's a hit kids cartoon that follows the adventures of Ben Tennyson who, with his device The Omnitrix, can transform into ten different species of alien to fight off various baddies.

That's as much as you need to know really. In terms of this game, the premise is simple. You are presented with a grid of 64 tiles, each with an image of one of Ben's alien forms in it. You simply tap the tiles that match the indicator until they are all gone. When you tap a tile beware that it drops the line down so be wary of trying to be too clever or you'll end up tapping the wrong type of tile and losing points.

The points counter starts at 1000 and counts down. At the end of each level your performance is judged by way of a test tube filling up with green goo and your score is recorded. If you're happy with it, move on to the next level (and even post it on Facebook). If you think you can go quicker, try again. And again and again and again and again. This game is like cartoon crack, you'll keep coming back for more even if you're not sure why. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Whale Trail

This highly stylised and polished game has clearly been influenced by previous successful iPhone games, such as Tiny Wings. This is not to say, however, that it's not original - there are plenty of innovative ideas - but the simple gameplay, controls and sound are nothing if not reminiscent. Game mechanics are simplicity itself: pressing and holding anywhere on the screen makes the whale rise, whilst releasing brings about a swooping action - the aim being to collect bubbles in order to fuel your flight.

The game has a nice easy flow to it, making it accessible to all; and whilst its focus on high scores should ensure its appeal to those who take their games seriously, those who want to play for the fun of it are catered for too. And fun it certainly is: Whale Trails visuals make playing very appealing, all working well with the perky sound track. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 5/5

 

Anthill: Tactical Trail Defense

This little gem combines real time strategy and tower defence, merging  the two, admittedly very similar genres, into one - creating an  excellent game in the process. The plot is straightforward enough; you take control of a variety of   friendly formicidae which all work together to gather food and destroy enemy bugs so that your anthill might be preserved.

There are workers who collect the food, an army variety that gets stuck in hand-to-hand, and flying ants who bombard the opposition with green goo, amongst others.

As ever, it's a case of balancing the different varieties at your   disposal; creating workers to forage for food and combat troops to defend them, if you're going to be successful. You can determine where each type of ant goes by creating a line on the screen which they'll follow to a target - the whole system working very well. Where the real beauty lies is in the gameplay; things can look pretty hectic at times, however due to the intuitive interface everything remains under your control. For a game that, somehow, feels quite fresh on the iOS platform we have to say that it's a bargain. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Crimson: Steam Pirates

Built with the iPad solely in mind, the game is top down strategy fare and combines pirates and steampunk, Jules Verne-style science fiction in a beautiful mesh that offers as much in back story as it does in game. You are apprentice pirate Thomas Blood, and you must complete turn-based goals in order to become the most feared of all the seven seas... Well, the Caribbean anyway. 

Crimson: Steam Pirates is a turn-based strategy game. You must give your ship(s) orders through a simple to use and intuitive interface attached to each, and then set them loose to view the outcome.

Each ship has set crew members, which can change throughout a mission depending on circumstances, and they can offer different actions of properties. The crew will also come in handy when you want to board another craft, as it then becomes almost Risk-esque as you must judge how many of them to use against each wave of enemy, before you know that enemy's statistics. Read More

iTunesLink 

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Contre Jour HD

Contre Jour HD is a game that uses both a sumptuous graphical style and touchscreen controls to maximum advantage. If we were to describe its gameplay in comparative terms, it's like the software house's other A-lister Cut The Rope run in reverse, with a dash of Bumpy Road, World of Goo and PS3 fave Loco Roco thrown in. The graphics are even Loco Roco-like, but in black and white/shilouette, Limbo style (indeed, contre jour, in French, means "against daylight"). 

You control a blob that mainly consists of just an eye (named Petit), but not directly. Instead, you manipulate the jelly-esque ground at its feet to move it in a specific direction, and there are numerous tentacles scattered around each level which can be attached in order to swing or spring the wee fella to points you'd like him to pass. If you think eye blob equals sweety, and exit equals Om Nom, you get the idea. Read More

iTunesLink

Price: £1.99

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Peppa Pig's Party Time

This kid-friendly little app lets you enjoy the excitement of going to a party with Peppa Pig and her friends and is sure to be a winner with young fans of the porcine character. The app features the familiar theme tune, the graphics as used in the cartoons and even the right voices. Once you’ve created a profile (up to three) you can then get choosing one of the six mini games or just look at a photo album of the party (more on that in a bit). 

The mini games enable you to create party invites, make up the party bags, and make a cake. After you’ve got those ready, you can then start playing games like musical chairs, pass the parcel, and finally smash the piñata. All the characters from the TV show are here and you can play any of the eight from the show:  Suzi Sheep, Danny the Dog, Pedro the Pony, George Pig, Rebecca Rabbit and so forth. If you've got young Peppa Pig fans (or you're a fan yourself) then this is a no-brainers. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Bloons TD 4 HD

Scottish games development company Digital Goldfish has been documenting the battle between monkey and balloon for several years now, albeit through browser-based Flash games. First came Bloons, a puzzle game that had you play as an ape who had to throw darts at a range of differently-coloured balloons, some with super-powered properties, and the art was in clearing the screen of a set amount before progressing to the next level. 

Then came Bloons TD (or Bloons Tower Defense, as it was called before realisation that the latter two words are trademarked - no, really), and an enormous cult following amongst casual gamers emerged.

Bloons TD 4 HD was born to be played on the iPad. Its controls are dream-like, with the different monkey types lined up on the right-hand side, and simple drag and drop bringing them into play (the iPhone version requires a separate tower selection menu to be accessed in order to avoid obscuring the action - it can get fiddly though). And the colourful, simple graphics pop out of the screen (using balloon-related terminology). An essential game for any iPad owner, first or second generation. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Tapper World Tour HD

Tapper is a game that has probably, in one form or another, appeared on every home computer, console and gaming device over the years. Originally an arcade machine, back in 1983, it is simple at its core, but fiendish difficult as it progresses. The premise is basically thus; serve thirsty patrons in a bar their frothy drinks before they get irate. That's it.

There are three or more bars, each with its own pump, and you have to flit from one to another. The iOS version adds extra spins on the original theme too. Firstly, the structure of the entire app is different. Originally, the game was one type of bar, merely progressing through levels of difficulty. Now though, there's a story mode that has you visit different bars in different locations around the world. 

But, perhaps, the biggest change in the game for its iPad refresh is in the control system. While you can opt to have an onscreen directional control pad, the best method of play is to merely "tap" where you want to go, and "tap" to serve beer. It makes the game so much easier to get into, and let's you concentrate on the action, rather than the mode of input. It's almost as if the original developer foresaw this when it created "Tapper" back in the 80s. 

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4.5

 

Paper Glider

Neon Play, known for Flick Football and Golf Putt Pro, couldn't buy the sort of publicity that it has been awarded by its Paper Glider being the 10 billionth application downloaded from the App Store, so it's incredibly heartening to note that it couldn't have happened to a nicer company or concept. Paper Glider itself is a mind-boggingly simple idea; guide a paper aeroplane as far as you can by an initial swipe and gentle gusts of wind. Yet, it is fiendishly addictive and an ideal and welcome time waster for a journey, long or short.

You can also post your scores to Twitter, Facebook, or send out an email. Simple, cunning and a prime example of a "just one more go" game. Also, as the app is completely supported by advertising, it's free - you won't lose anything by giving it a try. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Angry Birds Seasons HD

For starters, Angry Birds Seasons HD is an updates for the previously released (on Apple devices, at least) Angry Birds Halloween and HD apps. A quick download turns the previous theme into just one of the modes within the new version. So, if you already own the aforementioned edition(s) you get this new update completely free of charge. 

As the name suggests (and as you no doubt know) the the game is updated for every season - we've already seen Christmas, Halloween, and Easter versions and lots more besides - all of which come as free updates for exiting users. However, if you don't already own the game in any of its guises, you can purchase the new Seasons version for £1.49. You'll definitely want to. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 5/5

 

Slice It!

This particular app brings all the joys of cutting up shapes to your fingertips. Previously the reserve of scissors and paper, this fine offering challenges you to slice a variety of shapes into equal parts/surface areas and dishing out points and bonuses for those that get closest. Most of the early stages are pretty basic, making the game accessible to both young and old players.

There are two ways of cutting; the first using a classic fixed point line drag, however this proved tricky to get the hang of; much better is the multitouch option which allows you to move a fixed line around the screen - we ended up using this the majority of the time. At 69p it's pretty good value although there's a free version, and with 60 levels on offer it should keep you going for a while. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 3/5

 

Flight Control

Flight Control by Firemint is an absolute must for anyone looking to waste a few hours/days/months/years (delete as applicable) on something fiendishly simple yet ultimately pointless.The aim of the game is to guide an assortment of aircraft safely onto their respective runways, whilst avoiding mid-air crashes. As you progress through the game aircraft get more numerous, and given the different speeds at which they all travel it can prove quite tricky.

And that's basically it. However it's in the nice touches and responsive controls that make this game a real star. Guiding the aircraft is done with a swipe of the finger; drawing a line from the vehicle to the runway, which is all very precise. Brilliant game at a bargain price. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 5/5

 

Cubemen

Think of Cubemen a bit like a tower defence game, except with cubes. Everything is square and has a sort of 8-bit style to it which we really like. You need to defend your blue cube from waves of red Cubemen spawning from red cubes.

The levels within the game are like chess boards and consist of, you guessed it, cubes. Each cube can take one character, of which there are eight different types. The most basic Cubemen simply shoot single bullets. Each time they destroy an enemy, you get points to spend on better Cubemen. These can range from mortar firing back markers to medics and rocket-launcher-toting maniacs. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 4/5

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