Your iPad is great for keeping in touch with friends and family, did you know you could also be enjoying a mountain of games. In fact, studies have shown that people spend almost half their mobile app time on games, and why not?
Mobile games are portable portals into different worlds – you can transform half an hour sat in the dentist's office or bank into a short military campaign where you control a massive army. Also, a trip to the bathroom is much more enjoyable when you have plenty of virtual candies to crush.
Unlike console gamers, the vast majority of people who play iPad games tend to be over 30. In addition to this, 30 per cent of those players prefer to play puzzle games instead.
With that said, it makes sense for the first game on this list to offer a brain workout, while also being quite mature.
On the surface, this game is quite simple; You’re an immigration officer in the fictional communist state of Arstotzka in the 1980s. As the title might suggest, it involves papers and lots of them! In this hidden object game, you have to find discrepancies on people’s documents – while also trying to find a glimmer of hope in this horrible, horrible world.
There’s more to Papers, Please than spotting someone’s incorrect date of birth or missing work visa. Although, even those little bits of deduction can feel extremely rewarding.
What makes it much more than a regular spot the difference game is the limited amount of space. Much time will be spent shuffling papers around in the hopes that you’ll notice some small error; Which you will often miss, and end up feeling disheartened when a terrorist explodes a good portion of the borderline.
An unusual amount of terrorists are trying to sneak into Arstotska, but you’ll also deal with people begging to get in to see their family. Moral dilemmas are a massive part of the game – do you help a girl on the run from her pimp or a starving man who wants to get home to see his wife? Now and then you might be compassionate, but letting people with incorrect papers through could incur you fines, which will have consequences.
At the end of each workday, you’ll be required to pay bills. At first, they include food, heat, and rent, but as time goes by you’ll begin paying for more. This all combines to create an intriguing story that shows how a job like this can utterly drain your soul – In the end, your heart will turn cold and you’ll turn people away for no real reason, other than because that’s what you were told to do. Glory to Arstotska.
Overall the setting is gritty and dark, and the art style matches perfectly. Despite this, it’s an incredibly fun experience, and there’s a good amount of humour thrown in too, although it doesn’t have too much replayability. If this sounds like a game you might be interested in, check it out by clicking here.
Another puzzle game, but this one is much more soothing. In the beginning, you will be doing nothing more complicated than wandering around trying to solve simple 2d maze games on consoles. This period is brief, and you’ll quickly realise there’s a lot going on.
Despite being trapped on an island, and despite this being a puzzle game, The Witness is exceptionally open world. The great thing is, you aren’t bound to the main storyline, in fact, the game encourages you to take breaks. Traversing the island might seem daunting at first, but you’ll quickly learn how to plan routes that are time efficient.
Now, maybe you don’t want to spend minutes trekking across an imaginary island, but that’s as big a part of the game as the puzzles themselves are. The artwork is indeed that – art. However, unlike many games, it forces you to appreciate it by placing clues here and there.
You might be enjoying a relaxing sail around the island when something catches your eye. This particular set of trees looks an awful lot like a puzzle you’ve been trying to solve for days, and if you didn’t look at it from just the right angle, then you would have missed it.
This is one of the many reasons that this game is so compelling. Every rock, tree, and structure could be an answer to something; You can float past the same shipwreck a hundred times without noticing anything, and then on the 101st time, you catch it. It’s a remarkable eureka moment.
If you’re someone who is easily frustrated by puzzle games, then this is worth a try, as the calming scenery will soothe all your rage.
One of the themes of the game is “seeing things from a different perspective,” and there’s plenty of easter eggs that help give that feeling. These include statues of people from every era wearing all kinds of bizarre clothing, hidden pieces of audio and more. We could go on, but we have to stop somewhere.
The Witness is one of the best games on iPad and we wholeheartedly recommend you pick it up here.
FTL: Faster Than Light
Originally released for PC, this games runs just as well, if not better, on an iPad. You’ll get a great finger work out as you frantically flick from one side of the screen to the other. Adjusting power levels, commanding your crew, and targeting pirate spaceships must all be done simultaneously to keep your ship running smoothly.
There’s not much more that needs to be said about this game, although it is hectic and fast-paced. You’ll have a blast if you enjoy anything sci-fi related and high-pressure situations – Although, if you’re someone who has to win then perhaps try something else. Your crew will die a lot in the empty abyss that is space. Still, that’s part of the fun!
Like soft music or a warm bath, something about this game washes all your stress away. Its art style is basic but gorgeous, as is the music.
Although the base game only has ten levels, each of them is lovingly crafted. The colours are bright but inoffensive, and the Escher-esque style is fitting for the bizarre world the game takes place in.
Monument Valley might only last an hour, but in that hour you’ll find a lot to do. On one level you might need to manipulate the laws of physics to walk on the ceiling, and in the next, you’ll need to manipulate the world itself. You’ll also find a ton of architecture that is beautifully impossible for the brain to fathom. By the end of it, you’ll probably be feeling happier, which makes the 4 dollars this game costs more than worth it.
Give it a go here!
Candy Crush Saga
With so many people raving about how excellent Candy Crush is, we feel it necessary to include it on this list. That being said, it’s not all gumdrops and unicorns.
If you’ve ever played Bejeweled (or one of its many clones), you’ll get the gist of this game quickly.
The mechanics are simple; Swipe one gem into a row of others. You gain points by swiping candies of the same colour into a row of at least 3, or at least 5 in an L shape. If you don’t gain a certain amount of points per level, you’ll fail it.
Now and then the game switches things up and will present you with candies that are in globs of jelly. In order to break them free, you must first crush them – there are other similar blocks too, and such a simple change can make the game frustratingly harder.
It’s easy to see why this game is addictive, but be careful. One of its downsides is that certain levels will require keys from your friends to progress unless you wish to spend real life money. This business tactic can get incredibly annoying, but if you’re willing to tolerate it, then you could end up with countless hours of fun.
With that said, this game doesn’t come with the same calming effects that the other puzzle games on this list do. It’s fun at first, but we found that it got annoying after a few hours, and the same is true for the music.
It starts off happy and whimsical, but with all the different instruments and over the top cheesiness, you’ll be muting your iPad before long.
With that said, it is a free game so you might as well give it a go by downing it from the Apple Store here.