Sunday, July 29, 2012

7 Less-Known Quick and Casual Games for the iPad (July 2012)

The iPad is a great device for gaming. When stuck waiting somewhere, whipping out your iPad and playing some quick games is a great way to kill time.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite pick-up-and-play games that are optimized for the iPad. Note that I have not included big-name titles like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja or Cut The Rope and I have focused on less-known titles that many people will like to discover.

Most are free (with no catch; who likes freemium?) while some are paid. These are in no particular order.


Price: FREE

I am surprised by how so few people know this game. After PewPew 2 launched, the first one went free. Hence, it is a premium game that can be played for no price at all with no strings attached.

PewPew is a gridwars-style really really fun game with beautiful graphics. There are five modes in which you shoot other ships, dodge asteroids and more. I have an iPad 2 and I can only dream about what this looks like on the Retina Display.

Orb Connect

Price: FREE

This is a really addictive, arcade game written by an indie developer I know from Reddit. Orb Connect is a really well-made game that can technically be classified as pick-up-and-play. However, there’s a catch: It’s too addictive to be a quick-play title.

All you’e supposed to do is connect orbs of the same color as they zip past you with increasing speed. The soundtrack is what makes this game better tenfold.

Again, this is also completely free with no catch. If you like this game, give Still Alive, another game by the same dev a try.


Price: FREE

I discovered this one when it went free. It is still free with no in-app purchases, but there are (non-too-annoying) ads.

ZMatch makes use of the accelerometer as well. Basically, there’s a board with several different shapes tumbling around (motion sensitive). You need to touch three or more of the same kind and tap to burn them. You need to stop a fuse from burning out by making more and more combinations.

You can choose to get a new fuse and postpone losing as long as you want by adding a matchstick onto the board. But burning away (and thus removing the matchstick) is very difficult and more matches on the board make the game even harder. Hence, you can get a playtime of about 10 minutes per session from this game. Great for waiting rooms!

Nyan Cat: Lost In Space

Price: FREE

This is another free game. There are loads of in-app purchases, but you don’t need to purchase them to enjoy the game. They also reduced the amount of grinding that you need to do to buy aesthetic elements (like skins and backgrounds) recently. Technically, it’s freemium, but it goes the way of Jetpack Joyride by not annoying the player.

Simply put, this is a platformer where you play as the Internet-famous meme character, Nyan Cat and collect goodies while avoiding baddies. Oh yes, there’s also the catchy Nyan Cat song playing in the background.

Skill Game

Price: $2.99

Don’t let the uncreative title put you off. Skill Game is a well-designed, ingenious and very challenging game. You are supposed to simply connect the dots on the screen with some restrictive rules. Skill Game is for those who have steady fingers, huge amounts of patience and seriously acute hand-eye-coordination. This game is even better if you have a stylus (Adonit Jot models will work best).

At $2.99, I think this game is a little overpriced, but you get virtually endless hours of real entertainment. The app creates puzzles automatically (and remarkably intelligently) based on your skill level.

Boost 2

Price: $1.99

If you like fast and adrenaline-filled games, Boost 2 is for you. In this game, you fly through a tunnel, dodging obstacles and more. With a bunch of game modes and a soundtrack that cannot be ignored in a review, Boost 2 is really worth the $1.99 it costs. The very colorful and actually high-quality graphics are an added bonus.

The Greedy Sponge

Price: $0.99

It takes a while to get a hang of this game, but it’s really fun and very addictive. Each session lasts about 5 to 7 minutes, which is perfect for short bus rides.

In The Greedy Sponge, you manipulate differently colored “Thingies” to disconnect and drop them into a cute (and greedy) sponge’s mouth. The graphics are modest, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. It costs only $0.99 and it's well worth it.