Best iPad Games: 8 Games that excel on iOS (or Android) tablets

By Dick Page 30 Jan 2020 0

So you’ve bought yourself a tablet. Maybe it’s an iPad, maybe it’s a Galaxy or ZenPad. Maybe you’re a longtime mobile gamer and longtime PT reader who has chafed at the restrictions of your itty bitty phone screen (Maybe you're called Richard-ED). Maybe you’ve just googled “best tablet games” and landed on our page.

Since the roll-out of 'Universal' after phones got bigger and sharper resolutions there haven’t really been as many tablet-exclusive games, but there are still quite a few amazing experiences that only unlock once you’ve upgraded to a larger screen. This article runs down a few of those games that are only for iPad or Android tablet owners, plus some that only really shine when played extra large.

What are the best iPad and Android Games?

  • Invisible, Inc.
  • Prison Architect
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • FTL
  • Sunless Sea
  • Civilization VI
  • Rome: Total War
  • The Banner Saga

Best Tablet Games | General Advice

To start with, board games are always better on a screen that’s closer in size to a tabletop. Tablets are great ways to play solo versions of your favorite table games against AI or play online when you can’t find any like-minded friends. You can even pass the tablet around in some titles, which can be a lot easier than setting up all those pieces yourself. App versions are also a great way to preview a game you may be interested in, since they typically cost about a tenth of what you’d pay for the whole box of cardboard.

Best Tablet Games

Invisible, Inc.

Indie masters Klei found a perfect fit when they brought the incredibly unique stealth tactics of Invisible, Inc to tablets. You’ve never played a tactics game quite like this before: a turn-based high-stakes Metal Gear Solid. Invisible, Inc. isn’t a game that you can half-ass, as each turn has the potential to devastate your team.

Careful choices regarding which guards and security systems to incapacitate are a must, and your team’s quickly dwindling resources will keep you on edge the whole mission. Those missions are procedurally-generated, by the way, to always be surprising.

Prison Architect

You couldn’t fit a sim as detailed as Prison Architect into a tiny phone. This game goes beyond mere cells and exercise yards to require the player to handle utilities, staffing, and more. Putting the screws on the player are disasters like riots and floods, and of course the ever-present budget difficulties. Who can serve justice when there’s the almighty dollar? The game is free-to-try in demo mode, to boot, so there’s really no excuse for missing this excellent sim. Available on iOS and Android.

Darkest Dungeon

The gorgeous woodcut artwork of Darkest Dungeon would look like chickenscratch on a tiny phone, which is why this game is exclusive to tablets. In this game, you lead parties of graverobbers, plague doctors, highwaymen and others into challenging dungeons full of weird and deadly monsters. This detailed dungeon-crawler needs the extra screen real estate to present its complex systems.

While it can be frustrating that a lot of the information you need is hidden under tooltips that only pop up when long pressing interface elements (which can also lead to misclicks), overall, the exceptional tactical combat and unique party management of Darkest Dungeon, plus its unrelenting pitch-black humor make it a must have for RPG fans that own a tablet.

FTL

FTL: Faster Than Light underwent some pretty clever revisions to make its intense gameplay work on a touchscreen. It’s still one of the best games to have integrated roguish elements into other styles of gameplay. It’s only on tablets because its detailed strategies need room to breathe. Fire in the engine room? Open some doors to vent it to space! Pirate’s shields are too strong for your lasers? Take it out with a boarding party of rock people! Still one of the most challenging and most compelling experiences on any platform, if you’ve got a tablet FTL is one you can’t miss.

Sunless Sea

For gamers looking for a little story, look no further than Sunless Sea. You may have enjoyed gamebooks like Sorcery and 80 Days on your phone, but Sunless Sea is so much more. It’s based on the weird fantasy of the browser game Fallen London, where horror and gothic whimsy go hand-in-hand. In addition to its exceptional writing and eerily well-developed setting you get a tricky roguish survival adventure where you have to balance your need for fuel, food and crew with an aching desire to discover what lies just beyond the horizon.

Civilization VI

Now, Civilization VI isn’t exclusive to tablets, but would you really want to try to fit all of human history into a palm-sized screen? I thought not. Where other games get stripped-down mobile versions, Civ VI is the full-fat PC original minus only cosmetic flourishes. It is, of course, an amazing strategy game worthy of the storied lineage of Sid Meier’s Civilization and it plays great on your tablet. The base game is a bargain since the expansion packs have been released.

Rome: Total War

Another surprising PC port was the first Rome edition of Total War. Although an older entry in the series (released in 2004 on PC), Rome: Total War is considered by many to be the series’ high point. The tablet version not only adapted the game to touch controls, but updated the graphics. Want to see hundreds of tiny hoplites clash in epic real-time tactical battles? Rome has got that. Want to command a campaign that spans the Mediterranean? Hop in. Two expansions have only made this colossal game more titanic. Available on iOS and Android.

The Banner Saga

For a more epic tale there’s the Banner Saga, a PC trilogy whose third act has yet to hit mobile, but whose first two installments pack enough tragedy and hard-won triumph to fill dozens of hours. In between tight turn-based tactical rounds, you’ll make hard choices to guide the survivors of a broken world. What’s more, the games’ astonishingly beautiful animation will make you nostalgic for the fantasies of the 50s -- and just like a film, these games are best enjoyed on a big screen. Available on iOS and Android.

What games do you enjoy playing on Tablet over phones? Let us know in the comments!

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