70 best free iPad games 2014

Top free games for older iPads, iPad Air and iPad mini

36. NinJump - HD

NinJump is a quickfire one-thumb game which has your ninja rapidly climbing, leaping between two endless towers. As he leaps, he knocks obstacles from the air, dispatching killer squirrels, deadly birds and throwing stars lobbed by enemy ninjas. Simple, addictive fun.


37. Chuck's Challenge (universal)

Chuck's Challenge has a long pedigree, being heavily based on ancient Atari Lynx game Chips Challenge. The idea is to use your brain and swiping skills to solve tile-oriented puzzles, keeping your strange purple-haired avatar alive. For no money, you get 25 puzzles, but more are available to buy.

Chuck s Challenge

38. Parsec (universal)

On playing Parsec, we had to check a couple times that it was free, because it's one of the best shooters in the App Store. The game boasts retro-style neon visuals, slick touch controls and an exciting 20-level time-attack structure that begs you to regularly attempt to beat your high score.


39. Flick Kick Field Goal Kickoff (universal)

Flick the football in precision or sudden-death mode, taking into account wind speed and direction before you belt the ball goalwards. Flick Kick Field Goal Kickoff is a simple game, but the stadium looks great, and it's always a fine title to waste a few minutes with.

Flick kick field goal kickoff

40. BIT.TRIP Beat Blitz (universal)

The love-child of Pong and a drug-fuelled hallucination, BIT.TRIP Beat Blitz has you deflecting hundreds of balls, in time to crunchy industrial-style dance beats. This is dazzling and pure but demanding arcade gaming, with long, tough levels. Miss too many beats and you're plunged into Nether, a soulless black-and-white realm where you must chain multiple beats to escape from.

BIT trip

41. Triple Town (universal)

In Triple Town, you have to think many moves ahead to succeed. It's a match game where trios of things combine to make other things, thereby giving you more space on the board to evolve your town. At times surreal, Triple Town is also brain-bending and thoroughly addictive. Free moves slowly replenish, but you can also unlock unlimited moves via IAP.

Triple Town universal

42. Pinball HD Collection

If you're a fan of hitting a metal ball about, Gameprom's iPad pinball tables are as good as they come. Pinball HD Collection is the freemium incarnation of the company's output, and you get the simple but playable Wild West entirely for free. Yee-haw!

Pinball HD Collection

43. Temple Run (universal)

There are many endless running games for the iPad, but this is the only one where you're being chased by deadly evil demon monkeys. But then you did nick a priceless trinket from a temple. Tsk! The tilty swipey gameplay's perhaps a tad tiring after a while of holding up an iPad, but Temple Run is great in short bursts on the larger screen.

Temple Run

44. Candy Train (universal)

Leaves on the line? Pfft! Here, you're more likely to find candy and giant cherries. Not that such hazards stop the little train - but broken tracks will. Your job therefore is to plan out a route for the cartoon chuffer, until your brain seizes up and your Candy Train journey comes to a sticky end.

Candy Train

45. Bejeweled Blitz (universal)

Bejeweled Blitz is the online incarnation of PopCap's hugely popular gem-swap game, and it looks fantastic on the iPad's screen. As a freemium title, there's a whiff of IAP (either grind or buy coins to unlock power-ups, or you've no chance of topping the high-score tables), but you'll still be addicted all the same.

Bejeweled Blitz

46. Jetpack Joyride (universal)

Another endless game, Jetpack Joyride is a witty, polished take on the iCopter format, with one-thumb controls dictating the hero's attempts to avoid death that comes increasingly rapid from the side of the screen. The real gems here are the power-ups, including the amusing Profit Bird (depicted), which isn't at all a swipe at Angry Birds and Tiny Wings.

Jetpack Joyride

47. Fairway Solitaire HD

Fairway Solitaire HD is a perfect example of what happens when you marry simple gameplay with a bit of character. On its own, the basic card system would be fine: unlock face-down cards by selecting those one higher or lower than the current one in the draw pile. But the addition of golf scoring and a crazed gopher out for blood turns this into a surprisingly enjoyable and original title. You get nine courses for free.

Fairway Solitaire HD

48. X-Motorcycle (universal)

X-Motorcycle happily offers two videogame clichés for the price of none: the speeding hero (this time on a motorbike), who cannot slow down and inexplicably giant fruit that appear to be an immensely important currency. The result is a fast, playable game reminiscent of old-school thrills filtered down to their essence and squirted into your iPad.

X Motorcycle

49. Orbit1

One thumb per person and one glowing neon ship is the premise behind Orbit1. You grab points, aim to destroy your opponents, and just hope someone doesn't flip out, grab the iPad and fling it out of the window in a huff.


50. Zen Pinball (universal)

More pinball! This one's a bit less realistic than Gameprom's efforts, but Zen Pinball is very pretty, with a bright and exciting free table, Sorcerer's Lair. Further tables are available via IAP, including some Marvel-themed and surprisingly great Star Wars efforts, but the sole freebie should have pinball addicts happily sated for a while.

Zen Pinball

51. Word Solitaire HD

With a game called Word Solitaire, you might expect a kind of solitaire game that has you form words rather than use standard cards. And that's exactly what you get here - sorry, anyone waiting for a huge surprise. However, this is not a bad thing, because Word Solitaire HD is a relaxing, entertaining title.

Word Solitaire HD

52. Royal Revolt (universal)

In Royal Revolt the king is dead and his siblings have stolen his kingdom while the prince was at school. Unfortunately for them, he was studying magic and is now out for revenge. The game itself is a real-time-strategy effort with some seriously cute and well-animated graphics.

Royal Revolt

53. Letterpress (universal)

Who knew you could have such fun with a five-by-five grid of letters? In Letterpress, you play friends via Game Center, making words to color lettered squares. Surround any and they're out of reach from your friend's tally. Cue: word-tug-o'-war, last-minute reversals of fortune and arguments about whether "qat" is a real word or not. (It is.)


54. Snuggle Truck HD

Snuggle Truck HD had a dubious start, initially being named "Smuggle Truck" and featuring immigrants being smuggled across the US border. One swift rejection by Apple and the game swapped immigrants for cuddly toys, which is significantly funnier anyway. The trials-oriented gameplay isn't bad either.

Snuggle Truck HD

55. Frisbee Forever 2 (universal)

As noted elsewhere in this list, we love Frisbee Forever. This sequel is essentially more of the same: fling your plastic disc away, guide it through hoops, collect stars and make it to the finish line. What makes Frisbee Forever 2 really stand out is the lush locations you get to fly through, including ancient ruins and beautiful snowy hillsides.

Frisbee Forever 2

56. Gridrunner Free (universal)

Gridrunner Free has the look of a lost 1980s arcade game, with hints of Caterpillar and Space Invaders. But this is really a thoroughly modern affair, with perfect touch controls and bullet-hell-style gameplay, albeit bullet-hell in the videogame is the equivalent of a shoebox. Oh, and you only get one life in survival mode, making every game a frantic bid to stay alive. (More modes can be unlocked via the in-app purchase.)


57. Hero Academy (universal)

There's a point in chess where you sometimes wish your knight would just give your opponent's bishop a thoroughly good trampling. Sadly, few chess games do such things (the ancient Battlechess being an exception), but Hero Academy takes the idea and runs with it. On specially designed boards, wizards attack knights and demons defend their turf against samurais. It's an engaging turn-based effort with plenty of depth.

Hero Academy

58. Rinth Island (universal)

Rinth Island is what would happen if you propped block-shifter Soko-Ban up against a wall and wrapped it around a tube. The puzzles soon become notoriously devious, as you figure out how to reach each tube's summit, but its novelty factor combined with great design will ensure you stick around.

Rinth Island

59. Outwitters (universal)

Another chessish two-player effort, Outwitters has teams of angry sea creatures battling to the death, first helpfully arming them with surprisingly dangerous weapons. (It turns out crabs eschew claws when they've a mortar cannon to hand.) Unlike Hero Academy, Outwitters has a "fog of war," meaning units cannot see any further than they can move. This makes the game tougher to master but perhaps more rewarding in doing so.


60. Shadow Era (universal)

Proving that great ideas never die, Shadow Era brings trading cards to life on the iPad. What you lose in not being able to smell the ink and manually shuffle the deck, you gain in not being able to lose the cards or have them eaten by the dog. It's all very swords-and-fantasy oriented, and just like in real life you can also buy extra cards if you feel the need.

Shadow Era

61. Blendoku (universal)

A game about blending colours, which doesn't feature an Old English Sheepdog barely avoiding tipping paint everywhere? Missed opportunity! Still, what you're left with in Blendoku is a beautifully minimal game that tasks you with putting colored squares in order. It starts off simple, but the level design will soon have you sobbing into your crayons.


62. Into the Dead (universal)

You know, if infinite zombies were running towards us, we'd leg it in the opposite direction. Not so in Into the Dead, where you battle on until your inevitable and bloody demise. The game's oddly dream-like (well, nightmare-like), and perseverance rewards you with new weapons, such as a noisy chainsaw. VVRRRMMM! (Splutch!)

Into the Dead

63: Score! World Goals (universal)

Score! takes the basic premise of a million path-drawing games and wraps it around classic footie goals. The combination works really well, with you attempting to recreate the ball's path in the best goals the world's ever seen. Failure results in a baying crowd and, frequently, improbable goalkeeping heroics.

Score World Goals

64. Lost Treasures of Infocom (universal)

"You are standing in an open field west of a white house." If you're of a certain age, you're already downloading Lost Treasures of Infocom, which gives you classic text adventure Zork entirely for free. IAP enables you to buy further titles by Infocom, the masters of interactive fiction, and they all work wonderfully on the iPad.

Lost Treasures of Infocom

65. Groove Coaster Zero (universal)

Rhythm action games are rarely complex, but Groove Coaster Zero out-simples its rivals by only demanding you use a thumb to tap, press, swipe or rub, responding to on-screen symbols. In the meantime, beats are drummed into your ears as your eyes are hurled around a breakneck disco-neon roller-coaster. Groovy!

Groove Coaster Zero

66. Frankenword (universal)

Take two words that haven't previously met, introduce them via a cunning overlap, and you've another iPad word game that stands out from the crowd. "Warning device" plus "mammal with armor"? "Alarmadillo," of course. It's probably not in your dictionary, but it should be on your iPad because Frankenword is awesome.


67. Super Monsters Ate My Condo (universal)

The original Monsters Ate My Condo was like Jenga and a match-three game shoved into a blender with a massive dollop of crazy. Super Monsters Ate My Condo is a semi-sequel which takes a time-attack approach, shoe-horning the bizarre tower-building/floor-matching/monster-feeding into a tiny amount of time, breaking your brain in the process.

Super Monsters Ate My Condo

68. RAD Soldiers (universal)

Tactical war-games tend to work well on a touchscreen device, and RAD Soldiers is no exception. The turn-based action has you take on chums or the single-player mode, and the cartoon styling gives a palatable face to leaving an enemy soldier as a pair of smoking boots. Just watch out for the IAP.

RAD Soldiers

69. Cubed Rally Redline (universal)

Argh! That's pretty much what you'll be yelling on a regular basis on playing this endless racer. Cubed Rally Redline shouldn't be difficult. You can go left or right on five clearly defined lanes, and there's a "time brake" for going all slow-motion, Matrix-style, to weave through tricky gaps; but you'll still be smashing into cows, dinosaurs and bridges before you know it.

Cubed Rally Redline

70. Vectrex (universal)

In the distant past (well, the 1980s), there was an excellent console called the Vectrex, which had a vector-based iPad-sized screen. In the Vectrex app, it's been beautifully recreated on the iPad. The Asteroids-like Minestorm is entirely free, but further games are available to buy via IAP.