The very name of Apple’s latest creation – the iPad Pro – conveys the idea that it has a higher purpose in mind. There’re plenty of non-Pro reasons to want the new tablet, however, like a much larger screen with its powerful set of speakers; while both features make an attractive purchase for artists and businesspeople, they’re also great for playing some of the best games on iOS.
There are a couple of things to consider with a list like this – first of all, despite the bigger size of the iPad Pro bringing something new to Apple’s mobile device lineup, iOS is very much not a new system. Likewise, few of these games are brand new, and fewer still are purpose-built for the iPad Pro. Still, the different form factor means that some games fare better than others. Some apps haven’t been updated to take advantage of the new display, so any use of the keyboard results in half the screen or more being covered up, and for some updated apps, the larger screen size just doesn’t do much to add to the gameplay.
We’ve run through some of the games on offer and have a few of our favorites that really do well on the iPad Pro. Some of the things these games have in common include great artwork and atmosphere, a great soundtrack or effects (put those speakers to work!), and less of a reliance on twitch gaming or quick reaction times, as having more space to cover can actually make these more difficult to play.
It’s still early days for the iPad Pro, so there aren’t that many titles available, but we will update this list over time – so be sure to stop back when you’re looking for something new to pass the time with your iPad Pro!
Monument Valley – iTunes Link
Monument Valley was judged to be one of the best iPad apps of last year, and certainly the best iPad game. If you’re an iPad Pro owner who hasn’t played this game before, are you ever in for a treat! The game is largely one of exploration, puzzling out the steps you must take in order to reach the next level of the mysterious temple or monument in which you find yourself.
One of the best things about Monument Valley is just how well the developers nailed the atmosphere of the game. The artwork is great, the music is great, the gameplay is simple – and also great (are you sensing a trend yet) – it’s a wonderful game to play when you want to relax, as you don’t need to worry about fast reaction times. Plus, the soothing music, artwork, and slow plodding of your character all contribute to convey a sense taking things slowly.
You can snag Monument Valley for just $3.99 on iTunes or in the App Store.
The Room 3 – iTunes Link
The Room, which launched in 2012, centered around a single room, and largely on a puzzle box within that room. An issue with many mobile games is how they tend to be pale imitators of similar games found on the PC or on consoles. The Room, on the other hand, is the epitome of a game that is vastly superior on a touchscreen mobile device to similar games that have been produced on the computer or on the web.
The app was successful enough for its developer to produce two separate sequels, both of which build upon the initial premise – solving a series of intimately interconnected puzzles. The Room 3 offers excellent graphics, enough so that the iTunes description includes a warning about older iOS devices. The iPad Pro obviously has more than enough power to throw at it, however, and the larger screen lends itself very well to getting sucked into solving the various puzzles. At only $4.99, The Room 3 is a worthy purchase – but those with high blood pressure may want to watch out, since these sorts of games can be absolutely infuriating at times!
Smash Hit – iTunes Link
Okay, after a couple of low-key sorts of games, it’s time to get the blood pumping. Smash Hit offers a deliberately simple premise: you’re stuck on a set of rails, so to speak, travelling through a crystalline world. As you pass through each area, complex structures will rise up, blocking your way. It’s up to you, and your limited supply of balls, to clear the way, trigger doors, and so on.
We like it on the iPad Pro, as the game takes advantage of Apple’s multitouch screens – if you have a barrier blocking your path, you can tap on both ends at the same time to clear it away. If you can make it to the end of the game, you’re rewarded with an infinite gameplay mode. As Smash Hit is free to download, it’s definitely worth a look; if you decide you like it, unlocking a premium mode is only a $1.99 in-app purchase.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved – iTunes Link
Geometry Wars made news when it launched as a mini-game on the original Xbox, but it really hit its stride when the developers published a sequel for the Xbox 360’s Live Arcade. Gamers were immediately drawn to the striking visuals, rhythmic bass, vivid colors, and intense, high-action gameplay. Geometry Wars 3 launched last year and re-invigorated the franchise by adding a third dimension to the traditionally 2D gameplay.
You might wonder whether a game like this can be successfully translated to something like the iPad, which gets rid of the controller sticks for a multitouch touchscreen – but I’m happy to say that it can. With sharp graphics and the same bright colors this series is known for, it looks wonderful on the iPad Pro, and it’s even easier to play than the same game on the iPhone. You can snag it from the App Store for $9.99.
Broken Age – iTunes Link
Broken Age is perhaps the most expensive – to develop, not to purchase – game on our list, but the result is absolutely worth it. Double Fine, the developer behind this title, is an absolute master at the point-and-click adventure, and Broken Age is a perfect example of how good these sorts of games can be. Originally started as a Kickstarter campaign, the devs ended up getting nearly three and a half million dollars to bring the title to fruition.
I’ve played through the game on the PC, and it’s a lot of fun – an engaging story, well-drawn visuals, good voice acting – pretty much everything you could ask for. The iPad Pro lets you really appreciate how good the artwork is. $9.99 is an easy price for this game, given the hours of enjoyment it’ll bring.