One of the coolest features of iPad mini is its form factor. It's smaller, thinner, and a lot shorter than a regular iPad, making it more comfortable to grip and easier to stow in a bag. But let's not get wrapped up and forget its most important feature: its access to thousands and thousands of video games via the App Store.

Turns out that iPad mini is a quite capable gaming device. For you new owners out there, and App Store veterans too, we've put together a list of the most awesome games to hit up on your brand new iPad mini. As with all our round-ups, clicking on the price of any game we link will take you directly to the App Store where you can purchase it. We also have reviews available in the text of these blurbs and videos for some on our YouTube channel.


SpellTower, $1.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - Yes, Spelltower is a word game. In fact, it's still the best one on the App Store. In it, you are tasked with spelling words from a jumble of letters. The bigger the word, the higher your score. Some letter tiles have special powers, such as the ability to take out lines of tiles when used in a word. Your ability to navigate the board, target, and then take out certain letters is what this game is all about.

And did we mention that's it's beautiful? This is a gorgeous game that looks just as hip on iPad mini. The size of the device does the game a favor, too, as it's almost like you are playing a digital puzzle book. Neat stuff.

Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor HD, $1.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - One of the absolute App Store classics, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor does just about everything right. Use intuitive swipe gestures to navigate a tiny spider around a gigantic mansion, eating the various insects fluttering about by creating webs for them to get caught in. Spider feels like a puzzle game just as much as an adventure, as completing each section requires plenty of forethought and careful execution. However, it's the fantastic art style and intriguing story elements that will ensure you'll finish Spider with an incredible sense of satisfaction.

Spider was our 2009 Game of the Year, and it still holds up today. If you have any doubts of picking it up, let me make the decision easy for you: it's currently free for the next several days, so there's no reason not to grab it for your shiny new iPad.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - Sword & Sworcery is an experiential puzzle game. In it, you move a 2D avatar around a pixelated world, tapping in any direction. A loose narrative structure guides you to the game's various oddities, beautiful sounds, mysteries and inspiring landscapes. Unlike a lot of point-and-click adventure games similar to Sworcery, the focus in this game is on the audio-visual experience. It's powerful stuff, too.

Sworcery is one of those games you really want to spend all day in, and sometimes on the original iPad, that can be hard to do since it's so big and all. On iPad mini, Sworcery not only looks and plays great, it's also easier to get sucked into courtesy of its size.

Fruit Ninja HD, $1.99 - [Lite Version] - [Review] - [Forum] - Fruit Ninja is a game that tasks you with slicing fruit. You are the ninja, your finger the sword. With intuitive swipes and taps, you rain oblivion on watermelons, oranges and other delectables. In the process, you rack up huge high scores -- but care is required across most of the game's modes. If you starting hacking up bombs, you risk losing.

This is one of the older games on the App Store, but it's still great and it translates well to the iPad mini's smaller screen. Slicing becomes more of a lean-back and relaxed kind of experience, and that suits this game pretty well.

World of Goo HD, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - Delightfully accessible, yet challenging, World of Goo is a puzzle game that tasks you with assembling balls of stretchy goo into cohesive structures that other unused balls can ride to an endpoint. Each level has a limit on the goo you can use, and eventually the game starts throwing in increasingly odd physics-based elements into the mix as well as new types of goo that perform very specific tasks.

World of Goo on iPad feels like the definitive version of the game. On iPad mini, it's still just as awesome. But it's also more intimate. With the original game there was a weird connection that we formed with the game as we assembled the goo with our fingers. Call us crazy, but on iPad mini that bond gets stronger.

Angry Birds HD, $2.99 - [Lite Version] - [Review] - [Forum] - Angry Birds is a physics-based puzzle game that tasks you with slinging birds out of a slingshot into makeshift fortress composed of wood and stone. The object isn't to wreck the structure, though. Rather, it's to obliterate its occupants: the pigs. The strategy of Angry Birds is in caving in structures so loose material hits the pigs and in using the right birds for the right jobs. Each bird has special wrecking abilities.

Angry Birds has always operated well on smaller tablets and it works well on iPad mini. If you've been playing App Store games for a while, chances are you've played this one. As a secondary suggestion, give the equally excellent Angry Birds Space [$2.99 (HD) / Free (HD)] a shot or give Bad Piggies [$0.99 (HD)] a spin.

Carcassonne, $9.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - A digital translation of the popular board game, in Carcassonne you and up to five other players place randomly drawn tiles on a board in a rush to assemble fortifications and structures as quickly as possible. You're awarded points when you place one of your limited person-like token on a tile that was played. Points are modified by the size and scale of the structure. Longer roads, for example, give you more points. So do completed cities.

Don't let the whole board game thing scare you off; this game is masterfully built and fairly accessible considering its somewhat complex mechanics. On iPad, this game is great. On iPad mini, it definitely continues to rock since it's much easier to pass and play with the smaller tablet.

Rayman Jungle Run, $0.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - Rayman Jungle Run is a 2D, side-scrolling endless running game. What that means is that you don't control the avatar's horizontal movement -- it just automatically moves to the left. You're actually just tasked with the real meat of moving around in the game world: the climbing, the jumping and the popping of special abilities, like wall jumps and kick attacks, when necessary. The genius of these games is in the pure fundamentals of level design. Your agency is limited, so where you can take some, it's gotta be entertaining.

And it is entertaining. Rayman Jungle Run manages to feel interesting thanks to the way action segment are designed and goals -- the collection of shiny objects -- are laid out. On any platform, this game pops, and it does so on iPad mini, too.

Bumpy Road, $2.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - A curious physics-based game that tasks you with "bumping" a road to move along a car to an endpoint, Bumpy Road is one of the more unique titles to grace an iOS touchscreen. The bumping mechanic is cool: the road literally changes its shape depending on the way you tap it, so you're literally forming hills and valleys to keep the car rolling. As you play, you'll also be able to collect memories of the couple in the car you're bumping, which is a fantastic touch.

Bright, colorful, simple, and somewhat mysterious, Bumpy Road is one of those games we tell people to download whenever they get a new device, whatever it may be. It's built perfectly for touch and has a lot to share as an artistic thing. Check it out.

Tiny Wings HD, $2.99 - [Review] - [Forum] - Tiny Wings is about momentum. In the game, you control a tiny bird and roll it down big hills so it can temporarily take flight. This is all done with touches and swipes. The over-arching goal of the game is to move the bird along as fast as possible; there are several islands to explore, but you only get a limited time to make it to each as when the sun sets, the bird immediately goes to sleep.

New updates continue to make Tiny Wings a better game. We don't anticipate one for iPad mini specifically, but the game looks and plays awesome on the device. In fact, this is now the platform we love the best for the simple, yet amazing game.


We write about a lot of video games on TouchArcade. In fact, that's all we do. If you're a new reader, consider this a welcome of sorts. Stick around. We cover all the latest in iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch gaming on a regular basis and do our best to help you find the next game that will make undoubtedly make you late for something important.

Over the next few weeks, we'll definitely have more to share on iPad mini specifically, including any potential announcements of device-specific games and such. This thing is a cool tablet and it's definitely a platform we're going to stick with.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickneef Patrick Neef

    Besides all those great recommendations, I am amazed at how good you are at summing up all the mechanics of all those games. It would have taken me double the text size to explain S:S&S EP for sure.

  • themostunclean

    "Turns out the iPad mini is quite a capable gaming device. "

    Ugh. I'm so sick of sites gushing on about this. The iPad mini is a compacted iPad 2, THAT'S IT! There's nothing new or better about it at all and in my opinion that it was completely pointless except that Apple wanted to take market share away from Amazon.

    It's not really even more affordable. You can get a full size one for almost the same price. I love Apple but this is just a useless gap-fill device and I wish TA would shut up about it already. 4 new articles in less than a few hours is ridiculous. They just need one line- "For iPad mini game coverage, read our articles on iPad 2 and imagine everything 30% smaller..."

  • Himmat Singh

     Rayman sits high on my list. To any first time iDevice owner, consider getting games like Lili, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Polara too. All of 'em are the cream of the crop for me.

    • http://twitter.com/shoesmith81 Rob Shoesmith

      I really love the Spider game. Think it will be good to play on the iPad mini. 

      It's just a shame the screen isn't retina. 

  • Greyskull

    I would have considered purchasing the mini had it been made with an enlarged Iphone 5 screen...that is, 16:9. It's great for both movies and books, and would most likely be more comfortable to hold.

    • themostunclean

      When has a book ever been 16:9? I found that iBooks is one of the only apps that actually suffers because of the new ratio (especially in landscape) and only use my iPad to read now because of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517984341 Greg Scott

    It pisses me off that the iPad versions of apps are more money than their iPhone equivalents. Then to release this iPad with a worse screen than the iPhone 5? Angry Birds 'HD' would look better on my iPhone than the disappointing screen on the mini.There needs to be some sort of consolidation to stop developers ripping ipad owners off with versions of iphone games which are practically inferior.

    • classicrockme

      Aww, you're sad you have to buy Angry Birds twice every time they release a game? Play some real games and you might find a developer that actually make their apps universal.

      • ducksFANjason

        You're hip and edgy because you trash Angry Birds! What a cool guy you must be!

      • classicrockme

        Wasn't meant to be hip or edgy lol. I simply dislike that game and everything it stands for.

      • ducksFANjason

        Why? What exactly does it "stand for"? I mean that sincerely BTW. My first comment was admittedly snarky but I'd like to set that aside now and open up a respectful dialogue because you've piqued my curiosity. I genuinely don't understand the widespread hate for Angry Birds when it is far and away the most well-known and most downloaded iOS game out there. Most people must like it for it to reach numbers like that, and yet there appears to be a large segment of the population who despise it so ridiculously now, despite the fact that many of them were on the "Angry Birds is awesome" bandwagon years ago. So, why the hate now?

      • classicrockme

        Commercialism. Not that I have any thing wrong with iOS devs making big bucks. In fact I love to see games do well on the App Store, but I feel like Rovio is just taking this way too far. I completely understand their decisions because obviously they discovered a formula that has proven successful and are going to live very comfortable lives because of it.

        I downloaded the game when I first got the iPhone a year ago and enjoyed it for a couple days. I got tired of the repetitiveness and annoyed with the level design that pushed the gamer to try certain levels over and over again or pony up cash to skip ahead. On top of that it just seemed like an extremely mindless app that didn't test my reflexes or my mind. I enjoy games like Bit Pilot, League of Evil, Fireball SE and Outwitters that actually test my gaming skills.

        The sad thing is that besides, besides League of Evil, none of those games are very successful. Zach Gage makes amazing games and was able to find success with Spelltower, but I think he deserved to make way more from Bit Pilot and Halcyon. Fireball SE's developer, Radiangames, doesn't get nearly enough love on the App Store for the fun and polished titles they put out. Outwitters is probably my favorite game in the App Store. It should be downloaded by everyone that owns an idevice considering its free to try out, but unfortunately they havent had enough support. These are just a few examples, but there are tons of great games whose developers are struggling (Gasketball!).

        I know that this has less to do with Rovio and a lot more to do with people being attracted to a casual game that requires little to no thought or skill. What irks me is that Rovio decides to spend all of there time and effort making more of these stupid games rather than trying to do something different. These people aren't innovators by any means. They struck gold by taking an old mechanic and making it into a cute game, with a very catchy name, when the App Store was ripe for the picking. On top of this they are now pumping out as many AB's related products as they can handle. I just think the whole hype behind the game is ridiculous.

        Plus they have further tarnished the greatest movie franchise of all time and are going to make tens of millions from it. Damn you George Lucus!

      • ducksFANjason

        To be fair, Lucas did a damn good job of tarnishing it himself over the last 10-15 years. The "prequel" episodes were dreadful, and every subsequent re-release he sends out seems to grow exponentially worse with all the things he's changed from the originals.

        In terms of the Rovio criticisms, they're all valid points andI won't argue with them. I just don't dislike them or the Angry Birds franchise because of those things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of it, but I don't dislike it either.

        As for the Zach Gage and Radian Games comments, I agree completely and own all of those games. In fact, the only game I've never played that yoy mentioned above is Outwitters. I think they made a major misstep in assuming that all iOS gamers want to play online. I don't have friends that I game with on iOS and I simply have no interest in relying on another human player to take their turn just so I can take mine again. It's just not practical for me.

      • 1Fcm

        It just seems like people are so quick to hate on whatever is the most popular or makes the most money, etc. People hate on Apple, Microsoft, Rovio, Zynga, EA, iOS, Android, Google, Facebook, etc, and complain that they are all money-grubbing-greedy-corporate-tyrants. I just don't understand it. If I don't like or have an interest in something I just don't buy or support it. Why waste the energy hating? These companies are in business to make money and if they find the magic formula then good for them. Who wouldn't want to be successful and capitalize on it?

      • Chefbot

        People still hate on George Lucas? Why can't we just move on?

        I think we have some Angry Birds here. *Ba-dum-tish*

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517984341 Greg Scott

        Can I just add that I was using Angry Birds as an example (but I do own the game). It was merely a swipe at greedy developers.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    Angry Birds HD is bullsh!t, dont buy that crap.
    Same content as the HD less app, just trice the price.

    • mguniverse

      So you're the kind of person who plays iPhone games on his iPad, huh?

  • AlecShobin

    No mention of Fieldrunners 2 HD? You're killing me, Brad! :P 

  • blackharon

    No Angry birds mention? #IAmDissapoint

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001924972639 Keith Murray

    Warning, shameless plug! Tap Studio 3 HD was just released and should be great on the new iPad mini!

    • ducksFANjason

      SHAME ON YOU!!

  • workingman

    That's not a very good top 10 list, you probably scared away anyone who was thinking about buying their first iOS device. As far as the mini goes I think it's already dead. I've read complaint after complaint about horrible performance on the iPad 2 in the forums concerning games. Why would anyone want a mini ipad 2 at that ridiculous price when they could get a refurbished ipad 3 for $50 more that is twice as powerful and has a retina display,

    • themostunclean

      I'm a very heavy iOS gamer and I've never had a single issue with iPad 2. I don't know what forums your talking about but the 2 performs amazingly and unless the game is vector based (mostly 2D puzzlers) the retina display makes very little difference, especially with 3D. Never had a single game that won't play or crashing issues.

      I agree that the mini is a bad idea and people shouldn't waste their money just because it's a new Apple device but your part about the forums is just BS.

  • YouAreSilly

    A good list but including Angry birds seems a little odd; it's a fine game but I can't imagine there's anyone who hasn't played it.

    Anyway, I'd like to add a few of my own recommendations:

    - infinity blade 1 and 2. Always felt a little too cramped on the iPhone, and reaching across the screen on the iPad could occasionally be problamatic. Should work great on the mini.

    - Mikey Shorts. Good on all platforms, but the screen size should be great for the virtual controls.

    - Feed me oil. Just a great puzzler that never gets as much love as it deserves.

    - Fieldrunners 2 and/or Kingdom Rush. The best tower defence games that I'm aware of for the iPad. Touch screen controls seem perfectly suited for tower defence games, so at least one of these games is an essential purchase.