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Best paid iPad games of all time

by Ian Black

What iPad games are worth paying for? The features, speed and overall coolness of the iPad 2 make Apple’s tablet a revolutionary gaming device. And iPad games are much cheaper than console games and traditional PC titles. Here are our picks of the best iPad games worth downloading right now.

Infinity Blade II ($6.99)

Infinity Blade II looks great on most modern iOS devices, but if you’re lucky enough to own an iPad 2, it’s not only stunning, it plays smoothly and brilliantly. Improving on its predecessor in almost every way, Infinity Blade II boasts a deeper storyline, better action and gameplay improvements that should keep sword-fighting action fans happy. Whereas the original Infinity Blade was sometimes seen as merely a ‘tech demo’ for the still-impressive Unreal Engine, its sequel truly steps things up a notch or two and sets a high standard for impressive iPad gaming going into 2012.

Peggle HD ($2.99)

PopCap’s classic Pachinko-like casual game looks great on the big screen of the iPad and plays even better. This fun title is highly addictive, simple to play and boasts a wonderfully colorful and quirky character that makes it stand out from the rest of the pack. Simply shoot balls to clear orange pegs from 55 levels and see if you can rack-up bonuses and style points as you go. With four different game modes and 10 fun ‘Peggle Masters’ to help you along the way, this is one game that should keep you happy for a long time.

Minecraft Pocket Edition ($6.99)

The popular and cult PC indie classic finally shows up on iPads! Now let’s be clear here: if you’re already a Minecraft afficianado, you’ll find the iPad version doesn’t offer as much as its PC counterpart, concentrating solely on the building aspect. However, it’s still a great option if you want to build on-the-go, or are new to the game. Simply put, Minecraft lets you build worlds out of blocks, and your imagination is the only limit. People have designed hugely creative objects for others to explore. While it may not be as complete an experience as the PC version, it achieves its goal by concentrating solely on the creation side of things.

Plants vs Zombies HD ($6.99)

When you’re gathering up weapons to repel the next zombie attack, don’t forget to check your backyard garden. This popular iPhone game comes in an HD iPad version that proves, in brilliant hi-def graphics, just how deadly plants can be. The zombies won’t be expecting the plant cannons, bombs, and other flora firepower, but that might be because zombies don’t expect much of anything. The HD of the iPad version provides extra real estate on which to strategically arrange your garden of death. Work to unlock the special HD only mini-game Buttered Popcorn in which you butter zombie heads and aim your corncob cannons for a direct hit.

Real Racing 2 HD ($9.99)

Real Racing 2 HD was one of the first games to take advantage of the iPad 2’s extended capabilities, letting you play the game via AirPlay wirelessly through your TV. It also takes advantage of the iPad 2’s cutting-edge hardware, so its visually stunning and very smooth to control. Offering 30 licensed cars to drive in 15 different locations, there’s 10 hours of championship cup mode to enjoy along with head-to-head racing, time-trial and elimination modes. You can even compete with up to 16 other racers via multiplayer mode. Real Racing 2 HD is one of the most complete racing experiences you’ll encounter on iOS devices and offers a console-like experience right in the palm of your hands.

Pinball HD ($0.99)

Say it out loud – the iPad makes some things better than they are in real life. Take pinball for example. No more hoofing out to the bowling alley or arcade, no more hunting to find quarters or tokens, just pure silver ball fun. Pinball HD delivers incredible 3D gameplay and a clever dynamic camera view that follows the ball around the table to stay close to the action. Play three different pinball tables – The Deep, Wild West, and Jungle. Each features cool effects that would be difficult or impossible to reproduce on a real pinball table. Also, the game starts with a tour of the tables explaining how to reach the highest scores.

Scrabble for iPad ($9.99)

The classic vocabulary-building game joins the 21st century, and lets you play in multiple exciting modes. You can challenge your iPad or play against your Facebook friends. “Network Play” finds other iPads around you, while “Pass ‘n’ Play” features multiplayer Scrabble where you hand your iPad around. There’s also the “Party Play” mode, the most high-tech of the bunch, where you and your friends download an app to your iPhones and use them as your tile racks alongside the iPad. We all know Scrabble is great, and now its been transformed into a better iPad game.

Angry Birds HD ($4.99)

Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? Like the classic horror movie, the avian protagonists in Rovio’s game phenomenon of 2010 have taken over, but for the iPad, they’re in hi-def! The story remains the same: Greedy pigs have stolen the eggs of nearby birds. Now, on a desperate suicide mission, the birds must take out the pigs in their ever-increasingly secure forts, made of brick, wood and other sturdy materials. You slingshot the birds toward the forts and tap to trigger their secret powers – turbo, cluster bombs, and more. The eye-popping graphics, funny sound effects, and supremely addictive game play, make it worth the money.

Osmos for iPad ($4.99)

Get in touch with your inner single-celled organism. You’re a mote and you must complete your missions – most centering around absorbing other motes and growing – by expelling mass to move around. Like Apple products in general, there are few instructions: you learn by doing. What makes it great? The visuals are stunning on this HD version. The game play is more meditatively relaxing than frustrating. And, the ambient music soundtrack will chill you out. Control your mote’s movements by gentle taps and slow or speed up the action with a slider. Ultimately, it’s beautiful and, ahem, absorbing!

Zen Bound 2 Universal ($2.99)

When you need to chillax after playing the other high-energy games on this list, find your inner peace with Zen Bound 2 Universal. Imagine wandering through a Zen garden and coming upon a 3-D puzzle of wooden blocks and rope. You must rotate the beautiful wooden objects by tilting your iPad so that the rope winds itself around it and paints the entire surface, as paint spreads out from each point where the rope touches the wood. Many appropriately named levels – Obedience, Reflextion, Focus, etc. – keep you engaged. A relaxing soundtrack completes the scene.

Others in this series:

1. Best free iPad apps of all time

2. Best free iPad games of all time

3. Best paid iPad apps of all time