The 10 Best-Looking HD ‘Retina’ iPad Games

The iPad’s practically drowning in games, but relatively few have been updated to the latest model’s better-than-HDTV native screen resolution, which runs at 2048-by-1536 pixels. Here’s a list of the 10 best-looking games we’ve found so far, and don’t miss our 30 Best Apps for Apple’s New iPad and 25 Best iPad Games for Your New ‘Resolutionary’ Tablet.

Angry Birds Space HD


Angry Birds Space sends you hurtling into space to attack pigs entrenched on planetoids surrounded by gravity fields. Squint and the whole thing looks a little like a cartoon version of The Little Prince. The twist: Gravity can send your indignant little bird-friends vectoring in wild new directions, including into orbital death-spirals, forcing you to think much further ahead before letting rip with the slingshot. The $2.99 HD version includes 60 levels and, of course, native 2048-by-1536 pixel support. [App Store].

Infinity Blade II


I know, Infinity Blade II keeps popping up on these lists, sort of like Angry Birds-whatever. There’s a reason Epic’s action-tactics game turns heads, and it’s only partly because they’ve somehow managed to make it look as visually complex as anything you’ll find on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. If you’re in the mood for a deceptively simple turn-based, one-on-one, dodge-or-attack fantasy battle simulator and you’ve got $6.99 to spare, this is the game to get. [App Store]

Real Racing 2 HD


Like Infinity Blade II, Real Racing 2 HD is a game you’ll enjoy as much for its crisp, anti-aliased, ultra-high-definition graphics as its arcade-style racing features. The latter includes 120 races, gyroscope controls (you steer by tilting the display itself), competitive multiplayer and — if you’ve got one of those nifty iPad-TV cables — full 1080p TV-out support, though that’s technically fewer pixels than you’ll enjoy playing on the tablet itself. [App Store]

Galaxy on Fire 2 HD


Okay, this series’ cliched alien-bug-battling storyline probably won’t grab you, but it’s the game to beat for iOS-based, Elite-inspired space exploration, trading and combat. The $9.99 HD version includes brand new 3D models, additional textures at “up to four times the original resolution,” more light sources, extra shaders and post-processing effects. [App Store]

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation


Sometimes you just want a mindless, modern-military-style shooter. Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation delivers, offering a 13-mission globetrotting campaign plus multiplayer support for up to 12 players across six maps with seven match-types. Sure, it’s no Modern Warfare 3, but while you’re waiting for Activision to bring its crazy-popular franchise to the iPad (Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies only partly counts), Modern Combat 3 should do. [App Store]

t Chess Pro



Chess games may be a dime a dozen, and $7.99 may seem like a lot to ask, but t Chess Pro is arguably the best, with its human-like challenge algorithms and ELO rating support (a way of calculating relative player abilities) of between 500 and 2,500. In addition to its ‘Retina’-ready 2D and ray-traced 3D views, the game is “buy-once, use-anywhere,” so if you’re also an iPhone user, you can pull it down on either platform without purchasing it twice. [App Store]

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy


It’s probably no stretch to call this the best-looking flight simulation on the iPad. It’s also no stretch to call it one of the few. If you’re looking for a halfway-serious air combat game with “over 40 billion square feet of land and sea” and the option to take on friends in online matches, Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy delivers for $4.99. [App Store]

Order & Chaos Online


At some point, one of gaming’s heavy-hitters is going to release an online roleplaying game for tablets and really kickstart the tablet-MMO market. In the meantime, there’s Order & Chaos Online, a $6.99 download with a recurring $0.99 a month access fee that lets you tap your way to guild-nirvana by tackling upwards of 500 quests in a classic humans-elves-orcs-undead fantasy world. Sure, it’s derivative, but so is World of Warcraft. [App Store]

Pinball HD Collection


Pinball HD‘s been around awhile, but the updated version looks stunning on the new iPad. If you haven’t tried it, you get 10 uniquely themed tables, the option to view a table in full or pan and zoom over it, “realistic physics” and the best part: The whole thing’s free. [App Store]



Circadia is a stylish, almost hypnotic $0.99 rhythm game that challenges you to synchronize elegantly styled “color bursts” with bobbing, weaving white dots. The trick: Getting multiple color bursts to converge on the dots at precisely the same time. Think of it as musical Pong, only instead of batting a dot back and forth, you’re trying to harmonize with one. [App Store]

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