Everyone loves retro. Whether you actually grew up in the 80’s or laid eyes on Pac-Man for the first time on a Windows PC, we can’t help but love these games. Recently, I discovered there is a whole drove of retro game available for the iPad, and not only that, they tend to be quite expensive. It’s hard to find a full version of a true retro game for less than $4.99, and many of them can go up to $9.99.
While buying the full versions is probably very rewarding, we all love a good free game. Some of these games have decent free versions, and some, the less famous ones, are not as expensive. So next time you need a dose of nostalgia, hop on the retro express and discover some of the best free retro games for your iPad.
PAC-MAN Lite For iPad [iTunes]
No retro game column is complete without mentioning Pac-Man, and Pac-Man on the iPad is really cooler than ever. Well, OK, maybe not ever, but the gameplay is surprisingly authentic and fun. The graphics and sounds are very similar to those I remember on our old Commodore 64, and you can even use a “joystick” to control Pac-Man if swiping or tilting seems all wrong.
At $4.99, the full game is not cheap (but worth it if you’re a fan), but there are cheaper ways to enjoy this game. To start, the free version offers a few levels you can play for free. Each new level is worth a token, and you can get up to 50 tokens for prices ranging from $0.99 to $2.99. Buying these probably doesn’t get rid of ads, so decide carefully if you’re bothered by them.
iSays HD Free [iTunes]
Believe it or not, I remember playing this game on an actual device, with actual buttons, actual lights, and actual funky sounds. I’m not sure if this toy is still being sold, but the iPad version is a pretty good replacement for the actual thing.
If you’re thinking this is just a boring kid’s game, think again. iSays starts slow and easy, but it quickly becomes quite challenging, even for the adults among us. It can also be used for some fun times with kids, showing them what we used to play when we were their age. To get rid of ads, you can buy the full version for $0.99.
Super Mega Worm Lite [iTunes]
Ah, wormy wormy. I missed you so. Seriously, though, I don’t actually remember playing this game when it was the height of technology, although I do remember seeing it on numerous occasions. One way or another, this one is a must-try on the iPad.
The graphics are fantastically retro, the worm is extremely big, and devouring innocent people, cows and police cars is surprisingly satisfying. The free version includes 5 levels, which can keep you busy for quite a while, but if you happen to get addicted, the full version is only $1.99.
Frogger Pad Free [iTunes]
To be completely honest, I never really got Frogger. I know it’s a classic, I know people adore it – I supposed I just missed something somewhere along the line. Be that as it may, Frogger works quite well on the iPad, complete with retro graphics and all. The Facebook share button sort of ruins the 80’s illusion, but we can overlook that.
Frogger Pad actually comes with two sets of graphics, a classic one and a normal one. If you want to enjoy the retro-style game, make sure you choose to turn on Classic Graphics in the options.
The free game is ad-supported, but other than that, there seem to be no restrictions. To get rid of the ads, buy the full version for $0.99.
Snake `97 Free [iTunes]
Who said all nostalgia has to come from the 80’s? With technology moving so blazingly fast, 10 years ago is already ancient history. Just as playing Snake on the good old Nokia 5110 is. Do you remember how addictive this game was? Now you can enjoy it, just as it was, on your iPad. Well, almost.
The free version includes only the Nokia 5110, while the paid version includes 3 more Nokia models to choose from, but the essence of the game stays the same. Eat as many diamond-shaped things, grow to tremendous lengths, and never, never hit the wall or yourself. Snake `97 manages to mimic the experience surprisingly well, so get ready to be addicted all over again. Full version is around $0.99.
Every month I gather 5 awesome (and preferably free) iPad games for you guys to try. I can sure use suggestions, and if there’s a great game you can’t put down, or if you’ve developed a new game you’d like me to try, drop me a line on Twitter, or add your comment right here.
If retro is not your thing, check out some previous editions: