The best free iPad games, period

Some things in life really are free. Check out our picks for the best games on the iPad that don't cost anything at all (unless you choose to buy in-app upgrades later).

Asphalt 8: some of the best racing games on the App Store are free to play. Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

In case you haven't already figured it out, there are a lot of good free games on the iPad. In fact, free-to-play might be the future of mobile gaming, period. Look to Candy Crush Saga and Plants vs. Zombies 2 if you need any convincing.

See for yourself in the slideshow below, and click through for our picks. Board games, arcade games, shooters, puzzles, simulations -- there's something for everyone.

But, the hunt for free games does have its caveats: nearly all these games try to make money either through ads or in-app purchases. The former can get annoying if the ads are too intrusive, and the latter (called " freemium ") could hook you into spending a lot of cash on nickel-and-dime extras. The games on this list, while often employing in-app purchases, are fun enough in their free state that you don't need to buy anything unless you really want to -- just beware of those occasional hooks to spend.

I've tried to pick games that stand on their own, with tons of content in their free iterations that make the games well worth the download. Total cost for you? $0.

Did I miss any? Sound off with some suggestions below.

Don't mind spending a little money? Make sure to check out CNET's list of best iPad games , some of which don't cost more than a dollar anyway.

Editors' note: This post was updated on December 20, adding four new games.
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About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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