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iOS games that are actually worth giving

Sections: Features, Gift Guide, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch

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Yesterday, we showed you how to gift iOS apps for delivery on Christmas day. What we didn’t tell you was what apps you should give. It’s trickier than it seems, especially with games. It doesn’t make much sense to give a $0.99 gift to someone, and you also want to make sure the game doesn’t require a bunch of in-app purchases (that would be like subscribing someone to the jelly of the month club and making them pay for the jacked-up postage).

The good news, however, is there are many great iOS games available that make outstanding gifts for even hardcore gamers. Here’s a quick list of some of our favorites, but you’re certainly welcome to suggest your own in the comments below.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
Price: $9.99
In-App Purchases: Yes
Compatibility: iPad only

We tipped this one off yesterday, having used it for screenshots in our iOS gift article. It’s an updated version of classic PC and Mac RPG Baldur’s Gate, redone for the iPad. It may look dated in the screenshots, but believe me, any RPG fan will understand the glory of this version and why it’s worth playing again if he or she has already completed it.

Baldur's Gate

Your $9.99 purchase gets over 80 hours of gameplay, so it’s one that’ll last the recipient a very long time. And although there are some in-app purchases available, none are necessary at all to play through the entire game; they’re simply new characters and portraits that alter the experience a bit.

Product [Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition]

Final Fantasy IV
Price: $15.99
In-App Purchases: None
Compatibility: iPhone (3GS and up), iPod touch (3rd gen and up), and iPad

Another game that fans have likely played before, but it will have been a while. This update of the 1991 classic features voice acting on the event scenes, improved 3D graphics, Game Center support, and much more.

Final Fantasy IV

Square-Enix managed to combine most everything that makes a Final Fantasy game great with most everything that makes an iOS game great. The real shocker, though, is they did it at a reasonable price. $15.99 may seem like a lot to pay, but that actually makes it better to give as a gift…and it’s much cheaper than some other Square-Enix games for iOS. And what’s more, there are no ridiculous in-app purchases required; the bane of most Square-Enix iOS games.

And if the gift recipient like it, there’s no shortage of other Final Fantasy games available for birthdays and such.

Product [Final Fantasy IV]

Avadon: The Black Fortress HD
Price: $9.99
In-App Purchases: None
Compatibility: iPad

Another RPG, another game only for iPad, and another title that harkens back to a simpler time. This is a turn-based RPG that allows the gamer to focus more on strategy and less on what to tap when. A great story, plenty of quests, and dozens of hours of gameplay combine for a wonderfully fulfilling adventure.

Avadon: The Black Fortress HD

If your gift recipient is young and hasn’t experienced games like this, it may be a harder sell. But he or she has spent any time gathered around a table with friends for a D&D session, this will be an instant hit.

Product [Avadon: The Black Fortress HD]

Scotland Yard
Price: $4.99
In-App Purchases: None
Compatibility: iPhone (3GS and up), iPod touch (3rd gen and up), and iPad

Here’s one for the game board purists out there. Scotland Yard is a fantastic cat and mouse detective game in which up to five detectives hunt down the elusive Mr. X throughout London.

Scotland Yard

The great thing about this game are the multiplayer options. Play by passing around one iPad, play via local Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or play online via Game Center. And at only $4.99, you can buy a copy for multiple gamers to make sure the sleuthing fun lasts long aver the Christmas gathering is over.

Product [Scotland Yard]

Ravensword: Shadowlands
Price: $6.99
In-App Purchases: None
Compatibility: iPhone (3GS and up), iPod touch (3rd gen and up), and iPad

Finally, let’s get a little action up in here…and some that won’t get you in trouble with the NRA since you’re largely killing things like dinosaurs and giant spiders. And since Ravensword: Shadowlands was just released on December 21st, chances are good that your gift recipient doesn’t even know it’s available.

But it is, and you may have a hard time believing such a game is possible on an iOS device.

This action RPG offers countless customization options to keep the player engaged as he/she battles across a vast, explorable world. There are still those who out there who scoff at the idea of the iPad as a legitimate gaming device. Here’s proof that they’re wrong.

Product [Ravensword: Shadowlands]

Of course, there are countless other options out there. Just remember to avoid all “freemium” titles that require additional purchases to unlock the full game. Those are annoying every day of the year, so they’d really suck as a gift.

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