10 Noise-free iPad Games

While the audio track on "Angry Birds" is funny, muting it won't impede game play.
While the audio track on "Angry Birds" is funny, muting it won't impede game play.

A full multimedia game experience on the iPad includes sound. That includes theme music that plays during different stages of the game or on a continuous loop; audio effects that play when something drops, bounces or explodes on the screen; or even "dings" that sound when you reach an achievement or award.

You can avoid the noise from an iPad game when you need to, though. Many games let you mute some or all of their sound effects from their app settings, so you don't have to mute the iPad altogether. In addition, some games let you play music from iTunes in the background in place of their own sound effects.


When sounds are an essential part of game play, muting or lowering the volume can take away from the game experience. This is the case for games where sounds signal the player to take a certain action or prepare for something that's about to come onto the screen.

In this article, we're going to look at some iPad games that you can play noise-free without losing the quality of game play. Check these out when you need something to play in a quiet setting or just want to avoid annoying others within earshot. We'll start with some familiar games that you might have played without an iPad, and we'll work on through to games that make full use of the iPad's features. Let's kick things off with something trivial.

10: IMDb Trivia

It's not just for your browser anymore. IMDb.com has moved into the app market with a trivia game for film buffs.
It's not just for your browser anymore. IMDb.com has moved into the app market with a trivia game for film buffs.
Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

No matter what device you use, trivia games can be a fun way to pass the time. The "IMDb Trivia" app was released for the iPad in September 2011. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) at imdb.com manages a wealth of information about movies, television and the people involved in film entertainment. The site is a seemingly endless resource for movie and TV trivia, making it a natural launch pad for a trivia game.

"IMDb Trivia" presents questions in a variety of ways, such as matching actors' photos with the movies they appear in, and matching a quote to a specific TV show. The app displays your current score in the lower left corner of the screen while you play, and it advances you through five levels of difficulty as you play. The app itself is free, though it offers add-ons like additional trivia packs, which you can purchase from within the app.


In its first month, the reviews for the "IMDb Trivia" app were good. Players commented that the app was easy to use and that they appreciated the variety of questions and different levels. In addition, since all the trivia is based in text and graphics rather than sound, there's no need to have the volume up for this game.

Like trivia games, the next noise-free iPad game takes its origins from activities we enjoyed even before electronic devices.

9: Poker by Zynga

Card games have long been popular for passing the time. Whether you're playing solitaire or a competitive match with friends, most card games don't require a lot of verbal interaction. Electronic card games, like those available for the iPad, replace even those few verbal exchanges with quiet button clicks.

"Poker" by Zynga is one such game. Instead of telling other players that you see a bet of 20 and raise by 10, you simply click the raise option on the screen and select the amount to raise. You can interact with the cards and chips on the screen as if you were sitting at a real poker table, and you can see what choices other players are making as if watching from across a real table.


Like many other Zynga games, "Poker" is tied into Facebook user accounts. You can play with Facebook friends, and you can exchange chips and other in-game gifts with friends through your Facebook connection. Though Zynga "Poker" is free, there is an in-game currency called a chip that you can purchase using real currency. Chip prices range from $0.99 for a 90K chip stack to $99.99 for a 45M chip stack.

Card games aren't the only table-top entertainment made for noise-free iPad fun. Our next game is a tribute to a popular board game.

8: Scrabble for iPad

"Scrabble" for iPad keeps your mind nimble and the noise level down.
"Scrabble" for iPad keeps your mind nimble and the noise level down.

Another Zynga creation, "Words with Friends," grew in popularity among iPhone users before Apple released the iPad. "Words with Friends" allows you to play an interactive game that resembles the trademarked board game Scrabble. The game had its limitations, including the fact that you could only play with one other person and that it lacked a one-player-against-computer option.

When the iPad hit the market, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) teamed up with U.S. trademark holder Hasbro, Inc., to produce "Scrabble" for iPad. Specifically designed for the iPad's HD interface, this app offers five game play modes:


  1. by yourself against the computer
  2. with other players by passing around the same iPad
  3. with other iPad users on the same local network
  4. with Facebook friends over the Internet and
  5. in party mode, converting the iPad into an interactive game board for up to four players.

For $9.99, "Scrabble" for iPad is expensive compared to its competition. Its features and clean HD interface might make it worth the price, though. Other selling points include the Scrabble Teacher feature, which shows you the best word you could have played from your last turn. Besides being able to mute sounds from the app, you can also select and play music from your iTunes library without leaving a game.

Some noise-free game options are even simpler than card or board games. For the younger set, or those just wanting something that doesn't require as much brain power, the next iPad game might be a great pastime.

7: Battle Dots

Dots is a classic children's game where players take turns connecting dots on a grid in hopes of eventually claiming the most squares on the game board. "Battle Dots" for iPad turns that paper-and-pencil game into an eye-popping touch-screen experience.

"Battle Dots," created by A Mister Game, costs $0.99 via the iTunes store. You can play a "Battle Dots" match against the computer, choosing one of three levels of difficulty. You can also play with up to three other players on the same iPad or over WiFi or Bluetooth connections to other iPads. In addition, you can adjust the grid size for your game from four to 100 blocks.


So far, our noise-free iPad games have been electronic versions of non-electronic games. Next, let's begin the journey into games that exemplify the electronic age.

6: 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour

The design of "7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour" is so bright and colorful, it's completely immersive even without sound.
The design of "7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour" is so bright and colorful, it's completely immersive even without sound.
Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

Classic computer puzzle games like "Tetris" and "Bejeweled" are available for iPad. These are fun to play without sound, since game play relies entirely on manipulating shapes on the screen. Some game designers took a cue from what made these games fun and added their own stories and graphics, recreating them for iPad as a fresh approach to the classic puzzles.

One game that's been successful in this venture is "7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour" by MumboJumbo. In "7 Wonders," you tour through the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, each beautifully depicted on the iPad screen. The wonders set the scene for the match-three type puzzle challenges you'll encounter during the game. The game even includes special powers that take your scoring possibilities beyond that of a classic match-three game.


While "7 Wonders" was new as of this writing, early reviews were very positive, and players seemed to feel they got their money's worth for the $4.99 app. What's more is that you can play these puzzles without sound, which is why we chose "7 Wonders" for this list.

While familiar puzzle games get these new twists, the next game gives you an innovative new puzzle to solve.

5: Collision Effect

Game publisher Chillingo seems to have its fingers on the pulse of mobile gaming, and "Collision Effect," developed by Vishindo, is no exception. "Collision Effect" on the HD iPad, available for $0.99, has a simple yet stunning interface.

To play "Collision Effect," just follow one simple rule: When orbs of the same color appear on the screen, they must come together without colliding with orbs of other colors. To move an orb, swipe it with your finger on the touch screen. You can play "Collision Effect" in one of two modes. In challenge mode, you simply swipe orbs together as they float onto the screen. In puzzle mode, determine the order you need to swipe orbs together given a preset pattern on the screen.


"Collision Effect" features soothing music and well-synchronized sound effects, so you might find it pleasant to listen to even without disabling its audio tracks. Because the sound is just a supplement to the game, though, you can easily play the game without it. Look for options in the app to mute the music and sound effects when you want to play noise-free.

Next up is a game that lets you use the iPad's touch screen and gyroscope to play with the physics of flowing water.

4: Where's My Water?

Swampy's so cute -- of course you want to help him get his bathwater!
Swampy's so cute -- of course you want to help him get his bathwater!
Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

Designed for both iPhone and iPad, Disney's mobile game "Where's My Water?" centers on an animated alligator named Swampy who's anxiously awaiting the delivery of his bathwater. As the player, it's your responsibility to get that water to him through a series of broken pipes and other hazards. Depending on which level you're playing, you may have to swipe your finger to dig through the ground, tap objects to activate water-moving devices, or tilt your iPad to guide the water through a labyrinth.

"Where's My Water?" is available at the iTunes store for only $0.99. As of this writing, the game was still a new release and had already received many accolades throughout the game industry. In terms of audio, the music and sound effects for this game certainly add to its charm. However, you could work your way through each level without them when you needed to play completely noise-free.


Our next game is one of the most popular iPad games you can buy, and it's just as fun to play when it's noise-free!

3: Fruit Ninja HD

"Fruit Ninja" by Halfbrick Studios took the world by storm as a game for iPhone and Android mobile devices. It's a simple concept: Fruit is tossed onto the screen, and you must slash through it by swiping your finger across the screen before it falls back out of view again. You earn points for the fruit you slash, and bonuses for catching multiple fruits with a single swipe. Some rounds add the challenge of avoiding bombs that are tossed up with the fruit.

At $2.99, "Fruit Ninja HD" for iPad has sharper graphics than the iPhone version, plus support for slashing at the airborne fruit using up to eight fingers simultaneously. In terms of sound during game play, you can hear the fruit being launched a fraction of a second before you see it on screen, which might appeal to some players. However, the launching sound is very quiet compared to other sound effects, and it's quickly drowned out with the sounds of slicing and dicing the fruit. Thus, if you ever need to play "Fruit Ninja" noise-free, it'll probably just sharpen your reaction time rather than detract from the game. Look for options to turn off background music and sound effects separately in the app.


The next game on our list has won several awards, and it's great to play noise-free.

2: Cut the Rope HD

Om Nom's in-game instructions are very clear about how he wants you to feed him his candy.
Om Nom's in-game instructions are very clear about how he wants you to feed him his candy.
Screen capture by HowStuffWorks staff

Besides winning a handful of game industry awards, "Cut the Rope," a Chillingo game developed by ZeptoLab, was the first Apple iOS game to win an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In the game, you work with on-screen objects and laws of physics to feed a small green animated character named Om Nom.

"Cut the Rope HD Lite" is free with 18 levels, but an upgrade to the paid version for $2.99 gets you a full 200 levels.


"Cut the Rope" has fun music and sound effects, but they aren't essential to playing the game. This is true with similar animated games, including the immensely popular "Angry Birds" franchise and the more recent "Roll in the Hole HD." So, you can enjoy hours playing these games noise-free. Look for your in-game options to mute the music and sound effects of the game.

The final game on our list has become widely popular on a variety of mobile platforms, and noise-free is no problem for game play.

1: Doodle Jump

"Doodle Jump" by Lima Sky is only $0.99 and can be played on all Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). On the iPad specifically, though, the larger, higher-quality screen brings out visual details that are often overlooked on smaller devices.

The premise of "Doodle Jump" is simple: Guide the animated flute-nosed creature up, up and up some more! You can do this by tilting the iPad back and forth to move him left and right, and to position him above ledges where he can bounce safely throughout his continued upward journey. Helpful tools can make him go faster, but be cautious of obstacles which can bring his journey to an end.

If you leave the sound active for "Doodle Jump," you'll find that it's very basic. It includes the sound effects produced when the doodle character bounces or hits things. When the doodle misses a bounce, you'll also hear the slide whistle sound often used as a sound effect in animated videos when something is falling. Game settings include a simple on-off toggle for these effects, and you might discover a noise-free "Doodle Jump" experience to be even better than having sound effects.

Swipe on over to the next page for even more about noise-free iPad games.

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More Great Links

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