There's something special about playing Playstation 2 era games "on the go" now. Feels like technology "made" a step forward, feels like total bliss playing them "on the go", when bored in a trip or a family meeting (sue me).
First I thought I'd compile a list, but there're at least two very good lists already:
controller.wtf is a website with every ios game that has controller support listed
and there's this list on github which is pretty damn good too.
So instead of copying those lists here, I'll share what i think of playing premium games on iPad with a controller in 2022.
Are just fine
I've beaten GTA: San Andreas for the very first time on iPad this year. Yeah, the visuals look odd, yeah all the character models "shine like plastic", yeah the game didn't age all that well at places, it's still a pretty fun time though! Don't buy the "you'll get compromised experience" hot take from reddit, it's perfectly functional.
And then i bought SpongeBob SquarePants Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated and its fine too. Very Mario 64-esque in it's structure, platforming and voice acting are solid, even if you're not a sponge bob dude, i say get it, because it might be the best 3d platformer you can get on non-jailbroken ios device now.
Compared to any "stationary" console - it sucks. But here's another perspective:
Remember nintendo DS or 3DS? Remember how the lineup had hundreds of jrpgs, and like 1-2 racing games over entire lifespan on these platforms? Now project the "1-2 games per genre" rule on literally every genre. Wellcome to "ios gaming" bruh :)
You want a racing game? - There's GRID™ Autosport (perhaps Real Racing 3 and NFS:MW are fine too). You want an open-world timesink? - There're older rockstar games ports. Roguelike? - Dead cells and binding of isaac!
Not too much choice, and if you've already beaten these elsewhere - you're even in a worse spot, obviously. On the upside: the prices are better than on steam for some of the games that offer you the same version essentially and infrequent sales have even more attractive prices sometimes.
I've tried apple arcade, I didn't like it. Games range from "alright" to "pretty meh", none of them are console-ports since apple wants "their very own APPLE experience" on arcade, i.e. "mobile games", not too deep mechanically with emphasis on storytelling or VISUAL ART, not on controller support/production values.
It might get better eventually, but i wouldn't bet my money on that.
Also you can't "buy" games that are on apple arcade. Want that mobile Taiko no tatsujin? - gotta pay that monthly subscription, baby!
Apple likes introducing breaking changes with ios updates.
Mobile ports are "one time" jobs, mostly outsourced. There was a full port of PoP Warrior Within or lets say Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on ios. And then they got "outdated", so i suggest to not shop "too much upfront". You get a game, you beat a game, you forget about returning to it ;P
Some rhythm games are pretty damn advanced on ios! Check r/rhythmgames for recommendations.
I'd love to be wrong, but I see things staying the way they are. 1-2 decent indies ported to ios once a year (while 1-2 are getting deleted because of updates/drama).
Apple are not interested in competing with xbox, playstation or switch. They might say they are, but historically it just never happened. Mobile market is different: with so many freemium service-model games i'm sure there are more fortnites, CoD Warzone's and PUBG~es to come.
And way less bioshocks or pro skaters. Because it's just not feasible for AAA most of the time. Now go buy some games, prove AAA, indies and me personally WRONGS and who knows, perhaps i'll get a new pro skater remake for 9.99$ on ios one day (what a day would that be!)
Till then - thanks for reading, and enjoy your comfy ipad gaming.