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25 awesome iPhone games you need to play

If you’re a gamer, there is no better phone to buy than the iPhone. Both the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus brought bigger screens to iOS, but it’s the success of the App Store that makes the iPhone such a great platform for gaming. With more than a million apps, the gaming options on the iPhone are nearly limitless. But finding the best titles isn’t always easy.

More: From Facebook to Mint, here are 100 of our favorite iPhone apps for 2017

Not every game in Apple’s massive library is worth a $1 — or your time, for that matter. Lucky for you, we’ve taken on the burden of sorting through the sea of titles to bring you some of our favorite games, whether you’re looking for a casual puzzler or something a bit more biblical.

Action & Adventure games

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ($15)

This Legend of Zelda-inspired dungeon crawler, from the creator of Super Meat Boy, follows young Isaac as he escapes to the basement in an effort to avoid being sacrificed by his crazy mother. The arcade-y game’s fast pace, deep pool of power-ups, and dark soundtrack make it an excellent choice, even when you consider the lofty price tag.

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iTunes

Love You To Bits ($4)

When a tiny human explorer’s robot girlfriend is sucked into space and dismembered (in a totally PG way), you’ve got to scour the galaxy to rebuild her. This endearing adventure game boasts clever puzzles, incredibly cute artwork, and a storyline that will tug at your heart strings.

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iTunes

The Silent Age (Free)

When custodian Joe Average encounters a dying man, he finds himself in the midst of a time travel plot to save mankind. It’s an understated thriller with a unique paper aesthetic and a series of enthralling, atmospheric settings. Oh, and there are puzzles, too.

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iTunes

Limbo ($5)

A terrific, touch-controlled platform game, Limbo is a stunning saga of a boy who wanders through a haunting industrial jungle. There’s no explanation, no dialogue, and no shortage of horrendous surprises. It’s the kind of game that stumps you for hours until something clicks and you suddenly realize how simple the answer was.

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iTunes

Year Walk ($4)

This point-and-click adventure combines Swedish folklore with a sleek minimal design It’s terrifying and stylized beautifully, with a mature storyline sure to propel you through its short duration. If you can handle it, play with the lights off and the volume cranked up.

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iTunes

Walking Dead: The Game (Free)

Although set in the same universe as the blockbuster AMC show, Telltale’s title is more about characters, exploration, and quick-wit puzzles than mindlessly killing zombies with the closest boomstick. The award-winning game forces you to make difficult decisions that often endanger your group of survivors.

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iTunes

Horizon Chase (Free)

Here’s a nostalgia-inducing racer that still plays like a dream, while incorporating some modern elements into the mix. From the game’s aesthetics to its soundtrack, Horizon Chase admirably harks back to classic racers like Outrun and Top Gear.

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iTunes

Vikings: an Archer’s Journey ($3)

In Vikings: an Archer’s Journey you control the character Nott, a Valkyrie who has been sent to the Underworld by the Viking gods. You must use your keen archery skills to conquer the enemies you encounter along the way.

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iTunes

Puzzle games

Monument Valley ($4)

Can you guide princess Ida through a series of impossible architectural wonders in this Escher-inspired puzzler? It’s a relaxing, gorgeous, accessible game that never gets too challenging. Remember Wonderputt? Like that, but without the golf ball.

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iTunes

PinOut! (Free)

Sometimes old school analog games make the digital transition seamlessly. Don’t be fooled, however; this isn’t your classic pinball app. PinOut features an array of pinball layouts that are as visually appealing as they are difficult to master.

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iTunes

Scribblenauts Unlimited ($5)

Use your magic notebook and your imagination to conjure helpful things and creatures into existence and solve a series of increasingly tricky puzzles. You can summon almost anything you can imagine (literally), from cows made of chocolate to giant toasters. This is a God dream.

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iTunes

Cut the Rope: Magic ($1)

This sequel sees Om Nom taking on an evil wizard to claim his candy, bringing new layers of complexity to the physics-based puzzles. Here, you’ll transform Om Nom into several different forms, using new abilities to eat candy, and stuff. Pretty good for just $1.

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iTunes

Roofbot: Puzzler On The Roof ($3)

This is one of the most popular puzzle games on the app store at the moment. Unlike many other puzzle based apps, the map changes with each consequential move. This means any given action can either help achieve your objective or actually trap you within your own configuration. Still, naming the protagonist “roofie” was a bold move.

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iTunes

Role-playing games

Banner Saga ($5)

A beautifully-drawn game where every decision is life or death and the characters are so deep you’ll feel lost when one of your heroes falls — and more importantly — proud when they survive. Replete with difficult choices and punishing combat, it’s Oregon Trail mixed with a battle RPG, and it’s awesome.

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iTunes

A Dark Room ($1)

This text-based game is full of mysteries and unsolved puzzles, so get your thumbs ready to collect firewood and figure out what all of this means. Oh, and don’t forget to keep that fire roaring through the night; the game’s not as simple as it looks.

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iTunes

Bastion ($5)

With plenty of skills and loot to collect, there’s far more to the crumbling world of Bastion than meets the isometric camera. Riveting responsive narration, detailed environments, and unique environments back up the title’s smooth gameplay and excellent narrative.

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iTunes

Dust: An Elysian Tail ($6)

You’ll fall in love with the hand-painted beauty of this intriguing world. As you embark upon an action-packed adventure of discovery, you’ll take control of a warrior named Dust, encountering vicious boss battles and friendly talking critters. The controls on iOS could work better, but the game is special either way.

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iTunes

Evoland ($5)

Evoland is an enjoyable modern adventure RPG. The game starts out in full monochrome. As you progress through the game, your character unlocks new technologies and game play systems. This improves the initial monochrome to full 3D graphics allowing you to in essence “live” the evolution of gaming.

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iTunes

Platforming games

Super Mario Run (free)

Nintendo’s first official release for iOS sees the mustachioed marvel in a new role — namely, flying through levels at maximum velocity. The free version is a bit lacking, but a one-time investment of $10 unlocks the whole Mushroom Kingdom for your speed-running pleasure.

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iTunes

Badland ($4)

This is a compelling fusion of gorgeous artwork, accessible gameplay, and clever design. You have to guide your hedgehog-like creatures through a deadly forest teeming with life and machines.

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iTunes

VVVVVV ($3)

VVVVVV is a smart, sci-fi platformer with an old-school difficulty curve and a charming sense of wit. The twist is, instead of jumping, you tap to flip gravity, as you search for the missing crew members. The retro-looking title is pretty touchy, so playing with a cracked or unresponsive screen may be frustrating.

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iTunes

Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (Free)

The second installment of the tongue-in-cheek Robot Unicorn Attack sports more than just updated visuals. New challenges and customization add depth to the endless runner, one set to Erasure’s “Always.”

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iTunes

Strategy games

SteamWorld Heist ($10)

In this unique, turn-based strategy game, you won’t choose abilities from a boring static list. Instead, you’ll aim your weapons at walls and ceilings, looking to ricochet ridiculous shots into robotic space pirates. Shoot ‘n’ loot has never felt so rewarding.

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iTunes

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 ($5)

If you’re craving the in-depth management sims of yesteryear, try this port of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. It’s still a classic in the genre, and you’ll never want to get off Mr. Bones’ Wild Ride.

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iTunes

Clash of Clans (Free)

Build up your settlement, plan your defenses, raise an army, and guide your tribe to victory against nasty goblins or other clan leaders. It’s a good combination of slow planning and quick, chaotic battles. Unfortunately, the pay-to-win structure is irksome.

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iTunes