If you’re a gamer, there is no better phone to buy than the iPhone. With more than a million apps, the gaming options on the iPhone are nearly limitless. But finding the best iPhone games isn’t always easy.
Not every game in Apple’s massive library is worth $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 the best iPhone games, whether you’re looking for a casual puzzler or something a bit more epic. For more ideas, check out the best Android games, because most of them are available for the iPhone as well, and if you want to switch off that screen, the best board games could offer a welcome alternative.
‘Reckless Racing 3’ ($3)
Remember Micro Machines? Reckless Racing 3 continues the fine tradition of top-down racing games with some simple, but addictive, gameplay that’s perfect for when you have a few moments to spare. Choose from 28 cars on 36 racetracks, and unlock new stuff as you go — or pay extra to unlock early. It has full gamepad support, and a bunch of different game modes too.
‘Dark Echo’ ($2)
If you’re looking to spook yourself, Dark Echo is a great choice. Trapped in the darkness, you visualize your surroundings by reflecting the sounds you make off surfaces — like sonar. The problem is, those sounds start to attract things you’d rather avoid, leading to some tense and terrifying moments. Play it with headphones and in the dark, and you’ll experience one of the scariest games on iOS.
There’s a big market for “experience” games right now, and Florence is one of the best you’ll find. Centered around the titular Florence, this game explores a young woman’s first experiences of love, from falling in love to eventually drifting apart. It’s a beautiful game, and it contains themes and elements that are sure to touch even the flintiest and coldest of hearts.
We’re all waiting eagerly for the next season of Game of Thrones, but this game can help tide you over until it’s finally released. In Reigns: Game of Thrones, you’ll play various characters from the hit series, and make choices that’ll impact whether you finally win the Game of Thrones and sit on the Iron Throne itself. The twist? You’ll make decisions through a Tinder-style interface, swiping left and right to make choices. But be warned — every choice has its consequences, and you must be careful whose favor you curry and whose you curdle.
‘Civilization VI’ (free/$20)
The grandfather of the 4X genre (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), Civilization has finally come to phones in the form of Civilization VI. But this is no pared down mobile fare; no, this is the full experience you’ll experience on PCs, but in a much smaller package. It’s free for 60 turns, or you can pay $20 for the full game. That’s a steep price for mobile, but if our PC review is anything to go by, it might be worth it for that addictive “just one more turn” gameplay in your pocket.
An arena shooter from the folks behind Clash Royale, Boom Beach, and Clash of Clans, Brawl Stars invites you into arena battles against other players. Access to the game is free, but like other Supercell properties, you’ll be able to use cash to speed your progress along. By playing more, players will be able to unlock new characters with unique skills, as well as new skins for their existing characters. Matches take a few minutes, making it great for whenever you need to kill a little time.
‘Broken Sword 5’ ($5)
If you want to go on a vast, globe-trotting adventure with heaps of intrigue and conspiracy, then the Broken Sword series has always been one of the best ports of call. Broken Sword 5 the latest in the series, and it follows series regulars George and Nico on a quest to solve the secret of the Serpent’s Curse — and save mankind from disaster. It’s definitely more of a slow-burner than most iPhone games, but it’s worth your time if you love the old style of adventure game.
‘Inside’ (beginning for free, then $7 for the full game)
If you loved Limbo, then check out Playdead’s spiritual successor, Inside. It borrows Limbo’s aesthetic, and never holds back on creepy imagery and tantalizing tension that’ll keep you playing. With some incredible ambient storytelling and an ending that’ll fuel water-cooler discussions for weeks, Inside is a game worthy of your time. It’s free to play the beginning, then $7 to unlock the full game, so give the start a try to see if it’s up your alley.
‘Donut County’ ($5)
How could we not mention the iPhone Game of the Year 2018? Donut County is an odd game, but it’s one that you’ll be glad you played. You play as a ornery raccoon called BK who can create holes in the ground, and you roam around, meeting new characters and throwing them into expanding holes. It’s a huge amount of simple fun, and it has a zany sense of humor to boot.
With Pokémon Quest, you get to take cube-shaped Pokémon out on an adventure. While on Tumblecube Island, you’re able to search for hidden treasure and battle wild Pokémon. The game also features characters from both Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Red.
‘The Game of Life’ ($3)
With The Game of Life on mobile, you can now play the board game on the go. You can experience all the stages of life, such as attending college, having a family, starting your career, and more. With online multiplayer mode, you can also play with others or play with friends using one device. But since we all know how long the game can take sometimes, there’s the option to play Fast Mode — which provides you with a shorter version of the game.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on iOS has been remastered and enhanced specifically for mobile. With over 70 hours of gameplay, this Grand Theft Auto installment takes you back to the hood as you follow the life of Carl Johnson who has returned home in an effort to salvage what he left behind.
‘Heads Up’ ($1)
Heads up! is a different type of trivia game than you might be used to. With a wide range of celebrities, animals, accents, and more you have to guess the word that’s on the card by placing the phone up to your forehead — so you can’t see it — and interpreting your friend’s clues.
In Paper.io 2, you face off against other players and have to capture as much territory as you can, based on the color you’re assigned, to beat those around you. But be strategic about where you’re going — if an enemy touches your tail, it’s game over.
‘Alto’s Odyssey’ ($1)
As a sequel to Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey transports Alto from the snowy mountains to the majestic desert. Whether it’s sandboarding past snapping vines, rushing water inside the temple zone, or windy tornadoes, this infinite runner provides you with an endless backdrop of stunning visual content.
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.
‘True Skate’ ($2)
True Skate brings those old-school fingerboards to your smartphone with touch-based physics. All you need to do is drag your finger along the display to move the board. While at the skate park, you can skate on stairs, ledges, grind on rails, and more.
If you can’t get enough of Fortnite on your computer or gaming console, you can also download it on your iPhone. While you do need an internet connection, Fortnite on mobile lets you compete in a 100-player game as you attempt to claim the title of last one standing.
‘Old Man’s Journey’ ($2)
Like To the Moon, Old Man’s Journey is a game that sets out to tell a very specific story about life and the choices we make (or don’t). You follow the titular Old Man as he travels across the country, aiding him along the way by altering the hills and landscapes in front of him and interacting with the objects and people he meets. Gorgeous locations, brought to life with hand-drawn art and animations, will ensure your attention never diverts from the story being told. It’s short, simple, and may be a welcome change of pace from other games that have debuted this year.
With Fallout Shelter, you’re in control of protecting others from the dangers of the “Wasteland” following a nuclear explosion. It’s up to you to control and build the perfect vault to keep your Dwellers happy and the community running smoothly.
‘NBA 2K19’ ($5)
Another year, another NBA 2K game. With NBA 2K19, there’s an all-new story mode, more responsive and immersive gameplay with simple controls, and a new soundtrack to accompany the experience. You can also take advantage of the new MyCareer mode, which has a new plot and team interactions.
‘Monument Valley 2’ ($5)
The sequel to 2014’s Monument Valley, Monument Valley 2 puts players in control of Ro, as she guides her child through overwhelmingly beautiful, yet impossible architectural structures that continue to be inspired by the likes of M.C. Escher. You don’t need to play the first game to enjoy its successor, which is sure to captivate, amaze, and leave you puzzled for hours. Read our Monument Valley 2 review to learn more.
With Minecraft, you can get those creative juices flowing by digging and building things. You’re also in control of the game with the ability to create your own 3D world through exploration in a variety of different gameplay modes.
In Subway Surfers, you’ll have to surf past trains and over obstacles to escape being caught by the inspector. With high-definition graphics optimized for the iPhone’s Retina display, you’ll also be cruising through the game’s vivid images.
The plot behind Prune is as soothing as the graphics. By swiping your finger, you get to grow your own tree under the sunlight and care for it as it grows over time. You’ll get to trim branches and watch flowers bloom, while also protecting it from poison. As you excel throughout the game, you’ll be exposed to pollination and be able to grow more trees as well. As the levels become more intense, as do the trees which start to grow to a much larger size as their branches begin to twist and intertwine.
‘Valleys Between’ ($3)
Grow your own world and make sure it thrives in Valleys Between by jumping over hurdles along the way. You’ll be able to play through seasons, including snow, rain, and fog, and each day will bring along a new challenge. With intuitive controls, all you need to do is swipe up and down to create your own land. To top it all off, its bright and vibrant graphics coupled with original music make for a relaxing experience as you play.
With Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, the 15th Final Fantasy is now available on your smartphone. With vivid graphics and easy controls, you get to play through all 10 chapters from the comfort of your mobile device.
Categorized as a stealth-horror game, Hello Neighbor is a game about sneaking into your neighbor’s house in order to find secrets he’s hiding in the basement — but it won’t be easy. Playing against advanced artificial intelligence injected into the game, it learns your every move as you play. Whether it’s climbing through windows or sneaking through doors, you have to proceed with caution.
The concept of Fire Balls 3D is simple, but it can become tricky over time. All you need to do is fire forward but make sure that you miss the obstacles. With unlimited levels and 20 different color themes, this game will keep you busy for hours at a time.
‘Pocket City’ ($2)
In Pocket City, you get to be the mayor of your own city. Throughout the game, you’re able to create commercial, industrial, and residential zones, as well as build parks and other spots for the community to enjoy. You’ll also be responsible for keeping the town safe in the wake of crime and trouble.