40 best iPhone games - paid apps

Top-quality games for your iPhone or iPod touch

There are now tens of thousands of games on the App Store, covering every genre.

Huge studios battle it out with bedroom coders, providing iOS gamers with a mix of blockbuster titles and novel creations full of innovation and personality.

Below we list our 40 favourite paid-for games for iPhone and iPod touch; if we've missed your top game, let us know what it is in the comments!

Don't forget that universal apps also work natively on the iPad.

1. Angry Birds - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

The moral of Angry Birds is that if you're a hungry pig, don't steal eggs from crazed birds with a death-wish, who also happen to own a massive catapult. If you're one of the 17 people who've not yet sampled this artillery classic, you fling angry birds at ramshackle structures, aiming to dispatch the pigs lurking within. Ingenious level design and varied bird 'powers' make this a classic iOS game.

2. Bit Pilot - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

Avoid 'em ups are commonplace on the App Store, but none offer the polish, charm and addictive qualities of Bit Pilot. The aim of the game is simply to survive, avoiding asteroids and lasers, and grabbing sporadic shield power-ups. Lovely graphics and crunchy chip-tunes round off a first-class title.

3. Drop7 - £1.79, universal

Best iphone games paid apps

The concept of this puzzle game is straightforward: drop numbered discs into a grid; when the number on a disc matches the amount of discs in its row or column, it explodes. Grey discs need an adjacent explosion before they reveal a number. Drop7 is brilliant and addictive, and it is to the iPhone what Tetris was to the original Game Boy.

4. Pix'N Love Rush - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

Here's platform gaming for the low-attention-span generation. Doffing its hat to WarioWare, Pix'N Love Rush flings retro-platforming action at you at a blistering pace, switching between Mario-style horizontal scrolling, vertical levels, and static Bubble Bobble-oriented affairs. Dressed in Nintendo-style graphics, this is a frantic, exciting game that's an insane bargain at 59p.

5. Dark Nebula - Episode 2 - £1.19

Best iphone games paid apps

Dark Nebula - Episode 2's developer undersells it as a 'labyrinth' game, but it's really a fast-paced top-down arcade game, albeit one with occasional puzzles and that seriously challenges your dexterity. You guide your orb through sci-fi installations, unlocking doors, defeating traps and battling foes. The aesthetics are wonderfully atmospheric, and the game offers a well-judged difficulty curve with new elements in each level.

6. Flight Control - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

Firemint kick-started the path-drawing genre, and Flight Control remains the best game of its type. You guide aircraft to landing areas by drawing paths, taking care to avoid the single collision that ends the game. For extra challenge, try the navy level with a lazily rotating aircraft carrier and super-fast jets.

7. Orbital - £1.79

Best iphone games paid apps

In Orbital, you fire orbs into the play-area; when an orb stops, it expands until it reaches an obstacle. An orb's number dictates how many times it must be hit by subsequent orbs until it explodes. Strategy therefore relies on you carefully picking your spot, aiming to create chain reactions and take out several orbs with one shot. Both beautiful and absorbing, Orbital is a textbook iPhone game.

8. Run! - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

Canabalt and Mirror's Edge are glossier, but Run! combines the auto-running mechanic and swipe-based gestures of those more polished titles, and then adds falling meteors, evil wizards, UFOs, a shoulder-mounted bazooka, and the ability to karate-kick leaping sharks in the head—for 59p. It might look a little rough, but Run! is best-in-class by some margin.

9. Minigore - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise: it's infested with ravenous 'furries'! To survive, you merely have your wits, trusty weapons and the means of temporarily transforming into an unstoppable beast-like killing machine. Minigore is dual-stick Robotron-style action with modern cartoon graphics and a dollop of gore. It's also excellent.

10. geoDefense - £1.19

Best iphone games paid apps

At the last count, there were about a million tower defence games for iOS. Most of them are slow and ugly; geoDefense is neither. Instead, it's a sleek, challenging, intense game, dropping you into a neon nightmare where creeps come thick and fast.

11. Real Racing - £2.99

Best iphone games paid apps

Firemint never got the "there are no games with any depth on iOS" memo, and so they went ahead and created Real Racing. 48 cars, 12 tracks, five game modes with 76 events, multiplayer, several control methods, different cockpit views… like hell the iPhone isn't a 'proper' games console.

12. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars - £5.99

Best iphone games paid apps

Rockstar Games didn't get the memo either, so they went ahead and shoved a grubby, violent city full of gangland warfare into your iOS device. Matching the same game on PSP and DS, Chinatown Wars has you trying to survive turf wars, shoot-outs, high-speed chases and drug deals. But if it all gets a bit much, you can steal a taxi and earn a semi-honest living carting fares about Liberty City.

13, Zen Bound 2 - £1.79, universal

Best iphone games paid apps

When you describe Zen Bound 2, it sounds rubbish. "You wrap rope around wooden sculptures." See? However, there's an oddly mesmerising, almost hypnotic quality to this game. Its tactile nature and fluid controls draw you in, and you soon rise to the challenge, trying to complete each level with the minimum amount of rope.

14. Squareball - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

AAARRGGGHH! That's an exclamation you'll hear a lot of (from yourself) if you take on Squareball. This unforgiving mutant offspring of Pong, Breakout and a horizontally scrolling platform game is frustratingly tough, despite 'merely' tasking you with not hitting red blocks or flinging your 'square ball' into space. Soon, you realise the weak spot is in fact you, since the swipe-based controls are perfectly tuned - and by that point you'll be addicted.

15. LilRacerz Pro Rally - £1.19

Best iphone games paid apps

Older gamers may remember Super Sprint in the arcades, Super Cars on the Amiga, or the original NES Micro Machines by Codemasters. LilRacerz Pro Rally is a top-down racer. And it's just as much fun as those classic titles (and for £1.19!), and boasts 34 tracks, ten unlockable cars, and four different environments. The controls are great - the cars drift but there's some weight to them - and the subtle 3D graphics are a nice touch.

16. Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge - £1.79

Best iphone games paid apps

Yo-ho-ho! This be the classic game ye scurvy dogs have been waiting for! A classic point-and-click adventure from way back in 1991, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has been dusted off, turned into a 'Special Edition' (new graphics and audio, hints system, updated controls), and fashioned into a thing o' beauty. Arrrrrrr!

17. Soosiz - £1.19

Best iphone games paid apps

Boasting a gravity mechanic akin to Super Mario Galaxy but side-on gameplay closer to the Nintendo mascot's 2D adventures, Soosiz is a cracking platform game. You must search 66 levels over seven worlds to find your friends, battling foes and gravity along the way.

18. WestBang - £0.59

Best iphone games paid apps

WestBang's tap-based gameplay mechanics go back to the dawn of videogames, in that it's ultimately a simple reaction test. Doors open, and you have to shoot bad guys (but only after they draw—after all, good guys play by the rules) and avoid dispatching innocents. It's reminiscent of Sega's classic Bank Panic, but offers better graphics and more characters, along with added fun and depth.

19. Parachute Panic HD - £1.19, universal

Best iphone games paid apps

It's tough for the parachutists in Parachute Panic HD. They leap from planes towards boats that won't stay put, and hazards range from UFOs and deadly helicopters to sharks only too happy to eat anyone who's careless enough to fall into the sea. The swipe-based gameplay is compelling, the controls are intuitive, and the soundtrack is both charming and funny.

20. Azkend - £1.79

Best iphone games paid apps

Azkend eschews the typical match-game grid; instead, you drag paths to match shapes housed in hexagonal spaces. Along the way, a story unfolds that reveals talismans and power-ups to help you clear boards. Faster and prettier than Bejeweled, Azkend is perhaps a little easy to complete, but it still offers many hours of entertainment.