The best of mobile gaming
It would take approximately 34,506,455 years to play through every single iPhone game on the App Store. Well, OK, we might have made that number up, but surely we can't be too far off.
The App Store is crammed with gaming goodies to keep thumbs busy, but not all iPhone games are born equal - which is why we've done the difficult job of playing through as many games as humanly possible in order to tell you which are best. After many trials and tribulations, we arrived at the list you're about to dive into: the best games you can enjoy on your iPhone today.
- While you're at it, check out the best Mac games around
New: Pumped BMX 3 ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Cartoonish graphics. Simple controls. An emphasis on catching ramps, much like in Tiny Wings. You might look at and think: Pah! Easy! Casual gaming! At which point, the game hurls you rudely over the handlebars, leaving you a crumpled, tearful mess, with grazed knees and broken pride.
Pumped BMX 3, it turns out, is a deviously tricky but deliciously compulsive trials game, keen to punish any error, and yet reward those who take the time to master controls and courses alike.
Your best bet is to carefully learn every nook and cranny of each course. Only when you can easily make it to the end unscathed should you start getting clever with the odd stunt, before finally winning the shiniest of medals with the kind of routine that would make BMX aficionados the world over break out into a cold sweat.
Card games have come a long way since the days when you completed a round of solitaire on a PC and were rewarded with said cards bouncing around the screen a bit. In , you’re instead immersed in a fantasy world, where, for some reason, all battles take place by way of card decks. And your reward here is to not get horribly killed by some monster or other.
The solitaire itself is ruthlessly simplified into a game of higher or lower, with you hoping for runs of cards in order to batter down your enemy’s defenses. Meanwhile, they’re lobbing all kinds of attacks at you, from pointy sticks to making cards grow beards that have to be hacked away.
Cards also have energies, which you can collect to enable hurling of spells at your opponent; these can be upgraded during campaigns via the in-game shop.
This all sounds terribly complicated, we’re sure, but really this is a gentle, amusing, entertaining card game with a fantasy twist. And cards with beards.
The Bug Butcher ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
We’re very much in classic shooter territory with , which has your dinky soldier blasting away at all manner of squelchy foes. It’s a bit Space Invaders (death from above!), a little Pang or Asteroids (monsters inconveniently splitting apart when shot), and a touch Defender (with lurking idiots getting captured, and you having to rescue them).
The game’s controls perhaps betray its origins on platforms that don’t favor touchscreens, but they just about work on an iPhone, enabling you to dart left and right, blast enemies, and reach for a bonus weapon as necessary. (Avoid playing on iPad, however, unless you’ve got incredibly flexible thumbs.)
And although the gameplay might feel a little old-school, everything’s dressed up in smart, modern cartoon visuals, paired with some sassy scripting, as the hero berates the scientists who got everyone into this mess.
Mr. Robot ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Based on the hit TV show, Mr. Robot (or Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa, to give it its full name), immerses you in a world of hacking as you accidentally become entwined with a shady group planning a mysterious world-changing event.
It begins with a smartphone you find and quickly pocket, shortly before it's hacked by its actual owner, the furious Darlene, who then press-gangs you into service. The game plays out by way of a messaging app, your replies selected from canned responses to progress you through the narrative.
This simple structure is similar to the Lifeline games, and there's a distinct feeling of being shoved along a particular story regardless of what you choose to say. However, it's exciting bouncing between different message threads, and smart writing throughout infuses the game with palpable tension.
Riptide GP: Renegade ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
The core of Riptide GP: Renegade feels like it's been wrenched wholesale from the unhinged water-based faction of 1990s arcade racers. Renegade, for the most part, matches their energy and spirit, as you barrel along splashy tracks atop a souped-up futuristic jet ski, performing death-defying stunts to accrue boost that catapults you along at even more breakneck speeds.
The game's packed full of content, from single races to a challenging career mode, and the premium price means you need skill rather than cash to succeed.
There are times you wish the game would let go a little – the colors are drab and it at times takes itself too seriously - but when it fully unleashes as you blaze through factories or get hurled into the air by the wake from a rocket launch, Renegade is glorious.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions ($9.99/£7.99/AU$14.99)
Shooting games have more or less split into two factions. The more popular sees the player trudge about as some kind of soldier in a game that wants to be a movie but isn't; the other harks back to when blasting was all about arcade thrills. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions gleefully revels in everything that's great about the second of those categories.
This is a neon-infused twin-stick shooter that hurls waves of tiny foes about the screen with merry abandon with a relentless soundtrack urging you on at every moment. But throughout a 100-level adventure mode, Dimensions refuses to stand still. Levels warp into new shapes, and foist unknown challenges on you, such as having the walls close in, or, cheekily, temporarily relieving you of weaponry.
Surprisingly, this all works wonderfully on smaller iPhone screens, and you can even play with a single digit, the game aiming and firing on your behalf for those tiring commuting moments.
Drift 'n' Drive ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Madcap racer Drift 'n' Drive somehow appears to have arrived from a 1980s home computer and yet feels perfect for mobile play. It's an old-school overhead racer that pits you against a grid of crazed opponents, all fighting to get to the finish line first.
The game only scrolls vertically, and the controls are simple: steer by tapping near a screen edge or prod the centre for a temporary boost of extra speed. Tracks snake left and right within the screen's narrow confines, but sometimes do so abruptly, causing plenty of opportunity for massive pile-ups.
Manage to not crawl in last and you move up the grid next time round. Place better and you start getting cash to upgrade your car. Before long, you're laughing like an idiot while barreling along in a race of two-dozen tiny cars buzzing around the track like flies, boosting into walls, and occasionally wondering why modern racers are rarely this much giddy fun.
Frutorious HD ($0.99/79p/AU$1.49)
Slingshotting cartoon characters across your iPhone’s screen is a popular gaming pursuit. But if you’ve become bored rigid of catapulting miffed avians at kleptomaniac hogs (and, let’s face it, who hasn’t?), try for something that’s somewhat familiar, but with far more spark and heart.
The story is that an evil skull’s turned all the protagonist’s friends into fruits, and so he must bound up vertically scrolling levels, making use of handy levitating platforms and cannons to collect fruit and avoid various nasties ambling about.
It’s a jolly, sweet-natured game with superb hand-made visuals that add plenty of character, and a slightly unhinged edge always lurking just beneath the surface.
I Am Level ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
The retro bit isn’t only found in the visuals, with their eye-searing colors, and oddball screen names, but also the nature of the layouts. Each screen becomes a puzzle of sorts, as you figure out how to avoid the various lurking critters and collect the stars littered about.
The modern aspect is primarily the controls. Rather than employ a hideous virtual joystick, I Am Level’s rotund protagonist rolls as you tilt your device and is fired across the screen when you tap to activate pinball-like flippers and plungers.
The result is a charming and challenging title that’s among the best of its kind on mobile.
Vulture Island ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Although there’s plenty of leaping about suspended platforms, this isn’t a fast-paced Mario-style effort. Instead, it recalls more thoughtful retro adventures, such as Alex Kidd or even the likes of Dizzy.
The non-linear nature of the game encourages exploration and experimentation, as you switch between characters, discover objects, and figure out where to use whatever you find.
Occasionally, the game is a bit too opaque, and the manner in which screens reset once exited can irk, given that many require multiple lengthy steps to pass.
However, there’s lots to love in Vulture Island’s visuals, ambition, and the devious nature of the puzzles, which will make you feel a bit dumb when you stumble across a solution you really should have figured out far sooner.
Sorcery! 4 ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Gamebook-style text adventures have had something of a renaissance on mobile, and the adaptations of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series are among the very best. The fourth entry, suitably titled , again immerses you in a world of fantasy, with you attempting to ascend a mountain, infiltrate a fortress, and recover the Crown of Kings.
If you’ve played previous games in the series, you’ll find a familiar set-up akin to a single-player board game. You drag your character about, respond to scenarios, bash up monsters, and can (thankfully) flip back to save points should you mess up and get horribly killed.
But even for total newcomers, there’s a full standalone adventure here – one that perfectly marries and balances a book, interactive game, and touchscreen experience. (Note that should you fancy trying the rest of the series first, it’s available as a .)
Snakebird (free + $3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99 IAP)
Redbird, Greenbird and Bluebird aren't birds in the conventional sense. They're 'snakebirds' - grumpy worm-like feathered critters with a penchant for fruit. The tiny snag is they happen to live on tiny islands, and getting to the fruit (and then to the exits that propel them to the next fruity collection point) isn't exactly simple.
In fact, it's pretty clear the creators of Snakebird have tried their best to drive you to the brink of insanity with this game. Even the earliest levels are hard going, with you twisting and turning your grumpy snakebird, trying to figure out how to wind it around a floating rock, grab an apple, and not end up tumbling into the sea.
Eventually, you're faced with multiple snakebirds per level, and increasingly deviously designed puzzles involving movable objects, teleporters, and snakebird-impaling spikes. All the way through, Snakebird sits on the edge of sadism, but you'll feel like a genius when you crack one of its puzzles, only to realize there are dozens more waiting for your subsequent feeble efforts.
We should hate the game, but Snakebird is superb – a properly brain-mashing puzzler that drives you to despair, but keeps you coming back for more.
Giant Metal Robot ($0.99/79p/AU$1.49)
Not all good iPhone games are full of subtlety and nuance; Giant Metal Robot is very much devoid of both. You get an inkling for what you're in for when on starting the game, the protagonist yells for help and the titular monstrous android looms into view, yelling a cartoonish GAGAGAGAGAGA!!
From that point on, it's all about tilting your device to lure chasing skeletons beneath the robot's massive fists and then crushing them with a swipe – all before the timer runs out, and without squishing the hapless roof-bound heroine (or her dog, Pinkie).
This is a short-lived game, not that far removed from a Game & Watch, but its immediacy and absurd charms prove compelling, even in an age when iPhone games so often desperately want to ape the kind of fare found on living-room console - and for that reason, it's worth a small outlay.
Mimpi Dreams ($0.99/79p/AU$1.49)
Mimpi is a little dog with a big imagination, and in Mimpi Dreams he becomes a canine superhero as he snoozes. Within various dreamtime worlds, Mimpi fends off dragons, leaps atop projectiles blasted between pirate ships, and deals with the dastardly goings on in an evil pollution-spewing factory.
This all plays out as a straightforward platform puzzler. The cheery pup pootles along and you prod and swipe at various contraptions to make them do things so Mimpi can continue. Most of the puzzles are gentle in nature, but hints are generously peppered about and give you an idea of how to proceed by way of comic-like speech balloons.
Much of the joy in Mimpi's Dreams, though, is immersing yourself in its sheer inventiveness. Only a few times does it slip, with the odd tedious maze to grind through; mostly, the game is a breezy, grin-inducing, vibrant romp through a charming cartoon world.
Bringing together the basic mechanics behind dating app Tinder and the decision-making involved in ruling an ancient kingdom(!), Reigns is an easy-to-grasp but surprisingly deep quick-fire strategy effort.
On each step of your regal journey, you respond to demands and requests by swiping left or right, thereby making distinct decisions. The consequences of each action may affect one or more of the church's support, the love of the people, the strength of your army, and the size of your gold reserves. If any of these falls too low, chances are you'll soon be an ex-king.
But death is not the end. Die and you play on as your heir, often finding yourself faced with similar problems, and perhaps taking a different path that time around. Underpinning this swipe-based royal oddness are dozens of side missions designed to propel your lineage onwards.
We suspect Reigns might lack longevity, palling once you've played through enough times to crack the missions; but in the short and medium term, it's a ludicrously compelling, novel and hugely entertaining title that deserves your attention.
Dog Mendonca ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Dog Mendonca is a witty and stylistic point and tap adventure that follows the eponymous supernatural detective as he solves a mysterious criminal case.
Stunning visuals are sure to draw you into its comic-book world and the impressive writing will have you solving puzzles and chatting it up with shady characters just to find out what happens next. It's like things all went a bit wrong for the Thundercats.
Goo Saga ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
When the hero of your platformer is an elastic blob named Goo, the puzzles and interactions you have with your surroundings can get very interesting.
Goo can also upgrade his abilities and stats by collecting crystals throughout each level of Goo Saga, each of which features beautiful cutscenes and an atmospheric soundtrack. Plus, you can even make your own levels and share them with the world if you're feeling that creative.
Star Knight ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Star Knight is a beautiful platformer that follows the journey of a lone knight who must defend his planet and restore its sun.
Stylish levels are sure to catch your eye as you solve its puzzles, defeat diverse enemies, and overcome impressive boss battles with an array of cool weapons and abilities. Upgrade and unlock new skills, then put them to the test by taking on waves of enemies in its arena.
>> Download: Star Knight
Pang Adventures (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Pop balls and save the world in the colorful collection of arcade games in Pang Adventures. Each level has you battling aliens and popping their defenses in various locations all over the world.
You can choose to play one location at a time or challenge yourself with just three lives and see how far you can get. The game also features a frantic Panic Mode that'll offer you one go at the whole thing to let your properly test your mettle... it's just like Survival Mode in your favorite fighting title.
>> Download: Pang Adventures - DotEmu
Fold+ is a smart puzzler that requires you to fold or expand shapes in order to finish each level with just one block of each color. Some shapes will drag others along when you fold them, so you need to plan out each move to ensure your last move gets you the desired result.
This puzzler gets bigger and more complicated as you play its 160 levels, so just relax and concentrate.
>> Download: Fold+ - Bulkypix
Sharpen your white water rafting skills in Yakin, a pixelated racing game where mastering its controls will lead you to victory.
Courses challenge you to clear them as fast as you can as your score depends on your time and on how many obstacles you hit on the way to the finish line. Beat each course's ghost to show off your scores online and even unlock new boats.
>> Download: Yakin - Two Fish One Chips Limited
Orbit's Odyssey (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Orbit's Odyssey is a one button strategy puzzler that requires you to collect coins and gems on 90 challenging planets and avoid getting captured by its enemies.
You need to run against the planet's rotation to ensure you don't bump into any zombie-like foes and collect everything you need in the shortest amount of time.
Levels get more challenging and introduce new features like teleportation rings and time-based mechanics, so you always have something new to look forward to.
LEGO Jurassic World (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Relive the action and excitement of all four of your favorite dinosaur films but with some of that familiar LEGO charm and humor in LEGO Jurassic World.
Play through key moments in the films and control your favorite characters, each with their own unique abilities that make them invaluable during certain missions. You can also play as some familiar dinosaurs or make your own by splicing DNA you'll pick up on your adventure.
Warbits may look colorful and cute from the surface, but don't be fooled - this strategy game means serious business. Missions require you to control your tanks, infantry, and other units and make the right moves to ensure you have the advantage over your enemies.
You need to think carefully where to position your troops, as scenarios get more challenging as you play. It's a game that keeps on giving too, as its smooth multiplayer mode means you have reason to keep playing after your campaign is done.
Retro City Rampage DX (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Take a trip back to the '80s in Retro City Rampage DX, a game that gives you an entire 8-bit open-world to discover with various missions to complete. Steal cars, beat up thugs who want your money, or take up some part-time gigs for extra cash.
Plenty of arcade challenges, weapons, and customization options give you full control of your experience and its catchy soundtrack will keep you hooked.
Shadow Bug (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Cloaked in shadows, Shadow Bug is on a mission to save his forest from evil by doing what he does best – slicing things up. This action platformer lets you unleash your ninja skills and slash your way through enemies as you collect glowing orbs in each level for that perfect score.
You'll have to think before you slash sometimes as your only way to get past certain dangers is to use your enemies as platforms - oh, the irony.
Zenge is a relaxing puzzler that will draw you in with its thought-provoking soundtrack and calming visuals.
Each puzzle simply requires you to move shapes around to form an image that tells the story of a lonely journeyman stuck between worlds. Getting to that solution, however, is a little trickier than it looks and requires careful planning and some brainpower to ensure you make the right moves.
Chameleon Run ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
Fast and colorful, Chameleon Run is an autorunner that is sure to sharpen your reflexes. You'll need to think fast and tap the screen to swap colors and match that of the platform you're about to jump on or else you're dead.
Increasingly difficult levels further challenge you to pick up various collectibles and complete them with certain restrictions. Collect them all and you'll unlock even more hidden trials - and we're really digging the impressive visuals on offer with this one.
Colorful and featuring plenty of inventive levels and challenges, Cattch is one of those great mobile platformers that are simply worth downloading.
As you travel through the world of Cubika, you'll need to rescue any prisoners needing your help and be wary of traps and evildoers trying to stop you - you know, the standard stuff in fantasy games like this.
Levels change, transform, and are sure to keep you on your toes as you attempt to save the day, which really helps with longevity.
Pug's Quest ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Pug's Quest is a charming dungeon crawler puzzler that has you guiding a heroic little dawg all over a trap-filled castle to save his kidnapped friends.
Each room randomly generates to keep the action flowing and the puzzles puzzling, so you never know what dangers await you each time you start.
Press buttons, gather keys, and see how far you can go until you lose your last life and are forced to start over again...such is this dog's life.
Love You To Bits ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Love You To Bits tells the adorable story of a boy who goes out into the far reaches of space to find pieces of his beloved robot girlfriend after she gets blown to bits. Each planet you visit is a compact-sized that you must solve it in order to retrieve a missing part of your significant other.
Vertical Divide ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Vertical Divide is one to test your division skills . This smart puzzler has you dropping blue numbered tiles on a grid. When you drop a tile on top of another, it'll get divided, and the result will clear the same number of pink tiles below. Any remainders in your calculations will result in even more pink tiles so plan your drops carefully.
Assassin's Creed Identity ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Assassin's Creed Identity lets you create your own assassin and play missions in sandbox-like worlds of past games. Each mission gives you objectives to complete and employs tried-and-true gameplay like blending into crowds, parkour action, and distractions to ensure you get your mark and make it out alive. Gorgeous visuals, smooth animations, and classic series staples are a joy to see and play on mobile.
The Walking Dead: Michonne ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
The Walking Dead: Michonne follows this mysterious and often taciturn character during her absence in the comic books between issues #126 and #139. This episodic game lets you make choices that can impact how Michonne and her newfound companions deal with obstacles, the undead, and the living.
The Walking Dead's Michonne's emotional journey comes to a close in Episode 3 of this engrossing episodic adventure that explores the wounds of her past.
Your choices carry over from the previous episodes and you'll find out the fate of her newfound friends and what punishment Norma and her people have in store for them. Zombies are the least of your problems in this one.
The Swords ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Your finger is your blade in The Swords, a stylistic action game that tells the tale of an old martial arts master and his long-forgotten styles of swordplay. This means you'll be using your finger to swipe at your foes in different ways: trace Chinese calligraphy, slash down incoming blades, and discover new styles as you move through simple yet captivating puzzles.
Stellar Wanderer ($4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Explore the far reaches of space. exploiting its resources or dominating its colonies in Stellar Wanderer. Customize your ship and gameplay style to your liking, upgrading with materials you find along the way. Choose your profession - fighter, trader, tank, engineer - and defeat other space pirates to open up areas for you to mine and discover.
Final Fantasy IX ($16.99/£12.99/AU$26.99)
A PlayStation masterpiece, Final Fantasy IX is now available on your iOS device, meaning it's the perfect time to relive the adventures of Zidane and his friends in this moving RPG filled with action, love, and some of the most memorable moments from the series. Fully remastered character models bring a welcome update to this classic title.
Shadow Blade: Reload ($13.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
An impressive and polished platformer, Shadow Blade: Reload follows the story of Kuro as he runs, wall-jumps, and slashes enemies on his mission to save the world from darkness. Each gorgeous level will test your ninja and platforming abilities with its traps, and obstacles requiring finesse and timing to overcome.
Elegant and relaxing, Prism is a puzzler that captivates you with its hypnotic beauty. Each geometric shape is like a piece of origami, and you'll discover even more puzzles inside with each corner you unfold. Its soft colors and pleasant soundtrack turn this puzzler into an enjoyable meditative experience.
A Short Tale ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
A Short Tale is a puzzler that follows Jason as he figures out how to escape his late brother's childhood room - after he magically shrinks to the size of a pencil. Explore and uncover clues to solve each of the brain-busting puzzles and teasers. Collect passwords, uncover hidden messages, and take photos to help you remember the combination to boxes with secret compartments. One to put your logic skills to the test.
Abzorb is a tilt-based game that requires you to navigate your way around blue orbs and absorb them - but get too close to the red ones and you'll lose precious time. The game includes 65 levels, with later ones throwing in special power-up orbs. There's plenty going on behind the minimalistic beauty.
Kill the Plumber World ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Unlike that other game about a plumber, Kill the Plumber World lets you play the bad guys and catch the hero before he makes it to the goal. Jump on him, squish him from above, or fling some hammers his way - each level offers up a new challenge in killing him off.
Adventures of Mana ($13.99/£10.49/AU$21.99)
Relive a Game Boy classic RPG on your iPhone with Adventures of Mana, a story about friends working together to protect the Tree of Mana from the Dark Lord of Glaive. This remake updates the original and offers wonderful puzzles, mobile-friendly controls, and gorgeous visuals. Enjoy its combat system and stellar soundtrack as you fight to save the world.
Tsuro is a beautifully meditative board game that comes to iOS, letting you play with friends or against the computer. You and your opponents will take turns drawing cards and placing them on the board for your playing pieces to follow. The objective of this game of paths is to avoid falling off the board. As ever, it's a mixture of strategy and luck.
Space Grunts ($1.99/£1.49/AU$5.99)
Sneak through the corridors of an alien space station and take down enemies while picking up helpful power-ups in the rogueish Space Grunts. This turn-based game only gives you three weapons to defend yourself with so you'll need to upgrade and stock up on weaponry to take down all the aliens, robots, and security drones standing in your way.
Rainmaker - The Beautiful Flood ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Each puzzle in this minimalistic game lets you transform into different objects and unravels a story about a mysterious rain that is flooding the world. You need to reach the exit in each puzzle you play, so you may need to time your transformations at just the right time in order to get there. Turn into a bubble, a basketball, and even a spider as you discover and solve the game's mysteries.
Help a lovable robot reach the atoms it needs to repair its ship in Atomi, a casual puzzler that is sure to challenge your logic skills. Each level requires you to create a path out of some shapes provided, and the trick lies in figuring out where to place each shape to ensure the path is sturdy enough. With over 200 levels and two difficulty modes, this puzzler is sure to keep you pleasantly occupied.
Open Bar ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
Featuring minimalistic and soothing visuals, Open Bar is a casual puzzler that has you placing tiles on the screen to clear out lines of various colors. Sometimes you may need to swap out tiles to make them all line up, and later levels increase the number of colored lines for added difficulty. Its catchy soundtrack and bite-sized puzzles make it highly addictive.
Twofold inc. ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Twofold Inc. may look perplexing at first, but once you get your hands on this curious puzzler, you'll be hooked. Each time you play, you'll be given a grid of colored tiles and a few "requests" you need to complete by matching several tiles of the same color. The idea is to complete as many requests as possible before you run out of moves. Match tiles and keep an eye on your available moves as you put your logic skills to the test.
Super Phantom Cat ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
A colorful and upbeat platformer, Super Phantom Cat is sure to put a smile on your face with its retro-inspired levels and unique brand of humor. Jump and make your way through various worlds to collect data and stars, avoiding enemies and uncovering hidden areas and characters. A smooth soundtrack, tricky platforming mechanics, and tons of secrets await you.
Circa Infinity ($2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Leap into concentric circles in Circa Infinity, a platformer that's as dazzling as it is dizzying. Each level requires you to get deeper inside all the spinning circles, but you need to jump at just the right moment to actually reach the next one. On top of that, demonic enemies soon appear within each circle. See if you can complete each level without dying once.
Crashlands is an engrossing story-driven RPG that lets you craft and battle your way through a hilarious tale of survival and package delivery. Build weapons and tools out of you the materials you get from your surroundings and complete various side-quests for the creatures you meet along the way. Fresh and addictive, the game is sure to keep you coming back for more crafting and hilarious one-liners that are sure to make you smile.
Sky Chasers (free)
A beautifully pixelated adventure, Sky Chasers requires you to use your fingers to guide your character along side-scrolling paths collecting coins and completing side-quests for his friends. Your cardboard ship has a limited fuel supply, so you'll occasionally have to stop by checkpoints to refuel and avoid any pesky enemies that add an element of danger to your otherwise peaceful trip. Solve simple puzzles and upgrade your ship as you enjoy its rich colorful worlds.
Dungelot: Shattered Lands (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Tap your way through dozens of dungeons in the roguelike Dungelot: Shattered Lands. Each room you travel to requires you to tap its paths to uncover keys, treasure, or even monsters to battle. The objective is to make it to the exit in one piece but chances are you'll die and try again until you get there. Its addictive format and leveling up features are sure to keep you coming back for more.
Lost in Harmony ($3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
An elegant blend of colors and sounds, Lost in Harmony is a rhythm runner that follows the intriguing story of two friends and their dream-world adventures. Levels have you dodging enemies that come from behind or in front and tapping on cues in sync with the music. The music, ranging from classical to modern techno, evolves as you progress, and you can even make your own levels to share with the world.
Exploding Kittens (US$1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
Combine cats and explosion and you have yourself a card game that's quite the winner. Based on the physical card game, Exploding Kittens is a local multiplayer title that puts a feline twist on Russian Roulette. This means you don't want to be the player who draws the kitten or else you're done. Draw cards that help you avoid or move any possible explosions and figure out strategies to make sure you don't blow yourself up.
The Westport Independent (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
The Westport Independent is essentially a censorship simulator that lets you see what the effects your choices in running a newspaper have on society. Will you choose to leave out the less favorable details from your front page story or will you lambast the Loyalist Party in the stories you publish? Your employees will be affected by what you publish and so will your country and its citizens.
AG Drive (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
We've been after a decent futuristic racer on the iPhone for some time, but none of them really felt right. AG Drive bucks the trend, echoing Wipeout and F-Zero: breakneck speed is married with pitch-perfect tilt controls and suitably shiny graphics. Also, there's absolutely no IAP, so the only way you're going to win is with mastery and skill.
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Explore the stylish home of a nefarious spy in Agent A, a snazzy puzzler that is sure to captivate you with its sleek visuals and ingenious puzzles hidden in the environment. Check underneath everything for any hidden trinkets, disable security systems, and keep mental notes of where you think an item is used as you play. Keep your logic skills on point as you enjoy this casual yet engrossing puzzler.
Bears of all shapes and sizes will make you smile as you spell words with the letters on your screen in Alphabear. Each time you make a word, bears will populate your board and grow in size the more letters you use around them. The bigger the bear at the end of your game, the more points you score. Use helpful bear buddies you unlock to give you bonus points as you play through an endless array of word challenges.
Capitals is a word game that requires both a knack for vocabulary as it does for strategizing your enemy's demise. Each match puts you against an opponent and requires you to spell out words around your enemy's "capital" or yours. Using his letters will diminish his dominance and using yours will expand your realm. If you or your opponent loses his capital, the game is over. Plan ahead and come out victorious.
Chaos Rings III (US$19.99/£14.99/AU$30.99)
Chaos Rings III is one of those RPGs that will suck you in. Featuring rich colors and 3D worlds to explore, this game takes place on a floating continent and brings together a group of different characters on a pilgrimage to reach the Marble Blue planet and uncover the mysteries it holds. Fight your way through countless battles, complete mobile-friendly missions, and enjoy the gorgeous vistas as you explore its world.
Crossy Road (free)
This endless take on Frogger finds your cuboid character confronting countless deadly roads, train lines and rivers, before inevitable squashage. It's the characters that make the game, though – a varied roster of people, animals and 'things' won using a one-armed bandit, fed with coins collected en route (you can just buy stuff, too, but Crossy Road also lets you earn by watching videos and bestows regular coin top-ups anyway, making it the least obnoxious free-to-play game with IAP imaginable).
Does Not Commute (free)
Does Not Commute is a clever game that combines driving and puzzle elements to provide you with a unique and suspenseful experience. Each chapter requires you to drive a number of quirky commuters to their destinations, and once you do, the path you just made is saved and replayed when you control the next vehicle. You don't have much time either, so you'll need to avoid crashing and plan your paths carefully to succeed.
Drop Wizard (US$1.99/£1.99/AU$3.99)
Single-screen platformer Drop Wizard is infused with the soul of classics such as Snow Bros. and Bubble Bobble, but it's also part auto-runner. You can only run left or right, and your wizard blasts magic on landing. Strategy, therefore, involves careful timing, to avoid and zap foes, and then kick them into a tumbling combo that will bounce about in a pleasingly destructive manner before turning into fruit. Because that's what vanquished platform-game enemies all did in the 1980s.
Fallout Shelter (free)
Fallout Shelter is an addictive resource management game that lets you be the overseer of your very own vault. This means you'll be responsible for its daily operations and need to assign your dwellers with jobs that benefit from their skills. Farm resources like water and electricity and expand your vault with more rooms and residents, but also protect yourself against accidents, raider invasions, and pesky radroach infestations.
Final Fantasy VII (US$10.99/£8.49/AU$16.99)
A game needing no introduction to console players, Final Fantasy VII lets you dive into the city of Midgar and join Cloud, Tifa, and a whole party of classic heroes on a fight to save the planet from a villain named Sephiroth. This timeless JRPG now comes with mobile-friendly controls and even some nifty cheats for those who might have beaten the game a few times before and simply want to relive the moments everyone is still talking about.
If you're looking for a hidden gem of a game, Framed has your name written all over it. It's a unique puzzle game that makes good and novel use of the touchscreen.
Each scene looks like a page ripped out of a comic book and it's up to you to guide the character through it. Starting from left to right, you have to organize each panel so that you can run through and avoid harm.
Game of Thrones (free - episode 1 only)
The fate of House Forrester rests in your hands in this Game of Thrones episodic series. Enjoy a gripping storyline with plot twists around every corner as you play as characters trying to keep their family strong and united. The choices you make will have lasting consequences and repercussions, so be sure to play your cards right. But as it is with any Game of Thrones episode, tragedy is inevitably followed by more tragedy.
Guitar Hero Live (free)
Tap into your inner rock star as you tap your screen to the music in Guitar Hero Live, the mobile version of the console game that comes free with two songs to try. Crowds will cheer you on if you're performance is solid, but miss too many notes and your bandmates will be seen shaking their heads and the audience will let you have it. The full game can also be played with a separate guitar controller and comes with over 40 songs and even more you can stream online.
Her Story (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
An intriguing little game that lets you play detective, Her Story has received rave reviews for its incredibly engrossing gameplay. As a British woman is interviewed about her missing husband, it's up to you to search through the clues and discover what happened. An impressive achievement.
Charming, colorful, and lots of fun, Heroki follows the adventures of its eponymous hero tasked with saving his cloudy village from doom. Boasting over 10 hours of gaming, this side scroller features gorgeous worlds with secrets to uncover and menacing foes to defeat. Find collectibles, go on quests, and upgrade Heroki's abilities to last through some impressive boss battles in this engrossing adventure.
Hitman GO (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Square Enix would have been on a hiding to nothing converting its free-roaming 3D game to touchscreens, and so it's great to see the company do something entirely different with Hitman GO. Although still echoing the original series, this touchscreen title is presented as a board game of sorts, with turn-based actions against clockwork opposition. You must figure out your way to the prize, without getting knocked off (the board). It's an oddly adorable take on assassination, and one of the best iOS puzzlers.
If you've ever been mesmerized by impossible shapes and perspective illusion puzzles, hocus. is sure to take you for a spin. Each puzzle requires you to move a small red cube to reach a hole on a shape by guiding it down its sides. These kinds of geometric shapes can be deceiving so you'll need to figure out which sides will lead to where as you solve its 50 relaxing yet tricky conundrums.
Horizon Chase (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49 IAP)
Time was racing games were all about ludicrous speed, gorgeous graphics, and the sheer rush of weaving through a sea of cars to the finish line. Horizon Chase briefly reverses back to such halcyon days, grabs the best bits from the likes of Lotus and Top Gear, before zooming back to the present as a thoroughly modern arcade racer.
It looks gorgeous, with some stunning weather effects, and an odd but pleasing low-poly roadside-object style; it sounds great with veteran games musician Barry Leitch on soundtrack duties; but most importantly, it handles perfectly, and is a joy until the very last track.
I Am Bread (US$0.99/£0.79/AU$0.99)
Loaf lovers and gluten gourmands are in luck - I Am Bread will fulfill your lifelong wish to become a piece of bread and navigate your way through rooms to become toast…actual toast. Each time you begin a level, you'll need to keep your eyes sharp and locate anything that can help you get crisp and then tread across dangerous territory to get there. Don't get too dirty, though. No one likes a dirty piece of bread.
Humans are again getting a kicking at the hands of nasty aliens and it's up to you to stop them. Cliches aside, Implosion offers a stompy slash-and-shoot experience that feels entirely at home on the iPhone but scratches that itch when you fancy playing something that resembles what you'd find on a 'proper' games console.
Anagrams are one thing, but Jollygrams are another form of word scrambles that don't make sense at first but say them over enough times or rearrange their syllables and you'll get a phrase that does. Words like Plouse Hant and Band Socks will try to stump you, but think it over a bit and you'll earn some coins and move on to the next puzzle. Use a hint if you must, but soon you'll find it's all a "keys of pake."
Lara Croft GO (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$6.49)
Following in the footsteps of Hitman GO, which astonishingly managed to transform that series into an adorable board game, Lara Croft GO reworks the adventures of the world's most famous tomb raider. It's another turn-based affair, with lashings of atmosphere, finding Lara carefully working her way past traps crafted by an ancient civilisation with a penchant for blocky design and elaborate moving parts.
There are also lots of snakes and deadly lizards about, which she's quite keen on shooting in the head. The five chapters are quite brief, but savour the game rather than blazing through, and you'll find something that merges early Tomb Raider's sense of adventure and solitude, Monument Valley-level beauty, and bite-sized touchscreen gaming that's perfect for iPhone.
Leo's Fortune (US4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Leo's Fortune finds gruff hairball Leo in search of his gold, which has been dropped in a suspiciously trail-like manner across typically platform-game environments. As he scoops up coins, he finds himself whizzing round Sonic-style loops, solving puzzles by manipulating the environment, and negotiating increasingly complex and deadly pathways. It's a beautiful game, full of character, and well-suited to quick bursts on your iPhone.
Lumino City (US$6.99/£4.99/AU$10.99)
Beautiful to look at and even more amazing to play, Lumino City is a puzzler that's also an adventure into a world of magic and color. Play as a Lumi, who ventures into the puzzling city following her grandpa's kidnapping and discovers people in need of her help. Featuring paper-like visuals, the city is filled with unique puzzles for you to find and solve and is sure to charm and invite you in every step of the way.
Monument Valley (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
In Monument Valley, you journey through delightful Escher-like landscapes, manipulating the very architecture to build impossible paths along which to explore. It's not the most challenging of games (nor one with the most coherent of storylines), but each scene is a gorgeous and mesmerising bite-sized experience that showcases how important great craft is in the best iOS titles.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Play as a dad and a husband in Octodad, a hilarious game that tasks you with accomplishing basic daily tasks as best as you can so that your family doesn't get suspicious that you're, in fact, an octopus. Moving around in a man's world is harder than it sounds and you'll need to get used to your cephalopodan limbs as you pick things up, move around, and interact with people without accidentally outing yourself.
Operation Dracula (US$7.99/£5.99/AU$12.99)
Bullet-hell meets blood-thirsty vampires in Operation Dracula, a shoot 'em up that boasts some great top-down action, a catchy soundtrack, and a difficulty curve that makes you feel like you're back in the 80s. Missions have you maneuvering your craft through levels that continuously assault you with enemies, bullets, and some relentless bosses so you need to keep your cool amid the frenetic violence happening all around you.
Order & Chaos 2: Redemption (free)
Get lost in the amazing worlds of Order & Chaos 2: Redemption, Gameloft's follow-up MMORPG that comes with even more quests to sink your teeth into. Optimized for mobile, this game features a new race to choose from as well as a new story that follows your character as he or she tries to restore peace to the world of Haradon. Plenty of exploration, characters, and dangers await you in this massive adventure.
Pac-Man 256 (free)
Pac-Man 256 is a twist on the classic pellet-eating formula and has you racing for your life as the menacing Level 256 glitch from the original game tries to devour you. But it wouldn't be a Pac-Man game without those pesky ghosts to avoid and power pellets and fruit to collect. Use power-ups like lasers, tornados, and even a "giant" mode to survive when things get rough, but don't accidentally run into a dead end or it's over.
The Path to Luma (free)
Save the world as you hop through the galaxy in Path to Luma, a gorgeous adventure puzzler that lets you harness the power of clean energy and explore planets to find the switches they need to power back up. As you play through the game's 20 levels, you will have to recharge batteries, turn on windmills, or rotate planets to create new routes to explore. You'll soon discover puzzles within puzzles that are a joy to solve.
Power Hover (US$3.99/£2.99/AU$5.99)
Power Hover is an impressive action game that takes you through a beautiful world to recover a village's stolen power. Hover through deserts, oceans, and highways, and grind on rails as you make your way to the finish line, chase down baddies, or play through arcade-style boss runs and challenge your friends for the best score. Collect dropped batteries to unlock even more gorgeous and thrilling levels.
Progress to 100 (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Progress to 100 is more than just a puzzle - it's a cleverly unique experience that will engage all aspects of your iPhone as you figure out what you have to do to move on. As its name states, each of the 100 puzzles you'll play gets you one step closer to finishing it, but each one also comes with a hint as to how to solve it. Repeatedly tap your screen, put your nose on your device, or move your head to solve its silly and satisfying riddles.
Prune is a meditative experience more akin to the art of bonsai than your usual puzzle game, but its relaxing levels and soothing sounds will captivate you nonetheless. Each level lets you grow a tree with a swipe of a finger and then prune enough of it branches so its buds can flower in the sunlight. As you progress, shadows and red orbs will pose obstacles for your tree as they'll block it from the sunlight and even poison its branches.
Race the Sun (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
The setting of the sun signifies your doom in Race the Sun, a tense and riveting endless racer that gracefully challenges you to prolong the inevitable and keep flying. Each time you start a race, you need to be mindful of both incoming obstacles that can destroy your aircraft and power-ups that can extend your flight. The world you fly through changes every day so you are always on your toes wondering what lies ahead.
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon (US$1.99/£1.49/AU$2.99)
A game of exploration, mystery, and puzzles, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon once again stars an intrepid eight-legged protagonist and lets you unravel a subtle story with each clue you find. Trap insects in your web as you explore the enormous Blackbird Estate, and solve some puzzles along the way too. What's more, the game uses your location, time, and local weather to add dynamic features to your experience each time you play.
Strategy is a big part of your success in this colorful roguelike, so you'll need to plan your steps accordingly or else enemies will ambush you when you least expect it. Use your items wisely or purchase equipment to permanently own them and give your characters a fighting chance when up against some tough bosses. Just don't be fooled by Sproggiwood's whimsical music or deceptive cutesy design - this is one tough game.
Super Dangerous Dungeons (free)
Super Dangerous Dungeons is sure to bring you back to a time when 16-bit platformers ruled the world. Its 48 colorful levels feature classic traps and enemies that will keep you engaged as you turn on switches, find keys, and avoid dangerous terrain on your way to the exit. Jump your way through bottomless pits and beat giant bosses that require some finesse and careful timing to defeat.
Super Hexagon (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
Ah, Super Hexagon. We remember that punishing first game, which must have lasted all of three seconds. Much like the next - and the next. But then we recognised patterns in the walls that closed in on our tiny ship, and learned to react and dodge. Then you threw increasingly tough difficulty levels at us, and we've been smitten ever since.
Tales from the Borderlands (free - ep 1 only)
Follow a group of unlikely friends on their quest for greatness in this episodic series set in Pandora following the events of Borderlands 2. You'll travel to familiar locations and interact with pivotal characters from the action games, but your choices are what matter most as they can come back to haunt you later on. Clever writing and a talented cast are sure to keep your laughing through each hilarious episode.
The Room Three (US$4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99)
Featuring more than just boxes to examine, The Room Three expands the format of the original just enough to create a uniquely tactile experience that definitely pulls you into the many nooks and crannies you'll be entering to solve. Gorgeous box puzzles still play an important role in the game, but many other clever logic games are sure to tickle your brain and condition you to look closely at everything that could turn out to be a puzzle. Three's a charm indeed.
There are two sides to TouchTone. The foundation is a topical story about intercepting communications, ostensibly to make the world safer. The game itself involves reflecting signals to receivers, using a tiled grid where every item on a row or column moves as one. The story gives you added impetus to keep going, even when you've been racking your brains for days to come up with a solution to a particular puzzle.
You Must Build A Boat (US$2.99/£2.29/AU$4.49)
It's always great when a savvy developer rethinks a genre and comes up with something that feels fresh. EightyEight Games welds auto-running to match-three in You Must Build A Boat. Deft fingerwork must be married with careful timing, matching keys as the hero approaches locked chests, or swords at the moment an incoming enemy prepares to get all stabby. Get shoved off of the left-hand side of the screen and you're told YOU WIN!, because every step potentially adds to your coffers. There are missions to complete, abilities to power-up, and a cheeky sense of humour that sets the title apart from its frequently comparatively po-faced contemporaries.
Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey ($8.99/£6.99/AU$13.99)
An immersive story, stellar soundtrack, and a fluid turn-based combat system are just a few delights that await you as you journey to the world of Orcanon and uncover the first installment of Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey.
Gorgeous cutscenes accompany your characters as they travel throughout a kingdom filled with dangers and secrets. Customize your experience by crafting your own weapons and bring your friends with you into battle as you fight to save the world.