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The best iPhone games 2022

Our favorite iPhone turn-based puzzlers, match games, path-finding tests, dexterity challenges, and open-world brain-smashers.

A screenshot showing Ghosts and Apples Mobile on iPhone

(Image credit: Refold AB)

Ghosts and Apples Mobile

($1.99/£1.79/AU$2.99)

Ghosts and Apples Mobile finds a kid nosily poking around a house, only to be hurled headlong into a Burtonesque nightmare full of oddball horrors. Also: ghosts. Many, many ghosts.

Your only means of escape is to capture said ghosts and match them against their trapped cohorts at the side of the screen, whereupon they turn into apples, obviously, because video games. Oh, and this all has to be done at a frantic pace to unlock further levels.

In effect, this is like those games where you prod left or right to match the next item in a sequence, only here you’re tapping four corners. That doubling of load exponentially increases the game’s difficulty, but Ghosts and Apples proves to be a relentlessly fun juggling act, full of color, character, and varied challenges.

A screenshot showing In My Shadow on iPhone

(Image credit: Alcon Interactive Group)

In My Shadow

($4.99/£4.49/AU$8.99)

In My Shadow features a young woman full of regret – and being hard on herself about her past. She revisits memories as shadows projected onto walls of a childhood home. Your aim is to help her grab collectables before temporarily connecting with a shadow family member.

The story is uneven and the cutscene visuals are crude, but the core gameplay is compelling. You first manipulate objects to adjust shadows, in a manner similar to Shadowmatic. But instead of building a recognizable shape, you’re designing a route for a brief bout of 2D platforming.

This mix of genres is compelling, with you darting back and forth between puzzle and arcade action, making subtle changes to set-up, in the hope of reaching your goals.

Screenshots showing Railroad Ink Challenge

(Image credit: Horrible Guild)

Railroad Ink Challenge

($3.99/£3.99/AU$6.99)

Railroad Ink Challenge is somewhat reminiscent of Ticket To Ride if that board game was played in a shoebox. You get a seven-by-seven grid featuring road and rail exits at its edge. During each round, dice are rolled, providing you with component parts of a network to place. The aim is to make long routes and avoid points-sapping errors.

Where the game perfectly aligns with mobile is in its brevity. At just seven rounds long, each session takes only a matter of minutes. Yet there’s plenty of space for you to improve your tactics and high scores – especially in modes that utilize bonus squares, such as universities and factories. There is a challenge option for taking on friends in asynchronous play, but Railroad Ink Challenge is best enjoyed as a standout mobile solo puzzler.

A screenshot showing Baba Is You

(Image credit: Hempuli)

Baba Is You

($6.99/£6.99/AU$10.99)

Baba Is You is a puzzle game in which you constantly change the rules in order to fashion a solution. It plays out like a Sokoban block-pusher, only the landscape is littered with words and object names. Fashion a sentence from these blocks and everything can change in an instant.

For example, you can change your controllable character by placing an object type in front of ‘is you’, or transform all the walls to flags by placing the word ‘flag’ after ‘wall is.’ This is simultaneously disarming, devious and delightful.

Early gentle levels soon give way to tougher tests, but the game never stops being relentlessly grin-inducing as you figure out solutions – however convoluted your path. The touch controls are pitch-perfect too. Superb stuff.

Blask 2

(Image credit: Pawel Delimata)

Blask 2

($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)

Blask 2 tasks you with blasting targets with lasers. Games of this ilk usually pepper the screen with mirrors, having you rotate them to achieve your goals. Here, levels instead comprise puzzle pieces with mirrored walls. You must figure out how to move and combine them, in order to succeed.

This is, we must note, a game that sometimes relies heavily on trial and error. Initially, you won’t always know how a level breaks apart. Strategic, tactical thinking is possible to a degree, but quite often you’ll solve a level by mistake.

However, because Blask 2 is such a joyfully tactile and responsive experience, it’s wonderful to play around with. Sure, it can be frustrating when you can’t figure out how to solve a level. But as a puzzler with a properly physical element and that actively rewards messing around, it’s hard to beat.

Song of Bloom

(Image credit: Philipp Stollenmayer)

Song of Bloom

($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)

Song of Bloom is an iPhone game that plays with the conventions of narrative and games. Ostensibly a puzzler with a smattering of hidden object smarts, you work through the game by spotting clues, and later drawing them on to the screen at the appropriate moment; but the second you start experiencing Song of Bloom, you immediately recognize it’s far more.

At its heart, it’s a story. Fragmented but meaningful, it tasks you as the viewer with formulating its whole in your mind. And as you do, scenes you explore bring to mind everything from classical abstract art to modern digital visual manipulation.

It’s clever without being over the top, and impactful without being too knowing. If you had to place Song of Bloom alongside other apps, there are echoes of Simogo’s The Sailor’s Dream, and breakout hit Florence; but this title’s very much its own thing.

Spring Falls

(Image credit: Sparse Game Development Inc)

Spring Falls

($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)

Spring Falls is a unique puzzle experience, set on a geometric mountainside. Its various challenges are based around erosion, and task you with manipulating the landscape to bring wildflowers to life. This is essentially achieved by eroding (that is, swiping down on) sections of rock, which enables water to reach the thirsty plants.

This isn’t a game that holds your hand. You’re expected to figure out the various rules, and how this strange, angular ecosystem works. But Spring Falls is also a game that wants to engage you and be played, not frustrate you, so it encourages rather than punishes experimentation, giving you unlimited time and undos to play.

There are 60 levels in all. That will likely amount to several hours of serene but often tricky puzzling that’s a bit different from anything you’ve ever played before.

Path of Giants

(Image credit: Journey Bound Games Inc)

Path of Giants

($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)

Path of Giants is a sweet-natured puzzle game with a penchant for path-finding. It features three chums dressed for the cold – although they’re frankly not well prepared for anything else.

They lack climbing gear, for a start, which is a bit of a problem when they’re faced with massive walls and perilous drops between them and their goals. Fortunately, these chums are happy enough to plonk their bottoms on the ground and let others clamber all over them to reach higher ground. 

Gradually, other mechanics are introduced, like landscape-shifting switches and gigantic windmill contraptions for sailing across ravines. It’s never exactly brain-smashing, but with nods to some of the best puzzlers around – Monument Valley; Lara Croft GO – Path of Giants is nonetheless a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Rooms: The Toymaker’s Mansion

(Image credit: Jonghwa Kim)

Rooms: The Toymaker’s Mansion

($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)

Rooms: The Toymaker’s Mansion follows the adventures of a young girl who – unfortunately for her – ends up locked within the mansion of a toymaker. We say ‘unfortunately’ because the toymaker is a lunatic who’s transformed the dwelling into a building-sized puzzle packed full of deadly traps.

The game more or less plays out as a sliding puzzler. The section of room you’re standing in can be moved into empty spaces. You need to get yourself to a key, and then to the exit – preferably before you’re attacked by a vicious exploding puppet, or get blown up by a bomb.

Although a tiny bit squint-inducing on an iPhone, Rooms is well worth a download. It looks great, and the control method affords immediacy, but the devious puzzles will keep you scratching your head for days.

The Witness

The Witness

($9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99)

The Witness echos classic puzzle adventures like Myst. You emerge from a metal tunnel onto a lush island. You’ve no idea why you’re there – and the game isn’t saying. This wordless effort leaves you to figure out what’s going on.

What you do know is there are puzzles everywhere – maze and logic tests linked by massive lengths of piping. Learn the game’s ‘vocabulary’ and you can work yourself deeper into the island’s mysteries, eventually cracking the secrets of a distant mountain.

On iPhone’s smaller display, some of the visual spectacle is less dazzling, and interactions are more fiddly than on other systems. But for a game on the go, The Witness showcases the sheer clout and capabilities of modern iPhone gaming, and iCloud support means you can always continue your efforts on iPad.

Photographs - Puzzle Stories

Photographs - Puzzle Stories

($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)

Photographs - Puzzle Stories wraps familiar puzzle tropes around emotionally charged narratives – or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either way, the combination in this unique game sucks you in and never lets go.

Each of the five vignettes slowly reveals its tale, alternating voiceovers and basic animated scenes with you searching a screen for clues, and then brief puzzle sections. The last of those cleverly shift and change as the narrative demands, ensuring Photographs is a coherent whole.

This all makes for a surprising and rewarding game. What you won’t be prepared for, though, is the hard-hitting nature of the stories, which pull on the heart-strings as you work your way to the bittersweet ending. It’s an excellent game that shows puzzlers can do far more than just test your brainpower.

Snakebird Primer

Snakebird Primer

($7.99/£7.99/AU$12.99)

Snakebird Primer is a turn-based puzzler that has you direct worm-like birds around levitating islands. They need to get to a swirling rainbow goal; but often the gaps between bits of land are too big, resulting in the grumpy burping avians ending up in the drink – or getting horribly spiked.

So you need to figure out paths, which often involves multiple birds working together. Eating fruit lengthens a bird, potentially enabling it to reach a ledge, or become a bridge for another. On quite a few levels, Tetris-style blocks appear – to help and hinder.

Snakebird Primer feels right at home on iPhone. It’s colorful, and the challenges tease your brain without smacking it too hard. But if you do get to the end and want a much sterner test, there’s always the vicious, unforgiving and equally brilliant Snakebird

Pipe Push Paradise

Pipe Push Paradise

($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)

Pipe Push Paradise sends you to a desert island, but not to the beach. Nope – you’re there to sort out the island’s dreadful plumbing disasters. This involves moving massive pipes around confined angular rooms, aiming to make connections that get water flowing once again.

It echoes box-shoving games, but adds some ideas of its own. Pipes can be rotated and dropped into pits – and sometimes you’ll consider yourself victorious, but then realize your little character can’t get back out of the room, thereby forcing you to rethink.

On iPhone, the controls are a touch fiddly, but infinite undos ensure errors don’t frustrate, while also giving you space to experiment. With multiple challenges unlocked at any given time, this is a puzzler where you’ll want to plumb the depths.

Chuchel

Chuchel

($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)

Chuchel is a very strange experience that sits somewhere between trial-and-error logic game and decidedly oddball animation. The premise involves a ball of angry fluff who’s desperate to devour a cherry. Unfortunately for the hairball hero, it’s snatched away by a giant hand after every hard-fought victory.

Actually, ‘logic game’ might be stretching things a bit. Ultimately, you’re tapping hotspots, seeing how things play out, and trying to crack the sequence that will temporarily get Chuchel his fruity prize.

This can be a bit of a grind, given that you may end up seeing a canned animation several times before cracking a level; but it’s hard to stay mad at a game that has so much to give in terms of charm, surprise, energy, and flat-out imaginative weirdness.

Where Shadows Slumber

Where Shadows Slumber 

($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)

Where Shadows Slumber is a puzzle adventure featuring an old man with a mysterious lantern. Its special power is to change the landscape when shadows are cast on it, transforming treacherous drops into bridges, and blocked passages into doorways.

Much of this is a logic test, with you needing to figure out how to build a path to an exit, sometimes with the help of lights you can switch on and off, or people that march back and forth, triggering switches. The mechanics are engaging, as is the minimal yet vibrant art style.

There’s also a story underpinning your adventures, which has moments as dark as the shadows that are cast. If nothing else, though, these shocking moments only make you root for the protagonist more, and urge you to help him to victory.

Evergarden

Evergarden 

($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)

Evergarden is a gorgeous puzzler underpinned by an emotionally charged narrative adventure. The main game echoes Threes! and Triple Town, in being about merging elements on a board to boost your score. Only here, you’re combining plants into new forms, and having them strategically spit out seeds between rounds.

The game has a great sense of rhythm, and stunning visuals that make everything shine on the iPhone’s screen. It’s also layered, gradually revealing new ideas as you play. Early on, animal companion Fen will demand you match provided patterns to increase your score; within the adventure, you acquire new skills, and must strategically apply them within the main challenges.

In all, Evergarden is a distinctive, beautifully realized treat – even if you think you’ve already got quite enough mobile puzzlers installed on your device.

Dissembler

Dissembler 

($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)

Dissembler is a match puzzler that seemingly has you methodically dismantle tiny geometric works of art. The mechanics will be familiar to anyone who’s played the likes of Bejeweled – flip two elements (flat colored tiles in this case) and try to make a match of three or more – only there’s no gravity in this game to fill blank spaces.

Instead, your matches vanish, and nothing else appears, which sometimes leaves single tiles isolated. At that point, you must undo moves and think again, figuring out the precise sequence needed to consign the entire artwork to oblivion.

It’s a deliciously captivating, tactile game, which also builds on its many dozens of hand-made puzzles with an intriguing endless mode, and extra daily free puzzles. In all, it’s flipping great.