Our favorite free endless iPhone games where you sprint, jump, drive, hoverboard, dig or pinball to victory – or your doom.
Cyber Drive ostensibly recreates that scene from The Fifth Element, where Bruce Willis dives his cab down through layers of traffic in a gigantic neon-tinged futuristic city, weaving through obstacles, until he hits city bottom.
We say ‘ostensibly’ primarily on the basis that Cyber Drive is an oddly chilled-out take on this idea. The music has a relaxed vibe, the visuals are bright, and the action is more relentlessly ‘quite tricky’ rather than terrifyingly exhilarating.
But for all that, this is nonetheless a really fun game. In endless mode, what’s in your way gradually becomes more crowded, forcing you to start planning your snaking pathway rather than just reacting. If you don’t have that much time to kill, there are finite handcrafted levels to tackle as well.
Star Jolt puts you in a spaceship, bathes the screen with faked old-school CRT visuals, and then laughs mercilessly as you crash. Repeatedly. This is an endless game of the Flappy Bird variety – but that also means it has the kind of compulsion loop that doesn’t let go.
Ostensibly, you’re collecting space garbage, but this is for some reason lined up neatly in square packages dotted along winding corridors. Also, you belt along at insane speeds, sliding your finger left and right to rotate the landscape, constantly trying to point yourself at empty space rather than a wall.
Death comes often, but because games are so short, you’ll instantly want to try again – not least because of Star Jolt’s humor, entertaining hidden features, and eye-popping visuals.
Saily Seas has echoes of Alto’s Adventure and Tiny Wings, as you seek to survive as long as possible in a beautifully rendered hilly environment. But instead of snow-capped mountains and valleys at sunset, you’re pitting your gaming digit against the high seas.
Your little boat climbs often humongous waves as you tap the screen. Other gestures enable you to dive or jump and briefly hang in the air before an inevitably wet landing. At first, such show-off antics are entirely unnecessary, but the game soon lobs all kinds of sea life at you to avoid – and a single collision is game-ending.
With vibrant visuals, gorgeous weather effects, a meditative soundtrack, smartly included checkpoints, and a massive whale always in hot pursuit, Saily Seas is a free iPhone game that deserves to make a splash on the App Store.
Dungeon Drop is an endless faller. It finds you plunging ever deeper into a layered dungeon with an encroaching spiked ceiling in hot pursuit.
Your tiny protagonist can’t move of its own accord. In order to escape, you drag platforms left or right, lining up holes to plunge into. However, traps pepper the dungeon, meaning you must ensure you grab objects to get past them unscathed.
It’s not like you need much brainpower to realize you need a sword to stab a monster, or a key to unlock a door. But Dungeon Drop moves at serious speed, transforming it into a relentlessly tense affair as you try to beat your high score – and end up horribly killed yet again when your fingers can’t quite keep up.
Race the Sun Challenge Edition
Race the Sun Challenge Edition is an endless flyer. You zoom along in your craft, zigzagging between minimalist structures, and trying very hard to not fly into a wall. But collisions aren’t your only enemy – and that’s because your craft is solar powered.
Apparently, no-one in Race the Sun’s universe has mastered battery storage, because the second the sun sets, your race is over. Fortunately, you can delay the inevitable by grabbing boosts that reverse the direction of the sun for a few moments. Staying in the light also helps you eke out a few extra yards.
With an eminently fair energy system, gorgeous visuals, and a daily challenge, this is a must-download, whether or not you’re familiar with the not so free original.
Pigeon Wings Strike
It initially features a pigeon in a biplane, which you must direct through twisting corridors and caverns, and periodically have shoot down drones and massive enemy airborne battle stations.
The controls are pitch perfect, with one button for speed, another for boost or blasting, and vertical tilt controls for subtle or abrupt changes in altitude.
It’s simple stuff, but hugely compelling. And although there’s not a ton of depth, Pigeon Wings Strike has multiple characters (each with unique skills) to unlock, and a cleverly designed upgrade system that encourages you to take extra risks when belting along at speeds no pigeon should be subjected to.
PAKO Forever seemingly takes place in a world where law-enforcement really doesn’t want you mucking about in what appears to be the world’s largest parking lot. The second you move, police cars are on you like a shot, and if one smashes into you, that’s your lot.
Pretty quickly, you figure out that you need to drift and snake about to survive – and then you start seeing gigantic gift boxes bouncing along. Snag one of those and your car temporarily balloons to giant size, or acquires a handy ball and chain to smash the cops.
Visually, the game’s quite crude, and the staccato nature of missions can pall, but for a quick blast of breezy endless driving larks, it’s a decent install.
Will Hero is a superb one-thumb arcade game that features a blocky hero dashing through a world of levitating islands, being all heroic and duffing up enemies. His foes are mostly bouncing cubes, and you must carefully time dashes to pass beneath them, or engineer collisions to knock them into the abyss.
Crack open a chest you find on your travels, and you’ll get weapons that transform dashes into violent attacks. Add in the game’s collectible helms (from unlocking loot crate chests), and you’ll end up with many potential weapons to choose from, including missiles and colossal swords.
Will Hero is fast-paced, inventive, and a lot of fun. It has a unique feel, and pleasingly bucks convention when you rescue a princess. When you do so, she tags along on subsequent adventures, gleefully hacking away at the enemies who once imprisoned her.
Power Hover: Cruise
Power Hover: Cruise is three endless runners (well, surfers) for the price of one. It borrows the boss battle levels from the superb, beautiful Power Hover, and expands on them. You get to speed through a booby-trapped pyramid, avoid projectiles blasted your way by an angry machine you’re chasing through a tunnel, and whirl around a track that snakes through the clouds.
This is a gorgeous game, with silky animation and minimal, but vibrant objects and scenery. The audio is excellent, too – the rousing electronic soundtrack urging you on.
There are a couple of snags: games can abruptly end due to difficulty spikes, and the controls initially seem floaty. But we grew to love the inertia, which differentiates Power Hover: Cruise and makes it feel like you’re surfing on air. As for the difficulty, spend time learning the hazards and mastering the game, and you’ll soon be climbing the high score tables.
Although, at its core, this is a fairly standard lane-based survival game (swipe to avoid traffic; don’t crash), Dashy Crashy has loads going on underneath the surface. It’s packed full of neat features, such as pile-ups, a gorgeous day/night cycle, and random events that involve maniacs hurtling along a lane, smashing everything out of their way.
It also cleverly adds value to mobile gaming’s tendency to have you collect things. In Dashy Crashy, you’re periodically awarded vehicles, but these often shake up how you play the game. For example, the cop car can collect massive donuts for bonus points, and an army jeep can call in tanks – just like you wish you could when stuck in slow-moving traffic.
Disney Crossy Road
Disney Crossy Road builds on the endless Frogger-style hopping shenanigans found in Crossy Road, mostly by mashing it into a ton of famous Disney properties.
It kicks off with a fairly humdrum take on the original, just with Mickey Mouse instead of a chicken, trying very hard to move ever onwards and not get run over by cars or drown in a river. But you soon start winning coins, enabling you to unlock new characters.
When you get to visit blocky endless takes on Toy Story, Lion King, Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters Inc, and more, sound and vision alike get a major overhaul. Even better: many of these worlds offer subtle changes to the way the game plays, making it more varied, and boosting long-term appeal.