The best free iPhone games of 2023

Our favorite free iPhone soccer, golf, tennis, basketball and other sports games.

A screenshot showing Rocket League Sideswipe on iPhone

(Image credit: Psyonix LLC)

Rocket League Sideswipe

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Rocket League Sideswipe is a combination of soccer, fast cars and rocket fuel. In the real world, that mix would cause news headlines for all the wrong reasons; but on your iPhone, it makes for a giddy, intoxicating mash-up of arcade action and online multiplayer battles.

The aim in the standard game is to use your flying car to score more goals than your opponent, although each Rocket League Sideswipe season adds variations to the mix, such as outlandish takes on basketball and volleyball. Whether partaking in one-on-one or two-on-two bouts, it’s loads of fun.

Smartly, the game includes solo and AI training modes, so you can get to grips with its controls and master how the physics and inertia affects your car. Before long, you’ll be blasting the ball goalward and celebrating with yet another show-off mid-air vehicular somersault.

A screenshot showing Super Arcade Football on iPhone

(Image credit: OutOfTheBit Ltd)

Super Arcade Football

Super Arcade Football comes across like a modern mobile take on classic 16-bit soccer games like Sensible Soccer and Kick Off. It features tiny players who dart about an overhead pitch, seemingly booting the ball around in fast-forward. Your thumbs take a while to adjust to the game’s pace, but once you’re fully immersed, it becomes second-nature.

At that point, you can start digging into the game’s depth. There’s a story mode that gradually ramps up the difficulty level and sets bespoke challenges per game. Or you can opt for one of the many pre-defined leagues and cups, some of which have decidedly odd modifiers.

Think the conditions were bad in the last cup final you saw? It’s nothing compared to this game covering pitches with ice or oil – or periodically pelting players with meteorites!

A screenshot showing Deep Golf

(Image credit: Headlight Software, Inc.)

Deep Golf

Deep Golf is a side-on golf game. On completion of the first hole, the ground abruptly falls away and you find yourself deep underground. Obstacles then become stalactites and stalagmites, stagnant pools of water, suspiciously sticky ooze, and the odd dinosaur fossil. 

You’re a long way from Cypress Point or St Andrews, then, but the controls are conventional, merely having you drag to define each shot’s power and direction, and then tilt your device to add spin. It’s all very immediate, relaxing and enjoyable.

Mobile gaming aficionados might add Deep Golf is also somewhat derivative, clearly taking inspiration from Desert Golfing. That said, Deep Golf’s feel and additional obstacles provide enough differentiation – as does the lack of a price tag, which makes it a must unless you can’t stand this type of game.

Screenshots showing Touchgrind Scooter

(Image credit: Illusion Labs)

Touchgrind Scooter

Touchgrind Scooter follows on from Touchgrind BMX 2 and Touchgrind Skate 2 in enabling your digits to partake in some extreme sports. Like its predecessors, it offers a 3D view of proceedings, with two of your fingers being used to steer and perform outlandish tricks.

What continues to set this series apart is how much it feels like learning a new skill. Careen around without care and you’ll fail – badly. But if you more carefully learn the various tricks and the routes through the unlockable locations, mastery brings great reward.

You get a lot of game for free, including several varied places in which to grind rails, jump off ramps and perform death-defying loops. If you hanker for more, a one-hit $8.99/£8.99/AU$13.99 IAP unlocks four more superb locations.

Rowdy City Wrestling

(Image credit: Colin Lane Games)

Rowdy City Wrestling

Rowdy City Wrestling is the third mobile wrestling game from Colin Lane - and the most ambitious. You start as a nobody with the aim of winning the world championship. Your path to that dream involves everything from lugging chairs about for a few extra bucks to ‘royal rumble’ events featuring a host of determined opponents.

If you’ve played Lane’s previous efforts, the bonkers Wrassling and the equally deranged Rowdy Wrestling, this latest entry dials down the bonkers a bit. You gain more control over your wrestler, and his arms don’t endlessly whirl in a manner that makes you think they’ll  pop off any second and whirl through the air.

But this is still every inch a fun, immediate mobile effort - the silliness is just moderated a touch and augmented by depth that’ll see it stick around on your phone for the long term.

Golf Skies

(Image credit: Carl Oberg)

Golf Skies

Golf Skies reimagines that sport of hitting a ball towards a distant hole by locating its courses in the sky. Fairways become little islands dotted about floating planets. Hazards include the usual - rough, trees, water - but also lighthouses and windmills sticking out of the tiny planets, and massive fish leaping about.

After you’ve used an arrow to determine your shot’s direction and strength, two arrows allow you to direct your ball while a power counter ticks down. Land before it runs dry or your ball will head toward the nearest body - often resulting in a penalty.

In all, this is a fresh take on golf, combining the relaxing and open nature of the real-world sport with a novel and airy approach.

Super Over!

(Image credit: Jambav, Inc / TechRadar)

Super Over!

Super Over! strips back cricket to an almost ludicrous degree. A sport where a single match in the real world can take up to five days is here distilled into mere minutes – and many would argue is all the better for it.

The single-player game has you in bat, chasing a total from a limited number of balls. Your bat whizzes once back and forth across the screen. You must tap to stop it on a number, whereupon you get the requisite number of runs – or lose the game if you hit W (for wicket).

The best bit, though, is the same-device two-player mode. It’s faintly absurd playing this on an iPhone, but the simple interface and very silly gameplay seem entirely appropriate to such larks, as you attempt to smack your ball toward the boundary.

Golf Blitz

Image credit: Noodlecake Studios (Image credit: Noodelcake Studios)

Golf Blitz

Golf Blitz is a side-on crazy golf game, with emphasis on the crazy. Infused with the DNA of the Super Stickman Golf series, its larger-than-life courses have you thwacking balls about islands suspended in space, often with walls covered in sticky goo, or massive wooden contraptions spinning around.

As if this wasn’t enough, each Golf Blitz contest also happens to be a multiplayer race. You take on three other golfers, all aiming to be first to putt. Those who win get kudos and XP. Those who don’t lick their wounds and try again.

It’s fast, breezy fun, and although there’s a mite too much randomness, regular play yields rewards by way of player upgrades, without you having to dip into your golf bag for a pile of cash to spend on IAP.

Nano Golf: Hole In One

Nano Golf: Hole In One

Nano Golf: Hole In One is mini golf in fast forward, redefined as a pastime of perfection. Every tiny course you’re presented with must be completed in a single shot. Miss just once and your game is over.

Shooting, at least, is simple enough – you drag your finger back to aim/set power, and then let go. The game’s also rather generous regarding how near to the hole you need to be in order to succeed.

Given the hazards on these courses, that’s just as well. Along with the usual awkward corners and bumps, there are ball-frying heaters and teleporters, and some courses take place underwater. It’s all simple stuff, but the compulsion loop here is strong – not least because you can rattle through a complete game in a matter of minutes.

Rowdy Wrestling

Rowdy Wrestling

Rowdy Wrestling is a sports game that doesn’t take itself remotely seriously – and that says a lot, given the spectacle it’s simulating. But all the weirdness of pro wrestling has nothing on this game, which features ludicrously bouncy physics and fighters whose arms whirl around in an entertainingly cartoonish manner.

There’s the feeling throughout that you’re only just in control, whether trying to dropkick an opponent in the face, or unceremoniously hurl them out of the ring. But when Rowdy Wrestling clicks, it grabs hold for good. Just as well, then, that you get a range of modes – Tag Team; a solo career; and the ‘last man standing’ Rumble – along with multiple fighters to unlock.

Golfing Around

Golfing Around

Golfing Around transports you to a simpler age of golf video games. You don’t get lush 3D visuals, enough club choices to give a pro caddie a nervous breakdown, or inch-perfect takes on real-life courses. Instead, you have basic controls, minimal top-down visuals, and a handful of holes dreamed up by the developer.

On iPhone, though, this works really well. The visuals provide clarity, and the straightforward controls afford Golfing Around immediacy. There’s some nuance too – push the power meter into the red and your aim wobbles about, your dream of extra distance at risk from potentially smacking the ball in the wrong direction.

All this ensures Golfing Around makes the cut, but it’s boosted up the leaderboard by a construction kit. Making and sharing your own courses is a cinch. Probably don’t spell out “I prefer soccer actually” using water traps, mind.

Kind of Soccer

Kind of Soccer

Kind of Soccer will be catharsis in gaming form for anyone who ever felt their soccer team was wronged by an official. That’s because although this game has a pitch and a ball, points are scored by belting the ball directly at the referee’s head.

The controls are a straightforward slingshot – just drag an arrow indicator and let rip. At first, your only danger is bad aim – kick the ball out of bounds and a point is awarded against your team – but in later rounds, defenders attempt to save the ref from a beating.

Fortunately, you can continue your unsporting rage by using bonuses that pop-up, including laser sights, and one option that entertainingly turns every opposition player into a tree.

Pocket Run Pool

Pocket Run Pool

Pocket Run Pool reimagines pool for the solo player. It gives you a table from above, with the twist that each of the pockets has a multiplier on it. Your score comprises the number on the ball multiplied by the number on the pocket, and you lose one of your three lives every time you miss a shot or pocket the white.

Aficionados of videogame pool may grumble at this game’s basic nature. The visuals are 2D and minimal, and there’s some major hand-holding regarding aiming. But any such complaints miss the point.

Pocket Run Pool isn’t about slavish realism, but taking a fresh look at pool, and fashioning a modern, quick solo game around scoring and taking risks, rather than getting soundly beaten again and again by a computer opponent on a 3D table.

Flick Soccer 17

Flick Soccer 17

Flick Soccer is all about scoring goals by booting a ball with your finger. It looks very smart, with fairly realistic visuals and nicely arcade-y ball movement. You can unleash pretty amazing shots as you aim for the targets, and occasionally bean a defender.

The game includes several alternate modes, providing a surprising amount of variation on the basic theme. There’s a speed option that involves flicking at furious speed, and the tense sudden-death Specialist, which ends your go after three failed attempts to hit the target.

Rather more esoteric fare also lurks, demanding you repeatedly hit the crossbar, or smash panes of glass a crazy person has installed in the goalmouth.

Like real-world sport on the TV, Flick Soccer is a bit ad-infested. You can, though, remove ads with a one-off $0.99/99p/AU$1.99 IAP, or – ironically – turn them off for ten minutes by watching an ad.