20 Best iOS Games
You look down at your phone and see the giant piece of fruit emblazoned on the back. You reach for your tablet and feel the exact same thing on your fingers as you pull it toward you. You're an Apple guy or girl and there's no denying it. When you're not posting on social media, taking selfies with your dinner, or calling your better half for the 27th time that day, you're trying to find the best games to fill the rest of your time. Lucky for you we're here to help, as these games are the top gaming experiences on the entire iOS market. These are the Best iOS Games.
The iOS platform isn't typically associated with deep, thought provoking game content, but Monument Valley stretches out among the harvested farms and crushed candies begging to change our perspective. These bite-sized puzzles will end up filling a player far soon than expected, and the tiny narrative that weaves these brain teasers together had more impact on us than some of the biggest AAA titles ever could. This is a beautiful little game that we wish could be installed onto every iOS player's device, so whoever is missing out better get on the ball and help our ambitions out. We don't think anyone will come away disappointed.
Upon hearing about Hearthstone for the first time, we immediately questioned the entire premise. "Blizzard doesn't do card games," we smugly assumed. "This game is going to fail so hard." After an hour with Hearthstone on our iPads our minds changed. "Holy crap Blizzard can do card games." Hearthstone is beyond addicting with hundreds of cards to collect and add to our playing decks, and the only way to earn more cards without lightening the wallet is to play matches against the AI and other players online, which will turn minutes into hours before we even realize it. We don't even remember the world before Hearthstone, and we can't imagine a world without it.
We still haven't wrapped our heads around how 2K was able to smush the entire XCOM experience into one downloadable app, but then they went and did it twice! The excellent Enemy Within, and its predecessor Enemy Unknown, play exactly the same via iOS as they does on any console, letting every iPad and iPhone owner out there battle vicious aliens in turn-based strategy combat wherever they go. It had to have been a daunting task, but all of the classes, stages, and enemies appear in the iOS port, and the game loses none of its luster with the shift. Anyone needing an excuse to play XCOM again need only download the app and get going.
Device 6 starts out like a e-book on a Kindle, telling a brief story before the paragraphs become shorter and shorter, collapsing into one line that rotates on the page and causes us to maneuver our iPads to follow it. Eventually we see a clock of some kind and realize that the clue to solving this puzzle is hidden within the story, so we analyze every world before (and some after) the puzzle in order to find the clues to solve it and continue through the tale. It's a weird scenario, but Device 6 pulls it off remarkably well, making this an "interactive novel" that's worthy of a "read" or two.
Yet another port that defied all expectations, The World Ends With You Solo Remix took a DS game (yes, with two screens) and turned into a single-screen experience that is just as good if not better than the original game. Playing as Neku through the Reaper's Game is one hell of a story no matter how it's played, but the iOS version is easily the more accessible of the two and should be tried at least once if there's any interest in the game at all. Also, there's a major tease at the end of the game for a possible sequel and we're still waiting on that, so if someone would like to tell Square Enix to hurry the heck up we'd appreciate it.
This is a game of swiping tiles in order to do math. Nothing about that sounds fun at all, but the hours upon hours we've spent swiping every which way to combine as many tiles as we can says otherwise. Threes is just so damn addicting it's hard to just play one game and then move on; before we know it we see a new high score set by a friend and think, "Well I have to beat that now," and we're swiping until our fingers hurt. On the plus side, we're not really adept at the geometric sequence of the number three, so we're that much better at math thanks to this game. Our high school teachers would be so proud.
First-person shooting on an iOS device doesn't sound like a winning formula, but Gameloft threw that thinking out the window back in 2009 with N.O.V.A. This game is a robust shooter with multiple weapons and a dozen levels to blast our way through, including one on-rails driving segment right out of an arcade game. The game has spawned two sequels, each of which have continued to redefine first-person shooter games on mobile devices. As iPhone and iPad tech continues to improve, we can only imagine what the future holds for the N.O.V.A series, and we're awfully excited about it.
Never before have we played a game with a more true title that Ridiculous Fishing. The game follows a simple formula: drop a hook into the ocean, grab as many fish as you can without hitting obstacles, pull the hook back up, fling the fish into the air, and shoot as many as you can for points. That's right, it's not enough to catch these fish normally, we have to shoot them out of the sky, too. This weird game really caught our attention when it launched back in 2013 and we're still playing it today, and longevity like that cannot be understated. Blast away, fisherman.
While it may not on the scale of a Skyrim or Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Infinity Blade franchise has done incredible things for the fantasy RPG genre and gaming as a whole on the iOS platform. Each release continues to stretch the abilities of the current iPhone and iPad, making other games play catch up almost immediately. Infinity Blade III is the grandest of them all with its intense swipe-battle sequences and unbelievable graphical power. It's a wonder we never saw Infinity Blade on consoles because it's such a cool experience, but the longer it stays exclusive to the iOS the better off the entire platform is for it.
The free-to-play gaming format dominates the iOS App Store's most downloaded charts, with Candy Crush Saga and its many spinoffs leading the charge. Brave Frontier from the folks at A-Lim is an entirely different experience, looking more like a Square Enix RPG than a simple F2P game. However, gathering units and sending them into battle against dozens of enemies turns out to be a lot more fun than just matching colored tiles to score points. F2P gaming might not be such a Brave Frontier, but when a game tackles it like this one does we can't help but be impressed.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth is yet another aptly named game, as it serves as an anomaly in the tower defense genre. Instead of organizing units in defense of a central area, Anomaly tasks us with leading a convoy of soldiers to multiple central towers within a map and destroy them, using power-ups to aid the convoy's travel between towers. It turns the idea of tower defense on its head, and it's a brilliant way to change things up for the better. We have just as much ushering this convoy to its targets as we would defending said targets from an oncoming convoy. Anomaly 2 expands the idea even further with multiple storyline paths based on how we play, but we recommend playing the original first to get a feel for the format.
Now this is the tower defense genre we've come to know and love. Plants vs. Zombies is the strangest pairing of enemies we've ever seen, but commandeering an army of little plant creatures against the oncoming zombie hordes is a ridiculous amount of fun. We're also surprised at how deep this game and its sequel can get, as we're always applying new strategies to our approach and adjusting them to the types of zombies we're facing. Who'd have thought a bunch of flora could fend off packs of flesh-eating zombies and equal a lot of fun for us in the process?
Here's another "this game shouldn't be as addictive as it is" type of game. All we have to do is fact-check a bunch of randomly generated documents against the official documented rules and monitor the border based on this. The intrigue comes from the various characters and their awful plights, leading to some tough decisions that have to be made along the way. We'd love to side with the people as much as we can, but every wrong move gets us a citation and every citation takes money away from our starving families. Papers, Please is a game better experienced than talked about, but we promise that this is the most interesting document checking simulator ever made.
We love VVVVVV very much, but we'd be lying if we said it wasn't one of the most frustrating games we've ever played. This game is a retro platformer where the hero Captain Viridian cannot jump, instead the player must reverse and restore gravity in order to traverse obstacles throughout the levels. Not being able to jump is a major part of the anger, as gravity doesn't always play nice with our intrepid little captain, but we love trying to navigate our way through these worlds untouched. Luckily there are a ton of checkpoints and unlimited lives, so the developer did show a bit of mercy in anticipation of the crazy difficulty, but dying at the same obstacle again and again outweighs even that luxury. Despite the inevitable raging, we highly recommend giving VVVVVV a try... just don't throw the iPad.
We would have never thought of us ourselves, but using our iPad or iPhone as a steering wheel and tilting it to play a racing game works surprisingly well, and the Real Racing series is at the forefront. Each one of these games zoomed into the fast lane of best iOS games with its tight controls and incredible visual prowess. The game handles so well in fact that it made us wonder if we could drive a real car with an iPad instead of a steering wheel. We can't (and probably shouldn't) so we have to depend on Real Racing for our iPad driving fix. It's a good thing the game excels at it.
We know this game should make the Top 20 list of every single console or handheld it's appeared on, but even the iOS version of Final Fantasy VI holds up incredibly well. No gameplay or story arcs have been changed in the slightest, everything new about this game resides solely in the control scheme. The touch interface performs surprisingly well, interacting with the world perfectly and seamlessly. We'll gladly take it to Kefka every chance we get, so Final Fantasy VI has a permanent place on our mobile device's memory drive.
At first glance Jetpack Joyride may look like one of those helicopter games where we have to keep the chopper from crashing, but there's so much more to this game that we forgot all about that helicopter after one playthrough. This jetpack joyride gives us a crazy assortment of weapons to help us fight enemies and clear paths, vehicles to enhance our movement abilities, and some insane obstacles to overcome during the journey. We love games that defy our initial expectations, and Jetpack Joyride definitely did just that when we first played. This is one joyride we'll never regret.
We're put in charge of this spaceship and we have to keep it from getting destroyed by our enemies. That sounds easy enough, but after one attack the engine room is messed up and half of my crew is dead and never to return. This is where the true brilliance of FTL: Faster than Light comes through, as now we have to decide where to devote resources and which race to hire as future workers on my ship. What seems like an easy enough game on the surface quickly becomes equal parts difficult and heart-wrenching as we have to sometimes decide who lives and who dies, and times like that are when FTL shines. Download it and see how long the ship lasts before the tough choices start coming through, we predict it won't be long.
Since Five Nights At Freddy's began scaring the bejeezus out of us, we haven't been able to stop playing. While the gameplay isn't the most compelling thing in the world, basically asking us to manage power while checking cameras and operating doors, the constant looming danger always has our hearts pumping while the hidden clues and hints make us wonder just what the heck is going on in this restaurant. We thought we were hesitant about Chuck E. Cheese and his crew before, but playing Five Nights At Freddy's has ruined that experience for us forever. While there are plenty of scares this game is worth every single heart stoppage until the end is reached.
We enter a room and see a box sitting on a table, and that's the only introduction we get. The Room challenges our attention to details and ability to infer, throwing clues at us and expecting us to pull the answer from what little they provide. The Room is a thinking person's game, as opening that box will take some adept logic and puzzle-solving skills. Every single riddle however is a ton of fun to solve, and the more we learn about this box and its secrets the more interested we are in opening it up. Heck, even if the box contains something arbitrary we sure as heck enjoyed the ride to find that arbitrary thing. There's now a whole series of games from The Room, so play them all and exercise those brains.