25 Best iPhone Games of All Time

App Store Gaming Greatness

Midsection Of Man Playing Games In Mobile Phone
Nopparat Jaikla / EyeEm / Getty Images

With literally hundreds of thousands of games to choose from on the App Store, it's pretty much impossible to find great games if you don't know what you're looking for. In fact, unless the App Store is featuring an older game on their front page this week, most App Store classics will go completely unnoticed by the next generation of iPhone gamers.

Let's not let that happen. If you've just picked up your first iPhone — or just want to make sure there's nothing golden you've missed — our list of the best iPhone games of all time should tell you everything you need to know.

In the interest of fairness, these selections are presented alphabetically.


Move over spelling bees, it's time to make way for spelling BEARS.

Alphabear is an ingenious little word game that tasks players with clearing lettered tiles to give bears room to grow. Each tile has a countdown timer on it though, meaning the best words won't always be the biggest. If any tile reaches "0", it turns into an indestructible rock — and how is a bear going to grow over that?

Adding to the clever gameplay is the compulsive fun of collecting the bears themselves. Each bear not only looks cute but brings a unique score modifier to the game to help you achieve your goals. If you're a word game fan, Alphabear is as indispensable as Scrabble.

Angry Birds

Maker Of Popular Angry Birds Game Rovio Readies For IPO Filing
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Angry Birds was the biggest game on the App Store for a lot of years, and it's not hard to see why. The game's mix of physics gameplay, carefully constructed puzzles, and adorable characters managed to amuse and infuriate in equal measure. If you're a puzzle game, that's a very good thing.

What started as a simple puzzler eventually turned into a marketing juggernaut, spinning off into countless sequels, spin-offs, and sister releases. As much fun as some of those may have been though (Angry Birds Transformers, we're looking at you), nothing has ever managed to quite live up to the high bar set by the original. If you've somehow never played an Angry Birds game, start here.

Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans

Larry Lunchbox/Flickr.com/CC BY 2.0 

Clash of Clans has dominated the App Store charts for several years, and with good reason. Its mix of base-building, army creation, leveling, and combat creates a loop for players that's damned near inescapable — and they wouldn't have it any other way.

Players farm for resources that can be spent on new buildings, defenses, or troops: all of which are of the utmost importance if you want to ransack other players' bases while defending your own.

Clash of Clans wasn't the first game of its sort (a few Facebook titles like Galaxy Life and Backyard Monsters pre-dated it) — but it's easily the best. If you've been playing any of the "me too" games that followed in its wake, be sure to include CoC in your rotation. There's nothing like the cry of a barbarian to keep your spirits up.

Clash Royale


throttlelwp44/Flickr.com/Public Domain

How do you take a big property and make it even bigger? By thinking about what makes the core so compelling and building a whole new game around that. Clash Royale is the first spin-off from Supercell's base-building hit Clash of Clans, and while it retains the PvP strategy appeal, it does so by utilizing completely different gameplay.

Competing in real-time battles, players build a team from cards they've collected and then play those cards to unleash a wide variety of troops on the battlefield. In just a few short minutes, one player will destroy the opposing player's castle and emerge the victor, earning a chest filled with more cards (delivering more troops).

Crossy Road

Crossy Road

Bago Games/Flickr.com/CC BY 2.0


Taking inspiration from the arcade game Frogger, Crossy Road successfully paid homage to a classic while also setting a new standard for free-to-play gaming. It's simple, one-tap nature made it a perfect fit for gaming on the go, and the familiar mechanics meant that everyone could grasp what to do from their very first tap. Just cross the road, and don't die in the process.

If you've ever played a game where you spend earned currency to unlock a random creature and add it to your collection, then watched a video ad to earn even more of that currency and did so with a smile on your face, you have Crossy Road to thank for that.

Similarly, if you've played a game in recent years with a "voxel" appearance that wasn't Minecraft, there's a good chance Crossy Road's influence came into play there, too.

Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope's lead character, Om Nom


Back in the early days of the App Store, when everyone else was trying to duplicate the success of Angry Birds with mediocre clones, developer ZeptoLab went in a different direction. Instead of trying to make the next Angry Birds, they wanted to make the next physics puzzle hit. And it worked. Cut the Rope was as popular as it was fun.

The premise couldn't have been simpler: your pet monster, Om Nom, needs to be fed his nutritious dinner of candy. Getting it into his mouth, however, requires careful planning and quick fingers. Cutting strings in the right place at the right time would send the candy swinging, flinging, and even floating across the screen. Even when you fail (and you will fail), it's impossible not to wear a smile on your face.

Like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope saw its fair share of sequels too. They're all fun, but should you be looking to pick one up, it's easy to endorse Cut the Rope 2 and Cut the Rope Magic in particular.

Device 6

Call them gamebooks, interactive fiction, or narrative adventures — no matter your preferred label, there's no denying that turning reading into play is an absolute blast.

Device 6 isn't a traditional gamebook by any standard, but that's exactly what makes it so enticing. Rather than following a choose-your-own-adventure style, Device 6 presents individual chapters formatted as works of art. Sentences change direction and wrap around visuals that tie to the narrative; audio cues present new elements to further frame the story. To proceed to the next chapter, you'll find a puzzle in which the solution is brilliantly hidden within the story you've just read. 

Don't expect obvious answers, though; be prepared to comb through the entire tale again as you try to solve these head-scratchers.


How do you improve on a formula as old as PAC-MAN? It's a tough proposition, but one we're glad developer Brandon Williamson decided to approach with Forget-Me-Not.

Players move and shoot as they gobble dots around each maze, eventually getting a key to unlock the exit. The twist? Your shots will loop from one side of the screen to the other wherever there's an open pathway. So if you're moving towards the opening on the left side of the screen, you'll be shooting yourself in the butt from the right.

Adding shooting to PAC-MAN sounds like it should range somewhere from "silly" to "dumb," but in letting the bullets loop across the screen, Forget-Me-Not adds a layer of puzzling to the experience that makes this the best evolution of the formula since PAC-MAN Championship Edition.

Fruit Ninja

Slicing and dicing fruit has never been easier to clean up than when done on your iPhone.

Fruit Ninja was one of the first truly great high-score chasers on the App Store; a game not only about splitting produce but about beating your own personal best. Players frantically swipe their finger to destroy as much fruit as they can while also trying to dodge the bombs that can bring a quick end to their life as a swordsman.

The studio behind Fruit Ninja, Halfbrick, has done a great job of keeping the experience alive, eventually delivering the (equally great) Fruit Ninja 2.0 update that added plenty to the experience.

Heads Up

Heads Up
Warner Bros

From 20 Questions to HedBanz, everybody loves guessing games. Heads Up is a game that borrows pretty liberally from the latter, and the end result is nothing short of fantastic.​

Getting together with a group of friends, players place their phone on their forehead while it displays a word. Everyone else needs to help the player guess that word — the faster, the better. The object of the game is to guess as many words as you can in 60 seconds.

What makes Heads Up work so well is the sheer variety of themes available. Everything from animals and sports to licensed content like Star Wars, Sesame Street, and Disney Parks. There's something for pretty much everyone.


Hearthstone - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time

Collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering have always been popular, but in an era where cards can exist digitally, there seems to be a new alternative hitting the App Store every week.

None of them can hold a candle to Hearthstone, though.

A card game set in the Warcraft universe and designed by the master gamemakers at Blizzard, Hearthstone manages to retain all of the warmth and charm of its source material while crafting a new experience that's both deviously strategic and infinitely collectible. It's a well-balanced game that's forever growing: Blizzard has continued to add new expansions, adventures, cards, and modes long after its release.

There's a very comfortable on-boarding process that welcomes players of any skill level, and the game's matchmaking ensures you'll always end up in a fair fight. Don't be intimidated by your preconceived notions of games like Magic: The Gathering — Hearthstone might offer plenty of strategy but it does so in an incredibly accessible way. 

Jetpack Joyride

Jetpack Joyride - 25 Best iPhone Games of All TIme

If we were to guesstimate how many endless runners are on the App Store, the number would be deep into the thousands. And yet despite the many fantastic games in the genre, there's one that stands above the rest: Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride.

Touching their fingers to the screen, players can initiate the jetpack worn by hero Barry Steakfries as he attempts to navigate his way safely through an increasingly dangerous lab. From lasers to missiles to electric gates, there's plenty to dodge, duck and dive through. With power-ups ranging from a teleporter to a cash-spewing red bird (that looks suspiciously familiar to the hero of another game on this list), there are more than enough ways to help players get ahead — and with how fast things will be moving, you'll want every advantage you can get.


KeroBlaster - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Studio Pixel

Many gamers lament the struggles they've had with platformers on mobile devices, and rightly so. It takes careful consideration to get the controls just right -— which means that adding guns into the mix is not unlike asking players to rub their tummies and pat their heads at the same time. This means that classic games like Contra or Gunstar Heroes don't really have an equivalent on the App Store. ...or do they?

KeroBlaster, from the creator of the classic indie hit Cave Story, solves the run-jump-shoot conundrum by letting players adjust a slider so that their lizard hero will auto-fire in whatever direction they choose. Add to this a gorgeous 8-bit art style, brilliantly crafted levels, and a brutal difficulty, and you've got a game that every old school player can get behind.

Kingdom Rush

Kingdom Rush - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time

There's no shortage of tower defense games on the App Store, but if you can only play one, Kingdom Rush is it. The game's focus on balance and well-designed stages allows players to scale their strategy as the challenge mounts on each map.

A big part of what makes Kingdom Rush work so well is its limited range of buildings that can be upgraded in different directions. So while you might start with an Archer Tower, you can eventually turn it into a well-armed Musketeer Garrison, a Crossbow Fort, or even a Ranger Tower that would impress Robin Hood himself.

Powerful hero units also become a part of the experience, which only continues to grow in the game's sequels Kingdom Rush Frontiers and Kingdom Rush Origins

Lara Croft GO

lara croft go - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Square Enix

Few companies have been quite as successful at expanding their characters into new genres quite like Square Enix, and Lara Croft GO is a shining example of this. A turn-based puzzle game, Lara Croft GO retains the same spirit of exploration and adventure as the Tomb Raider franchise, but it does so in a way that requires forethought before every step. Whether sneaking up on a snake or trying to avoid a trap, timing is absolutely everything.

Apple selected this one as their 2015 Game of the Year. Whether you're a fan of Lara Croft, puzzles, or both, you'll find plenty to love in Lara Croft GO.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time

The best case for "games as art" on the App Store, Monument Valley plays like a living painting — specifically one by M.C. Escher. Players step into the role of Ida, a princess on a mission. As Ida explores her environments, you'll move things in impossible ways to guide her safely to the exit. 

The puzzles are absolutely charming, and the art is simply breathtaking. Monument Valley isn't a terribly difficult experience, but it doesn't have to be. In opening up new paths for Ida, you feel less like a gamer and more like a caretaker. 

If Monument Valley looks familiar and you're sure you've never heard of it, you might have caught a glimpse of Frank Underwood playing it on House of Cards. The game was so compelling that it actually provided an important plot point in the show's third season.

Ridiculous Fishing

Ridiculous Fishing - 25 Best Mobile Games of All Time

Fishing is normally a calming, tranquil activity. So what could make it ridiculous? How about flinging those fish in the air after you reel in the line, then blasting them out of the sky with your shotgun?

Vlambeer's angler-to-hunter experience managed to win Apple's coveted Game of the Year in 2013, and it's not hard to see why. The game combined three different, though equally fun experiences — guiding your fishing line away from fish to sink it as low as you can, touching every fish you could on the way back up to catch them, and tapping like crazy to blast those sea vermin out of the sky.

It's not the most conventional way to make fish'n'chips, but who really likes "conventional"?

The Room

The Room - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Fireproof Games

Few puzzle games have been as universally applauded in recent years as The Room. Originally debuting on the iPad and later making its way to smaller screens, The Room is a game about physically manipulating boxes to uncover the secrets they contain. You'll place a gear to turn a switch to open a drawer. That drawer may contain a key, and that key will open up another chain of puzzles that gets you even closer to the mysteries that wait inside.

The Room is the very best kind of cerebral experience. The only problem is that, once finished, you'll find yourself wanting more. Lucky for you Fireproof Games have released two sequels: The Room Two and The Room Three.


Threes - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Sirvo, LLC

The very best puzzle games require virtually no explanation and always make you believe you can get just a little bit better with each new attempt. Threes checks both of these boxes flawlessly.

A game about combining like-numbers to grow their value, the objective is to simply get as large a set of numbers as you can before you gridlock the board. This can happen sooner than later if you're not careful. Players swipe to move all the tiles on the board at once in their preferred direction: up, down, left or right — and as a result, you can end up pushing pieces into problematic places.

It's simple, it's clever — few games live up to the "App Store Essentials" title quite as well as Threes. If you've played a variation on this with "2048" in the title, do yourself a favor and play the far superior game that started it all.


rymdkapsel - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time

Games that have tried to tackle real-time strategy on mobile have rarely met with good results. With the exception of Clash of Clans (which we'd argue is a variation on RTS), I'd be hard-pressed to find a single example that wowed me.

Other than Rymdkapsel, that is.

Stripping the genre down to its basics, Rymdkapsel is a minimalist strategy game about building rooms and assigning workers — and hoping you've prepared just the right balance to survive the next wave of alien attackers. Long play sessions don't make Rymdkapsel a natural fit for mobile devices, but once you get playing, that hardly matters; you'll enjoy every second of it.


Henry Smith

If you're looking for a party game to play with friends, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more suitable candidate than Spaceteam. Available as a free download (and cross-platform, so your Android friends can play too), Spaceteam puts players in the shoes of an astronaut crew in a bit of a panic.

Each player has a different set of controls in front of them, and is given a different set of instructions — but those instructions aren't usually for the player that receives them.

Things devolve pretty quickly into a group of friends yelling things like "set shiftsanizier to 1" and "refrigerate leftovers!" It's hilarious, delightful, and one heck of an icebreaker should you need one for your next party.

Super Hexagon

Super Hexagon - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Terry Cavanaugh

Super Hexagon is the digital equivalent of a high-G training centrifuge. You'll spin around faster and faster, and pretty quickly end up feeling like this is more than you could ever handle. But like any good gamer, you strap in again for another go. You'll master this. You have to.

You finally break 18 seconds. You feel like a king.

Super Hexagon is a minimalist survival game about spinning left and right on an endless quest to survive geometry that's flying towards the middle of the screen. You'll have to dodge the geometric shapes that are crushing in on you and do it all in time to a killer soundtrack.

Tilt to Live

Tilt to Live - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
One Man Left

One of the first games to make great use of the iPhone's tilt functionality is still one of the best. Tilt to Live is a game of avoidance and survival. Players will tilt their device to guide a little arrow safely through a sea of vicious red dots. If they reach a power-up, they can turn the tables, but only for a short time.

Tilt to Live doesn't just control beautifully; the design ethos behind it — that players need to pivot from defense to offense and back again quickly — is executed to perfection.

Fans of Tilt to Live will want to be sure to check out Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous.


Vainglory - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Super Evil Mega Corp

MOBAs, or "multiplayer online battle arena" games, have exploded in popularity in recent years. From League of Legends to DOTA 2 to Smite, PC gamers have gobbled these free-to-play team-based challenges up like so many fallen minions. But on mobile? MOBAs have been a much tougher sell.

Vainglory is the one exception to this rule. Offering a single map, a diverse cast of characters, and gameplay that caters to MOBA and mobile enthusiasts equally, Vainglory has become a mainstay of eSports competitions while remaining incredibly accessible to newcomers.

If you've never participated in a team-based battle for territory, Vainglory is the most authentic MOBA experience you'll find on the App Store. Its main competitor, Call of Champions, may be a little easier on beginners, but there's no question that Vainglory is the 800lb gorilla in the room.

Woah! Dave

Woah Dave! - 25 Best iPhone Games of All Time
Choice Provisions

A wonderful homage to the arcades of the 1980s, Woah! Dave puts a fresh spin on the style of single-screen mayhem found in the original (non-Super) Mario Bros.

Jumping from platform to platform, players will need to fight off an invasion of critters that hatch from eggs. You can pick up and throw eggs at the hatched invaders, or carefully time the toss of an exploding skull to keep yourself safe.

But as an old school arcade-style game, Woah! Dave has another trick up its sleeve to keep you working towards your high score: points are only awarded for collected coins that fall from your foes, and letting the aliens run off the bottom of the screen and return bigger and tougher will earn you more coins.

Do you take them out when they're weak and poor, or let them get scary and wealthy? Woah! Dave is frantic fun no matter how you slice it.