The 11 Best Offline iPhone/iOS Games of 2023

Games for when you don't have internet access

Whether on a plane or in a waiting room with limited cellphone reception, there are times when you need to pass the time without an internet connection. When we're stuck somewhere, we play these offline iPhone/iOS games to combat boredom. Enjoy!

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Best Exploration Game: Alto's Odyssey

Alto's Odyssey game for iOS
What We Like
  • Amazing imagery.

  • Unlock characters as you continue the game.

  • Comes with a relaxing Zen Mode.

  • Child-friendly game.

What We Don't Like
  • Lighting effects impair visibility at times.

  • Limited action choices and achievements.

Alto's Odyssey has won many accolades since its release, including the Apple Design Award for 2018. This exploration game revolves around Alto and his friends who enjoy sandboarding adventures.

While the game offers a limited number of achievements, players can explore a variety of locations, all beautifully illustrated, and enjoy an inviting musical score. 

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Best Kids Offline iPhone Game: Toon Blast

Toon Blast game in progress with pink balloons and stacked blocks with rubber duckies
What We Like
  • The game is cute and visually appealing to children.

  • It's challenging enough for adults to enjoy.

  • Sync the game between phones and tablets.

What We Don't Like
  • The game syncs through Facebook.

  • Some of the levels encourage in-app purchases to pass them.

Toon Blast is a free block puzzle game that you can play online or offline. The main aim is to tap a group of blocks to clear them from your screen.

This engaging puzzle game is fun for all ages with various goals and multiple levels, and the option for in-app purchases. When you do have an internet connection, you can sync your progress between your iPhone and iPad.

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Best Numbers Puzzle Game: 2 For 2

Several numbers connected by a line in 2 For 2 iOS game
What We Like
  • Interesting combination of puzzle-solving and strategy.

  • Easy to learn.

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most visually exciting game for iOS.

  • Requires watching a lot of ads.

For those who enjoy puzzle and strategy games, 2 For 2 provides a free, appealing gaming option. You need to connect as many dots as you can that have the same numbers before running out of moves.

While it's free to enjoy, you must watch many ads to continue playing.

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Best Business Management Game: Happy Mall Story

Happy Mall Story with anime girl standing in front of an animated restaurant scene
What We Like
  • Cute animations.

  • Easy to learn and kid-friendly.

  • Enough nuances to make it interesting for adults.

What We Don't Like
  • Easy to inadvertently make in-app purchases.

  • Getting the game going can involve a lot of waiting.

Happy Mall Story puts you in charge of a simulated mall. It's engaging for children and adults with cute animations and opportunities to upgrade your mall as you play.

You can play this free iPhone game offline at any time without having to use data. When online, upgrades are available and almost too easy to add unless you turn off in-app purchases.

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Best Drawing Game: 2

Geometrical shapes on a gray field in 2 iOS game
What We Like
  • The interface is easy to use.

  • Graphically interesting.

  • Pleasantly challenging.

  • Improved drawing controls since the original version.

What We Don't Like
  • Glitchy, causing users to lose land.

  • Too many ads. 2 is a free and visually interesting offline drawing game for iOS. Conquer territory by drawing boundaries. When played offline, your opponents in the game are AI-generated.

While this game is accessible and engaging to play, it can be glitchy and cause territory loss without notice. The free version also includes many ads.

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Best Designed Game: Old Man's Journey

Old Man's Journey iOS game featuring a sailboat and a blue whale jumping out of the ocean
What We Like
  • Beautiful landscapes and soundtrack.

  • Handcrafted puzzles.

  • Relaxing without time pressure.

What We Don't Like
  • Runs slowly at times.

  • It doesn't work well on older devices.

Old Man's Journey is a puzzle game that centers on the emotional journey of life. This game has beautiful imagery, won the Apple Design Award, and won a French game award: the Emotional Game Award.

This game is free and doesn't put time limits on puzzles, making it a relaxing option for offline play.

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Best Arcade-Style iPhone Game: Subway Surfers

Subway Surfers game for iOS featuring individual on top of a subway train with animated coins in front of her
What We Like
  • Intuitive to play.

  • Regular updates keep the game exciting.

  • The game is free.

What We Don't Like
  • In-app purchases are almost necessary for upgrades.

  • Upgrades make the game much more playable.

Subway Surfers is an arcade-style iPhone game that's a lot of fun. While it's been around for a while, there are many recent updates that make it a lasting favorite.

Updates can make or break a game, and the updates for Subway Surfers help make the game last. It's free to play, but in-app purchases improve playability.

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Best Off-the-Wall Game: Swamp Attack

Scene from Swamp Attack with guy sitting on the porch of a dilapidated house surrounded by crocodiles
What We Like
  • Change between weapons easily by tapping the screen.

  • Over 390 levels to move through.

  • Use over 30 tools to defend your home.

  • The game is free.

What We Don't Like
  • The in-app purchases can get expensive.

  • The game is more difficult without upgrades.

  • It takes a while for life span to recharge once it runs out.

Swamp Attack is probably one of the most off-the-wall yet entertaining games for the iPhone. The point of the game is to defend your home and swamp from the creatures that are out there. Use a variety of weapons, including flamethrowers, to fend off crocodiles, zombies, aliens, and monsters.

This game is free to play, but in-app upgrades can make some levels easier to manage.

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Best Picture Puzzle Game: 4 Pics 1 Word

4 Pics 1 Word depicting four images with water and tiles spelling out water
What We Like
  • The game is regularly updated with new puzzles.

  • It doesn't require registration.

  • Builds concentration skills and focus.

What We Don't Like
  • Many pop-up ads.

  • Only way to remove ads is to upgrade to an ad-free version.

4 Pics 1 Word is a free picture puzzle game that's appropriate for all ages. You'll view four images and guess the one word that unites the images.

While it's not the most challenging game available, it's engaging and valuable as a vocabulary builder for younger players.

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Best Simple Yet Challenging Game: Flow Free

End of one level in the Free Flow iOS game with brightly colored geometrical shapes in the background
What We Like
  • This game is simple yet challenging.

  • Labels are available for those with a color impairment.

  • Developers regularly release updates.

What We Don't Like
  • The in-game pop-ups are disruptive.

  • You can't exit out of ads until they're over.

Flow Free is a simple but appealing free puzzle game. Don't let its simple user interface fool you. As you go up in levels in the game, they can get quite challenging.

The game developers release updates, so you won't run out of variety. The only major downside is the number of ads, which you must watch in full.

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Scene from Criminal Case depicting a mess in a yard and street
What We Like
  • Engrossing; you'll want to see what happens next.

  • There are plenty of scenes to play and investigate.

  • Great game for passing the time.

  • Free to download.

What We Don't Like
  • Energy can take a while to recharge.

  • In-app purchases are heavily advertised.

  • Difficult to advance without using upgrades.

Hidden object games can be enjoyable and compelling, and Criminal Case is one such game. In the game, you join the police department to solve murder cases by searching various scenes.

It's a great choice for passing the time and is free to download, though in-app purchases make play easier.

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