A bit of advice: make sure you think about what kind of game you want, and appreciate that some of them are more ‘session’ titles and some are those that you’d like to pull out and play in an odd five minutes.
That’s important as we’re big advocates of people paying for games on the app portal – they help offset some of the free titles that are funded by in-app purchases.
So if you’re going to pay £5 / $5 for a game, make sure you’ve got a daily commute or enough downtime to give it your attention. The beauty of being able to play an immersive game on the move – something that would have been console quality a few years ago – should never be under-appreciated.
- The best controllers – and compatible games – for your iPhone
Also think about a controller for some titles – while many games don’t support an external device, those that do are often brilliant to play without needing to resort to a touchscreen for interaction.
And just to contradict ourselves: free games with in-app purchases are fine, and often give you a great experience without needing to pay up. However, when you get really good at them you’ll find that you’re constantly told when to stop, in order to regenerate something or get to the next level.
However, if you’ve decided that you love RPG, fighting and strategy games, and like both options that you can dip into and play for hours, we’re here to help. After many trials and tribulations, we arrived at the list you’re about to dive into: the best games you can enjoy on your iPhone today.
New: Schattenspiel ($0.99/99p/AU$1.49)
Pigeon Wings ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)
Pigeon Wings is a deranged side-on racing game, featuring wide-eyed pigeons belting along in tiny planes. The backstory involves a rich nutcase aiming to destroy a city by way of a heavily-armed gigantic flying fortress; the birds race it out to decide who gets the chance to stop him.
The game switches things up between strings of races and occasional battles. In the former, you slipstream rivals, bob and weave through the air by tilting your iPhone, and power up your craft through trophies won in-game.
The shooty bits are brief and intense – a nice change of pace, despite the fact you’ll likely be blown to bits several times before claiming victory.
Should you hanker after something marrying the intensity of ALONE… and the frantic racing of Mario Kart, Pigeon Wings is a must – in fact, you’d be bird-brained to miss it.
Zen Bound 2 ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Zen Bound 2 is a puzzle game of sorts, which has you wrap a length of rope around objects, in order to paint them.
That all probably sounds horribly dull, but it turns out Zen Bound 2 is an engaging, unique, and oddly tactile experience.
The blocky objects on the screen effortlessly shift and turn with a flick or drag, gradually acquiring color as the rope encases them, or blows up paint bombs. The rope obeys gravity, too, enabling you to twist your iPhone as you manipulate the challenge in front of you.
The meditative and somewhat noodly feel is further enhanced by a lengthy soundtrack, and the remastered take released in 2017 ensures the game looks pin-sharp on every size of iPhone. So although Zen Bound 2 might be a game that’s been knocking around for years, it manages to remain distinctive and thoroughly modern all the same.
Sidewords is a word game with a new twist. Each single-screen puzzle has a grid with words along the top and left-hand edges. You use letters from those (at least one from each edge) to create each new word.
On selecting a letter, a line shoots into the grid; where lines from the left and top edges collide you get solid blocks, which display the words you create. Blocks can at any time be tapped to remove them.
The aim is to fill the grid with these blocks – simple early on, but not when you’re staring at a seven-by-seven grid annoyingly full of gaps. At that point, the devious nature of Sidewords becomes apparent.
But this game’s nonetheless also forgiving and relaxing – there’s no time limit, and the vast majority of puzzles are unlocked from the start. There’s replay value here, too, despite the static set-ups, since for each puzzle you can save a solution, clear the grid, and try to solve it in a different way.
Idioctopus features brainless lovesick octopus couples desperate to be reunited. One lurks somewhere in a single-screen maze of walls and hazards. It’s your job to direct their other half in a manner that doesn’t turn them into a seafood snack for a lurking predator.
Your eight-legged lover ambles along automatically, and always turns right when possible. You can therefore to some extent predict their movements, and redirect them using draggable arrow tiles. With its bright colors and noodly guitar soundtrack, it’s all quite relaxing and sedate.
And then you notice the achievements, and the fast-forward button. These are an extra challenge for those who want higher-speed puzzling, having you remember your solution and play it out at speed in the fewest possible moves. It’s a clever and entirely optional twist, transforming Idioctopus into two games in one.
Ellie & Max ($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)
Ellie & Max is a landscape-twisting pathfinding puzzle game that in some ways echoes Monument Valley in its propensity for visual illusion. Here, tiny isometric worlds can be spun, but always appear side-on when stationary.
In two dimensions, previously impassable gaps may suddenly disappear. Your aim is to reunite pet dog Max with his owner, Ellie, within the fewest ‘spins’ and steps possible.
Visually, the game’s a treat, and over time you can collect all kinds of costumes, transforming Max into anything from a wolf to a polar bear. The puzzles are smartly designed too, gradually increasing in difficulty. The lack of an undo is a pity though, for when you inevitably leap into a situation you can’t recover from.
The game does at least provide checkpoints, so you never need start from scratch when halfway through one of the more head-scratching challenges. Quite why Ellie gets lost so often, though, we’ve no idea; perhaps she’s the one that should be on a lead.
Micro Miners ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)
Coming across like an auto-scrolling stripped-back Lemmings, Micro Miners features a team of excitable, tiny miners that toddle along tunnels you dig with a finger. On encountering a deposit of gold, silver or coal, they’ll gleefully hack it to bits with their tiny pickaxes.
At first, this all feels noodly and simple, but Micro Miners soon bares its teeth. You must commit each level’s layout to memory, in order to navigate underground hazards, often splitting and rejoining your little auto-running-team.
Before long, you’re carving complex pathways through the dirt, so you can grab large deposits and huge gems, circumvent lava, and avoid ferocious giant worms that eat anyone daft enough to stray into their path. The result is a fun, sometimes chaotic, and unique iPhone gaming experience.
Typeshift (free + IAP)
Games creator Zach Gage is seemingly on a mission to reimagine all those puzzle games that used to languish only in newspaper pages. With Typeshift, you get something that approximates anagrams smashed into a crossword.
But unlike on paper, the word grid here isn’t static – you drag columns to try and form words in the central row. When every letter has been used, the puzzle is complete.
For free, you get a smallish selection of puzzles, but many more are available via various IAP. If you’re at all into word games, you’re likely to devour them all.
The best of them roll another aspect of crosswords into the mix – cryptic clues. In these brain-benders, you can’t almost brute-force solutions by dragging the columns about and finding weird words – you must figure out what a clue means, eke it from the grid, and after a few of those probably go for a little lie down.
A friendly whale beckons a shipwrecked pirate to leap on its back. So begins their joint adventures, in Run-A-Whale, which is perhaps the iPhone’s most gorgeous endless runner.
Really, endless swimmer is more like it, seeing as you’re a massive aquatic mammal speeding through the sea. You hold the screen to dive and release your finger to surface and leap, grabbing coins in a manner akin to Jetpack Joyride in reverse.
But Jetpack Joyride was never this eye-dazzling, and Run-A-Whale is packed with wonderful moments, from soaring through the air after being blasted from a cannon, to zooming along as a volcano erupts in the distance.
Occasionally, the game irks with its demands – obstacles in succession you have little chance of avoiding, or unskippable tricky missions – but for the most part this is a gem that’s not to be missed.
In this decidedly minimal take on platform gaming, you nurse a trundling square around the insides of a cube, aiming to gobble up all of the other colored squares. This would be simple enough if it wasn’t for gravity rather misbehaving throughout.
In pocus, you see, gravity switches depending on where you fall and the face of the cube you’re currently positioned on. This means walls abruptly become floors, and previously innocuous slabs of black become traps you cannot escape from.
There are 60 levels in all, gradually intensifying in difficulty as you progress. Each of them’s a miniature gem.
Float initially appears to be something of a meditative arcade game. You tap nearby a lily to propel it through minimal landscapes, its movement akin to sliding atop a sleek ice-covered surface.
The flower is fragile – any collision with the rocks that are dotted about, or mysteriously spinning bits of wood, and it disintegrates, forcing you to restart from the most recently passed checkpoint.
In time, you realize there’s an edge underneath the tranquility: the subtle scrolling of the world that urges you onwards; the increasingly tricky sections that prove demanding regarding the precision of your taps. The journey is ultimately fairly short, but it’s satisfying in trying something different, and in its bite-sized nature that’s ideal for mobile.
In Edge, you control a cube that finds itself within a minimal geometric clockwork universe. As the cube trundles about, the blocky world frequently shifts and changes, often thwarting your attempts to find the goal. When you do finish a level, Edge dispassionately awards you a rating, which will probably be rubbish.
If you’ve got steely resolve, you’ll try again to see how rapidly you can speed through each isometric wonderland. If not, you’ll still have a great time exploring the dozens of varied worlds, regularly being surprised at how much imagination can be packed into landscapes comprising only cubes.
And if in either case, you exhaust Edge’s levels, you can start all over again in equally impressive sequel Edge Extended.
The thinking behind Stagehand is to flip platform games on their head. Instead of controlling the character, you control the stage. So as your little chap automatically ambles along, you drag chunks of landscape to give him a clear path, ensuring he doesn’t smack into a wall.
From a visual standpoint, Stagehand feels like the sort of thing Nintendo would be happy to call its own. There’s also a superb soundtrack that tinkles away as you grapple with the weird means of staving off the hero’s untimely demise.
If there’s any criticism, the controls can be a tad awkward, and Stagehand could have been improved with finite designed stages, rather than solely being an algorithmically generated endless runner.
Still, it’s a clever twist on the genre and there’s plenty of polish and entertainment here for anyone wanting to make the Earth move – by dragging it with a finger.
Warlock’s Tower ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)
Although it resembles a dungeon crawler running on a Game Boy, Warlock’s Tower is a cunning turn-based puzzler that plays out across 100 meticulously designed rooms.
The backstory is the titular warlock is in a mood, thinks everyone’s shunned him, and has decided to obliterate the world. Enter Tim the mailman, carrying a letter saying everyone loves the warlock.
But the tower is filled with magic, robbing you of life for every step you take. You must chart a (frequently convoluted) path to each exit, grabbing life-replenishing gems along the way, along with outwitting zombies and flying eyes.
The retro aesthetic can be trying, as can the lack of an undo (mess up and you must start a stage from scratch); however, the puzzles are cleverly designed, often sending you down dead ends and making you properly think before you figure out a solution, leaving you suitably satisfied when you finally do.
Bean Dreams ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Precision platformer Bean Dreams is more bouncing bean than jumping bean. The edible hero, decked out in a natty sombrero, bounds about colorful environments, aiming to grab fruit, free a hidden axolotl (a Mexican salamander, if you didn’t know), and reach the exit without getting impaled. Your part in all this: guiding the bean by prodding left or right on your iPhone.
Bean Dreams offers plenty of replay value – you can spend time learning each small level, but only on committing to memory every nook and cranny can you aim for the tiny number of bounces that unlocks a gold medal award.
And to succeed in grabbing the axolotl or getting all the fruit, you’ll often need to play again, shaking up your approach.
With plenty of variation in its stages, alternate beans with special powers, and devious puzzles lurking within, Bean Dreams is ample proof platform games can work on iPhone – when specifically designed for the system.
Super Mario Run (free + $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99)
Mario on iPhone could have been a disaster – a lazy port of a DS title with virtual buttons. But that’s not very Nintendo. Instead, Super Mario Run rethinks Mario for touchscreen and mobile, in a manner that initially seems reductive – even regressive – but that in time reveals a clever game with surprising depth.
In essence, it’s an auto-runner, where you tap to jump. But this isn’t Canabalt in Mario’s dungarees. Clever level design forces you to master – and subvert – perceived limitations should you want to scoop up all of the coins.
This transforms each of Super Mario Run’s admittedly smallish number of stages into a compelling mix of puzzling, precision timing, and gradual mastery of the game’s tiny worlds.
Undoubtedly, traditionalists will grumble, cheapskates will baulk at the price, and gamers on the go will rightly gripe at Nintendo’s infuriating decision to require an internet connection to play.
But we nonetheless reckon Super Mario Run is a worthy addition to the Mario canon – and a polished, playable title for iPhone.
Touchgrind Skate 2 ($4.99/£4.99/AU$6.99)
A criticism leveled at touchscreens since day one is how they robbed gamers of ‘proper’ controls. Touchgrind Skate 2 highlights how ridiculous such a statement can be, because rather than having you perform tricks on a little on-screen board by manipulating a gamepad, two of your fingers become legs that dictate how the board behaves.
This is not an pick-up-and-play game, though. You really need to work through the tutorials and fully master them, before you try your hand at competition and jam sessions where you’re punished for mistakes, but greatly rewarded for strings of amazing moves.
In a sense, it feels weirdly like the real thing in miniature – which is more than you can say when your hands are fashioned into claws, gripping a traditional console controller.
Eliss Infinity ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
The original Eliss was an early App Store darling, defining the iPhone in terms of multi-touch gaming. Eliss Infinity takes the basic premise of the original and runs with it, cementing itself as a modern-day classic.
The basic aim is to control (move; tear apart; combine) colored planets in order to fit into them into wormholes that sporadically appear. Should planets of different colors collide, your energy reserves are depleted – only replenished by mopping up space dust that appears after successful planet dumpage.
Each of Odyssey mode’s 25 levels demands unique tactics to conquer. Best them all and there’s the manic Infinity mode, ready to tie your fingers in knots.
NBA JAM ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
If you’re a massive basketball fan whose nose will be put out of joint when rosters aren’t entirely accurate, or the game you’re playing is a bit weird, skip this game description and head on to our next entry.
Otherwise, try NBA JAM.
This game’s an updated take on a mid-1990s arcade game, which features weird photorealistic characters playing two-on-two matches. Sportsmanlike behavior’s left in the dressing room, as they muscle each other off the ball, and a big-head version of the visuals is deeply unsettling yet oddly hypnotic.
The controls are a bit of a virtual-joystick-and-buttons nightmare at first, but simple enough to grasp without sliding your fingers all over the place. And before you know it, you’ll be BOOM SHAKALAKAing it with the best of them. (Or hiding from the freaky oversized heads.)
Card games have come a long way since the days when you completed a round of solitaire on a PC and were rewarded with said cards bouncing around the screen a bit. In Solitairica, you’re instead immersed in a fantasy world, where, for some reason, all battles take place by way of card decks. And your reward here is to not get horribly killed by some monster or other.
The solitaire itself is ruthlessly simplified into a game of higher or lower, with you hoping for runs of cards in order to batter down your enemy’s defenses. Meanwhile, they’re lobbing all kinds of attacks at you, from pointy sticks to making cards grow beards that have to be hacked away.
Cards also have energies, which you can collect to enable hurling of spells at your opponent; these can be upgraded during campaigns via the in-game shop.
This all sounds terribly complicated, we’re sure, but really this is a gentle, amusing, entertaining card game with a fantasy twist. And cards with beards.
Mr. Robot ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Based on the hit TV show, Mr. Robot (or Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa, to give it its full name), immerses you in a world of hacking as you accidentally become entwined with a shady group planning a mysterious world-changing event.
It begins with a smartphone you find and quickly pocket, shortly before it’s hacked by its actual owner, the furious Darlene, who then press-gangs you into service. The game plays out by way of a messaging app, your replies selected from canned responses to progress you through the narrative.
This simple structure is similar to the Lifeline games, and there’s a distinct feeling of being shoved along a particular story regardless of what you choose to say. However, it’s exciting bouncing between different message threads, and smart writing throughout infuses the game with palpable tension.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions ($9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99)
Shooting games have more or less split into two factions. The more popular sees the player trudge about as some kind of soldier in a game that wants to be a movie but isn’t; the other harks back to when blasting was all about arcade thrills. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions gleefully revels in everything that’s great about the second of those categories.
This is a neon-infused twin-stick shooter that hurls waves of tiny foes about the screen with merry abandon with a relentless soundtrack urging you on at every moment. But throughout a 100-level adventure mode, Dimensions refuses to stand still. Levels warp into new shapes, and foist unknown challenges on you, such as having the walls close in, or, cheekily, temporarily relieving you of weaponry.
Surprisingly, this all works wonderfully on smaller iPhone screens, and you can even play with a single digit, the game aiming and firing on your behalf for those tiring commuting moments.
Frutorious HD ($0.99/£0.99/AU$1.49)
Slingshotting cartoon characters across your iPhone’s screen is a popular gaming pursuit. But if you’ve become bored rigid of catapulting miffed avians at kleptomaniac hogs (and, let’s face it, who hasn’t?), try Frutorious HD for something that’s somewhat familiar, but with far more spark and heart.
The story is that an evil skull’s turned all the protagonist’s friends into fruits, and so he must bound up vertically scrolling levels, making use of handy levitating platforms and cannons to collect fruit and avoid various nasties ambling about.
It’s a jolly, sweet-natured game with superb hand-made visuals that add plenty of character, and a slightly unhinged edge always lurking just beneath the surface.
Vulture Island ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Harking back to classic console adventures, Vulture Island dumps a trio of friends on an island and then wryly says: “Get out of this one, then.”
Although there’s plenty of leaping about suspended platforms, this isn’t a fast-paced Mario-style effort. Instead, it recalls more thoughtful retro adventures, such as Alex Kidd or even the likes of Dizzy.
The non-linear nature of the game encourages exploration and experimentation, as you switch between characters, discover objects, and figure out where to use whatever you find.
Occasionally, the game is a bit too opaque, and the manner in which screens reset once exited can irk, given that many require multiple lengthy steps to pass.
However, there’s lots to love in Vulture Island’s visuals, ambition, and the devious nature of the puzzles, which will make you feel a bit dumb when you stumble across a solution you really should have figured out far sooner.
Snakebird (free + $3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99 IAP)
Redbird, Greenbird and Bluebird aren’t birds in the conventional sense. They’re ‘snakebirds’ – grumpy worm-like feathered critters with a penchant for fruit. The tiny snag is they happen to live on tiny islands, and getting to the fruit (and then to the exits that propel them to the next fruity collection point) isn’t exactly simple.
In fact, it’s pretty clear the creators of Snakebird have tried their best to drive you to the brink of insanity with this game. Even the earliest levels are hard going, with you twisting and turning your grumpy snakebird, trying to figure out how to wind it around a floating rock, grab an apple, and not end up tumbling into the sea.
Eventually, you’re faced with multiple snakebirds per level, and increasingly deviously designed puzzles involving movable objects, teleporters, and snakebird-impaling spikes. All the way through, Snakebird sits on the edge of sadism, but you’ll feel like a genius when you crack one of its puzzles, only to realize there are dozens more waiting for your subsequent feeble efforts.
We should hate the game, but Snakebird is superb – a properly brain-mashing puzzler that drives you to despair, but keeps you coming back for more.
Bringing together the basic mechanics behind dating app Tinder and the decision-making involved in ruling an ancient kingdom(!), Reigns is an easy-to-grasp but surprisingly deep quick-fire strategy effort.
On each step of your regal journey, you respond to demands and requests by swiping left or right, thereby making distinct decisions. The consequences of each action may affect one or more of the church’s support, the love of the people, the strength of your army, and the size of your gold reserves. If any of these falls too low, chances are you’ll soon be an ex-king.
But death is not the end. Die and you play on as your heir, often finding yourself faced with similar problems, and perhaps taking a different path that time around. Underpinning this swipe-based royal oddness are dozens of side missions designed to propel your lineage onwards.
We suspect Reigns might lack longevity, palling once you’ve played through enough times to crack the missions; but in the short and medium term, it’s a ludicrously compelling, novel and hugely entertaining title that deserves your attention.
Goo Saga ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)
When the hero of your platformer is an elastic blob named Goo, the puzzles and interactions you have with your surroundings can get very interesting.
Goo can also upgrade his abilities and stats by collecting crystals throughout each level of Goo Saga, each of which features beautiful cutscenes and an atmospheric soundtrack. Plus, you can even make your own levels and share them with the world if you’re feeling that creative.
Fold+ is a smart puzzler that requires you to fold or expand shapes in order to finish each level with just one block of each color. Some shapes will drag others along when you fold them, so you need to plan out each move to ensure your last move gets you the desired result.
This puzzler gets bigger and more complicated as you play its 160 levels, so just relax and concentrate.
>> Download: Fold+ – Bulkypix
LEGO Jurassic World ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Relive the action and excitement of all four of your favorite dinosaur films but with some of that familiar LEGO charm and humor in LEGO Jurassic World.
Play through key moments in the films and control your favorite characters, each with their own unique abilities that make them invaluable during certain missions. You can also play as some familiar dinosaurs or make your own by splicing DNA you’ll pick up on your adventure.
Retro City Rampage DX ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Take a trip back to the ’80s in Retro City Rampage DX, a game that gives you an entire 8-bit open-world to discover with various missions to complete. Steal cars, beat up thugs who want your money, or take up some part-time gigs for extra cash.
Plenty of arcade challenges, weapons, and customization options give you full control of your experience and its catchy soundtrack will keep you hooked.
Chameleon Run ($1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99)
Fast and colorful, Chameleon Run is an autorunner that is sure to sharpen your reflexes. You’ll need to think fast and tap the screen to swap colors and match that of the platform you’re about to jump on or else you’re dead.
Increasingly difficult levels further challenge you to pick up various collectibles and complete them with certain restrictions. Collect them all and you’ll unlock even more hidden trials – and we’re really digging the impressive visuals on offer with this one.
Love You To Bits ($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)
Love You To Bits tells the adorable story of a boy who goes out into the far reaches of space to find pieces of his beloved robot girlfriend after she gets blown to bits. Each planet you visit is a compact-sized that you must solve it in order to retrieve a missing part of your significant other.
Assassin’s Creed Identity ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Assassin’s Creed Identity lets you create your own assassin and play missions in sandbox-like worlds of past games. Each mission gives you objectives to complete and employs tried-and-true gameplay like blending into crowds, parkour action, and distractions to ensure you get your mark and make it out alive. Gorgeous visuals, smooth animations, and classic series staples are a joy to see and play on mobile.
Stellar Wanderer ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Explore the far reaches of space. exploiting its resources or dominating its colonies in Stellar Wanderer. Customize your ship and gameplay style to your liking, upgrading with materials you find along the way. Choose your profession – fighter, trader, tank, engineer – and defeat other space pirates to open up areas for you to mine and discover.
Shadow Blade: Reload ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
An impressive and polished platformer, Shadow Blade: Reload follows the story of Kuro as he runs, wall-jumps, and slashes enemies on his mission to save the world from darkness. Each gorgeous level will test your ninja and platforming abilities with its traps, and obstacles requiring finesse and timing to overcome.
Twofold inc. ($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)
Twofold Inc. may look perplexing at first, but once you get your hands on this curious puzzler, you’ll be hooked. Each time you play, you’ll be given a grid of colored tiles and a few “requests” you need to complete by matching several tiles of the same color. The idea is to complete as many requests as possible before you run out of moves. Match tiles and keep an eye on your available moves as you put your logic skills to the test.
Circa Infinity ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Leap into concentric circles in Circa Infinity, a platformer that’s as dazzling as it is dizzying. Each level requires you to get deeper inside all the spinning circles, but you need to jump at just the right moment to actually reach the next one. On top of that, demonic enemies soon appear within each circle. See if you can complete each level without dying once.
Dungelot: Shattered Lands ($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)
Tap your way through dozens of dungeons in the roguelike Dungelot: Shattered Lands. Each room you travel to requires you to tap its paths to uncover keys, treasure, or even monsters to battle. The objective is to make it to the exit in one piece but chances are you’ll die and try again until you get there. Its addictive format and leveling up features are sure to keep you coming back for more.
The Westport Independent ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
The Westport Independent is essentially a censorship simulator that lets you see what the effects your choices in running a newspaper have on society. Will you choose to leave out the less favorable details from your front page story or will you lambast the Loyalist Party in the stories you publish? Your employees will be affected by what you publish and so will your country and its citizens.
Bears of all shapes and sizes will make you smile as you spell words with the letters on your screen in Alphabear. Each time you make a word, bears will populate your board and grow in size the more letters you use around them. The bigger the bear at the end of your game, the more points you score. Use helpful bear buddies you unlock to give you bonus points as you play through an endless array of word challenges.
Does Not Commute (free)
Does Not Commute is a clever game that combines driving and puzzle elements to provide you with a unique and suspenseful experience. Each chapter requires you to drive a number of quirky commuters to their destinations, and once you do, the path you just made is saved and replayed when you control the next vehicle. You don’t have much time either, so you’ll need to avoid crashing and plan your paths carefully to succeed.
Final Fantasy VII ($15.99/£15.99/AU$24.99)
A game needing no introduction to console players, Final Fantasy VII lets you dive into the city of Midgar and join Cloud, Tifa, and a whole party of classic heroes on a fight to save the planet from a villain named Sephiroth. This timeless JRPG now comes with mobile-friendly controls and even some nifty cheats for those who might have beaten the game a few times before and simply want to relive the moments everyone is still talking about.
Game of Thrones (free + IAP)
The fate of House Forrester rests in your hands in this Game of Thrones episodic series. Enjoy a gripping storyline with plot twists around every corner as you play as characters trying to keep their family strong and united. The choices you make will have lasting consequences and repercussions, so be sure to play your cards right. But as it is with any Game of Thrones episode, tragedy is inevitably followed by more tragedy.
Hitman GO (US$4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Square Enix would have been on a hiding to nothing converting its free-roaming 3D game to touchscreens, and so it’s great to see the company do something entirely different with Hitman GO. Although still echoing the original series, this touchscreen title is presented as a board game of sorts, with turn-based actions against clockwork opposition. You must figure out your way to the prize, without getting knocked off (the board). It’s an oddly adorable take on assassination, and one of the best iOS puzzlers.
Horizon Chase ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 IAP)
Time was racing games were all about ludicrous speed, gorgeous graphics, and the sheer rush of weaving through a sea of cars to the finish line. Horizon Chase briefly reverses back to such halcyon days, grabs the best bits from the likes of Lotus and Top Gear, before zooming back to the present as a thoroughly modern arcade racer.
It looks gorgeous, with some stunning weather effects, and an odd but pleasing low-poly roadside-object style; it sounds great with veteran games musician Barry Leitch on soundtrack duties; but most importantly, it handles perfectly, and is a joy until the very last track.
Lara Croft GO ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Following in the footsteps of Hitman GO, which astonishingly managed to transform that series into an adorable board game, Lara Croft GO reworks the adventures of the world’s most famous tomb raider. It’s another turn-based affair, with lashings of atmosphere, finding Lara carefully working her way past traps crafted by an ancient civilisation with a penchant for blocky design and elaborate moving parts.
There are also lots of snakes and deadly lizards about, which she’s quite keen on shooting in the head. The five chapters are quite brief, but savour the game rather than blazing through, and you’ll find something that merges early Tomb Raider’s sense of adventure and solitude, Monument Valley-level beauty, and bite-sized touchscreen gaming that’s perfect for iPhone.
Lumino City ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Beautiful to look at and even more amazing to play, Lumino City is a puzzler that’s also an adventure into a world of magic and color. Play as a Lumi, who ventures into the puzzling city following her grandpa’s kidnapping and discovers people in need of her help.
Featuring paper-like visuals, the city is filled with unique puzzles for you to find and solve and is sure to charm and invite you in every step of the way.
Power Hover ($3.99/£3.99/AU$5.99)
Power Hover is an impressive action game that takes you through a beautiful world to recover a village’s stolen power. Hover through deserts, oceans, and highways, and grind on rails as you make your way to the finish line, chase down baddies, or play through arcade-style boss runs and challenge your friends for the best score. Collect dropped batteries to unlock even more gorgeous and thrilling levels.
Super Hexagon ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
Ah, Super Hexagon. We remember that punishing first game, which must have lasted all of three seconds. Much like the next – and the next. But then we recognised patterns in the walls that closed in on our tiny ship, and learned to react and dodge. Then you threw increasingly tough difficulty levels at us, and we’ve been smitten ever since.
The Room Three ($4.99/£4.99/AU$7.99)
Featuring more than just boxes to examine, The Room Three expands the format of the original just enough to create a uniquely tactile experience that definitely pulls you into the many nooks and crannies you’ll be entering to solve. Gorgeous box puzzles still play an important role in the game, but many other clever logic games are sure to tickle your brain and condition you to look closely at everything that could turn out to be a puzzle. Three’s a charm indeed.
You Must Build A Boat ($2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49)
It’s always great when a savvy developer rethinks a genre and comes up with something that feels fresh. EightyEight Games welds auto-running to match-three in You Must Build A Boat.
Deft fingerwork must be married with careful timing, matching keys as the hero approaches locked chests, or swords at the moment an incoming enemy prepares to get all stabby. Get shoved off of the left-hand side of the screen and you’re told YOU WIN!, because every step potentially adds to your coffers.
There are missions to complete, abilities to power-up, and a cheeky sense of humour that sets the title apart from its frequently comparatively po-faced contemporaries.
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