There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of games available in the App Store. I’ve played tons of them over the years. Some of those games eventually ended up getting deleted, or moved to the last few pages of my games folder, where they remain for long car or plane rides.
However, there are a few games that have remained on my iPhone or iPad’s Home screen for literally years now. Even long after their launch, I still launch these games regularly, play them, and thoroughly enjoy them. Here are my picks for best iPhone and iPad games of all time:
I remember playing Tiny Wings when I owned an iPhone 4. I still play it at least once a week. It actually sits outside my games folder on my second Home screen for easier access.
I love every aspect of Tiny Wings from the colorful landscapes to the simple gameplay and soothing music that goes with it. It’s an easy game to pick up and play, but not so easy to put down.
If I had to classify Tiny Wings, I’d call it an endless runner. You get goals you have to meet in order to “nest up” and get a higher multiplier. Those things may involve getting so many cloud touches in one run, or hitting a certain island with no fever mode.
Tiny Wings is entertaining for kids and adults alike. If you want a game that you’ll find yourself still picking up years later, Tiny Wings is a solid bet.
- $0.99 – Download
If there’s one game that’s been installed on my iPhone longer than Tiny Wings, it’s got to be Doodle Jump. I remember wasting countless hours with my brother competing for a higher score. Seriously, we would sit next to each other, not say a word, and be completely absorbed into Doodle Jump.
It’s also one of those games that still receives updates years later. From aliens to Easter bunnies, Doodle Jump is constantly changing, releasing new versions, and adding more monsters and obstacles to overcome.
It’s very much an endless runner and has remained one of my favorites for almost as long as I’ve owned an iPhone… almost.
There are many variations of Threes available on the App Store, but nothing beats the original. It has a great soundtrack, awesome sound effects, and can easily provide hours of entertainment for anyone who can count.
The main objective of Threes is to get the highest number cards you can on the board by combining like cards and adding the 1s and 2s to make, you guessed it, 3s. If the board fills up and you have no more moves, game over.
I seriously suck at Threes and can’t come close to many of my friend’s scores in GameCenter, but that doesn’t take the fun out of it.
- $2.99 – Download
Monument Valley is hands-down one of the most gorgeous and immersive game play experiences available on the iPhone and iPad. Everything from the soundtrack to the storyline will intrigue you from start to finish.
It’s not often that I find myself wanting to play through a game again, but I’ve done this more times than I can count with Monument Valley. It relaxes me and I absolutely love it.
In Monument Valley, you play the role of Ida, the silent princess. Your sole job is to navigate her through a barrage of breathtakingly beautiful puzzles, all while evading the mysterious crow people.
Whether on a noisy plane or in a bustling cafe, I love nothing more than launching Monument Valley, sticking in a pair of headphones, and zoning out. (Yes, it’s that much better with headphones.)
- $3.99 – Download
I’ve alway been a sucker for word games and have went through many over the years including Words with Friends, Scrabble, and several others. Word games that are unique are more likely to hold my attention, and Letterpress definitely fits that bill.
Once you start a game against an opponent you’ll both be presented with the same board of letters. The object is to form valid words using the letters you’re given. For each tile you use, you’ll get a point. But it gets trickier than that. Once all the tiles have been used the game ends, and whoever has the most wins. There are also little caveats that make Letterpress even more entertaining.
If you consider yourself a connoisseur of words, Letterpress is definitely a game worthy of your hard earned fun dollars.
- Free w/ one time IAP – Download
I discovered Smash Hit about three years ago and it’s since been a staple in my games folder. As you can tell, I have a thing for endless runners with a twist.
In Smash Hit, you literally get to run around breaking glass with metal balls. Yeah, seriously. When you’re out of balls, the game is over. The object is to get as far as you can.
As you progress, you’ll hit checkpoints. If you pay for the one time in-app purchase, you’ll be able to start from a checkpoint as well as activate a few additional game modes.
Whenever I’m bored and no other game sounds appealing, there’s always Smash Hit, and it’s been my go-to for a long time. If you like endless runners, you’ll love this one.
- Free w/ one time IAP – Download
LIMBO tells the story of a boy who desperately wants to find out what happened to his sister. To do this you’ll have to help him work his way through puzzles, find objects in the shadows, and look for clues.
It’s an eerily beautiful world and I enjoy every minute of exploring it. This is another one of those games, like Monument Valley, that is best played with headphones on. Not only because it immerses you fully into the experience, but because you may miss sounds that are key to you finding your next clue.
You haven’t fully experienced iOS gaming until you’ve played through LIMBO at least once.
- $4.99 – Download
Cut the Rope
Whenever I want to sit down and decompress with a game that works my brain a little, I almost always end up launching one of the many games in the Cut the Rope series. While the original game will always hold a special place, the sequels have all been equally as fun to play through. I’m currently making my way through their newest chapter, Cut the Rope: Magic.
For those not already familiar, Cut the Rope is based around Om Nom, an adorable frog-type creature that loves candy. In each level you’ll need to find a way to feed Om Nom candy, while collecting as many stars as you can in each level (for a higher score). In many instances there is more than one way to solve a level, making repeat game play possible.
The only disappointment you’ll ever receive from a Cut the Rope game is the feeling you get when you realize you’ve come to the end and have no more levels to play.
Plants vs Zombies
I played Popcap games for years online on my Mac, and before that, my PC. Plants vs Zombies isn’t new by any means, but’s just as much fun as I remember. I’ve played through the original game many times on my iPhone and iPad and enjoy the sequel as well, even though the original will always hold a special place with me.
For anyone not familiar with the PvZ franchise, you basically have one task: defend your yard and your house from daily zombie attacks. How do you do this? By planting a wide array of defensive plants in your yard. Everything from pea shooters to corn cob launchers, you have to do whatever it takes to keep the zombies as far away from your house as possible. If they get past your plants, game over.
No matter how old you are, everyone loves a light-hearted take on a zombie invasion. If you don’t already have PvZ installed, stop what you’re doing and download it right now.
- Plants vs Zombies for iPhone – $0.99 – Download
- Plants vs Zombies for iPad – $0.99 – Download
- Plants vs Zombies 2 – Free w/ IAP – Download
Your vote for best iPhone and iPad games?
Just like every other genre in the App Store, games revolve around personal preference. As you can tell, I tend to lean towards endless runners and puzzle games.
Now I’d love to know what you’re all time favorite games are for iPhone or iPad. Be sure to let me know in the comments!