Every year, a ton of new iPhone games flood the market. Every year, developers everywhere hope to capture your attention with their new projects. Every year, most of these games go unnoticed and unappreciated.
Make this year a bit different. There’s an incredible amount of iPhone and iPad games out there that you may very well fall in love with. Rather than dare try them all, why not just take our word on which ones are the ones that you can’t go without. Hey, let’s face it, you’ve been playing Temple Run for far too long. It’s time to try something new.
That’s why we present to you the best iPhone games of 2018.
Donut County is pretty simple even by mobile game standards. The gameplay almost exclusively consists of you controlling a hole that has to swallow things to become larger. Clear all the obstacles on a map, and you move on. It’s undeniably fun, but on its own, the gameplay isn’t much.
What elevates Donut County is its humor and personality. The cute and colorful world of Donut County harbors a surprisingly dark and humorous story that will keep you glued to the simple, yet satisfying, gameplay.
Donut County isn’t just one of the best mobile games of the year, it’s one of the best game, period.
More often than not, it’s enough if a mobile game has simple, addictive, and surprisingly deep gameplay. That’s basically the holy trilogy of mobile game design.
With its side-scrolling snowboarding gameplay, Alto’s Odyssey checks all of those boxes. While it’s not that challenging, there’s something satisfying about perfecting your technique in this game. Even if that wasn’t the case, it’d be easy to recommend Alto’s Odyssey on the strength of its visuals and soundtrack alone. This is one of those games that puts you in a state of bliss.
Alto’s Odyssey is quite simply one of the easiest games to recommend to anyone.
Gorogoa actually came out near the end of last year, so there’s a very good chance that many people missed it. Quite frankly, it would be a shame if this game continued to be overlooked.
It’s hard to describe Gorogoa. It’s kind of like puzzle in the form of a graphic novel. As you assemble and complete the games’ various pages, you gradually unlock a strangely compelling story that will inspire you to complete each of the game’s challenges that much quicker just to see what happens next.
Don’t be put off by how weird Gorogoa is. It’s a simply addictive game that’s also surprisingly smart.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Castle of Illusion was somewhat overlooked when it was released on the Genesis, and it was somewhat overlooked when it received a rough mobile release. Now, though, the game is optimized for a variety of devices and remains a must play.
Castle of Illusion is basically one of the best Mario games you’ve probably never played. This classic 2D platformer retains all of the golden era of the genre. On top of that, you get some re-imagined (and surprisingly good) modern visuals that look great on modern devices.
There aren’t enough great platformers on iPhone, but Castle of Illusion goes a long way towards filling that void.
You can’t run from Fortnite. You can’t escape Fortnite. Fortnite has taken over the gaming world in a way that few other recent games could have ever dreamed of. Now, you can even play Fortnite on your phone.
The mobile version of Fortnite is frankly better than it has any right to be. It’s rare to see a competitive game designed for PC make such a successful jump to mobile, but this insanely popular battle royale title pulls it off well.
There are many good reasons why Fortnite is so popular, and there are few good reasons not to give this free game a try.
There was a time when PUBG was the most popular battle royale game in the world. That time was before Fortnite was released.
Despite a slight drop in popularity, PUBG has more than enough to offer for fans of a more “realistic” and less cartoony battle royale game. The draw of PUBG has always been its methodical gameplay and incredibly tense matches. To this day, PUBG boasts some of the most intense competitive matches in any game.
The mobile version of PUBG isn’t quite as refined as the mobile version of Fortnite, but it’s still one of the better mobile titles out there.
Looking for a classic role-playing game along the lines of the old Final Fantasy titles? Well, aside from the mobile versions of those games, Battleheart 2 is one of your best bets.
Battleheart 2 doesn’t really have much of a story to write home about, nor is it obsessed with offering legendary characters that you’ll never forget. Instead, it’s really all about the almost rhythmic form of RPG gameplay. It’s incredibly addictive to expand and customize your party as you defeat an increasingly strong series of monsters.
Battleheart 2 takes the best parts of classic RPGs and reshapes them into an addictive mobile game.
Fair warning: Hello Stars is described as one of the most effective time killers on iPhone. In other words, you’ll want to play this one only when you have time to spare.
This puzzle game requires you to navigate a ball from one end of the course to another. That probably sounds as easy as games get, but Hello Stars presents quite the challenge thanks to some surprisingly tricky gravity-based gameplay that makes it difficult to discover how to overcome certain obstacles.
Hello Stars is an effective brain teaser that’s just simple enough to ensure that you’ll have trouble putting it down.
If you ever want to feel impressed by just how far mobile games have come in recent years, just give Shadowgun Legends a shot.
Shadowgun Legends has been described as the Destiny of mobile games. In other words, it’s a massively multiplayer shooter that hooks you with its simple and satisfying action and the ability to acquire an increasingly better series of gear. The grind for better equipment may not sound like much fun, but it’s hard to put down a game like this that makes it feel like you’re constantly making progress.
Shadowgun Legends is a great game for anyone that wants a deeper mobile experience.
We’re cheating here a bit as Mushroom 11 has been around for a few years. However, its recent upgrade to iPhone X is more than enough reason to revisit this brilliant game.
Mushroom 11 is a 2D platformer, but it’s not like any other 2D platformer you’ve ever played. In it, you play a blob of unknown origins that must work its way through a post-apocalyptic world in order to survive. Sound strange? It is, but there’s also a strange charm to the game’s dark premise and wonderful design.
This genuinely smart and challenging game feels right at home on larger screens.
Reigns: Game of Thrones
The original Reigns is a modern mobile masterpiece that everyone needs to play. Once you’ve done that, or even if you haven’t, be sure to check out the brilliant Reigns: Game of Thrones.
This hit title combines Reigns basic gameplay (a Tinder-like system of swipes) and the world of Game of Thrones to offer something rather remarkable. Reigns: Game of Thrones sees you choose-your-own-adventure while interacting with famous Game of Thrones characters.
The surprisingly deep stories that your choices weave are almost as compelling as the addictive swipe-based gameplay that weirdly leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Simple and addictive mobile games are nice, but if you’re looking for something a bit more impactful, you need to download Florence.
Florence is the story of an aimless young woman who finally finds love and must navigate the perils of a relationship. That may not sound like the basis of a very exciting game, but Florence’s story is so heartfelt, eventful, compelling, and genuine that you’ll find it hard not to become swept up in it all.
Florence’s gameplay sequences may be short and simple, but there’s no wasted motion in this game. It’s a triumphal experiment in storytelling.
There have been many Sim City-like mobile games over the years, but Pocket City stands out in the way that it manages to take the best of what came before and make it feel at home on a mobile device.
Pocket City tasks you with the somewhat daunting goal of building the perfect city. That may sound like a lot to process, but the brilliance of this game lies in the way that it simplifies the best city builder concepts without sacrificing much depth.
This is the kind of mobile game that you can play in 15-20 minute bursts for months to come.
Old School Runescape may not have a very catchy name, but it certainly isn’t a case of false advertising.
Runescape was one of the internet’s first gaming obsessions. A precursor to games like World of Warcraft, this admittedly rough looking game packs hours, and hours, and hours of incredibly addictive role-playing gaming. It’s one of the deepest games of its kind, and now you can fit the entirety of the original experience in your pocket. That’s pretty cool.
Don’t let its age or graphics confuse you. Runescape is a masterpiece that remains as compelling as ever.
Tesla vs. Lovecraft
Sometimes, you’ve just got to appreciate when a developer decided to throw all logic to the wind and deliver something that is absolutely bonkers. Tesla vs. Lovecraft is that game.
This game’s ludicrous and fantastic story pits famous inventor Nikola Tesla against the creations of horror mastermind, H.P. Lovecraft. What begins as just an absurd premise quickly becomes something that’s surprisingly compelling. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the game’s top-down arcade shooter gameplay is shockingly refined and undeniably satisfying.
You might decide to download this game for a laugh, but don’t be surprised if it becomes your go-to for some time.
The roguelike genre (a series of games defined by their incredible difficulty, permanent deaths, unlockables, and replayability) is the home of some of the most addictive games of the last several years. Trigger Heroes so happens to be one of the best roguelikes available on mobile.
This cartoony top-down shooter is a game that you never really “beat.” Instead, the allure lies in the way it allows you to play through the adventure multiple times in order to make a little progress and unlock new characters and items.
Trigger Heroes simple controls, fantastic gameplay, and incredible depth make it well-worth a free download.
There are many reasons why Tetris remains one of the best games ever made all these years later. It’s the type of game you can play forever and perhaps never really truly master.
We’re not saying that Evergarden is the next Tetris, but it’s also not that far off. This puzzle game sees you combine various plants in order to advance through a forest and unlock new areas. The brilliance of this game lies in its strange gameplay that requires you to think several moves ahead, but never feels too taxing.
This is quite simply one of the best mobile puzzle games out there.
There’s no shortage of great mobile action games out there (we’ve named quite a few of them already), but even the best mobile action games can feel like they’re missing something that extra layer of depth that makes them great.
Barbearian doesn’t have that problem. This hack-and-slash title is, at its core, a fantastic action-RPG that is loaded with nuances, gameplay depth, and plenty of reasons to keep playing. At the core of this all, though, is a fantastic action system that is intuitive yet takes some time to master.
Barbearian is more expensive than your average mobile game, but there’s never any question as to where your money went.
From one bear to another, let’s look at one of the most compelling and entertaining word puzzle games you can download today.
Alpha Bear is a kind of twist on the Scrabble formula. The game requires you to mix and match letter tiles in order to form words on a grid-based board. Completing words and boards earns you new bears who can modify the game in some way. The base puzzle gameplay is certainly intriguing, and the act of collecting bears is an oddly compelling incentive to keep playing.
This is an incredible game for all ages that deserves some love.
Helix Jump is a game all about guiding a ball to the bottom of a tower. That’s it. That’s pretty much the whole game. There’s not much here in the way of gimmicks or tricks.
Instead, Helix Jump makes it on this list by virtue of its addictive gameplay and brilliant level design. Think of it as an advanced take on games like Doodle Jump. The fun comes through working your way through an increasingly difficult series of obstacles as well as the heartbreak of losing right when you think you’ve found your rhythm.
There’s really no reason to not download this game.