Best iPhone shooting games

by Simon Sage

We’ve rounded up some of the best shooting games on iPhone for those that always need a target. We’ve got the full gamut here, ranging from simple 2D retro games to detailed first-person shooters that aim to bring rich console experiences to your iPhone.

Ready for the best shooting games out there? Then lock and load!


ARC Squadron: Redux

ARC Squadron: Redux is a freemium on-rails 3D space shooter that plays a lot like the old Star Fox series. Players guide their ship around incoming fire, line up their crosshairs against enemy pilots, and unload special weapons when the time is right. Fantastic boss fights present a lot of challenge, though the regular stream of upgrades will keep you ably equipped. The single-player campaign is lengthy and full of branching optional missions and bonus objectives to tempt perfectionists and overachievers.

ARC Squadron: Redux is a fast, furious, and beautiful sci-fi shooter.

Assassin’s Creed: Pirates

Assassin’s Creed: Pirates is a gorgeous companion game to the AAA console title Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag. Players take command of various seafaring vessels to enjoy some pillaging in the lawless Caribbean. Crewmembers are recruited from the local tavern, each bringing their own unique skills. After plotting a course to the juiciest marks, you get a go at exciting mini-games to trade fire with opposing vessels. The cannons have a firing arc, and you need to lead your targets just a little bit to inflict top damage. Swivel-mounted guns can also target particularly vulnerable parts of a vessel.

Assassin’s Creed: Pirates offers a rowdy free-for-all atmosphere full of guns and booty.

Call of Duty: Strike Team

Call of Duty: Strike Team is a smart mix of first-person-shooter and tactical strategy. In the heat of battle, players can zoom out and coordinate a full squad through precarious missions. There’s an overarching single-player campaign full of political intrigue, and though there isn’t any live multiplayer, you can work climb your way up leaderboards among your friends. Players earn perks and gear as they progress and level up, allowing you to tweak your team to your play style. Though the standard dual-stick control layout is here, an easily accessible snap-to target system keeps things moving, plus gyroscopic controls help with slight adjustments while looking down the crosshairs.

For players that are looking for something more than just run and gun, Call of Duty: Strike Team offers a refreshing mix.

Dead Trigger 2

Dead Trigger 2 continues to be the quintessential zombie-shooting experience on mobile. The graphics are amazing, though the game hardly takes itself seriously - there are lots of tongue-in-cheek references and over-the-top baddies to mow down. This version is a little different in that players now have their very own hideout and a crew that can build stuff for them. The controls have also been streamlined for touch; now you just have to move the crosshairs over a zombie, and if you’re in range, you’ll automatically start shooting.

There are tons of missions and progression to enjoy, and the in-app purchases have been scaled back with the removal of the premium currency - now you can buy and build everything yourself without spending a cent.

Deus Ex: The Fall

Deus Ex: The Fall brings the hugely popular dystopian sci-fi series to mobile. Players control a cyborg mercenary called Ben Saxon who’s on the run from his previous employers, who you might recognize from the previous games. As for controls, The Fall has a great mix of standard dual-joystick and tap-to-move options, which provides a nice balance between precision and ease of use. Though there’s plenty of running and gunning to be had, players can err on the side of subtlety and rely on stealth and hacking abilities to get through each mission. Over time, Saxon upgrades himself with new software and cybernetics with his earnings.

It’s easy to have fun in a gritty future with lots of high-tech toys. Definitely give Deus Ex: The Fall a shot.

Epoch 2

Epoch 2 is an imaginative third-person shooter where players control a humanoid robot working its way through a post-apocalyptic city and blasting through equally armed robots. The hero’s been programmed to protect a princess in a tower and after reaching her in the last game, you’re now tasked with helping her to rebuild. Over time, you earn new bits of scrap that you can bolt to your body for different types of upgrades and weapons. The control scheme is very intuitive, involving a few simple swipes to dive between cover and pick your targets. The jetpack-assisted acrobatics you employ in the process are downright awesome.

For a gritty, visually-polished, finger-friendly shooter, Epoch 2 has you covered.

Major Mayhem

Major Mayhem is fast and simple run-and-gun side-scroller. Players simply tap on ninjas, secret agents, or whoever else the president has commanded you to wipe out, and continue on your mission. There’s some kind of storyline in there about a girlfriend or something, but really, you just tap your targets as they pop out from behind cover and blow them away. Save scientists, kill ninjas, get bigger guns, and save the girl.

It sounds simplistic, but the great cartoon feel, over-the-top storyline, and wide range of unlockable items provide excellent, bite-sized gameplay.

Modern Combat 4

Modern Combat 4 is widely regarded as the best first-person shooter on mobile so far. It’s an unabashed clone of the Call of Duty or Battlefield games you’ll find on PC and consoles, and it manages to do a pretty good job of bringing their best qualities to mobile. You’ll find stellar graphics, deep online multiplayer, lots of unlockable items and achievements, and a fleshed-out single-player campaign. Modern Combat 4 also has excellent support for Bluetooth hardware controllers.

As with most Gameloft titles, you’ll find a sprinkling of microtransaction options here, but for the most part they stay out of the way of gameplay.

Neon Shadow

Neon Shadow is a no-nonsense sci-fi first-person shooter. Players load up on high-tech weaponry and try to blast apart a sprawling ship jam-packed with robots gone haywire. The fast run speed provides lots of lee-way for twitch reflexes to kick in, plus online multiplayer is available (assuming you can find folks to hop in with you).

For fun, senseless run-and-gun, pick up Neon Shadow.

Plasma Sky

Plasma Sky is a vibrant space shooter with a delightful retro feel. From a top-down perspective, players guide a simple ship against waves of alien spacecraft, snatch up the power-ups left in their wake, and chew through challenging bosses. As your ship gains upgrades, the firepower gets pretty impressive, but don’t get too cocky - all it takes is a few stray shots to knock you out of the fight.

Plasma Sky is as much a dazzling light show as it is a faithful testament to old-school space shooters.

Honorable Mentions

Metal Slug X

A ridiculous and challenging retro side-scroller.

PewPew2

A minimal and trippy wireframe dual-stick shooter.

Puk

Bite-sized abstract target practice.

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy

Aerial warfare at its finest.

Zombiewood

A goofy freemium run-and-gun.

Those are just some of our favorite shoot-em-up games on iOS, but what do you have locked and loaded? Let us know in the comments - we’re always looking for great new iPhone shooting games to keep this list up to date.

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