Best free iPhone games 2022

Iphone 12 Hero Cropped
(Image credit: iMore)

The iPhone has grown into an excellent gaming device, especially if you're rocking a more recent model. If you're looking for free iPhone games Apple Arcade is a great place to start, but finding the right game to play, however, can be harder than you think. Now that mobile gaming is growing in popularity there are many games out there to choose from. Even if you know what style of game you're looking for you'll find a wide variety of options.

If the App Store is overwhelming you, don't panic — we're here to help. Save yourself some time downloading, testing, and uninstalling until you find the right game by checking out these free titles. Check out our descriptions and download the ones for you! Don't forget you can bring some more comfort to your game when you grab one of the many great game controllers for iPhone.

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact set the world on fire when it was released and has become a bit of a phenomenon ever since. The free-to-play gatcha RPG puts you in the role of an interstellar traveler who, alongside their twin, has been trapped on the planet of Teyvat. In our review we found that while the gameplay is familiar, and fans of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will quickly see the game's influence on Genshin Impact, the game's RPG elements help it stand apart from the classic adventure game.

The game is seeped in anime visuals and features fully voiced characters, each with their own goals and history that helps drive the plot of Genshin Impact further. With hours upon hours of gameplay at your literal fingertips, cross-play multiplayer, and tons of updates in the works, Genshin Impact is one of the best games available on iPhone.

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Genshin Impact

Explore a massive open world in this epic and beautiful RPG. Collect over 30 unique heroes, with more being introduced often.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Among Us

When Among Us was released in 2018, it didn't make so much as a peep on the charts. Call it one of the greatest videogame comebacks of the year, but Among Us went viral last summer and blew up in popularity. The simple social deduction game found a brand new audience, thanks to Twitch streamers, crossplay multiplayer, and the low, low price of free.

A game of Among Us involves a group of squishy little astronauts working together to complete tasks around the map, while Imposters lurk among the group, picking off players one by one. If a body is discovered or a meeting is called, players will vote on who they think is the Imposter among them. It's like The Thing but way cuter.

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Among Us

Find the Imposter lurking within or die trying. Form alliances, throw around accusations, and try to make it out alive.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Fire Emblem Heroes

Nintendo's foray into mobile gaming has been a wild one. While games like Super Mario Run failed to grab an audience, Fire Emblem Heroes exceeded everyone's expectations. The strategy game proved a hit on the 3DS, the Nintendo Switch, and now on your phone. Fire Emblem Heroes translates the strategy game and all of its rock-paper-scissors gameplay along with the appeal of a gatcha game. Play for a chance at a stronger hero, and you'll want to see them all, as the game features some truly excellent art drawn by a variety of artists.

In our review, we found that while there is "freemium" progression like in many other games, players won't have to spend money to enjoy the vast majority of what's on offer.

With tons of events and consistent support from Nintendo, as well as a story that is just as deep and thrilling as any other mainline Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Heroes packs a lot of content into the palm of your hand.

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Fire Emblem Heroes

Nintendo's hit strategy RPG series comes to phones and tablets with a huge variety of iconic characters to collect.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Call of Duty: Mobile

Love it or hate it, it's no secret that Call of Duty is one of the biggest games ever created, and each entry delivers bigger and better thrills, turning the horrors of war into an entertaining action movie. So it's a no-brainer that the mobile equivalent would be a hit as well — and it is. Call of Duty Mobile manages to translate the fast-paced multiplayer deathmatches to your phone, with intuitive touch controls, high-quality HD graphics, and a ton of fan-favorite multiplayer maps from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops in rotation, as well as the 100-person battle royal that made Call of Duty Warzone a runaway success.

You can customize your layouts and your soldiers to show off in both competitive and social play. Call of Duty might not be for everyone, but those looking for a solid first-person shooter on their phone won't go wrong with this free-to-play installment.

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Call of Duty: Mobile

The most popular first-person shooter comes to phones with all of the bells and whistles you'd expect from the console versions.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Pokémon Go

Years in and over a billion downloads later, Pokémon Go remains one of the most popular mobile games of all time, and for good reason. Niantic and The Pokémon Company teamed up to combine all the fun and nostalgia of the classic Pokémon games with real-world data into a fun and addictive game that has continued to top the charts. Playable from virtually anywhere in the world, your gameplay in Pokémon Go will change based on where you go. The locations for in-game activities are all based on real-world locations, inviting you to explore the world around you through a new lens.

What has really driven the success of Pokémon Go (aside from the near-universal love of Pikachu and friends) is how well Niantic responds to the community. With consistent updates and no end date in sight, there's never been a better time to start your Pokémon adventure.

In our testing of this game, we spent a long time playing it, checking out events, and testing different features. While it's had copycats, nothing matches the original phenomenon.

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Pokémon Go

Explore the real world with Pikachu, Mewtwo, and countless other Pokémon by your side. Catch, hatch, and battle them all to become a Pokémon Master!

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Yokai Dungeon

Yokai Dungeon starts with a simple premise — Yokai have interrupted the lantern festival, and it's up Tanuki, the ghostbusting fox, to handle the invading demons. To squash the Yokai threat, you move objects back and forth across the board to drop on the heads of the demons, collecting coins in the process.

With colorful, charming visuals, randomly generated dungeons, and up to 20 unique heroes to choose from, Yokai Dungeon is a fun, lighthearted game soaked in Japanese Folklore.

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Yokai Dungeon

Fight colorful Yokai demons in this colorful and easygoing dungeon crawler.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Sky: Children of the Light

From the makers of Journey and Flower comes Sky: Children of the Light. If you're familiar with the two aforementioned titles, you'll be on familiar ground here. In Sky, you take control of the titular children as they work to return fallen stars to the heavens, but what makes this adventure different than the others is its emphasis on multiplayer.

It's a beautiful game, and working with players to complete puzzles, unlock doors, and discovering new realms gives the game this sense of awe that thatgamecompany seemingly knows how to wield. It's a stress-free game and one that seems perfect for all types of gamers, especially those who appreciate lovely art direction.

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Sky: Children of the Light

A beautiful and peaceful game, perfect for non-gamers or casual gamers looking for a relaxing time.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Doodle Jump 2

Ah, Doodle Jump. One of the earliest successes on the iPhone, Doodle Jump's simple gameplay, which consists of bouncing up platforms, leading your weird little alien higher and higher into the heavens. A simple game, but as we've seen, simple is often the best, especially when you're making a game for the iPhone.

The sequel is more of the same, updating the visuals for modern devices and also giving you a few more ways to defend yourself from obstacles. There's something so addictive about Doodle Jump's simple gameplay that it's a more than worthy addition to our list.

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Doodle Jump 2

A simple platformer that's simple to learn and difficult to master. Prepare to be hooked for hours at a time.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends is the latest in the long-running Asphalt series, a racing game that has progressively grown from pseudo-simulation to full-on arcade game madness (Sort of like Fast & Furious, if you think about it). Asphalt 9 features a mode called TouchDrive, which turns the game into an on-rails game, similar to an endless runner. In this mode, you're free to drift, hit nitro boost, and even perform crazy stunts. It's a nice mode that never loses the feeling of speed, even if you've only got one hand on the screen.

Of course, there are traditional controls for racing fans, and they work really well. Asphalt 9 manages to maintain a great amount of speed, as is a great racing game on the iPhone. User beware, though, as it's also jam-packed with in-app purchases.

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Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends is a free-to-play racing game that looks and plays great on the phone.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Data Wing

On its surface, Data Wing is an unassuming racer. You slide a white triangle across various tracks, pushing against the track edges to grind for speed, which then shoots you forward at ridiculous speeds. But once you start getting into things, you'll realize that the levels are really the star of the show. You explore different environments where oftentimes your foe is gravity. There are also adventure-type quests where you explore environments in search of an exit.

As you play, you'll also discover an omnipresent narrator, called Mother, who illustrates the greater story unfolding off-screen. Upon first glance, the pseudo racing/adventure game sounds like a mishmash of genres, but they come together brilliantly and create a unique game that can only be played on the iPhone or iPad.

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Data Wing

Race through neon-soaked environments in this story-driven racing adventure.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

The Battle of Polytopia

Strategy games can often translate well onto mobile devices. Replacing your mouse cursor for a finger always felt like a natural progression of things. And you see that best in games like The Battle for Polytopia, a cute strategy game that's perfectly built for quick play sessions. In Polytopia, you have 30 turns to explore, research, and advance your civilization.

Polytopia changes things up by cutting down the time needed to play a game like this, instead offering the player a score at the end of their 30 rounds. The game ends up feeling more like a puzzle, as players have to figure out the best way to dominate the play space before your enemies do. Play online or offline in three different game modes, and enjoy conquering your enemies on the go.

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The Battle of Polytopia

An excellent strategy game that translates the thrill of a Civilization game in 30 turns or less.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Tetris

Dread it. Run from it. Tetris arrives all the same. The original block-dropping game took over the world when it originally launched on the Game Boy after it's start on the PC, and the simple formula of stacking falling blocks into tidy lines is not only a cultural touchstone, it's still pretty addicting.

This version of Tetris features a single-player campaign, as well as private matches, custom themes, avatars, and backgrounds, and Tetris Royale, a 99 player match contest where players compete to be the last one standing. There are a lot of IAPs in this one, but the base game can be enjoyed on its own. It's Tetris.

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Tetris

It's Tetris, what more do you need? This brick-breaking game stands the test of time.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Shadowgun Legends: Online FPS

While you may think of consoles as your first choice for playing a first-person shooter, for something on the go Shadowgun Legends is the one to download. It's a multiplayer, online RPG with regular events and updates to keep things interesting. Team up with up to three friends to defeat bosses or PvP. In addition to the popular online co-op play option, there's a great expansive story campaign as well. 

You get to choose your skills and how you like to play. As you continue to get further in the game, you are rewarded with the, fame system. There are items available for purchase within game but it's not required. On top of all the choices you get to make in how you play this game, it's also a great visual quality. 

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Shadowgun Legends: Online FPS

Team up online and take on a PvP battle directly from your iPhone, or tackle one of the more than 200 missions in campaign mode. Build your character however you choose and see if you can climb the fame ladder.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

The Lord of the Rings: War

This strategy game brings you into J.R.R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth. Players choose a faction, build an army, and form alliances in the battle for the One Ring. You can mingle in the taverns to take on tasks and gain insight. You'll get to customize your strategy and your army to match your play style.

For Lord of the Rings fans, you'll definitely enjoy the work of recreating this world that has gone into the game. The details and controls in this game are very well done and make playing a positive and immersive experience. It plays in seasons lasting two to three months with specific scenarios to complete by the end. This keeps the content fresh and interesting. 

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The Lord of the Rings: War

Choose your faction and explore J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth like never before. Build your army and be the person to come out with the one ring.

Download at: App Store (opens in new tab)

Badlanders

It's the time of the Badlands. Scavenging, raiding, and competing for resources is the way of the times. Players enter the battlefield to get their armor, weapons, and attachments. Grab your gear and keep it away from the other badlanders.

This is a shooter that allows you to customize the way you play. You can make customizations to your weapons. You can choose to be a buyer or seller in the market for the loot you receive in battle. Each season will have different rewards for completing the season missions that you can add to your collection.

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Badlanders

Explore the badlands and take in loot to improve your ability to survive the new world. Customize your weapons, sell or buy new loot, and complete missions for more gear.

Download at: App Store (opens in new tab)

You don't have to spend a penny

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There are plenty of awesome free games for iPhone and iPad if you know where to look. The problem is sifting through all of the horrible free iOS games that are cluttered with ads and reminders to participate in in-app purchases. While the games on this list do offer optional microtransactions, you only have to engage in them if you really want to. 

If you're only going to play one game, we highly recommend you make it Genshin Impact. This open-world RPG has become incredibly popular with millions of players, no small part due to the gorgeous fantasy world, elemental combat system, and large cast of characters. 

Now, if you're looking for something that poses more of a multiplayer challenge, you can't go wrong with Call of Duty: Mobile. Jump into a battle arena with teammates and try to prove that you're the best players on the field. 

Looking for something that gives you more of an in-person social experience? Pokémon Go is all about getting out of the house, going on walks, and participating in Raids with other players. Go to the park with friends and enjoy catching whatever creatures appear on your device.

Samuel Tolbert
Contributor

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance gaming writer who started working for iMore and its sister sites Windows Central and Android Central in July 2019. He handles news, previews, reviews, and exclusive original reporting, and has also been featured on TechRadar.

With a background studying engineering before he shifted his focus to gaming journalism, he's skilled at identifying technical advantages and disadvantages provided by different hardware. If he’s not writing something, he’s off playing video games, spending time with his pets, exercising, or reading. He's also fond of trying to draw things with his iPad.