The edge-to-edge display of the new iPhones are absolutely stunning and make them an excellent choice for gaming. With the seemingly endless amount of games you can get on the App Store, there is bound to be something for everyone. Whether you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, a casual player, or anything in between, there are amazing iPhone games just a download away. Here are some of the best iPhone games you can grab right now.
A gacha-based open world RPG, Genshin Impact gives you the role of an interstellar traveler who, alongside their twin, has been trapped on the planet of Teyvat, a world full of gods and monsters. Build teams of four elementally aligned heroes to explore the world, defeat monsters, and uncover the mysteries of Teyvat's history.
This game is bright and colorful with a world comparable in scale to what we mention seeing in our The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review, and much of this world has yet to be revealed, promising players many, many major updates before it can all be explored. This beautiful world is really enhanced on the beautiful screens of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro noted in our reviews. What really drives this game though is the cast of compelling and fully-voiced characters, each with their own complex history that weaves in and out of the main plot, as well as the histories of the other characters.
Genshin Impact already has over 150 hours of gameplay to complete despite only the first two nations being unlocked. Also available on Android, PC, and PlayStation, it also supports cross-platform play with fantastic multiplayer options, including frequent events which provide even more gameplay for those who've completed the currently available quests.
Explore a massive open world in this epic and beautiful RPG. Collect over 30 unique heroes with more being introduced often.
Five years in and over a billion downloads, Pokémon GO remains one of the most popular mobile games of all time. 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, like small shops, museums, and landmarks, inviting you to explore the world around you through a new lens. Even the time of day and weather in the real world can impact what Pokémon you encounter and how well your own Pokémon perform.
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. At the start of a global pandemic that ought to have made playing Pokémon GO extremely difficult, Niantic reformated much of the gameplay, including Pokémon GO Fest and Pokémon GO Community Day. Niantic really knocked it out of the park with this one!
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!
Among Us is at its core a very simple game. A crew of up to ten players are each given a handful of tasks to complete on their space ship or on an alien planet. However, at least one of the crew is an imposter, a monstrous alien set on killing the crew. If the imposter can kill the crew before the crew can agree on who they are (and eject them into space) they win. If the crew can oust the imposters or complete their tasks before they're outnumbered, the crew wins. Like a sci-fi game of Clue.
The simplicity of this game is what makes it so fun. Each match takes less than 15 minutes, making it the perfect party game, but you can also play with random players from around the world.
Your crew has an important job to do as you explore space and alien planets, but be careful! There's an imposter among us! You definitely want to find them before they find you!
Super Mario Run
If anyone knows how to make a great game, it's Nintendo, but rarely does the megalith directly produce mobile games. Super Mario Run is one of a small handful of games Nintendo has available on iOS and was the first mobile game with Mario. Built on the basic side-scrolling fun of the classic Super Mario Bros. with modern graphics and loads of fun new ways to play, it's easy to see why it remains one of the top 20 mobile games of all time. You can even link your Super Mario Run account to your My Nintendo Account to earn tons of Platimum Points every day which you can exchange for cool rewards.
If you get stuck, be sure to check out our complete Super Mario Run guide!
All the side-scrolling fun of a classic Mario Bros. game on your iPhone, Super Mario Run tasks you with collecting coins, smashing blocks, and stomping on baddies as you race towards Bowser's castle to rescue Princess Peach!
Beautiful art design mixed with a rich, calming soundtrack makes Alto's Odyssey stand out in the ocean of endless runner games on the App Store.
You'll join Alto, a llama herder, on his snowboard as he slides down mountain terrains around the world. The game includes a challenge system and a plethora of unlockable characters, making it entertaining every time you load it up. Plus, Zen mode lets you fly down the highest mountains far and wide without losing points for crashing. You can practice your jumps with beautiful dynamic weather and lighting, mixed with the most relaxing music you've ever heard. Alto's Odyssey is definitely one of the best iPhone games ever.
Alto's Odyssey has you snowboarding down sand dunes and other hilly terrain as you perform flips, grinds, and try not to crash in infinite zen.
If you like Katamari Damacy but are looking for a new story (something that makes a little more sense), check out Donut County. It's all about rascally raccoons and their insatiable need to collect garbage (and anything else they can get their hands on). As you visit poor, unsuspecting residents of Donut Country, you'll suck up everything they own into your bottomless hole. Some items, when combined, will produce some pretty spectacular results.
Control a hole and suck up everything that stands in your way in this hilarious and wacky puzzle game.
Oceanhorn is the closest thing to a real Zelda game you can play on your iPhone right now, and it's one of the best iPhone games out there. Although Ocheanhorn is years old, it remains one of the best games to play on your iPhone, especially now that it's optimized for the iPhone 11 line and beyond.
With colorful graphics, a fun combat style, and challenging puzzles, this adventure RPG feels like a console title. When you're playing it with an MFi game controller, it's easy to forget you're even playing a mobile game — it's that good.
It's got a pretty lengthy story, meaning it will keep you entertained for hours on end. Plus, it's a universal app, meaning you can play this title on the big screen with an Apple TV, which is something I highly suggest.
Oceanhorn is like having Zelda on Apple devices. Embark on a colorful and challenging journey filled with challenging enemies and puzzles that really make you think.
Into the Dead 2
Into the Dead 2 improves on just about every aspect of the first game, and delivers a robust and exciting gameplay experience.
Instead of being an endless runner where you're only competing to top your own high score, the game has added a narrative and some progression to the run and gun gameplay. The story is relatively simple: you play as a man named James, who gets into a car accident in the middle of the road while trying to get back to his wife, Helen, and his daughter, Maggie. Of course, James is immediately swarmed by zombies forcing him to run and shoot his way to safety. Armed with a handgun, a walkie-talkie, and a strong desire to return home, James starts running through the hordes of zombies. While it may be a pretty simple story, the voice acting is surprisingly well done, and as I have been playing through the story, I find myself invested in getting James back to his family.
Gameplay overall hasn't changed much from the first game, which is more of a blessing than a curse. You'll automatically run through the wilderness that's filled with zombies, needing to move left and right to avoid getting eaten alive or tapping on the screen to shoot your equipped weapon.
The addition of a story mode and a more prominent in-game progression scale has given the shoot-em-up zombie runner a breath of fresh air, making it a delight to play. The visuals and sound are absolutely outstanding, and the game does an excellent job of really setting a tense and spooky tone.
All in all, Into the Dead 2 is a fantastic experience, and whether you're a fan of the prequel or new to the game, you should be able to enjoy this one for hours on end.
What do you get when you mix Tinder with the King of the fictional kingdom? The wonderfully sadistic choose-your-own-adventure game Reigns.
Reigns will crown you a king and then force you to make decisions by swiping left or right (thus my Tinder quip), that almost always lead to your untimely death in increasingly interesting ways. Doomed to repeat his life over and over while attempting to find a way to lift a curse, you'll have to balance the needs of your kingdom with those of the church, military, and your greed.
Your first playthrough will probably leave you a little dejected, but there is good news: You can do it all over again times infinity! There are also two spinoffs: Reigns: Her Majesty and Reigns: Game of Thrones, where you can be Queen instead of King, or play through various Game of Thrones' characters. They're all enjoyable, so take your pick!
Rule over the kingdom as king by making tough choices. How long will your rule last?
Reigns: Her Majesty has you ruling as a queen instead of a king. But you still have to make the tough decisions that come with ruling over a kingdom.
Reigns: Game of Thrones allows you to play as various characters from Game of Thrones. Make choices and see how your rule plays out in the kingdoms of Westeros.
If you're looking for a challenging and beautifully designed open-world game, The Witness is a solid choice for any gamer, and one of the best iPhone games.
You wake up on a mysterious island with no idea where you are or even who you are. Your only option is to explore the island around you and uncover clues to the real reason you find yourself stranded.
With more than 500 puzzles to find and solve and a vast island to explore, The Witness will keep you enthralled for hours on end.
The Witness is a beautiful open-world game that's full of challenging puzzles. Can you figure out the reason why your character was stranded on this mysterious island?
Old Man's Journey
Old Man's Journey is a point-and-click adventure game from the indie game studio known as Broken Rules, and it's one of my favorite games to hit the App Store.
While I don't want to dive too deep into what the game is all about, thus robbing you of the experience it provides, I can tell you that this game is amazing visually. The hand-drawn picturesque graphics are absolutely stunning, and the small details that the developers put into every character, animal, and object that pops up on the screen shows that they poured their heart and soul into the game.
The other standout feature of Old Man's Journey is the storytelling. The beautiful narrative is crafted in such a way that the protagonist doesn't even talk throughout the whole game, and you still come away at the end feeling some profound emotions.
Old Man's Journey is a beautiful game about soul-searching. It features stunning art and an emotional story that anyone can appreciate.
Battleheart 2 is the sequel to one of the most beloved iPhone RPGs of all time. With Battleheart 2, you'll continue the tradition of fast-paced and frantic battles between your team of heroes against monsters and dangerous creatures in a test of skill and reflexes.
The thing that sets Battleheart 2 apart from other RPGs is the battle system. Instead of just doing turn-by-turn combat, battles happen in real-time, and you control your characters by drawing paths on the screen for them to go, and then tap on their abilities to activate them. You'll need to tap on enemies to target them with attacks, or your teammates to heal them. There is a ton of loot, skills, and classes to unlock, and the levels just get tougher as you go.
If you're a fan of RPGs, then you simply don't want to miss out on this classic.
Battleheart 2 continues the legacy of Battleheart. You get fast-paced and frantic battles with your team of heroes and tons of loot to find.
Holedown is simply a fun and addictive arcade puzzle game that will be hard to put down, which is why it's one of the best iPhone games.
In holedown, you'll be digging through the cores of various planets by shooting balls and breaking blocks. While that sounds easy, it's really not! You only get a limited number of shots per round, and each block takes a certain number of hits to break. So there is strategy involved, and you'll want to be good with your aiming. As you break blocks, you'll collect crystals as well, which you can use on upgrades to make digging easier.
The game has a minimalistic art style, and the gameplay is unique but challenging. Overall, this is quite a pleasant mobile gaming experience.
Holedown is one addictive game that you'll have a hard time putting down. Shoot balls and break blocks, but it's a lot harder than you think!
Journey has been around for quite a while, but it's one of the most beautiful and popular games there is. In Journey, you explore an ancient and mysterious world full of ruins with your silent protagonist, who can soar and glide above the sands. Ultimately, your goal is to discover the many secrets that are hidden in this mysterious land, and it's all about the journey to get to your destination. You can play the game alone or with another traveler through online play.
It's one of those critically-acclaimed titles that is definitely worth your time, so make sure to check it out.
Journey is a game that is all about how you get to your final destination. Play alone or with another traveler in this beautiful and critically acclaimed classic.
Have you ever wondered what awaits you at the bottom of a well? Perhaps you can strap on a pair of Gunboots and prepare for any dangers that may be lurking, because that's what you're getting with Downwell.
In Downwell, you play the character of a boy who does just that: ventures down a well with his trusty Gunboots for protection. There are a plethora of nasty creatures down there, and your Gunboots unleash a torrent of firepower on anything underneath them, so use them wisely! You can even upgrade the Gunboots with different weapons and items. All levels in Downwell are procedurally generated, so no run is the same as the ones before it. It's also challenging but incredibly fun and hard to put down, making it one of the best iPhone games.
See how far you can go down a well when you're armed with your trusty Gunboots. Make sure to upgrade your firepower with weapons and items!
HoloVista is an interesting narrative experience that explores our relationship with technology, social media, and people. See the world through the eyes of Carmen, a junior architect who lands a dream job at an elusive firm. But as she starts the job, she discovers a lot more about herself through the company than she even knew about herself, which is mysterious. It's a lesson about how much information we unwillingly put out there, and how companies may know us better than we know ourselves.
It's a unique experience with exploring different scenes, snapping photos and engaging in social media, puzzle solving, and discovering our intricate relationships with technology and social. It's well worth checking out.
Discover how we unwillingly divulge too much information into technology and social media, allowing others to know us better than ourselves.
Bring the battle on the go with Brawlhalla. It's a platform fighting game where players choose from 50 characters to battle as. You have the option to be as serious or casual as you want with it given the option of free-for-alls or ranked matches. You can also choose to just play with friends. This is a game that continues to get better updates the longer it has been out. Join in on the events and may the best fighter win!
Find the fighter that matches your style and take these platforms by storm! Casual or ranked, you're sure to find all the action you want in this eight player fighting game.
Apple Arcade exclusive games
With iOS 13, Apple introduced Apple Arcade, a gaming subscription service that costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year and includes Family Sharing in the cost. It launched with over 100 exclusive new games that you won't be able to purchase by themselves or find on other mobile platforms. New titles are continuously added to the Apple Arcade library, so there will be fresh new content to enjoy every month.
Unlimited games, one price
Apple Arcade has over a hundred premium games with more added regularly each week. There is something here for everyone, and it only costs $5 a month for all you can game!
We've checked out some of the games for it, and we're pleasantly surprised! There is a little bit of everything for everyone, and definitely worth checking out (even if just during the free 1-month trial). Here are a few of our favorites so far:
The latest title from Annapurna Interactive and Simogo is Sayonara Wildhearts, and it's definitely going to take you on a wild ride.
In Sayonara Wildhearts, you'll play as a female heroine who embarks on a wild motorcycle ride across an urban dreamscape. You'll need to ride to the music, collect hearts, and battle against some rivals who are out to get you. The game is full of bright colors, the music is upbeat and quirky, and the controls are easy enough to pickup, but the unique mashup gameplay is challenging and full of replay value.
Enjoy puzzle RPGs? Then Grindstone is right up your alley.
In Grindstone, you'll take on the role of a savage barbarian character who must make his way through a horde of monsters to reach the exit. To get there, you'll need to hack-n-slash your way through the monsters by connecting like-colored monsters in lines. Doing this also increases your attack power (+1 for each monster you kill in that line) to clear certain obstacles and defeat tougher foes. If you get at least 10 or more in a line, you'll create rainbow gems that can connect with any color, opening up the game for more possibilities of combos. There are also items that you can equip to help protect you for a turn or boost your attack.
Card of Darkness
Like Solitaire? Like RPGs? Then Cards of Darkness is the mashup for you.
In a game of Cards of Darkness, you start with a series of face-up cards. Each card represents something, like gold, weapons, enemies, magic scrolls, etc. Tapping on these cards will all do something different, and turns other adjacent cards face-up. Your goal is to find a path through an increasingly dangerous dungeon while leveling up.
It's interesting, unique, and hard to put down.
Another title from the developers of Alto's Odyssey is Skate City.
Skate City features a side-scrolling perspective and has some intuitive touch controls. This helps make the game feel like you're actually playing with a miniature skateboard, rather than just a touch screen game. Just tap to push forward, and swipe whichever way to perform various tricks and moves. If you go on a rail, there are on-screen buttons to help you get your balance and act together before you eat virtual cement.
What do you get when you mix the classic gameplay of Peggle with an RPG? Roundguard, that's what.
Roundguard is a mashup of Peggle and RPG that is as challenging as it is addictive and fun. Choose from three hero classes, each one with their own unique play style and skills. You have a warrior, a rogue, and a mage. Warrior is best for up close and personal melee attacks, the rogue is best for cutting down foes with precision, and the mage just has powerful nuking spells. The class you pick determines your stats.
Each level has you launching your chosen hero from the top, and they bounce along "pegs," which is a mix of pots and monsters. There is a certain number of hits that each enemy requires to be cleared off the stage, but they can dish damage right back at you. Using skills takes mana, and if you get hit, you lose some HP. Fortunately, there are some health and mana potions on the stage, but you have to bounce off of them to reap their benefits. Clear out all of the enemies before moving on to the next stage, and see how far you can go!
What the Golf?
Even if you aren't a golf fan, What the Golf is the perfect little gem for you. Each course is wacky, zany, and just downright bizarre with the obstacles — they will have you scratching your head and laughing, but you'll still be having a grand old time. Some courses even have puzzles that you should figure out before you can proceed. This game is perfect with the touch screen controls and you'll definitely find a lot of charm behind this one. It's perfect for the whole family, golf fans or not. It's definitely one of the best iPhone games you can play, especially if you like something that isn't too serious.
Apple has been growing into the gaming space and we can't wait to see what other fun games come our way! To get the best experience playing these games on your iPhone, you'll want one of the best gaming controllers for the iPhone. Then you'll be all set to enjoy these great games available at the tips of your fingers.
Updated May 2022: Added Brawlhalla to the list.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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