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Best iPhone games 2022

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(Image credit: iMore)

The edge-to-edge display of the new iPhones is absolutely stunning and makes 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. We'll start by going over all of the various places you can get games on iPhone and then will dive into the very best ones. 

Where to find iOS games

While this list primarily focuses on games found on the App Store, there are dozens of other places to get iOS games for your iPhone.

Apple Arcade: Just pay $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year and you gain access to hundreds of ad-free games on the App Store. This includes big titles like Monster Hunter Stories+, Hanx101 Trivia, and more. 

Xbox Game Pass (xCloud) for iOS: Microsoft has made it easier than ever to play more intensive games from your iPhone like Batman: Arkham Knight, Fortnite, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Deathloop, and much more. 

Steam Mobile: While Valve's main video game distribution service focuses on Mac and PC games, this other service focuses on mobile games. Just download the app from the App Store to get started. 

Moonlight Game Streaming: This is basically an open-source Nvidia GameStream made to work for iOS. Thanks to this app on the App Store, players can stream PC games to their compatible iPhones. 

Nvidia GeForce NOW: Instead of playing your own PC games on iPhone, this is a subscription streaming service that lets you play hundreds of popular titles on your compatible iOS device from the cloud. 

Apple Arcade exclusive games

Apple Arcade is a gaming subscription service that includes Family Sharing in the cost. It offers over 200 games including dozens of exclusives that you won't be able to purchase by themselves or find on other mobile platforms. We've spent a lot of time on this service and have determined the best Apple Arcade games you can play right now. New titles are continuously added to the Apple Arcade library, so there will be fresh new content to enjoy every month.

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Apple Arcade

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!

See at: Apple (opens in new tab)

Best iPhone games to play right now

With that explanation out of the way, let's dive into the best iPhone games you can get your hands on at this very minute.

Genshin Impact

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.

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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)

Pokémon Go

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!

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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)

Among Us!

Among Us is at its core a very simple game. Up to ten players are each given a handful of tasks to complete on their spaceship. 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. However, if the crew can oust the imposter(s) or complete their tasks before they're outnumbered, the crew wins. Kind of like a sci-fi game of Clue or Mafia.

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.

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Among Us!

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!

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Minecraft

Minecraft is the number one best-selling video game of all time by far. It's no wonder that it's been such an ongoing hit even though it released so long ago. Players can do just about anything they want. You can go harvesting for materials, build structures, go exploring, craft armor, and much more. 

Some people like to create massive mansions complete with their own areas to grow crops and house livestock. Others focus on traveling as far as they can to see what is on the horizon. If you're more of a person who likes a conclusive challenge, you can also work on taking on the game's terrifying boss, the Ender Dragon. 

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Minecraft

Do whatever you want in this sandbox game. Will you gather materials and build your own place? Maybe plant crops? Go exploring as far as you can and take on enemies that come your way? The possibilities are endless.

Buy from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Pokémon Unite

We at iMore have put a ton of time into playing the Switch and iOS versions of Pokémon Unite. So much so that we know who the best playable Pokémon are regardless of what kind of device you're playing on. 

The basic idea behind this simple MOBA, is to participate in team vs team battles where you can use your Pokémon's unique skills to defeat opponents, earn points, and then attempt to score them in the opposing team's goal.  There are several Pokémon to unlock and more are added regularly. Some unique outfits can even be purchased to make your favorite pocket monsters stand out more. You can even use a controller with Pokémon Unite if you have a compatible one handy.

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Pokémon Unite

Take part in team vs team battles as you work to defeat your opponents and score goals. There are several Pokémon to unlock and the game gets regular event updates.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Roblox

Roblox has often been compared to Minecraft and while the two do have some similarities they are also very different. This game allows players to create games and share them with others online. 

It's also been around for a long time. Because of this, there are endless genres and discoveries to make, with new creations coming out daily. Spend hours perfecting your own games and then show them off to the world when they're ready. 

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Roblox

Create your own worlds or check out the creations others have made in this sandbox game. You can even just find places to hang with friends if you want to. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Call of Duty Mobile

Few multiplayer games have the online fanbase that Call of Duty Mobile does. Each day, millions of players drop into realistic locations in a battle royal where teams duke it out to score more points before the timer runs out. Anyone can play, but it takes strategy and skill to really master the game. 

The game is free-to-play but does offer optional in-game transactions. You do not have to make any purchases in order to enjoy and play through the base game. However, certain skins and weapons can only be purchased with real-world money. 

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Call of Duty Mobile

Prove your skills against millions of other players online with this popular shooter. Drop into a battle royale and attempt to be the team with the most points within a time period. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Survivor!.io

If you're looking for a simpler way to pass the time that still offers a challenge, then Survivor!.io should be on your radar. This free-to-play game is immensely popular on the App Store and centers around the main character shooting projectiles in every direction while hordes of incoming zombies attempt to get at them. If you survive until the countdown ends you move on to the next level.

There are plenty of power-ups and weapons to unlock to make yourself stronger. Gameplay is satisfying, sessions only take a few minutes at a time, and there are plenty of levels to run through. 

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Survivor!.io

Defeat hordes of invading zombies using several powerful weapons. There are dozens of chapters and challenges to experience.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Heads Up!

Heads Up! has been one of the biggest pickup party games over the last few years. It's also great for entertaining when you're standing in line waiting to get into an event or restaurant. What's more, its simplicity makes it fun for people of all ages. 

Similar to charades, the "it" player chooses a category, puts their iPhone against their forehead so other players can see the screen, and then takes clues from their friends and family until they can correctly guess what word is on the screen. You try to get as many correct as you can within a time limit before passing to the next person.  

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Heads Up!

Hold your phone up to your forehead for others around you to see. Then have everyone else give you clues to figure out what the word is above your head. When time's up, pass to another player.

Buy from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Monument Valley 2

Monument Valley 2 is by far one of the most beautiful games you can play on iPhone. Players attempt to help a mother and her child travel through various locations by having them solve puzzles.

These puzzles pose a small challenge and are very unique since they work off of visual illusions. There are plenty of levels to get through to keep you engaged for a long time. 

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Monument Valley 2

Help a mother and her child make their way through clever puzzles as you work to reach specific doorways in these surreal locations. The artwork is gorgeous and worth appreciating on its own. 

Buy from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy's has become a large franchise in its own right, but the original jump-scare horror game is still considered by many to be the best entry in the series.  Players take on the role of a person working at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a party location for kids complete with animal animatronics. 

The thing is, you're on night watch and the animatronics are actually out to sneak up on you and kill you while you're sitting in the security room. Fortunately, they can be stopped by monitoring various rooms on the camera, listening to noises, and closing the doors to your office when they approach. However, you have a limited amount of power so you need to play smart and conserve as much as possible. If you last five nights, you win the game. But it's harder than it sounds. 

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Five Nights at Freddy's

You're given the job of watching Freddy Fazbear's Pizza after dark. Turns out the robotic animals are active and looking to kill you. Can you keep an eye on the cameras and keep yourself safe?

Buy from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Candy Crush Saga

Few puzzle games are addicting as Candy Crush Saga. Players attempt to move candy pieces around on the screen in such a way as to clear as many rows and columns as possible. Lining up three of the same kind or more makes those same-colored candies disappear. 

There are tens of thousands of levels to keep you entertained and the animations are so satisfying to watch that you'll be coming back again and again. You can also replay levels to improve your previous scores or use boosters to help you perform better. 

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Candy Crush Saga

Try to move candies in the proper locations to give yourself the most points. Challenges are different from level to level and will keep you entertained for hours. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Mario Kart Tour

After years of being a console and Nintendo gaming system franchise, Mario Kart Tour brought the fun of this racing series to mobile. Players get to zoom around familiar tracks from previous entries as well as brand-new tracks created specifically for Tour. 

There are far more Mushroom Kingdom characters to play as than any other Mario Kart game and you can even unlock different versions of the same character wearing fun clothing. Take on specific friends or race against strangers online to prove your racing prowess. 

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Mario Kart Tour

Race around familiar tracks from previous Mario Kart titles as well as brand-new ones. There are plenty of characters to unlock with different outfits. Race against friends or random players online. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Stardew Valley

Many consider Stardew Valley to be a far better life sim than Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game starts off by explaining that you've inherited your grandfather's farm, but it needs a lot of work. You can slowly work on cleaning up the fields, improving your animal's housing, and exploring the town nearby. 

One of the big things that Stardew Valley provides over Animal Crossing is the ability to help your character find love with one of the village NPCs and even have children with them. Create your own perfect digital world as you work and provide for your family.

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Stardew Valley

It's up to you to restore your grandfather's farm to its former glory. Along with making improvements to the livestock and crops, you can meet the townsfolk and find someone to marry.

Buy from: App Store (opens in new tab)

GWENT: The Witcher Card Game

If you've played the Witcher action RPGs or have watched The Witcher on Netflix, then you're probably already familiar with GWENT, a competitive card game that's popular in the Witcher universe. Thanks to this iPhone game, you can play it yourself, digitally.

It's free-to-play and has you face off against another player while laying down popular characters like Geralt, Siri, and Yennefer. You'll need to play strategically to win, but there's more than one way to get ahead. 

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GWENT: The Witcher Card Game

Play the card game that Geralt loves against others online. You'll need to think strategically and use the best cards in any situation to get ahead. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Super Mario Run

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!

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Super Mario Run

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!

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Alto's Odyssey

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.

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Alto's Odyssey

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Donut County

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.

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Donut County

Control a hole and suck up everything that stands in your way in this hilarious and wacky puzzle game.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Oceanhorn

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.

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Oceanhorn

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Into the Dead 2

Armed with a handgun, a walkie-talkie, and a strong desire to return home, you play as James, who starts running through 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.

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.

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Into the Dead 2

Shoot your way through a horde of zombies to save your family. Gameplay overall hasn't changed much from the first game, which is more of a blessing than a curse. Avoid getting eaten alive by tapping on the screen to shoot your equipped weapon.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Reigns

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!

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Reigns

Rule over the kingdom as king by making tough choices. How long will your rule last?

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

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Reigns: Her Majesty

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

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Reigns: Game of Thrones

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

The Witness

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.

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The Witness

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?

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

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.

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Old Man's Journey

Old Man's Journey is a beautiful game about soul-searching. It features stunning art and an emotional story that anyone can appreciate.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Journey

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.

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Journey

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Downwell

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.

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Downwell

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!

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Brawlhalla

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!

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Brawlhalla

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.

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Let's play!

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.

Remember, these are some of our favorite iOS games right now, but there's definitely more out there. And if you're sporting the best iPhone, including the upcoming iPhone 14, then you should have no issues with playing these fantastic titles.

Updated September 2022: Added several games to the list and removed some others.