iPhone gamers are spoilt for choice, with thousands of brand new iPhone games landing on Apple's App Store every week, and a healthy drip of new titles rolling out to Apple Arcade and Netflix Games on a weekly basis as well. It can be hard to keep track of what's worth your time, and your thumbs' attention.
We're back again for an update on the new best iPhone games and very best iPad games to launch this week. This week's offering? A new Marvel-meets-Hearthstone card battler, superb slam dunking Apple Arcade antics, and a thrilling murder mystery. Happy gaming!
Marvel meets Hearthstone in Marvel Snap, a new card battle game that’s been in the making for over four years.
It’s from some of the team behind Blizzard’s popular card battler who broke away to form Second Dinner in 2018.
And you can see they know what they’re doing: Marvel Snap is a pacier game of cards where you don’t have to wait your turn if you don’t want to. And rather than attacking your opponent’s cards to eliminate them, this game is about controlling the turf in the middle of the board by placing the right cards with the right abilities in the right place.
Rounds are faster and feel more chaotic as a result, and because the territory in the middle of the board is split into three, the state of play is easier to understand quickly, as it’s broken down into three digestible chunks.
Oh, and the production values are off the scale – the art, sound, animation and overall feel of every moment in this game has been polished to a dazzling sheen. Excellent, must-download stuff – and be sure to check out the fun ad for the game (above), featuring one Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury himself.
NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition
Apple often uses this Arcade-exclusive series in its promo materials to show off the power of its iPhones and iPads, and you can see why - it’s effectively a whole console game crammed into your wee Apple device.
Let’s be honest, though: this sort of high-end console-like game really needs to be played on a nice new iPad or with one of the best game controllers for iPhone to be enjoyed at its fullest. Those without a compatible controller will bump along fine, kind of, but there will always be moments when as the on-court action gets spicy, touchscreen controls can feel slippery and imprecise.
Still, with a pad connected this is as comprehensive as it gets - full career, story and challenge modes offer a huge amount to see and do, and this year’s focus is on a roster of basketball legends like Michael Jordan and big Shaq himself, on top of all the modern-day players tearing up the courts right now.
In this clever ‘lost phone’ thriller you’re immediately faced with the shocking sight of 16 year-old Jerome Jacobs, who’s fallen from a London tower block – and it’s on you to figure out how and why it happened.
Playing as the investigating officer, you instruct your colleagues to comb the crime scene while also sifting through the victim’s phone looking for clues that might lead you to the killer.
It’s really nicely done – you play the game through your fictional phone, sending messages to colleagues to push the investigation forward and gathering intel as you go. Sometimes, they’ll even call and talk to you, and you’ll get audio, photo and video evidence to look at too.
Scriptic is a thought-provoking and often uncomfortable interrogation of the relationship between gang culture and the police in some of the grittier ends of London – not for younger players at all, but if you’re into crime drama or podcasts think of this almost as an interactive spin-off of that kind of stuff.
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Neil Alexander Long is a gaming contributor for iMore, as well as the founder and editor of mobilegamer.biz, a mobile games industry website that specialises in exclusive news, interviews and insights.
He started his games media career almost 20 years ago on UK games industry magazine MCV, before editing Official Nintendo Magazine, interactive iPad magazine iGamer (RIP) and edge-online.com (also RIP), Edge magazine’s online presence.
In 2014 he moved to Apple to serve as App Store games editor. There he helped launch new App Stores on Apple Watch and Apple TV, the App Store's UK Today tab, Apple Arcade and countless games, including Clash Royale, Monument Valley 2, Brawl Stars, Candy Crush Friends Saga and Beatstar.