Looking for the best games for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch? You've come to the right place. With games reviews, gameplay videos and links to let you view, buy and download the games from the App Store, this roundup lists (in our opinion) the 111 best games ever released for the iPad & iPhone. From strategy and action games to puzzles and roleplaying games, these are the very finest iOS gaming apps.
Updated, 11 May 2015, to add Sunburn (in the platform games section), Legend of Grimrock (in best roleplaying games), Hill Climb Racing and Does Not Commute (both in best driving games) Shadowmatic (in best puzzle games) and Papers, Please (in best adventure and story games).
We've divided our list of the best iPad & iPhone games into 15 genres or themes - click the area that interests you to see the brilliant games we recommend in that genre.
1. Best adventure, point-and-click and story games for iPad & iPhone
Games characterised by a strong characters and storyline and (for the most part) a lack of fast action. Instead, players speak to other characters, collect and combine objects and look for ways to interact with the environment (often via a 'point and click' interface). Examples in our list include Broken Age (pictured below) and The Walking Dead; we've got 8 adventure games altogether.
Click to read our list of the best adventure, point-and-click and story games for iPad & iPhone
2. Best board games for iPad & iPhone
The days of Monopoly and Risk are numbered, and there are many, many wonderful board games out there. A lot of them also appear on iOS, which is a great (and cheaper) way of exploring some of the newer board games that you may not have tried. We've got 12 in this list, including Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne.
Click to read our list of the best board games for iPad & iPhone
3. Best card games & deck-building games for iPad & iPhone
Not whist and solitaire. These are collectible card games and deck-builders, where you assemble a deck of special cards to do battle with other players or a computer-controlled enemy. We've got 4 brilliant games to try, of which the more famous are Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering (pictured below).
Click to read our list of the best card games for iPad & iPhone
4. Best casual games for iPad & iPhone
This is both our largest category (13 games) and our vaguest: it can include pretty much any game that is designed for quick sessions, and which is designed to appeal to less hardcore gamers. It also includes some of the most famous iPhone and iPad series: Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, World of Goo and Bejeweled.
Click to read our list of the best casual games for iPad & iPhone
5. Best driving & racing games for iPad & iPhone
Exactly what it sounds like: the finest car games for iOS. We like 4 in particular, covering a range of ultra-realistic (such as Real Racing, pictured below) and cartoonish (Hill Climb Racing) gameplay styles.
Click to read our list of the best driving games for iPad & iPhone
6. Best horror games for iPad & iPhone
Anything scary can appear in this category. Contains 4 games at present; the most famous is probably Dead Space.
Click to read our list of the best horror games for iPad & iPhone
7. Best multiplayer & social games for iPad & iPhone
If you like playing games against other human beings this category (which contains 4 games, plus links to great multiplayer games in other sections) is the one for you. Draw Something and Vainglory, two totally different games but both brilliant for multiplayer gamers, are the most well-known offerings in this category.
Click to read our list of the best multiplayer & social games for iPad & iPhone
8. Best platform games for iPad & iPhone
Nintendo hasn't brought its games to iOS quite yet, but Mario would be the classic example of a platform game. While we wait for the plumber to arrive, try these 11 wonderful platform games, which run the gamut from puzzle platformers (Stealth Inc) and horror platformers (Limbo) to terrifyingly addictive old-school platformers (Mr Jump).
Click to read our list of the best platform games for iPad & iPhone
9. Best puzzle games for iPad & iPhone
Our puzzle section includes 'physics puzzle games', where you manipulate gravity, floating bubbles and other physical effects (Cut The Rope is the most obvious example of this). We've also got mellow abstract puzzles, such as Lyne, room-escape games such as The Room series, the beautiful and all-conquering Monument Valley and plenty more. There are 9 games in this section.
Click to read our list of the best puzzle games for iPad & iPhone
10. Best roleplaying games (or RPGs) for iPad & iPhone
Dungeon crawlers, sword-and-sorcery action, high fantasy: RPGs are the games where you control a heroic wizard, warrior or thief - or a party made up of several complementary heroes - and collect fabulous treasure on the way to (usually) saving the kingdom. Infinity Blade is the most famous mobile RPG, but Baldur's Gate may be our personal favourite. Contains 10 games; most recently updated to add the wonderful Legend of Grimrock (pictured below).
Click to read our list of the best roleplaying games (RPGs) for iPad & iPhone
11. Best shooting games for iPad & iPhone
Our list of brilliant iOS shoot 'em ups includes first-person shooters such as Bioshock and retro top-down shooters such as Death Ray Manta. The most famous game series in this section is Grand Theft Auto; we currently have 9 shooting games that you need to try.
Click to read our list of the best shooting games for iPad & iPhone
12. Best side-scrolling games for iPad & iPhone
These are games defined by a constant (and usually very fast) movement towards the righthand side of the screen. There are 7 games in this section, of which the most famous are Tiny Wings and Mirror's Edge.
Click to read our list of the best side-scrolling games for iPad & iPhone
13. Best sports games for iPad & iPhone
The 5 sports sims in this section focus on football (including New Star Soccer), golf (including Super Stickman Golf) and, er, fishing - that's the superb Ridiculous Fishing. We also link to skiing and snowboarding games in other sections.
Click to read our list of the best sports games for iPad & iPhone
14. Best strategy & tower defence games for iPad & iPhone
Strategy games involve marshalling your forces - an army or group of soldiers, or the defences of a castle or town - and dealing with an enemy force. Tower defence is a popular subset of this, focusing specifically on building static guns and similar defensive fortifications in order to repel a moving (and enormously numerous) opponent. Fieldrunners (pictured below) and Plants vs Zombies are the most famous examples of the latter category, and are among the 6 great games in this section.
Click to read our list of the best strategy & tower defence games for iPad & iPhone
15. Best word games for iPad & iPhone
If you love word games, take a look at these 4 brilliant examples of the genre for iPhone and iPad. Words With Friends is the most famous, but the lovely Blackbar is well worth a look too.
Click to read out list of the best word games for iPad & iPhone
What about the freebies? Which are the best free games for iPad and iPhone?
Everyone loves free things, but the problem with free games is that there are so many of them - it's very hard to know which ones are decent and which ones are going to try to gouge you for in-app purchases.
There are some wonderful free games in the various categories above, but if you're only interested in free games it's very likely that you'll also be interested in our freebie roundups: the best free iPhone apps, the best free iPad apps, the best free iPhone games and the best free iPad games.
At the same time, remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch. If a game is free, then (unless it was made as part of a public-awareness campaign, such as the enjoyable rail-safety game Dumb Ways To Die) the makers must have a plan to make money in other ways - adverts, or selling user data to advertisers, or in-app purchases. And in the mobile gaming field we're finding that these things are often ruining games and games franchises that would be fantastic if they weren't trying to flog you coins at every opportunity.
The innovative companies who take risks are finding that they can't make back their costs, and they're being replaced by cloners and IAP-pushers who repackage the same old ideas and turn them into freemium trudges. You died! Pay 69p to continue. You died! Pay 69p to continue. And so on.
So do consider paying for iOS games. It's nearly always under a fiver, and helps to support the awesome companies who make games that aren't constantly trying to trick you into spending extra money.
For more thoughts along these lines, take a look at Freemium is the worst thing in the history of gaming: a rant and Why apps need to be more expensive. And you may also enjoy The 7 most expensive in-app purchases.