Looking for the most brilliant games for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch? With reviews, videos and download links, read on for the 103 best games ever released for the iPad & iPhone. From strategy and action to puzzles and roleplaying games, these are the very finest iOS gaming apps. Updated, 20th March 2015 to add Framed (in the puzzle games section), Alto's Adventure (in the side-scrolling games section) and Dream Quest (in the card games section).
We've divided our list of the best iPad & iPhone games into 11 genres or themes - click the area that interests you to see the brilliant games we recommend in that genre:
- Best iPad & iPhone games: intro
- Best roleplaying games for iPad & iPhone
- Best fighting and shooting games for iPad & iPhone
- Best puzzle games for iPad & iPhone
- Best strategy and tower defence games for iPad & iPhone
- Best sports and racing games for iPad & iPhone
- Best side-scrolling games for iPad & iPhone
- Best adventure, point-and-click and story games for iPad & iPhone
- Best board games for iPad & iPhone
- Best card games for iPad & iPhone
- Best platform games for iPad & iPhone
- Best casual and party games for iPad & iPhone
Best iPad & iPhone games: free games vs paid-for games
Before you plunge into the games recommendations, however, perhaps you might be interested in a few thoughts on free games.
Everyone loves free things, and 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. There's nothing wrong with that.
But 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.
In other words, this is a humble and hopefully polite way of saying, please 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.
Anyway, sorry for the preaching. (If you can put up with any more... well, fair play to you! I've written some more along these lines - Freemium is the worst thing in the history of gaming: a rant and Why apps need to be more expensive.) Enjoy the recommendations, feel free to suggest your own picks in the comments below, and happy gaming.
See also: The 7 most expensive in-app purchases