Category Archives: Best iPhone Games

The Best Graphically Impressive Games to Play on Your New iPhone 8

Every year when new iPhone or iPad hardware rolls out, we like to put together a list of the fanciest and most graphically intensive games that will show off the power of your shiny new devices. However, for several years now that type of list has become harder to put together for a number of reasons. One is that the yearly hardware improvements in terms of graphical performance have become less giant leaps and more incremental jumps. We've had pretty close to console-level graphics for a long time now, and the wow factor has somewhat diminished. Another problem is that, even though our devices are quite capable of pushing really impressive visuals, making games like that takes a lot of time and money, and in a market where most people expect games to be either free or very very cheap that's just not feasible. Finally, fancy graphics are more taxing on the hardware, which in turn kills your battery faster. With mobile devices being such an integral part of everyday life for most people, burning your battery down playing video games just isn't terribly practical in most cases. ..

Alongside our Patreon, the TouchArcade forums are one of the key factors that keep the website as the pivotal place for news on all things iOS gaming. Whether it's in the form of informative discussions on the hottest new releases, excited anticipation on some seriously impressive titles in the upcoming games forums, or fantastic compilations of everyone's favourite games, the community we have in our forums continues to surprise me with their dedication and passion for mobile gaming - let alone being a bunch of awesome people to boot. Last month, AndyC83 (with the help of many other enterprising forum members) organised a public vote for the TouchArcade Forums 2016 Game of the Year, and after much deliberation and discussion Crashlands [$6.99] came out on top with a supremely dominant 48.28% of the votes. Teeny Titans [$3.99] trailed in the respectable runner up position with 19.54%, and SteamWorld Heist [$9.99] and Planar Conquest [$8.99] tied in third place with 18.39% of the vote each...




14 of the Best Hidden Gems Released in 2016

Even though we expanded our top games of the year list to a massive 100 entries, there still were quite a few games that easily could have made the list. It really was a stellar year of mobile games, but with so much quality stuff coming out amongst a sea of dreck it can be too easy for some of the better games to slip through the cracks. While there's a bunch of games I'd love to have on this list, I've kept it trimmed down to the ones that I felt were great and beloved by a small group of people but just didn't get all that much attention during the year. Hopefully this will bring a couple of under appreciated games to your attention, and I'll encourage anyone else who has some games they felt were in the same boat this year to list them in the comments section below. See you in 2017!..

Nathan’s 10 Best Games of 2016 - Chameleons, Trains, and Automobiles

Did ya’ll miss me? What? You didn’t even notice I was gone? Well, shame on you. (And me, for not making a more lasting impression.) My last review here was around April, before my life took a different turn and I no longer had time to pump out reviews every week. However, my love of iOS games (and making lists) has lead me back to Touch Arcade Towers to put my fingers to the keys once again and hopefully shine a light on a few more outstanding games that came out this year. I can’t quit you, TA!..

Eli's 10 Best Games of 2016 - Already Planning For Next Year

It's really incredible to me just how much mobile games continue to improve over the years, having been in the driver's seat of our various "best of" features since 2009. This year, more than any other, I feel like mobile gaming really broke into the mainstream with the release of Pokemon Go, and it's been neat seeing the halo effect of people getting into other mobile games since then. We've exhaustively covered all of the best games of the year, both through our best 100 article as well as everyone's own personal lists. It's wild to think that you could basically play a total different incredibly high quality game on your phone every day this year, and still be missing out on great games. Hell, it's our job to play rad mobile games, and still we even manage to miss out on some...

Jared's 10 Best Games of 2016 - I Actually Kept My List to Just Ten this Year

It's the end of the year and time for the TouchArcade staff to pick their personal favorites of 2016, and if you've been reading me for the past seven years then you know I hate doing this. Trying to wrangle hundreds of awesome games down into a list of just ten is a nightmare, and more often than not I just say screw the rules and pick more than ten or I "cheat" by not including games on my personal list that were already included in our Best Games or Game of the Year articles just so I can add a few more entries. Well, this year I'm not doing that! Since we expanded our Best Games list to 100 it pretty much includes anything I'd have on my personal list. So this year I'm simply going by the games that I felt had the most impact on me and that I'd spent the most time playing in 2016. Yes, there are a lot of games I wish I could include that aren't here, but with the staggering amount of great games released on mobile each year that's inevitable. Also I've actually followed the rules and kept my list to 10, even though it pains me greatly. So please enjoy my list as well as the lists of our other staff and our overall picks for 2016, and here's to yet another amazing year of mobile gaming and to even more in 2017!..

TouchArcade Game of the Year 2016: 'Crashlands'

It's impossible to talk about Crashlands [$6.99] without first talking about how it came to be. Last year you may have read the remarkable story of Sam Coster, one of the three brothers who founded developer Butterscotch Shenanigans, and how he fought off cancer–twice!–by the time he hit his mid-twenties. When Sam was diagnosed in 2013, Bscotch had already released a few mobile games from their fledgling studio, and two of them, Towelfight 2: The Monocle of Destiny [Free] and Quadropus Rampage [Free], were reasonably successful. They were in the midst of creating their next game, an endless runner called Extreme Slothcycling, when Sam received an official diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and knew he'd have one hell of a fight on his hands if he wanted to survive. Faced with his own mortality, Sam decided that a silly endless runner (even if it DID star sloths on motorcycles) wasn't the type of game he'd want to leave as his final legacy should the cancer win. Sam turned to his brother Seth during a design meeting and said, "I don't want Slothcycling to be the last game I make before I die."..

The 100 Best Mobile Games of 2016

With the iTunes holiday freeze upon us, we're finally able to close the books on mobile gaming in 2016 with a massive list of the 100 best games released this year. Instead of just listing off the highest scoring games of the year, we tried to put together 100 of the best games spread across every genre we can think of, with an fairly even split between both mobile exclusives as well as fantastic multi-platform titles. We've reviewed the vast majority of these games, and this list represents the culmination of hundreds of man hours of work through 2016 as we consistently strive to make TouchArcade the place to go to find awesome games to play on your phone. While all the links are to the App Store, practically all of these games are also available on Android and can be found via searching whatever storefront you prefer...

Eli's Favorite iPhone and iPad Games of 2015: 'Hearthstone', 'Bean Dreams' and... Wait, Those Came Out in 2014!

Phew, well, that's 2015 officially in the books. The App Store should thaw sometime tonight or tomorrow, and we'll be back to business as usual, or, as "usual" as the constant state of insanity that we've grown used to following the world of iOS can be. This year felt weirder than most when it came to figuring out our best games, as the App Store has really been trending towards the idea of making games "evergreen." If you're not familiar with the term, it basically means developers have figured out that it's often better to just endlessly support existing titles with live teams constantly pumping out updates and other content than it is to continually release new stuff. For our "official" best games and Game of the Year post we decided to only include games released in 2015, which makes sense, but feels odd at the same time because a lot of my favorite games of this year were actually released last year...

Jared's Favorite iPhone and iPad Games of 2015: 'Card Crawl', 'Hero Emblems', 'Mos Speedrun 2' and More

It's the end of 2015 and time to say goodbye to what was another crazy year of iOS gaming. As I've mentioned in years past, I hate doing these "best of" things because I'm terrible at making concise lists. There's far too many great games released in any given year, and I have an absolutely awful time cutting any of my favorites from a list in an effort to get it down to just ten. After putting together and writing our Game of the Year and Best Games of 2015 post, many of my own personal favorites found their way onto that list anyway, so in a way it's kind of like I get some bonus picks in my personal list here as I'm not going to be listing any repeats. Hooray! So, while looking through this list, keep that other list in mind too as all but a very few would also have been in contention for my personal picks this year. Oh, and much like last year, despite these "bonus picks" I still couldn't keep this list down to ten, so enjoy my *ahem* fourteen favorite iOS games of 2015. Have a Happy New Year and here's to yet another great year of iOS gaming in 2016!..

Nathan's Favorite iPhone and iPad Games of 2015: 'Capitals', 'The Executive' and Other Hits

Editor's Note: Distilling the ridiculous amount of iOS game releases down to a game of the year, a runner up, and 25 other "bests" takes a lot of hacking and slashing of titles off a massive list of games we considered. This year's initial list was among the biggest I can remember of all the years we've been doing this, so, like previous years, the TouchArcade staff weighs in with lists of their own personal favorites which might not have made the overall best list for one reason or another. We're going to drizzle these out over the next couple days while we wait for iTunes to thaw out.

-Eli


As a very, very long-time reader of Touch Arcade, it was an absolute thrill to start writing reviews here this year. Not only has it been a blast getting to shove my brain-thoughts into the internet machine for your reading pleasure, it’s also been super interesting getting a peek behind the scenes of how the website is put together every day. (Basically, everyone sits around smoking cigars and giggling while trying to decide which free-to-play game to give 5 stars to -- all except Carter “3.5” Dotson, of course). We laughed, we cried, we got mad about Confederate flags. It’s been a great year! Without any further ado, here is my favorites for the year of 2015 (in order of release):

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TouchArcade Game of the Year 'Land Sliders' and the Best iOS Games of 2015

Logo_on_whiteWell, it was another banner year in the world of iOS gaming, with so many great games released in 2015 that it made our head spin trying to whittle it down to the list you see before you. When it came to our Game of the Year pick, it really came down to the nitty gritty between two particular titles. In the end, one just barely inched out the other for reasons we'll get to in a second. Following the Game of the Year and Runner Up picks are 25 of what we feel were the best games of 2015. Of course this list doesn't include many other great games that came out this year, and to be honest it could have easily been three or four times the size. However, we thought this was a nice cross selection of genres and truly the best of the best of this year. If a game you adored this year isn't featured here, feel free to list it in the comments below, we love hearing about what games people enjoy playing on their iOS devices.

Now, without further ado…

 

Game of the Year 2015: 'Land Sliders'


Land Sliders, Free - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - It seems like the best mobile games latch onto a simple mechanic that feels natural on a touchscreen device and then builds an entire game around it. Slicing fruit in Fruit Ninja, drawing lines in Flight Control, even tilting back and forth in Doodle Jump are all great examples of this. Those simple actions spawned countless copycats and even entire genres in the mobile space over the years, but it's rare that a game can come along and create a mobile game that feels truly unique and native to the platform.

In 2015, I don't think any game accomplished that goal as well as Land Sliders, the first game from Australian developer Prettygreat, did. Land Sliders is a game that's built around inertial scrolling. What is inertial scrolling? Well, when you're scrolling through a list on your iOS device, say your list of emails or a list of songs in the Music app, inertial scrolling is the thing that allows you to scroll fast with a quick swipe and the screen will gradually slow down as it runs out of inertia.

It sounds like an incredibly boring concept for a game, but inertial scrolling is something that iOS devices have nailed since the beginning, and I believe it's one of the things that truly put the iPhone ahead of the pack in the early days of smartphones. Early iPhone rivals had pretty janky touchscreens which didn't have the smoothness of an iPhone. Scrolling around on iOS devices is fun and satisfying. Flicking a swipe fast and knowing you can stop the screen from scrolling on a dime if you want. It's really cool.

It's not a bad idea to try and capture that feeling and create a game around it, but how exactly does that work? I saw a very early prototype of Land Sliders at GDC this year and thought it was a clever concept and the sliding around the world felt great. But honestly I had no idea how they would craft a compelling game around it, and figured it would end up as one of those "hmmm, that's neat!" tech demo type of games and be fun for a few days before being forgotten.

That ended up not being the case at all, and besides its unique concept, I think that's shows the brilliance of Prettygreat. Not only have they created a full-fledged high-scoring game with endlessly replayable randomly-generated levels and a wide cast of neat characters to unlock, but they've created this is a way that's easy to add on to, and given the popularity of Land Sliders this seems like the kind of game that can continue living on for years and years with a constant flow of new content.

Besides the game itself, developer Prettygreat also created an insane real-life meta game that they incorporated into Land Sliders that has kept our forums on fire for months since the game's release. If you haven't read the lengthy thread in our forums, but if you like treasure hunts or ARGs, it's worth the read as the lengths Prettygreat went to to create this global game are pretty astounding. In fact, the ARG is still going and hasn't been completely solved yet.

Sliding your character around the world of Land Sliders just FEELS right, and developer Prettygreat did a wonderful job of building a whimsical world and cast of characters around that unique mechanic. There were other great games in 2015, but Land Sliders is a great mobile game through and through, and isn't the kind of game that could work on a platform other than mobile. For all these reasons it'll be something that I continue to play daily and will always have a home on my device, and it earns our nod for Game of the Year 2015


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TouchArcade Game of the Week: 'Fallout Shelter'

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one...

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 6/5/15 - 'You Must Build a Boat', 'Vietnam '65' and 'Sproggiwood'

There were a lot of great games this week, but if you're not already well on your way of building a boat... What in the world are you doing? You must build a boat. You don't maybe need to build a boat, or could build a boat if you felt like it. No, you must build a boat, right now. Oh, and there's some other games you should be playing too, but not until you've built your boat- Or at least gotten a good start...

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 5/29/15 - 'Chaos Rings III', 'Geometry Wars 3', 'Grim Fandango Remastered' and TONS More

Anyone who called this week a weak week is a damn maniac, as this has turned out to be among the best iOS game release weeks of the year and we don't even have all the games reviewed yet. I'm busy having my nose buried in Desktop Dungeons, and everyone else is playing the rest of the rad releases. Here are the best games we did review this week, and there's a lot of them:..

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 5/22/15 - 'Capitals', 'Ire: Blood Memory', and 'Digit & Dash'

Some great games this week are included in this post that everyone really needs to have. NimbleBit is up to their old tricks of releasing really awesome games, particularly if you like getting beat by your friends in word games. Similarly, a free to play game actually succeeded in being a good hardcore game, meanwhile, console developer Insomniac has made a great transition to mobile with their latest release. Definitely give these all a look...

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 5/15/15 - 'Legend of Grimrock', 'The Enchanted Cave 2', 'Kindo', 'Seek: Find Your Friends' and 'Fearless Fantasy'

It's awesome when a game you've been looking forward to forever comes out and it's even better than you were hoping it'd be. That was the case with Legend of Grimrock, anyway. It's a supremely awesome game that you need to check out, but this week also had loads of rad stuff get released so next week's best games roundup is likely going to be even crazier...

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 5/8/15 - 'Test Chamber', 'Wedding Escape', 'Trulon' and 'Dungeon of Madness'

This was a cool week for game reviews, as Test Chamber sneaking up out of nowhere and being such an awesome game is one of my favorite things about the App Store. There's other great games in this list too, but if for some reason you passed on Test Chamber because of its sterile name or block pushing puzzler gameplay, it definitely deserves a second look...

Best iPhone and iPad Games - 5/1/15 - 'Does Not Commute', 'Hearthstone's Blackrock Mountain Expansion and More

Another great week for iOS gamers is now officially in the books. Our top rated reviews this week cover an incredible free to play game, the awesome conclusion of the Hearthstone expansion, a Metroidvania game... and an amazing port of a classic RPG. Weak week, it is not. Read on for our top scoring reviews we published this week...

Best iPhone and iPad Game - 4/24/15 - 'Sorcery! 3'

Apple Watch Release day! Maybe next week, we'll have some Apple Watch games in this roundup, maybe. Either way, this week was pretty dominated by Apple Watch news so we didn't publish as many reviews as we usually would... But that doesn't mean we skimped on one great game Sorcery! 3. It's our highest rated game of the week, and really, our only really highly rated game review that we published. But, hey, whatever, it's awesome...

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