The five iPhone games, past or present, we can’t live without

Since the launch of the App Store in 2008, games have been a big part of the iOS ecosystem on iPhone. From Angry Birds to Fruit Ninja, they’ve gotten more sophisticated over the years.

We all remember growing up playing a certain game that brings back fond memories throughout our lives. It could have been Resident Evil 2, Tomb Raider or Alex Kidd. With the 15th anniversary of the App Store approaching, the point where users start getting nostalgic after playing a game on their iPhone for the first time.

However, some games have been lost over time – it could be because the developer has dropped its support for a game or sequel that is becoming more important. With that in mind, the iMore team have each selected a game that they remember playing on their iPhone, some that you can play today, and others that are no longer available.

Choose 1 – Journey

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John-Anthony Disotto – Editor’s Guide

Journey is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played and you should spend an afternoon experiencing it. Originally released for PlayStation 3 in 2012, the game is a short adventure, around five hours long, of a robed character traveling through a desert landscape trying to reach the mountain in the background.

In 2019, Journey was released for iOS for $4.99 (opens in a new tab), and while there’s no controller support, it’s still an amazing game to play on your touchscreen device even in 2023 . The game has one of the most innovative uses of multiplayer I’ve ever seen, where you’ll come across other dressed characters during your adventure on the same journey. You can choose to advance together or continue alone. There’s no voice chat or ways to identify the other player, so you’ll have to communicate through tweets and visual aids.

During my playthrough, I met a rogue traveler and we played the whole game together on a cold December evening. I have no idea who they were or where they came from, but we had a magical journey together. I beg everyone to try this game!

Choose 2 – Stardew Valley

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Tammy Rogers – Associate

Have you ever played Harvest Moon, a farming sim released for Nintendo 64 in 2001? NO? Then you are a monster first of all, but you also missed it.

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Luckily, you can fix your painful oversight if you download Stardew Valley, available for $4.99 (opens in a new tab), essentially a modern reimagining of the series, crammed with pixelated sprites and gorgeous backgrounds.

In Valley, you’re tired of working your office job, and when your grandfather dies and leaves you his farm, you move to the country to live an idyllic life as a farmer. You can grow different crops in different seasons, water them all, and then get even more sophisticated as you build self-watering systems and introduce animals to your farm. It’s simple at its core, but there’s more to it than you realize.

There’s an underlying story about the dangers of unbridled capitalism, and the ever-expanding mega-store in your small community is a reminder that the slow corporate advance is never too far away. There are caves to explore and monsters to be knocked over the head with tools you can upgrade. There’s a lot packed into a deceptively simple game, and I haven’t been able to put it down for years.

There are stories with every resident in your community where you can make friends, learn to trust them, and even get married. It’s an adorable game that never gets too dark, but has enough emotional beats to bring you to tears, via 2D sprites.

Select 3 – F1 Clash

Stephen Warwick — News Editor

As a die-hard Formula 1 fan, I’m always on the lookout for racing when there’s no live action to watch. So for me, F1 Clash is the best game I’ve found and I’m completely addicted to it. A word of warning though – F1 Clash (opens in new tab) combines some of freemium gaming’s worst features – pay-to-win elements, promo reels that speed up unlocking, and all sorts of in-app purchases that They encourage spending money instead of working hard to advance and progress in the game.

Still, I’m obsessed with trying to win. It’s a real-time F1 strategy game where you control your two drivers and manage their speed and pit stop strategies to try to win races. The mechanics and gameplay are fairly arcadey, including crashes, safety cars, and a decent rain feature that forces you to consider tire strategy like you’re sitting on a Formula 1 pit wall.

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You can unlock and play with all of the real drivers from the current season, and your car consists of six elements that you can tweak, craft and upgrade to get the best racing setup for you. There are different duels with many different tracks and you play against real players in real time. There are also big Grand Prix weekends with spicier prizes and more.

F1 Clash falls for its freemium nature, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Formula 1. Be warned though, it is highly addictive.

Dial 4 – Infinity Blade

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Daryl Baxter — Editor for Functions

If there was ever a showcase for the graphics an iPhone was capable of in 2010, it was Infinity Blade (opens in new tab). Made using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3, it was the first example of console-quality graphics to arrive on smartphones, but with a twist that consoles couldn’t match – touch controls.

You controlled a character by tapping certain UI elements, and in battle you swiped in certain directions to attack, defend, and summon magic attacks. It was incredibly addicting and great fun.

Throughout the journey, you’ll collect gold and new swords to improve your character and help you in your quest to defeat the final boss, the God-King. Regardless of whether you die or beat him, you would start the journey again, restarting a time loop and challenging you to improve on your previous run. It reminded me of Shadow of the Colossus game, another classic game released on PlayStation 2 in 2005.

Three free expansions also gave you new items and weapons, followed by two sequels. While you could play these on the iPad, the trilogy was completely removed from the App Store in 2018. In part due to the uproar Apple and Epic Games had regarding the 70/30 split between the company and developers, which also resulted in Fortnite being removed from Apple’s devices. I was able to install the third game in 2020 since it showed up in my “Purchased” list, but since upgrading to an iPhone 13 Pro it has stopped working.

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Infinity Blade was a classic, one of the first to prove that console gaming could come to iOS but in a new and exciting way.

Select 5 –

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Gerald Lynch – Editor-in-Chief (opens in new tab) might not be the flashiest iPhone game on this list. It won’t push your phone’s chip to its limits and doesn’t use any fancy AR or motion control features. It’s not even particularly original – it’s basically a massively multiplayer game of good old Snake. But the casual battle royale gameplay has something almost Zen-like about it – collect shiny orbs to make your worm-thing as big as possible while dodging other players’ worm-things that will kill you if you come across them.

When I’m feeling a bit stressed on the go, five minutes of puts me in an almost meditative state where all that matters is growing that little worm. It’s incredibly addictive – in another universe it was heralded as “The best game of all eternity” I’m sure.

Where could gaming go for Apple in the future?

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Games on the App Store have come a long way in 15 years. We remember when the iPad first came out in 2010, and a bunch of games ended up with “HD” to make sure you knew this was iPad compatible.

Now we can play games through the Apple Arcade subscription service or through iMessage to pass the time. Most of us remember that one game we walk to when we think of using a particular device for the first time, and the App Store has gotten old enough that this is the case now.

With rumors of an Apple AR/VR headset allegedly surfacing, it will be interesting to see how games might work with this product and if 15 years from now we’ll be left wondering which AR/VR game has influenced us the most.