The iPhone is a handheld gaming console. It's not nearly as powerful as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but it can handle plenty of action-packed titles and render intensive, stunning graphics.
Developers know this, too. That's why the App Store is loaded with thousands of free and paid games. With so many apps to choose from, it's no wonder so many of us spend hours browsing the App Store instead of hunting zombies, running from gorillas, grouping candy, building structures from blocks, and...you get the picture.
To help you get gaming on your new iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C now, rather than later, Pocket-lint has compiled the most essential games available. We've even rounded the list into a Top 10, though not in any particular order. Check out the results, below. Some of the games are wildly popular classics, while others are lesser-known stunners and Indie favourites.
These are the must-have games for Apple's iPhone; the absolute first titles you should buy once you're finished setting up your iTunes account. So, what are you waiting for? Start downloading. And let us know what you think in the comments below.
Temple Run 2
Like the first version, Temple Run 2 is a never-ending chase game. Specifically, there’s one giant gorilla chasing you (instead of a gang of three crow people). You also have an ancient treasure in your hand…and you’re going to die eventually. But first, how many coins can you collect, how far can you run and, naturally, can you get a higher score than anyone else you know? Pocket-lint enjoyed the graphics on Temple Run 2, though they’re also unnecessarily harder for your iPhone to render. Still, if you loved the original Temple Run, you will love the sequel. It’s basically the same game but with more bells and whistles, and it’s free.
Plants vs. Zombies
When it comes to movies, the sequels never quite get it right, and the same holds true for Plants vs. Zombies. Although the sequel is a smash-hit success, we prefer the original. Hands-down. It may have less plants and zombies, but it’s not bogged down by in-app purchases. As for the gameplay itself: similar to other tower defence games, Plants vs. Zombies allows you to plant different types of plants. These plants possess offensive or defensive capabilities, and you use them to stop a horde of zombies. Simples, right? And completely addictive.
With Tiny Tower, you can build, populate, and run tower. You won’t see any fancy or stunning imagery though, because it’s all dressed in vintage, pixelated graphics. The simplistic design coupled with the simplistic gameplay works very well on an iPhone. We especially enjoyed the linear nature of building a tower - a practical approach to avoiding constant moving around a map. Also, like other games on this list, Tiny Tower is really addictive. You'll step away for a bit – but when you dive back in you'll find you have cash, jobs to do, and things to sort out. It becomes a constant companion… and time-suck.
Candy Crush Saga
There are many "line 'em up" games on the App Store, in which you have to line up at least three same-coloured shapes and blast them away to make room for the next set, but none is more engaging or frustrating as Candy Crush Saga. The opening levels aren't too difficult, but, as get you used to the game's dynamics and cardboard-cut-out-styled characters, the levels get increasingly taxing. It’s cute. It’s sweet, literally. And it’s very similar to both Tetris and Bejeweled, though it has some extra oomph that will keep you fascinated and glued to your iPhone for hours.
Minecraft Pocket Edition
Minecraft Pocket Edition is a never-ending source of enjoyment, enabling you to spend endless hours of time in a darkened-room digging. Specifically, the cult software allows you to take on an avatar that can break and place blocks. This means your avatar can build complex structures, creations, and artwork, while roaming across multiple game modes, multi-player servers, and single-player worlds. It’s social and artistic, kind of. But mostly, it’s just fun.
App Store: Minecraft Pocket Edition
READ: Minecraft Pocket Edition review (Android)
This game looks absolutely fantastic. The aim is pretty simple: touch the screen to cause the furry blob you guide through the Badlands up or down. It is very similar to the classic Helicopter game, and it reminds us of some of the classic Mario levels (the ones where the screen was constantly moving and you would die if you got trapped). The whole app is very physics heavy, but effortless in its gameplay and gorgeous in its design. You will be completely enamoured – and itching to see what sort of graphical niceties are waiting for you in the next level.
App Store: Badland
READ: Badland review (iPhone)
Angry Birds Star Wars II
Featuring characters and locations from the blockbuster prequel trilogy and a whole load more, this sequel lets you use The Force for good against the greedy Pork Federation. Or you can choose a much darker path - The Pork Side. You’ll see the fearsome Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, and more than 30 other playable characters. If you love Star Wars and the Angry Birds franchise, this game is ideal for you.
App Store: Angry Birds Star Wars II
READ: Angry Birds Star Wars II now available
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
If you have played Grand Theft Auto 3 on mobile devices, you will love this game. Control schemes are identical as is weapon handling, although Vice City has a better lock-on system and bigger arsenal of guns. Vice City also has much more content; there are more cars, boats and even aircraft and helicopters. Missions are more diverse and the whole game has just a more intense level of polish. As for graphics, playing this game on the Retina display is fantastic. Overall, Vice City is probably our favourite title in the whole mobile series.
Infinity Blade III
Infinity Blade III, the third chapter in the Apple-only trilogy, is built with the iPhone 5S processor in mind. It takes advantage of its new 64-bit architecture, and it beautifully renders effects like depth of field, blur, and full-screen vignettes. Aside from action, role-playing gameplay, this app includes a bonus animated "Infinity Blade: Origins" short film directed by Ben Hibon.
App Store: Infinity Blade 3
READ: Infinity Blade III will be the first 64-bit optimised game for the iPhone 5S
We had to include an Indie favourite in this list, and Limbo is the first game that sprung to mind. It’s a side-scrolling adventure with breathtaking, black-silhouette visuals that remind us of Contre Jour, Vector and World of Goo. This game is as much about narrative, graphic elements, emotion and mood as it is about solving puzzles. You will undoubtedly love exploring Limbo just as much as you’ll love looking at it.