The App Store is bursting at the seams with all kinds of apps and games of varying quality, but one of the most consistent issues with it is discoverability. Despite having what seems like unlimited money and a full App Store editorial team, Apple is astonishingly bad at celebrating games that aren’t already hugely successful.
To be fair, Apple doesn’t have much reason to do this. It takes more work, and it’s far easier to sell people on games with name recognition and/or a mass market appeal than it is to actually explore a huge backcatalog and dig up some hidden gems.
Don’t fret though, that’s where we come in! See below for some amazing App Store finds that you probably haven’t gotten around to yet, though you probably should:
"Dog Sled Saga is a really solid management game that will charm you if you have any affinity for dogs. The races might feel like they get a little too easy once you figure them out, but the loop of continuously upgrading stays satisfying throughout."
"Codex of Victory may look a lot like strategy games you've played before, but it distinguishes itself as a unique and satisfying strategy game in its own right. It has an interesting gameplay structure that gets more complicated and rewarding the further into the experience you go. Although it has some usability issues and some repetitive elements, Codex of Victory is still some of the best turn-based strategy you can get on mobile."
"Regency Love is a choose-your-own adventure game set in Regency-era England (think Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice). Players assume the role of a young lady in the rural town of Darlington as she interacts with other residents. Most of the gameplay revolves around player choice - specifically when it comes to the courtly advances of suitors - and the writing is so polished, detailed, and appropriately ambiguous that navigating this simpler time actually feels extremely complex and challenging in a very satisfying way."
“Strain Tactics has a ton of stuff going on in it, which makes for a game that feels really chaotic. One second, everything could feel totally manageable and predictable, and, in the next, your whole party can literally be on fire. No matter what is happening though, it is hard to deny the rich, strategic depth that Strain Tactics offers.”
“It's not easy to take one simple gimmick and build a compelling game around it. It's even harder when you're doing this for an action game that requires precise control and quick reflexes on a touch screen. For these reasons, Bouncing Hero feels like a true anomaly. This game takes the simple mechanic of bouncing around on a pogo stick and transforms it into an experience that feels effortlessly fun and unique.”
“Have you enjoyed games like Card Crawl on your phone in the past? If so, you might be delighted to know that Mind Cards is a solo card game that feels a lot like a Tinytouchtales game, and it’s free to boot.”
“The idea of playing a game set in 12th century England around the building of a cathedral may not sound like your typical game setting, but then again, The Pillars of the Earth is not your typical game. Based on Ken Follett’s best-selling novel of the same name, Pillars is an adventure game that lets you live out and change the events that happen in the fictional village of Kingsbridge by controlling multiple different characters and choosing their destinies as they interact with the world. What makes this game special isn’t just its setting though. It also weaves an incredible tale that gives players the exact right of agency they need to feel important while playing without bogging them down with complicated puzzles or other obstacles.”
“Dig Dog is a relatively simple game that follows simple rules, but it manages to mix its gameplay elements together to make for a dynamic and challenging platformer. It definitely isn’t doing anything you haven’t seen before, but everything it does do, it does with incredible finesse.”
“Mr Future Ninja is a neon-soaked stealth game where you control a team of ninjas on their quest to free their clan from enslavement. It's a completely rad premise that is backed up by a really slick visual style and some clever level design.”
“If you are craving a platformer that pushes your skills to their limits, go pick up Golf Zero or something. The Big Journey just wants you to be happy, and it succeeds at doing that by providing a familiar formula in an adorable package.”
“MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL's use of Pong mechanics makes it one of the best action-oriented roguelikes on mobile. The game gets appropriately overwhelming and challenging while maintaining a simple control scheme that doesn't rely on virtual buttons or other problematic mobile control schemes. Every time I play it, I feel like there's something new to do or discover, which is a rare thing to say of a game, particularly one that is built on a foundation as simple as Pong.”
“Barbaric: The Golden Hero's Monster Strike-style combat and stylish look hooked me to the point that I couldn't stop playing until there was no more of it to play. It's not the most difficult game out there, but it's a tremendously fun and stylish loot-based dungeon-crawler that fits mobile pretty perfectly.”