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The best games that are actually free

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 27th, 2018

There’s an abundance of “free” games out there on the App Store these days, but many of them aren’t actually free. Whether they offer in-game purchases that make playing them a little easier, serve up ads left and right, or some combination of the two, it’s rare to find free games that aren’t trying to monetize you in some way that feels pretty icky. That said, there are a few hidden gems out there that don’t try any of these schemes that are absolutely worth playing. Check out this list below:

Want Some Free Games? Then Join AppSpy and Pocket Gamer for #FreeGameFriday

Posted by Rob Rich on May 20th, 2015

This Friday (and every other Friday for as long as they're able), both AppSpy and Pocket Gamer will be doling out the latest and greatest premium games over on their Twitch channel. Here’s how you get your free stuff...

It's Halloween, Must Be Time For Game Sales and Updates, Spooky Style!

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on October 30th, 2012

It's Halloween Night tomorrow, and of course it's time for the little ones to head outside and trick or treat, as well as time for the rest of us to celebrate some scary fun of our own. What better way to gear up for an evening full of apple bobbing, costume wearing, or several other activities of horror-themed debauchery than to grab a few Halloween-flavored games?

To help, we've pulled together a list, with the help of the kind folks over at Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer, of spooky sales, awfully-free apps, and spooktacularly updated apps and games for your viewing and downloading pleasure. Don't blame us, though, if you binge on too many apps and end up feeling nauseous. Consider yourself warned.


Chillingo Sale


Other Sales


See the rest of the sales after the break

Frisbee Forever 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on July 6th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: TOSSINGLY GOOD
Frisbee Forever is back and better than ever
Read The Full Review »

FREEday 4/27/12 - "I’m Fancy FREE and FREE for Anything Fancy"

Posted by Rob Rich on April 27th, 2012

I’m kind of proud of this week’s list. I managed to find a bunch of slightly hidden titles. Titles that aren’t featured in New and Noteworthy or any of the other more immediate App Store categories. It’s like digging for buried treasure of a sort. Hopefully everyone gets some enjoyment from my booty.

Wait a minute.

Lil’ Kingdom - If building up a pixilated tower full of digitized denizens is starting to get old (doubtful), now there’s an alternative. Lil’ Kingdom lets players create and run their own subterranean monarchy complete with Goblins and Unicorn ranches. It might seem like it isn’t much more than a thematic change, but some people just like fantasy better than 8-bit reality. Of course, since it’s free there’s no reason we can’t enjoy both options.

DBlade! (Dungeon & Blade) - I find it hard not to get interested in a one-button action RPG/dungeon crawler with randomized maps. I mean, it’s something I could play one-handed on the subway. Plus the random levels means some pretty high replayability. Sure it’s got ads that can be gotten rid of with cash, but MTA commuters such as myself don’t have to worry too much about that. We don’t get much of a signal down in the tunnels.

G.O.D [God of Defence] - When an undead army is trying to escape from the gates of Hell, I can’t think of a better suited custodian than an elemental god. Players utilize upgradeable skills involving ice, fire, and plasma to fight back the hordes made up of 26 different enemy types. It’s a little more “hands-on” (*rimshot*) than the typical defense games involving placing towers and watching the mayhem, but that’s far from a bad thing.

World Guardians - Right on the heels of one defense game we have another. This time players will choose between four different upgradeable guardians, as well as a number of support units, to protect the Earth from a slew of enemies and bosses. Not entirely groundbreaking, sure, but it’s very inexpensive and has a pretty cool visual style. At least in my opinion.

Zombro - Now I’m admittedly a little burned out on “Point A to Point B” puzzle platformers, but Zombro adds an interesting twist. As expected the goal is to get the shambler to the level’s exit, but players have to do it piece by piece. Rather than simply getting him there all at once they have to get his torso, legs, and brain through one at a time. If nothing else it’s an intriguing concept.

FREEday 4/13/12 - "This is What I Call FREEdom"

Posted by Rob Rich on April 13th, 2012

There are some exciting freebies to check out this week. Some real good stuff if I do say so myself. World-traveling resort-builders, badguy castle defense, scratch-off ticket lotteries for fantasy creatures (more on that later), etc. I’d say it’s a pretty enticing list. So why not have a sit down, grab up some free games, and have a fun-filled weekend? Well, an app-filled weekend, anyway.

Aero Vacation - We’re all no doubt familiar with running our own resorts/hotels/whatevers. Making the tiny people happy and all that. But doing all of that on a giant airship as it sails around the world? Awesome idea! I mean seriously, it’s like the perfect twist to the formula.

Big Win Hockey - Free Hockey! With fully-customizable teams, a CCG-style system of unlocks, game-changing special cards, Daily trophies, and even light RPG elements. Even as someone who isn’t all that into hockey I find this fantastic.

StickWars 3 - The sticks are back and out for blood! And rightly so seeing as the evil King Maelnik has been after them for at least two other games now. This time things are a little different. This time players are in control of Maelnik and his horde. Lots of necromancy and zombies. Good stuff.

Virtual Villagers: Origins - Seeing as this is something of a popular iOS series, I’d think a free-to-play iteration would be noteworthy. And look at that, it’s been noted! So yeah, enjoy.

Battle Kingdom - Building a fantasy kingdom is coo. Expanding it and messing around with armies for attack and defense is nice too. But what’s really sweet is the Dragon Lottery. Yes, Dragon Lottery. With scratch-off tickets. Download now, thank me later.

FREEday 4/6/12 - "I Wanna be FREE from You"

Posted by Rob Rich on April 6th, 2012

In attempting to avoid falling into any sort of "theme" for this week's list, I've gone and done it anyway. No zombies and (technically) no city-builders, but half of the games featured here share a commonality anyway. I'm referring to their "retro" style, which is to say they're intentionally pixelated. Granted, one of them is a port of an older NES game but still. I suppose I should just embrace themes in the future rather than fight against them, huh?

8bit Ninja - I'm not even sure where to begin. It's like some bizarre combination of avoidance/fruit mangling with RPG elements, multiple characters, various things to buy in a shop, and some sweet retro visuals. Considering all that, how could I not put it up here?

Amoebas Attack - Okay so a side-scrolling twin-stick shooter set inside the human body isn't exactly ground breaking these days. Neither is controlling an antibody fighting off infectious bacteria and the like. However, allowing players to evolve the antibody as they progress (i.e. new abilities and such) along with the clever way they can move vertically between capillaries in order to adjust the difficulty is certainly cool.

Saturday Morning RPG - It's an RPG inspired by Saturday morning cartoons from the 80's. That alone should be more than enough to get people on the App Store and downloading. Assuming it isn't, it's still a stylish JRPG-style romp spanning several episodes. So really, why not?

Parallel Mafia - I'm all for using the iPhone's GPS functionality to create location-based (virtual) warfare. But mixing genres and creating a sort of cyberpunk mafia setting is just all kinds of awesome. That and it's quite possibly the closest we've come to seeing a real new Shadowrun game since the 16-bit era.

Beauty vs Beasts - Simple, cute, and goofy. Never a bad list of features for an iOS game. Players control the titular Beauty as she fends off beasts and smooches princes, all with the tap of a few buttons. It's a simple reflex-based high score kind of game, but that's totally fine by me. Sometimes simple is the way to go.

StarSoldier - I did own an NES back in the day, but I spent more time playing outside than parked in front of the TV with a controller in my hand. For the most part. So I never managed to play this particular 8-bit shooter. Thankfully Hudson has decided to re-release it on iOS devices, a decisions that's bound to make more than a few fans quite happy. Heck, it might even create new ones.

FREEday 3/30/12 - "FREE Your Mind and Feel the Passion, Baby"

Posted by Rob Rich on March 30th, 2012

I'm so proud of myself. This week I managed to compile a sizable list of freebies without resorting to freemium city builders or anything with zombies in it. Well okay, the jury's still out on Monster Factory ENG (there might be zombies in there) but the rest are assuredly zombie free. I think. Yeah. No. Yeah. Definitely maybe.

Dark Meadow: The Pact - I still have fond memories of the original game, but when they toss extra content into the mix I can't help but get excited about the new stuff. The fact that the game is also available in a free-to-play model now sweetens the deal for everybody. It's a bit hefty in size, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Cordy Sky - The original Cordy was a whimsical (and quite well-made) platformer. This little spin-off is more akin to a vertical jumper, but that's no reason to expect any form of diminished quality. Seriously, it's looking great and it's free. Why the heck not?

Tree World - This one's pretty good from what I hear. It might not have much in the way of adult-oriented staying power, but Tiny Tower + Pokemon? Yes. Absolutely yes.

GangHound - Okay, this one's definitely not friendly for all-ages but it offers plenty of action. Upgrades, missions, daily rewards and rivalries, too. It seems tailor-made for those who are getting a little tired of all the G-rated iOS offerings out there and just want to shoot stuff in a gloriously bloody fashion.

Armado HD - Roll a young armadillo around a number of varying environments as he attempts to play the hero. Armado HD also sports some nice visuals and the choice between accelerometer and touch controls. It's everything the original is (literally), but dressed up to make better use of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. In other words, it's prettier. Also free.

Monster Factory ENG - It's hard to get specifics from the poorly translated description, but Monster Factory ENG is a defense-centric game with some fairly interesting looking visuals. And since it's free, no one really loses out on much if they take the time to check it out. "... like a chief" indeed.

FREEday 3/23/12 - "We Like the Kind of Living that is FREE for All"

Posted by Rob Rich on March 23rd, 2012

It's a shorter list this week, but I don't think that makes it any less special. Especially since Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is finally available. Why is that exciting? Well, because it's been created by a who's who team of iOS indie developers, that's why. People like Danny Baranowsky (composer for Canabalt, Super Meat Boy), Paul Veer (Super Crate Box), Adam Saltsman (Canabalt, Gravity Hook), Mark Johns (Tap Tap Dance), and Kevin Coulton (Hot Throttle). Now that's one heck of a pedigree. But it's not all about one game, no matter how awesome it may or may not be. There are a few more titles down there that are still worth a look. Especially the one about the girl with the pet mushroom. I mean come on, the concept alone is worth checking out.

Fix-it-up 80s: Meet Kate's Parents - Time management games can be quite addicting. Time management games involving automotive repair might blur the lines between demographics a bit (in a good way). Time management games about auto repair set in the 80s will almost certainly turn a few unexpected heads. I mean come on, we all love the 80s. VH1 said so.

Hunger Games: Girl on Fire - I've already droned on about how excited I am for this one simply based on the (incredible) talent behind it. It's not surprising to see that it's a "runner," but it's a bit more complex than that. It's also much more dextrous. And also free, naturally.

Motorcity: Drive - Tearing around a city in a futuristic car armed to the teeth is a pretty cool idea. So is using said armaments to blow up evil robots. But naming the car "MUTT" is just silly enough to be ingenious. Enough so that I'm willing to look past the Disney XD association.

Touch Detective 2 1/2 - Bizarro gumshoe Mackenzie and her "assistant" (I still think he's a pet) Funghi are back to solve more weird mysteries. Players can nab this reasonably extensive demo of the first two sections for free and see what the fuss (i.e. my fuss) is all about. If nothing else it's got a fantastic art style. Plus it's something of a point-and-click adventure, and we can never have too many of those.

FREEday 2/24/12 - "I'm Running FREE, Get Out of My Way"

Posted by Rob Rich on February 24th, 2012

Maybe it's because the month is winding down or perhaps it's just a coincidence, but I found a good deal more interesting-looking freebies this week than usual. Not that I'm complaining. Anyway, here's this week's helping of games that don't require cash to enjoy.

Dark Summoner - Online dark fantasy social games. Typically good stuff. At the very least it tends to be quite popular. So it stands to reason that a free online dark fantasy social game with three different factions to choose between, over 350 kinds of monsters to collect and use, gorgeous artwork, planned monthly events, and free updates (naturally) miiiiiight be worth looking into.

Quantum Legacy - Being able to jump right into an action-heavy 3D space shooter is cool. It looks pretty nifty, claims to have "simple and innovative controls," is free, and overall seems like a decent way to kill time with no cost. But Quantum Legacy really caught my attention because the hero's ship is called the "Omnithias." I mean come on, that's hilarious.

Small Street - Everyone loves to build their own cities; the evidence of which is plastered all over the App Store. With such a saturated market, it's nice to see a game that takes things down to a more intimate level. Say by putting players in charge of a few dozen buildings instead of hundreds. Customizable citizens are a nice touch, too.

Cutout Fighter - I'm usually not big on fighting games, but the ones I do enjoy tend to have some kind of visual gimmick associated with them. Clayfighter had claymation, Killer Instinct used cutting-edge (at the time) CGI, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had Jill Valentine (*swoon*), and now Cutout Fighter taunts me with its paper-focused presentation. I'd say I'm bothered by the temptation, but the game is free so I really don't care about giving in.

Save the Cubes - Cubeland is in peril after a mishap at the local chemical plant, so players will have to Save the Cubes. Save cubes from "infected" cubes. Yes, it's a physics-based zombie game. With nothing but cubes. Color me intrigued.

HUNT THE MONSTERS - A princess is nuts for monsters. The king wants to make the princess happy. The subjects... well, they're just along for the ride. Catching monsters earns gold, gold buys better weapons which can help nab more monsters, and the whole thing feeds on itself until the monster book is full.

FREEday 2/17/12 - "FREE Feels a Lot Better than I Thought it Would"

Posted by Rob Rich on February 17th, 2012

It's that time of the week again. Time to get ready to enjoy the weekend, collect a paycheck, and kickback with some iOS games that don't cost a dime. I mean, We've all got bills to pay, right? So why not keep them as low as possible with a healthy amount of App Store frugality?

Fairway Solitaire - Big Fish Games - Golf, gophers, and... playing cards? I guess so. Big Fish Games' take on the classic single-player affair has certainly seen its fair share of buzz (no pun in intended). Which isn't too much of a surprise seeing as it's all super-colorful and addictive. The only thing needed to make it "perfect" is an extremely cheap price tag. Oh wait, it has one of those, too.

Clockwork Brain - Insanely Fun - Mini-game challenges are always popular, and people apparently love to "train" their brains. I blame Nintendo for that one. But thanks to them we have games like Clockwork Brain to pass the time and flex the neurons. Plus it's got a robot in it. Robots are cool.

Trigger Knight - Weird/experimental games always intrigue me. Especially when they involve RPG elements and classic JRPG-inspired visual designs. That, and the concept of a "survival RPG" that utilizes split-second decision making and a single-tap interface just sounds neat. And hey, it's free so there's absolutely no harm in checking it out.

Dancescape - Hmmm... A puzzle game where the puzzles are dance moves. And players have to guide a character through the ruins (and traps) of an ancient civilization. With dancing. Why it's just insane enough to work!

Stromfeld - In a world full of shmups, what's the harm in adding one more to the library? Silly of me to ask, I know, because there isn't any harm in doing so. Especially when it's free. Also it looks kinda cool and features "endless gameplay." Not a bad deal.

Let's Bowl 2 - Set 'em up and knock 'em down using a number of unique balls, each with their own unique performance, through all manner of wacky and colorful alleys. Throw in upgrades that can be purchased with "bowling bucks" and it's a pretty cool freebie we have here. Just don't judge it by the catch-phrase. It's kinda... yeah...

FREEday 2/3/12 - "Give Me the Beat Boys to FREE My Soul"

Posted by Rob Rich on February 3rd, 2012

Call me crazy, but I felt compelled to make this week's list of freebies a little bigger than usual. Maybe it's because there were more to pick from. Maybe there was a larger number of legitimately interesting titles. Or maybe I was just on a roll and went with it. No matter the reason, there's a nice big list of iOS games down there that can all be acquired without the use of money. Why not take a look?

GHOST TRICK: Phantom Detective - It seems like Capcom has started to compulsively port their DS games to iOS. Not that I mind, because most of their DS games are utterly fantastic. GHOST TRICK: Phantom Detective is most likely no exception. The dead private eye who continues to solve cases as a spirit while possessing various items in order to freak out nearby living folks might be a tad eccentric for some, but it's right up my alley. I can only assume it's right up other peoples' alleys as well.

Rock the Vegas for iPhone - People love to build their own cities in a virtual environment. A lot of people also love to gamble. Rock the Vegas offers both of those things. For free! With no broken thumbs!

Brand Name Space Game - Okay, so there's no shortage of top-down SHMUPs on the App Store. But how many of them feature semi-satirical names? And look pretty? And are free? Yeah, okay. I kind of backed myself into a corner with this one. Still, it's free so why not take a look?

Range - Range might be a game. Then again it might not. Either way, it's intriguing: it attempts to subconsciously teach players another language through the use of audio cues and platformer-style gameplay. I don't know if it really works or not, but it's a pretty cool idea. And I've always wanted to start learning Japanese...

Epic Tic Tac Toe Pro - I like to think that anyone who's been reading my stuff since I've started at 148apps is aware of my natural inclination towards completely weird stuff. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've managed to find a game that makes tic-tac-toe look like an 8-bit empire building sim. Admit it, this sounds interesting.

Spice Invaders - I'd be ashamed if I failed to mention what I'd consider this week's best free-to-play release. Sure the multiplayer is rather borked, but that can be fixed. Besides, this tower defense game is totally worth the free download for the campaign. And it's got a ton of unlockable content to keep players occupied.

FREEday 1/27/12 - "FREE is the Way, I Got to Be"

Posted by Rob Rich on January 27th, 2012

With all the freebies that have been flying around each week, it's a wonder we haven't run out. Then again, how many hundreds of apps and games are released each week? Yeah, I suppose when I think about it that way it's no wonder we're still going strong. Strong with savings!

... I'm sorry. Just ignore me and take a look at this week's list. I'll be sitting over here. In the corner.

Baseball Superstars 2012 - People love baseball. At least, that's what I've heard. So yeah, here's a baseball game. But what about the rest of us who aren't nuts for "America's Favorite Pastime?" Well we have this, too. Because it's absolutely insane, anime-style baseball. Like with unnatural pitching abilities and totally wacky players. That, and the last one was pretty cool, too.

Derby Days - Now I know there are a lot of free-to-play "build X" games around these days, but none to my knowledge combine the concept with horse care. It's usually either or as far as I know. So why not get excited about being able to build and run a horse ranch, while also caring for and breeding horses? If it were possible to trade the diminutive equines with friends than I'd say this is a sure-fire thing. Wait a second, we can do that already? Well then I guess there's no point in holding off on downloading it.

Zombie Battle - Zombies staggering in from the right side of the screen across several "lanes." Seems a tad familiar. This isn't a strategy game, however. It's more of an action defense thing. Sure, zombies have been done to death (har-har) these days but that's no reason to discount this upgradable blast-em-up. Besides, vaporizing the living dead is almost always tons of fun.

2XL MX Offroad - Some people out there might argue about the superiority of dirt bikes versus ATVs. People like that can now have tons of fun with various what-if scenarios thanks to 2XL MX Offroad. People unlike that who don't care much either way can also have plenty of fun with 2XL MX Offroad because it's a crazy motocross-style racer with lots of stuff to do and stunts to (hopefully) perform.

FREEday 1/20/12 - "FREE like a Summer Breeze"

Posted by Rob Rich on January 20th, 2012

Now that the holidays are well and truly over (for now), the App Store seems to have gotten back into full swing. It was a little tough choosing what to mention here because there's been somewhat of a flood of free games released this past week, but I'd consider that a good problem to have. So here it is, a small list of zero-cost iOS games that will hopefully make for a pleasant end of the week. If nothing else they should at least make for a decent distraction, anyway.

LEGO® App4+ - It's probably (read: definitely) not the most complicated game on this list, but LEGO® App4+ is still worth a look. Especially in a household with a young person or two. Hauling LEGOs around a-la Doodle Truck is a fun way to pass the time in itself, however the added ability to "build" stuff with virtual LEGOs is a nice touch.

Niko - Who doesn't love a colorful puzzle/platformer... thing? No one, that's who! Which is exactly why checking out this freebie is worth doing. Access is limited to the first six levels, but I'm thinking that's more than enough to suffice when it comes to having fun. Plus it unlocks special rewards that can be redeemed for Habbo Hotel, for what that's worth.

Order Up!! To Go - The comparisons to Cooking Mama are unavoidable, but I don't really think that's a bad thing. In fact, I'd call it great. Greater still is the way it reminds me of a Japanese PlayStation game called I am the Chef that was amazing (and never released in the states, of course). Regardless of what it's like or what it reminds anyone of, it's a nifty little free-to-play that includes cooking mini-games and restaurant management. Can we say "sweet?" Yeah, I thought so.

Snark Busters - I'll admit I've never been a huge fan of "find the hidden object" games, but I'm more than aware that it's a reasonably successful genre. So it's not hard for me to imagine that there are plenty of people out there who will flock to Snark Busters. I mean it's free, and it features a steampunk setting. About 90% of the world's population loves both those things. It's not guess-work, it's science!

FREEday 1/13/12 - "I'm FREE, to do what I want"

Posted by Rob Rich on January 13th, 2012

Uh-oh. Know what day today is? Yeah... *gulp*

Well I for one won't let superstition get the best of me. In fact, it's scientifically proven that getting games for free is the best way to change bad luck into good. Lucky (ha-ha!) thing I just so happen to have a list of a few of these zero-cost gems right here. Be sure to check them all out right after the break.

(NOTE: Free games are most certainly not scientifically proven to fix bad luck. However, they will kill time while sitting in the emergency room after that "unfortunate incident" with the cat and the Thighmaster.)