Every day, we pick out a curated list of the best mobile discounts on the App Store and post them here. This list won't be comprehensive, but it every game on it is recommended. Feel free to check out the coverage we did on them in the links below to further vet these discounted games before you decide to buy:
Games marked with an asterisk(*) denote that the entire developer/publisher’s catalog is discounted, despite the fact that all of their games may not be listed here.
Over a year into the Apple Arcade experiment, I’m adjusting my approach to these rankings to make it a bit less cumbersome to update and read. For the most part, this means the number of updates on previously released games will decrease, and the text below each entry will be kept to a brief-yet-accurate justification for its positioning.
This has less to do with the pace of Apple Arcade releases and more to do with the fact that the general quality of games on the service simply isn’t what it should be. In the time that one release comes to the service, multiple high quality games hit the App Store that you don’t have to pay monthly upkeep for. Unless something drastic changes with the service, my opinion on it probably won’t change much. With the most recent update bringing older established titles to the service, Arcade is certainly the strongest it has ever been, but additional shakeups like this will need to keep happening to finally sell me on the service.
Angry Birds Reloaded is an repackaging of Rovio's immensely successful bird-slinging puzzler. This title is a remake of the original Angry Birds game, but with some new birds, new challenges, and a whole new game mode.
Angry Birds Reloaded feels about as dry a remake as you can get. The updated visuals I'm sure make the game look sharper, but it truly looks and feels like a game from over a decade ago. That, plus a whole host of consumables and currencies that give it a free-to-play feel, make Angry Birds Reloaded easy to pass over.
This side-scrolling platformer has you tapping to control a flapping, fuzzball-like creature through mysterious environments. There are lite obstacles in your way, but they basically only pose a problem because the screen is always scrolling over to the right as you play. If you take too long in your navigation, you have to start over.
Badland is another one of those high-profile mobile games I never got around to playing, but after playing it I have a hard time understanding what made it special. It's brand of puzzle platforming seems fine, but not especially revelatory. It would also be a lot more fun to play if controlling it didn't feel so floppy and imprecise.
This game takes the tools of adventure games like The Legend of Zelda and repackages them into small, diorama-like "rooms" that you journey between in a quest to collect "The Heart of Adventure." You can go on these journeys by yourself or with up to three other players. Or you can forgo the adventuring altogether and make your own quests for others.
Wonderbox is less a game and more a level creation platform. The pre-packaged adventures aren't particularly impressive (aside from how they look). This is to say I was largely bored by the game until I started making my own levels. The only thing that has since stopped me is a bug that disabled my character's movement as I was trying to validate my level for publication. Wait for a fix here, folks.
Farm It is a farm-building game where you cultivate the land for crops and livestock through a set of mini-games. As you harvest and sell through your goods, you earn coins that allow you to upgrade your farm, purchase furniture for your farm house, and make more things to sell.
This game is essentially an endless treadmill of upgrades, and it lacks so much personality I almost forgot to rank it. That said, it's surprisingly easy to get sucked into a session with the game because of how nice it feels to "scrape" crops into a basket and offers a more mobile-friendly experience than similar titles on Apple Arcade.
Ironhide Game Studio has brought one of their acclaimed tower-defense games to Apple Arcade with Kingdom Rush Frontiers+. Your goal is simple, protect a goal point by building towers stationed by archers, wizards, warriors, and more as waves of increasingly challenging and complicated enemies get thrown at you.
The Kingdom Rush games are untouchably good tower defense games. I can't think of another franchise that even approaches the same level of quality and polish as these ones. That said, I think Frontiers is a relatively weak pick from their lineup to throw onto Arcade. It's great, but it's no Vengeance, so basically on par with a lot of Apple Arcade decision-making.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a colorful and beautifully animated platformer that feels a lot like a Castlevania game. Shantae and her friends arrive on an island for a half-genie celebration, when all of them get kidnapped (except for Shantae, of course). To rescue the half-genies, you must pilot Shantae across different parts of the island to find magic powers that let you explore new locations. All along the way, island wildlife and other enemies stand in your path, and you have to decide how best to deal with them using your hair-whipping skills, magical abilities, or otherwise just avoiding them.
I really dig the straightforward and old-school style of Shantae and the Seven Sirens. It’s also just a gorgeous game. There definitely aren’t many surprises with a game like this, but Shantae manages to execute so well on creating a Castlevania-type game that it’s also hard not to have a good time with it.
If building roadways in Mini Motorways wasn't exactly doing it for you, Dinosaur Polo Club's original commuter-puzzler has come over to Apple Arcade. Link different subway stops together by dragging transit lines between them to try and plan out the most efficient way to get people to their destinations while being careful not to let any stops jam up with too many people. All of this is presented in a simple geometric style that reflects classic transit map design.
Mini Metro+ feels more intuitive than Mini Motorways, making it my preferred flavor of transit puzzling. It still can be a bit of a slow burn and rounds can be cut short with some poor luck, though. This, plus its age don't make it the most attractive Apple Arcade offering, despite being occasionally a good time.
The Apple Arcade version of World of Demons is much better than the soft launch experience from 2018, but that's not saying a whole lot. Having on-screen buttons with snappier movement and more control over your attacks is great, but the game's inky look still looks pretty drab and environmental exploration drags out play sessions in a way that isn't particularly mobile friendly. At the end of the day, World of Demons is also still just an upgrade treadmill that doesn't seem to lead anywhere.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth brought a few fantastic mobile game heroines front and centre, and I'm so excited to see more of them in recent titles and the promise of titles to come.
If a game is good, personally I'm not too fussed on who the leading figure is. Man, woman, frog hybrid, racoon, dog, alien, whatever, I'm down for it. However, growing up there was always one protagonist that I admired more than any other – Lara Croft.
In the world of mobile gaming, truly well-made games can often be something of a rarity. Well-made games that feature female protagonists are even rarer, and while many games give you the option to choose between a male or female avatar, it's not often that the star of a game is a woman.
With that in mind, here's a few high-quality games that feature a woman not just as an avatar, but as the main character.
In the latest part of our roundup of the best games in specific genres, we're going to take a look at the best puzzle games you can pick up for iPhone and iPad. And there are some of the very best games period on this list, so it's definitely going to be worth your while to give it a read.
We've added download links and links to our reviews as well, so you can make sure you've got all the knowledge you need before you make a purchase. And if you've got your own suggestions to add, then make sure you chuck them in the comments at the bottom of the list. We'd really appreciate it.
There's been a lot of buzz about loot boxes in console games over the past few months. Apparently they're bad, and they're killing creativity. Which sort of leads to the following question - have mobile gamers got it worse than traditional gamers?
After all, loot boxes, gacha mechanics, and wait timers have been prevalent in mobile gaming for years now. They're the rule, rather than the exception, but they're also one of the main sticks that critics of mobile gaming use to beat us with. But are mobile games really the worst of the worst, and are their players really getting the raw end of the deal?
Free to play?
Free to play games have been ubiquitous on the App Store for a good long while now. If you’re looking to make it to the pinnacle of the top grossing charts, and you’re not Minecraft, then you’re going to need to make your game free to play. And you’re going to have to spend exorbitant amounts on advertising to get people playing.
But unlike console games, there’s no initial outlay here. Sure you’re spending some time and bandwidth getting the game, but it’s not like you’re throwing down $60 to get something, only to find that some of the content is behind a paywall. In that way, you can sort of justify the anger console gamers have been dealing with recently.
On the flip side of that though, the free to play games on the App Store are, in a way, not really for gamers. Sure there are a few exceptions, but for the most part they’re casual or midcore experiences. They might woo you for a while with bright colors and ever-increasing numbers, but you’re unlikely to buy into them if you’re not of a certain persuasion.
Instead, some of the very best experiences on mobile are premium. Games like The Room series, Monument Valley, and Framed. Some of them might have paid-for DLC, but they’re not guarding the finest cuts for those who are willing to reach into their pockets. The breadth of styles and genres on mobile means that there is, quite literally, something for everyone, even if it’s sometimes hard to find.
The big releases
While the majority of console games come out towards the end of the year, in order to capitalize on the holiday rush, there’s a steady stream of amazing experiences coming to mobile - often on a weekly basis.
But there’s a flip side to that too. Any of the really big games that come to console either come to mobile in a massively altered form, or just don’t make it onto the App Store at all. That said, mainstream gaming has become something of a wasteland in terms of innovation in recent years, beset by sequels, remakes, and games that if they came out on mobile would get slated as clones.
There’s pros and cons to both mobile and non-mobile gaming, but it’s fair to say that while mobile has dealt with a lot of the problems that are besetting AAA games, it’s also managed to circumnavigate them pretty well. Discovery is still an issue for a lot of premium titles, but they’re there, and sites like 148Apps are going to point you in the right direction.
At the same time, there are definitely a lot more games on the App Store that you could point to as being, not evil, but certainly designed to get the most money out of players. But then, these are products, created so the people behind them can earn cash, so that’s hardly a surprise.
In the end, the variety that mobile gaming offers means there’s always going to be more space for innovation than there is in the console sphere. You’re not going to see Clash of Clans on Xbox anytime soon, but the AAA manufacturers are looking at the massive amounts of money a handful of mobile developers are making and trying to move into a similar space.
Do mobile gamers have it worse? No, not at all. But if the history of mobile gaming is anything to go by, there’s a very good chance that console players are going to be hit by ideas much worse than loot boxes in the not-too-distant future.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below
Black Friday's upon us, and if you've happened to nab a fancy new phone during the week's big savings, you might be searching for some new games to fill up space on your new gadget. There are a lot of great games on sale right now for Black Friday. Here are the best deals on the App Store.