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Pocket Gamer's top 50 iPhone and iPad games of the last five years (50 to 31)

The App Store turns 5
Product: App Store | Publisher: Apple
App Store iPhone, thumbnail 1
Five years ago, on July 10th 2008, the App Store opened its virtual doors to the public.

For gamers, the launch was a bit of a dud. The choices were essentially a dodgy port of Ms. Pac-Man, a crummy Super Monkey Ball spin-off, and crazy expensive (at least by today's standards) remakes of Tetris and Bejeweled 2.

But it would turn out to be an inauspicious launch for one of the biggest gaming outlets on the planet. In the last half decade the App Store has grown into a superstore, giving rise to new titles, genres, attitudes, and trends.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Pocket Gamer staff have voted for their favourite games from the App Store. Over the next few days, we'll reveal our Top 50 best iOS games of the last five years.

Join us.

Dodonpachi Resurrection
By Cave - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Bullet-hell shooters - horrendously hardcore games that need pinpoint accuracy and cobra-like reflexes - shouldn't work on a touchscreen.

Dodonpachi manages it anyway, and introduces a terrific new mechanic that has you swinging back and forth between offence and defence like a champion boxer. - Mark Brown

Blueprint 3D
By FDG Entertainment - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games If you didn't know any better, you'd be forgiven for thinking Blueprint 3D is a first-party iOS game. Skeuomorphism? Check. Rubber banding effects? Tick. Exercise in simplicity? Yes. If Apple made spatial-reasoning puzzlers, they'd probably look like Blueprint 3D.

Rotate the 'exploded' schema through simple swipes until the desired object crystallises before your very eyes. Simple and serene. - Richard Brown

Where's My Water?
By Disney - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Where's My Water? is a good idea. You dig through dirt with your finger to reroute sloshing great puddles of suds to a showering alligator.

And then Disney had about a thousand more good ideas, constantly twisting and spinning that core concept with things like fire, ice, moss, balloons, and land mines.

There's even more imagination in the Perry and Mickey follow-ups. - Mark Brown

Civilization Revolution
By 2K Games - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games 2K told us that an iOS port of Civilization V could be on the cards - but this will do nicely for now.

In this global-scale strategy epic you'll lead your nation through the ages - from mud hut to space ship - as you vie for world domination.

Or a technological win. Or a cultural victory. It's entirely up to you. - Mark Brown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
By 2K Games - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games On the battlefield, XCOM operates on a very small scale. In these turn-based firefights you'll guide a tiny squad of soldiers to nuke a handful of alien nasties.

But back at base, Enemy Unknown's focus goes global, as you do diplomacy with China and Mexico.

Whatever the case, it's engrossing, challenging, and uncompromisingly difficult. - Mark Brown

Virtual Pool
By Celeris - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games There are lots of pool games on the App Store that use gimmicks to win your custom.

There are top-down ad-funded pool games and there are 3D online multiplayer pool games, featuring novelty tables, pumping soundtracks, and eccentric characters.

Virtual Pool is not like those games, and that's why you should buy it. - Rob Hearn

Mirror's Edge
By Electronic Arts - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games If Mirror's Edge were an Olympic sport, it would be rhythmic gymnastics (complex choreography and sweeping gestures). If Mirror's Edge were a song, it'd be Ariane Grande's 'The Way' (precision beats and seductive charm). If Mirror's Edge were a footballer, it'd be Lionel Messi (perpetual motion and swift changes of direction).

In EA Mobile's beautifully adapted frenetic freerunning-meets-future fascism platformer, momentum is king. And queen. You just gotta have Faith. - Richard Brown

Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell
By Tin Man Games - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Fighting Fantasy novels are interactive works of fiction that allow you to carve your own path through the narrative.

In House of Hell, you assume the role of luckless traveller who's forced to seek refuge from a downpour in a terrifying mansion. Your aim is to explore your temporary home, overcome the beasts that lurk within it, and – ultimately – survive the night. - Anthony Usher

Year Walk
By Simogo - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Swedish indie studio Simogo has quickly become one of the App Store's defining developers. No game proves that better than Year Walk - a haunting and enigmatic adventure, that simply refuses to let you go until its story is over.

It weaves cryptic puzzles with Scandiavian lore, before breaking the confines of its own app for a truly unforgettable epilogue. - Mark Brown

Warhammer Quest
By Rodeo Games - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games For a game about dank dungeons and gurning trolls, Warhammer Quest is surprisingly pretty.

This fun and past-paced boardgame re-imagining has outstanding production values, which makes it even more fun to see what gruesome sights are hidden around the next, randomly generated, corner.

The (divisive) 'tilt your iPhone to open your inventory' is also a smart slice of user interface design - Mark Brown

SpaceChem Mobile
By Zachtronics Industries - buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games The best thing about a SpaceChem solution, is that it's unique to you. When you finally untangle the problem, and make a monstrous machine that strips oxygen from water and melds those molecules with helium, you know that no one else solved the puzzle quite like you did.

Like programming, there are a hundred right answers - but the most concise code will always win. - Mark Brown

By Retro Dreamer - buy on iPhone

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games One of the original twitch games, Sneezies is the undisputed best use of your eyeballs if you can't stand being left alone with your thoughts for an idle moment in a waiting room.

Cute characters, ambient music, and adorable sneeze sound effects make this a game you'll come back to for a smile. - Matthew Diener

Plants vs. Zombies
By PopCap - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Your aim in tower-defence title Plants vs. Zombies is to defeat relentless waves of the undead as they shuffle up your front-yard and attempt to enter your house.

You do this using a wide variety of land- and water-based plants. Some plants shoot damaging peas and other projectiles, while others act as impenetrable walls. There are even explosive plants that take out large numbers of enemies at once. - Anthony Usher

Infinity Blade
By Chair Entertainment - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Infinity Blade and its equally accomplished sequel remain two of the best examples of how to provide a console-like experience on iOS.

With Unreal Engine supplying the kind of visual fireworks we're more used to seeing on our Xbox 360s, Chair has gone with a finely honed swipe-based combat system that's all mobile. - Jon Mundy

Need for Speed: Most Wanted
By Electronic Arts - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games It's no longer surprising to see a graphically gorgeous game running on a mobile phone, but we were still taken aback when we saw Need for Speed: Most Wanted burn up on an iPhone.

It comes complete with detailed motors, top-notch lightning, and special effects - and is a terrific fun, and scrappy little racer to boot. - Mark Brown

Murder Files
By Relentless Software - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games A quaint English village named Little Riddle has - in true Midsomer Murders fashion - been rocked by a series of grizzly murders.

You, a Poirot-style super sleuth, must question the village's colorful inhabitants and solve increasingly difficult puzzles in order to find out whodunnit. - Anthony Usher

By supermono limited - buy on iPhone

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Or, to give it its full title, The Criminally Ignored MiniSquadron. Supermono created a delightful arena blaster here, but what's most gratifying is the game's surprisingly nuanced fight physics system.

It forces you to consider gravity, momentum and altitude as you engage in dozens of teeny-tiny dogfights. - Jon Mundy

By BitMonster - buy on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Even today, Lili looks gorgeous. Those colourful, bouncy, Pixar-like graphics help conjure up a magical island that begs to be explored, and a cast of friendly characters you won't soon forget.

The actual game might be slight and inconsequential, but it's relaxing and refreshingly free from traditional combat. - Mark Brown

Jetpack Joyride
By Halfbrick Studios - download free on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games Halfbrick's endless-runner is deeply ingrained in iOS gaming culture. But while such heavy exposure can sour one's relationship with a game, we still find ourselves dipping back into Jetpack Joyride from time to time.

It must be something to do with that novel hover-attack control mechanic, that perfectly pitched reward system, and that unmatched just-one-more-go factor. - Jon Mundy

Motor World: Car Factory
By Oh BiBi socialtainment - download free on iPhone and iPad

Top 50 iOS games

Top 50 iOS games What happens when you combine the deliberate (and endearing) schlock of Deadly Premonition, with the compulsive collection of a freemium-builder, and then ask the car-obsessed, retro pop culture-inspired French madman behind the Asphalt series to put the whole thing together?

Motor World: Car Factory, that's what. - Peter Willington

Entries for 30 to 11 are coming tomorrow

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 8 July 2013
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Jan 2013
Post count:
Neill Martin | 09:49 - 21 July 2013
Shocking xcom so low. Should be judged on quality not price.
Aug 2012
Post count:
@ErnestoIbarra07 | 16:53 - 9 July 2013
Aug 2010
Post count:
Funem | 09:08 - 9 July 2013
Regardless if I agree or disagree with the list so far, there are some great games I missed and have now rectified the situation. Looking forward to the rest of the countdown and some more gems I probably missed. Thanks
Jul 2013
Post count:
morenoborja | 08:35 - 9 July 2013
50. Cut the rope
49 temple run 2
48 angry birds Star Wars
47 angry birds rio
46 Lego Star Wars battle orders
45 metal slug
44 pocket legends
43 the red
42 jumping Finn
41 contre joure
40 street fighter
39. Pinball Star Wars
38. Air supremacy
37. Dead trigger
36. Dark legends
35. Batman arkham
34. Marvel v capcom
33. Trigger fist
32. Injustice
31. Worms
30. Mass effect infiltrator
29. Lego Harry
28. Lego batman
27. Lost winds
26. FIFA
25. Order and chaos
24. Badlands
23. Deus ex haha
22. Limbo
21. Walking dead
20. Knights of the old republic
19. Infinity blade 2
18. Anomaly
17. Swords and sorcery
16. Machinarium
15. Epoch
14 ray man
13 the room
12 dark meadow
11 nova
10 bastion
9 galaxy on fire 2
8 dead space
7 modern combat
6 need for speed
5 waking mars
4 chaos rings 2
3 xcom
2 tiny wings
1 infinity blade

Top 50!
Jul 2013
Post count:
ROYAL GAMER | 08:12 - 9 July 2013
Waiting for the next list.This was an amazing list.Never heard of lili and couple more....though i m downloading them now. Thanks Pocketgamer.
Aug 2012
Post count:
David Salmerón | 06:52 - 9 July 2013
My personal top 50 games and continuing series starting way back from my first app purchase

51) super brothers sword n sworcery(haven't played but expect great things)
50) AC: altiars chronicles
49) H.A.W.K.S
48) Archetype
46)Spider-Man total mayhem
45) LOTR tower defense
44)dungeon hunter 2
43)first touch soccer
42)Star Legends
41)Batman Arkham city lockdown
40) Star Wars pinball
39) total war battles
38) contre jour
37) air supremacy
36) dark meadow
35) plague
34) king of fighters
33)most wanted
32) trigger fist
31) Virtual tennis challenge
30)wild blood
29) blast a way
28)lost winds /2
27)shadow gun
26) tiny wings
25) mass effect infiltrator
24) Anomaly warzone earth
23) real racing 2
22) street fighter vs tekken
21)Ray man Origins
20) FIFA 11/12
19) Lego Harry 5-7 1-4
18) worms 1-2
17) anomaly korea
16)Order and Chaos
15) modern combat 3-4
14) Nova 3
13) warhammer quest
11)Lego batman DC heroes
10) badland
9) chaos rings omega
6)xcom enemy unknown (port)
5) FIFA 13
4)the walking dead (port)
3)Galaxy on fire 2
2)Dead Space
1)Infinity blade/2
Nov 2012
Post count:
rodgerrodger | 18:10 - 8 July 2013
Interesting list. Though I'm surprised XCOM is so low. Do people really feel Mirrors Edge, Lili, and Sneezes are better games than XCOM?
Jul 2013
Post count:
@edrijver | 16:50 - 8 July 2013
Some great titles in this part of the list already, hard to imagine this is 'only' 50 till 31. Defo trying some of the titles I had missed and I think Mini Squadron was one of my fav's for a long time!

Looking forward to the next part.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 16:27 - 8 July 2013
Some descent entres here, but I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the remaining 30 entries! Great call re MiniSquadron and SpaceChem Mobile though!