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The 25 best auto-runner games for iPhone and iPad

Endlessly running towards something
Product: Best iPhone games | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: iPhone, iPad
   
We've run through the 25 best platformers on mobile before, but it's worth zooming in on a particular offshoot of that classic genre: the auto-runner.

The 25 best platformers on iPhone and iPad

When we talk about the auto-runner, we refer to pretty much any game that automatically propels you through an obstacle-strewn world. It's then up to you to tap, hold or otherwise manipulate the screen in some way to avoid those obstacles.

Auto-runners often take the form of simplified platformers, but they can involve completely different types of locomotion, such as flying. Elsewhere, while most endless runners can be classified as auto-runners, not all auto-runners are endless.

The auto-runner may not have begun its life on mobile, but it's certainly made itself at home in the smartphone kingdom. Here are 25 top examples of that. 
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST »
  

#1 Super Mario Run

Product: Super Mario RunFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: NintendoGenres: Platform

Super Mario Run
You may not have directional control over Mario in Super Mario Run, but the range of jumps at your disposal makes for a game of surprising depth.

#2 Alto's Odyssey

Product: Alto's OdysseyFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: SnowmanGenres: Endless running

Alto's Odyssey
Alto's Odyssey is a truly beautiful endless skier that has you leaping and flipping down a vast mountain. Auto-runners don't come any more polished or satisfying than this.

#3 Badland 2

Product: Badland 2Formats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Frogmind GamesGenres: Casual

Badland 2
Badland and its superior sequel helped put the tap-to-fly mechanic on the mobile map. Few other auto-runners can match the silhouetted majesty of their fantasy worlds.

#4 Rayman Fiesta Run

Product: Rayman Fiesta RunFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows PhonePublisher: UbisoftGenres: Arcade, Endless running, Platform, Retro

Rayman Fiesta Run
Rayman's mobile games have given a huge jolt to the auto-runner genre, showing that simple gameplay needn't preclude console-standard refinement.

#5 Platform Panic

Product: Platform PanicFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: NitromeGenres: Action, Endless running, Platform

Platform Panic
A brilliant retro-flavoured flip-screen platformer with simple swipey controls. Nitrome has done it again.

#6 Chameleon Run

Product: Chameleon RunFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Noodlecake GamesGenres: Platform

Chameleon Run
Chameleon Run combines slick 2D auto-runner gameplay with chunky 3D graphics, resulting in a truly tactile experience.

#7 ALONE

Product: ALONEFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, OuyaPublisher: Laser DogGenres: Action, Arcade

ALONE
Alone is a super-stylish endless flier that sees your doomed space shuttle crashing through a crumbling cave system. It's pretty brutal.

#8 Punch Quest

Product: Punch QuestFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: RocketCat GamesGenres: Arcade, Fighting

Punch Quest
The auto-runner can be applied to any genre, and in Punch Quest that means the scrolling beat-'em-up. What a wonderful combination it is.

#9 Boson X

Product: Boson XFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, SteamPublisher: Mu and HeyoGenres: Endless running

Boson X
A brilliant, twitchy arcade masterpiece that takes the 3D endless runner to new heights.

#10 Pac-Man 256

Product: Pac-Man 256Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Hipster WhalePublisher: Bandai NamcoGenres: Arcade, Endless running

Pac-Man 256
A game that ingeniously takes the familiar maze-running premise of Pac-Man and applies it to a modern endless runner framework.

#11 Jetpack Joyride

Product: Jetpack JoyrideFormats: Android, Facebook and social, iPhone, PSP, iPad, PS VitaGenres: Action, Arcade, Endless running

Jetpack Joyride
One of the undisputed endless runner classics from the early days of the App Store, Jetpack Joyride is still going strong thanks to its tactile and surprisingly varied gameplay.

#12 Into the Dead 2

Product: Into the Dead 2Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: PikPok

Into the Dead 2
Into The Dead 2 pulls the auto-runner genre kicking and screaming into first person, as you run for your life through fields of the undead. Eek!

#13 Ava Airborne

Product: Ava AirborneFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Laser DogGenres: Endless running

Ava Airborne
A free-spirited auto-flier that's simply packed with content. It's almost impossible to grow bored of Ava Airborne.

#14 Glitch Dash

Product: Glitch DashFormats: iPhone, iPadDeveloper: David MarquardtGenres: Endless running

Glitch Dash
Glitch Dash is a first person auto-runner with finely crafted, devilishly challenging levels and a slick abstract art style.

#15 FOTONICA

Product: FOTONICAFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, SteamDeveloper: Santa RagioneGenres: Endless running, Platform

FOTONICA
This starkly minimalist first person auto-runner has you dashing and bounding through wireframe landscapes. It's stomach-lurchingly immersive.

#16 Tiny Wings

Product: Tiny WingsFormats: iPhoneDeveloper: Andreas IlligerPublisher: Andreas IlligerGenres: Casual, Platform

Tiny Wings
We're not 100 percent sure that Tiny Wings is an auto-runner - you need to hold the screen to pick up downhill momentum after all - but it's been so influential that it seems wrong not to include it.

#17 Race the Sun

Product: Race the SunFormats: iPhone, iPad, PS VitaDeveloper: FlippflyGenres: Arcade, Endless running, Racing

Race the Sun
A wonderful mash-up of auto-runner and futuristic racer, Race The Sun offers a starkly beautiful visual style and a phenomenal sensation of speed to boot.

#18 Crossy Road

Product: Crossy RoadFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Hipster WhaleGenres: Arcade, Platform

Crossy Road
The game that kicked off a new kind of auto-runner, Crossy Road combines tappy gameplay with adorably blocky graphics and loads of unlockable characters.

#19 Dragon Hills 2

Product: Dragon Hills 2Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Rebel Twins

Dragon Hills 2
Dragon Hills 2 is like an inverse Tiny Wings, but with oodles of gleeful destruction. One of the most empowering auto-runners on the App Store.

#20 Time Surfer

Product: Time SurferFormats: iPhone, iPadDeveloper: KumobiusPublisher: KumobiusGenres: Casual, Endless running

Time Surfer
The auto-runner goes psychedelic with Time Surfer, which takes the rhythmic gameplay of Tiny Wings and applies a trippy time-rewind system.

#21 Agent Dash!

Product: Agent Dash!Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Full FatPublisher: Full FatGenres: Action, Arcade, Endless running

Agent Dash!
Plenty of games have copied Temple Run's 3D auto-runner gameplay, but few have pulled it off with as much style and polish as Agent Dash.

#22 Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom

Product: Sonic Dash 2: Sonic BoomFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: SegaGenres: Endless running

Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom
Sega's '90s mascot feels right at home in this endless runner, which has you running into the screen like the classic bonus stage of Sonic 2.

#23 Temple Run 2

Product: Temple Run 2Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Imangi StudiosGenres: Endless running

Temple Run 2
The sequel to the daddy of 3D auto-runners isn't as fresh or as game-changing as the original - how could it be? - but it is a very polished example of the format.

#24 Amazing Katamari Damacy

Product: Amazing Katamari DamacyFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Namco Bandai Networks EuropeGenres: Arcade, Endless running

Amazing Katamari Damacy
It's not the full Katamari Damacy experience, but Amazing Katamari Damacy successfully captures the madcap 'roll everything up' spirit of the original.

#25 Canabalt (Smartphone)

Product: Canabalt (Smartphone)Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Semi Secret SoftwarePublisher: Semi Secret SoftwareGenres: Arcade, Racing, Retro

Canabalt (Smartphone)
Canabalt is the game that kicked off the whole auto-runner craze - at least on mobile. It's still a smooth mover today.

 

Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 25 April 2018
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