Remember when people laughed at Apple because its devices couldn’t play games? Yeah, that… still happens a bit, at least as far as Mac is concerned. But the iPhone and iPad have been encroaching on the territory of “serious” gamers for some time now. And this is even without the advantage of the controllers.
The developers seem to like Apple’s hardware. It’s powerful enough for really interesting presentations, and the touchscreen controls have taken a few enterprising turns over the past few years. It’s amazing what you can do with an accelerometer these days.
But, even if Apple carefully checks what it will allow on its store, there is still some sorting to be done. Luckily, we went to do it for you. The following list contains some of the best content in the App Store, without needing to a) spend more than asking price or b) navigate your way through freemium play levels to access the good stuff.
If you’re missing out on PlayStation’s old Wipeout, then Repulze is the game for you. You pilot an anti-gravity ship around futuristic tracks and fire weapons at your opponents. Ultimately.
But first, you are going against the clock. It’s a relatively safe start, getting used to the blistering speeds you’re ultimately asked to contend with. But first you’ll have to get used to the controls. Repulze’s control methods can be a bit finicky, but they don’t have to be. You just need to tinker with the settings a bit.
Super Stickman Golf 3 (Free)
This one is a little weird – part angry Birds, part Toward, but without any of the explosions. Instead, you’re tasked with hitting a ball across a variety of 2D courses in a quest for the hole-in-one always elusive.
What sets this one apart are its settings. You will leave the fairways in favor of forests, space and places with a suspicious number of lasers instead. But that’s not where this one ends.
It really takes off, however, when you step into multiplayer. You can either take turns or, much better, all play at the same time in a race to the finish line (but that doesn’t work on one device).
Download Super Stickman Golf 3
Touchgrind Skate 2 (Free + IAP)
Let your fingers speak Tactile skating 2. The concept is remarkably simple: there’s a board on the screen, and two of your fingers are the feet that control it.
The result is a super tactile, super smooth skating game that doesn’t need a guy in a hoodie and expensive shoes on the screen to be incredibly compelling to play. It’s just you, the park, and that hardflip 360 you’ve been trying to pull off for weeks now.
There’s also the option to capture and upload some of your amazing skills, so people will actually believe you when you tell them you’ve tagged that bean plant twisted backside nollie heelflip you’ve been looking for.
Download Touchgrind Skate 2
XCOM 2 Collection (R250)
No matter what platform you play on XCOM 2 lit, as long as you play it. You might as well stick it on your iPad because it will haunt your days unless you can play one more trick anytime you want.
The principle is simple. The aliens have passed Earth and it’s up to you, your research skills, and a group of standing dying soldiers to take it all back. This is done using turn-based combat, tactics, and saves. Wait, no, not the last one.
It’s the same as the full-size game, but there are a few things to watch out for. It’ll work best on a tablet, but it’ll eat up battery life like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat ice cream stand. But, even though it will cost you close to R300, it is well worth the money spent.
Download the XCOM 2 collection
Oddmar has long been a Things favorite. Maybe it’s because it’s more or less straight
flight tribute to the excellent Rayman origins and Rayman Legends. Seriously, the gameplay is basically the same.
But it’s good. You are not playing with perfection. And changing the strange hero for a strange Viking chappie does enough to make Oddmar an interesting game in its own right. Even if you are still pursuing the same goals in a slightly different form.
That’s good because this solid platformer keeps what made the Rayman titles so awesome. That is: gorgeous settings and animations, tight controls (even for a touchscreen), secrets, and serious replayability.
FAR: Solitary sails (R65)
And now for something completely different. This absolutely stunning puzzle platformer will amaze you at its setting, as the sound design invades your brain and throws you into a desolate world where all that matters is getting to your destination.
Of course, in order to do that, you’ll need to repair and maintain your ship, explore the remains of a dead civilization, and figure out exactly how to accomplish goals that aren’t always clear. The controls are on screen but they make it pretty straightforward. It is going from point A (the beginning) to point B (the very end) that matters most here.
Download FAR: Lone Sails
I love you in pieces (R65)
Love You to Bits might sound like it has a bit of Scribblenauts in its DNA, but it’s actually a point-and-click adventure. You play as Kosmo, who searches for pieces of his girlfriend (he’s a robot, he’s not this dark). To do this, players must navigate puzzles and very specific logic. You know the one.
The puzzles aren’t hard to overcome, although a little side thinking is needed from time to time. The game’s settings, characters, and storyline remain charming throughout, so you’ll end up getting Kosmo where it goes. We hope.
Download Love You To Bits
Its history (R65)
Her story caused a stir when it first appeared a few years ago, and it’s still an incredibly engaging piece. Your iPad or iPhone becomes an old desktop PC, where you’ll come across pieces of video showing a woman being interviewed by the cops. A murder has taken place and … well, you could figure out what happened if you look closely enough.
To do this, however, you have to navigate an archaic system that is generally difficult to work with. It’s even more painful when you realize that computers really work like this and finding items meant a) remembering they were there or b) making a printed or handwritten list. What it isn’t is painful enough to make you stop trying to figure out what happened back then.
Download his story
There is no game: WD (R65)
It’s a very interesting concept for a game – a game that tries to convince you that it doesn’t exist. You will end up breaking everything, which will lead you to the beginning of There is no play: wrong dimension.
Which turns out to be a mix of really classic games and genres, combined with some really mind-blowing puzzles. And, of course, an interesting narrator that you may or may not want to pay attention to, depending on the situation.
But it works best when you are not aware of what is going on. So even though we’ve included a trailer here, don’t watch it. Trust us and play it.
Download There is no game: WD
Euclidean sky (R80)
This is a sequel to Euclidean lands, which combined turn-based puzzle battles with the ability to twist and transform the environment. Skies does much the same thing, but on a much larger scale. What size? Well I hope you’ve kept up your mental gymnastics.
Everything is bigger and better, which also means more complicated. You will navigate the world, ambush your enemies, and generally have the time of your life making the world work as it intended. It’s the most fun you can have while pricking and pushing… well, anything, really.
Download Euclidean Sky