Apple has been revolutionizing the tech world for decades now but one of their biggest creations is, in fact, not even hardware related: the App Store. Apple opened up the App Store back in 2008 for users to purchase different programs for their iOS devices. Since then we’ve seen the App Store fundamentally change the entertainment world. Programmers have flocked to the platform and now we are seeing incredible apps flooding the marketplace. We decided to look at critical reviews, sales figures, and fan feedback in order to pick out the top 12 iOS games of all time — all sold through the App Store.
Words With Friends
The developers at Zynga know that in order to truly make your game a success you have to integrate a social aspect. Words with Friends is a multiplayer puzzle/word game that is similar in function to Scrabble. Words with Friends is a slower paced puzzle game that you can play in your free time. You can have up to 30 games with different people running at a time which means you’ll always be checking in on the app. While there is nothing revolutionary to talk about with this title we still have to include it because it is exceedingly simple, hyper addictive, and a lesson in how to harness your audience without overloading them.
Cut the Rope
The App Store has lent itself well to physics based puzzle games ever since its inception and Cut the Rope is just one of the latest games to really take the genre by storm. Cut the Rope initially hit the market in 2010 but since then it has seen multiple incarnations. At the time of this writing there have been more than 600 million downloads of the game, a comic book and web series adaptation, and more merch than you can take in with your eyes. Cut the Rope is incredibly creative in how it utilizes its physics system, routinely having you work with gravity to solve increasingly difficult puzzles.
Temple Run 2
Temple Run 2 is the best selling sequel of the original endless running game. In this title you play an Indiana Jones like character who is constantly running from death through an increasingly complicated maze of obstacles. You collect power ups, dodge baddies, and rack up points every single moment that you are alive. Temple Run 2 gave the series a much needed graphical overhaul and that led to an insane 1 billion downloads. We credit developer Imangi Studios with reinventing the formerly dormant genre of endless runner.
Plants vs. Zombies HD
This improbable title was developed by PopCap Games and released on the iOS market back in 2010. Plants vs Zombies received immediately high marks from critics who cited its original take on the tower defense genre as reason for joy. Gorgeous artwork met with clever writing and deep gameplay to instantly win over fans by the legion.
Is there anything more entertaining than destroying things with a sword? That’s the basic gist behind developer Halfbrick’s game, Fruit Ninja. This title was released back in 2010 for the iOS market and it quickly went on to become a best seller. Addictive gameplay that relied upon fast reflexes was all it took to turn the relatively simple title into a hit. Now the game has seen over 300 million downloads as well as a slew of spin offs for different systems.
Blizzard knows a thing or two about creating video games so we were beyond excited when it was announced that they were bringing Hearthstone to the iOS market. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a collectible card game that you can play on your computer or iOS based device. In Hearthstone users battle one another with decks of 30 cards that are then paired with a special hero. You win a match and you get a reward, these rewards help you to build up your card collection. It’s straightforward stuff but done so wonderfully that we aren’t surprised that more than 50 million people are already playing the game, released back in 2014.
Clash of Clans
Developed by Supercell, we have seen Clash of Clans turn into the premier MMO strategy game on the market. In Clash, as the game is fondly shortened to, players are given power over a small but growing base. Farming resource from the land allows you to tighten your defenses, raise up stronger armies, and vie for power in the networked game. Clash of Clans is revered thanks to its awesome graphical system, inventive fighting style, and the ability to review past battles in order to formulate new strategies. This is a ‘freemium’ title which means that you can play completely free if you choose but you have the option to pay for additional perks.
Game Dev Story
We’re sure to get a few quirked eyebrows at this title, but we have to include Game Dev Story. This simulation based game was developed by Kairosoft and released back in 2010 for the iOS market. In it you create your own video game company wherein you develop your own line of video games. This is a mixture of The Sims, Farmville, and Roller Coaster Tycoon with all of the love of pixel graphics sprinkled on top. Though the game doesn’t appear very deep at first glance, there is much more going on than meets the eye. If you love video game culture you’ll be sure to find your fair share of laughs as you build your empire.
If you are a mobile gamer then you are already familiar with the concept of the ‘match three’ puzzle game. At one point in time ‘match three’ games weren’t quite so widespread as they are now and you can thank Candy Crush for the change. Candy Crush was released back in 2012 and since then it has become one of the highest grossing puzzle games in the mobile world. Users match up little candy icons in order to make them vanish, scoring points as they clear out levels. On average users will spend over $1 billion per year on in-app purchases. Incredible.
World of Goo HD
We used to look at mobile games as a way to simply kill a few minutes of time. Developer 2D Boy realized this mindset and decided to do something deeper with the preconception. World of Goo is an immersive puzzle game that won award after award thanks to its stunning design, intricate problem solving, and unique take on the genre. The HD version of the title, which was re-released in the App Store, brought new life to a beloved title.
Created by the guys and girls of Rovio Entertainment, Angry Birds is one of the first blockbuster franchises to grow out of the App Store. Released back in December of 2009, Angry Birds has already become the most downloaded free game of all time. The game takes a comical approach at strategic, physics based puzzle solving. Birds and swine wage a never ending war that only you can solve, utilizing an array of colored birds with their own specific abilities. And yes, there is even an Angry Birds spin off film.
Though it may be early to crown Pokemon Go! as king of the App Store, we still aren’t going to hesitate. Pokemon Go has been in development for years and fans of the mega franchise have been eagerly waiting for their chance to Catch ‘Em All from their mobile devices. Well, developer Niantic changed the mobile world when the game was released and overnight it became the top selling iOS game of all time. Only a week old at the time of this writing, Pokemon Go will fundamentally change mobile gaming, our approach to augmented reality, and what it means to ‘interact’ with your device.