Top 3 iPad and iPhone Games

What are the top iPhone and iPad games out there?

Did you recently buy a new iPhone or receive an iPad as a gift this Christmas? Are you now wondering how to fill your new mobile device with the best games and apps of all time?

I know I was! After hours of searching, some disappointing downloads, and days of playing, I think I have found the top games for the iPhone and iPad out there right now. Admittedly, these are my own personal preference, but I have been playing games for a long time, so I think I can spot a good quality game when I see one...

I'm going to break this article down into two sections: iPhone games and iPad games. Yes, there are many games that you can get on both devices, but some are better (easier to use, better interface, better suited) to either the iPhone or the iPad. I took functionality, playability, ease of use, and re-playability all into account while making these lists. If you download these apps, then I can guarantee that you'll spend countless hours having fun with your new iPhone or iPad.

iTunes Gift Card for iPhone Games, Apps, and More

What makes a good iPhone Game?

  • Ease of controls
  • Fast action that is easy to start and stop
  • Simple yet engaging gameplay
  • Uncluttered Screen
  • Replay-ability

Best 3 Games for the iPhone

When choosing the top games for the iPhone I wanted to focus on games that you could easily pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. Since the majority of the situations where you'll be using your iPhone for games are places like waiting rooms, in the car, on the bus and other short durations, a good iPhone game has to be able to be picked up and started quickly, quick levels of gameplay, and easy to stop and restart later.

An intuitive and easy to use interface is also key for the iPhone. Because the display is small, too much going on in the screen, complicated controls, and small text makes for a very frustrating iPhone gaming experience. Simple and easy controls, large simple text, and smooth transitions are key to a good iPhone game. The 3 games that I have chosen as my top 3 iPhone games all share these qualities.


Temple Run is so addictive and simple you'll need a support group to stop playing it!
Temple Run is so addictive and simple you'll need a support group to stop playing it!

Temple Run Tip

  • Max out your Magnet Power Up first, this will help you gain as many points as possible without having to constantly tilt your phone trying to collect coins. You can focus on just getting past the obstacles and as far away from the monkeys as possible!

#1 Temple Run

Temple run is about as simple as it gets for an iPhone game. It is also just about as fun as it gets! Temple Run takes the motto KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and exploits its benefits to the tenth degree! The basic concept is that you just stole a idol from some ancient ruin (Indiana Jones style) and are now being chased by a horde of monkeys. In order to survive, you must run through the temple avoiding obstacles and grabbing coins.

There are no levels. You just run as far as you can and get as many points as you can. It's that simple.

However, the simplicity of the game is genius. Your character runs faster the farther you go, so the obstacles become more challenging. The temple is also randomly generated each time you play, so you'll never run the same course twice. You control your characters actions simply by swiping your finger across the screen. Up to jump, down to duck, left or right to turn, and you can tilt the phone to move from one side of the path to the other.

You run over broken temple walls, rocky cliffs, and crumbling swamp docks all while gaining coins, avoiding tripping, and jumping over various temple-like obstacles. If you trip, the monkeys catch up to you!

Each time you run, you gain coins to spend on power ups, new avatars, wallpapers, and other little temple goodies (My favorite is the "Football Player" avatar ... thats right, you can run thru the temple like you're in the 4th quarter of the Rose Bowl)! The game also has multiple achievements to help you advance and keep the gameplay interesting. This is by far my favorite iPhone game to waste time while waiting just about anywhere. You can pause the game mid run at anytime and pick it up later, simply by tapping the screen.

Temple Run Gameplay Video

Get reading to give the pigs the bird!
Get reading to give the pigs the bird!

Angry Bird Tip

  • Always make use of explosions when they are present. Many puzzles will have certain explosive boxes that, if hit, will set off a chain reaction and do far more damage to the evil pigs than any single angry bird could ever do.

#2 Angry Birds

This is a classic iPhone game that is, again, incredibly simple to play yet engaging enough to keep you entertained for hours. The basic story is that you are part of a clan of birds and some pigs stole your eggs. Now you're angry and decide to go get revenge on the pigs and (ultimately) get your eggs back.

You do this by flinging angry birds through a huge slingshot at wood/glass/concrete forts where the pigs are staying. If you knock down and defeat all the pigs with the number of birds you are given, then you advance to the next level.

In its purest form, Angry Birds is a puzzle game. You're given a set amount of birds and must figure out how to use them to get all of the pigs. However, it is more than just about solving the puzzle. You must also launch the birds with the right trajectory in order to achieve your desired affect! And if that's not enough strategy, you also get access to different types of birds that have different abilities (like speed or dropping a bomb or splitting into 3 different birds mid flight). It really is a very strategic puzzle game.

What makes this game so classic is that it is SO easy to learn. You use your finger to launch birds out of a slingshot. 'Nuff said. However, this game is challenging enough that it will take you hours upon hours of bird flinging fun to master ... if that is even possible...

Download this iPhone game and start enjoying flinging birds ... angry birds!


Angry Birds Gameplay Video

Slash that fruit before it brings dishonor upon your family!
Slash that fruit before it brings dishonor upon your family!

Fruit Ninja Tip

  • If you hit as many fruit as you can in a single swipe, you get bonus points! So wait for the fruit to fly and then slash them to bits with a single movement of your deadly finger.

#3 Fruit Ninja

I'll admit. A game called "Fruit Ninja" doesn't really sound all that appealing. How can Fruit be a Ninja?! But download this iPhone game immediately! Out of all the games on this list, this is by far the simplest and, quiet possibly, the most fun.

Basically, you slash fruit. That's about it. Your finger becomes a sword and random pieces of fruit fly up on the screen and it's your job to slash them all. What makes this game so much fun? It's so friggin' simple and basic! Thats what! The developers did an AMAZING job with the animations, sounds, and music that this game will have you hypnotized and dreaming about slashing watermelon whenever you close your eyes!

The game has a few different modes (my favorite is arcade mode) to keep you entertained. Each mode has a very different feel. The arcade mode is fast (you only get 60 seconds) and there are power up bananas that really make the game more interesting. In the classic mode, the gameplay is a little slower, but you also have to dodge all the bombs without missing any 3 fruit. The games last a bit longer. Then there is Zen mode where there are no bombs ... you just go as long as you can slashing all the fruit!

As you accomplish achievements, you unlock special "swords", backgrounds, and other little goodies to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting. Who ever thought that slashing fruit could be so much fun!

Fruit Ninja Gameplay Video

Top 3 Games for the iPad 2

When choosing which iPad games should be on the top 3 list, I wanted to focus on games that you could play for longer durations per sitting, more stellar graphics, and more complete controls that the larger device can take advantage of. Again, there are some absolutely amazing games out there that I don't list here ... these are just my 3 favorites!

Go ... avenge your father!
Go ... avenge your father!

Infinity Blade Tip

  • There are many ways that you can allocate your skill points and these will alter your style of fighting. Putting a ton of points into shield will allow you to block most of the attacks even if you don't know where they're coming from. More points in attack will help you deal more damage and defeat your opponent faster, but be ware ... you'll have to get very good at dodging and parrying!

#1 Infinity Blade

Infinity Blade is another classic iPad and iPhone game. The reason why I have chosen it as on of the top 3 iPad games on my list is because it is such an amazingly beautiful, yet simple, game. The concept is basic ... you fight your way up through ranks of "titans" gaining better armor, magic rings, and experience along the way. You must master the art of reading your opponents body language and dodge or parry their incoming attacks.

Like the classic Top 3 iPhone game Angry Birds, Infinity Blade is a very simple game that can take hours to master. As you progress through the bloodlines (levels) the titans get progressively harder, incorporating new moves and combos that you have to learn how to read in order to choose the correct parry.

Infinity Blade's amazing graphics, smooth fighting interface, and amazing replay-ability are why this has become a showcase game for the iPad 2.

Infinity Blade Gameplay Video

What will you become?  What role will you fill in the galaxy?
What will you become? What role will you fill in the galaxy?

Galaxy On Fire II HD Tip

  • There are many different types of weapons you can outfit your ship with, and each has its own style of play. Play around with different weapon types and find out what style of play you like. Then find and buy the ship that will best outfit your play style.

#2 Galaxy On Fire II HD

The second game on my Top 3 games for the iPad list is probably my favorite game I've bought from the app store so far ... Galaxy On Fire II HD (GOFII). This game is more then just stunningly beautiful ... it is immense. Out of all the games I've played, GOFII provides the most unique gameplay, replay-ability, and truly feels like a full blown computer game.

In Galaxy On Fire II HD you are a space pilot flung through time and space to a strange and distant part of the galaxy and you must fight your way home. The great thing about GOFII is that you get to choose what you do, when you do it, where you go, and what your buy! This game harkens back to the great computer classics like Elite and Privateer 2 : The Darkening. You literally can do anything you'd like. If you choose to follow the storyline, then you'll be surprised at the quality of the voice acting, in-depth story arcs, and entertaining characters you meet along the way.

Or, you could just go out and become a miner, trader, pirate, bounty hunter ... the choice is yours! GOFII even has factions, so you can become enemies, neutral, or friendly with any of the different races/factions in the galaxy. Again, the choice is yours.

The sheer scale and depth of this game are what got it onto the Top 3 iPad games list. However, as an added bonus, GOFII HD is also an incredibly gorgeous game that the iPad 2 showcases very well. The amount of detail that went in to the ships, stations, and game controls is awe inspiring. If this is the future of tablet gaming, then I am a very happy gamer indeed.

GOFII Gameplay Video

Get ready to kick some multiplayer butt!
Get ready to kick some multiplayer butt!

Modern Combat 3 Tip

  • Even though it can be hard to get use too ... try to get good and looking down the iron sights before you pull the trigger. Just like in the console games, it improves your accuracy so much ... unless your opponent is really close it generally isn't worth shooting unless you have them "in your sights."

#3 Modern Combat 3

Modern Combat 3 got onto the list not because of its stellar graphics or storyline. It got onto the list because of one of my favorite aspects of gaming ... multiplayer! I am a huge fan of first person shooter multiplayer games and have downloaded a few FPS's on the iPad so far. This is by far the best one on the market, so if you like FPS multiplayer action, then download Modern Combat 3 from the app store immediately!

The controls are a bit hard to get use to. The iPad tried to mimic the console style of controls as best it could. However, with the limiting factor that you don't have any buttons at your disposal, some of the more twitch style actions (like jumping and quick scoping) just aren't really feasible on the iPad 2. However, once you get a hang for the controls you'll find a very rewarding, if not basic, FPS.

What is really nice is the multiplayer. Up to 12 players on decent sized maps with tons of game modes like capture the flag, last man standing, bomb control and many others. In every way this game looks and feels like a console gaming FPS ... just with somewhat clunky controls. However ... no one has done it better yet - so until then, Modern Combat 3 is the best FPS multiplayer you'll be able to find on your iPad. I'm enjoying it quiet a bit :)

I hope this guide will help you have many fun hours with your new iPad or iPhone. It will be interesting to see where the next generation of iPad and iPhones take the gaming world. If the games on this list are any indication of whats to come, then I think we're in for one hell of a ride!

Modern Combat 3 Gameplay Video

About The Author

Adam is a healer, teacher, freelance writer, and sailor who loves to spend time learning new things and sharing new experiences. Join Adam on his blog where he explores the philosophy of simple living while living aboard his 27' sailboat.

In Search Of The Sea : Simple Living and Sailing In Our Complex World

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Comments 5 comments

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hi Fortadam! I have a new phone - the skyrocket? And iPad - I play angry birds on both:) I have also played Temple run and it is fun! Never played Fruit Ninja but I'll give it a try!


Fortadam profile image

Fortadam 4 years ago from Portland Oregon Author

Fruit ninja is a true classic :)


Trsmd profile image

Trsmd 4 years ago from India

Airport Madness Challenge (AMC) is also a better one and am addicted to that one..


Fortadam profile image

Fortadam 4 years ago from Portland Oregon Author

@trsmd. I haven't tried AMC yet but I'm going to go download it right now! Thanks!


Eztii 4 years ago

I sak tis page and i have temple run, angry birds and frusit Ninja! I love all of them! You there WHO had not tryed out these games... You need to try them there are..... SIMPLEY BEST

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