The Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2014

  • Publish Date: December 17, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

The 25 best-reviewed iOS games of the year

ImageBelow, we rank the best-reviewed iOS games released during 2014. All of the games below are playable on all types of Apple portable devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad) unless otherwise indicated.

Only those games with a minimum of 7 reviews were considered for inclusion, and games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding.

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#1
VVVVVV 95
Platformer, $2.99, from Terry Cavanagh

"VVVVVV is a platforming masterpiece. The only thing that could make it better is if it were longer."

Slide to Play More reviews...

Metacritic's iOS Game of the Year!
The award-winning, retro-styled, 2D puzzle-platformer (which first debuted on PCs in 2010) brought its gravity-flipping mechanic to iOS devices for the first time this summer.

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#2
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft 93 iPad
CCG/Strategy, free, from Blizzard Entertainment

"Hearthstone is a fantastic CCG that gets the balance just right and needn't cost players a cent."

Gameplanet More reviews...

This freemium, Magic-style collectible card battle game for iPads (it's also available as a PC game) comes from the team behind the World of Warcraft franchise.

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#3
Threes! 92
Puzzle, $1.99, from Sirvo LLC

"Threes!' engaging mechanics add up to iOS puzzle perfection."

MacLife More reviews...

Loads more charming than a game about matching numbered tiles (in multiples of three) should be, this addictive puzzler (and Apple's pick for iPhone game of the year) comes from the team behind Puzzlejuice.

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#4
Banner Saga 92 iPad iPhone 4S+ iPod Touch
Strategy/RPG, $9.99, from Stoic

"Rarely do you see an iOS port that goes to such great lengths to preserve what made the PC version so special."

148Apps More reviews...

A blend of tactical RPG and interactive storytelling, Banner Saga (ported here from its PC version) unfolds an epic story in a world inspired by Norse mythology. Choose from over 25 playable characters.

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#5
Final Fantasy VI 91
RPG, $15.99, from Square Enix

"Whether you love or hate the changes, RPG fans of the era have probably already picked this up. For the rest of you, I implore you that it’s well worth the entry fee."

TouchArcade More reviews...

One of the better entries in the Final Fantasy franchise (or any franchise, for that matter) was ported to iOS earlier this year for its 20th anniversary. Gameplay and story didn't change, but some longtime fans were a bit unhappy about a graphical makeover.

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#6
Bug Heroes 2 90
Action, $1.99, from Foursaken Media

"Provides some of the best third-person combat we have seen on mobile in a while."

AppSpy More reviews...

This sequel to Bug Heroes offers more third-person combat, with both competitive and cooperative multiplayer available.

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#7
Skylanders Trap Team 90 iPad
Action-Adventure, free, from Activision

"You can't go wrong with Trap Team on console, but the iPad and Android port is just as good, if not better because of the portability."

Modojo More reviews...

The latest version of Activision's money-making toy/videogame hybrid headed to iPads this fall in addition to consoles. The "free" download comes with two digital characters, but you'll probably need to purchase additional digital packs (at $15 a pop) or the physical starter pack ($75) to get the most out of the game.

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#8
Monument Valley 89
Puzzle, $3.99, from ustwo

"This is a shining example of what the amazing new technology that so many of us have tucked away in our pockets is truly capable of."

Games Master UK More reviews...

Easily one of the year's most graphically beautiful games—and Apple's own pick as top iPad game of 2014—Monument Valley asks you to solve creative 3D puzzles vaguely inspired by the artwork of Escher.

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#9
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake 89
Puzzle, $4.99, from Cartoon Network

"Don't be confused by the Cartoon Network's publishing of the game: while this is a game that can be played by kids, adults and any kind of 'gamer' will find that it puts up a good fight."

TouchArcade More reviews...

This Kickstarter-funded, surprisingly complex and expansive puzzle adventure asks you to switch between multiple characters in each level to complete your quest.

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#10
80 Days 89
Adventure, $4.99, from inkle

"I had a spectacular, unforgettable adventure story to show for my three-hour adventure, and couldn’t wait to learn more about the world, its characters, and the human desire to discover."

IGN More reviews...

The creators of Sorcery! return with an interactive story/adventure that takes you on a race around the world. It's based on Jules Verne's classic Around The World in 80 Days.

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#11
Crossy Road - Endless Arcade Hopper 89
Action, free, from Hipster Whale

"Crossy Road is how free gaming should be done. It's fun fast-paced gameplay is a blast to pass the time while waiting in lines or just if you want to zone out for a while."

Modojo More reviews...

This isometric, randomly generated take on the classic Frogger formula (albeit with a chicken subbing in for the frog) is much more challenging than that arcade classic, with some reviewers comparing it favorably to Flappy Bird, its other major influence.

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#12
FTL: Faster than Light 88 iPad 2+
Simulation, $9.99, from Subset Games

"Minimalist gaming at its finest, with graphics and presentation out of the Stone Age but evocative sci-fi action that’s tense, tactical and instantly addictive."

Metro GameCentral More reviews...

It might be pricey, but this iPad port of the brutally difficult, critically acclaimed PC space sim/roguelike comes with the Advanced Edition expansion built in.

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#13
Battleheart Legacy 88
Action-RPG, $4.99, from Mika Mobile, Inc.

"An exciting, accessible role-playing game that does away with most of the fluff that bogs down the genre while retaining the depth that fans adore."

Pocket Gamer UK More reviews...

If you liked the original Battleheart, you should love this sequel, which brings greater depth to the original's action/RPG formula.

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#14
Thomas Was Alone 88 iPad
Action/Puzzle, $5.99, from Bossa Studios

"It has an engaging story, vibrant and memorable graphics, and well thought out gameplay that will make it hard to stop playing."

Arcade Sushi More reviews...

This minimalist iPad title (originally released as a computer game) wrings surprising emotional depth out of its geometric puzzle-platform setup, thanks to some clever narration.

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#15
Castle Doombad 88
Strategy, $2.99, from Adult Swim

"It's charming, the visuals are likable and sleek, and it suits a touch-based interface perfectly. For a mere few bucks Doombad simulates the experience of many full-on retail priced trap games, and that's a pretty rare accomplishment."

Destructoid More reviews...

This tower defense title is yet another critical hit from Adult Swim.

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#16 (tie)
Framed 88
Puzzle, $4.99, from Loveshack

"Truly, Framed is one of the must-have mobile games of 2014."

Modojo More reviews...

This clever indie puzzler asks you to rearrange the panels of a comic book to change the outcome of the story.

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#16 (tie)
Rules! 88
Puzzle, $1.99, from TheCodingMonkeys

"It won’t be for everyone, but those who tend to get enchanted by good things in small packages will adore it."

Grab It Magazine More reviews...

This 100-level puzzle game is deceptively simple—with memory-based challenges involving colors and numbers—but ups the pressure by adding a countdown clock and gradually increasing the number of rules you must follow.

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#18
Wayward Souls 87
Action-Adventure, $6.99, from Rocketcat Games

"It just goes to show that games with bold design and content-rich features can find a home on any platform."

Game Revolution More reviews...

Another challenging gaming experience, this dungeon crawler—a roguelike/action-RPG hybrid—comes from the folks behind Mage Gauntlet.

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#19
Valiant Hearts: The Great War 87
Adventure, $4.99, from Ubisoft

"Maybe the most beautiful game you can run on your iPhone."

Hyper Magazine More reviews...

Ubisoft's puzzle-solving adventure game is set during the first World War. The download price only includes Episode 1; the remaining 3 episodes can be purchased in a pack for $8.99.

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Buy From Apple
#20 (tie)
Eliss Infinity 86
Puzzle, $2.99, from Steph Thirion

"If you're looking for a faster paced puzzle game, Eliss Infinity is a good bet. It offers up a diverse gameplay experience, it has a ton of content, and an endless mode ensures that you'll have plenty to do after you've beaten every level."

TouchArcade More reviews...

This update to the innovative indie puzzler Eliss includes an improved version of the original game and adds a brand-new game mode.

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Buy From Apple
#20 (tie)
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS 86
Action-RPG, $14.99, from Capcom

"You’re looking at over a hundred hours of gameplay, with one of the best ports I’ve ever played on an iOS device."

God Is a Geek More reviews...

This port of Capcom's popular 2008 PSP title is the first true Monster Hunter game to come to Apple handheld devices.

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#22
KeroBlaster 86
Action, $4.99, from Studio Pixel

"Nails the Japanese pixel art style of art and gameplay that many others try to imitate."

148Apps More reviews...

This pixelated, monster-filled, 2D side-scroller comes from the makers of Cave Story.

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#23
Vainglory 86 iPad
MOBA, free, from Super Evil Megacorp

"Vainglory hits the highest highs of a great MOBA, but only when playing locally with friends against a team that’s doing the same."

IGN More reviews...

This free-to-play, real-time 3v3 battle arena game is designed for iPads and takes advantage of the platform's new Metal graphics technology.

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#24
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen 86
RPG, $14.99, from Square Enix

"Fifteen bucks might seem steep for a mobile game, but it’s a reasonable price to pay for a fantasy adventure that could end up keeping dedicated RPG fans occupied for weeks or months."

Post Arcade More reviews...

After an inauspicious debut—Square Enix originally released the game in the App Store as "Dargon Quest IV"—this iOS remake of the classic 1992 JRPG has impressed critics. All five chapters of the original story are included, giving you a lot of playing time for that $15 entry fee.

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Buy From Apple
#25
Proun+ 85
Action, $3.99, from Engine Software

"This self-styled 'journey through modern art' exudes an endearing weirdness that sets it apart and nestles it in your brain."

Gamezebo More reviews...

Guide a ball that's racing across a pipe as it weaves in, around, and through colorful scenes inspired by classic works of modern art.

What do you think?

What were your favorite iOS games of the past year? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (4)

  • DudeUnknown  

    FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S. BOTH GAMES.

  • kolin1302  

    Who would have thought 2 years ago that an iPad game would become the second most viewed e-sports game worldwide ?

    Hearthstone even beat LoL on Twitchin concurrent viewers during its World Campionships.

    It shows the extreme potential of iPad games for future years.

  • matteda  

    yes..this is a good list

  • RealMusic  

    Sunburn & Bean Dreams both missing from the list. Hearthstone the clear winner this year, an amazing new IP from Blizzard that will position them for the next decade.

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