Thread for iOS games 2017-2023: shame, loathing and recommendations

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There's still good ones out there, folks. This is the thread where we collaborate and collude to navigate the minefield of the App Store "Games" category.

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:18 (nine months ago) Permalink

i have had zero luck recently. used to be a great source for iOS strategy games, a very lo-fi kind of operation run by 2-3 people (and mostly just one dude) with good taste in games. then they were bought out and upgraded to shit-fi, cover a bunch more games, and hired a bunch of terrible writers. guess i should give touch arcade another try

Karl Malone, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:23 (nine months ago) Permalink

typeshift is cool

devvvine, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:24 (nine months ago) Permalink

*200 seconds pass*

ok a quick glance at touch arcade makes this sound enticing:

Karl Malone, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:26 (nine months ago) Permalink

what is typeshift? because if it involves typing on an iphone it could be my least favorite game of all time. it takes me 3-5 tries just to type my email address in correctly

Karl Malone, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

i can confirm it does not involve typing and it is free

devvvine, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:33 (nine months ago) Permalink

still just playing the heck out of plants vs zombies: heroes which is a heartstone/magic ccg except with a much lower curve and some fun twists.

the klosterman weekend (s.clover), Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

Looks Typeshift is from the same guy who made Spelltower, worth a try certainly for free
Not sure I want to pay $8 for Death Road to Canada but it's by the Punch Quest people, so I am tempted

Nhex, Saturday, 25 March 2017 00:43 (nine months ago) Permalink

I bought Death Road to Canada this morning and will try it out v.soon -as soon as I beat Real Grinder, just hang on a sec

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Saturday, 25 March 2017 01:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

Ok I just got wiped once, almost immediately, but I see the fun in it. Need to adjust my control layout for sure.

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Saturday, 25 March 2017 04:58 (nine months ago) Permalink

All I've done in DRtC since my last post is make custom characters.

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

I'm mostly enjoying Fallen London, as a prelude to delving into Sunless Sea. FL is for the phone, SS is on the tablet (durr) and I actually think the daily limit on actions helps the FL experience

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:29 (nine months ago) Permalink

i think FL is actually the better more fully realized game but SS is def worth playing - and the sequel is being kickstarted right now

Mordy, Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:33 (nine months ago) Permalink

my favorite twitch streamer said SS made him so happy it was like when he was a kid and first got into Escape Velocity on his Mac, and I was "like well that was college for me kiddo but if you loved EV, I loved EV and this game scratches that itch then here you go App Store here's $9.99 make sure this army vet weirdo in Texas gets a cut ok"

Not the real Tombot (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 29 March 2017 22:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

the highly compelling clicker SPACEPLAN (originally brought to your attention last August via The Best Free Online (in-browser or downloadable) Games) is now on iOS

I am still Realm Grinding away, though, so I don't think I need to repopulate the potatoes on my phone

your cognitive privilege (El Tomboto), Saturday, 6 May 2017 17:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

also thanks to realm grinder I now know the differences between scientific and engineering notation, and the names of a lot of extremely large numbers. the math in this game is ridiculous

your cognitive privilege (El Tomboto), Monday, 8 May 2017 00:08 (eight months ago) Permalink

nintendo released a fire emblem game for iphone and i was super excited because i've never played a fire emblem game and i've always wanted to. it was a smallish download, and then it asked me to download a 50 MB update as soon as i started it up. after a few battles, it asked me to install a 500 MB update, which i grudgingly did even though i have a shitty iphone with not much storage. i took leave of the reception areas in the united states for a few days, and when i returned and started up fire emblem, it asked me to install another 700 MB update and i racked up my first ever rage quit/delete on a screen asking me to download a patch

Karl Malone, Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

Wow. Better you than me!

I'm finally playing Lifeline on my phone.

Getting this Taylor kid into shitty situations is not quite as fun as intentionally wrecking your dude in one of those bmx / snowboard / tony hawk games.

I do have a feeling the ultimate goal is probably more satisfying, though.

I'll keep at it.

Tombot is busy.

El Tomboto, Thursday, 18 May 2017 02:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

Waiting for a busted elbow to heal have given me time to get back to mobile gaming, until I can shake public transport and get back on my bike.

Grim Fandango Remastered: the first two acts are still the greatest adventure game of all time, the third loses it a little (though at least it doesn't crash when I get in the crane, like the last two torrents of the PC game I tried), and the last act is both a touching return to the earlier acts and too bitty.

Monument Valley: Lovely aesthetic perfectly married to the platform - I'm sure there'll be a PC port at some point but using a mouse to rotate one of the chunky pieces of architecture won't be as satisfying as doing so by hand. Also I appreciate a game that's good at manipulating my emotions.

Tomb Raider Go: Decent selection / curation of a different aesthetic here, breaking some of TR down to basically a game of Sokoban (with a slight hidden object game not even bolted to it but rather laid beside it in the same box).

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 18 May 2017 14:24 (seven months ago) Permalink

Spaceplan was amusing but I didn't expect it to play through so fast and have no replay value.

El Tuomasbot (milo z), Monday, 22 May 2017 01:10 (seven months ago) Permalink

I'm starting to really wish the hero in Love You To Bits could just WALK A LITTLE BIT FASTER FFS
he could learn a lot from Taylor in Lifeline imho, this guy trucks, even with a fucked up ankle

El Tomboto, Monday, 22 May 2017 15:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

Has anybody tried Subterfuge?

El Tomboto, Saturday, 27 May 2017 16:34 (seven months ago) Permalink

Bunch of stuff on sale for 0.99 in the US App Store today btw

El Tomboto, Saturday, 27 May 2017 16:51 (seven months ago) Permalink

I kinda don't want any of them because I never finish adventure puzzlers, suck at touch platformers, and hate RTS/Tower Defense. but I guess mini metro is going to get a shot.

El Tomboto, Saturday, 27 May 2017 16:54 (seven months ago) Permalink

I was a big Advance Wars fan in the GBA days, so I love Warbits. Great graphics and gets most aspects of the genre right. It doesn't seem to have boats and other water units, though, just land and sky :/

Dan I., Saturday, 27 May 2017 20:46 (seven months ago) Permalink

Uh, I think it came out last year, though.

Dan I., Saturday, 27 May 2017 20:47 (seven months ago) Permalink

MiniMetro pulled me in for a couple weeks.

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 27 May 2017 21:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

Thread title time frame is not intended to prevent posting about out old games. Most good games on iOS are from <2016 anyway imho

El Tomboto, Saturday, 27 May 2017 22:21 (seven months ago) Permalink

Most good games on iOS are from <2016 anyway imho

It's true. What's the deal with that?

Karl Malone, Saturday, 27 May 2017 22:25 (seven months ago) Permalink

It's about ethics in video game journalism

El Tomboto, Saturday, 27 May 2017 23:28 (seven months ago) Permalink


This isn't bad at all. I might actually pay for the gem doubler (the "here fine here's five dollars for your game you gave away for free" purchase)
I'm pretty annoyed your character choices are "white boy" and "white girl" though - like, even Spirit Lords did better.

El Tomboto, Monday, 29 May 2017 03:49 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

iOS games kinda not being good this year shocka

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 10 July 2017 04:29 (six months ago) Permalink

I'm having trouble finding anything that holds my attention. Every goddamn thing has IAP.

Jeff, Monday, 10 July 2017 09:39 (six months ago) Permalink

Some recent faves:

Card Thief
Swing King
Cordy 2
Bike Club

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Tuesday, 11 July 2017 19:11 (six months ago) Permalink

I am still playing Marvel Puzzle Quest

help me

this iphone speaks many languages (DJP), Tuesday, 11 July 2017 19:12 (six months ago) Permalink

expansion for 868.HACK?

his description is utterly opaque to me because i haven’t played it for a long while, but ,ugh this be a good time for anyone who hasn’t to give it a go?

Fizzles, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 19:13 (six months ago) Permalink

not sure what ugh is doing there. some kind of phone typo.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 19:14 (six months ago) Permalink

it's so hard to find anything good in the store apps (ios or android). all of the lists are freemium crap.

Einstein, Kazanga, Sitar (abanana), Tuesday, 11 July 2017 23:23 (six months ago) Permalink

pocket tactics used to be a reliably good source of info on strategy/rpg/puzzle/war games, written by like 3 dudes, but then they got bought out and became a terrible website

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 23:25 (six months ago) Permalink

I suspect starting 868 with the expansion would be an exercise in frustration

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Thursday, 13 July 2017 21:27 (six months ago) Permalink

This needs to happen

El Tomboto, Saturday, 15 July 2017 17:10 (six months ago) Permalink

might finally get around to playing it

on the leaderboards for the 868 hack expansion! i am just way more attuned to this than imbroglio i guess

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Sunday, 16 July 2017 14:31 (six months ago) Permalink

Also it looks like toucharcade is about to go out of business? So basically nowhere left doing independent reviews of App Store games as far as I know.

El Tomboto, Sunday, 16 July 2017 14:36 (six months ago) Permalink

I got Lowerlander yesterday. It's pretty fun so far. The save mechanism is kind of annoying in 2017 but it's no game breaker.

El Tomboto, Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:43 (five months ago) Permalink

I can actually see this causing me to blow a subway stop on my commute which no game has done for a good while (usually it's work email)

El Tomboto, Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:55 (five months ago) Permalink

^^ loving this, it is totally making me late for meetings

stet, Monday, 24 July 2017 13:37 (five months ago) Permalink

started playing at your suggestion tombo, really scratching that ultima itch

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 24 July 2017 14:22 (five months ago) Permalink

Fucking Flappy Dunk. I hate myself.

Jeff, Tuesday, 25 July 2017 01:30 (five months ago) Permalink

Galaxy of Pen and Paper, the sequel to Knights of Pen and Paper, is out today for iOS (and steam and android) at $4.99. i haven't played it yet but the kotaku review says it's similar but better than the original, which i enjoyed. given the lack of good iOS games recently i'm inclined to give it a shot

Karl Malone, Friday, 28 July 2017 01:56 (five months ago) Permalink

another pen and paper game already? god dammit that's my beer money

El Tomboto, Friday, 28 July 2017 04:11 (five months ago) Permalink

(all the pen and paper games are worth it btw)

El Tomboto, Friday, 28 July 2017 04:12 (five months ago) Permalink

(they do get silly towards the end, not in a great way, but then what RPG doesn't)

El Tomboto, Friday, 28 July 2017 04:12 (five months ago) Permalink

Terraria for mobile might be getting a major update soon, praise moonlord

Target Timing for release of Mobile 1.3 remains a few months after Console, so you can expect this in the second half of 2017; hopefully sooner rather than later!

El Tomboto, Friday, 28 July 2017 04:14 (five months ago) Permalink

Agree with this review, solid game.

Jeff, Thursday, 10 August 2017 12:31 (five months ago) Permalink

Layton Brothers Mystery Room, which is like a terrible version of Phoenix Wright, and Layton's Mystery Journey, which is a lot more like the original.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:28 (five months ago) Permalink

On the shame and loathing front: i feel like seriously, after 4-5 years, I've finally broken free of the psychological grip that Puzzle and Dragons and Marvel Puzzle Quest had on me. Basically barely want to even login daily any more. Feel like this is progress.

Nhex, Friday, 11 August 2017 04:45 (five months ago) Permalink

find someone who looks at you the way Nhex looks at MPQ

glad you escaped! :)

Karl Malone, Friday, 11 August 2017 04:53 (five months ago) Permalink

Tsuro is the free app of the week in the US app store and I highly recommend it. We just spent a couple of hours on it in a very device-heavy "family board game night"

As an ilxor, I am uncompromising (El Tomboto), Sunday, 20 August 2017 01:19 (four months ago) Permalink

My daughter is now playing Tiny Tower! I had no idea they kept updating that thing. It's been 6 years! Last update was in January though so maybe they're finally done? There are like, so many new elevators, you guys.

I pulled Ticket To Earth back out and for some reason I feel way better at it than I was before.

As an ilxor, I am uncompromising (El Tomboto), Sunday, 20 August 2017 22:14 (four months ago) Permalink

also lol, as soon as I blow away all the ep1 content it turns out Episode 2 is coming out this week as a free update. Hooray!

As an ilxor, I am uncompromising (El Tomboto), Monday, 21 August 2017 04:28 (four months ago) Permalink

1. I thought I broke my save on Lowerlander but I emailed the dev and he fixed it for me - on a Saturday.

2. Ticket to Earth episode 2 is so far all my favorite stuff about the first one but might be too easy

El Tomboto, Saturday, 26 August 2017 22:36 (four months ago) Permalink

Lowerlander update: once you get the ship that has long-range cannons, bombarding mobs from the sea is truly satisfying

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 29 August 2017 21:16 (four months ago) Permalink

This needs to happen

― El Tomboto, Saturday, July 15, 2017 (one month ago)

It totally happened - I think yesterday actually

El Tomboto, Thursday, 31 August 2017 18:27 (four months ago) Permalink

I have a backlog of ipad games I need to work through now

El Tomboto, Thursday, 31 August 2017 18:27 (four months ago) Permalink

and meanwhile, remember this post? aw man

iPhone games (also Ipod Tooch/iPad games too)

I loaded up TT again on Tuesday because my wife and daughter twisted my arm since they started last weekend - I was starting from scratch but then when I went to enable cloud sync, the Nimblebit server goes HEY LOOK WHAT WE FOUND and here it is, all 194 floors, lightspeed elevator, and now a "historic landmark" sign on the roof.

El Tomboto, Thursday, 31 August 2017 18:45 (four months ago) Permalink

would like a list of that backlog plz

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 31 August 2017 19:06 (four months ago) Permalink

I bought darkest dungeon & sunless sea this week, adding to my ridic backlog (because I'm playing assassin's creed 3, so at least I'm in the right decade now)

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 31 August 2017 19:16 (four months ago) Permalink

I feel like this is almost everything but I'm sure I've forgotten one or two:

A. to give a real playthrough / get started on:

  • Sunless Sea
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Galaxy of Pen and Paper
  • Planescape: Torment (I never got to play this on a real computer!)
  • Sorcery! 4
  • Anno
  • Lost Echo
B. to finish off:
  • Incoboto (I slept on this forever)
  • Sorcery! 3
  • Love You to Bits
  • ToF 2 (and then ToF 3)
  • Human Resources Machine

El Tomboto, Thursday, 31 August 2017 19:52 (four months ago) Permalink

C. The ones I forgot

_* Broken Age (start)
_* Death Road to Canada (DR2C) (get anywhere)
_* Out There Omega (finish? Or see DR2C)
_* Penny Arcade Adventures 3: The oh I should just fucking delete this
_* Pixel Heroes (i can't really figure out why this one is so hard tbf)
_* Terraria (waiting on a major update before i spend much more time on this)

There's other stuff too but it's all super casual like pocket planes, realm grinder, mini metro, and uh tiny goddamn towerrrrrrr

El Tomboto, Friday, 1 September 2017 02:36 (four months ago) Permalink

Nabbed oldies but good rep'd Beat Sneak Bandit and Device 6 for $0.99

Nhex, Friday, 1 September 2017 04:24 (four months ago) Permalink

thanks for the list tom; will give many of those a try

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 1 September 2017 15:37 (four months ago) Permalink

If you like Rubik's cubes you might like my friend justin's game Shift'd.

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Friday, 1 September 2017 20:24 (four months ago) Permalink

Finished everything in Ticket to Earth. Good but game is half done since they are releasing it just an episode at the time. Like I got all these nitrium shards but there aren't enough of them in the game yet to refine to good stuff.

Lost all interest in Miracle Merchant since I became the best player in the world. So back to looking for something new. I don't care if it only leaves me with 10 games, if there was a no IAP filter in the App Store it would be so great.

Jeff, Friday, 8 September 2017 14:02 (four months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

What is freeways? Can’t find it on the App Store.

Jeff, Tuesday, 26 September 2017 12:38 (three months ago) Permalink

terrific game, exceptionally well adapted

Roberto Spiralli, Sunday, 1 October 2017 16:33 (three months ago) Permalink

Apple store removing the wishlist is literally “oh okay I guess you don’t want my money”

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 3 October 2017 22:58 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Think it’s a couple of years old but Citadel 1986 is enormous BBC Micro-esque fun

stet, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 20:36 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh shit the iOS Animal Crossing game is out

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 01:24 (one month ago) Permalink

iOS game pet peeve: when the game forces you to download a bunch of extra data after you’ve installed the game. Most recent example: Puzzle Fighter, which was a ~150 MB initial download, then needed to download an additional 100 MB update when I first launched it, and is now making me download a 330 MB update upon completing the tutorial.

Karl Malone, Friday, 24 November 2017 04:43 (one month ago) Permalink

I think this ruse is to get around the limit on size of app you can download on mobile data

stet, Friday, 24 November 2017 11:00 (one month ago) Permalink

kinda surprised that the only conversation about fire emblem heroes is KM's rage-delete due to the 700mb patch above... (which is totally granted!)

is nobody else playing this? it's lowkey replacing mpq in my brain after years of mpq dominance. it took me a few months to get really into it but it's safe to say i'm completely hooked now -- i've got ~30 gold heroes at level 40 (including all four of the brave heroes, who are badass), reinhardt, ryoma, some other good ones... version 2.0.0 just dropped with some all new story levels (which I slammed through in like an hour to get orbs for the new 8% gacha, earning me a 5* celica for my troubles). i love this game!

am i the only one?

flippy bard (Will M.), Wednesday, 29 November 2017 08:58 (one month ago) Permalink

Gave it a go but it just didn't grab me.

Hearthstone tends to be my goto mobile game though these days and tbf nothing else is going to match that level of polish.

JimD, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 10:18 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Bridge Constructer Portal. Controls are kind of finicky, but interesting enough.

Jeff, Thursday, 21 December 2017 13:58 (three weeks ago) Permalink

It’s from last year but I just started Iron Fish and it seems all right.

El Tomboto, Thursday, 21 December 2017 14:10 (three weeks ago) Permalink

heavens to betsy I'm playing BLOCKY FARM

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 21 December 2017 15:19 (three weeks ago) Permalink


i finally tried out Reigns (or at least the sequel, which just came out and is supposed to be pretty much the same as the first). it's decent fun, but every other time i open the app, it completely forgets that i've ever played before and puts me back at the very beginning. there's no option to manually save or load a saved game. sometimes, i open the app and it instantly remembers everything that i've done and i'm back in the game. and then other times, a few seconds after opening the app it offers me the option to load my saved game from some cloud, somewhere. so it's fun, sometimes, when it works. i fucking hate apple right now. using their products reminds me of being a windows user back in 2002

/iOS problems

Karl Malone, Thursday, 21 December 2017 17:14 (three weeks ago) Permalink

somehow i got back into clicker heroes, wtf is wrong with me

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Thursday, 21 December 2017 17:23 (three weeks ago) Permalink

game idea: clicker heroes, but sometimes when you try to play it all your progress is reset

Karl Malone, Thursday, 21 December 2017 17:26 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Life, Kid

Karl Malone, Thursday, 21 December 2017 17:26 (three weeks ago) Permalink

uh, did Civ 6 just get released ON IPAD? dang.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 21 December 2017 18:24 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i finally tried out Reigns (or at least the sequel, which just came out and is supposed to be pretty much the same as the first). it's decent fun, but every other time i open the app, it completely forgets that i've ever played before and puts me back at the very beginning. there's no option to manually save or load a saved game

I've only played the first one but never experienced this. Might be early days bugginess. But I don't really think of the game as something where you're loading a saved game. The content you unlock by playing seems more like a board game expansion than making progress, per se.

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Thursday, 21 December 2017 18:31 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Yeah - that’s a better way of putting it. I’m not trying to “beat” it so much as just see everything that can be unlocked. But I keep getting forced to start back at the beginning with nothing unlocked, like a punishing roguelike.

I should probably just wait iOS gets another dozen updates and try again. One terrible night, about a month ago, I updated both my MacBook and iPhone to the latest OS, and ever since then everything has been awful.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 21 December 2017 18:38 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i have been playing the digitized version of the card game 'sentinels of the multiverse', playing all of the hero decks myself, and i must say it is an alarmingly well-constructed skinner box

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Friday, 22 December 2017 07:06 (three weeks ago) Permalink

new michael brough rogue-like cinco paus in the app store. haven’t played it yet but imbroglio, 868-HACK and corrypt were flawless masterpieces so it’s an instant buy.

— Michael Brough (@smestorp) September 16, 2017

I’m digging that this game is purposefully in Portuguese, no English! Better than some fake language because I can make out some words, just not enough. This is how I imagine learning magic, tantalizing but beyond my immediate comprehension.

— Douglas Wilson (@doougle) December 25, 2017

Fizzles, Tuesday, 26 December 2017 15:31 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Sproggiwood is sorta old by now but it’s been worth every penny so far

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 19:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i am purchasing cinco paus right now, will report back later. but i'm sure it's great. i really loved both 864-HACK and Imbroglio

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 19:38 (two weeks ago) Permalink

It's annoying the shit out of me right now but hopefully I'll get through it

badg, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 20:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

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