We don’t usually do these features this early in the year, but 2023 has been very strong on all fronts. Just like with my feature covering the best Switch games of 2023 so far, I’ve put together a list of the best iOS games we’ve played so far this year. This list includes new original games, ports, Netflix Games releases, Apple Arcade games, and more. This list is in no particular order, and I’ll likely do another one in a few months if it helps you find a game you hadn’t tried yet that you ended up enjoying.
Sid Meier’s Railroads ($12.99) – [Review] – [Interview] – [Forum Discussion] – Sid Meier’s Railroads isn’t what I expected to see ported to mobile through Feral Interactive, but it is a brilliant blend of tycoon games and model trains. The mobile version is the best way to experience the single player content on any platform, and it plays like a dream on modern iPhones and iPads.
Paranormasight ($14.99) – [News] – [Review] – [Forum Discussion] – Square Enix has a weird history on mobile, but the publisher sometimes treats the platform well with simultaneously bringing games to mobile alongside PC and consoles. The mystery adventure game Paranormasight is a gem of a game, and it plays best with touch controls. It is priced the same as other platforms, but is superb on iPad. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I’d recommend just buying Paranormasight if you have the remotest interest in mystery and adventure games.
How We Know We’re Alive ($2.99) – [Game of the Week] – [Forum Discussion] – How We Know We’re Alive from Motvind Studios is a short point and click adventure, but one with excellent writing, great music, and lovely visuals. We don’t see many games in this genre that are this good on mobile, and How We Know We’re Alive is one of the best mobile games this year with its impactful story.
Stuffo the Puzzle Bot ($4.99) – [Game of the Week] – [Forum Discussion] – Stuffo the Puzzle Bot is a puzzle game about using blocks to reach the exit. It has a lot of interesting mechanics with its varied blocks, but really shines thanks to its gorgeous visuals. I didn’t play this when it released, but I’m glad I finally got around to this gem of a puzzler.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge (Free) – [Game of the Week] – [Review] – [Forum Discussion] – TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a game everyone at TouchArcade loves I’m sure. We’ve all played it across different platforms, and the Netflix Games mobile version from Playdigious is one of the best additions to the service. It is a fantastic game regardless of platform, and a perfect fit for pick up and play on the go on iPhone or iPad.
Pocket City 2 ($4.99) – [News] – [Forum Discussion] – I’m still working on my full review for Pocket City 2, but it is bigger and better than the original in every way. Codebrew Games’ newest city builder goes above and beyond with its features, visuals, and content. It is a shockingly good game that feels underpriced by a lot right now. You owe it to yourself to get this one as soon as possible if you’re a fan of the genre or looking to get into it.
Ultra Blade ($2.99) – [Game of the Week] – [Forum Discussion] – Kyle Barret’s Ultra Blade is a shockingly good roguelike RPG that plays brilliantly with one thumb on mobile. Kyle’s games are usually amazing for pickup and play, but Ultra Blade is my favorite for sure. It is a bit obtuse in ways, but comes packed with a ton of content and great music. It is an easy recommendation.
Happy Game ($5.99) – [Review] – [Forum Discussion] – Amanita Design’s releases on iOS over the years have ranged from premium releases to Apple Arcade games, and the studio’s horror adventure Happy Game is a short but memorable experience about trying to help a boy escape nightmares with puzzles and all sorts of creepy things. Happy Game isn’t what I expected Amanita Design to work on, but it is a shining example of how creative the developer is across a variety of settings.
Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! () – [Review] – [Interview] – [Forum Discussion] – Pokemon developer GameFreak’s 3DS gem got supercharged for Apple Arcade as Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On! earlier this year. It is my favorite current game on the service, and I hope to see it supported for a long time. The blend of solitaire, horse racing, and simulation never gets old, and it hasn’t looked as good as it does on Apple Arcade before. This is an essential if you have a subscription.
Voice of Cards Trilogy (Free), ($11.99), ($11.99), ($11.99) – [Review] – [News] – [Forum Discussion] – Square Enix’s Voice of Cards trilogy has always felt like a perfect fit for mobile, and it finally arrived as three premium games and one free prologue release on iOS and Android. While the ports have a few issues I’ve touched on in my review of the first game, the lower asking price than other platforms and great controls make them worth checking out. These are basically turn-based RPGs with a tabletop card game aesthetic, and I’d recommend trying the free prologue to see how you feel before buying any of them. I’m currently working on my review for the second and third games.
This year started out stronger than expected on all fronts in gaming, and I’m looking forward to the many more games hitting mobile this year. If you think I missed something, feel free to let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading.