Addictive mobile games for the iPhone and iPad are in abundance, although finding a good quality freebie is a little trickier. Here we round up our favourite free iOS games of all time, which you can download and play right now.
Now that the App Store has finally been redesigned, there's an entire section dedicated just to games - and about time, too. There's a massive selection of playable titles for Apple's iPhone and iPad, covering every genre imaginable. From brain-bashing puzzle games to twitch-and-you-die action adventures, we've played thousands of addictive time wasters over the years, many of them free to download and enjoy.
The following are what we consider the best free iOS games of all time. Some of them include an option for In-App Purchases (IAP for short), although we've carefully selected titles that don't require any kind of cash layout to fully enjoy. Any such purchases are merely available to download additional content, or speed up certain aspects of the gameplay.
So without any more waffle, here's our favourite free iPhone and iPad games right now.
South Park Phone Destroyer
This addictive card-based battle game has all of the bite of the show, not to mention fast-paced tactical gameplay as you attempt to take down Stan’s minions. To do so you’ll need to play cards that summon up mighty warriors, played by the South Park cast, as well as unleash powerful attacks that wipe out large chunks of the enemy forces.
There’s an IAP option, although the game also doles out plenty of free cards at regular intervals as well as every time you complete a level. You’ll struggle to find another free iPhone game that’s as chucklesome.
A very simple and yet quite taxing title, which has you (unsurprisingly) stacking blocks to form as high a tower as possible. Strangely, Stack is both relaxing and stressful at the same time. Grab it now for free on the App Store.
Pokemon Go surely needs no introduction. Wield your virtual pokeballs and get out in the real world with this AR iPhone title, to capture as many Pokemon as possible. As far as free iOS games go, this one will have you addicted for months - if not longer. And best of all, there are regular events with bonus critters to catch and special bonuses.
Clash of Clans
Strategy fans will enjoy this free-to-play iPhone title, which has you building your own village up and leading your loyal subjects into battle with rival clans. As the name of the game kind of suggests.
You can battle against your mates to see who’s the master strategist, with a large selection of troops, buildings and other bits to get stuck into. For free, you really can’t complain with that.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Nintendo’s second mobile title after Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes is a lengthy and free-to-download RPG that’ll keep you glued to your iPhone or iPad. Don’t worry if you haven’t played the other Fire Emblem titles, as Heroes is as easy to slip into as a comfy Christmas jumper. Despite that it’s also impressively complex for a free RPG, serving up loads of character, abilities, game modes and levels.
Check out our Fire Emblem Heroes guide for all you need to know.
This seemingly simple reaction-based game is easy to pick up and yet a serious challenge as you progress through the many levels. All you need to do is tap to make your coloured ball advance up the screen, but be careful; touch anything that isn’t the same colour and it’s game over. You’ll need some expert timing to get far.
Cut the Rope Series
Cut the Rope is a colourful and addictive iOS puzzle game that kids and grown-ups can both get stuck into for minutes or hours at a time. Cut the Rope has you guiding delicious candies into the mouth of the cuddly Om Nom creature by...cutting ropes. Obviously. Gets surprisingly challenging, but never frustrating.
Infinity Blade Series
Infinity Blade's excellent presentation belies its zero penny asking price, and while the game's 'plot' won't exactly win any oscars any time soon, you don't download this great iPhone action title for the narrative; you download it for the smart, occasionally heart-hammering reaction-based action.
New Star Soccer
This is the iPhone game equivalent of class A drugs (in terms of addictive quality, rather than cost, thankfully). Guide a footballer to super stardom, managing his training regime and relationships as well as getting involved in matches with set pieces and attempts on goal. The fact that it's free to download is all the more impressive.
This blast from the past has you stacking up blocks to form as high a tower as possible, but you'll need excellent timing to avoid toppling the whole thing. Tiny Tower gets seriously tense as your skyscraper reaches the stars and you'll be playing endlessly to try and beat your high score.
Galaxy On Fire Series
Galaxy on Fire is a smart and completely free iOS space sim that doesn't just have you blasting down faceless foes. You can also choose to trade with other systems, advancing to even better ships and even buying your own station. It's a long and entertaining campaign that's perfect for long journeys.
Read next: Pac-Man 256 iOS game review
Dead Trigger Series
This first person shoot-em-up series is of course completely stupid, but also really good, dumb fun. Blast your way through seemingly endless legions of zombies, splattering their blood across every surface going. Solid presentation adds to the frantic action.
Triple Town is still a puzzle game worth returning to, years on, thanks to its simple yet strangely addictive gameplay and slightly adorable nature. Grow a town by matching identical objects: three bushes make a tree, three houses make a castle and so on. The pesky bears who get in the way would probably make you want to smash your iPhone to bits if they weren't so damned cute.
Speaking of Triple Town, its developers then went on to release Alphabear, which is possibly even more addictive. This one is for wordy types, as you try to find the biggest possible words you can form in a letter grid. Each letter you use is converted into a bear, with adjoining bears merging together to grow monstrous. If you clear the entire grid, you'll be left with one enormous cuddly creature. Some bears give you special bonuses, for instance when you use certain letters, to boost your points.
Seriously, this game is like crack for your iPhone.
Plants vs Zombies 2
No list of best free iOS games would be complete without mention of Plants V Zombies. This super-awesome tower defence game has you fending off hordes of zombies with an arsenal of vegetation, from pea-spitting plants to super-tough coconuts. Fiendishly hard at times, but never not fun.
Do we really need to add a description here? Bejeweled is one of the most addictive games on the App Store, now available in a number of flavours, each of which are free to download to your iPhone or iPad.
If you liked Frogger back in the day, Crossy Road is basically an evolution of its guide-a-cute-animal-across-busy-roads gameplay. The endless nature of the game means you'll be constantly going back to it, to try and beat your high score. And if you're a big Crossy Road fan, you can now buy the t-shirt...
World of Tanks Blitz
If you're after some frantic multiplayer action, World of Tanks delivers in buckets. This online blaster is free to download and play and offers up 14-player battles (7v7) in 10 different arenas. Fantastic 3D graphics and the fast-paced action makes this one of the best multiplayer games around.