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Platform / iOS
aka: IOS Games

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Games (and similar apps) that can be played on an iPhone, iPad, or the now-discontinued iPod Touch. A subset of Mobile Phone Games.

Here divided into three categories:

  • Original games that were made for the smartphones, taking advantage of their interface.
  • Really old games that have made a comeback on the smartphones, sometimes facilitated with emulation.
  • Games originally designed for an entirely different system that are released in full or as a mini-version for iPhone. The overlap with the "retro" category is based on how old the original game is. Quality varies wildly throughout this category: on one end of the spectrum, there's Ghost Trick, which looks and plays beautifully across all "i" devices. And then there's that one release.

Most iOS devices (at least after the second generation iPod touch) share several characteristics: the most important are the accelerometer/tilt sensor and the touch screen. Many games for the platform are designed to use the accelerometer as a primary control. For example, driving games such as Pole Position Remix often have the player tilt the entire unit in lieu of providing a steering wheel, and other games use it to control an object's movement around the screen, such as a marble in a maze. The touchscreen also makes games involving tracing pathways (similar to many Nintendo DS games) possible alongside old-school PDA tap-and-drag games. The system's API (Cocoa Touch) is similar, but not identical, to the Cocoa toolkit used on macOS X, and uses the same XCode environment as Mac developers use.

Apple traditionally has somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the gaming community, going back to the first Apple Macintosh and Steve Jobs' insistence that it be treated as a serious business machine. Though the Mac game market flourished in spite of Apple's ambivalence, games like Marathon and Glider that should have been world-shaking... weren't. For years, Apple's half-assed Pippin console was their only real attempt to court the game market, until the second generation iPod Touch came out. At this point, Apple decided to start leveraging the accelerometers they'd built into late-model MacBooks, which people had subsequently hacked into game controllers. Apple gave the Touch, followed by the next generation of iPhone, similar accelerometers, and positioned the Touch explicitly as a gaming system. Unrestricted by the licensing and hardware barriers of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable, game developers (especially small ones) responded in droves, making an Apple platform a serious contender in the gaming world for the first time since the Apple ][ line wound down.

What role, if any, iOS gaming will play in the next generation of Console Wars is unclear. Whether casual gamers play iOS (or other smartphone games) exclusively or overlap with other, already identified groups — or if casual players transition to console games after becoming addicted via an iOS port or mini-game — is the major question of the smartphone gaming market. With the release of the third-generation iPad and improvements in graphics across the entire "i"-product line, some publishers have begun testing the market for "serious games" via the App Store (The World Ends with You being one prominent example). Apple now spotlights these releases, in a bit of historical irony, but whether or not i-gaming makes you a "gamer" is a question beyond the scope of TV Tropes. Mobile technology is advancing at a rapid rate- to date, advanced graphics technology allows iOS games to sport almost current-gen console quality graphics (on newer iOS devices).

In 2019 Apple launched Apple Arcade, a cloud gaming service which integrates iOS games along with versions for iPadOS, macOS and tvOS via iCloud.

Due to Apple's strict control of iOS (apps can only be distributed through App Store which membership requires annual payment, must be updated regularly to avoid delisting, and submissions are thoroughly tested before approval) there's a guarantee that the games you get will likely work in your device, but if the dev lose interest in the game or even abandon App Store entirely, you won't be able to have others to try the game in the future (your account still can download the game). The lack of any serious iOS emulator outside Xcode makes preservation an unsolved issue.

See also Android for the other major smartphone/tablet platform.

    open/close all folders 

    Original Games 

    Retro Games 

    Games With Ports or Mini-Versions for iOS/iPadOS 

Notable iOS Game Makers

Alternative Title(s): IOS Games