Updated February 5, 2021: New entries added



In these pampered, civilised times, most of us would sooner cross the street than engage in a direct confrontation. But in the virtual realm of video games, we tend to turn into hooligans.

Nowhere is that primal instinct better expressed than through the medium of the fighting game, also known in some quarters as the beat-'em-up or the brawler.

Such games view the cowardly sniping of the shooter with suspicion. Why lob bullets at a foe when you can pummel their digital face with your own pixellated hands?

No longer the sole concern of the arcade, fighting games have slipped via the home console onto the smartphone in our pocket. Then reached out and locked us into an arm bar. We refuse to tap out.

Whether you're after a scrolling 'belt' brawler like those '90s classics, a tactical one-on-one beat-'em-up like... those other '90s classics, or some weird genre splice that could only appear on mobile, we've got some top recommendations for you.

Don't see your favourite iPhone or iPad fighting game in the list? Let us know which you'd include in the comments below.