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Top 15 best arcade games for iPhone and iPad (iOS)

Top 15 best arcade games for iPhone and iPad (iOS)

Some of these games aren't old-school but they do have that vibe

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Updated on: September 19, 2021 - reworded and new links were added

If you've been looking for the best arcade games for iPhone or iPad then look no further. We've compiled this list of the best quick-run, score-chasing games for your reading pleasure.

Back before everyone had a gaming device in their home or on their body, arcades full of simple games were very popular. Arcades are still around, but so is a plethora of games that you can actually just play at home, often without dumping loads of coins into them.

Deffinition of 'arcade games'

As time has passed the definition of 'arcade' as a genre has changed a little bit, not least due to the games themselves moving out of the clunky, standing machines of yesteryear. However, a lot of the mechanics and ideas behind the games are the same: the games should have short, limited-life runs which you can sometimes extend beyond normal means.

You should, realistically, be chasing a high score, or at least looking to hit some major milestones ahead of you, and -well- they don't need to be extremely realistic. Nowadays, however, lots of games get listed as arcade-based which might fit in other genres, and sometimes that's simply down to aesthetics.

In this list of best arcade games for iPhone, we have everything from cabinet classics like PacMan through to runners like Subway Surfers, but we also head off to less conventional, more-roguelike efforts as well. Have a read, and let us know what you think of our choices.

So, click on the big button below to read on and find out our favourite arcade games for iPhone and iPad, and if you think we've missed something then leave us a comment, because we do occasionally revisit our various lists to make sure that we've kept them completely up to date and true to the genre.

Original post by Jupiter Hadley, updated by Pocket Gamer Staff.
Click Here To View The List »

1
Angry Birds 2

Publisher: Rovio
Available on: iOS + Android + Windows Phone
Genre: Action, Arcade, Puzzle
Find out more about Angry Birds 2
Angry Birds 2

I’ve actually played Angry Birds 2 in arcades, on a big machine, but even if I had not it would make the top of this list. Angry Birds 2 is a simple concept - you are slingshotting birds towards structures that need to be destroyed, filled with green pigs that need to be popped. You can destroy as much as you have birds for, as long as you get rid of those horrid pigs.

This strategic game easily deserves the landing spot in our best arcade games on iOS. And if you haven't tried it yet, you should read our Angry Birds 2 review and get ready for a hurricane of pigs, bricks and colourful looking birds! We have some tips to help you out too!

Download Angry Birds 2
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2
Fruit Ninja 2

Developer: Halfbrick Studios
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Action, Casual
Find out more about Fruit Ninja 2
Fruit Ninja 2

I have played quite a bit of Fruit Ninja 2 in my time, both in physical arcades and on my mobile phone in highschool. Fruit Ninja 2 is a simple game where you need to swipe at fruits as they fly onto your screen and avoid bombs as they appear. If you’d like, you can battle other players and customize your avatar in the mobile version of this!

There's nothing quite like this classic, fast-paced fruit-slashing madness to give you a genuine experience straight from your iPhone.

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3
Crossy Road

Developer: Hipster Whale
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Arcade, Platform
Find out more about Crossy Road
Crossy Road

Crossy Road is a pretty cute game, where you just need to cross a bunch of different roads, over rivers, and more, trying to keep your character alive. There are a bunch of different animals you can play as and the world is generative, so each time you die you will face a slightly different level, but it’s still a challenge!

Super addictive, super fun, and insanely adorable. Crossy Road is one of the greatest arcade games for iPhones you can dive into today, and enjoy forever.

Here is how to get every Crossy Roads character, and here is our Crossy Road review! Check them out!

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4
Jetpack Joyride (previously Machine Gun Jetpack)

Available on: iOS + Android + Facebook and social + PSP + PS Vita
Genre: Action, Arcade, Endless running
Jetpack Joyride (previously Machine Gun Jetpack)

Jetpack Joyride is an endless runner game where you can fly using your jetpack and try to collect coins as you ride dragons, use your extra boosts, float in submarines, and more. There is a lot of stuff in each level, with traps everywhere, boxes that can help you, a moving background, and of course those golden coins. It’s a lot of stuff to get used to, making the round often short!

The game has so much play and re-play potential, that the developers even decided a sequel would be in place. One where you get to shoot at random space rocks! We even got a Jetpack Joyride review!

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5
Pac-Man

Developer: Namco Bandai Networks Europe
Publisher: Namco Bandai Networks Europe
Available on: Mobile + 3DS + Windows Phone
Genre: Action
Find out more about Pac-Man
Pac-Man

What is an arcade game list on any platform including iOS without PacMan on it? PacMan feels like the original arcade game to many, being one of the oldest ones to ever see the light of day.

Players control the little yellow cheese wheel, moving it around a world full of ghosts (which need to be avoided), pills to eat, and orbs to consume. Pills allow you to then eat ghosts and fruit appear from time to time for bonus points. It’s a classic. Did you know we have a Pac-Man review too?

Download Pac-Man

6
Cosmic Express

Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Puzzle
Find out more about Cosmic Express
Cosmic Express

A beautiful pastel puzzle game, Cosmic Express has you picking up and dropping off a number of passengers on an alien planet. You will need to create the route that is followed across the world, before deciding who gets left and who gets dropped off. There are obstacles to face, challenging levels, and a lot of aliens!

Cosmic Express is a title that might not be familiar to many, but by all means, it's one that you should try out. This game is fun and packed full action, making it one of the top picks of the genre. We've got more details on that in our Cosmic Express review though!

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7
Subway Surfers

Developer: SYBO Games
Publisher: Kiloo
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Action
Find out more about Subway Surfers
Subway Surfers

There are a bunch of endless runners like Subway Surfers, but this is the current favorite of mine. Subway Surfers has you running forward, dodging and using oncoming trains to continue going forward. There are a bunch of coins to be collected, ramps to use, signs to duck under and more when it comes to staying alive!

In Subway Surfers there are constant updates, events and new characters to add to your collection, making it a game that you'll never get bored with! Truly one of the best arcade games for iOS.

Take a peek at our redeem codes for Subway Surfers, there will surely be something for you! Otherwise, you can read our Subway Surfers review or scroll through our increasing collection of other Subway Surfers guides.

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8
MUJO

Developer: Oink Games
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Casual, Puzzle
Find out more about MUJO
MUJO

MUJO tasks you with combining tiles to make larger tiles, that are then able to attack monsters. You can stack three or more connected tiles by holding them down, creating a powerful tile that will have more power the bigger it is. Once you have them created, you can use them to destroy monsters at the top of the screen, while leveling up heroes at the bottom.

The best part about MUJO is that it's unlike many other titles on this list. It's a simple, fun, and highly interactive game, which makes it a fine choice. It’s a simple and fun game - make sure you check it out. If you're not convinced yet, then you should read our MUJO review!

Download MUJO
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9
Lanota

Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Casual, Music/Rhythm
Find out more about Lanota
Lanota

Lanota is a rhythm-based adventure game where you must tap and hold in time with the music, keeping the rhythm of your magic. Your goal is to help recover the planet’s bright colors after natural disasters, keeping the planet alive for a bit longer. Though the gameplay is simple, it’s very much like rhythm-based games I’ve played before in arcades!

We'd strongly suggest giving this one a try, even if you don't typically go for rhythm games - Lanota might just change your entire take on it (yeah, it's that good)!

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10
Death Road to Canada

Developer: Madgarden
Publisher: RocketCat Games
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Find out more about Death Road to Canada
Death Road to Canada

Death Road to Canada is a really lovely zombie shooter where you need to try to make it to Canada by making decisions, stopping at areas for supplies, growing or shrinking your team, and killing off any zombies who start to attack you. It’s an addictive game that I have really enjoyed playing, and it has zombies!

DRTC takes you back to those massive shooters in the physical arcades, but kinda minimized into a cutesy-pixel graphic style. And if you haven't tried it yet, you should do so ASAP - you don't want to miss out on one of the best games (ever!).

You should also read our Death Road to Canada review if you've got no idea what to expect from this game.

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11
Candy Crush Saga

Publisher: King
Available on: iOS + Android + Windows Phone
Genre: Casual, Puzzle
Find out more about Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga is the king of match-3 games, which are arcade games, so it’s included in this list. Match-3 is a pretty simple concept, when three of the same block (or more) is near each other, you can tap to destroy them. Candy Crush Saga has cute graphics and colorful gameplay, which does make it stand out in this genre.

With thousands upon thousands of levels and countless spin-offs (and plain rip-offs), this game is easily one of the classic titles to mark the list, alongside Pinball Arcade, Pac-Man, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. This is a brilliant Arcade iOS game and while our Candy Crush Saga review doesn't exactly expand on that, you can still give it a try - if you like match-three games, that is.

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12
Double Dragon Trilogy

Publisher: Dotemu
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Fighting
Find out more about Double Dragon Trilogy
Double Dragon Trilogy

Popping up in arcades of the 80s, Double Dragon Trilogy can also be played on your phone! This is a side-scrolling fighting game where you can play player vs player or team up together to keep the streets clean of enemies with a friend. It’s a classic game that many would recognise as it really made an impact back in the day.

This brilliant fighting game will take you back decades - it's good, simple, and to the point. All you need to do is punch in the right direction and you're pretty much set. What is there not to love about it?

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13
Pinball Arcade

Developer: Farsight Studios
Publisher: Farsight Studios
Available on: iOS + Android + PS Vita
Genre: Conversion, Retro
Find out more about Pinball Arcade
Pinball Arcade

Have you been to an older arcade that has pinball machines? Then you might want to play pinball on your phone! Pinball Arcade is a good default choice, as it has a bunch of classic pinball machines all made digital and added to your phone.

You can ping the ball around, gaining points, before it inevitably avoids the bumper. It's easily one of the best arcade games for iPhones, even in 2021. As you might've guessed - nothing screams arcade more than a classic pinball game! And there is nothing more arcade-y than a game that plays as well as this one on mobile. Just check our Pinball Arcade review!

Download Pinball Arcade
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14
Basketball Arcade Machine

Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Casual, Sports
Find out more about Basketball Arcade Machine
Basketball Arcade Machine

Basketball machines are also essential at an arcade, so Basketball Arcade Machine just makes sense. Not only does this game look like the machines you can find at arcades, but it’s also just fun to play without all of that physical effort that playing in real life takes. You can also earn achievements in this and nobody will steal the balls out of it, making the game unfair.

Love shooting baskets but can't be bothered to go outside? Play this game. Want to show your friends who is the meanest 3-point shooter in the group? Definitely play this game! It's fun, competitive, and plenty fun!

Download Basketball Arcade Machine

15
Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom

Publisher: Sega
Available on: iOS + Android
Genre: Endless running
Find out more about Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom
Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom

Another endless runner, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is a great arcade game where you just need to avoid traps and collect rings through a bunch of different, quite lovely looking, worlds. You can play as other characters from Sonic, or just be the blue hedgehog himself. They all have their own charm, so either pick is a fine one.

As for the history behind this character, you probably know that Sonic's been around for ages. Having an arcade game with Sonic the Hedgehog in it should be expected! You can read more about it in our Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom review though - it should give you all the ins on this iOS arcade masterpiece!

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