Top 25 best action games for iPhone and iPad (iOS)
These iPhone action games will help you shoot for the stars
Updated on September 29, 2023 - swapped 1 game. Original list by Jon Mundy.
You can stick 'action' before any other genre, and it'll instantly make it seem more fun.
If a friend tells you they're playing an RPG, you'll instantly think of extended quests, interminable conversations, and patience-testing battle systems. If they tell you they're playing an action RPG, your thoughts will turn to thrilling slashy combat, a steadily growing arsenal, and rip-roaring adventure. Or, y'know, a Zelda game.
More broadly, action games tend to involve a certain kind of pacey violence, whether that be shooting, punching, or slashing. All that really matters for a game to make this list is that there's lots of kinetic stuff happening on screen at once.
A good action game will be the perfect tonic when you've had a really crappy day, and you just want to blow off some steam and mow down some goons.
Rather like love, you know an action game when you see it. Here are 25 of the suckers, all playable on your iOS device. Don't mention it.
Dead Cells is a roguelite platformer that doesn't let its clever procedurally generated algorithms get in the way of what it does best - quicksilver combat. Whether you're hammering baddies with a giant sword or pinning them with a powerful multi-shot bow, it never feels less than deliciously tactile.
Before you dive into this action platformer, you should read our Dead Cells review. And once you do start playing, you shouldn't miss our beginner tips - they'll definitely see you out of some dire situations.Download Dead Cells
Steredenn might look like an old-school bullet hell shmup, but it's so much more than that. Roguelike elements and a highly customisable weapon system make this far more interesting than your average blaster. We absolutely loved it (like we mentioned in our Steredenn review), but if you're eager to see for yourself, it's a game worth trying.
You have gorgeous graphics, an intense play style and a space action for iOS that will take you decades into the retro future. Sounds intriguing? That's because it is!Download Steredenn
In Downwell, your guns are located in your character's boots as you embark on an endless drop. This means that as well as taking out baddies, it acts as a means of locomotion. It's a genius game that we've praised in our Downwell review too! If you haven't had a chance to check it yet, make sure you do so ASAP.
This is probably one of the all-time best action games for iPhone, and with each passing year, the game feels better and better. Is it because of the increasing appeal to retro and pixelated games? Maybe - one thing's for sure, and that's the fact that Downwell is a must-have. You can read our Downwell tips too!Download Downwell
Guns of Boom
If you want to shoot other players, there's no better mobile game right now than Guns of Boom - maybe some other hyper-realistic shooters, but this one also looks fun (therefore it takes the gold from us). It simplifies the FPS format just enough without compromising on strategy or depth.
We have a comprehensive Guns of Boom review, so if you're eager to learn how it is, make sure to check it out. We also gathered some essential tips for Guns of Boom, so make sure to read them once you start playing.Download Guns of Boom
Into the Dead 2
Next on the list is a pretty impressive action title where you have to fight for your life in a post-apocalypse, zombie-filled world. The main character of Into the Dead 2 is ready to overcome any difficulties in order to save his family. Indeed, the game has an exciting story and even multiple endings. To increase your chances of surviving, you can find and upgrade many powerful weapons, as well as adapt your strategy to the various types of enemies.
If that was not enough to convince you to try it, then you should read our Into The Dead 2 review. On top of that, here we have some Into the Dead 2 tips and tricks to help you survive in this dangerous world.Download Into the Dead 2
Hyper Light Drifter
Imagine a top-down action RPG like the classic Zelda games, but with the emphasis very much on the 'action' part of the equation. That's Hyper Light Drifter, which features hyper-kinetic sword fighting and pinpoint gunplay in a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy-sci-fi world.
Did you know we have a Hyper Light Drifter review too? If our game introduction hasn't convinced you to try it out yet, this most certainly will. It's an absolutely stunning game that is worth playing whenever you want some beautiful slashing action.Download Hyper Light Drifter
Don't let the retro graphics and 2D shmup mechanics fool you - Black Paradox is a decidedly modern experience, complete with roguelike elements and stacks of weapon types. It's a game that is as beautiful as it is exciting to dive into. Just read our Black Paradox review if you don't want to take our word for it!Download Black Paradox
Space Marshals 3
Space Marshals 3 is a far more considered and varied twin-stick shooter than you might be accustomed to. But at its core is a brilliantly weighty drag-and-aim shooting system that lifts combat to another level. You never expect this game to be as exciting as it actually is, and once you start it it'll give you a very clear idea of what to expect from it.
We added it to our best iOS action games list because it's full of action (obviously!) but also because it looks like a top-down PUBG Mobile or something similar. Overall, it's a great addition to your action games for iPhone and you should be proud to be called a Space Marshal!Download Space Marshals 3
We are not saying that Vampire Survivors is a full-blooded (no pun intended) action game as some others are on this list, but it will give you the same adrenaline boost. You'll face hoards of monsters each time you enter a level, thousands of them literally. If you aren't smart about your movements, and you're not planning ahead well then the end of each run will come much earlier. Where's the fun in that, you might ask? Try going in the wrong direction, for two seconds, and enemies will melt you like butter in a hot pan.
The graphics is pixelated, but the art style is wonderful and older players will feel at home with this one. It'll remind them of the good ol' days of Amiga, NES, SEGA and other systems that we all cherished so dearly. There's no jumping included, you'll move your character over one plane, and you can't jump.Download Vampire Survivors
A truly awesome roguelike hack and slasher that you can play single-handed, but that doesn't lack in strategy or depth. Immortal Rogue is an action game with brains as well as brawn, and we've expanded on that in our Immortal Rogue review.Download Immortal Rogue
Pigeon Wings Strike
Pigeon Wings Strike is an endless runner with shmup and racing elements liberally woven through. It's a pure shot of the action, straight to the eyeballs. While these little birds might not immediately scream action! you can most certainly expect Pigeon Wings Strike to do exactly that.
We've written down a Pigeon Wings Strike review to give you a glimpse into this winged universe, but one thing's for sure - you will have a laugh and enjoy yourself more than you think while playing this.
We know for certain we did, and if you are a fan of endless runners and shooters alike, you're guaranteed to have a good time.Download Pigeon Wings Strike
Streets of Rage 4
If you've never tried this classic beat-em-up franchise, now's your chance. In a sequel that's over two decades in the making, Streets of Rage 4 manages to find that crucial sweet spot between old and new with its massively revamped graphics, from flickering neon lights to gorgeous comic-inspired artwork. With simple and addictive gameplay, you'll side-scroll through 12 stages, beating up thugs in order to bring control back to the streets.
In PocketGamer's Streets of Rage 4 review, we said this was a faithful sequel that was worth the twenty-seven-year wait. However, even if you're new to the series or haven't played it in a while, this is a game both new and old fans will love.Download Streets of Rage 4
Beat Hazard 2
Beat Hazard 2 is a bullet hell shmup - and a darned pretty one at that - with one almighty twist. Its levels and bosses bop along to the beat of your own tunes. This rhythm-action influence makes for one of the most distinctive shooters on the App Store.
We have a pretty good idea of whether or not we like it (the answer is simple - you see the game on this list, so yeah, we love it!), but we also asked our friends over at App Army to share their opinions on the game. So if you're curious whether or not it's a viable choice of iOS action game for you, you should read their opinions.Download Beat Hazard 2
Brawl Stars is a battle royale, but it's also a quick-paced action game for iOS and Android that will keep you up on your toes (or rather thumbs) every minute of every round. It became an instant hit right after the release, and when you check that the Supercell team is behind it, it's easy to see why.
Controls are pretty simple, it's easy to get used to the gameplay if you ever played anything similar. Takes about half an hour to start rocking, and then it's hard to let go. If you're eager to try it, we have to recommend going through our best brawlers tier list which will help you pick the right character and enjoy the hell out of it!Download Brawls Stars
This classic SNK Playmore shoot-'em-up plays wonderfully on mobile, bringing a taste of the late-'90s arcade to your pocket. It's one of those arcade games that looks old, feels old, (actually) is old, but never gets boring. You can play it now in 2023 and 10 years from now and it'll still be as exciting as ever.
If you haven't tried it out yet, we strongly suggest you do. Did you know we have a Blazing Star review? Don't forget to check it out if you're eager to see how we played this arcade shooter on our iPhone.Download Blazing Star
Diablo Immortal was released on June 2, 2022. This is a shareware game that can be installed on phones or PCs. The developers have created an excellent story campaign, and the PvP mode turned out to be somewhat fun.
The storyline of Diablo Immortal unfolds between the second and third parts of the game. You have already defeated Diablo and the Lord of Destruction Baal, but it's not time yet to rejoice. The fact is that one of the most powerful creatures of Diablo, the demon Skarn, is trying to resurrect his lord, and you have to stop his diabolical plan. We have also covered the games like Diablo Immortal if this one doesn't suit your needs.Download Diablo Immortal
Super Fowlst 2
A thrillingly pure and empowering action game for iPhone that sees you tapping the screen to hop your little 2D chicken around each arena-like level, avoiding attacks and bopping baddies. While this game is not as action-packed as others on this list, it's still a pretty intense one, all things considered.
We have a list of Super Fowlst 2 tips to help you out so when in doubt, don't forget to check them out!Download Super Fowlst 2
This Apple Arcade game might look like a big budget adventure game at first glance, but it's all bound together by fast-paced action sequences that see you pinging multiple enemies with your bow and arrow. The Pathless is a truly beautiful game, and we have three reasons for you to try it. Have you checked them yet?
When you decide to play the game, we've also got a guide ready to help you on your pathless journey.
No worries though - if you thought this game is only about fancy names and graphics, you'd be glad to hear it's more than that. That's exactly what makes it such a great iOS action game, even in 2023.Download The Pathless
You are an anthropomorphic jelly bean. You must raise your gun and blast another anthropomorphic jelly bean in the face. Now repeat the process. Gumslinger takes a basic duelling premise and raises it to near perfection with daft sound effects, tight physics and gorgeously springy visuals.
If you're as much about satisfying-looking games and sleek visuals, chances are you'll enjoy Gumslinger as much as we did. It's one of those underrated action iOS games that never gets old.Download Gumslinger
A really-quite-brilliant hardcore 2D shooter that evokes the memory of classic arcade machines, with pacy gameplay and chunky graphics. You've got beautiful pixelated graphics and unforgiving action every step you take. You can summon warriors from different times/zones/areas, and that's only part of the fun.
In Otherworld Legends you'll eventually come to discover a long-buried secret behind this realm. If that's not enough to get your blood pumpin' for some action, adventure and monster-slashing, I don't know what is.Download Otherworld Legends
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
A port of one of the most beloved indie games of recent years, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a twin-stick shooter that's so packed full of randomised elements that no two runs are the same. You've got the mandatory horror and gross-looking elements, as usual, but that's not where the fun stops.
You also have our Binding of Isaac: Rebirth review, which honestly speaking hasn't exactly impressed us, but is still a pretty viable game if you're looking for a classic action shooter.Download The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Here's a shooter for all the R-Type fans out there. It expertly emulates those classic side-scrolling shmups, but adds a sprinkling of fresh ideas. Super Hydorah is a game that you won't often see nowadays as a fresh release, but it's still pretty fun and exciting. You should read our Super Hydorah review though.
There we talk more in-depth about this classic side-scroller iOS shooter, so if you're in for some retro action, you will most certainly enjoy it. Otherwise, if you want something more contemporary, you can check out some of the other titles.Download Super Hydorah
Punishing: Gray Raven
If you want a stunning anime hack 'n' slash action RPG, you have Punishing: Gray Raven, and you have the rest...
This game is pretty much in a league of its own, being such a beautiful and complex game from all perspectives. It has a deep narrative to keep you immersed in the game's universe, and it has action-packed battles that are unforgiving and won't give you time to reload.
It's pretty much do or die, but packed nicely into a beautiful world, with beautiful characters and a beautiful story. And if that did not convince you, then you should read our Punishing: Gray Raven review. We also have a list of PGR codes, so if you want to claim the latest rewards don't forget to check it out!Download Punishing: Gray Raven
Neon Chrome feels like a proper, fully fleshed-out console shooter right here in the palm of your hand. It's a twin-stick shooter with a moody story, heaps of weapons, formidable bosses, and a rollicking sci-fi story. We love every part of this game - the slightly strategic approach and the explosive top-down action alike. It's just an overall exciting game to dive into even years after its release.
Did you know we have a Neon Chrome review? If you want even more good ol' retro action for your mobile, this is as good as it gets!Download Neon Chrome
Our best action games for iOS list will finish up with the majestic mention of Pokemon Unite. This release is one of the latest in the Pokemon series, and it's also one of the best in our opinion. You essentially have a MOBA, similar to League of Legends: Wild Rift and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, but with Pokemon... who wouldn't want to experience that? It's fun, it's intense, and you get to play as some of your favourite characters!
If you ever wanted to zap someone to death as Pikachu or blast someone in the face with Blastoise, now is your chance. We even have a Pokemon Unite tier list to help you pick the best Pokemon based on their role!Download Pokémon Unite