Top 25 best fighting games for iPhone and iPad (iOS)
Can they kick it? Yes they can. And punch it, too.
Updated on October 9, 2023 - swapped 1 game.
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 on the list? Let us know which you'd include in the comments below.
The name and publisher might have changed, but following its relaunch Skullgirls remains one of the most thoughtful console game reworkings on mobile.
The graphics are stunning, the touch controls work brilliantly, and the combat is fast and fluid. There's no title more fitting than this one to debut our list of best fighting games on iOS, don't you agree?Download Skullgirls
Beat-'em-ups don't need to be complex multi-button affairs. Beat Street shows you how to get that old-school scrolling brawler feel with just a single control input - and it plays great.
if you want to know why we chose it as one of our top picks, make sure to read the Beat Street review we've got. It's a terrific brawling game like no other.Download Beat Street
A glorious mish-mash of genres, Punch Quest pumps the tired old autorunner genre with the spirit of a classic side-scrolling beat-'em-up.
Yeah, yeah, you can probably tell we've got a thing for retro fighting games - we can't help it, many of them are truly fun and take us back to the basics. Such is the case for Punch Quest, which greatly takes the trophy for one of the most blood-pumping battlers out there. Just read our Punch Quest review!Download Punch Quest
An old school brawler brought bang up to date for the touchscreen generation. It's loud, brash, and silly, but there's also a surprising amount of depth here.
Combining elements of an auto-runner and a company management sim add to the fists and kicks that would otherwise overwhelm players with the sheer lunacy of fighting werewolves left and right, so make sure to read The Executive review if you want to understand just why it's such a great pick!Download The Executive
One of the most popular platform fighters around gets a strong mobile conversion. Brawlhalla wears its Smash Bros. influence on its sleeve, but it's no lesser a free brawler for it.
It's exciting, it's modern and super sleek when it comes to the mechanics. This game really knows how to take battler elements and lift them to a higher level. So, pick your weapon and fight your way to Brawlhalla! In case you need assistance in your quest, hop by the Brawlhalla tier list of best legends and use some of the Brawlhalla codes that we have collected!Download Brawlhalla
EA Sports UFC
The mobile version of the famous UFC simulator from EA Sports, completely dedicated to such a popular sport today as mixed martial arts. In EA Sports UFC, all aspects of the fight according to the rules of MMA are maximally reflected. Excellent high-resolution graphics, authentic animations recreated by motion capture technology, and the most convenient touch controls make all fighting game fans pay attention to the game.Download EA Sports UFC
Grimvalor is definitely not your usual beat 'em up, more like a combination of hack-and-slash, RPG and a fighting game with a smidge of a platformer to spice it up. It differentiates from most of the other iOS fighting games because it features epic bosses. Both by their size and their ability to make your life miserable.
As for the gameplay, it's perfectly adapted to the touch controls, everything runs as smooth as you can imagine, and you won't be missing a controller for a second while playing Grimvalor. If there's one thing that we could pinpoint as being bad (not really bad, more like okay-ish), it's the storyline. But, you wanted to play a fighting game, so it's not really a big deal, right?Download Grimvalor
Taekwondo Game Global Tournament
Terrible name, brilliant game. Taekwondo Game Global Tournament is a surprisingly poised, cagey fighting game where solitary, well-timed strikes are key and button mashing will lead to a swift loss.
Feeling rather blocky and simple at first glance, it will quickly develop into much more than that. And yeah, while the name doesn't help it at all, this exciting brawling battler is easily a game that you'll find yourself playing over and over again. Just read our Taekwondo Game Global Tournament review - it covers everything!Download Taekwondo Game Global Tournament
Real Boxing 2
Just as the name suggests, you won't get a better mobile representation of classic pugilism than in Real Boxing 2. Its fights are good-looking, intuitive, and tactical.
The game feels realistic enough to make you want to try out more games that feature elements of sim and brawling games alike. Read our Real Boxing 2 review to learn what are all the elements that we love about it.Download Real Boxing 2
Marvel Contest of Champions
Marvel Contest of Champions lets you pitch your favourite Marvel heroes against each other in gloriously animated one-on-one fights. The combat is a tad simplistic, but it has a certain tactile appeal to it that's tough to resist.
Think of it as a mortal kombat between your favourite MCU characters - Hulk vs Magneto, Punisher vs Groot, and much much more. If that is not enough to get you super hyped about it, then how about our MCoC tier list? We've collected all the good (and bad) elements of the game there, so make sure to check it out.Download Marvel Contest of Champions
No one does deliberately clumsy chaos like Colin Lane, and in Knight Brawl he's brought that magic to the weapons-based brawling sub-genre.
It's true that it doesn't feature a multiplayer element to make it even more exciting in terms of brawls - but that doesn't mean you can't have more than enough fun in single player. Knight Brawl is a game worth checking, and we've discussed about that in greater detail in our Knight Brawl review.Download Knight Brawl
Boxing Star is a truly exciting 3D boxing game. The camera is behind your character, and you have to dodge, block and punch the opponent. The game has high-quality graphics and extremely dynamic gameplay. The moves of the characters are realistic, which is why synchronization with your fighter is on point.
Boxing Star has a long career mode and a league mode where you will fight other players. If you are looking for a fighting game with online mode to fight your friends, Boxing Star is definitely one of the best options!Download Boxing Star
Another brilliant Colin Lane brawler, this time in the form of a top-down boxing game. For pure arcade pugilism, there are few better on the App Store. One could say... this game takes the championship belt home (mind the terrible pun).
That aside, if you loved our other Colin Lane pick, you'll definitely love this one too. In our Undisputed Champ review we've mentioned how the game feels as close as it could get to the real thing, and we meant it. It's easily one of the best fighting games for iPhones and iPads.Download Undisputed Champ
Streets of Rage 4
If you are a fan of retro graphics and art style, this is definitely one of the best options for you! Streets of Rage 4 is another dynamic fighting game with some great fighters and an unbelievable retro atmosphere. You will have to obliterate many different enemies and complete some fantastic levels. At the end of every level, you'll encounter an inevitable boss fight that will test your skills. Did we mention that you can fight your friends in online battle mode?Download Streets of Rage 4
Mortal Kombat Mobile
I mean, what kind of fighting list wouldn't contain probably the most popular fighting game of all time. If you think it can't be played on mobiles, you're wrong. The developers have adapted the gameplay to the mobile devices making it a card game, and although it's not as dynamic as the console or PC versions it's still enjoyable. The graphics look great, they are close to console versions of the game, and it blows my mind that this game can run on the phone without any hiccups.
Most of your favourite characters are included in the game, their signature moves are there too. In case you are wondering who to pick, take a peek at our tier list of Mortal Kombat Mobile characters and it will be much clearer!Download Mortal Kombat Mobile
The reason Bleak Sword makes its way onto this list ahead of a dozen ostensibly similar action games is its sword combat system. It's unusually weighty and tactile, placing the onus on technique and timing as you wade through its square, pixelated arenas.
It's a little dark, and no, it's not a bloody massacre of a game, but an exceptionally well-made action adventure one. We do not have a review for it yet, but we have a list of reasons why you should play Bleak Sword! Check it out.Download Bleak Sword
Shadow Fight 3
Shadow Fight 3 is a slick, fast and handsome one-on-one beat-'em-up with a brutal focus on timing. It features satisfying RPG components that surprised everyone (including us) in a truly brilliant way. From stunning graphics to sleek and smooth controls, you have everything you could want.
Read our Shadow Fight 3 review if you are curious to learn more about this triple-A mobile fighter!Download Shadow Fight 3
Dan the Man
Despite being a slick tribute to the action platformers of the early '90s, Dan the Man also manages to squeeze in a steadily expanding range of hand-to-hand combat moves to make it quite the accomplished brawler.
If you are curious to learn why this retro fighting platformer is one of the best fighting games for iPhones even in 2023, read our Dan the Man review. We've not spared any details!Download Dan the Man
Dragon Ball Legends
This might be the most popular fighting game on iOS at the moment. A praiseworthy title from Bandai Namco that sets you in the shoes of your favourite super-Saiyans in the whole universe! If you're not a Dragon Ball fan, you can sit this one out, but if you are a fan...then you probably already know about DB Legends.
The gameplay revolves around fighting with cards, but in the background, there's a live-action of what's happening. It's very flashy and vivid, as you can expect from DBZ. You're going to encounter a plethora of well-known characters, and in case you have issues picking the right ones, use the Dragon Ball Legends tier list, which ranks them by power.Download Dragon Ball Legends
Mayhem Combat combines elements of Clash Royale and Smash Bros to produce a fun, knock-about arena brawling free-for-all. It's bright, bouncy, kinetic fun.
In our Mayhem Combat review we highlighted a bunch of elements that make this game stand out - from graphics to gameplay, it thought about everything. So, if you're in the market for some sweaty brawls, give this one a try!Download Mayhem Combat
Glory Ages - Samurais
Glory Ages - Samurais pitches you into weighty, deadly bladed combat in stunning feudal Japan. The results are simultaneously brutal and beautiful.
You don't often get such an exciting and beautiful fighting game completely for free - however, this one is, and it delivers on every single aspect. It's a game where waiting patiently for the best strike instead of throwing punches everywhere is the way to go, so to put it simply timing is of the essence. Read our Glory Ages - Samurais review to learn more about it!Download Glory Ages - Samurais
This deeply absorbing game of virtual robot wars sees you building and programming your very own clanking warrior, then sending them into battle against those of other players. It's not the one-on-one action you might expect, but it's un-expectedly exciting!
Read our Robotics! review if you want to learn what works and what doesn't really work, but the takeaway is that you should definitely consider adding it to your collection of iOS fighting games. It's something unique and super fun.Download Robotics!
The King of Fighters ALLSTAR
The King of Fighters ALLSTAR is another exciting game with decent graphics and fast gameplay. The game has pretty simple controls, but you might spend some time mastering the combat system, which is impressive here. There are many attack combinations that you can use to destroy your opponent, as well as unique special skills that can completely change the outcome of the battle.
There are plenty of different characters in the game, therefore, we have created a KoF All Star tier list to help you pick the most powerful one.Download The King of Fighters ALLSTAR
Rowdy City Wrestling
Ah, yes - why not add another Colin Lane creation and possibly rename the entire list? All jokes aside, he has got some of the top fighting games you could get your hands on.
In Rowdy City Wresting, for instance, he has expanded the Rowdy Wrestling formula with a fleshed-out career mode, but it's still all about those hilariously chaotic physics-led 2D scraps.Download Rowdy City Wrestling
We don't see many 3D arena beat 'em ups on any platform, so it's good to see Machinal Instinct lighting up mobile. Its pacy online robotic scraps look and feel great.
The characters have unique expressions that really encompass the mood. So many times you'll find yourself making the same face as the pig or the cheetah (in real life!), and that's only part of the fun. The most fun comes from the robotic brawls that fill up the screen with well-adjusted controls and tactically placed fists (or claws - or hooves).Download Machinal Instinct