But how, TapSmart, how? How is it possible to pick the very best fifty games out of the hundreds of thousands on the app store?

This is a question that you may be asking right now, but it’s also one we asked ourselves. How could we approach this with any form of scientific credulity?

In the end, we decided it was impossible, and instead, we would approach it in the same way as when Skynet sent just one Terminator back instead of a whole bunch, or when we’re expected to believe that feeding a Gremlin after midnight is what caused all that ruckus, when in reality we were doomed from the start because it’s always after midnight… we suspended our disbelief.

So, while we don’t expect you to believe that these are the absolute best fifty games on the App Store ever, every single one is damn good. So, in no particular order, these are fifty of the greatest iPhone games on the App Store.

1. Tiny Wings

screen568x568

Andreas Illiger, $0.99/£0.69, 14.6 MB, Arcade

Fantastical little arcade game featuring little birds with, well, tiny wings. The birds use hills to jump up, slide down, and generally get about. Addictive, and visually incredible – like a psychedlic watercolor, Tiny Wings is great.

App Store Download button

2. Trainyard

IMG_6751

Matt Rix, $1.99/£1.49, 8.1 MB, Puzzle

Consistently gets 5-star reviews thanks to oodles of puzzles (well over a 100), and a feature to create your own puzzle tracks to guide trains to coordinately colored stations. Sounds simple? Don’t be fooled.

App Store Download button

3. Canabalt

screen1136x1136

Semi Secret, $2.99/£1.99, 22.4 MB, Platformer

Canabalt hits a beautiful retro sweetspot between the Atari and the Game Boy. Shades of gray abound over this fast-paced runner, featuring randomly generated cityscapes to run through.

App Store Download button

4. Ice Rage

ice rage

Mountain Sheep, $1.99/£1.49, 27.9 MB, Arcade

‘The 8-bit Hockey Experience’. A 2-on-2 arcade-style game with a simple control scheme, multiplayer, and matches that last less than two minutes. It’s high-fidelity Pong on ice.

App Store Download button

5. Letterpress

screen1136x1136-1

atebits, Free, 4.2 MB, Word

Part word game, part land grab, you need to use your vocabulary and planning skills to capture the board while stopping your human opponent from stealing your letters.

App Store Download button

6.Real Racing 2

mzl.djtufhyu.320x480-75

Firemint Pty Ltd, $4.99/£2.99, 448 MB, Racing

Realistic and beautiful graphics, an immersive control system and a rewarding upgrade system for your cars make this game one of – if not the best racing game on the app store.

App Store Download button

7. Rayman Run

screen1136x1136-2

Ubisoft, $2.99/£1.99, 50.3 MB, Platformer

Taking a slice out of the Rayman reboots for consoles, these games feature him running and jumping in bizarre environments, such as overgrown jungles, or a string of oversized sausages.

App Store Download button

8. Table Tennis Touch

IMG_0287

Yakuto Limited, $3.99/£2.49, 252 MB, Sports

An incredibly rich, honed, challenging and most of all fun table tennis game. Follow the career mode through club games to international championships. Devilishly hard, but hugely satisfying when you win a competition.

App Store Download button

9. Monument Valley

screen1136x1136-3

ustwo, $1.99/£1.49, 147 MB, Puzzle

A gorgeous design led to an Apple Design Award in 2014, but this game is much more – guide a princess through surreal architecture and tricky geometry, uncovering secret paths and illusions.

App Store Download button

10. Plants vs. Zombies

IMG_6755

PopCap, $0.99/£0.69, 72.5 MB, Strategy

Tower defense meets extreme gardening. Also, zombies. Your aim is to prevent the zombies reaching you by planting a series of deadly flowers, shrubs and trees to beat back the undead hordes.

App Store Download button

11. Temple Run

temple run

Imangi Studios, Free, 31.0 MB, Action & Adventure

You’ve got the treasure, now run! This portrait runner sees various characters escape ancient temples, and sheer cliffs. Run, jump, slide, collect power-ups, but most of all: RUN!

App Store Download button

12. Threes!

screen1136x1136-4

Sirvo, $1.99/£1.49, 48.8 MB, Puzzle

Lightweight and terribly simplistic, but Threes! has still become one of the most long-term playable puzzlers out there – all you have to do is slide blocks to combine factors of three.

App Store Download button

13. Super Hexagon

Super hexagon

Terry Cavanagh, $2.99/£1.99, 23.3 MB, Arcade

Possibly the hardest game ever but that doesn’t take away from its charm. Direct your tiny triangle left or right and avoid the incoming waves of color from all six angles.

App Store Download button

14. Heads Up!

Heads up!

Warner Bros., $0.99/£0.69, 71.0 MB, Trivia

Developed in association with Ellen DeGeneres, this party game requires the player to hold the phone to their forehead while friends or family give clues to guess what’s onscreen.

App Store Download button

15. Drop7

Drop7

Zynga, $2.99/£1.99, 10.0 MB, Puzzle

This excellent puzzle game is a cross between Tetris and Sudoku. Place numbers into towers of corresponding height and they disappear. A mix of logic and luck results in you quickly
becoming addicted.

App Store Download button

16. Limbo

Limbo

Playdead, $4.99/£2.99, 103 MB, Plaformer

Dark and iconic visuals, a chilling soundscape and excellent platforming makes Limbo one of the best previously PC- and console-only games to get an iOS port. It’s bleak, yet beautiful.

App Store Download button

17. Flick Golf

Flick Golf

Full Fat Productions, $0.99/£0.69, 51.9 MB, Arcade

Take your shot and then control the spin on the golf ball to get as close to the hole as possible. Wind-speed and sloping landscapes make for satisfying clubbing.

App Store Download button

18. Field Runners

Fieldrunners

Subatomic Studios, $0.99/£0.69, 47.4 MB, Strategy

One of the great tower defense games available. Build a variety of weapons on a small playing field to stop the invading hordes. Field Runners 2 is also available for even more tower defense fun.

App Store Download button

19. Blast-a-way

Blast-a-way

Illusion Labs, $4.99/£2.99, 49.1 MB, Platform Puzzler

Fun 3D puzzle game where you throw projectiles in a series of destructible levels in a quest to save the Boxies. Beautiful to look at and challenging enough to require serious thought.

App Store Download button

20. Candy Crush Saga

candycrushsaga3

King.com, Free, 46.2 MB, Puzzle

Simple, fun and addictive. A perfect combination of puzzling and strategy with excellent social media integration. Smash treats and boast about it to your friends!

App Store Download button

21. Device 6

2-device-6-switches

Simogo, $3.99/£2.49, 137 MB, Adventure Puzzle

Drawing on multiple influences. Device 6 ties in gaming with literature. Its story fits puzzles into the narrative as the main character wakes up on a remote island, with no recollection
of arriving.

App Store Download button

22. Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Rovio, $0.99/£0.69, 40.7 MB, Arcade

Needs no explanation, but for those over there living under that rock, it’s one of the most successful iOS games, spawning franchises. Aim disgruntled birds at pigs, hit them all and you win!

App Store Download button

23. Infinity Blade III

Infinite Blade III

Chair Entertainment, $6.99/£4.99, 1.82 GB, Action

This features due to the trilogy’s overall strength. With a great story, sword-fights abound as you unlock the power of the Infinity Blade. The graphics too, are among the best on iOS devices.

App Store Download button

24. Fruit Ninja

Fruit ninja

Halfbrick, $0.99/£0.69, 39.6 MB, Arcade

Millions have downloaded, and millions loved it. You play a fruit ninja, slicing fruit as it flies through the air. How could this possibly be entertaining? We have no idea. But it is. Very much so.

App Store Download button

25. Flight Control

Flight_Control

Firemint, $0.99/£0.69, 17.9 MB, Arcade

Heralded as the flagship of the ‘line-drawing’ genre, You are in charge of an air traffic control tower, ensuring that incoming planes can land safely, not collide, and continue to operate.

App Store Download button

26. World of Goo

world-goo

2D BOY, $2.99/£1.99, 97.7 MB, Puzzle

Universally acclaimed, World of Goo is a near-perfect physics-based puzzler. Drag and drop squirming globs of goo – each of which have unique abilities – to solve the puzzles that feature along the way.

App Store Download button

27. Jetpack Joyride

Jetpack joyride

Halfbrick, Free, 41.3 MB, Arcade

From the same geniuses that brought you Fruit Ninja. This endless runner sees you take control of the future’s most elusive creation: the jetpack. Collect coins, high-five scientists and keep going faster! FASTER!

App Store Download button

28. Dots

dots

BETAWORKS ONE, Free, 7 MB, Puzzle

A simple, minimalist and colorful puzzler that gives you one minute to connect as many dots as you can, eliminate them from the board and get the
high score.

App Store Download button

29. Manuganu 2

Manuganu 2

Alper Sarikaya, $0.99/£0.69, 153 MB, Platformer

This, and the first, are great little platformers. Jump, glide and swim through a South American themed landscape – he won’t stop running either, making the controls unique and challenging.

App Store Download button

30. Cut The Rope

Cut the rope

Chllingo, $2.99/£1.99, 31.1 MB, Puzzle

Very much in the same mould as Angry Birds, this cute game sees you swiping on screen to cut down sweets and feed the adorable Om. Cut The Rope 2 is also available but not quite as good as the original.

App Store Download button

31. VVVVVV

VVVVVV

Terry Cavanagh, $2.99/£1.99, 59.5 MB, Platformer

Invert gravity, avoid spikes and guide Captain Viridian through a strange landscape. Previously only for PC, the game is surprisingly well-suited to the touch-screen control scheme. Expect to die a lot. Like, all the time.

App Store Download button

32. Little Inferno

Little-Inferno-Burning1

Experimental Gameplay Group, $0.99/£0.69, 45.5 MB, Puzzle-ish

Little Inferno is a smart commentary on how we play games and the time or money we spend on them. In this, you sit in front of a fireplace, throw things in, and watch them burn. That’s pretty much it!

App Store Download button

33. OLO

OLO

Sennep, $1.99/£1.49, 14.8 MB, Board

A simple shuffleboard game on your device playable by up to four players at once. Flick your colored counters into the opposition area or smash away your opponents pieces.

App Store Download button

34. Ridiculous Fishing

Ridiculous Fishing

Vlambeer vof, $2.99/£1.99, 41.5 MB, Arcade

Follow your fishing hook into the depths of the ocean, then drag up every fish you can as you come back up to the surface. It’s crazy, and aptly named.

App Store Download button

35. The Room 2

The Room 2

Fireproof Studios, $2.99/£1.99, 287 MB, Puzzle

This and it’s predeccessor are huge physical puzzlers. Unlock strange boxes to find more inside, and with each solve, cryptic letters from a scientist appear, unfolding an equally engaging story.

App Store Download button

36. Orbital

Orbital

bitforge Ltd, $2.99/£1.99, 8.4 MB, Arcade

Using a ball and a launcher, your aim is to clear the ‘orbs’ from the board. There are other games like it but none of them look nearly as cool.

App Store Download button

37. Badland

Badland

Frogmind, $3.99/£2.49, 167 MB, Action/Puzzle

Badland won an Apple Design award in 2013 – thegame is a side-scrolling platformer set in a luscious forrest, but though it looks beautiful, something is wrong – and you have
to find out what.

App Store Download button

38. Blek

Blek-1-1

Denis Mikan, $0.99/£0.69, 28.0 MB, Puzzle

A recent addition to the App Store and one that won an Apple Design Award for 2014. Draw a line on-screen that collects the colored circles while avoiding the deadly black holes.

App Store Download button

39. Doodle Jump

Doodle jump

Lima Sky, $0.99/£0.69, 31.1 MB, Platformer

One of the first games to take advantage of the accelerometer in the iPhone. Tilt the device to direct the tiny doodle from platform to platform and try to get a high score; simple, but highly addictive.

App Store Download button

40. Minigore

Minigore

Mountain Sheep, Free, 77.4 MB, Action

This game is full of unexplained, bonkers, mad action when Jon Gore is attacked in the woods by an army of baddies. Fortunately he has limitless ammunition and a chainsaw to hand.

App Store Download button

41. Boson X

Boson x

Ian MacLarty, $2.99/£1.99, 11.0 MB, Platformer

A scientific take on the infinite runner sees you searching for the elusive Boson X. Jump left and right to land on brightly colored platforms and avoid falling to your death.

App Store Download button

42. Trenches

Trenches

Thunder Game Works, $0.99/£0.69, 37.3 MB, Strategy

Trenches successfully makes real-time strategy accessible to touch-screens. Set in WW1, you must advance to the far right of the screen, deploying infantry, mortars, machine guns
and more.

App Store Download button

43. Slingshot Racing

Slingshot racing

Crescent Moon, $0.99/£0.69, 49 MB, Racing

Tether to and release yourself from poles around the track to ‘slingshot’ your vehicle around bends in this high-speed, Steampunk themed racing title. Hectic, same-device multiplayer is also included.

App Store Download button

44. Where’s My Water?

wheres_my_water4

Disney, $1.99/£1.49, 50.8 MB, Puzzle

Adorable Crocodile Swampy needs water for his shower. Unfortuantely there’s mud, sand, and goo blocking the pipes. Better clear it away with water by drawing a path onscreen.

App Store Download button

45. Sneak

Sneak

Made in Me, $1.99/£1.49, 117 MB, Kids & Family

Perfect family game – the aim is to ‘sneak up’ on your iPhone to photograph the beasties on the screen. It picks up sounds via the iPhone’s microphone so if it hears you, the game’s up!

App Store Download button

46. The Incident

The Incident

Big Bucket, $0.99/£0.69, 13.5 MB, Platformer

This retro-styled platformer sees you jumping up and up upon piles of trash as it rains down on your head from outer-space. It’s even playable on your Apple TV.

App Store Download button

47. Kingdom Rush

kingdomrush_0

Ironhide Game Studio, $0.99/£0.69, 200 MB, Strategy

Another tower defense game but this one has a medieval flavor. Build barracks, archers, wizard towers, and summon your hero to destroy a variety of onrushing minions across varied levels.

App Store Download button

48. Waking Mars

Waking Mars

Tiger Style, $4.99/£2.99, 308 MB, Action & Adventure

Explore the depths of Mars as an astronaut trying to bring it back to life. Explore caverns, decode mysteries, and grow an ecosystem to survive the treacherous conditions.

App Store Download button

49. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Superbrothers

Capybara Games, $4.99/£2.99, 200 MB, Adventure

Traverse a pixellated realm and do battle with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures alongside a beautiful soundtrack. The game is even affected by the phases of the moon.

App Store Download button

50. The Heist

The Heist

tap tap tap, $0.99/£0.69, 21.1 MB, Puzzle

Solve a series of different puzzles to gain access to the main vault. The Heist has over 60 puzzles to undertake and a prize waiting for you at the end.

App Store Download button

Special Mention – Flappy Bird

IMG_6761

Dong Nguyen, Arcade

This was the game that caused millions to become addicted to their iPhone overnight as they tried to direct a pixellated bird-fish through green pipes simply by tapping. While it isn’t currently available to download it may reappear in the near future. Come back soon, we miss you…

There we have it, 50 of the best iPhone games!

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!