iCheapskate: 38 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone

Just got a new iDevice? Then load it with these games – none of which cost a penny!

iCheapskate: 38 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

It’s strange to think that Apple’s pricey mobile hardware led to an extremely diverse ecosystem of hugely affordable games. But whereas handheld consoles have historically been lumbered with expensive cartridges, Apple pioneered a digital-only approach and embraced all-comers - indies and majors alike - leading to a staggering number of titles being created for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

With such a selection on offer, the fight for gamers’ eyes and thumbs now often involves minimising barriers to entry, and so thousands of free iOS games exist. Many of them would embarrass a type-in listing for a ZX81, but the standouts are among the best titles mobile gaming has to offer.

The 38 you'll read about here encompass a wide range of genres, from frantic arcade fare through to thoughtful multiplayer turn-based strategy. Although most of our choices include some kind of in-app currency system, none require payment in order to get some enjoyment from them; that said, if you love one of the games to death and want to reward the developer accordingly, they’ll always be grateful for a few bucks sent their way.

38. Sky Force 2014 (iPhone/iPad)

iCheapskate: 35 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

Sky Force titles have been providing old-school shoot ’em up larks on the iPhone since 2009, but this latest release takes things to a whole new level.

It’s gorgeous, with beautifully rendered environments and waves of ships zooming about the place. More importantly, the addictive gameplay that’s the hallmark of the series remains intact, giving you a dazzling blaster with plenty of character for no coins at all.

The sole drawback is that it can get a bit grindy, although you can always spend some IAP on a star doubler to help you upgrade your craft more rapidly.

Download Sky Force 2014 here

37) Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol (iPhone/iPad)

iCheapskate: 35 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

What-ho! The master of turn-based strategy takes to the air, in this rather jolly version of World War I ace pilots and their victories over the bally enemy. Essentially chess in the clouds, you strategise your way to the best locations for yelling “Chocks away!” and blasting foes into oblivion. IAPs open up more missions, but there’s plenty here for nowt.

Download Sid Meier's Ace Patrol here

36) Punch Quest (iPhone/iPad)

iCheapskate: 35 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

Most endless runners are more concerned with your character leaping about like a deranged bunny. Not here, where the heroes punch their way to victory. Jab! Uppercut! Slam! Pummel! Eight fingers and two thumbs are apparently all you need to defeat evil — at least until you discover power-ups and find a tame laser-spewing dinosaur to ride!

Download Punch Quest here

35) Triple Town (iPhone/iPad)

iCheapskate: 35 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

Triple Town tasks you with building a city on a tiny grid-based board, using a match-and-combine dynamic that has a curious grasp of evolution. Three bushes make a tree! Three tombstones make a church! All the while, bears roam about, making a nuisance of themselves and blocking spaces. Your free moves slowly replenish (you can buy unlimited turns for £2.49/US$3.99), but that won’t bother you as you stare at the screen, trying to think a dozen moves ahead.

Download Triple Town here

34) Royal Revolt (iPhone/iPad)

iCheapskate: 35 amazing free games for iPad and iPhone / iOS

A young Prince is sent to Bogsmarts to learn about magic. While he’s gone, unruly relatives carve up his kingdom. That just won’t do. A total of 58 castles are therefore ripe for the taking as the Prince and his army set about hacking, smashing and magicking their way to victory in this charming and generous real-time strategy title.

Download Royal Revolt here

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