The 40 best iPhone and iPad games right now

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Shooting games

The best shooting game for iPhone and iPad: Steredenn

A retro-infused shooter with attitude, Steredenn is all raucous rock guitar soundtrack and chunky graphics. As the riffs are squealing in your ear, you pit your ship against waves of aliens, randomly hurled your way. Some are massive bosses, which when you defeat them replenish your shields. Others are nippy little buggers with giant chainsaws welded to their cockpits.

Fortunately, you can respond in kind. At any point, you can hold two weapons, which vary from huge lasers and guns that spew bullet casings to a giant saw blade and a set of jaws. Not exactly Star Trek’s boring torpedoes, then – and all the better for it.

Download Steredenn (£3.99)

Darkside

This twin-stick shooter takes classic arcade title Asteroids and wraps it around gorgeous planetoids. The visuals are a treat, from the organic, spinning space rocks, to the pyrotechnics on display as your ship attempts to obliterate everything around it.

In the main arcade mode, you pit your thumbs against increasingly deranged aliens and planetoid construction (with lots of things to bang into). If you fancy something a touch more sedate, there are dozens of missions to work through. A bit more hardcore? Try survival mode – although chances are you won’t survive for long.

Download Darkside (£1.99)

Holedown

This one should never have worked. It’s a premium take on that game where you spang a bunch of balls about, gradually depleting the numbers on bricks, until they explode and let you dig even deeper. But whereas most such games are after your wallet, Holedown merely eats away at your time.

Like its IAP-happy chums, Holedown is grindy and repetitive – but in a manner that’s compelling and hypnotic rather than annoying. This is down to its mix of polished visuals, amusing sound effects, and a smartly conceived upgrade cycle. Plus you’ll feel like a pool wizard on nailing tough shots that take down really high-numbered bricks with a dozen balls bouncing around like angry wasps.

Download Holedown (£3.99)

Backfire

In this freaky game, you’re on a mission to cleanse an ancient curse. This means your tiny green ship must survive arenas surrounded by goop that knackers you should you touch it, but from which vicious horrors emerge.

As they dart towards you, growling like dogs possessed by demons, your instinct – rightly – will be to run away. This is a good tactic, given that – for some reason – your ship only shoots out of its bottom.

This unconventional set-up wrongfoots at first, but rapidly becomes compelling. And even though the first boss will tear your face off several times before you have a chance of giving it a thorough kicking, you’ll keep coming back until you beat the game – short of it leaving you a gibbering wreck in the corner.

Download Backfire (£2.99)

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