We all have that one particular game that we can’t let go of for some reason. I have a few and frequently circle back to them on my iPhone because I like the nostalgia. Retro games have a devout community that keeps the charm alive and I’ve tried to find all the games that I used to play. Let’s check out the best retro games for iPhone.
Retro Games for iPhone
While making the list of retro games, I also found some modern recreations of the old games that still hold true to the original game’s legacy. Additionally, there are a few games that are still going strong for a better part of the decade. Cool, eh?
1. Brick Game
The Brick game console was a ton of fun where you could play up to 19 different games on a tiny screen. While I don’t have the console anymore, this emulator does a bang on job of recreating the console on your iPhone. The app simulates the Brick LCD fairly accurately and does a fantastic job of running the games smoothly.
It has a similar layout with a D-Pad and an action button for controls. There are 19 different games such as Tetris, car race, snake, etc. to choose from. The app is free on the App Store and has ads.
Get Brick Game (free, ads)
2. Snake Xenzia
Back when Nokia feature phones were all the rage, Snake Xenzia was that one game that everyone played. As it was one of the only games available on the black and white screen, it made up with its unique gameplay. Unlike other Snake games, Xenzia has a weird continuity where your snake can pass through the border and continue from the opposite side. This makes the game more fun and challenging.
The app recreates the same game and even the keypad and screen of the Nokia 1100 to give you the full effect. The app is free on the App Store and has ads that you can remove for $5.
Get Snake Xenzia (free, ads)
Tetris is one of the few games that has survived the test of time and with its distinct music, you can still go back to your arcade days in an instant. This retro iPhone game is a licensed version of the original. Tetris puts a modern spin on the graphics and makes it more touch-friendly. Apart from that, the game is still true to its roots and you can play it for free.
Get Tetris (free)
4. Trap Adventure
Okay, so Trap Adventure is not an old game by any means but it fits nicely in the 8-bit design scheme. However, don’t let the retro graphics fool you. Trap Adventure runs on unadulterated spite. You start off with a simple base level and as you try to cross obstacles, the game surprises you with elements so bizarre that you’d pull your hair out. It’s incredibly fun and frustrating. You should definitely check it out. The game is free on the App Store and is supported by ads.
Get Trap Adventure (free, ads)
5. Paper Bin AR
Paper Toss was one of the most popular games in the early days of the iPhone but sadly, the game has since been discontinued. However, a lot of replicas have taken its place and Paper Bin AR is my favorite. The game uses AR to put a trash bin in your room and you can throw stuff in it. There are three modes that allow you to adjust the distance of the bin from where you sit and after that, it’s game on.
Get Paper Bin AR (free)
6. SEGA Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage was an arcade hit in the 90s with its side-scrolling gameplay, intense action moves, and a beat ’em up attitude. Sega is one of the few companies that’s keeping its retro catalog alive. The app simulates a virtual D-Pad and control buttons on the screen and you can choose between three different players to have a brawl on the streets.
The also supports local Wi-Fi multiplayer which means you can play with your buddies, just like the good old days. Streets of Rage is free to play and is ad-supported.
Get Streets of Rage (free)
7. Prince of Persia: Escape
The age-od classic gets a makeover with this new app but stays true to the original gameplay. The control buttons are really simple. You get a direction slider and a jump button. However, don’t mistake simplicity for ease. Prince of Persia is really challenging and requires precise jumps to make it over the spikes.
Prince of Persia is free to download on App Store and has ads that you can remove for $2.99.
Get Prince of Persia: Escape (free, ads)
Pong is considered one of the first games ever created and it has had countless recreations till now. Pong comes with three modes: easy, medium, and hard. It also has a versus mode where you can play with a friend using an Apple Watch. Meaning, one player would play on the iPhone and the other would play on the Apple Watch using the Crown.
Get Pong (free, in-app purchases)
We can’t move ahead without talking about Pac-Man and its legacy. The signature waka-waka sounds still have the same effect on those of us who played it as a kid. Pac-Man for iPhone is an official remake for touch screen smartphones that takes a more casual approach. Instead of a joystick, you control by swiping on the screen to change directions.
Get Pac-Man (free)
10. Bounce Original
Bounce was one of the games developed by Nokia for its Symbian-powered phones and boy was it addictive. It’s a side-scrolling retro game for iPhone users where your goal is to roll through a maze and jump up and down to avoid prickly obstacles. One of the charms of Bounce was that it doesn’t behave like an actual ball which needs some time to figure out.
The game on the iPhone simulates direction pads and a jump button to let you navigate the levels. Bounce is free on the App Store.
Get Bounce Original (free)
11. Sonic the Hedgehog Classic
Sonic the Hedgehog is a cornerstone in retro iPhone gaming and Sega has recreated the entire game for Apple’s platform. You play as Sonic the blue hedgehog who just likes two things: rings and a desire to run faster. You play through the same mazes avoiding obstacles, demolishing crabs, and collecting rings. It even has a controller support that would allow you to connect an Xbox or PS controller which is thoughtful and cool.
The game is free and ad-supported but you can remove the ads for $1.
Get Sonic the Hedgehog (free, ads)
12. Blocky Kong
Based on the infamous Donkey Kong, Blocky Kong sets the premise in a construction building. Your objective is to climb up the beams and defeat the mean old ape and stop him from eating your lunch. You tap to run in a direction and tap again to run back in the other. The avatar climbs up automatically and you only need to watch out for the barrels dropping from the top.
Get Blocky Kong (free)
Galaga comes in the form of Annihilation with this unofficial remake of the classic retro game. Annihilation has a similar objective. You need to fight off alien spaceships with various weapons and destroy the core before the enemy takes over. The control pad is simple yet intuitive blending seamlessly on the screen.
Get Annihilation (free)
14. Really Bad Chess
Chess is a popular board game and has been around for centuries, so it’s a little older than the retro status. Really Bad Chess spins the entire board game on its head. It randomly places chess pieces on the board and your objective is to try and win with the pieces you’re dealt with. You may get three queens but no knights and you would still have to follow the standard rules of Chess. It’s bad but fun.
Get Really Bad Chess (free)
15. Brick Breaker
Brick Breaker is a classic arcade game where your aim is to break the wall of bricks floating above you. You control the paddle and bounce the ball and ultimately eradicating all the balls. The retro game for iPhone sees occasional power-ups and penalties depending on whether you drop the ball.
Get Brick Breaker (free)
16. Old Space Pinball
Remember the Windows XP’s Space Pinball? I do and I spent hours playing the heck out of it. While the days of Windows XP are behind me, Pinball is still available on the iPhone. Old Space Pinball recreates the entire pinball setup, filled with all the same traps, bonuses, and hidden combos. You control the end paddles by tapping the left and right sides of the screen.
Get Old Space Pinball (free)
17. Super Tank 1990
Super Tank is a recreation of the 90’s hit Battle City where you played in an arena as a tank. Your objective is to destroy enemy tanks and save your post from the attack. Super Tanks 1990 adds new modes along with the original levels. The infinity mode, Super mode, and challenge mode add excitement, and paired with improved enemy AI, you would be glued to the screen for hours.
Get Super Tank 1990 (free)
18. Game Play Color- GBA Emulator
Game Play Color is a GBA emulator that allows you to play retro Gameboy games on your iPhone. It recreates the entire handheld console on your iPhone and the best part is that you don’t need to jailbreak either. The only requirement is that you need to own the licensed copies of the ROM to be able to play the games.
Get Game Play Color (free)
Doom was the pinnacle of the first-person shooter 25 years ago and it still holds to this day because of the rabid fans of the game. The objective is simple. You have a gun and whenever you see monsters, slay them. It’s a fast-paced action-packed retro game for your iPhone that you would thoroughly enjoy.
Get Doom ($4.99)
20. Circus Classic
Circus Classic is a magnificent port of the original title where you play in the circus and you have to jump through hoops of fire while riding a lion. The other levels include balancing over a rope, jumping over balls, trapeze, and riding a horse. It’s just as much exciting as you think it is. Plus, the graphics look on point and old-school.
Get Circus Classic (free)
2048 is probably older than you think and deserves a place on this list as it perfectly fits the retro iPhone gaming theme. The game is incredibly addictive. You play on a 4×4 tile board and merge tiles with the same value to create a new tile with double the value of the smaller tiles. You do this until you reach the tile 2048 and then you win.
Get 2048 (free)
22. Swing Copters
Remember the dreaded Flappy Bird? Swing Copters is just as menacing but the original gangsta. The only difference here is that you go up instead of moving forward. Controlling the copter is easy to understand but tricky to master. The copter would fly in one direction and you tap to change directions. That’s it, you just need to master the taps to control the copter and move it through the mazes.
Get Swing Copters (free)
Circle is based on that trade fair game where you used a hoop and pass it through a wire without touching it. Here the hoop is controlled by taps and you have to be precise so that it never touches the wire or else, you lose.
Get Circle (Free)
24. Mazes & More
Mazes & More is a classic retro puzzle game for iPhone users where your goal is to reach the finish point of a labyrinth. The retro game for iPhones is touch-friendly and you just need to swipe in the direction you wish to move and trace the path in the maze. There are six different modes and the mazes are all created manually.
Get Mazes & More (free, ads)
25. Journey of Amazing Frogger
While Frogger exists on the App Store officially, the original version is still missing. If you’re a fan of the original title then this unofficial port would have to do. Your objective is to cross the street, pond, and rivers without getting run over or drowned.
Get Journey of Amazing Frogger (free)
26. Island Adventure
Adventure Island was really popular as it resembled Super Mario bros in both gameplay and design. However, it has an equally addictive quality and you’d get sucked right in. The iPhone version is an unofficial port but works just as flawlessly as on any standalone console. Island Adventure is free on the App Store.
Get Island Adventure (free)
27. Retro Soccer
Retro Soccer game for iPhone is an arcade soccer game with a trimmed down gameplay compared to a full-featured football game. To fit in the retro theme, the game takes a pixelated design approach and simplifies the controls. You just tap wherever you want the player to go and hold to pass the ball. As you reach the goal, swipe towards the net to score and level up. Retro Soccer is the ultimate time killer.
Get Retro Soccer (free)
Lastly, Solitaire is a card game that you can play alone for hours and was one of the favorite Windows XP games. The iPhone version is designed to be played on the touch screen and the controls feel natural. The game works really well and if you’ve ever played it on a PC, you’d enjoy it here. Solitaire is free on the App Store.
Get Solitaire (free)
Which Retro Games for iPhone are Your Favorite
These were a few of the best retro games for iPhone that I thoroughly enjoyed ever since I learned to grab a joystick. What are your favorites? Let me know on Twitter.