When you think of gaming you might not initially think of mobile phones and tablets; consoles and gaming PCs probably first come to mind. But, according to USA Today, the iPhone is the most popular gaming device, even besting Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles.
Of course, this probably isn’t all that surprising given the plethora of apps on the App Store, especially when many of them are casual free games that are both quick to download and play. But not all games are created equal. While games like Disney’s Emoji Blitz and Pokémon GO are fun to play without taking up a lot of time, storage space, or processing power, they’re not the only type of games in Apple’s catalog.
What about the hardcore gamers or even the gamers that just want a bit more? Are there games that fit the bill for gamers that want more than arcade-style and quick-fix games? Of course there are!
What Is a “Console-Like” Game?
Before we dive in, you might be wondering what exactly a console-like game is. Modern game consoles have come along way, and at the end of the day, there aren’t many current games that can compare to the graphics found on modern-day consoles. But, there are some games that push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from mobile games.
We’ll be looking at games with fantastic 3D gameplay, beautiful mobile graphics, large open worlds, and games that are also available on PC and other gaming systems. We‘ll take a look at games from major developers and games that are setting the stage for even better experiences in future iterations of Apple’s mobile platforms and devices.
Whether you’re looking for an actual console game that’s come to iOS or unique exclusive content, there is likely something for you. Continue reading to browse five amazing console-like games for the iPhone and iPad.
Call of Duty Mobile
While this game isn’t found on actual gaming consoles, it’s reminiscent of many of the first-person shooter games we’ve all enjoyed on PlayStation and Xbox. But it’s not just a knock off, Call of Duty Mobile brings a new experience that feels great on mobile and allows you to have fun no matter where you are.
Call of Duty features immersive gameplay and 3D graphics that push the limits of the iPhone. Want more? Go into the settings and change up the graphics and controls to your liking. Apple recently took the epic (pardon the pun) move of removing Fortnite from the App Store for blatantly disregarding its rules. Luckily alternatives such as PUBG and Call of Duty (CoD) mobile exist.
That’s right, CoD features many multiplayer modes, including a battle royale mode with a huge map, tons of weapons, multiple vehicles, and great gameplay. There’s no building like in Fortnite (I personally prefer this) and, unfortunately, you don’t get the destructive properties of the popular battle royale game either. But the overall gameplay is similar to games in this class and even features a battle pass to unlock new items as you progress through the game and achieve new experience levels.
If you’re looking for a FPS or battle royale-style game, Call of Duty is an excellent choice that’s fun to play online, especially with friends. It can be downloaded for free and new items and battle passes can be purchased using in-game currency and in-app purchases.
Real Racing 3
I’m a huge Need for Speed (NFS) fan and, quite frankly, a bit disappointed that they haven’t brought an open-world racing game to the iOS/iPadOS platforms. That being said, Electronic Arts—through their purchase of Firemonkey—was still able to bring an excellent track racing game to the iPhone and iPad.
Real Racing 3 (RR3) features stunning graphic representations of real-world cars and offers a lot of flexibility in how you enjoy the game. You can use heavy assists to help you steer around tight corners, or turn the assists off for a more realistic driving experience. RR3 lets you race around real-world tracks, buy from almost all of your favorite manufacturers, and compete in worldwide events.
While the game is free and fun to play, it’s also full of gacha monetization that’s ridiculously—in my opinion—overpriced. In fact, some cars may end up costing you upwards of $50 (real-world currency). There are plenty of ways to progress through the game without spending money, but this game definitely makes it harder than some and can get quite expensive. Here’s hoping the studio brings out a new NFS game with open-world gameplay in the future. I’d pay for that.
Apple recently released Apple Arcade for just $4.99 per month. It’s also included with an Apple One subscription. Whether or not the gaming service is worth it is really a matter of opinion. For me, it’s worth it (and it’s now included in my Apple One subscription); there are a ton of fun games for my family and there are no additional costs such as in-app purchases. So, if you haven’t tried Apple Arcade, give it a try. Apple offers three months for free, so it’s at least worth trying even if you decide it’s not for you.
An amazing iOS game was Oceanhorn, and now with Apple Arcade, subscribers can play Oceanhorn 2—and it’s a total upgrade and reimagining of the classic, mobile RPG. It features an open world, multiple supporting characters, unique gameplay mechanics, and a fun storyline.
Players who are fans of Legend of Zelda will really appreciate the inspiration that is found throughout the game’s design. Because it’s an Apple Arcade game, there are no in-app purchases and the game can be played by up to five additional family members. Although, you could have many more saves since each user has three save slots. The game is synced with Game Center and can be played on macOS and Apple TV in addition to your mobile devices.
Speaking of Legend of Zelda, fans of the franchise’s Breath of the Wild will definitely draw comparisons in this open-world RPG. Genshin Impact is a Chinese game (the US version uses the Japanese game) that is free to play and uses gacha purchases to generate revenue. The game is available on multiple platforms, including PlayStation, PC, macOS, Xbox, and Android; it’s also rumored to be coming to the Nintendo Switch.
The game looks fantastic on all devices and offers cross platform gameplay. The game can also be synced between some devices. Not all devices support sync, so maybe look into what platform you plan on using the most before you start.
Genshin Impact features incredible anime-style graphics and professional voice overs. It looks fantastic on mobile and can be configured to look and play even better. Be sure to check out the settings and see which graphics settings work best on your device. The game features 30 fps and 60 fps gameplay, but keep in mind that the higher frame rate can be pretty taxing on your mobile device. The settings menu shows you how much processing power your device will utilize. I have the game running on the highest graphics settings on my iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro (11-inch) and they both seem to be able to handle it fine; in fact, the iPad Pro does it without breaking a sweat. The iPhone does get a little hot at max graphics, but I haven’t had any lag issues and my battery sustains about 3–4 hours of playtime in addition to the time I spend using my phone throughout the day.
Genshin Impact’s world of Teyvat features a huge open-world map; and, as far as I can tell, it’s not even near complete yet. The game lets you choose between a male or female protagonist and features seven elemental powers that the user can take advantage of. You can have up to four characters in your party that you can switch between (five in certain situations) and each has its own elemental type.
The game is incredible, and despite the art style—and some game mechanics—found in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it quickly becomes apparent that this is its own game with its own story and gameplay.
XCOM 2 Collection
The popular 2016 game XCOM 2, is now on iPhone and iPad. If turn-based tactical gameplay is your thing, XCOM has you covered.
In XCOM, you command a military unit dedicated to fighting and researching alien threats. It’s kind of like Space Force (only not stupid). The game is available on other platforms, including Xbox and PlayStation, but turn-based tactics seem to feel even better when using a touchscreen. In some ways, it really makes you feel like a real-life commander on iPad, using your tablet to call the shots.
The game features a pretty good story/plot, but the gameplay is where everything really shines. It can be a very challenging game at times, adding to the console-like experience. Keep in mind, this game isn’t cheap. Unless it goes on sale, you’re looking at spending $24.99. Of course, while this may seem expensive for something from the App Store, keep in mind this is a full, console-like game and you get your money’s worth if this is a game you want to be able to play on the go.
The App Store and Apple Arcade have no shortage of amazing games, both casual and challenging. These are just five to get you started, but there is so much more out there. What are some of your favorites? What did you think of this list? Let us know in the comments and on social media. Thanks for reading!