The App Store has certainly become the home of casual games, which might leave some serious gamers scratching their heads. The iPhone and iPad are touted as gaming devices, but with puzzle games dominating the charts, it can be hard to look at the top ranking apps and only see games like Angry Birds.
With enough searching you will find plenty of games made with hardcore gamers in mind. Fans of shooters, strategy, and all other genres can find quality games to play on the App Store. If you’re sick of simple games that seem to be made for the casual gamer, the ones you will find on this list will suit you just perfectly.
A couple of notes before you read on: these games are graphically intense, and will require newer iOS devices to play. Make sure to check the App Store descriptions to make sure your device is supported (and often the reviews, too). Also, the nature of these games means they are not cheap. If free-to-play is your thing, you might want to look elsewhere.
The World Ends With You ($17.99)
Square Enix, the company best known for its Final Fantasy series, has also branched out and made some other fantastic games, and The World Ends With You is a perfect example of that. Sure, it’s a little expensive for an iPhone game, but it is one of the best RPGs released in recent memory, so it’s well worth the cost.
The game follows the story of a boy named Neku who wakes up in a weird world where he and other characters are forced to play a game where losing means “erasure”. It looks beautiful, and it’s incredibly fun to play. Clearly, this game was not made with Angry Birds fans in mind, and that’s a good thing.
Horn just might be the best-looking game on iOS, and that’s no small praise with beautiful games like Real Racing available on the platform. Of course, looks aren’t everything, and the third-person action RPG plays just as well as it looks. While Horn is meant for hardcore gamers, it still has a certain accessibility that will allow anyone to jump in and have a good time with the game.
In Horn, you play as a young blacksmith who finds his village overrun with giant monsters. The plot takes an interesting twist when you find out the monsters are actually the people of your village, and it’s on you to free them from their curse. The game takes place in a large open world, so there is plenty to explore. If you like games like Diablo 3, you will love Horn.
Deus Ex: The Fall ($6.99)
This is about as close to the recent console version of Deus Ex as you will find on mobile. As you would expect from a game with this name, you can play the hybrid action RPG/shooter as a full action game or stealth. It really lets you choose your own play style without punishing you for going in a certain direction.
As you might expect, the game looks absolutely stunning. The slick graphics add a great deal to the immersion, but the awesome Deus Ex story is what really makes this a game for hardcore gamers. Best of all, this is not a port or remake of the console version, but an entirely new story set in the same universe, so even if you’re played the console game, you can still enjoy a completely fresh experience.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($14.99)
Everything you loved about the recent XCOM reboot for console is available on a smaller screen. This is probably the most graphically intense game on the list, and that means it’s also going to thrash your battery too. Be prepared to be blown away by one of the most intense strategy games you will ever play.
When the newest XCOM game made its way to consoles, many did not have the highest hopes for it, but once it arrived the naysayers were blown away. Don’t be turned off by the $15 price tag on for an iOS app, as this game is worth every single penny they are charging and more.
If you want to play some iPhone games that feel more like a traditional console experience, look no further than the ones on this list. If you want more, make sure to check out our list of iPhone games that blur the line between console and mobile games.
Which hardcore iPhone games do you enjoy? Did I miss your favorite? Hit the comments section below and let us know!