5 games that show off the Metal-infused graphics mojo of iOS

Most iPhone owners probably don't know how much RAM and processing power goes into Apple's smartphone, but there's no way the tech-savvy types don't walk out impressed from seeing it pull off the latest and greatest 3D games with just a dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and whatever PowerVR GPU Apple shopped from Imagination Technologies. 

The dark side of optimization is, indeed, strong inside iOS, and the operating system's eighth version added the final icing on the cake - the Metal API. Metal provides a low overhead access to the graphic chip, letting developers execute low-level code to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of the hardware. It also includes pre-compiled shaders that help artists enhance gaming scenes with spectacular effects. 

Unfortunately, only Apple's A7 and above-powered devices qualify for the goods, but Cupertino has to tempt you to upgrade somehow or it would end up out of business, right? Right! So, here are five awesome iOS games that show off the iPhone and iPad's gaming mojo to the best of their abilities!


Price: $3 | Download

Shadowmatic is an imaginative puzzle game in which you rotate abstract objects in a spotlight to find the silhouettes in the shadows. In other words, this is a modern take on the Chinese art of shadow puppetry. It's a delightful combination of Metal-enhanced visuals and relaxing gameplay. The game features 10 rooms, each built with an unique concept, atmosphere, and music. Shadowmatic has been critically lauded for its beautiful simplicity and being an example of interactive art.

Space Marshals

Price: $3.99 | Download

Space Marshals is a sci-fi Wild West adventure in outer space! It's a top-down shooter where you star as space marshal Burton, who's embarked on a hunt for intergalactic fugitives that escaped after a devastating prison break. The game's tactical element lets gamers use the environment to their advantage, shielding themselves from attacks by taking cover, or tricking the enemies by flanking. A liberal selection of frag grenades, flash bangs, distractions, personal shields, proximity mines, and other arsenal lets you catch foes off-guard. Or for times where going in guns blazing is against common sense, equip disguises or silenced weapons and be real ninja-like.

Radiation Island

Price: $2.99 | Download

Radiation Island is a survival adventure game where you craft your own destiny in a huge open world environment. Also, Radiation Island isn't Minecraft. Being stranded in an alternate reality, you are left to discover a new and mysterious world where you must use everything you find to survive. On your way to freedom, you will enter huge forests inhabited by dangerous wolves, bears and mountain lions. You'll investigate zombie-infested abandoned villages and old military compounds. You can also swim, but beware of the hungry crocs. Basically, everyone's out to get you, but the graphics are pretty!

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Price: free to play | Download

Mobile gamers hardly need an introduction to Modern Combat 5. The first-person shooter boasts state of the art graphics, customizable classes, a sizeable single player campaign that takes players from Tokio to Venice, actual multiplayer combat with leaderboards and rewards, ranking and experience points, and BIG GUNS.

Brothers in Arms® 3: Sons of War

Price: free to play | Download

If Modern Combat 5 is the Coca-Cola, BIA 3 is the Pepsi of mobile shooters! But unlike MC5, which is about, well, modern combat, BIA is deeply rooted in the agony of World War 2. What can we say, 20 century history does make for a blood-pumping shooter with gory kill-cams and experimental weapons pulled straight out of the Nazi war machine's vaults. In addition to legit single-player and multi-player WW2 shooting action, you'll get to experience awesome Metal-tinged graphics on newer iOS devices.



1. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

"just a dual-core CPU" Non tech savy people need to stop say that The A8 is a top notch chip Its just engineered differently with an emphasis on single core performance instead of multi core performance It has 2 billion transistors That's most the i5s and i7s in laptops Even without Metal it would still be one of the best SoCs for gaming, e.g. just look at GPU benchmarks where the A8 holds its ground without Metal

2. Leandronb

Posts: 86; Member since: Jun 03, 2014

Finally. i hate when people compare a8 chip like it is a normal snapdragon dual core cpu. is a monster in performance in 2 cores, i can imagine the next soc from apple destroying every chip ever made. and will be the same story again, only quad core apple chip beats the octa core exynos, how? magic?

4. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

but...but...the Android fanboys will be like. "mine haz 16 corezzz it should destroy your 2 corezzz device. plus with 16gb of ddr9 ramzzzz. Apple suxxx!!"

5. Awalker

Posts: 1973; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Exynos octa-core chips are technically quad-core because they only use a maximum of four cores at a time. It's probably more appropriate to call them dual quad-core chips.

16. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

i mean, there are just a lot of chips, even the true octa-core one(one of them is MTK's). Android phones are not just Samsung-made, you know.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I don't even have an iPhone any more, but it still annoys me when people say things like in this article Ironically, this article basically complete wrong in terms of the A8 requiring more optimization than quad cores In reality, quad cores actually require more optimization since devs need to get all 4 cores to work together to get the same performance And that's why I'm disappointed Vulkan isn't finished yet I was hoping it would be added into Android M Vulkan is another low level Graphics API, very similar to Metal Its based of AMD's Mantle API, but it probably shares a decent amount of code since Apple are helping develop Vulkan as well

12. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

You need to do some more research. They are intentionally making more but weaker cores instead of only 2 powerful cores for Android, and please compare their TDPs

3. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

It makes you think that the writers don't know much or they just want to start "flame wars". Anyone who knows the truth about iOS knows that it survives on 1GB Ram because it freezes all background activity besides specific stock apps and background music. The cores in the A7/A8 etc are much bigger than the cores in any SD/MTK. It is like comparing the GFlops of two different architectures, its not a true comparison.

6. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

Comparing a8 to i7 chips... smh, what's next? comparing a9 to 18 core Xeon E7-8890 v3? yes it is a good SoC indeed but comparing it to desktop cpus is not smart.

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I wasn't comparing performance Of course more transistors doesn't necessary mean more performance It was just for scale, since AFAIK Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia have never stated how many transistors their chips have Otherwise I would of used a Qualcomm, Samsung of Nvidia for scale

8. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Correction, one of the best SoC's for mobile gaming.

9. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Well there are no common desktop or laptop SoCs A SoC is a chip with the CPU, GPU and Ram all together Desktop/laptop chips are only CPUs and GPUs

11. mixedfish

Posts: 1551; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

But where are the games? The 5 listed here? LoL

14. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

where are the android vulkan games.....oh wait....*chirp chirp

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Vulkan isn't finished yet That's like saying where are the PS5 games Or Metal games on Mac (just announced) Considering Vulkan will be on Android, Windows 10, Linux, most likely Mac OS and possibly iOS, there's no doubt there will be Vulkan games than Metal games within a couple years

13. waddup121 unregistered

Love it!

17. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Mobile gaming has come a long way. Its one of the few things I will give Apple credit for.

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