Hall of fame: 50 best iPhone and Android original gaming classics

Hall of fame: 50 best iPhone and Android original gaming classics
It's been some 8 years since Steve Jobs went up on stage to introduce the Apple iPhone, the device that has shaped the modern smartphone in the form that it has today, along with the App Store ecosystem and a blooming market for games.

Plenty of time for smartphones to build their own fair share of games that have passed the test of time, original titles that made mobile gaming the multi-billion industry it is (and did you know that by some estimates, the gaming industry has recently surpassed Hollywood in sheer sales size?). Eight years is plenty of time and with so many games, we want to take a look back at the iPhone, iPad, and Android hall of fame.

This is a selection of the 50 best original game released for iPhone and Android, titles that made a lasting impact be it for one reason or another. We start this list with a trip down memory lane, reminiscing what we played year by year, in chronological order. With no further ado, here is the Android and iPhone hall of fame: the 50 best original games for the two biggest smartphone platforms.

Best iPhone and Android games of 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

2008

Tap Tap Revenge

Release date: Jul 11, 2008
Genre: Music game
(now removed from app stores)

Tap Tap Revenge was one of the first games to arrive on iOS, and it quickly grew to become a widespread obsession as people tapped away their favorite tunes on those newly discovered touchscreens. Apart from the addictive gameplay, the game had a fairly modern in-app purchase model where you'd pay to unlock songs.


Asphalt 4: Elite Racing

Release date: Aug 29, 2008
Genre: Racing
(now removed from app stores)

The Asphalt series of games has always been popular on mobile devices, but Asphalt 4 was the first one that arrived to modern smartphones on the iOS platform in the middle of 2008. Since then, the series has improved in yearly increments, with Asphalt 8: Airborne reaching huge popularity and really bringing the racing series to the next level with adrenaline-packed gameplay.


2009

Flight Control

Release date: Mar 06, 2009 | Mar 17, 2011 (Amazon Appstore)
Delay until it arrived on Android: 741 days (2 years, 11 days)
Genre: Simulation
Download for iPhone | Android

One of the first big iPhone game successes, Flight Control is a classic that charted new territory with its 'line-drawing' gameplay. Luckily, you can still download it on Android and iOS, and see what gaming used to look like nearly 6 years ago.


Doodle Jump

Release date: Mar 27, 2009 | Mar 16, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 1450 days (3 years, 11 months, 17 days)
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

The simple and addictive Doodle Jump rose to prominence in 2009, as people tapped to jump higher and higher. The subtle and accurate tilt controls were particularly novel and exciting for your journey up.

Real Racing

Release date: Jun 08, 2009 | Never on Android
Genre: Racing
Download for iPhone

The Real Racing series started with the idea of bringing realistic racing simulation to mobile devices, and the idea has evolved greatly in the past few years. The latest instalment Real Racing 3 is a masterpiece, but you have to go back to the root to see how state-of-the-art racing looked in 2009.


Words With Friends

Release date: Jul 19, 2009 | Jan 27, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 922 days (2 years, 6 months, 8 days)
Genre: Word game
Download for iPhone | Android

Words With Friends is a social and fun word game from the golden age of Zynga, the Facebook success story that turned sour in the past few years. Luckily, you can still play the game and it's still as good.

Osmos

Release date: Aug 17, 2009 | Jan 26, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 892 days (2 years, 5 months, 9 days)
Genre: Ambient Puzzler
Download for iPhone | Android

An original atmospheric game with a calming, ambient space background, Osmos quickly turned into a huge success. It took years for it to arrive to Android, but eventually it did, and the game is now happily available on both major platforms.


Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Release date: Sept 02, 2009
(now removed from app stores)
Genre: FPS

First-person shooters were a genre that had a lot to prove. First and foremost, it had to prove that it can exist no mobile devices, and Modern Combat: Sandstorm in 2009 made that first step by good work on the controls that showed shooting enemies from the first person is a lot of fun even on a smartphone.

Canabalt

Release date: Oct 01, 2009 | Mar 16, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 897 days (2 years, 5 months, 15 days)
Genre: Endless runner
Download for iPhone | Android

An original parcour, running game, Canabalt is a game where you run to escape your city that is being destroyed. This game kickstarted the endless runner genre, triggering a true avalanche of new titles.

Angry Birds

Release date: Dec 19, 2009 | Mar 24, 2011 (Android via Amazon Appstore)
Delay until it arrived on Android: 460 days (1 year, 3 months, 5 days)
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

It's hard to believe that it's been more than five years since the Angry Birds mania started, but release dates don't lie. The original Angry Birds for iPhone was a true obsession, quickly growing into a multi-billion dollar business for Finnish developer Rovio. Plush toys, movies, and lots more, Angry Birds might have lost a bit of its popularity recently, but it remains probably the single best known original title for smartphones.


2010

Plants vs Zombies

Release date: Feb 15, 2010 | Dec 22, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 675 days (1 year, 10 months, 7 days)
Genre: Tower Defense
Download for iPhone | Android

Plants vs Zombies lied the foundation of tower defense games, as people across the world planted all sorts of veggies to protect them against a zombie invasion. An addictive masterpiece, Plants vs Zombies has also become one of the signature original smartphone releases.


Talking Tom Cat

Release date: Jun 26, 2010 | Nov 03, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 465 days (1 year, 3 months, 8 days)
Genre: Game for kids
Download for iPhone | Android

Talking Tom Cat marks the arrival of the iPad and later on, the Android tablet. It was the first game that many tablet users have installed (at least it was often installed in stores to showcase the possibilities of a tablet use), and enjoyed. More suitable for kids, Talking Tom Cat has nonetheless become a hall-of-fame classic on iOS and Android.

Fruit Ninja

Release date: Apr 20, 2010 | Apr 26, 2010 (Android via Amazon Appstore)
Delay until it arrived on Android: 6 days
Genre: Action
Download for iPhone | Android

Then came Fruit Ninja, the friendly slice and dice fruit-destruction madness, that quickly ended up raking up millions of installs. Many first time smartphone and tablet users discovered the fascinating freedom of controls on a touchscreen, and this is another 2010 classic that takes the top ranks in this list of original releases.


Cut the Rope

Release date: Oct 05, 2010 | Jun 30, 2011 (Amazon Appstore)
Delay until it arrived on Android: 268 days (8 months, 25 days)
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

The year 2010 was certainly one of the most prolific when it comes to smartphone game classics. Next on our list is Cut the Rope by Zeptolabs, a game that introduced us to the likable and always hungry for candy Om Nom.


Reckless Racing

Release date: Oct 21, 2010 | Dec 13, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 418 days (1 year, 1 month, 22 days)
Genre: Racing
Download for Android

Reckless Racing was a truly original drag/dirt racing game that made full use of the tilt controls of a smartphone for a rich and, most imporantly, fun racing experience.


Samurai II: Vengeance

Release date: Oct 21, 2010 | Feb 24, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 126 days (4 months, 3 days)
Genre: Hack'n'slash
Download for iPhone | Android

Game developer Madfinger had a name worthy of smartphone success, and Samurai II: Vengeance was nothing short of success: a great-looking successor to 2009 iPhone success Samurai: Way of the Warrior it featured improved stylized manga graphics and a bloody gameplay.


Zen Bound

Release date: Nov 11, 2010
Genre: Puzzler
Download for iPhone

Zen Bound took the freedom of smartphone controls to the next level in an ambient, atmospheric puzzler that many emulated.


Infinity Blade

Release date: Dec 9, 2010
Genre: Sword-fighting
Download for iPhone

Infinity Blade came in late 2010 with one single purpose: show that the iPhone is capable of supporting games with near console grade quality. An iOS exclusive, it succeeded: a short but immersive and surprisingly good sword-fighting game, it was improved in later instalments to the series.

2011

Tiny Wings

Release date: Feb 18, 2011
Genre: Endless/Casual
Download for iPhone

Tiny Wings is a game that pretty much popularized a casual genre of bird hopping gaming that has since resulted in many new games. An extremely simple game, it requires you to go as far as possible, bouncing a short-winged bird up and away.


Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Release date: Mar 18, 2011 | Dec 20, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 643 days (1 year, 9 months, 2 days)
Genre: Adventure
Download for iPhone | Android

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style. Traverse a mythic little realm, use a sword to do battle & evoke sworcery to solve mystical musical mysteries


Temple Run

Release date: Aug 04, 2011 | Mar 27, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 236 days (7 months, 23 days)
Genre: Endless runner
Download for iPhone | Android

If you're looking for the game that truly kick-started the flood of endless running games, look no further than Temple Run. There were endless runners before it, but it is the popularity of Temple Run and its varied gameplay that win it a deserved place in the mobile gaming hall of fame.

Tiny Tower

Release date: Jun 23, 2011 | Dec 15, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 175 days (5 months, 22 days)
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

Tiny Tower was also one of the originators of a genre that has spun off in hundreds of titles following the same principle: build up and manage.


Where’s My Water

Release date: Sept 22, 2011 | Dec 20, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 89 days (2 months, 28 days)
Genre: Physics puzzler
Download for iPhone | Android

Where's My Water opened the floodgates for Disney apps with a - luckily - very good physics puzzler of a game, which happened to kickstart a whole dynasty of 'Where's My...' games.

Jetpack Joyride

Release date: Sept 01, 2011 | Sept 28, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 393 days (1 year, 27 days)
Genre: Endless side-scrolling game
Download for iPhone | Android

An original side-scroller, Jetpack Joyride was developed for iOS and featured an arcade-like simple to play and hard to master gaming model, along with neat graphics and yes, a jetpack.

Riptide GP

Release date: Oct 27, 2011 | Dec 29, 2011
Delay until it arrived on Android: 63 days (2 months, 2 days)
Genre: Racing
Download for iPhone | Android

Riptide GP can count many achievements on its part, but the one we value it most for is that it showed just how beautiful games can look on a smartphone and a tablet.


Kingdom Rush

Release date: Dec 21, 2011 | May 15, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 511 days (1 year, 4 months, 24 days)
Genre: Tower Defense
Download for iPhone | Android

One of the most popular tower defense classics, Kingdom Rush tells the story of Lord Blackburn, who has risen and threatens to enshroud the realms in perpetual darkness.


2012

Paper Monsters

Release date: Jan 09, 2012 | Nov 16, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 312 days (10 months, 7 days)
Genre: Side-scrolling game
Download for iPhone | Android

Paper Monsters is a classic 2d sidescrolling gameplay with gorgeous 3d environments, combining the best of the old and new world.


Draw Something

Release date: Feb 01, 2012 | Feb 04, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 3 days
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

An addictive word game, Draw Something became a massive craze in the middle of 2012, amassing nearly 2 million users, and giving a healthy boost to Zynga stock. A fun and educational game with a social element, it enriched the mobile gaming landscape and gets a deserved mention here.


Waking Mars

Release date: Mar 01, 2012 | Nov 14, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 258 days (8 months, 13 days)
Genre: Action-Adventure
Download for iPhone | Android

Waking Mars takes place on the Red Planet where you explore the ins and outs of it, encountering monstrous creatures and equipped with a jet pack for the most time. It support the new iPad’s retina display and has awesome, somewhat retro looking graphics. The engaging atmosphere and ambient soundtrack definitely contribute to the experience.


N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

Release date: May 10, 2012 | May 31, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 102 days (3 months, 10 days)
Genre: FPS
Download for iPhone | Android

Gameloft redefined the borders of graphics achievement in a mobile game with NOVA 3, a first-person shooter game that you will enjoy playing even today.


Subway Surfers

Release date: May 24, 2012 | Sept 20, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 119 days (3 months, 27 days)
Genre: Endless runner
Download for iPhone | Android

An emblematic endless runner game, in Subway Surfers you take the role of a young hooligans has to run away from the authorities after being caught drawing graffiti in the subway.


Dead Trigger

Release date: Jun 28, 2012 | Jul 03, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 5 days
Genre: FPS
Download for iPhone | Android

Here is the deal about Dead Trigger: a mysterious infection spreads across the world, and now hoards of zombies roam the streets. It is up to you to lay waste to each and every one of them. Nothing too compelling of a story line, we know, but who needs all that distraction when gamers can enjoy Dead Trigger's console-quality graphics and advanced physics?


Clash of Clans

Release date: Aug 02, 2012 | Sept 30, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 424 days (1 year, 1 month, 28 days)
Genre: Strategy/TD
Download for iPhone | Android

From rage-­filled Barbarians with glorious mustaches to pyromaniac wizards, in Clash of Clans you have to raise your own army and lead your clan to victory. You also get to build your village to fend off raiders, battle against millions of players worldwide, and forge a powerful clan with others to destroy enemy clans.


10000000

Release date: August 29, 2012 | Mar 14, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 197 days (6 months, 14 days)
Genre: RPG
Download for iPhone | Android

10000000 is a Dungeon Crawling RPG Matching Game. Run the dungeon and match to handle the things you encounter.


Rayman Jungle Run

Release date: Sept 18, 2012 | Sept 27, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 9 days
Genre: Platformer
Download for iPhone | Android

Rayman Jungle Run is one of the prettiest platformer games, and yes, it's not exactly original, but it has gotten completely overhauled for mobile with tailor-made controls, and gets an exceptional place in this listing.


The Room

Release date: Sept 19, 2012 | Apr 05, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 198 days (6 months, 17 days)
Genre: Puzzler
Download for iPhone | Android

The Room is a physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world.

God of Blades

Release date: Sept 27, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 252 days (8 months, 7 days)
Genre: Side-scrolling brawler
Download for iPhone | Android

In God of Blades, you take over the role of a spectral warrior who has returned to defend his planet against a rampaging doom-cult and the devouring touch of the cosmic horrors they serve. Wrenching this world from the grasp of oblivion, the Nameless King wields phantom blades forged from the legends and heritage of a dying world.


Candy Crush Saga

Release date: Nov 14, 2012 | Nov 16, 2012
Delay until it arrived on Android: 2 days
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

If Angry Birds was the signature game of the early smartphone gaming era, Candy Crush Saga in the past few years remains the single most popular game with its popularity not even close to fading.

2013

Ridiculous Fishing

Release date: Mar 14, 2013 | Nov 21, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 252 days (8 months, 7 days)
Genre: Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

Ridiculous Fishing is a handcrafted game about fishing with guns, chainsaws & toasters. Not bad, huh?


Badland

Release date: Mar 25, 2013 | Nov 29, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 249 days (8 months, 4 days)
Genre: Side-scrolling action-adventure
Download for iPhone | Android

Side-scrolling action-adventure Badland features stunning graphics and an intense gameplay where you have to avoid blades and move fast to survive.


Sorcery!

Release date: May 02, 2013 | Mar 11, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 313 days (10 months, 9 days)
Genre: Adventure
Download for iPhone | Android

Sorcery! is an original adventure through a land of monsters, traps, and magic. The game uses inklewriter technology to tell your journey in real-time, shaping the story around your choices. The text itself changes based on how you play and what you do, and in combat, the action is description on the fly based on how you play.


Flappy Bird

Release date: May 24, 2013 | Jan 22, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 243 days (7 months, 29 days)
(now removed from app stores)
Genre: Helicopter game

Flappy Bird is a simple helicopter game that blew the world up in days, and faded away just as quickly as Dong Nguyen, the developer behind the game, pulled it, upset with the unwanted attention he got after the release of the game. Flappy Bird players would still remember it for its incredible, rage-inducing difficulty.


Despicable Me

Release date: Jun 13, 2013 | Jun 14, 2013
Delay until it arrived on Android: 1 day
Genre: Endless runner
Download for iPhone | Android

Endless runner Despicable Me was an original Android and iOS release arriving on the heels of the hugely successful movie, and it was a surprisingly good game that introduced boss fights and many other neat additions to the endless runner genre.

Mikey Hooks

Release date: Jul 26, 2013 | Apr 09, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 257 days (8 months, 14 days)
Genre: Side-scrolling platformer
Download for iPhone | Android

The likable side-scrolling platformer Mikey Hooks has your running, jumping, sliding and using the hook, all to collect coins in a very addictive game.


DEVICE 6

Release date: Oct 17, 2013
Genre: Interactive novel
Download for iPhone

DEVICE 6 pushes the boundaries of the visual novel interactive game genre as it tells the story of surreal thriller. DEVICE 6 plays with the conventions of games and literature, entwines story with geography and blends puzzle and novella, to draw players into an intriguing mystery of technology and neuroscience.


Vainglory

Release date: Dec 19, 2013
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Download for iPhone

In Vainglory, a MOBA game, you have to outplay real opponents: fight with lightning-fast controls using powerful heroes, and destroy the enemy.


2014

Threes!

Release date: Feb 06, 2014 | Mar 11, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 33 days (1 month, 5 days)
Genre: Casual/Logical
Download for iPhone | Android

A clever and simple puzzle game, Threes! is correctly described as a game that takes less than a minute to understand, yet it somehow manages to have you playing for hours on end.


2048

Release date: Mar 19, 2014 | Apr 22, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 34 days (1 month, 3 days)
Genre: Casual/Logical
Download for iPhone | Android

Right after Threes!, 2048 was all the rage in early last year. The goal of this puzzler is to add up twos to get to 2048, but better players have achieved even larger scores.


Monument Valley

Release date: Apr 03, 2014 | May 14, 2014
Delay until it arrived on Android: 41 days (1 month, 11 days)
Genre: Physics puzzler/Adventure
Download for iPhone | Android

Monument Valley is universally praised for its graphical style and Escher-esque mind-bending puzzles, but at the end of the day it is a captivating story and engaging gameplay that make it work.


Crossy Road

Release date: Nov 20, 2014 | Jan 07, 2015
Delay until it arrived on Android: 48 days (1 month, 18 days)
Genre: Arcade/Casual
Download for iPhone | Android

Crossy Road is the latest game to enter our hall of fame and chart the way ahead for 2015. What amazing games will arrive this year? We're yet to see, but the sky is the limit.

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5 Comments

1. frustyak

Posts: 249; Member since: Mar 08, 2010

I'm seeing a lot of games that either take a *long* time to get to Android, or never make to Android at all.

2. Troysyx

Posts: 181; Member since: Jul 30, 2012

Am i the only one that was severely disappointed with monument valley? It took 45 minutes to beat it, and it costs almost $5!!!!

4. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

i felt the same.

3. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

Hill climb racing?

5. g2a5b0e unregistered

Not sure where you guys are getting some of your info from, but Words with Friends did not debut on Android in January of 2012. I got my first smartphone in January of 2011, a T-Mobile G2 & it was available. I doubt it had just come out that month too, so you guys are over a year off.

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