iOS Hidden Gems

Nov 23, 2007

Kid Tripp

You actually don't control the left/right movement, the kid auto walks in a sidescrolling adventure similar to the Rayman Jungle Run's kind of the auto runners. It's not the usual runner tho (thank god), think Bit Trip Runner. It reminds me of Wonder Boy 1 (SEGA's arcade version), you control the jumps, sprint and throwing rocks and you have a limited numbers of lives and coins to collect like the classic platformers. Runs at 60fps, looks super cute, leaderboards based... And I had difficulty in passing World 1-5... be prepared cause the game is FREAKISHLY HARD! I enjoy challenging games but this is something else, holy fuck!
The game makes it really easy to go back to levels to collect all the medals, it really flows as far as a stop&go mode and makes it much more enjoyable to just try to survive the levels in the main mode and after that try to collect everything in the specific LEVELS section.
No IAPS whatsoever, 99c, Universal and a whole 7 MEGABYTES of space needed on your iDevice!

Yeah, this game is awesome. And the difficulty is NO JOKE! It's not frustrating at all so far but I'm not really far into it yet.
Space Bits (0.99)

"Space Bits is a shoot'em up RPG hybrid jam-packed with randomly generated loot!"

Game's getting really good user impressions on TA and the dev is working on new content updates. This is from the TA review:
At first, your craft will feel fairly slow, weak, and helpless, with the pitiful ability to fire errant, sluggish shots. Like any RPG, this feeling is natural, and will pass in time as you pick up more powerful armor and weapons, and upgrade your power, defense, and dodge stats. Naturally, the difficulty will crescendo in turn, and introduce you to nastier enemies to deal with.

You can choose to min-max your ship, going for a pure glass-cannon build, a cautious turtle build, a risk-reward dodge setup, or anything in-between. For the most part, the statistical enhancements are noticeable, and it was fun to choose how I wanted my ship to evolve.
Line Bound (0.99)


From the dev site:
"In this crazy arcade game you will guide a line that moves inside another line. Avoid obstacles and choose the right moment and correct direction for each turning. Movement speed increases each level, so as the difficulty of levels. Be prepared for a stress test of your reaction and nerves =)

The game is super minimalistic. No noisy music, just soft sounds. Nothing should distract player from his 145 attempt on yet another level. Controls are very simple: tap on left screen half to rotate left, on right half to rotate right."



Jun 1, 2012

It's free, with a 0.99 IAP to unlock the full game, and pretty fun. It's a mix of auto runner and dual stick with ninjas. You run automatically, move with left stick and attack/throw ninja stars with the right. Bosses, levels, endless mode. It's really fun and unfotunately the devs are getting really crappy sales.

Give it a try

Since IB3 came out, I'd like to recommend a game that might get overlooked: Orborun
iTunes Link
$1.99 and no IAP
Orborun is a 3D run & roll game where your nerves will be put to the test.

Tilt your device to make your Orbot run and roll on long & curvy slides, use the power-ups to go faster, tap on the slowdown bar to be more precise.

Complete optional challenges and arrive faster to get higher scores and compare them with your friends.

Tunnels, vortex and 90 degrees turns awaits for you. Will you reach the spatio-temporal gate before curling you up into a ball ?

- Fast-paced and fun
- Rediscover the rolling ball game genre
- 90+ various and rich levels in 3 robotic environments
- Accelerometer and touch controls
- 9 cute Orbots skins to unlock

Some impressions from Toucharcade forums:
This is a great game. Now that I've played more, I am very happy that I got this. Best way I'd described it is Impossible Road mixed with a puzzle platformer. I'm still only on the first set of levels and variety and difficulty is fantastic. Anyone who's on the fence, Orborun is definitely worth your $1.99
The further I get into this game the more I like it. It has some amazing rollercoaster sections, jumps, path, portals, puzzle elements, obstacles,... its truly amazing so far... and that got me thinking: it needs an endless mode, it would be a perfect complement. Get it and fall back in love with the genre again.
It's also pretty tough at times. Some levels have me dying enough as if it's the Super Meat Boy of ball rollers.
Hey, found an awesome hidden gem on IOS. Like literally no reviews anywhere, not even a thread in the Toucharcade forums (not till 5 minutes ago).

Bridge to the Moon
Run, jump and shoot orbs out of a matter gun while dodging the likes of hostile pterodactyl farmers and government robots in this action puzzler. Your bridge to the moon has been overtaken by enemies, and time is running out!

- Pixel animations, characters and backgrounds, hand drawn with love.
- A variety of enemies to avoid, from bi-pedal missile toting robots to explosive pterodactyl eggs
- Puzzles and levels that don't hold your hand. Explore solutions for maps and dangers on how to proceed.
- Use your enemies. Squatters on your bridge have set up a plethora of traps, but you can guide missiles and robots to areas to break walls and open new parts of the map.
- No in-app purchases.

It's from the devs behind the upcoming Isle of Bxnes, a prehistoric action RPG with randomized maps, permadeath, and a legacy system.
Found a pretty cool under-the-radar release. It's not the kind of game that'll make waves on the app charts but it's fun and probably wouldn't get much attention otherwise. So:

Spout - $0.99
What is this game anyway? To remain simple this a retro procedurally generated arcade game. The minimalist style is kind of intended as this game is inspired by a game I used to play on gp32/gp2x (who remembers those handhelds? ). Basically the goal is to go as high as possible without touching any ground. The twist is the environment is destroyable with the particles that come out of the ship so you can make your own way through the level.

Every ‘level’ is passed when you pass the black line, then the difficulty (ie. the density of the grey blocks) increases. Controls are easy as well: rotate left, rotate right, throttle. Sorry it's virtual buttons which is not ideal but still quite playable.

My thoughts:
Picked this up. Reminds me of like an endless Lunar Lander in that you have to control your thrust to successfully maneuver around and through increasingly tight spaces. Plus the environmental destruction is cool. It's not the deepest game but it controls well and the particle effects are pretty entertaining. IMO it's a game I could see myself coming back to often when I have time to kill. The destructible environments do add some strategy in choosing the optimal path to maneuver and you definitely have to control your momentum and thrust once the environments get more densely populated
Apr 26, 2013
There are some good suggestions in this thread, too bad I don't play on my phone anymore.
I'm on mobile so no links or pics from me. I'll just throw this in here.



Dec 8, 2008
I've been iOS gaming only for 4 months so maybe this was a smash hit someday but I don't know that. ;-)

World Conqueror 2

It's like the boardgame Risk with the battles of Advance Wars, in WW2.

You can buy new units, factories, airports etc as well.

The base game is free iirc and you can pay for new scenarios, which I haven't done yet. (and I still had hours of fun with the standard scenarios)
Just found this while browsing r/playmygame on Reddit. It's really fun and challenging. It has the twitchy reflex testing gameplay that so many people here love with a color matching twist and a nice minimalist design. It's free so definitely give this a try

I am Box
Action game that provides healthy dose of frustration and amusement for you, and your children. Can you reach its end?

The Honeycomb
+ 5 episodes with different mechanics
+ 60 challenging levels
+ Create and share your own levels!
+ Lots of secrets and bonus levels
+ Customizable controls
+ Original art and music, both amazing

Okay guys, I decided to pick this up. The controls are tight and responsive, the art style is nice, and I've only played a few levels but can already see the potential for some challenging levels once the tutorial/beginner levels are done. Definitely worth $0.99, a lot of levels, plus a level editor and community levels to play. I'm having a lot of fun
Here are more detailed impressions of The Honeycomb
I think the number of IOS games I've discussed here has proven that beneath the well-known and best selling games on the App Store lies an expansive treasure trove of hidden gems and overlooked games. The Honeycomb is yet another fun experience that deserves your time and attention.

You play a brave fluff, trying to save his friends from the bees who have taken them. Your quest will take you through 60 levels of puzzle platforming, from the meadows to the forests and swamps and beyond. The emphasis is on puzzles; while you will be timing jumps and maneuvering through levels, you'll need to think to reach the end. Across each level, you'll find a number of different power-ups, ranging from different boosts to one that lets you break through certain barriers. You can carry three power-ups at a time and it's up to you to figure out the best ways to use them and in what order. The solution may not always be obvious; in the first world alone, there were moments when I was stumped. You may have to backtrack or use your abilities in unusual orders and it's this puzzle element that makes The Honeycomb such a rewarding experience.

The touch controls are tight and responsive, never obtrusive, and the art style has a cute drawn aesthetic that makes every world a joy to explore. Besides the 60 level campaign (not counting the hard-to-reach relics and the secret areas), the game also features an editor that allows you to create and share your own levels. You can purchase The Honeycomb for $0.99
Created and released this game earlier this year, and it did okay. But mostly went under the radar. Today, I made the game free temporarily, so check it out if you like.

It's like a visual novel / rpg hybrid with turn-based battles in a hacker world.

iTunes Link:
Oh hey, cool. I've been playing this for a few weeks. I'm having a good time with it. A lot of visual novels with minigames injected into them end up feeling tedious, but this one seems to be avoiding that feeling pretty well. Keep up the good work!
Dec 12, 2008
This is a helpful thread. I've grown so bored of ios gaming and all the free to play nonsense.

Trainyard is still my favorite ios game of all time and nothing has really hooked me like that since. Would post a link but I'm typing this on the phone. Check it out. Brilliant puzzle game.
This is a helpful thread. I've grown so bored of ios gaming and all the free to play nonsense.

Trainyard is still my favorite ios game of all time and nothing has really hooked me like that since. Would post a link but I'm typing this on the phone. Check it out. Brilliant puzzle game.
I seem to be the main one keeping this thread alive, lol

Yeah Trainyard is great. Have you tried Strata? That's a great puzzle game that I feel rewards thinking ahead and is also a cool minimalist experience
Aug 19, 2012
Yeah not sure how "hidden" it is either but my nomination goes to:

Dark Meadow

I can best describe it as an adventure/horror game with action-y swipe battles akin to Infinity Blade.

It's easily the best and most memorable mobile game I've ever played. The graphics are impressive, the sound is really well done and the atmosphere/story are second to none.

The fighting/battle system is very similar to Infinity Blade, but that really doesn't detract at all from the experience. Wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone out there looking for an immersive experience.

Aug 19, 2012
I had tried the lite version, but I don't remember the graphics being this good. Definitely plan to check it out again
Well, the game is 2 years old at this point, so it was quite impressive at the time, but I think it's still got very solid visuals even by today's standards.

Really don't know what the "lite" version holds back from the full one, but I can say it was easily worth the asking price.
Beat Leap
iTunes | Trailer
I found it last week some time and it's really good. Here are my impressions if anyone's interested:
Combine simple one-tap controls, minimalist visuals, music-based gameplay, and some stealth and puzzle elements and you'd get Beat Leap

Across 100 levels, you only have a simple goal: collect the gold hearts scattered across the screen and reach the red heart to finish the level. Tapping on the screen moves your little dot to the location, smashing through any walls in your way. Hazards abound, from lasers to various saw blades, and one hit kills. Those elements alone would make Beat Leap a fun game, but what makes it a challenge is that world moves to the music of the game's soundtrack. The screen flashes to the beat, and you must tap to the rhythm, or else you lose those precious gold hearts. Enemies move to the beat too and you only have a limited amount of time to complete each level. You can also break only through three blocks per level. All these factors turn Beat Leap from a simple avoidance game to something akin to a puzzle stealth game. You'll need to tactically position yourself to break as few blocks as possible, while avoiding the "enemy" patrols and always watching the clock, all while tapping to the rhythm.

Beat Leap isn't an easy game; it will challenge you with its mix of rhythm-based gameplay and tactical puzzle mechanics. And best of all the game is free, with no IAP; I've only experienced one ad in at least two or three hours of play and it wasn't obtrusive at all.
Min: A Space Adventure
iTunes | Trailer
Take charge of Min and guide the Minimar through a set of different levels! Your goal is to finish the level as quickly as possible and compete on the world leaderboards!

Each level has its own unique art-style and new set of challenges, with some room for exploration. Venture forth into the unknown and learn the lay of the levels to master them and get the fastest times imaginable, but watch out! The Minimar aren’t the only living creatures around, dodge giant rock-worms, slalom between giant tentacles, and avoid toxic gas and goo!

Commander Pixman
iTunes | Trailer
Retro action-platformer for the iOS! Fast-paced action, gun in your hands, 135 levels to master, hundreds of enemies to kill and thousands traps to avoid! Everything is packed with retro style and responsive controls!

Guide trapped Andrew "Pixman" Blazkowicz to leave the alien base. Destroy every creature, jump over treacherous holes and traps on his way. Find your rocket and get the hell out of there!

Continuity 2: The Continuation
iTunes | Trailer
In Continuity 2, the game world is drawn onto sliding tiles. You must figure out how to rearrange each level in order to move your character through it, collect the key, and unlock the door. Continuity 2 is a Universal App, includes Game Center achievements, and contains 50 brand new levels that have been designed specifically for iPhone and iPad.

iTunes | Trailer
Take on the role of a rōnin, a samurai who has been disowned by his master, as you make your way through a fantasy Japanese land, encountering bandits, archers, samurais and other yōkai as you go.

Help the people you meet to accomplish their missions and collect as many wisps as you can in order to make use of the powers that lie dormant within you.

Are you ready to face over 100 different waves of enemies at breakneck speed?

$0.99 (HD - $1.99)
The game is simple; Jump from the tallest cliff on Mount Never Rest and dodge incoming objects to avoid taking damage. Fly through the rugged landscapes of Mount Never Rest and feel the adrenalin pumping through your veins. The more danger your expose yourself to the more points you get.

This is really good. It's like a minimalist mix of that classic Helicopter game and Solipskier. You base jump off the summit and must survive as long as possible, while collecting stars and smashing through gates to keep your velocity. Obstacles range from craggy terrain and narrow passes, to birds, hot air balloons, ans helicopters, to rock slides. It has the great "one-more-go" level of addictiveness, with responsive controls and a nice visual style.
Strand is a new and unique puzzle game. Bend and stretch through absorbing, compelling obstacles in an attempt to connect the elements of each level. A broad selection of levels is included for free, from simple yet fun puzzles to intricate scenarios with multiple game features. For the true puzzle master, additional packs are available to purchase in-game.

Okay, this game is pretty good. The first 50 levels are free and then there are three extra level packs, each $1.99.

In each level, you have a certain amount of numbered nodes. The numbers indicate how many links each nodes needs. So a 1 node can only be linked once, while a 2 node can link to two 1 nodes or be linked to twice. There are barriers that block strands, pegs that can be used to bend your strand around barriers, and more. I definitely recommend giving this game a try
Zombie Kill of the Week

Don't overlook this just because it's free and zombies. I wasn't expecting much, but damn is this game fun! Excellent controls and an excellent 2D version of Black Ops zombies, with tons of customization, weapons, perks, etc.

It's freemium but not the abusive kind. Anything you unlock while playing is unlocks from the money earned while playing, and stuff like perks, clothing, turrets are bought with a single currency that's accumulated through leveling up and earning trophies. The levels are big too; I'm still on the first one and still haven't fully explored it after five games. The weapons are satisfying to use and the game is just fun

Some of the prices are kind of high, but the gameplay is fun enough that I don't find it that grindy. Really the game is a lot better than I expected
iTunes | Trailer

- Help the cyro people build a bridge to the planet they admire. Two tiny cyro workers grab a bar, keep it rotating, and want to be led through all kinds of mazes.
- Guide your cyro people through moving obstacles, curious lines, slippery surfaces, dark rooms and logical problems.
- The cyro people are merciful and grant you three miscues. Who could resent one for failing – Some levels are despisingly hard. They will boo at you anyway.
- Finishing the bridge is far from over. Or do you know what’s on the moon?
Almost overlooked this one, but thankfully I decided to check out the Toucharcade thread. Turns out the game just released and it'll be free today and increase to $1.99 tomorrow (devs wanted to get some exposure and attention)

This game is awesome. It's like if someone took the idea of Duet's constant rotation and turned it into a platformer. You control a rotating bar and must maneuver it through levels, threading through gaps and navigating obstacles. The minimalist style is fantastic, controls are smooth and responsive, and only four levels in and the level design impresses.
Is it Kuru Kuru Kururin but with shit controls? There's another game like this with a gothic kind of theme but I can't remember what it's called.
Devs have said that it was inspired by Kuru

As for the controls, when you hold the button, the v stick become a d-pad. So you can simply hold right and move right with moving up or down. With the v stick you can curve; with the d pad you can maneuver better through straight gaps because you're restricted to single axis
iTunes | Trailer

How do you take down an army of malicious robots? By turning them into scrap, taking their weapons, and leaping right into the next fight, of course!

Asterogue is an action-roguelike featuring intense real-time combat, intuitive gesture controls, and an infinite supply of new levels and weapons to encounter.
Take on its tense campaign mode or relax for five minutes in Quick Play. The action never stops when you're playing Asterogue.

  • Gesture-based combat system allows for intense action on the go
  • Over 8 million distinct weapon Modules to discover
  • Procedurally-generated levels and enemies allow for endless play
  • 3 diverse worlds to explore
  • Push-your-luck campaign mode: fight on for better equipment, or return home to stash your existing loot?
  • Share your favorite Modules on Facebook and Twitter
  • Quick Play mode for when you only have a few minutes to play
  • No ads, IAP, or hidden fees! It's all free

Madman Drop
iTunes | Trailer

THEY ARE FALLING! Help these mad men escape from the asylum by wiggling and shaking their way through the caves! It's crazy fun for crazy people!

Madman Drop will have you control (barely!) a mad man trapped in a straight jacket.

  • The most original FREE gameplay on the Appstore!
  • Create your own CRAZY character!
  • Touch to wiggle and shake you mad man!
  • Crazy ragdoll physics!
  • Tons of Objectives!
  • Gamecenter leaderboards and achievements
  • Optimized for iPad
Bones will be shattered, necks will be broken in this mad quest for freedom!
Nov 14, 2008
Boom Boat 2
iTunes | Trailer

Boom Boat 2 is the sequel to the explosive physics puzzler hit, Boom Boat. The underwater garden gnomes are back and plotting to destroy the world. Defeat their plan using the multitude of weapons at your disposal: Bombs, magnets, dynamite, and even gnome-eating sharks! In this epic story of good vs. gnomes, can you stop them before it's too late?

Game Features:
* 150 Physics-based Challenges across 50 Levels
* Gorgeous Art and Special Effects
* Game Replay Integration for Sharing
* Game Center Achievements and Leaderboards
* Universal App on iOS Devices
* Free Content Updates (Expansions, Gameplay Modes, etc)
* Gnomes. Boom.


Neo Member
Oct 7, 2013
Ah man I love giving iOS game recommendations, there's so much good stuff to be discovered on there.

Lost Cities

Great little card game that works fantastically on the iPhone. Players take turns mounting expeditions to any of five separate cities by placing down cards in their lanes. Opening up a new lane costs you points, but with some strategy you'll come out ahead. Fantastically fun for turn-based multiplayer through Game Center and the art is super nice:

App Store | Official Site


Clever iOS puzzle game with gorgeous, simple visuals. You're trying to grow one or more circles to a combined size of 100 without touching other circles or surrounding obstacles. Play it on the iPad because you'll want that screen real estate:

App Store | Official Site

Super Hexagon

One of my favourite iOS games of all time. Super Hexagon is an arcade game from Terry Cavanagh—creator of VVVVVV—with responsive controls, slick visuals and a great soundtrack. Around the time of this game's release I was raked number two in the world for Hexagon mode (damnit Jason Killingsworth) but the competition's heated up a lot since then.

App Store | Official Site


A first person adventure game in the style of Myst, Hiversaires has a gorgeous atmosphere and some seriously in-depth world design. Solo musician, artist, and developer Devine Lu Linvega has created a world with its own language, system of time and a consistent set of rules that are a joy to uncover.

App Store | Official Site


Arcade game with a very simple risk / reward mechanic at its core. Stylish and fast paced much like Super Hexagon.

App Store


Incredibly clever game that mixes the RTS genre with a base expansion mechanic lifted straight from Tetris. Clean, sharp art and a joy on the iPad.

App Store | Official Site

Year Walk

Another adventure game, this time based on ancient Swedish mythology. Heavily atmospheric and somewhat unsettling, one of the best iOS games of the year in my opinion:

App Store | Official Site

I've got some more suggestions which I'll probably post up here at some point, but this post has gotten long enough.
Oct 4, 2009

A first person adventure game in the style of Myst, Hiversaires has a gorgeous atmosphere and some seriously in-depth world design. Solo musician, artist, and developer Devine Lu Linvega has created a world with its own language, system of time and a consistent set of rules that are a joy to uncover.

App Store | Official Site
Terrific music.

Thank you for posting.


Neo Member
Oct 7, 2013
I probably won't consider Super Hexagon and Year Walk as hidden gems, but they're all great games

Hundreds is fantastic. I didn't know what to expect at first, but I certainly didn't expect a crazy twitchy reflex game

If you like Gauge, you should try 1800. It's free
Yeah I decided to add them to the list since nobody had posted them yet. There's bound to be people who haven't heard of those great games and I aim to remedy that.
Dec 5, 2008
Thames Ditton, UK
Devs have said that it was inspired by Kuru

As for the controls, when you hold the button, the v stick become a d-pad. So you can simply hold right and move right with moving up or down. With the v stick you can curve; with the d pad you can maneuver better through straight gaps because you're restricted to single axis
This controlled precisely as shitely as I thought it would and I am sad.