The 25 best iPhone games to play right now

16. Miracle Merchant

Genre: Card, strategy
Price: $1.99 / £1.99

Sometimes, creating a great game requires you to perform some alchemy. For example, take the core premise of solitaire, blend with a mathematical points system and a peculiar art style, then add just a dash of strategy. The result would look a lot like Miracle Merchant, which is fittingly, a game about alchemy. You use randomly dealt piles of cards to create potions for a line of customers. Include their favorite ingredients, and you’ll get extra points. Run out of an ingredient before you can help someone who needs it, and you’ll lose. It’s colorful, kooky, and a very good time.

Download Miracle Merchant here

15. The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Genre: Collectible card game
Price: Free

Hearthstone isn’t the only option these days when it comes to fantasy universe CCGs. The Elder Scrolls brings a unique twist to the card game genre. And if endless grinding of online matches has turned you off similar titles, then Legends’ extensive single-player campaign might make this a better fit for your style. It’s also a must-play for Elder Scrolls fans, since the game has all the magic and mystique of Skyrim and its predecessors. There’s even an “arrow in the knee” card.

Download Hearthstone here

14. Sidewords

Genre: Word
Price: $2.99 / £2.99

Imagine an easy-going Sunday morning, cup of coffee one hand and the crossword puzzle in the other. It’s educational and relaxing, an all-too rare combination. Recapture that same feeling with Sidewords, a go-at-your-own pace word game. The game has hundreds of word puzzles to tease your brain, but no timers or high scores. All you have to do is fill the entire grid with words spelled from the given letters. I’ll put the coffee on.

Download Sidewords here

13. You Must Build A Boat

Genre: Match three
Price: $2.99 / £2.99

Look, you just have to build a boat. It's simple. Especially since rather than wield a hammer and canvas sails, you just have to run endless randomly-generated dungeons. Armed with your wits and a big ol' match-three board, you’ll fight your way through enemies, loot treasure chests, and unlock new crew members. This game has loads of character and light RPG elements to keep things exciting.

Download You Must Build A Boat here

12. Alto’s Adventure

Genre: Endless runner
Price: $4.99 / £4.99

Most game depictions of snowboarding show the sport as a big, brash, adrenaline-fuelled business. Alto’s Adventure offers a soothing, zen-like counterpoint. You cut down a picturesque mountainside full of llamas to collect and flag buntings to grind. It’s relaxing and lovely, with one of the best soundtracks.

Download Alto's Adventure here

11. Really Bad Chess

Genre: Board
Price: Free

Everybody knows chess, right? This title turns the granddaddy of board games on its head by starting each new match with a random assortment of chess pieces. The end goal of checkmate stays the same, but the game gets way more bizarre when you have five queens and four bishops. Really Bad Chess is actually a really good game, offering fun for any level of chess experience.

Download Really Bad Chess here

10. Typeshift

Genre: Word
Price: Free

Why yes, this is the work of the same designer as Really Bad Chess! Zach Gage draws his game design inspiration from the puzzles you’d find in the newspaper, and this one blends crosswords and jumbles. You’ll use sliders to try and compose a set of words that eventually use every letter on the screen. For an extra challenge, dive into the Clue puzzles, which add a layer of puns and tricksy wordplay on top of the core mechanic. If you fancy yourself to have a way with words, Typeshift will put you in your place.

Download Typeshift here

9. Cat Quest

Genre: Role-playing
Price: $4.99 / £4.99

Do you like cats? Do you like puns? Then get Cat Quest downloading post-haste. As the heroic cat-venturer (that’s developer The Gentlebros’ pun, not mine!), you’ll explore all that the open world has to offer, from decimating baddies in dungeons to swapping stories with other felines in the Catpital city. It’s the purr-fect way to fill your mobile role-playing game needs. (That one’s all me.)

Download Cat Quest here

8. Lara Croft GO

Genre: Puzzle
Price: $1.99 / £1.99

Who would have guessed one of the best entries in the Lara Croft franchise would be a mobile game? In the capable hands of Square Enix, Lara’s archeology adventures are transformed into a turn-based puzzle game. It’s the same core mechanic that underlies the other GO games. But Lara has an intangible X-factor that makes it the standout title over Hitman Go or Deus Ex GO (although both of them are also quite good).

Download Lara Croft GO here

7. Vignettes

Genre: Puzzle
Price: $2.99 / £2.99

It’s all about perspective and discovery in this technicolor game. Vignettes presents you with an object. As you twist and turn it, that first object can morph into other items. That might sound simple, but uncovering each new surprise in Vignettes feels magical. It’s a bit of a head trip, but one well worth taking.

Download Vignettes here