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36 best free iPhone games: Brilliant iOS games that cost nothing

David Price | Oct. 26, 2015
Great free iPhone games? You've come to the right place. Freemium can be an unpleasant business model but there are some fantastic free iPhone games out there if you know where to look.

Great free iPhone games? You've come to the right place. Freemium can be an unpleasant business model but there are some fantastic free iPhone games out there if you know where to look. In this article we've rounded up the 36 best free iPhone games for your delectation, from fighting and sports games to puzzles and RPGs.

It's worth mentioning first of all, mind you, that free games aren't always the bargain they seem - beware of scam games, games crammed with annoying in-app payments and adverts, and various other irritations that often beset free games. We discuss some of these issues in 'Freemium is the worst thing in the history of gaming: a rant' and 'Why apps need to be more expensive'.

And if you're looking for games for kids, make sure they know about the dangers and expenses of in-app purchases. We'd recommend the judicious use of parental controls to avoid an unpleasant bill.

But that's quite enough fear-mongering. There are some excellent free iPhone games out there that earn their money fair and square: with comparatively unobtrusive adverts, or genuinely optional in-app payments that simply expand on the existing gameplay. Let's get on to the games reviews: here are the 36 free iPhone games we're most impressed with.

The 36 best free iPhone games

Alphabear

Another word game? Yes, but this one stars bears! Even better, it's really, really good, and dead easy to get into. You start out with a board with some letters on. Tap out a word and the space the letters took up is immediately replaced by bears, which are instantly surrounded by more letters.

Added complications arrive in the form of countdown timers. Letters start out as green, and then if unused over subsequent goes turn yellow, orange and then red. Ignore red letters at your peril, because they transform into rocks, blocking bears from expanding.

You might wonder about the use of 'expanding' and 'bears' in that previous sentence, but we haven't erred - the bears in Alphabear really do stretch to fill available space. So you'll get tall and thin bears, weirdly wide and squat bears, and there's the holy grail of the 'filling the entire screen' bear if you clear all of the letters. At the end of a round, such giant beasts result in huge scores and immense satisfaction.

There are some minor drawbacks to the bear-oriented antics. The game requires a constant internet connection for online sync, and there are in-game currencies - one essentially for 'energy' to enter new rounds and the other to skip ahead by more rapidly accessing treasure events. It's there you discover especially rare bears with special powers that seriously boost your score in various ways when selected before a new round; but this mechanic serves more to over-complicate the game than improve it.

 

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