I’m sure all of us love free games. However, with microtransactions now a mainstay in gaming, most free games have a lot of content locked behind paywalls. Essentially, the initial download is free, but everything else needs to be paid. Due to this, I prefer iPhone games that ask for a payment outright.
These games unlock most (if not all content) right after the initial payment. This becomes a much more enjoyable experience. Here’s the list of the best paid iPhone games that are worth your every penny.
1. Minecraft – Editor’s choice
The amount of content that Minecraft offers you as a player is simply insane. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the best paid iPhone games of all time.
While the graphics and aesthetics are different and almost retro, the gameplay will keep you hooked. You can play the creative mode with infinite resources and freedom. Build an entire town or the fanciest castles and let your imagination go crazy.
There’s a survival mode in which you have to survive each night while scavenging for supplies, building your base, and protecting yourself from the creatures of the night. Minecraft’s survival mode is surprisingly detailed and difficult.
There’s also a lot of mod support from the community, and you can apply the mods to change the in-game behavior and gameplay. This adds a ton of replayability.
The only issue I’ve found is that the game freezes and crashes frequently. Hopefully, the developers can iron this out in future updates.
Price: $6.99 (In-app purchases start at $1.99)
2. Plague Inc. – Best simulation game
Plague Inc. might hit a bit too close to home, considering the current situation. However, it’s still one of the best simulation games for iPhone you can play today.
In this game, you aren’t tasked as a fancy scientist or soldier who has to stop the virus. The roles are reversed – you have to control the virus and ensure it wipes out the world.
Each action you take in the game has consequences, and humanity will try to adapt and defend itself against each variation and update of your virus. Your goal is to infect the world before the virus is killed.
The game teaches us about health safety, hazards, and how international collaborations could work in such scenarios. Additionally, the game is fun, and you’ll have to strategize with each move you make.
The game has inconsistent difficulty spikes, however. So be wary of that when playing it.
Price: $0.99 (In-app purchases start at $0.99)
3. Monopoly – Best board game
The classic board game that has occupied most of our childhood is now available for mobile devices. Thankfully, it’s one of the best iterations of a board game that you can find.
You can play this game against the AI, but I’ve found it much more enjoyable as a family game. Moreover, there’s an in-game video chat integration feature that allows you to play face-to-face with friends in different areas.
You have to become the wealthiest property tycoon amongst other players. You can play this game with the classic rules. However, if you want to make things more interesting, you can select your own house rules to make the gameplay unique.
There’s also a Season Pass that adds a ton of content to the already huge game. It adds different locations, themes, and pieces as well.
However, the game requires a strong internet connection as it can frequently disconnect in the middle of online games.
Price: $3.99 (In-app purchases start at $4.99)
4. Dead Cells – Best action game
I’ve played Dead Cells on the PC before it was released to the mobile audience. I’m happy to state that the finesse of the PC version has been brought to the iPhone with this port.
Dead Cells is an incredibly difficult game. However, it’s also equally rewarding. The game has a roguelike structure and also features a permadeath. If you die on any level in the game, you will have to replay the game from the beginning.
Moreover, the levels are procedurally generated. Each playthrough is different than the other. You can also find the best elements from action and role-playing games in Dead Cells. Besides, all the DLCs released on PC are available in the mobile version.
I recommend you to play this game on a bigger screen, though. The control scheme doesn’t go very well with smaller screens. An even better option would be if you could use a good gamepad.
Price: $8.99 (In-app purchases start at $3.99)
5. Crashlands – Best paid iPhone game without in-app purchases
Crashlands might not seem like much at first glance. However, it is an expansive role-playing game worth your time (and money).
The story follows a galactic trucker whose shipment is stolen, and they find themselves stranded on an alien planet. Your mission is to retrieve your packages. While you do so, you’ll become a part of a dangerous plot of domination.
Ultimately, as the player, you have to thrive on the planet. This means you have to engage with NPCs, fight deadly bosses, and learn the secrets of the planet itself. Moreover, there are over 500 craftable items in the game. So, let your imagination run free!
The game suffers from some issues with in-game navigation, however. So you’ll have to bear this when you’re playing the game.
6. Townscaper – Best casual game
Townscaper is one of those games that will make you dive into nostalgia. It’s got very simple gameplay, and it’ll also help you relax.
There’s no goal to the gameplay as such. Townscaper lets you choose colors, blocks, and design your city, town, or hamlet.
This may sound boring, but in reality, the gameplay is pretty addictive. You can play this for hours, building the best town with the right arches, bushes, and backyards for different houses.
Moreover, the game’s aesthetics aren’t difficult on the eyes, and the audio is mild enough to help you concentrate on your building efforts.
I feel the construction options need to have more diversity and freedom. But otherwise, the game is spot-on.
7. Exploding Kittens – Best card game
When it comes to card games, very few have captured my attention as much as Exploding Kittens has.
This is a multiplayer card game in which the objective is to be the last person standing. You’ll have to keep drawing cards until a person draws a card with an Exploding Kitten. After the kitten explodes, the player who drew the card is out of the game.
You can even diffuse the kitten with laser pointers and belly rubs, available on some cards. The rest of the cards are simply used to keep the game flowing and change the order of draws.
The game can be played with up to 5 players, either locally or online. Considering the simple yet elegant premise of the game, there’s no doubt why this is one of the most funded games in Kickstarter history!
If you play against the game’s AI, it can get challenging on any difficulty level. I’d recommend you to play this only with your friends or online.
Price: $1.99 (In-app purchases start at $0.99)
8. Playdead’s LIMBO – Most underrated puzzle game
Playdead has always made some hauntingly beautiful games. LIMBO is one of their first hits.
It is one of the best paid puzzle games for iPhone. You have to solve multiple puzzles as you progress through the narrative. The audio and graphics create an eerie atmosphere that grips you instantly.
This is a difficult game; make no mistake. You will die multiple times in an attempt to complete a puzzle. However, the effort that you put into the game is worth it.
One of the caveats of this game is that there’s only one way to solve the puzzles. I wish that the developers had added more variety to the solutions.
9. GRIS – Best adventure game
GRIS is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. While this sounds like an exaggeration, it isn’t. GRIS will tug at your heartstrings and leave you in awe at the beautiful artwork and noteworthy story.
This is an adventure game mixed with puzzle elements. Besides that, it is a game that you need to experience. The artwork involves aesthetic watercolor paintings, and the music showcases a diverse range of genres.
The game’s story is also highly relatable. The protagonist experiences a traumatic event and learns to deal with the pain. As you play through the story, you’ll realize that the game is actually about her journey to the other side of that experience and how she learns to deal with the trauma in a better way.
The intro section of the game is a bit buggy, though. So you may encounter some glitches when you first boot the game.
Bang for your buck?
Paying for games can be a tricky affair, especially if you’re unsure which game would suit your play styles and choices. Hence, I’ve curated this list of the best paid iPhone games to make your search easier.
Do you mind paying for games at the very beginning? Or do you like the freemium model with microtransactions? Let me know what you think in the comments!