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Top 25 best strategy games for iPhone and iPad

25 essential games to have in your iOS collection

Updated September 21, 2020: Post entry tweaks


Mobile gaming is typically associated with quick, light, bite-sized genres that you can consume between bus stops. Your match-three puzzlers, or your idle clickers.

But we all know that’s doing our beloved iPhones a gross disservice, don’t we? There are loads of deep, thoughtful games on the App Store.

Just look at all the brilliant strategy games that are available on the platform. Some of these are direct ports of PC and console games, with all the attendant depth and nuance that brings.

But even the many mobile-specific strategy games out there boast plenty of meat to get your teeth into. Or at least, the best examples do.

And that’s where we come in. The following list contains some of the best strategy games available for your iPhone and iPad.

Whether you’re into turn-based tactics, real time strategy, or some weird genre hybrid in between, there’s something for you below.

Think we’ve missed something? Let us know what should be on the list in the comments below.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST »

1

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

It’s Civilization VI on your iPad. Like, the actual Civilization VI, not some streamlined approximation. It’s nothing less than one of the best and deepest strategy games on any platform.

2

XCOM: Enemy Within

Publisher: 2K Games

Genre: Strategy

XCOM: Enemy Within

XCOM has a reputation for being one of the finest squad-based strategy games around, with tense turn-based battles rendered in glorious 3D. This iOS conversion brings it to mobile without compromise.

3

FTL: Faster Than Light

Developer: Subset Games

Publisher: Subset Games

Genre: Strategy

FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL tasks you with running your very own spaceship, allocating resources to the departments that need it most. But the real thrill is that you have to do this while fleeing through a hostile star system.

4

Iron Marines

Publisher: Ironhide Game Studio

Genre: Strategy

Iron Marines

The maker of the peerless Kingdom Rush series proves that it can do classic RTS as well as its does tower defence. Iron Marines is brilliantly balanced, great to look at, and generally quite special.

5

Bad North

Publisher: Raw Fury Games

Genre: Strategy

Bad North

Bad North is a uniquely brilliant mish-mash of RTS, tower defence and roguelike elements as you defend your island communities from Viking attack.

6

SteamWorld Heist

Publisher: Image & Form

Genre: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle

SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist demonstrates that strategy games can be a zoomed-in, action-packed and even funny. This brilliant 2D squad-based game as you taking on robotic pirates with expertly placed ricochet shots.

7

Invisible, Inc.

Publisher: Klei Entertainment

Genre: Stealth, Strategy

Invisible, Inc.

Klei combines turn-based strategy with high-tech stealth in this beautiful isometric cyber-punk adventure.

8

ROME: Total War

Available on: iOS

Genre: Strategy

ROME: Total War

One of the greatest and deepest real time strategy games ever made makes its way onto iPad, and it works shockingly well. ROME: Total War is the real deal.

9

Crying Suns

Crying Suns

We still don’t have an Android version of FTL yet, but Crying Suns is arguably the best alternative yet. This tactical rogue-lite has the star-maps and event systems of that strategy classic, but with an absorbing story and compelling flight-squadron combat.

10

Warbits

Developer: Risky Lab

Available on: iOS

Genre: Multiplayer, Strategy

Warbits

It doesn’t look like we’ll ever get Advance Wars on mobile, but Warbits is as close as it gets. This is colourful, intuitive turn-based strategy with a surprising amount of tactical depth.

11

Dungeon Warfare 2

Genre: Strategy, Tower defence

Dungeon Warfare 2

You could well make the argument that Dungeon Warfare 2 is a tower defence game. But constructing the ultimate death-filled dungeon here proves to be so much more strategic and nuanced than your average lane runner.

12

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes

World War II-set Company of Heroes is one of the most beloved RTS games of all time. Its tight, squad-based tactics work well on modern iOS devices, barring a few touch control issues.

13

Chaos Reborn: Adventures

Publisher: Big Blue Bubble

Genre: Strategy

Chaos Reborn: Adventures

A dauntingly deep and involving strategy game that punishes mistakes and rewards smart thinking. Its hex-based 3D battles have an impressive amount of tactical scope.

14

Kingdom: Two Crowns

Publisher: Raw Fury Games

Genre: Adventure, RPG, Sports

Kingdom: Two Crowns

A side-scrolling micro strategy game that strips a lot of the fiddly stuff out of the strategy genre. In its place is an intuitive 2D side-scrolling system and a pleasantly accessible learning curve, as you trot back and forth building up your empire.

15

Tropico

Publisher: Feral Interactive

Genre: Strategy

Tropico

Easily the best city builder on the market, Tropico is a richly detailed, responsive, engaging, and fun PC port that feels perfectly at home on iPad. It looks and sounds beautiful, too.

16

Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

Genre: Adventure, Strategy

Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

A true strategy game titan with a mobile-first focus from Perchang. Its tight turn-based battles play out gloriously on the wee screen.

17

Tharsis

Available on: iOS

Genre: Strategy

Tharsis

Strategy games don’t need to be ponderous and small scale. First Strike concerns a global nuclear conflict, and each battle can be swept through in frighteningly quick time.

18

Pocket City

Pocket City

Though it’s less viscerally impressive than Tropico, Pocket City remains an absolute treat of a premium city builder. In particular, it manages to combine intuitiveness with strategic depth better than most.

19

Sid Meier’s Starships

Publisher: Firaxis

Genre: Strategy

Sid Meier's Starships

Sci-fi strategy on a grand scale, Sid Meier’s Starships has got interplanetary diplomacy, deep space exploration, and plenty of pew pew laser battles.

20

Crush Your Enemies

Publisher: Gambitious

Genre: Strategy

Crush Your Enemies

Pocket real time strategy in its purest form, Crush Your Enemies whittles things down to a series of feisty minutes-long battles. It’s just not a sharply-made RTS, but a funny game filled with foul-mouthed, half-drunk barbarians.

21

Plague Inc.

Developer: Ndemic Creations

Genre: Simulation, Strategy

Plague Inc.

We’re all used to defending life in our strategy games – Plague Inc. tasks you with destroying as much of it as possible by spreading and mutating a horrible virus. It’s dark, man.

22

Frozen Synapse

Publisher: Mode 7 Games

Genre: Strategy

Frozen Synapse

Some strategy games simulate the big, the epic, the expansive. Frozen Synapse goes in tight, letting you plan the individual seconds of a frantic gunfight between computer simulated warriors.

23

Battleplans

Publisher: C4M Productions

Available on: iOS

Genre: Strategy

Battleplans

Battleplans is a thoroughly modern mobile strategy game hybrid, blending RTS, MOBA and base defence elements into a gloriously colourful whole.

24

The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands

Publisher: Xigma Games

Genre: Strategy

The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands

An engaging and intuitive strategy game that offers genuine consequences for your decisions as you strive to keep your village alive and thriving. It’s also beautiful, in its own sparse way.

25

Xenowerk Tactics

Xenowerk Tactics

A brilliant turn-based strategy game set within Pixelbite’s tense sci-fi Xenowerk universe. There’s more than a hint of XCOM to its tight squad manoeuvring, but with a slightly more arcadey edge.

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