The mobile gaming sphere has grown astronomically over the past few years. While iPhone users used to get the short end of the stick when it came to game releases that truly mattered, the suffering has come to an end. Now, playing on an iPhone means playing the best mobile games anytime and anywhere—whether in the shower, on the bus, 30,000 feet in the air, or halfway across the globe.

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Here’s a roundup of the best iPhone games of 2021, in no particular order, from Pro Game Guides.

Genshin Impact

Image via miHoYo

One year and one nation later, Teyvat’s magic has yet to fade. Beyond its awards and public recognition, Genshin Impact is a genuine masterpiece, whether in the realm of character design, music, or gameplay mechanics.

Mix-and-match Elements to create reactions. Pray to RNGods that Artifacts will roll the right stats. Hang out with characters. Or better yet, hang out with friends through Co-op mode. Cook delicious food and subsequently devour them for a buff. Immerse in Teyvat’s lore and uncover secrets hidden behind side stories. Lose your mind over puzzles that are getting harder and harder.

There are many ways to play Genshin Impact. It can become casual or hardcore, free-to-play or pay-to-win—it’s all up to you!

Related: Genshin Impact 2.4 | Leaks, New Characters, Release Date!

Arknights

Image via Hypergryph

Arknights is Plants vs. Zombies on steroids plus gacha. With up to 13 characters deployable per battle, unique skill mechanics, challenging terrain, and hitboxes that are getting weirder by the update, the game forces you to think up wild strategies—or consult a guide or two.

Beyond the character, resource, and tactic management fiasco, Arknights brings incredibly unique character designs to the table, embracing dark and edgy themes outside of the norm in this genre. It’s the brain game you never knew you needed—but could secretly fall in love with.

Blue Archive

Image via Nexon, Nat Games

Blue Archive, a free-to-play gacha game that recently took on the global stage, has surpassed three million downloads in its second month of service. It tackles the girls with guns concept, but a little prettier, a little brighter, and all the way back to school. Play the role of Sensei and train Students to battle other Students, delinquents, and bosses. PvP and Raid are the major game modes that keep the meta changing.

Blue Archive is fanservice galore, with arguably more depth in its character design than gameplay. But it’s a fun pick-me-up over lunch break (away from co-workers’ prying eyes)—as long as the auto-PvP system doesn’t drive you crazy.

Tears of Themis

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Developer miHoYo’s otome masterpiece turns you into a budding attorney in the fictional city of Stellis, where you encounter four love interests. Conduct investigations, gather clues, and debate against lawbreakers with cards featuring the male leads.

It’s Ace Attorney on easy mode. It’s falling in love on hard mode. It’s a casual game with easy battle mechanics and an otome game where you aren’t bound to a single relationship path, and where the only stressful element is pulling the male lead you want on the gacha.

Cookie Run: Kingdom

Image via Devsisters

Devsisters’ plunge into the world of free-to-play gacha games began with Cookie Run: Kingdom, a sensational title that jumps off of the existing Cookie Run franchise. There are many things Cookie Run: Kingdom does right, from unique Cookie characters to high-quality multilingual voice acting and Kingdom customization.

There’s also so much to do in this game—from PvP to World Exploration, decorating your Kingdom, Guild Battles, resource management, and more. Most importantly, Crystals—premium currency used to pull on the gacha and purchase valuable items—are abundant. It’s a breath of fresh air after a streak of stingy games in this genre.

Related: How to level up Kingdom fast in Cookie Run: Kingdom

Alchemy Stars

Image via TOURDOG Studio

The anime mobile gaming sphere is getting wilder and wilder, with horse girl racing and girls-as-weapons as some of the turn of the decade’s oddballs. Alchemy Stars takes a step back by embracing the tile-matching concept, evolved into a more complex strategy game. It’s Candy Crush without candies, but with gorgeous artwork and the thrill of RNG.

The game challenges your ability to match same-colored tiles, which also determines characters’ movement path. Switchers, buffers, OP characters that can shoot from halfway across the map, you name it—give Alchemy Stars a shot if you’re bored of clicking buttons. Because sliding is arguably a bit more fun.

World’s End Club

Image via IzanagiGames

Don’t underestimate Apple Arcade. It has a surprisingly good selection of games for iPhone users, which includes ports of console releases, such as World’s End Club. It’s a story-driven adventure game that mixes elements from popular JPRGs Danganronpa and Zero Escape.

While its puzzles are lackluster and the platforming mechanic can feel clunky, it’s an amazing game if you’re looking for an interactive anime experience. There aren’t many games like World’s End Club, so if you’re craving for this genre, it’s a pick-me-up you won’t regret.

Roblox

Image via Roblox Corporation

Roblox on iPhone is just like Roblox on PC. The controls might not be friendly to PC-only gamers, but mobile enthusiasts can now enjoy the game to its fullest on an iOS device. Play any game and meet up with friends in a cross-platform experience.

You won’t miss out on any game, fashion item, code, and more. Destroy your peers in PvP games and challenge the Tower of Hell like a pro. And once you get bored, simply switch games—Roblox’s selection won’t disappoint.

Epic Seven

Image via Smilegate

Epic Seven is a turn-based RPG and a 2D lover’s dream. Graphics make up a huge part of the game’s appeal. But it’s also a competitive playing field, defined by the Real-Time Arena PvP mode, where defense teams are not AI-controlled. Battle against other players in a game of whatever the meta defines.

On the one hand, the meta shifts more quickly than the speed of light. On the other hand, there’s no harm in taking things slow and easy in Epic Seven, which is jam-packed with other game modes, from the World Adventure to the Abyss and Automaton Tower—all tied together by a captivating story.

For guides for all of these games plus more, check out Pro Game Guides.

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