While the iPhone gains more and more power with each iteration, the lure of 8-bit games and pixel-powered game play seems to be as strong as ever. Call it nostalgia for the games of childhood or just a want to play something simple, pixel games are a hot seller on the iPhone and are here to stay.
There are a lot of pixel-based games out there, so we found the top 20 available in the iOS App Store for the iPhone and listed them for you below.
1. Fist of Awesome
A cross between an old school pixel art and an original beat ‘em up game is the best way to describe Fist of Awesome. You play as Tim Burr, an angry lumberjack in search of his family and the culprits behind his burnt down house. Take care of the bears who rule the world and fight just like the classics of Double Dragon and Final Fight. The game will set you back $3.99 and you can download it here.
2. Across Age DX
A pixel RPG very similar to the original Legend of Zelda, Across Age DX is retro in all the right ways. Even though it is similar to the RPGs of yesterday, there is enough uniqueness to this game to make it fun and surprising. You can pick it up for $3.99 here.
3. Taxi Ball
A labyrinth-style game that uses the tilt control on your iPhone is the idea behind Taxi Ball for iPhone. In this game you pick up passengers and roll them around the city on your yellow ball. The goal is to get paid for your travels and to not lose money by making it a bumpy ride for your fares. This game is free and you can get it here.
4. Bit Pilot
Bit Pilot is kind of like the old-school Asteroids game mixed with a side-scrolling runner. Easy to pick up and play for a few minutes or an hour and everything in-between. Bit Pilot is a great game and at only $1.99, it’s at a great price, too. You can download it here.
5. Hook Champ
Hook Champ is a physics platformer that lets you use a grappling hook to swing though levels of haunted ruins. An easy to learn game, Hook Champ starts you with a seamless tutorial and gets you right into the action. The cost of Hook Champ is $2.99 and you can get it here.
A fun and easy to learn platformer that has nearly infinite replayability, Canabalt is one of the most addicting games in this list, and one of the easiest to pick up and play while you’re waiting in line or sitting at a doctors office. You play as a survivor from an alien attack and you must run and jump across rooftops, billboards, and cranes to escape. Simple with great music, Canabalt can be bought for $2.99 and downloaded here.
7. The Horrible Vikings
The Horrible Vikings is a tale of Vikings that beat up ninjas set in pixel-based beauty. You get to explore a vast world while upgrading your ship and lobbing bombs at ninjas, what more can you ask for? The Horrible Vikings will cost you $2.99 and is available here.
8. Aztec Quest
Even though the iPhone is more than capable of giving you awesome 3D graphics, it’s still fun to see a game capitalize on the old method of using wild geometric angles to give the illusion of 3D, which is exactly what Aztec Quest does. Similar to Marble Madness, this DIY game looks great and for $.99, it’s a pretty good deal, too. You can download it using this link.
9. Apple and Monster
Sometimes simplicity is best, and in the case of Apple and Monster that's exactly what you get. Try to take the girl as high as you can without having her fall off the screen. You can download this $.99 game here.
10. The Incident
With a world full of things that can both kill you and help you build a path out, The Incident is a fast-paced, pixel-based retro action game that’s easy to pick up and hard to put down. The basics are simple: climb up the mountain of junk that falls from the sky while avoiding having those same items kill you. Download it for $.99 here.
11. eBoy FixPix
Tilt and twist you iPhone to solve the puzzle and see the beautiful pixel art hiding below. Simple to understand and sometimes maddening to complete, eBoy FixPix is a blast to pick up for a minute or an hour since each level is only one puzzle. Each level is a new pixel-based masterpiece that you can save as a wallpaper for your phone. eBoy FixPix will set you back $.99 and you can get it here.
12. Gravity Lander
Gravity Lander is a great free game where you try to land your rocket on Mars by blasting and vaporizing the debris away for a safe landing. Help 3 Cosmonauts on a not so stellar mission clean up Mars base and make it safe. You can download Gravity Lander for free here.
Explore the beautiful pixel lands of Bitboxland where every item creates a sound or loop. Scratch a record, create a loop, and record your jam all for $.99. You can get it by clicking here.
14. Junk Jack
*Junk Jack *is a beautiful pixel-based 2D sandbox game where you have to survive in random worlds filled with monsters, treasures, and hidden secrets. Junk Jack walks the tightrope between sandbox and pre-planned action very well. You’ll pay $2.99 for Junk Jack and you can download it here.
15. Minecraft - Pocket Edition
One of the most quintessential pixel-based sandbox games on the market today is definitely Minecraft, which recently made the jump to iOS with Minecraft – Pocket Edition. Minecraft is the definition of pixel art, as you build with what are basically giant pixels to craft a world your character can live and survive in. Surprisingly fun and easy to play on the iPhone, you can download Minecraft – Pocket Edition for $6.99 at this link.
16. The Blockheads
Similar to the look and feel of Minecraft, The Blockheads s a side-scrolling sandbox game in which you alter and run through a world that is huge but seems small and manageable on a smaller screen. The Blockheads is a free game that you can get here.
17. Block Fortress
Block fortress is a unique pixel game that mixes the classic styles of tower defense and first person shooter to give a unique experience unlike any other game out there. Fortify your tower and upgrade your weapons alone or with up to four friends. You can pick up Block Fortress for $1.99 from this link.
18. Hot Springs Story
Hot Springs Story allows you to build your own resort and drive it towards success in a pixel-based simulation world. Build rooms, restaurants, baths, and even arcades to build your business and send your resort to fame. Hot Springs Story costs $4.99 and you can get it here.
19. Tiny Tower
Tiny Tower is a scrolling 2D game in which you build your tower higher and higher to the sky. Manage your tower and the bitizens that inhabit it while building more and more floors in your tower. Pay attention to what your bitizens need to keep them as happy as possible. While Tiny Tower is free, there are more than enough in-app purchases to make this game end up costing you a few bucks. You can download it by clicking here.
20. The Sandbox
A real sandbox game, The Sandbox allows you to craft the world exactly as you would like. Start from scratch with basics like water, soil, and stone and grow your world as you would like. With literally millions of possibilities, The Sandbox is the definition of a sandbox game. While intensely detailed, this game is still great and easy to play on the iPhone. The Sandbox is free and you can pick it up here.