The Gamer Gift Guide: 13 Great Pixel Games for iOS

Even if you were weaned on polygons and pixel shaders, there's a special place deep in the heart of every gamer for pixels.

Even if you were weaned on polygons and pixel shaders, there's a special place deep in the heart of every gamer for pixels.
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There's a pixellated hole in my heart for 8-bit graphics and chiptunes, even when combined with the latest high-resolution retina displays. For those of you with the same twisted nostalgia as me, here are 13 of my favorite pixel masterpieces for iOS. (Note, some of these are also available for Android or even Mac/PC.) Did I miss your favorite? Share it in the comments!

The Last Rocket

The Last Rocket charms you from the start with Flip's adorable animations, but it quickly ratchets up the intensity to become a satisfying reflex & puzzle one-two punch.

Price: $1.99
Buy The Last Rocket on the App store

The Incident

Endless runners are everywhere (there's even a few in this list), but The Incident is an endless jumper. Help Frank dodge the endlessly falling items and jump his way to victory.

Price: $0.99
Buy The Incident on the App store


Canabalt is an addicting endless runner with a hauntingly dystopian atmosphere and the simplest controls imaginable. Simply tap to jump - that's it.

Price: $2.99
Buy Canabalt on the App store

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Ever wanted to know what managing the Death Star was like for Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine? Build it floor by floor, managing residents, inventory, all while collecting pixellated cut scenes and characters.

Price: FREE
Download Star Wars: Tiny Death Star on the App store

Super Mega Worm

With two superlatives in the title, you know the game absolutely positively has to be good, right? Well, Super Mega Worm lives up to the hype with hilarious and addicting gameplay.

Price: $1.99
Buy Super Mega Worm on the App store

Mage Gauntlet

Mage Gauntlet harkens back to the early hack-and-slash RPGs of yore like Legend of Zelda or Secret of Mana. It starts out fun and gets increasingly more challenging - in a good way.

Price: $2.99
Buy Mage Gauntlet on the App store

Punch Quest

What game do I tap first more frequently than any other when firing up my iPad to kill some time? Punch Quest. There's just something satisfying about punching and uppercuting my way through an endless labyrinth of monsters and ghouls.

Price: FREE
Download Punch Quest on the App store

League of Evil

The League of Evil is a fun platformer, reminiscent in some ways of Mega-Man or Metroid in the acrobats you can perform.

Price: $1.99
Buy League of Evil on the App store

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

This game oozes atmosphere, with gorgeous pixel art, haunting music and narration, and a compelling story to boot. They recommend playing with headphones on, and I'd heartily agree - this game sucks you in like few others.

Price: $4.99
Buy Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery on the App store

Knights of Pen and Paper

This game-within-a-game is hilarious, fun, and addicting all at once. You play as the dungeon master and players at a typical D&D gathering, and as the characters within the game they're playing.

Price: $2.99
Buy Knights of Pen and Paper on the App store

Organ Trail

Let's be honest. Who hasn't thought that a mashup of the original Oregon Trail with zombies would be awesome? Well, it exists, and it IS awesome.

Price: $2.99
Buy Organ Trail on the App store

The Other Brothers

While a clear throwback to the Mario Brothers, The Other Brothers is a unique and different take on the traditional platformer.

Price: $1.99
Buy The Other Brothers on the App store

Star Command

If you like the idea of Tiny Death Star, but wanted something more Trek-oriented, with combat and isometric angles, then Star Command is right up your alley.

Price: $2.99
Buy Star Command on the App store