12 Most Popular Mobile Game Genres for iOS 2024

The global mobile gaming industry is already colossal at over $200 billion in revenue in 2023. This figure is set to grow at over 15% CAGR to reach $700 billion by 2030. With such room to grow, it is safe to say that there is still space for new entrants in the market, albeit with significant resources to build attractive gaming franchises. This article highlights the most popular mobile game genres for iOS in 2024.

Shooter Games

The ability of shooter games to provide a highly immersive and high-octane environment explains why they are the most popular games for iOS. Shooter games are either first-person or third-party depending on the perspective the players get when playing.

With first-person (FPS) games such as Call of Duty, the developer’s challenge lies in improving elements such as aiming and the character’s interaction with the playing environment so players feel like they are immersed in that environment completely. Other popular FPS titles are Doom, Counter-Strike, and Moder Combat.

Third-party shooter games give the illusion that a camera is following the player from behind. Developers aim to create a realistic environment while also refining mechanics to offer realistic effects of characters moving, collecting weapons, or taking cover.  Gears of War and Fortnite are some of the most popular third-person shooter games.

As phones have become more powerful, the experience of playing shooter games has massively improved. Titles in the mobile game genres require a lot of computing power and the ability to adjust video settings on iOS is quite helpful. For instance, it is now possible to play these games in 4K on an iPhone.

Adventure Games

This mobile gaming genre consists of games whose strength lies in creating a compelling narrative that immerses players into an imaginary world. One of the most popular adventure game series, Monkey Island, is set in the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy.  Grim Fandango, another well-written adventure was set in an imagined after-life world where the characters are recently departed souls traveling to a final destination but have to complete certain tasks first.

Adventure games can be classified but not limited to two broad categories. The first is point-and-click where players use minimalistic controls to advance the game. The other broad category is visual novels where players feel like they are turning pages of a novel. Throughout the game, players have to make choices that eventually affect the outcome of the game. Adventure dating games are a great example where players have to make choices on things like places to go, people to meet and so forth. Writers have to create strong story arcs to keep players interested regardless of the choices they make.

Ace Attorney is a great audio-novel game series available on iOS where players take on characters fashioned after popular legal drama series lead characters.

Battle Royale

Battle royale games that are popular today involve hundreds or tens of players eliminating each other in a shrinking play area. The players start out with limited resources and must scavenge for more to help them beat opponents. Players can also caucus into teams and take on opponents in such a manner too.

These games have become phenomenal over the last decade because they bring together elements from shooter games, and adventure, while also integrating pop culture into the imagined universe. Fortnite for instance has over 300 million players. PUBG, another popular battle royale game has over 600 million players.  While the experience on mobile devices is not quite the same as on a console, the experience of executing a strategy and playing against real people is alluring enough.

The biggest challenge for developers is creating detailed environments and new challenges that will raise the stakes for players. They also take great care to keep their servers running even with tens of millions of users.

Sports Games

These games are based on sports and present opportunities for teams, leagues, and players to grow revenue while collaborating with developers. These games have a head start because large communities of people who follow, understand, and love a particular sport exist. The game aims to provide an experience for these people through different game modes. For instance, players can play one-off games, leagues, tournaments, and much more with soccer.

Some of the most popular sports games on iOS include FIFA (EA Sports FC Mobile), NFL, and NBA 2K. The popularity of these games is also heavily dependent on the quality of graphics because people want as realistic a simulation as they can get. As highlighted, the players already know the teams and the stars involved. If an element of the game is flawed it will be discussed within the community.

Racing Games

While racing games can also be categorized in the sports bundle of games, they are a bit different. Sports games aim to replicate everything about real-world sports, including the names of players, stadium appearances, commentary, competitions, rules, and more. With racing games, developers have a greater creative license with the format, competitions, racing environments, and everything else that enriches the game. Still, a lot of racing games will incorporate real-world makes of cars in the games.

In addition, racing games are popular with non-sports fans because they are much simpler to understand. Casual gamers are more likely to play a racing game than an adventure game or a sports game.  Racing games are also quite easier to play on mobile devices because not too many controls are required.

The most popular iOS racing games include Assoluto Racing, Need for Speed, Grid Autosport, and Mario Kart Tour.

Fighting Games

Close-combat games have been popular for over three decades now. Almost all of them are geared towards building characters with specific sets of skills. Players win matches by showing skill in utilizing the skills that their characters. As computing power has evolved, developers have been able to build games with better graphics, response times, diverse fighting styles, and a better overall experience both on consoles and mobile platforms.

Good storylines are often helpful in helping build playing characters and explaining their fighting styles. Character costumes are often kept consistent even as a game evolves and playing environments change.  Still, every character needs to be well-written to keep audiences engaged throughout the evolution of a game.

Tekken and Mortal Kombat are some of the most popular fighting games on consoles, PCs, Mac, and mobile platforms. Others include Steet Fighter, EA Sports UFC, and Injustice.

Simulation Games

These games are built around recreating real-life experiences such as driving or flying. Players are immersed in situations that require them to execute strategies and get rewarded for certain actions. The possibilities are endless but here are a few categories of simulation games.

Flight simulations

These games immerse players into an environment that feels like they are piloting a real airplane. The richness of the game depends on the controls availed to players, the aircraft options, the places they can fly to, and the recreation of real-life places such as cities that players fly over.

Life Simulation

This category of games puts players in situations where they have to make decisions that simulate everyday life. For instance, a player may be challenged to run or build a city using a limited amount of resources. Township is a good example of a life simulation game available on iOS.

Vehicle Simulation

These games aim to replicate the experience of driving real-life vehicles, including trucks and buses. Developers have done well to create realistic effects of physics in a simulated environment. Euro Truck Simulator is perhaps the most popular vehicle simulator game available on mobile devices.

Horror Games

Horror games on mobile devices can be surprisingly engaging. Developers aim to create an experience that scares the players but also keeps them motivated to continue playing. A combination of the environment in which the game is set, narrative, and even music helps to create the tension necessary for such games. The games also encompass elements of survival on limited resources.

Into the Dead is a first-person shooter horror game where the player needs to run as far as they can while dodging zombies. They get a limited amount of ammunition.  The game is set in a dark forest where the zombies pop up randomly. Other popular titles in this category are Endless Nightmare, Knock-Knock, Eyes, and Dead By Daylight.

Card Games

While traditional card games were pretty simple, this genre has evolved significantly while remaining relatable to older players. Hearthstone is one of the more popular card games available on iOS. It involves two players working with a deck of 30 cards. Each player also chooses a hero with a unique power. Throughout the game, the players implement a strategy using their limited resources to try and destroy the opponent’s hero. The game is rich in terms of challenges and in-game prizes. The game also has different modes including drafted arena battles, which demonstrates there is a strong community of players involved.

Puzzle Games

Puzzle games look to provide mental stimulation to players through increasingly hard challenges. The range of puzzle games available today is wide, moving from pattern recognition to physics-based games such as Where’s My Water. Puzzle games are incredibly popular because they do not take up too much computing power on mobile devices. A lot of these games can be played without audio, making is easy to play them at almost any place and time of day.

The focus of puzzle games is not so much on graphics but rather on creating structured challenges to keep players engaged. There is also the general agreement that puzzle games are great for testing logic and memory.

While puzzle games might be seen as solo escapades, there are some games geared towards social interactions through features such as escape rooms. Here, players can match up against one another or team up against a rival team.

Party Games

These are games aimed at helping people break the ice or simply have fun at social gatherings. While most of the games are free in this category, some are still behind a paywall, offering exclusive features. A great example of a party game is Heads Up which involves a player holding up a phone on their forehead with the screen facing away. The screen displays the name of a famous person and teammates have to give the player clues to help them figure out the celebrity.

These games might be the easiest to develop technically but they still require a regular refresh of the content.

Educational Games

Educational games on iOS exist in multiple formats and for people of different ages and interests. There are short memory skills games that require players to remember information they have just seen or read such as remembering a shopping list. Recall games on the other hand focus on retrieving information from long-term memory. These are great for people who want to improve or test their knowledge in a specific area. People preparing for professional examinations often draw help from educational games.

Word games are fun and they improve vocabulary and strategic thinking through situations that require players to solve problems. There are thousands of safe and well-curated educational games in iOS including PBS Kids Games, Chess-Play and Learn, Stack the States, and Zebrainy.

Working with NS804

Other mobile game genres could have been on this list. Arcade games and role-playing games are worth a mention. Some games will appear in several categories on the iOS store based on their features.

If you are looking to build a game for iOS, it must be well built and the content be curated well enough to cut through the noise The industry is big and competitive and the demand for developers is at an all-time high. Here at NS804, we focus on understanding and resolving clients’ project needs at world-class standards. You can entrust us to develop and build your mobile game idea. You are welcome to reach out to us through our website and a member of our team will be in touch promptly.

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