The introduction of official game controller support for iOS devices a couple of years ago was a radical change for Apple. As good as games can be with touch controls, controller support adds a whole new level of playability. Android, of course, has had game controller support for years now.
For this list, we’re going to be focusing here on the games that really go to the next level with a controller, or would frankly be tough to play without one. So don’t expect your favorite puzzle games or point-and-click adventures to make the cut. Before you start, you should probably connect your game controller to your iOS or Android device too.
- 1. Among Us
- 2. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
- 3. Brawlhalla
- 4. Bridge Constructor Portal
- 5. Call of Duty: Mobile
- 6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- 7. Dead Cells
- 8. Death Road to Canada
- 9. Divinity: Original Sin 2 (iPad only)
- 10. Doom/Doom 2
- 11. Fortnite
- 12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- 13. GRID Autosport
- 14. Lineage 2: Revolution
- 15. Minecraft
- 16. NBA 2K20
- 17. NieR Re[in]carnation
- 18. Rocket League Sideswipe
- 19. Space Marshals 2
- 20. Stardew Valley
- 21. Townscaper
1. Among Us
The cutesy online murder mystery game that took the world by storm light year is a perfect fit for mobile. You and several players are aboard a spaceship, going about menial tasks trying to keep it all functioning.
But there’s an imposter among you, trying to kill off the teammates while they try to figure out which of the multi-colored space buddies is the bad guy.
This grotesque roguelike dungeon crawler sees you wandering around a hellscape of baby ghosts, skellies, and bosses that take on all kinds of forms from giant turds to your own mother! Welcome to the truly bizarre world of The Binding of Isaac.
2. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
This is not an easy game, even on its original PC platform, and given how high the stakes are on each run (when you die, you die), you’ll want to give yourself the best chance of survival by using a controller.
It’s not quite Super Smash Bros, but it comes pretty close! Brawlhalla (iOS, Android) is an immensely enjoyable platform fighting game. Choose from a colorful roster of characters, each with their own abilities and play styles to master.
It’s not quite as compelling as the game that inspired it but hey, it’s free, so we’re not complaining!
4. Bridge Constructor Portal
In one of the more unlikely crossovers in videogames, Valve’s legendary portal-based puzzler and the indie game Bridge Constructor (where you construct bridges, of course) combine to wonderful effect.
In Bridge Constructor Portal (iOS, Android) you construct bridges in the Aperture Science lab, but thanks to the miracle of portal guns you can send bridges through one portal out the other. It gets pretty brain-bending and finicky, so controller support is well appreciated.
5. Call of Duty: Mobile
Arguably the best first-person shooter in the App Store, Call of Duty (iOS, Android) is exceptional with controller support. This massively popular multiplayer hit includes a number of game modes, including battle royale, 5v5 team deathmatch, sniper versus sniper and so much more.
Xbox, PS4 and MFi controllers are instantly mapped so that you can jump directly into gameplay. Call of Duty players who use the console will immediately recognize maps from Black Ops and Modern Warfare adding to the playability.
6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
This iconic game will take you back to the glory days of the original PlayStation back in 1997. The direct port of the console classic of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (iOS, Android) will let you jump, dash and run, thanks to outstanding controller support.
Everything you know and love about the classic game is here as you fight through Dracula’s castle fighting off new and challenging enemies along the way. The controllers are focused, easy to learn and help make Symphony of the Night excel on the iPhone and iPad.
7. Dead Cells
When you die in the game, you start back at the very beginning. The appeal of this game style with its outstanding graphics has elevated Dead Cells right into dozens of ‘best of’ lists.
The $8.99 price is a one-time purchase, with no extras or in-app purchases to help you progress throughout the game. The 2D action is so much fun to play, and even with the frustration of starting from scratch, there is just something about Dead Calls that keeps players coming back again and again.
8. Death Road to Canada
Death Road to Canada (iOS, Android) is a great little indie game, letting you and a friend create your own characters, then embark on a journey across zombie-infested Canada. The game is permadeath, so every little mistake counts and you’ll want to make sure you’re giving yourself all the advantages you can – you don’t want to mis-swipe with a zombie at your throat, so a controller is a must.
Controllers also let you play with up to three other people, so you’ll really get the most out of this gem that way.
9. Divinity: Original Sin 2 (iPad only)
We’re still scratching our heads at how Larian managed to squeeze their spectacular, sprawling RPG into a format that plays nice on the iPad (no iPhone version sadly – that’d really be pushing things).
Divinity: Original Sin 2 sees you controlling a party of heroes, traversing a rich fantasy realm in their pursuit to become the new “Divine” – a deity who it’s believed will save the world from being consumed by the Void. Given that it uses turn-based combat, it’s quite comfortable using touch controls, but for exploration, dialogue and inventory management (which there’s tons of), you’ll really want that controller.
10. Doom/Doom 2
Doom (iOS, Android) and its sequel are two of the greatest shooters of all time – their longevity on the modding scene and endless re-releases attest to that. Both games were released on iOS and Android to celebrate their 25th anniversary, and as you can imagine, both play much better with a controller than touch-screen.
No disrespect to the touchscreen, of course, but these retro shooters ain’t easy, and there’s even a case to be made that you should be using keyboard and mouse rather than a gamepad.
If there’s one game that doesn’t need an introduction in 2022… Fortnite (Android) needs to be downloaded straight from Epic Games while the publisher argues with Apple and Google about in-app purchases, but the extra trouble to download it is worth it.
Dive onto a massive colorful island and try to be the last person standing with your teammates – shooting enemies and building fortifications while you fight. The extra accuracy proffered by a controller makes a big difference.
12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The Grand Theft Auto series needs no introduction, as it’s likely you have previously played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (iOS, Android). One of Rockstar’s biggest ever games has been consistently updated over the years. The remastered version at $6.99 includes high-resolution graphics, built specifically for mobile, and support for game controllers.
Everything you know about the game and genre is contained within, including the main storyline and dozens of side missions to complete. If you really want a game that allows you to play for hours on end just to rack up money to buy new clothes and weapons, this is the game for you.
13. GRID Autosport
GRID Autosport (iOS, Android) is a known entity thanks to its widespread availability on home consoles. If you want a console-quality racing experience on your iOS device with a game controller, GRID is as good as it gets. The game sets a high bar for touch controls, but it’s playing with either the Xbox One or PS4 controller that really helps GRID win the race.
Offering more than 100 cars and 100 circuits, the one-time purchase at $9.99, including DLC packs, is worth it many times over. Players can choose from super-easy to ultra-realistic difficulties depending on skill level. The only non-controller function is the lack of L3/R3 support. Support extends from the newest iPhones back to the original iPhone SE and the 5th generation iPad all the way forward.
14. Lineage 2: Revolution
MMOs are pretty hit-and-miss on mobile, with many luring you in with the promise of vast worlds and deep leveling for free before cornering you with microtransaction.
Ok, so Lineage 2 doesn’t necessarily escape this blueprint, but it’s a very good-looking game as MMOs go, and it comes from veteran Korean MMO developer NCSoft, so it’s in pretty good hands.
The game features both PvE and PvP, and has tons of exploration for the intrepid mobile adventurer. While it’s a pretty mobile-friendly game, a controller is sure to give you an advantage during those tougher encounters.
How can you be expected to build the voxel world of your dreams without the right tools, or survive in the wilderness against zombies with the precision-striking offered only by a game controller?
We don’t want to blame bad tools for workmanship, but a game controller is really an essential tool to get the most out of Minecraft (iOS, Android). The game really needs no introduction – on the one hand it’s a massive sandbox where you can let your creativity run wild and create interesting worlds. On the other it’s a surprisingly tough survival game.
Minecraft really is what you make of it, which is why it’s one of the most popular games in the world.
16. NBA 2K20
Another console quality game that has garnered positive controller reviews on the App Store is NBA 2K20 (iOS, Android). Available for $9.99, this is the best basketball game on the App Store and possibly the best sports game overall. Numerous aspects of the popular console game carry over to mobile, including “Run the Streets” mode, Blacktop and playing as some of the all-time great NBA teams.
If you are looking for a sports game that will keep you occupied for hours on end, this is the game for you. That it includes support for physical controllers is just icing on the cake.
17. NieR Re[in]carnation
The inimitably strange action-game-RPG-hybrid series makes its small-screen debut with gusto. As you can imagine, NieR Reincarnation (iOS, Android) isn’t quite as frenetic as its console counterparts, but still requires a fair bit of dexterity as you smash up the strange creatures of its world.
The combat is turn-based, and definitely doesn’t live it to the reputation of the series, but it’s still a beautifully presented journey through a mysterious world. You play as The Girl of Light, who awakens on the stone floor of a cage and accepts the guidance of a mysterious creature called Mama who will help her escape.
The game is free-to-play, so expect a bit of grind, but it’s worth a visit for series fans.
18. Rocket League Sideswipe
It’s always interesting to see how developers rework a hit game formula for the small screen, and Psyonix did a great job here of turning the car footy game into a side-on perspective.
Rocket League Sideswipe (iOS, Android) is the same premise: 1v1 or 2v2 matches where you drive, boost and fly around the screen trying to get the big floaty ball in the opposing team’s goal. It’s been squished down wonderfully to mobile, but you’ll definitely be at an advantage playing with a controller.
19. Space Marshals 2
Top-down shooters are available across the App Store, but few hold a candle to the fun and enjoyment Space Marshals 2 (iOS, Android) offers. A self-proclaimed tactical top-down shooter, you are tasked with using the environment to take cover and choose your shots carefully.
With more than 20 missions available for $4.99, you can add 10 more with a new mission pack for $2.99. No matter how you choose to play, Space Marshals 2 is a fantastic experience and a must download for any top-down shooter fan.
20. Stardew Valley
Once you take over the farm in the titular town, how you go about your daily business is largely up to you. Do you turn the farm into a thriving business, do you become a social butterfly and befriend everyone in town? Or do you while away the days fishing in the nearby lake?
A lot of city-building games like to bog you down in the micromanagement and the bureaucracy of the city. But maybe you just want to build a town without thinking about midtown traffic congestion?
If so, Townscaper (iOS, Android) is for you, with a beautiful art style and no pressure as you idly build your picturesque town. Actually plays fine with a touchscreen, but the controller support is there if you want it.
Games like the ones mentioned in the above list are some of the best iOS and Android games with controller support, though there are thousands more. And don’t forget that you can also stream Xbox games to iOS and Android. The biggest problem isn’t how they play, it’s how you will find time to play them all.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox