What games are compatible with MFi Bluetooth game controllers, gamepads and joypads? And what are the best MFi-compatible games?
The touchscreen capabilities of iPhones and iPads lend themselves to strategy and puzzles games such as XCOM: Enemy Within and Monument Valley, but things can get a little tricky when trying to play more action-based titles. In response to this, many mobile gamers choose to use separate third-party Bluetooth game controllers, gamepads and joypads with their iPhones or iPads, in order to recapture the tactile joy and solid physical buttons of console or arcade gaming. There are a fair number of decent Bluetooth controllers now on the market (make sure the controller you select is rated as MFi – see below for more details on Apple’s MFi licensing programme), and many game designers have honed their titles to take advantage of the enhanced dexterity these controllers offer.
Once you’ve chosen a controller (here’s our guide to the best MFi game controllers for iPad & iPhone), the next question is, which games are compatible with MFi controllers – and, more importantly, which are the best games for MFi controllers and gamepads? In this article we’ve put together a list of the best MFi-compatible games currently available, so you can grab your gamepad and level up your iOS gaming experience.
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: What is MFi?
To be sure a controller is compatible with your iDevice, it’s best to make sure it’s certified as MFi, which stands for Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad – a licensing programme run by Apple, which guarantees that third-party gamepads can be paired with your iOS device. MFi-certified products are allowed to use logos like this:
You can read more about Apple’s MFi programme here.
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Asphalt 8: Airborne
While iPhones lend themselves reasonable well to the tilt-to-turn style of driving control, there’s still nothing quite as precise for taking those hairpins as an actual controller. Using one on Asphalt 8: Airborne makes everything feel tighter and ramps up the tension as you battle in races with a number of real-life players online. As an added bonus you can even play it on your Apple TV.
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Crashlands
After galactic delivery driver Flux Dabes has his ship destroyed, leaving him stranded on a strange planet, he has no option but to forage, fight, and create a little fun for gamers. This action-RPG title features a strong crafting element, plenty of colourful aliens to avoid, and its tongue firmly in its cheek. The recent addition of game controller support now makes it an almost compulsory purchase.
Content continues below
£1.49 | Crashlands on App Store
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: FIFA Mobile
Sports titles don’t get any bigger than the annual football festival that is FIFA. Adding a controller to the affair makes a massive improvement to the experience and really brings the furious action alive. FIFA Mobile features a range of management options, skill challenges, online gameplay, and a new Attack mode that pits forwards against defenders in a training ground-style challenge.
There are a few downsides, including a requirement for a constant internet connection and EA’s standard barrage of in-app purchases, but if you want a game of footy on your iPad then this is the one.
FREE | FIFA Mobile on App Store
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved
No list of controller-compatible games would be complete without the frenetic excitement that is Geometry Wars 3. Playing on a fast moving 3D matrix you need to guide your spacecraft to safety, all the while battling enemies, big bosses, and a pounding techno beat. It’s an exhilarating, difficult and rewarding game that’s not for the faint of heart.
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: GTA: Vice City
Rockstar’s all-conquering Grand Theft Auto series has been a mainstay of gaming now for over a decade. While there are a few classic GTA titles on iOS – including GTA 3 and GTA San Andreas – we think the heady slice of 80s nostalgia found in Vice City is a perfect match for the dark humour that permeates the world. Steal a car, a bike, anything with wheels, and cause mayhem. It’s the GTA way.
£3.99 | GTA: Vice City on App Store
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Lego Star Wars – The Complete Saga
With Rogue One recently appearing in cinemas, what better way to celebrate the return of Star Wars than to play through the whole story with the aid of Lego versions of the characters? The Lego games are brilliant, fun to play, and have a superb sense of humour that adds plenty to the occasion. What’s more you can download episode one for free and then upgrade to the complete saga for £4.99. Hours of quality entertainment for a paltry amount. The games even make Episode II an enjoyable experience, something George Lucas could not manage.
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Oceanhorn
If you’re a fan of the Zelda series of games then Oceanhorn will be a familiar treat. This action adventure has you playing a young boy trying to trace the whereabouts of his mysteriously disappeared father. There are beautiful worlds to explore, magic to be learned, characters to meet and monsters to defeat. A real gem of a game.
£3.99 | Oceanhorn on App Store
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana is a wonderful action RPG with depth, humour and a great soundtrack. It’s similar to The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past (and was the only rival to come anywhere near that game’s greatness); the interface is slightly clunkier, but you have three characters in your party instead of one, and those characters have a much wider range of weapons and magic spells.
This iOS port keeps almost everything about the early 1990s original (including the imperfect interface – although you can now add a few quick-access shortcuts to favoured spells, weapon choices etc) but the transition to touchscreen, necessitating onscreen joypad and buttons, does make controlling the three characters a bit more challenging. Which is why we would recommend hooking up an MFi controller and increasing the transparency on the onscreen buttons in the game’s options so they don’t spoil the view.
£2.99 | Secret of Mana on the App Store
Best MFi-compatible iPhone & iPad games: Transistor
Transistor is an excellent action-RPG from the creators of Bastion – another MFI-compatible title we heartily recommend. In this game you play the part of Red, a jazz singer who has had her voice stolen and now wields a huge talking sword that accompanies her through the futuristic, Blade Runner style world of Cloud City seeking revenge. The visual and audio stylings are gorgeous, while the combat and problem solving are intelligent and challenging right from the get-go. It’s not a cheap game, but it is a quality one.
£7.99 | Transistor on App Store