Apple is one of the biggest names in cell phones. Nintendo is one of the biggest names in video games. And while several individual properties have crossed between the two tech giants, with indie devs who’ve found a home on Switch eager to port their games to mobile, with the upcoming iOS 16 update, you’ll finally be able to use your Joy-Con (and Switch Pro controllers) with your iPhone.
Longtime Apple loyalists have already been able to use other gaming controllers via Bluetooth with their iPhones, but Nintendo’s current-gen console controllers will be the newest of the external options for mobile game fans. No matter what genre you call your gaming bread and butter, we created a list of pretty different titles we wish we could play with our Joy-Con on iOS.
10 Fire Emblem Heroes
A tactical fantasy RPG series with staying power, the Fire Emblem games have been wowing fans with strategic team-based for over three decades now. In February of 2017, the series hit mobile for the first time with Fire Emblem Heroes, a gacha-style crossover, which has remained Nintendo’s highest-grossing mobile game to date.
While some players might have an easier time with a screen they can click, longtime fans of the series might find familiar comfort in using joysticks and buttons to wage the war between Askr and Embla. Rife with Norse mythology references and engaging in its freemium nature, Fire Emblem Heroes is a great way to bring your favorite series on the go.
9 Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
The world won’t soon forget the explosive popularity the Animal Crossing series found at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with the accidentally well-timed launch of New Horizons in March of 2020. But fans of the series have been bringing their cute little friends on the go with them for years, including but not limited to doing so in Pocket Camp.
And while the game is fun in itself, sometimes, moving your villager can be a bit annoying. Using the Joy-Con to run around your camp sight will be just as satisfying to players as it is when they do it on their islands on the big screen.
8 Mario Kart Tour
Easily the best game on our list to drop in for a round or two if you’ve got an odd couple of minutes, Mario Kart Tour is a safe go-to for go-kart racing. The maps are interesting, the characters are varied, and the memes are a-plenty.
And besides, you’ve almost certainly played a Mario Kart game before – it’s a mainstay on Nintendo consoles. While Mario Kart Tour isn’t too totally different from the console versions of the concept, it’s a quick and simple way to keep yourself occupied. You’ll have infinitely more control over your colorful little avatar with the Joy-Con, so congratulations on all your future victories in iOS 16.
7 Stardew Valley
Born from a one-man team in an effort to patch the problems he had with modern Harvest Moon titles, Stardew Valley has had a whirlwind lifespan. Starting as a cute little indie darling on Steam and rapidly expanding across platforms, expansions, and nations, the game very quickly became a sensation.
Your favorite small-town sweethearts and the quirky friends you meet in the Valley have been available on iPhone since 2018, but with such tiny pixel details, you’ll want a little more precision if you’re trying to take your farming on the road. The game got its Switch port in 2017, so veteran players will already be comfortable with the controls.
Pretty much anyone who owns a pair of Joy-Con will have played fighting games with them before, with Smash Bros Ultimate being one of the Switch’s best-selling titles, so the familiar comfort of cartoon violence will feel natural when you use them for Brawlhalla, published by Ubisoft.
Like in any fighting game of its kind, the goal of Brawlhalla is to kick the crap out of your enemies and send them flying from the battlefield. And if you’re aiming for nimble steps, well-timed precision jumps, and attacks that land, the Joy-Con can only help in that regard.
5 Pokemon Unite
While it didn’t exactly take the world by storm like Pokemon Go, lovers of this timeless franchise rejoiced when Pokemon Unite launched in 2021. In it, you run around scoring points for your team by fending off and catching wild Pokemon. And wouldn’t sprinting be so much easier with a joystick?
The Pokemon franchise has already had massive success using Joy-Con for control, with Sword and Shield already dominant on the Switch and Scarlet and Violet on the way. If games from the series have already been optimized for Joy-Con use, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
4 Among Us
It’s kinda sus at this point if you’re not familiar with the mobile gaming titan that is Among Us. Launched in 2018 to limited fanfare, it enjoyed a massive burst in popularity in 2020. While it’s no longer a Twitch streaming mainstay, it’s not lost its popularity with mobile gamers.
Your goal is to kill your crewmates if you’re an impostor, while it shifts to sniffing out said impostor and staying alive if you’re not given the role of saboteur. The additional control offered with a joystick when you’re running around the game’s multiple maps could spell the difference between life and death.
Serving as one of the earliest titles for PC gaming videos online and leaving a massive impact since, we’ve probably all played Minecraft at some point in our gaming lives. Made public in 2009 and coming to mobile for the first time in 2011, this sandbox block-building game has enjoyed a long life of popularity.
Regardless of how you play, whether you’re a builder, a collector, or something in between, we all need to be able to run around the map, grab our resources, and stay alive. A little more control of your pixelated player can only enhance your playtime.
2 Genshin Impact
A game that currently has gatcha gamers in a frenzy, and also one that doesn’t currently have a Switch port itself, is the massively popular team-based RPG, Genshin Impact.
But miHoYo’s wildly popular hit is reportedly coming to Switch, so if they’re already optimizing it for use with the Joy-Con, how much easier would this addition make the game on mobile. It’s delightful to be able to bring the world of Teyvat along in our pockets, sure, but it’s always so much easier with a controller. If the game should soon be compatible with the Joy-Con and remains one of mobile gaming’s most popular titles, players will only benefit from the option.
The battle royale trend is still going just as strong as ever, and although it came out in 2017, the vice grip Fortnite has had on fans of the genre hasn’t let up since then. And with Epic reporting roughly 400 million users for the game overall, a good chunk of them are bound to be mobile gamers.
Since the game is free to download (with plenty of ways to spend money once you’re in), you shouldn’t have any problem getting into a match. But busy games like Fortnite are always much easier with a controller. Mobile is a great way to bring your favorite games on the go, but with so much to worry about in Fortnite, players will surely have a bit more luck earning their #1 Victory Royale with the Joy-Con.
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