We’ve all played plenty of bad free games—in many cases, games that seem really awesome, but have some insidious or poorly designed freemium model that ruins gameplay. Luckily, developers are learning from the mistakes of the past and coming up with free games that not only look great and play well, but don’t punish you by bothering you incessantly or blocking off content with lengthy, inane timers.
Let’s salute those games that strike the right balance, offering plenty of fun for free while making in-app purchases feel optional, yet meaningful. We had no problem assembling a list of our favorites from 2014, and you’ll find them all within. So clear some space on your iPhone or iPad, and get to downloading already!