The best escape-the-room games don’t just test your creative problem-solving skills – they look great, too. Released in October this year by Antler (the developer of the succesful VR puzzle SVRVIVE: The Deus Helix), Krystopia offers everything you could want in the genre, including loads of strange, complex puzzles to solve and an intriguing backstory.
When Nova Dune’s spaceship picks up a mysterious distress signal, her curiosity gets the better of her. She tracks it to a barren planet, where the only sign of civilisation is a massive stone gateway embedded in the cliffs. Beyond this gate, Nova discovers a series of doorways, one after the other, all locked.
Get ready for an epic adventure with Pearl Abyss' visually stunning Black Desert Mobile, available now for iOS and Android
Following a hugely successful pre-registration campaign, Pearl Abyss' much-hyped MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, has finally arrived for iOS and Android. With some of the most impressive visuals on mobile, a vast open world to explore, an in-depth character creator, and some real storytelling chops, it's easy to see why over 4.5 million players have pre-registered to get involved in this fantasy epic asap.
You'll begin your adventure by picking one of five classes: Warrior, Witch, Ranger, Giant, or Valkyrie. As you might expect, they all play very differently, boasting their own skills, stats, and general play style. To really make your avatar unique to you, Black Desert Mobile offers one of the most extensive character creators we've seen in a game to date, allowing you to tweak every element of your hero's appearance down to the tiniest of details. Once you've created your perfect character, you'll begin your adventure in the game's stunning open world.
Elder Scrolls: Blades started out as one of the most hyped mobile games of 2019, boasting some impressive visuals and no shortage of promise. Our hopes were somewhat dashed when it eventually launched and we all became privy to its mishandled monetisation, barebones gameplay loop, and shocking lack of personality.
It was quite dire, all told – especially when you factor in the egregious chest timers which had a tendency to stop the game in its tracks. Thankfully, update 1.5 strips away some of the worst free-to-play nonsense while also offering gem refunds to players who purchased chest inventory expansions.
The update generally appears to focus on fixing Blades' progression, increasing loot drops from enemies and adding more item-filled breakables to the game's countless dungeons.
Another sizeable addition is the PvP arena. This has apparently been a fan-requested feature since launch, and it looks like decent fun for those who've put in the effort to earn powerful equipment. Guilds are also now live, allowing you to meet up with other players and even explore their towns.
It sounds like Blades is definitely headed in the right direction, though I have to wonder whether it might be a little too late to win back those who bounced off after becoming frustrated with the timers or dodgy progression at launch.
I'm definitely planning to give it another go at some point, maybe when it comes to Nintendo Switch next year. If you're yet to do so, you can download Elder Scrolls: Blades from either the App StoreorGoogle Play.
In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.
Patch notes have been removed and have been replaced with (NEW) designation for the games most recently added or updated on this list.
Games marked with an asterisk(*) are games that suffer in rank due to technical problems.
All current rankings are listed below. More titles will be added frequently until the list is complete.
This is Part 2 of our Apple Arcade Ranking list. To see part 1, go here.
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Possessions. is a game about rotating dioramas around to solve perspective-shifting puzzles. A picture might be hanging in midair, for example, and you need to slide your camera perspective so that it fills an empty space on the gallery wall of the bedroom. As you complete levels, you’re also treated to mini-cutscenes that tell a small story about the people that inhabit these spaces.
The puzzle mechanics of Possessions. are really neat, but I’d like to see them in a more compelling package. The challenge in this game never really evolves, and only gets harder by adding more objects to fix (and sometimes via a fixed order or logic that is never really explained). The story this game tells is also so vague that it might as well not even be there. It seems like it’s going for something emotional, but there’s not enough detail or information to really tell what is going on, making it just feel like a bunch of filler.
52. Oceanhorn 2
The follow up to Oceanhorn, Oceanhorn 2 is an action adventure game that bears more than a little resemblance to The Legend of Zelda games. You play as a young adventurer with a sword who journeys into dungeons in order to solve puzzles, discover new items, and use those items to help you with the next dungeon.
Oceanhorn 2 might as well be called The Legend of Zelda: Knockoff Edition. If you’re itching for a Zelda-like experience on iOS, this one fits the bill, but it’s not anywhere near as well designed as the real deal. Oceanhorn 2 also seems designed to take great screenshots, but has moments when in motion where it can look kinda janky. The game itself seems fine, but just feels derivative.
53. Pinball Wizard
You play pinball, but your ball is a wizard, and your table is a tower floor littered with enemies and loot. In Pinball Wizard, your goal is to get as high up a tower as possible without dying. All the while, you collect experience and money that you can spend on upgrades to your wizard between rounds so that you’ll stand a better chance at making it further up the tower on your next play session.
The idea of Pinball Wizard is incredible, but I don’t really love the execution. The pinball physics here feel very weird. Your wizard hugs the wall in an odd way and everything feels slow and sluggish. Also, it’s only playable in landscape mode, which seems odd for a pinball game. It’s fun enough despite these minor gripes, but it’s hard not to feel like Pinball Wizard isn’t fully realizing its potential.
54. Rayman Mini
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Rayman Mini is an auto-runner much in the same vein as other Rayman entries on iOS. Rayman has been shrunk, and the only way to undo this spell is by running through levels full of huge bugs, jumping on giant leaves, mushrooms, and other flora to specified exits, apparently. As you work your way through these levels, you can gather collectibles that unlock new costumes for your limbless protagonist.
There’s a whole lot of auto-runners on Apple Arcade, and Rayman Mini decides to be the one that stands out by using popular characters and being weirdly technical. Even in early levels, collecting every little item is a challenge that requires a high degree of level memorization and sharp reflexes. Part of this is by design. Rayman Mini wants you retrying levels until you’ve perfected runs through them. The only problem is that I find it overly difficult to navigate levels due to Rayman Mini’s controls, which feel weirdly imprecise and slow given the demands of the game.
55. INMOST (NEW)
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INMOST is a platformer with an emotional story driving things along. You play as a variety of characters through various vignettes, and solve puzzles and learn how these seemingly disparate characters are tied together. To set the mood, INMOST also sports a beautifully dark pixel art style.
I’m intrigued by the story of INMOST, but I don’t really enjoy playing it. The platforming is slow and clunky, and a lot of the puzzles rely on trial-and-error. Instead of feeling challenging—which is what I believe INMOST is going for with these decisions—it makes for a pretty boring and repetitive experience.
56. Skate City
Skate your way through three different cities, whether just to find perfect lines or complete specific challenges. Skate City is kind of a 2D take on the Skate series, where you aren’t doing crazy trick combos or finding collectibles. Instead, the focus is on performing specific tricks and riding smoothly.
Overall I’m not super impressed with Skate City. The controls are not as intuitive as they look. It’s visuals also look kind of clunky. This, plus the fact that Skate City has very little personality to speak of, makes it feel pretty forgettable.
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Three little piggies are dead set on muddying up a farm, but they have to be smart to make sure they aren’t caught by a farm hand that’s trying to keep the place clean. This is the setup for Hogwash, an asymmetrical multiplayer game where teams of three players try to outsmart one player who is trying to chase down and hogtie all three pesky pigs.
Hogwash is like a family-friendly version of Dead by Daylight, and it’s a decent one of those. Without a horror element though, Hogwash doesn’t feel particularly intense, and therefore a little less rewarding than the game it draws inspiration from. To it’s credit, it seems like there is a decent online community playing Hogwash, but I don’t see a whole lot of promise in its mechanics to make me want to keep playing it.
58. Jumper Jon (NEW)
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Jumper Jon is an exploration platformer where you only have 30 seconds to make it between checkpoints, or else you die. In this way it feels kind of like a mashup between Castlevania and Minit. You race through puzzle rooms, jumping over obstacles and on enemies as quickly as possible in hopes you can make it to a golden feather that will restore your clock to a fresh 30 seconds. Then, you do it all over again.
I don’t care how creative your platformer is if it doesn’t feel good to play. Such is the case with Jumper Jon. The limited time limit makes you feel like you’re speedrunning a game you’ve never played before, but it ultimately doesn’t feel satisfying because of the floaty controls.
tint. is a puzzle game about mixing watercolor paints on a virtual notebook. You paint lines from pools of color in an effort to activate certain colored nodes. The trick is that these nodes might be different colors than your pools, or they might be surrounded by lines of other colors. To circumvent this, you have to be creative in how you have your colors intersect to create new colors while also leaving space for you to activate all notes on a given page.
tint. has a lot of neat ideas, but there are a few things about it that rub me the wrong way. There are arbitrary rules about how many times your paints can be mixed and how to draw your paint lines that make the game feel less like a playful puzzle game and more like a chore. The end result of each puzzle never really ends up looks too artistic either, which feels odd against a backdrop that is so clearly in love with its art-based premise.
A portrait-mode real-time strategy about planetary annihilation, Stellar Commanders pits two players against each other in a plodding race to see who can control the most territories before destroying the environment. Combat itself operates a lot like Clash Royale’s Elixr-based system, but involves a lot more management of node control, and subverting your opponent’s expectations.
The store page for Stellar Commanders looks rad as hell. There’s helicopers, rockets, and tanks deploying simultaneously all over the planet. Too bad this isn’t really how the game plays, or—if it is—it’s not how things start. Matches in Stellar Commanders move at an odd, lumbering pace, where it never really feels like you’re particularly productive. You can only really do single actions at a time and spend a lot of time just waiting to see what your enemy does to see if you can counter it. To be clear, this can deliver satisfying moments from time to time, but it’s not enough to make it something you’ll want to return to regularly.
61. Star Fetched (NEW)*
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There’s a lot of genre-mixing going on in Star Fetched. It’s an action platformer, but it also has a good amount of crafting, rpg elements, and even tower defense. The whole concept of the game is you’re a goofy little space explorer looking to save the galaxy from an imminent alien threat.
None of Star Fetched’s component parts feel fully cooked. Come to think of it, the game just doesn’t seem finished. In addition to feeling shallow on all fronts, Star Fetched has a lot of rough edges. Tons of bugs hamper what would already be a pretty middling experience.
62. Fledgling Heroes*
Fledging Heroes is an auto-runner where you pilot various birds through different environments. In controlling birds, tapping in this game causes your bird to flap, and—depending on what kind of bird you happen to be controlling—said flap may behave differently. Some levels ask you to complete certain challenges in order to gather feathers (which then unlock new areas), while others are time trials of sorts that grant similar rewards. There’s also endless modes, boss stages, and even a level editor.
If you’re going to release a runner on mobile in 2019, it better be something incredible. This is a genre that’s been done to death on mobile, so it’s hard for me to muster excitement for these games unless there’s some really creative twist involved. Unfortunately, Fledgling Heroes does very little change things up. The one edge it presents is the ability to create your own levels, but my experience in level creation was marred with bugs.
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Rosie’s Reality is a puzzle game where you need to build pathways for a robot to reach an exit. You can’t just build any old pathway, though. You only get a specific set of special tiles to build your paths, and you need to use these to avoid enemy robots, jump over obstacles, and take advantage of your surroundings to reach your goal.
There are a lot of neat things about Rosie’s Reality, with the blend of AI programming with traversal puzzling being chief among them. Unfortunately though, Rosie’s Reality is obsessed with its own animations, and it makes for a game that moves at a frustratingly slow pace. If this game got updated to make it a little more responsive to player input and less focused on drawing attention to every little movement on screen, Rosie’s Reality could shoot up these charts. Until then, it’ll hang out right here.
At the end of last month, Codebrew Games announced an update coming to their popular city-builder, Pocket City some time this month. In this update is the promise of expanding your city out into other regions, enacting policies, and more. The full info on the update—as well as a link to sign up to test these new features—can be found here.
I’ve spent the last week or so testing out this new content for Pocket City, and it makes for an undeniably better game. That said, I wasn’t super impressed with Pocket City when it first released, and this update doesn’t suddenly change my entire impression of the game. It’s still got some rules that feel too restrictive, but it finally allows you to build public transit that makes sense, which was one of my primary grievances with the original version of the game.
Something to note about this new update to Pocket City is that it doesn’t provide much to new players. To start enacting policies or expanding between regions, you have to level up your city to at least level 28, which takes some doing. Even when you get there, it doesn’t feel like it shifts the gameplay too much. In fact, after I got the ability to pass policies to improve my city, I routinely forgot to actually do it because my city was cruising along just fine without their benefits in play.
If you’re eyeing this update to Pocket City as a way to really deepen the experience of playing it, I think you’ll be disappointed. That said, this December update—whenever it drops—improves the base game and adds a couple more layers to Pocket City that make it more interesting than it was previously.
Pearl Abyss' stunning open-world MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, is set to launch for iOS and Android on December 11th at 12 AM PST (8 AM UTC). However, those looking to get in early and test out the in-depth character customisation will be able to pre-download the game from today.
One advantage of doing so is that it'll allow you to get in early and select your preferred Family Name. If you're unfamiliar with Black Desert, this is the title that displays above your character for your fellow players to see.
NetEase's inventive 5v5 anime MOBA, Extraordinary Ones, has now opened for pre-registration ahead of its global launch in early 2020. The game seems to have received a fairly warm reception from fans after its soft-launch earlier in the year, largely thanks to its visuals, level of polish, and fast-paced, mobile-friendly matches.
It's set in an academy called Esper School, where the pupils fight to defeat the 'Base Principal' in order to seize victory. At launch, you can expect a roster of 36 distinct heroes to collect, many of whom come from traditional Chinese mythology. New heroes are planned to release each week after launch, so hopefully the game will remain fresh for at least a decent while.
With this one, NetEase aims to deliver a fresh MOBA experience designed from the ground up for mobile devices. Gameplay is intended to be fast and reactive, with players able to utilise, for example, the teleports dotted throughout each arena in order to put together surprise attacks. You can also focus on hunting specific monsters in order to gain powerful buffs which can turn the tide of battle.
There's a handful of pre-registration rewards up for grabs, including an in-game avatar and a limited-edition hero skin at 150,000 pre-registrations. In order to get as many free rewards as possible, you can pre-register for Extraordinary Ones right now over onGoogle Play. And you can find more info about the game over on its official site.
Dragon Raja is an upcoming MMORPG from Zulong Games. It’s proven to be an extremely popular title over in China. It’s set in a very cool-looking Cyberpunk world that oozes style. It’s now available for pre-register on Android.
It promises a large open world that will even have day and night cycle alongside other pretty visual effects. It will make use of the UE4 engine so you can expect the shadow and lighting to be of a good standard, which you can catch glimpses of in the trailer below.
The open-world you’ll be playing in is a pleasant mix of old and new tech. Characters wield swords but also sport futuristic looking armour. You’ll also do battle with a variety of fantasy-inspired monsters including the titular dragons who are waking up from a lengthy slumber.
As you might expect with an MMORPG there will be plenty of character customisation options, again which you can see in the trailer above, as well as four classes to choose from. The combat will also be real-time in both PVE and PVP. There will also be PVP battles with support for up to 100 players which, if it works well, would certainly be very impressive.
Dragon Raja is available to pre-register now on Google Play. It will be available to pre-register on iOS soon too and we will update you when you can. Similarly, there’s currently still no official word on the release date, so we’ll let you all know as soon as there is.
Dream Detective is a very beautiful looking object hunting game from FunPlus and Game Century. I’m generally not massively fond of these types of games but this one certainly has an art style you don’t see often that really helps it stand out. It’s available now for iOS and Android.
The various paintings that you’ll be pixel hunting seem to be inspired by, well, almost anything really. There’s everything from references to famous paintings such as Edvard Munch’s ‘Scream’ to Ancient Egyptian tombs and even the Superbowl.
So, it’s a mixture of well-known places, events and even art. It’s all stylised with the same aesthetic though, which makes a lot of the appeal come from seeing the different paintings in the first place. There are over 200 to see in the game itself where you’ll be hunting for a list of objects.
There is a story in Dream Detective to that tries to tie all of this together. When you’re hunting through the different paintings you’ll be technically playing as a young girl called Allie. She’s ended up in a place called Dream Land where a Time Crystal has been shattered, you’ll have to restore order by finding objects that shouldn’t be there or are out of their usual place.
It promises thousands of lines of dialogue, so it certainly sounds like they’ve put a lot of time into the game’s narrative. How good that is will, of course, depend on the quality of writing and if the story can be interesting enough for people to pay attention to it rather than solely hunting for objects.
Sometimes it’s hard to stick with a game, even if you enjoy playing it. Perhaps it’s just too stressful, perhaps it disturbs you, or—as is the case with Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror—you might not be down with its narrative conceit.
Queen’s Wish: The Conquerer is an open-world role-playing game from Spiderweb Software that’s been five years in the making. As soon as you boot it up, you can tell the love and craftmanship poured into the game, particularly via the game’s writing and attention-to-detail. My only problem with it is it’s asking me something I don’t really want to do: reclaim a colony as part of the queen’s empire.
Old is the new ‘new’, if the popularity of retro games is anything to go by, and nostalgia junkies now have one more reason to get excited. OutOfTheBit studio has just launched a top-down racing game that pays homage to those arcade favourites of the 1980s and ‘90s. Super Arcade Racing stays true to the beloved games which inspired it, combining simple controls, hand-drawn pixel art and pancake-flat 2D tracks to race around. There’s even a cracking synth soundtrack.
The game’s single player is essentially its story mode. You control Mick, our reluctant hero dragged into the world of illegal street racing to find out what happened to his brother. As you topple racing rivals across the 60 levels, you’ll edge ever closer to revealing the underground organisation up to no good — and saving your sibling.
For most of us playing a mobile game is just a harmless way to kill some time, fight boredom or get a nice quick adrenaline fix. We don’t expect this to have any influence whatsoever on any other creature in the world.
Well this is not the case if you choose Sea Turtle Rescue. Recently released by indie outfit Simberon, Sea Turtle Rescue is intended to help real life sea turtles, with its Ottawa-based developer donating 10% of all profits from the game to the Canadian Sea Turtle Network – a charitable organization from Nova Scotia which helps conserve endangered sea turtles in Canadian waters and world-wide.
Sea Turtle Rescue is a tile-based puzzle game where you match numerical sequences to create paths for baby turtles to reach the sea. From there on, your efforts will be focused on avoiding different threats on the beach as you move your hatchling along the 12 different levels.
Over the Thanksgiving break, a bunch of games went on sale, but one in particular is worth talking about. Xenowerk Tactics, in addition to falling to $3, got a huge content update alongside it’s price drop. Even though the game is back up to full price, you need to buy it now if you haven’t already.
In my initial review of Xenowerk Tactics, I liked it well enough, but the game felt a little too easy. In building and managing a team of professional alien killers, there was always the potential for me to lose a soldier or get forced into a retreat, but it essentially never happened. I could almost always just take everything in stride and kill aliens with abandon without any problems. This update changes that.
Our latest VR obsession is Colonicle, an intense VR FPS, recently released on Oculus and Google Play, courtesy of From Fake Eyes and Goboogie Games. It's a pulse-pounding multiplayer shooter which should appeal to genre fanatics and newcomers alike.
While your standard multiplayer FPS might see you striking out to fight alone, Colonicle is very much about teaming up with friends or friendly strangers to take on rival players in challenging, mobile-friendly gunfights.
The team has worked hard to make sure the game controls well and looks good in VR, and there's enough complexity to its systems to appease FPS fans while remaining intuitive and accessible to those with less experience with the genre.