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Campbell Bird

Reviews Editor | 148Apps

Campbell has been writing about games for the majority of his adult life and made the jump into covering mobile games in 2013. He is always on Twitter when he's not playing games.

Connect with Campbell:
Game Center: namestolen
Twitter: @campbellbirds

Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 50 [Updated 12.13]

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 13th, 2019

In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.

Patch Notes:

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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51+ [Updated 12.13]

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 13th, 2019

This is Part 2 of our Apple Arcade Ranking list. To see part 1, go here.


51. Sneaky Sasquatch

Description:

Sneaky Sasquatch is a stealth game where you play as a cryptid who steals food from unsuspecting campers for survival. Each day, you wander campsites looking for picnic baskets, grills, and coolers to snatch food out of so you don’t go hungry. All your excess food can also be sold to a friendly bear so you can buy sneaky gear.

Rank Explanation:

It’s a funny concept, but Sneaky Sasquatch feels a little too aimless. You just steal things, eat, sleep, and repeat. Such is the life of a sasquatch, I guess. I was just hoping for a little more. As a stealth-action game, it also doesn’t feel exactly well-suited for mobile play. The developers seem to account for this by making the AI of the people you’re sneaking around pretty dumb, but that makes the stealth element a less satisfying as a result.


52. ChuChu Rocket! Universe

Description:

In ChuChu Rocket! Universe, you have to lead mice to a rocket using arrows you draw on the ground. In this particular entry, there’s a single-player focus full of levels with various puzzles and challenges. Universe still features multiplayer, but it is relegated to a small sub-menu.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t have any nostalgia for the original ChuChu Rocket!, so this game doesn’t do a whole lot for me. It’s a lot like heaps of other puzzle games on the App Store, and features a multiplayer mode that is so fast-paced that I’m not really sure what’s going on at any given moment. Still though, it’s a really well made puzzle game.


53. Down in Bermuda

Description:

Down in Bermuda gives players an isometric view of colorful dioramas that you mostly just tap around in to solve puzzles. It kind of bridges the gap between a hidden object game and adventure game, as some tapping actions revolve around simply spotting certain kinds of objects, where as others require some logic and environmental manipulation.

Rank Explanation:

When I play Down in Bermuda, I’m reminded of titles like GNOG, and Vignettes, though both of those games are more enjoyable. There are some wonky controls in Down in Bermuda that definitely take some getting used to. Also, this game is a little overwhelming with the amount of things it wants you to collect and tap on. Some of these things result in entertaining and clever interactions, but there are other collection objectives that just feel like filler.


54. Possessions.

[img id="101489" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


55. Oceanhorn 2

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


56. Pinball Wizard

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


57. Rayman Mini

[img id="101607" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


58. INMOST

[img id="102013" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


59. Skate City

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


60. Hogwash

[img id="101667" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


61. Jumper Jon

[img id="102014" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


62. tint.

[img id="101367" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


63. Stellar Commanders

[img id="101365" alt=""][img id="101366" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


64. Star Fetched*

[img id="102015" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


65.BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner (NEW)

[img id="102099" alt=""][img id="102100" alt=""]

Description:

Launch your bunny pilot into the skies to blast away baddies and collect coins. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner combines the mechanics of a vertical shooter and a fishing game. As you are launched out on your journey, you want to blast as many things as possible, but when your rope runs out, you cast a net and want to collect as many coins and other currencies as possible. Upon your return, you can use your collectibles to upgrade your ship to take on harder airspaces.

Rank Explanation:

This game feels an awful lot like Ridiculous Fishing, but it is nowhere near as charming or satisfying. The overall game is also slow and poorly explained. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner feels like a way to waste your time while buying upgrades. It’s certainly not the worst way to do that on Apple Arcade, but nothing about this game comes off as exciting or innovative.


66. Fledgling Heroes*

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.


67.Rosie’s Reality

[img id="101701" alt=""]

Description:

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.

Rank Explanation:

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.

Two Spies is pretty fun, but it's hard to play with other people

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 12th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Two Spies just dropped on the App Store this week, and it looks pretty neat. The game has two players capturing various cities across Europe, with the goal of eventually spotting and striking the other spy down. It may be simple-looking, but after playing the tutorial and a few bot matches, there’s a hidden depth here that makes it seem like something I’d want to play regularly on my phone.

Tile Snap review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on December 11th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FAIR PUZZLER
This puzzler isn’t particularly complicated, but that’s ok.
Read The Full Review »

Hands-On with the Pocket City December Update

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 9th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: PREMIUM BUT NOT PERFECT :: Read Review »

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.

The Best Board Games on Mobile

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 6th, 2019

Today is the start of PAX Unplugged, the only PAX focused entirely around board games. In commemoration of its third year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the best mobile board games out there. Check out the list below.


Shards of Infinity

Shards of Infinity is hands-down the best deck-building game you can get on mobile. If you’re into Dominion or Ascension, you’ll be familiar with the gameplay of Shards of Infinity, but this game stands apart in how directly competitive it is. Check this game out if you want a great asynchronous multiplayer game or want to hone your deck-building skills against AI opponents.

Fighting with colonialism in Queen's Wish: The Conqueror

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 5th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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.

She Sees Red review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on December 4th, 2019
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: RUSSIAN REPLAY
This FMV game weaves a dense narrative, but very little else about the game is appealing.
Read The Full Review »

Go buy Xenowerk Tactics right now

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 3rd, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EASY EXTERMINATION :: Read Review »

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.

148Apps Black Friday Guide

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 29th, 2019

Is it too early for Black Friday? Yes, absolutely. But does Apple agree? No, apparently not. Tons of games have already been discounted on the App Store, and we'd like to give you a definitive guide on the best deals to grab.

To be clear, we won't be posting EVERY game sale on this page. For a firehose of all deals on games regardless of quality, look elsewhere. What we're listing below is just the deals on games that you definitely should buy if you haven't already.


Xenowerk Tactics - $2.99

Click here to read the review


Kingdom Rush: Vengeance - $2.99

Click here to read the review


Space Marshals 2 - $1.99

Click here to read the review


Grimvalor - $ 1.99



Click here to read Pocket Gamer's Grimvalor review


Fighting Fantasy Legends

Click here to read the review


Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise

Click here to read the review


Transistor - $0.99

Click here to read Pocket Gamer's Transistor review


Sentinels of the Multiverse - $0.99

Click here to read the review

OneBit Adventure review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 26th, 2019
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: REPETITIVE ROGUELITE
This roguelite feels tuned for distracted play, which makes it feel pretty flat.
Read The Full Review »

A Life of Logic review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 21st, 2019
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: DEFIES LOGIC
There’s a brilliant core hidden inside this rotten free-to-play mess.
Read The Full Review »

Steam Link Spotlight - Sin Slayers

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 20th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Out last entry talked about Warsaw. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience over here.

Spring Falls review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 18th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FALLS SHORT
This pretty puzzle game gets a lot of things right, but ultimately doesn’t feel that satisfying.
Read The Full Review »

Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for beginners

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 14th, 2019

Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the competition.