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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 25 [Updated 7.10]

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 10th, 2020

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.

*UPDATE:* As the pace of Apple Arcade has slowed, old games will also be re-evaluated based on reader feedback and content updates. Recently re-evaluated titles will be designated with (UPDATE) next to the title name.

Game ranking updates for 7/10:

  • Neo Cab (#13)
  • Monomals (#14)
  • Legend of the Skyfish 2 (#34)
  • Creaks (NEW) (#37)
  • Jumper Jon (#84)
  • Fledgling Heroes (#86)

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.

Clash Royale: The Road to Legendary Arena: Royal Arena

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 9th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: ROYALLY FUN :: Read Review »

Supercell recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and their best title, Clash Royale, is as good as it's ever been. Even for lapsed players, returning to the game is as easy as can be.

If you want to join us in picking the game back up, we've put together this guide series to help guide you through each arena with a top deck recommendation and some tips for how to do it. Check it out below, as well as all of our other Clash Royale guides.

Distract Yourself With These Great Mobile Games on Sale Right Now

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 9th, 2020

There’s a lot going on right now, and I don’t really feel like trying to write some kind of pithy intro for it. All I’ll say is lots of people have been coming together and helping each other in small ways, and I’m choosing to focus on that as I try to stay safe myself.

One of the ways folks are trying to help are by making their games more affordable, or even free, during this time. Check out my top picks below of some great mobile titles that have gone on sale recently:

Games marked with an asterisk(*) denote that the entire developer/publisher’s catalog is discounted, despite the fact that all of their games may not be listed here.

Steam Link Spotlight - Disco Elysium

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 8th, 2020
+ 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. Our last entry was Signs of the Sojourner Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

For this entry, I dove into Disco Elysium, an open world role playing game where you play as a detective who has just woken up from an epic hangover, and is now tasked with attempting to solve a murder while trying to piece together his own whereabouts and life. What sets this game apart from other role playing games though is that it shies away from combat and instead relies on dialog-based interactions between characters, which works mostly because the game is very well written and full of detailed and lively characters.

Night in the Unpleasant House review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on July 6th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: UNDONE BY UNPLEASANTNESS
Well I’m not sure what I was expecting.
Read The Full Review »

Clash Royale: The Road to Legendary Arena: Builder's Workshop

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 3rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: ROYALLY FUN :: Read Review »

Supercell recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and their best title, Clash Royale, is as good as it's ever been. Even for lapsed players, returning to the game is as easy as can be.

If you want to join us in picking the game back up, we've put together this guide series to help guide you through each arena with a top deck recommendation and some tips for how to do it. Check it out below, as well as all of our other Clash Royale guides.

Apple Arcade is in trouble

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 1st, 2020

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Apple is disappointed in the performance of Apple Arcade and will be shifting their approach to the service by focusing on games that can retain subscribers and canceling other upcoming releases that don't fit this new vision.

Honestly, the only surprising thing about this news in my mind is the timing. Apple Arcade hasn't even been live for a year, and half of its existence has been admist a global pandemic, mass unemployment, and burgeoning civil unrest. If Apple was confident about its approach to its new games service, I would've thought they'd give it a little more time and leeway before shifting their approach.

I have been enjoying Apple Arcade and have been a loyal subscriber since it launched back in September. I've even given each game on the service a fair shake. But there's no denying that the service hasn't lived up to its promises.

The Innsmouth Case review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 30th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: LAUGHING AT LOVECRAFT
The Innsmouth Case takes clever jabs at Lovecraft’s work, but refuses to deliver a knockout punch.
Read The Full Review »

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 7.10]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 2 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101+


26. Bleak Sword

Description:

Bleak Sword challenges you with combat encounters that are encased in little monochromatic diorama scenes. There’s a story here, but the main focus is: Enter arena, kill enemies, get loot, level up, and repeat.

Rank Explanation:

It’s really hard to get action-based combat right on touchscreens, but Bleak Sword kind of nails it (and in portrait mode no less!). The controls are simple and responsive without feeling limiting. If you want micro doses of really stylish-yet-minimal action combat, this is the way to go.

Bleak Sword limits its appeal by being so reaction-based, not to mention super hard. Dying also comes with some hefty penalties that might make you want to put it down rather than digging in and mastering it.

Update: I’m a little bummed to have discovered that Bleak Sword apparently doesn’t keep a local save file. It’s always accessing iCloud, meaning you can’t continue your progress in the game unless you’re connected to data.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 7.10]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 3 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101+


51. Doomsday Vault

[img id="102678" alt=""]

Description:

Doomsday Vault is set in a bleak future where the Earth’s environment has collapsed. You play as a seemingly lone adventurer who is exploring the planet’s abandoned infrastructure in order to rescue some of the last remaining plant life so that you can hopefully restore the natural order. The resulting game is an exploration-focused puzzle platformer that challenges you to find hidden collectibles while managing your enviro-suit’s power.

Rank Explanation:

I love the concept, look, and puzzle design of Doomsday Vault a lot. There’s just something really satisfying about exploring every nook and cranny of these post-apocalyptic settings. My problem with it though is that the controls and UI are both pretty lousy. When I go to my dome to check on plants, there’s no apparent way to return to playing the game, and wandering through levels is needlessly clunky regardless of whether you’re playing with touch or a controller.

Update: Doomsday Vault recently added some challenge levels, which don’t add a whole lot to the game. Trying to speed run levels just doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the game’s exploratory vibe. What is important to note though is that the game’s touch controls have also been updated and include some customization options, which make the core game better.


52. Agent Intercept

[img id="101550" alt=""]

Description:

Agent Intercept is a cross between a racing game and a puzzle game. You play as a secret agent who is chasing all sorts of villains all over the world. In your chase, you need to drive fast, but you also get points for drifting, hitting jumps, and taking down henchmen. The ultimate goal of any level is to get the best score on the leaderboards, which change out every day when a new level becomes available.

Rank Explanation:

This game gets a lot of bonus points just based on its style alone. The super spy theming of Agent Intercept is so spot on and makes playing it feel really cool. Its “one challenge per day” structure also feels like a perfect dose for this kind of game. I just wish the driving felt a little better. The controls just give you a slider to move your vehicle from left to right, which doesn’t always feel the most responsive.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 7.10]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 4 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101+


76. Kings of the Castle

[img id="102886" alt=""]

Description:

Kings of the Castle is a super-colorful first-person platformer about collecting diamonds. Your goal is to parkour all over an environment, collecting these gems so you can pay a dragon to free a prince locked away in a castle.

Rank Explanation

There’s a lot I like about Kings of the Castle’s style and sense of speed, but it just doesn’t feel like a great fit for Apple Arcade. First-person platforming is tough, especially if you’re doing it via a touch screen, and the game’s multiplayer mode is basically nonexistent unless you can round up some real life friends to play with you.

Update: Kings of the Castle got some new daily challenges, but they don’t change the core experience in any meaningful way. The first-person platforming continues to show promise, but ultimately just feels too clunky to control.


77. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101+ [Updated 6.29]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 5 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101+


101. Lego Brawls

Description:

If you turned a side-scrolling beat ‘em up into a multiplayer game, you’d end up with something like Lego Brawls. Players make their own minifigures, join a team online, and battle in “territory control”-style competitions. In addition to using their fists, players can pick up items like hot dog guns and rocket ships shaped like fists to take down enemies and capture control points.

Rank Explanation:

There’s some goofiness and charm to Lego Brawls, but none of that comes from actually playing it. Without the appeal of Lego, Brawls is a really lite and floaty multiplayer game that grows stale almost immediately. This game also loses points because it’s basically multiplayer only.

Update: New maps and items have been added to a game that continues to have a pretty hollow core. Lego Brawls is begging for any amount of added precision to make swinging fish and swords at opposing minifigs feel like it involves any amount of skill or prowess.


102. Scrappers

[img id="104356" alt=""]

Description:
In the far-flung future, the Earth is only inhabited by two things: robots and trash. This is the setup for Scrappers, a side-scrolling beat ‘em up where you play as a robotic sanitation worker who needs to fight their way through junkyards while depositing trash into your truck to earn money. You can also do all of this with up to three other people in the game’s co-op mode.

Rank Explanation:
Scrappers is a mound of poor decisions that got bundled up into a colorful package. Beat ‘em ups are rarely ever good; co-op focused games with no matchmaking make for a boring time; and making “picking up trash” your differentiating mechanic is not exactly my idea of fun. Even if you happen to like beat ‘em ups, Scrappers is a tough sell because of how easy it is to exploit the game’s combat system and suck all of the challenge out of it.

Crying Suns review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 25th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RECURSIVE ROGUELITE
Crying Suns is an innovative and modern evolution of FTL’s winning roguelite formula.
Read The Full Review »

Death Come True review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 25th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: VIDEO GAME
Death Come True is a thrilling and competent (though conventional) FMV mystery.
Read The Full Review »

Golf on Mars "review"

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 23rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad


Golf on Mars is a minimalist golf game and the follow up to Desert Golfing. In it, you traverse a seemingly unending Martian landscape by hitting a golf ball from hole to hole using the tried-and-true pull-and-release touch control scheme popularized by Angry Birds. But there are no birds here, much less any that explode. Nor are there powerups, enemies, menus, or even levels. It's just you, the ball, the holes, and the seemingly endless Martian landscape for you to navigate. Oh, and there's a counter at the top that's tracking your total stroke count, too.