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

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+


26. Exit the Gungeon

Description:

Exit the Gungeon is an action roguelite that has elements of bullet hell shooters. You ride elevators and clear floors of enemies that are shooting at you constantly. A couple twists are that 1) bullets can’t hurt you as long as you are airborne (or rolling) and 2) your gun transforms to have different properties every few seconds. It’s a wild, hectic time.

Rank Explanation:

I have a hard time imagining another action-oriented game charting higher on this list. Exit the Gungeon is simply fantastic. It’s endlessly replayable, humorous, and devilishly difficult (without feeling unfair). While it is definitely best played using a controller, Exit the Gungeon changes its mechanics for touch play in a way that makes a manageable (though a bit less enjoyable) experience.



27. Neo Cab

Description:

Neo Cab is a narrative adventure game where you work nights as a cab driver in the cyberpunk metropolis that is Los Ojos. As you drive around, you pick up all sorts of interesting characters and chat with them. While you do this, you need to balance your car’s charge, your driver rating, and try to solve an overarching mystery.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot of things I really like about Neo Cab’s look and storytelling, but there’s also a lot of things that make it a pretty poor mobile experience. The game has a great vibe and sharp writing, but there are way too few checkpoints in the game and it’s just a tad too easy to miss dialogue.


28. Asphalt 8: Airborne+

Description:

Gameloft--the king of knock-off PC and mobile games made for mobile--took a swing at making a Burnout-like title eight years ago. This old game has crept onto Apple Arcade while removing a lot of the paygate systems that existed in its original free-to-play form. The setup is simple: Pick a race type, pick a car, and then fly over ramps, drift around corners, and boost to slam into other racers to take them out as you complete objectives or simply try to cross the finish line first.

Rank Explanation:

I have to say: This game has aged extremely well. Asphalt 8 on original release was a great game at its core, but it was so heavily monetized that you'd be driven away from it unless you started dumping money in. With all of that stripped away, it's wild driving model still feels great, and its visuals hold up just fine. There's still a progression of currency and unlocks here, but it is manageable and (obviously) you can't pay your way around it. Currently, the Apple Arcade version of the game is missing a lot of features and modes that will apparently be added later, but what's here already is pretty dang great.


29. Reigns+

Description:

It's Reigns again! The first game in Nerial's now somewhat tired series of swipe-based management games is now on Apple Arcade. You play as a succession of kings that has to balance their kingdom's power between the church, people, military, and economy to complete achievements, discover new cards, and otherwise try to rule as long as possible.

Rank Explanation:

After being increasingly nonplussed by subsequent Reigns entries, I wasn't sure if the magic from the first game would still be there. As it turns out, the first game isn't all just novelty. It's still really good--almost better than I remember. It's whip-smart writing is the star, and doesn't get obscured by too many other gimmicks or puzzles like it does in later entries. If you're going to play one Reigns game on Apple Arcade, make it this one.


30. Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes

Description:

Imagine pinball, except the ball is a hero being launched into battle to take out zombies. That's what Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes is. This action-oriented pinball game has you complete challenges while fending off the undead by launching your round protagonist directly at them or objects in the environment that can help you slow their advance.

Rank Explanation:

I like the way Zombie Rollerz feels as compared to Pinball Wizard, but neither really feel like pinball or even quality alternatives. Zombie Rollerz has some neat ideas with how to turn pinball into a sort of combat puzzle, but it can sometimes get a bit too difficult to follow the action, which can lead to frustrating defeats. An update to Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes has added some new features and seemingly cleaned up its visuals a bit to make it easier to follow the action. Now it's a pretty neat pinball roguelite that I recommend, provided you can put up with some of its light free-to-play trappings.


31. Monster Hunter Stories+

Description:

This game--originally from 2017--is essentially Capcom's take on Pokémon, though set in the Monster Hunter universe. You play as a young hero from an isolated village of "riders" who seek to coexist with monsters and fight alongside them in battle. This conceit makes way for a grand adventure of collecting new monsters and leveling them up as you investigate a mysterious "black blight" spreading across the land.

Rank Explanation:

This monster collecting rpg is totally fine! It shows its age a bit, and doesn't feel quite as refined for mobile play as other mobile rpgs on Apple Arcade, but it's still decently fun nonetheless and can really satisfy anyone looking for a collect-a-thon experience. The story conceit still doesn't really make any sense if you think about it, but who cares? Just collect monsters and fight them against others and you'll be ok.


32. Spelldrifter

Description:

Spelldrifter mashes up collectible card game mechanics with those of a turn-based tactical rpg. You build a party, customize their decks, and then take three heroes into missions where you battle in close quarters. As you play, you start to unravel a story about how fate has tied your adventurers together.

Rank Explanation:

The first thing I’ll say about Spelldrifter is its tone kind of sucks. It reeks of lame baditude, but you can reduce most of this by simply playing the game on mute. Despite this issue, Spelldrifter has enough variety, mechanics, and depth to make it a really engaging and fun experience nonetheless. There’s tons of cool synergies and combos to play around with, and using that in a tactics-based environment feels really novel in a way that a lot of other Apple Arcade games don’t. Even with essentially no new updates, Spelldrifter remains a certified sleeper-hit for Apple Arcade in my book. Its blend of turn-based tactics and collectible card combat provides and original, core experience to Apple Arcade in a catalog that is lacking in this space.


33. Leo's Fortune+

Description:

Leo is a little blue-green-ish puffball who once had a great stash of gold, but it is now missing. Leo has some suspicions of who might have taken his riches, but he has to follow the trail of coins left behind to find out. This platformer uses unique mechanics tailored around touch controls, which helped establish it as a mobile classic back in 2014 and worthy of joining Apple Arcade's growing collection of older App Store hits.

Rank Explanation:

Leo's Fortune+ holds up as a great mobile platformer. Leo's movement and traversal options are still relatively unseen in other games, which helps it maintain its freshness. I'm not thrilled that the game has to download new content as you play, since that can make it a little harder to enjoy on-the-go, but the game itself is solid.


34. Monomals

Description:

Monomals is a cute and bright platformer about a fishing competition between animal DJs who are all hoping to catch creatures to help them make their music. The platforming involves piloting a fishing lure underwater through waters full of dangerous fish and other hazards.

Rank Explanation:

This game just has incredible style. It’s colorful, gorgeous, and joyous at every turn. Monomals also happens to be a pretty clever platformer that finds ways to challenge you without ever feeling particularly punishing. As you catch fish in the game, you unlock tools for a music creation mode, which is a fine-but-superfluous addition to addition to the game.


35. Legends of Kingdom Rush

Description:

Ironhide Studio takes their now classic Kingdom Rush franchise and turns it into a turn-based strategy game. Choose a party of three heroic adventurers and see how far you can make it through entire lands swarming with enemies. In this game, you'll need a strategic mind as well as a tactics one to guide your heroes and keep them in fighting condition to reach end bosses, level up, and unlock new heroes.

Rank Explanation:

Legends of Kingdom Rush is a pretty solid strategy game. It's a bit short, and its heroes are unbalanced as heck (I'm looking at you, OP Ranger), but it's still fun to thwack away at orcs and demons in Ironhide's colorful fantasy universe. Here's to hoping new stuff keeps coming in for this game to make it a bit more substantive for new players and give me reasons to dip back into it.


36. SongPop Party

Description:

SongPop Party is a relatively basic "name that tune" trivia game. Players can challenge themselves on in a single-player mode or go online to the "arena" and compete against live players to guess names of songs or artists. The player that gets the most answers correct (and the fastest) is crowned the champion and given rewards that can be used to unlock new playlists and character cosmetics.

Rank Explanation:

Your mileage might vary here, but as a fan of trivia and someone with a relatively broad musical knowledge, I find matches of SongPop Party very fun for what they are, and it scratches a certain kind of competitive itch I didn't know I had. It is literally just "guess the song's name or artist that is playing," but SongPop Party benefits from having a wide music selection and actual people playing it you can compete with.


37. Sayonara Wild Hearts

Description:

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a gorgeous game about arcana, motorcycles, and pop music. At its core, it’s an auto-runner, but it’s packed with so much style and charm that you can’t (and won’t) want to just write it off like that.

Rank Explanation:

I love the everything about the way Sayonara Wild Hearts looks, to the point I thought it would be number one with a bullet here before Apple Arcade even launched. Then, I played it and found the controls to be a little swimmy in a way that basically guarantees I won’t revisit it. Also, the music is just kind of... okay? Still fun though.


38. South of the Circle

Description:

South of the Circleis a narrative adventure game about explorers that find themselves stranded in the Antarctic. Along the way, your characters flash back to moments in their life leading up to this harrowing adventure, which also allow you to make some decisions to influence the story.

Rank Explanation:

Although there are some light puzzle-solving elements, South of the Circleis primarily a storytelling vehicle. This is a good thing though, as the game’s voice acting, art direction, and animations are all top-notch. Make sure to check this game out if you’re hankering for a unique story.


39. Tiny Wings+

Description:

The classic one-button runner has made its way to Apple Arcade. For the uninitiated, Tiny Wings is a game where you control a bird that can't fly. Instead, you have this bird dive bomb down hill slopes to build speed and momentum to fling you skyward. The game presents these hills endlessly with multiple worlds and sub-challenge to conquer as you try to fly as far as possible before you run out of daylight.

Rank Explanation:

Tiny Wings+ is a great, old game, but you probably have it already, right? Even if you don't it's $ 2 to just own without an Arcade subscription. This makes it kinda tricky to rank since it gains points for being definitely better than a lot of the service's offerings but loses them for not feeling like much of a value-add.


40. Cardpocalypse

Description:

Everyone at Jess’s new school is obsessed with a new card game, and she manages to get it banned on her first day. Cardpocalypse tells the story of Jess’s journey through the game of Mega Mutant Power Pets and how it shapes her childhood. Along the way you build your own decks of the card game and play it yourself in hopes of being an unstoppable opponent.

Rank Explanation:

Cardpocalypse has a way of capturing the fervor young children can have for games. There’s a surprising amount of story dividing up the collectible card game action of Cardpocalypse, and frankly, it makes the game way more interesting than it would be otherwise. The card game is competent, but the way its contexualized within the overarching story makes it special.


41. Jetpack Joyride+

Description:

The App Store hits keep rolling onto Apple Arcade, not the least of which includes Halfbrick's classic infinite runner, Jetpack Joyride. Control the rampaging Barry as he runs through an experimental lab with a jetpack strapped to his back and see how far you can make it without getting taken out by all kinds of lab hazards.

Rank Explanation:

Unlike Fruit Ninja (another Halfbrick classic on Arcade), Jetpack Joyride holds up in the years since its release. It definitely shows its age, but there's still great fun in completing challenges and testing your reflexes to try and get further and further along in this zany arcade game.


42. Hexaflip

Description:

Hexaflip is an action puzzle game where you flip a hexagon through environments to reach an exit. It’s got simple controls, but it creates challenge by adding some time pressure to each level.

Rank Explanation:

This game just feels really nice to play. It moves at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, looks nice, and provides great haptic feedback every time you flip your hexagon. Levels are also nice and bite-sized, making it a great title for a quick burst of Apple Arcade action.


43. Dread Nautical

Description:

When a cruise ship gets invaded by mysterious dark forces, you need to fight for survival. In Dread Nautical, you choose a character to face off in turn-based tactical missions where you explore sections of the cruise ship. All the while, you’re on the hunt for food, new party members, and opportunities to sneak attack otherworldly horrors.

Rank Explanation:

I can’t think of a modern game that channels old B-games from the late 90s quite like Dread Nautical does. This is to say the game lacks quite a bit of polish, but mostly in a way that is really endearing. The tactics here aren’t super complicated, and the game itself can test your patience, but something about the game’s weird production values makes it oddly magnetic.


44. Spaceland

Description:

Spaceland is a turn-based strategy game about killing aliens with space marines. Despite the tired premise, this game layers a bunch of little mini-systems on its base gameplay to make it feel original.

Rank Explanation:

This kind of feels like what Gears POP! should have been. You have a crew of space marines with different weapons and abilities, and you move them around cover to blast subterranian aliens and close up their emergence holes. It also does a bit more than your standard tactics game with things like an ammo crate system that forces you to move about the map to reload. Although it may look a little plain, there’s actually a lot to like about Spaceland. I'm bumping this game down a peg or two only because the new levels added to the game recently are co-op only, which virtually guarantees you can't actually play them.


45. Slash Quest!

Description:

Slash Quest!is a colorful action game where you steer a sword much in the same way you might a shopping cart to chop down enemies and solve environmental puzzles.

Rank Explanation:

This game reminds me a lot of B-tier Playstation platformers, and I mean that as a term of endearment. There’s a charming weirdness here that’s hard to put your finger on, and it backs up its simple goofy mechanics with systems that are geniunely fun to play around with.


46. Shantae and the Seven Sirens

Description:

Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a colorful and beautifully animated platformer that feels a lot like a Castlevania game. Shantae and her friends arrive on an island for a half-genie celebration, when all of them get kidnapped (except for Shantae, of course). To rescue the half-genies, you must pilot Shantae across different parts of the island to find magic powers that let you explore new locations. All along the way, island wildlife and other enemies stand in your path, and you have to decide how best to deal with them using your hair-whipping skills, magical abilities, or otherwise just avoiding them.

Rank Explanation:

I really dig the straightforward and old-school style of Shantae and the Seven Sirens. It’s also just a gorgeous game. There definitely aren’t many surprises with a game like this, but Shantae manages to execute so well on creating a Castlevania-type game that it’s also hard not to have a good time with it.


47. The Bradwell Conspiracy

Description:

An accident has happened at the newly opened Bradwell Museum, and somehow everyone was able to evacuate except for you. In this desolate first-person adventure game, you solve a bunch of environmental puzzles while winding your way through this museum which leads you to the discovery (shocker!) that everything isn’t quite what it appears to be.

Rank Explanation:

I didn’t really know anything going into The Bradwell Conspiracy, and I think that’s the best way to approach it. It’s much more of a puzzle game than I was anticipating, and a pretty creative one at that. It doesn’t always execute on its ideas as elegantly as it should, but The Bradwell Conspiracy gets high marks for trying a bunch of new ideas and doing right by a good number of them.


48. Chameleon Run+

Description:

This acclaimed runner from Noodlecake has made the "jump" to Apple Arcade. Chameleon Run+ is full of pre-designed levels built around a color switching mechanic akin to Ikaruga or Kalimba. Your character runs automatically, but can only touch and run along platforms that match their color. Complete challenges or simply try to survive by jumping and switching color until you reach the end goal.

Rank Explanation:

Chameleon Run+ is one of my mobile gaming blind spots. I never played it and never assumed it would age well or appeal to me. I was wrong. This game isn't immune to the passing of time, but it is a really well made runner with tough-but-fair challenges and a phenomenal game-feel. I'd certainly love to see more exclusive or exciting games added to Apple Arcade, but this one is welcome nonetheless.


49. Cat Quest II

Description:

Cat Quest II is a bigger, bolder version of the fantastic Cat Quest. As the name might suggest, these games are fantasy role-playing games where you play as a cat. You wander what looks like an overworld map in most games, but this operates as the primary view for doing just about everything in the game, including combat. Cat Quest II ups the ante by offering co-op play (where player two is a dog!), a larger world, and more stuff to do, find, and discover.

Rank Explanation:

Cat Quest II is one of those sequels that is just more of the first game. This is by no means a bad thing. Cat Quest was super charming and fun, so I’m glad there’s now more of it to play. It does feel a little odd as a game somewhat designed around co-op, though. Also some of its systems are a little too easy to exploit, making the game a bit too easy.


50. NUTS - A Surveillance Mystery

Description:

NUTS is a narrative adventure game about a young researcher sent into a forest to document the life and habits of squirrels. You do this by wandering the wilderness and setting up cameras and other observation gear before going back to your RV to see if you were able to gather the intel you were looking for.

Rank Explanation:

What starts as a novel meditative experience quickly gives way to a curious mystery that only gets more puzzling as you continue to capture the habits of these strange squirrels. It certainly helps that NUTS is super stylish and has a lot of fun quirks in the way it controls, though I wish some of observation challenges were a little less convoluted and tedious.

The list continues here, or see below to jump to another page:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+

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