Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51+ [Updated 2.19]

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 19th, 2020

This is part 2 of our Apple Arcade Ranking list. To see part 1, go here. To skip to part 3, click here.


51. Mini Motorways

Description:

Mini Motorways is the follow up to Mini Metro. Only this time, instead of building public transportation, you are building road ways from houses to buildings with parking lots. Your goal is to create as smooth and quick a flow of traffic as possible, and if too few cars can reach their destination in an appropriate amount of time, you lose.

Rank Explanation:

Mini Motorways is a fine minimalist puzzler, but it doesn’t feel all that different from Mini Metro. On top of that, the games moves dreadfully slowly and has some clunky controls which often result in accidentally building roadways where you don’t mean to.



52. The Enchanted World

Description:

Take control of a young fairy who must navigate a environments that have been disrupted by dark forces. You do this by rearranging the environment like a classic sliding block puzzle to create paths, restore waterways, and even attack enemies.

Rank Explanation:

This game is essentially a fancy version of a sliding block puzzle. There are some nuances to the mechanics that definitely change things up, but the core remains a pretty tired puzzle archetype. Although I really like the way The Enchanted World looks, I find it hard to muster too much enthusiasm for each new level I come across.


53. Dodo Peak

Description:

Dodo Peak is a retro-inspired platformer that is much more intense than it appears. You swipe to control a dodo as it hops up and down slopes, gathering baby dodos behind it before finding an exit. All the while, you need to avoid boulders, snakes, spikes, and all kinds of other threats not just to your dodo, but also the little babies following you from behind.

Rank Explanation:

Dodo Peak has some really clever level design, and it wastes no time getting nice and challenging. It would be much higher on this list if not for two particular problems. First are the swipe-based controls, which feel sluggish, plus they cause you to obscure the screen as you’re trying to see what’s going on in a level. Dodo Peak also presents everything at a strange angle that makes it hard to see level features that can block or kill your dodo.


54. Outlanders*

Description:

Outlanders is a small-scale city builder where you manage a small community of rural villagers and attempt to reach goals set by their village leaders. You build small houses, harvest mushrooms, chop wood, etc. but things never get too developed. You need to manage the simple tools here and the available people in your village to do things like produce specific amounts of food or rebuild after a disaster.

Rank Explanation:

Calling Outlanders a city builder is actually a kind of a misnomer. Although you do manage the building up of your community, the whole experience is more like a puzzle game than anything else. This is because each level sets specific, time-based goals and there’s no sandbox mode that lets you just build whatever you want.

All of this takes place in a gorgeous world that heats up your phone to worrying temperatures fairly quickly. This, plus its slow pace and poor checkpointing make for a somewhat more disappointing game than it might otherwise be.


55. Butter Royale

Description:

Butter Royale is a food-themed battle royale game where 32 players loot and shoot each other until one player emerges victorious. It’s basically like a super streamlined and pared down version of PUBG or Fortnite.

Rank Explanation:

This game is a little too simplified for my tastes. It’s only got a handful of weapons and the strategy of combat encouters feels severely limited. As a result, Butter Royale feels like a progression treadmill for unlocking skins more than a legitimately fun battle royale in its own right.


56. 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.


57. 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.


58. 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.


59. Possessions.

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.


60. 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.


61. 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.


62. Rayman Mini

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.


63. LEGO Builder’s Journey

Description:

It’s a puzzle game built around Lego. Take random pieces scattered about the world to build bridges, create slides, or solve more complex puzzles. Along the way, you’re treated to a light story and some emotive music.

Rank Explanation:

Builder’s Journey has a lot going for it. It’s a puzzle game where you can actually be creative in building things with Lego, which is a really neat idea. It’s also got a great soundtrack. It even has a great narrative setup. But is squanders almost all of these things at every turn. Its puzzles vary wildly in difficulty (and quality), parts of the game cut out the music completely, and the story goes absolutely nowhere. Add to this how the game has really unresponsive controls and an overly minimalist design (why aren’t the people just minifigs?), and I’m just confused and disappointed.


64. INMOST

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.


65. Kings of the Castle

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.


66. 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.


67. Projection: First Light

Description:

Emulating traditional shadow puppetry aesthetics, Projection: First Light is a puzzle platformer where you guide a young girl named Greta through mysterious, monochromatic environments. The shadowy visuals aren’t just a visual gimmick though. Many of the game’s puzzles require that you manipulate a light following Greta, which can cast shadows and create platforms for you on your journey.

Rank Explanation:

The light manipulation mechanics of Projection: First Light are interesting, but are poorly executed. Shadows that you cast can shift and flicker unpredictably, and it’s almost easier to put yourself in more difficult platforming situations than it is to make things easier for yourself. As a result, it’s hard to recommend Projection: First Light, especially when there’s already a fun platformer with unique aesthetics and mechanics on Apple Arcade (Monomals).


68. Ultimate Rivals: The Rink

Description:

Play hockey using all manner of sports stars, from Drew Brees to Megan Rapinoe, in short, three-on-three matches. Ultimate Rivals: The Rink feels a bit like if NHL Hitz had the sports equivalent of the Super Smash Bros. roster. Each player also has unique skills and abilities, allowing you to create a custom dream team that matches your play style before going head-to-head online.

Rank Explanation:

Ultimate Rivals has a lot of the right concepts down to be a fantastic arcade sports game, but the hockey in it just isn’t terribly exciting. Your players automatically aim for the net and it feels like the game performs some background dice rolls based on your shot power and distance from the net to determine if it goes in or not. As a result, I found a ton of success in the game by just mindlessly shooting at the net as much as possible. I know that part of the appeal of arcade sports games is that they are simple and accessible, but Ultimate Rivals might be a bit too simple for its own good.


69. Hogwash

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.


70. Jumper Jon

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.


71. tint.

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.


72. Stellar Commanders

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.


73. Star Fetched*

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. It has lots of neat ideas, though so it scores above some other games in that regard.


74. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner

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.


75. 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.


76. Rosie’s Reality

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.


77. 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.


78. Punch Planet

Description:

Punch Planet is a six-button fighting game that somewhat closely resembles Street Fighter. In its roster of six fighters, most special moves are executed using quarter circle motions, though there is one charge character who also doubles as a grappler. The whole game also has a cool, cartoony sci-fi aesthetic.

Rank Explanation:

Punch Planet is a very cool, stylish, and fun experience, except it only feels like half a fighting game. It only has two single player modes that are barely distinguishable from each other and no online multiplayer. Once you’ve cleared Arcade mode, there isn’t much to do, especially considering you can’t even change the AI difficulty.


79. Way of the Turtle*

Description:

Way of the Turtle is a very conventional platformer starring two turtles. These turtles may walk automatically, but you choose when they jump or when they use their different shell powers that they accumulate over the course of the game.

Rank Explanation:

There’s nothing wrong with Way of the Turtle’s concept per se, but it also doesn’t feel all that special. It’s just very expected. This is the kind of game that may be satisfying at times, but is rarely surprising.

It’s also worth noting that Way of the Turtle bugged out a few times loading into the game on a couple occasions, and I had to restart it to get it working properly again.


80. Painty Mob

Description:

Painty Mob is a super bright arcade game about painting characters and then avoiding them as they give chase. It’s bizarre, but colorful, and tries to celebrate that in as many ways as possible.

Rank Explanation:

My main issue with Painty Mob is that it’s super difficult to tell what’s going on in the game. The ultra-bright visuals and frantic gameplay just don’t mesh very well into a particularly readable experience. In a lot of ways, it seems like Painty Mob is going for the Katamari-like zaniness, but that doesn’t work with how punishing and illegible everything is.


81. Decoherence

Description:

Decoherence is a multiplayer game where you build and program robots to fight alongside your own player character. This turns what would be a one-on-one battle into a dynamic battlefield that challenges you to master both tactical decision-making and sharp reaction times to defeat your opponents. Each match consists of a building and planning phase followed by a real-time battle where players can hop into their own robots to take matters into their own hands.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot going on in Decoherence, and I like almost all of it... in theory. In practice, it’s a bit overwhelming. The game’s tutorial is long and explains a lot regarding how the game works, but it also somehow feels like not enough. I’m not sure why I should prefer one kind of bot over another, or what match ups are favorable vs. unfavorable and why. I assume you can learn these things by just playing the game a lot, but there’s not really anyone online to play against. This leaves you with the option to play random matches against AI or Decoherence’s roguelike mode, both of which feel like fallback modes that support a cool multiplayer experience, but not particularly substantive modes in their own right.

Also worth noting that Decoherence is borderline unplayable on phone screens. Menus are borderline unreadable and it’s just hard to control the action on such a small screen.


82. Murder Mystery Machine

Description:

Murder Mystery Machine is a modern detective mystery game where you investigate crimes by gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, and connecting the dots between a given scenario to determine what happened.

Rank Explanation:

The mystery-solving in this game feels like you’re playing a big guessing game. The evidence you find rarely feels like it actually proves the conclusions you’re drawing, yet Murder Mystery Machine also insists that you gather each little detail of evidence and literally draw connections between them. It’s a weird imbalance that makes for a pretty unsatisfying experience.


83. Towaga: Among Shadows

Description:

Towaga: Among Shadows is a sequel to Towaga, which is a defense shooter where you stand in place and blast away at shadowy creatures with beams of light. Much like its predecessor, Among Shadows is gorgeously animated and moves at a super smooth frame rate. This sequel also adds a “Flying Mode” which feels a lot like a dual-stick shooter.

Rank Explanation:

Aside from having some nice animation, Towaga: Among Shadows is a pretty hum-drum shooter. It’s also one that makes you grind out a currency to improve your ability to beat certain levels. Even in early stages it feels like it doesn’t matter how good your reflexes are. If you don’t have the stats, you won’t succeed. Not a great look for an action game.


84. Red Reign

Description:

Red Reign is a real-time strategy game that borrows the concept of lane-based combat from MOBAs like Arena of Valor. The concept is simple: two players race to build units and upgrade their base to eventually send an army (or armies) down lanes that are large enough to destroy their opponent’s base.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t have a problem with Red Reign’s core mechanics, but it seems heavily biased toward anyone looking to maximize their actions per minute. There are so many little actions you can (and should) do to gain advantages over your opponent that if you don’t train yourself to do them, your opponent will be able to beat you every single time. In this way, Red Reign feels like a throwback strategy title, but it’s also so streamlined to the point that you it doesn’t feel worth diving deep into. Perhaps if it had less of a focus on multiplayer and had more robust single-player offering, it would be higher on this list.


85. Sonic Racing

Description:

It’s a cart racer that has Sonic and all of his compadres in it. Just like Team Sonic Racing, which came out earlier this year on consoles, the twist in this game is that racers play on teams. This means you don’t necessarily have to get in first place to win. As long as your team does better than your opponent’s, you’re the victor.

Rank Explanation:

I’m impressed at the lengths Sega HARDlight went to to make a mobile-friendly racing game, but perhaps they went a bit too far. By default, the game presents itself as something you play in portrait mode with a virtual steering wheel, but you can go so far as to play the game in landscape mode with a controller. Playing in either mode never really ends of feeling that compelling. Using touch, you feel like you don’t have the fidelity you’d like, and playing console-style ends up making it feel like a pretty light and dumbed-down experience.

Another thing to note about Sonic Racing is its multiplayer focus. There really isn’t much to do playing offline, and if a race gets interrupted, that’s tough luck. Something about the whole thing feels like it was an unexpected addition to Apple Arcade, too, because the game is built like a free-to-play game (there are upgradable drivers and items), though they took the part where you might spend money out.


86. Mind Symphony

Description:

Mind Symphony is a music game with two modes. In the first, you play a Geometry Wars-like shooter that spawns enemies in time with a song you’re listening to in the background. In the other mode, you fly a peaceful, metallic bird through a desert and tap on rings in an effort to match the beat of the song you’re listening to.

Rank Explanation:

I can kind of see how Mind Symphony can be fun using your own music, but the game only works with Apple Music users. If you aren’t a subscriber (like me), you’re stuck with a collection of a dozen songs, and only one of them really convinced me that Mind Symphony does much to make interesting gameplay in response to the music you’re listening to. Also, the shooter mode is the only mode worth playing. The meditation mode is a super simple rhythm game that doesn’t even seem to sync up with songs very well.


87. Hot Lava

Description:

What if someone turned the old childhood “ground is lava” game and turned it into a video game? That’s what Hot Lava is. It’s a sort of parkour-like platformer where you try to race through levels hopping on objects that somehow aren’t being melted by the lava underneath it.

Rank Explanation:

I’d love to have a platformer on Apple Arcade focused around time trials, provided it wasn’t a first-person game. First-person platforming rarely feels good because it’s always so hard to tell where your feet are. Same is true here with Hot Lava, plus the game defaults to a goofy motion-based control scheme that asks you to wave your phone or tablet around to look. All of this feels better once you change some settings (ideally to play with a controller), but even then, Hot Lava doesn’t feel as good to control as it should.


88. Spidersaurs

Description:

Spidersaurs is a 2D shooter that tries to stir up lots of 80s and 90s nostalgia. Its “Saturday Morning Cartoon” style combines with throwback gameplay that has you running and gunning to take down dinosaur/spider hybrids.

Rank Explanation:

For as cool as Spidersaurs looks, it controls horribly. It seems to be going for a Contra-like experience, but it’s impossible to control using touch and is functional, but sluggish, on controller.


89. Super Mega Mini Party

Description:

Super Mega Mini Party is like Mario Party, but without Nintendo characters and weird board game meta-layer on top of it. This is to say it’s a multiplayer mini-game collection where you and up to three other people can compete in challenges like hopping on pogo sticks over lava and passing dynamite around like it’s a hot potato.

Rank Explanation:

I actually think the mini-games in Super Mega Mini Party are actually kind of fun. They control well and are reasonably well thought out to make for some fun multiplayer moments. The only bummer of all this is that you can’t really enjoy it whenever you want. Gathering multiple people to play games together is hard, but it’s especially hard when you ask them to play a mobile game modeled after Mario Party. Of course, you can try to play online with random people, but no one appears to be doing that as far as I can tell. This just leaves you with the option of playing practice mode in single-player, which isn’t much of a party at all.


90. Pac-Man Party Royale

Description:

In Pac-Man Party Royale, four players all chomp pellets on a single Pac-Man stage, with the ultimate goal of being the last player standing. Players can knock each other out by eating each other after picking up power pellets, knocking opponents into ghosts, or staying alive the longest as a glitched-out ring reduces the playable area. The first player to hit three wins takes the match.

Rank Explanation:

Pac-Man Party Royale isn’t Pac-Man Vs., nor is it Pac-Man Battle Royale, and both of those are better multiplayer Pac-Man games than Party Royale. It also doesn’t help that this game has a terrible online setup where players can essentially only play with friends using lobby codes, as opposed to offering any kind of matchmaking for folks to play online with random players. Overall it’s a pretty disappointing Pac-Man game, and a generally weak offering for Apple Arcade.


91. Various Daylife*

Description:

Do your job. Buy your food. Go to sleep. Colonize the land. These are all the main directives of Various Daylife, a role-playing game that seems very caught up in simulating routine activity. Players create their own character, choose one of 20 classes, and start grinding away, all in the name of colonizing and mysterious new land.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a ton of things in Various Daylife that rub me the wrong way. First and foremost is the way it talks about colonization in 2019 like it’s part of the natural order and is somehow good. Aside from that, the game seems built around being pretty boring and repetitive, and is designed similarly. Huge chunks of screen real estate are just an empty void, and there are lengthy load times in between just about everything that you do. I will say that there is some interesting combat design happening in Various Daylife, but all of the repetitive, slow, and problematic crap you have to dig through to see it is not worth it.


92. The Get Out Kids

Description:

Interactive fiction is a good way to describe The Get Out Kids. It’s a very story-focused adventure game set in the 1980s. What starts as a fun night of mischief between friends becomes something much darker and more sinister, and it’s up to you to figure out what’s going on by tapping your way through diorama-like scenes.

Rank Explanation:

Apple Arcade has quite a few adventure puzzlers on its service, and The Get Out Kids is probably the hardest one to recommend. The controls are awkward, the puzzles too simple, and the whole thing moves at a snail’s pace. Aside from an intriguing setup and nice visuals, The Get Out Kids isn’t a particularly strong Apple Arcade title.


93. The Mosaic

Description:

The Mosaic is a narrative adventure set in a future society where a single corporation has seemingly taken over the world. You play as an employee of this corporation who (surprise!) doesn’t seem to enjoy his job. Over the course of the game, you’ll play through this worker’s commute, which gets routinely interrupted by strange visions and dream sequences.

Rank Explanation:

There’s something really compelling about The Mosaic’s balancing of the surreal and mundane, but it all ends up feeling like a missed opportunity. Playing the game is pretty boring, not to mention super clunky to control, and by the end of the game, it’s not really clear what The Mosaic is trying to say. The surface-level critiques of modern society that are presented at the beginning of the game persist throughout the experience, but nothing that happens over the course of the story dive much deeper than that. By the end of the game it doesn’t feel like you’re reached a satisfying conclusion, and there’s nothing about the mechanics, visuals, or storytelling that make the trek feel particularly worthwhile.


94. Nightmare Farm

Description:

Nightmare Farm is an idle game about growing crops to earn hearts that allow you to grow different plants and entertain your dog. If this doesn’t sound nightmarish, that’s because it isn’t. Aside from having a slight Burton-esque bent to its cartoon aesthetic, Nightmare Farm is mostly a colorful and cute game where you tap on things to help you build more things.

Rank Explanation:

For an idle game, Nightmare Farm takes far too long to boot up. First you get the Apple Arcade screen, then the developer logo, then a menu that you tap to hit a load screen, and then you can do your maintenance tasks. This can result in play sessions that last shorter than the boot sequence. Beyond this, Nightmare Farm seems totally serviceable as an idle game, but I don’t know why you’d pay for Apple Arcade to play this when there are so many idle game options out there that provide superior experiences for less money.


95. Discolored

Description:

Discolored is a first-person puzzle adventure where you’re trying to restore color to a monochromatic environment. You do this by activating certain color prisms, though the game is very mum about what these prisms are about, who you are, or why you’re doing any of this. As a result, it’s up to you and your magical viewfinder to figure out what parts of the environment you can manipulate and which items you can combine to slowly bring colors back into the world.

Rank Explanation:

This game is too minimalist for its own good. Everything, including puzzle solutions feel like things that you happen upon by chance as opposed to anything logical that you might be putting together based on context. To make matters worse, your character moves as slow as molasses, so most of the game consists of you sluggishly sliding between objects randomly tapping on them and waiting for something to happen.


96. Patterned

Description:

In Patterned, you basically put together fancy puzzles. Each level presents you with a repeating background, and you have to slot in shapes that match parts of the background. It’s as simple as that.

Rank Explanation:

Aside from having some really pretty backgrounds, I’m not all that impressed with Patterened. The repeating nature of the images just adds a slight layer of difficulty to what is otherwise a really straightforward puzzle-builder.


97. Sociable Soccer

Description:

Sociable Soccer is an arcade soccer game where you build a dream team of footballers to try and take down other players’ teams. Along the way, you pick up other players to add to your roster, which you can use to create alternate lineups or feed to your other players to upgrade their stats. The whole thing feels a lot like a gacha game, except you can't spend any money on it.

Rank Explanation:

I’m very frustrated by Sociable Soccer. It constantly teases you with gestures at good ideas, but they all turn out to be empty. The arcade soccer is so simplistic that it feels kind of random. Collecting and upgrading players is a ridiculously long grind (especially since the game limits how many times you can play matches). Managing your team involves arranging formations of players, and... nothing else. This is to say that Sociable Soccer has set up a bunch of great structures for creating a fun sports game with rpg elements, but said structures aren’t filled with anything satisfying.


98. Charrua Soccer (NEW)

Description:

Charrua Soccer is an arcade soccer game inspired by retro classics. There are some stats for teams and players, but no progression. You just pick a team and play in a tournament and see what happens.

Rank Explanation:

Somehow, both Apple Arcade soccer games are a huge letdown. Sociable Soccer nails the game length and feel of an arcade soccer game, but is so heavily dependent on grind that it practically feels like a free-to-play title. Charrua Soccer has almost the opposite problem. It feels too fast and loose, and there’s nothing to keep you wanting to come back to it.


99. Redout: Space Assault

Description:

You like Starfox? Well, Redout: Space Assault is kind of like that, which is to say it’s an on-rails space shooter. Your ship fires automatically and follows a set path, but you have to fine-tune the maneuvering of your ship to shoot at enemies, avoid obstacles, and shake heat-seeking missiles off your tail.

Rank Explanation:

Redout: Space Assault scores poorly because of how generic it is. There’s almost nothing about the game that makes it special. Even the graphics, which I guess arguably are technically “good,” don’t really read as impressive, nor do they enhance the experience all that much.


100. Big Time Sports

Description:

Big Time Sports is a colorful mini-game collection that where you participate in sporting events like basketball, skiing, and skateboarding by performing quick-time events.

Rank Explanation:

Big Time Sports may feature more sports, but it feels like an also-ran to Cricket Through the Ages. There’s some charm to its visuals, but it lacks the goofiness that mini-game collections traditionally rely on to keep you engaged.

This is part 2 of our Apple Arcade Ranking list. See part 3 here. To go back to part 1, click here.

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