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

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


51. No Way Home

Description:

This is a sci-fi exploration-based action adventure game where you play as a human that has just woken up after drifting through space for nine million years. Lost in an alien galaxy, you take on missions, upgrade your ship, and try to discover a way back home.

Rank Explanation:

No Way Home is a game that borrows mechanics from a few different popular genres. It’s exploration-heavy like Castlevania, has a crafting system like a survival game, and features dual-stick shooter combat. All of these disparate parts are pretty cool, but they don’t gel together as well as they could. As a result, No Way Home feels a bit disjointed and aimless, despite having some neat ideas.



52. Dead End Job

Description:

Dead End Job is like The Real Ghostbusters with a toned-down Ren and Stimpy aesthetic. You wander through haunted areas, busting ghosts using standard dual-joystick shooter controls. All the while, you’re earning upgrades and money, which can help you take on even more powerful poltergeists. Although it looks like a pretty casual game, Dead End Job can be rather punishing to all but patient and deliberate players.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot to like about Dead End Job, but its action-oriented nature makes it best suited for controller play only. This limits its appeal on devices meant for on-the-go play. Also, it’s not that hard to find other, better dual-stick shooters on iOS outside of Apple Arcade.


53. ShockRods

Description:

This is a car combat game, but it moves and plays like a typical third-person shooter. You compete in classic multiplayer shooter modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch, but you control a car that can go from moving forward to strafing sideways no problem. As you play, you can unlock new cars to customize your automotive avatar.

Rank Explanation:

ShockRods feels like an old shooter, but in all the right ways. It’s not trying to make too much sense, and prioritizes gameplay that feels good to make you want to keep playing it. I can’t say this game is too fun on a phone using touch, but using an iPad and a controller it’s a fun throwback multiplayer game.


54. Spyder

Description:

Play as a super-spy who also happens to be a robot spider in this puzzle/platformer. Crawl all over the surfaces of submarines and trains to do things like hack computer terminals, defuse bombs, and vent deadly gas to keep your team one step ahead of the bad guys.

Rank Explanation:

Spyder makes a pretty good first impression. It has nice visuals, a creative and fun conceit, and its level designs are actually quite clever. The only thing really holding this game back is its camera controls, which are pretty bad regardless of whether you’re playing via touch or controller. If the camera here improves, I could see Spyderleaping a bit futher up this list.


55. Legend of the Skyfish 2

Description:

Legend of Skyfish 2 is the second game in Mgaia’s Zelda-inspired action/adventure series. You play as a Red Hook Guardian, a kind of warrior armed with a fishing rod that you use to bash enemies and pull yourself around environments to solve light puzzles. This game builds on the first primarily through adding a quest system and a somewhat open, interconnected world.

Rank Explanation:

My issue with the first Legend of Skyfish game was that it was too easy, and this is still a problem in Skyfish 2. The whole game is incredibly linear (even the quests are supposed to be done in a specific order) and it feels trivial to blaze through just about everything that stands in your way. Even the puzzles don’t take much thought to complete. The game looks nice though, plus sometimes it feels good to play a game that makes you feel overpowered.


56. Winding Worlds

Description:

Do your best to fix everyone’s problems in this surreal, narrative adventure. Winding Worlds has you controlling a character as he leaps between mini-worlds, chatting up the people there, and trying to find ways of solving whatever has gone wrong there.

Rank Explanation:

Winding Worlds is a pretty simple game, but massive props to KO_OP for designing a title that plays beautifully in landscape on iPad and portrait on iPhone. The game itself is pretty short, and its story is a basic parable, but its gameplay is varied enough and the writing is charming enough to make it enjoyable... enough.


57. Creaks

Description:

Amanita Design’s second release on Apple Arcade is a more standard puzzle adventure than Pilgrims. Creaks has you playing as a young man who is lost in a mysterious world found through a crack in his apartment. The challenges here are ones of traversal, and most of your time is spent figuring out how to manipulate your environment to hit the right switches you need to move forward.

Rank Explanation:

Creaks hit during a wave of Apple Arcade duds hit the service, and even then it’s nothing too fancy. Of course, it has the signature Amanita Design style, but otherwise feels like their take on Inside (a thing quite a number of Apple Arcade games have done for some reason). It’s a totally solid experience that is helped a lot by its audio and visual design, despite feeling a tad derivative.


58. Don’t Bug Me!

Description:

Don’t Bug Me! is a sort of off-kilter tower defense game where you play as an astronaut defending mission-critical space hardware. This game merges the basic tenets of tower defense with resource management, real-time strategy, and light shooter elements.

Rank Explanation:

This is very much one of those games that is more than the sum of its parts. Don’t Bug Me! isn’t especially challenging, or long, or deep, but it does what it does well, and presents everything in a pleasing and colorful low-poly style. It’s just a nice and inviting experience that feels well-scoped for a service jam-packed with long games fighting tooth-and-nail for your attention.


59. Mini Metro+

Description:

If building roadways in Mini Motorways wasn't exactly doing it for you, Dinosaur Polo Club's original commuter-puzzler has come over to Apple Arcade. Link different subway stops together by dragging transit lines between them to try and plan out the most efficient way to get people to their destinations while being careful not to let any stops jam up with too many people. All of this is presented in a simple geometric style that reflects classic transit map design.

Rank Explanation:

Mini Metro+ feels more intuitive than Mini Motorways, making it my preferred flavor of transit puzzling. It still can be a bit of a slow burn and rounds can be cut short with some poor luck, though. This, plus its age don't make it the most attractive Apple Arcade offering, despite being occasionally a good time.


60. Pilgrims

Description:

We’ve seen a lot of card-based games on mobile, but not really one that tries to emulate adventure games. Pilgrims does exactly this and with all of the charm you can come to expect from Amanita Design releases. In it, you take a charater from location to location and you gather objects and companions who are kept as cards in your inventory. At new locations, you need to pull these cards out to solve light puzzles, witness bizarre hijinks, and play through a brief story.

Rank Explanation:

Pilgrims reduces the trial-and-error of conventional adventure game design down to a small card game that rarely wastes your time. Part of this comes from establishing a game logic that’s pretty easy to follow, but it also helps that Pilgrims rewards players with funny little scenes and collectible cards for trying out cards that don’t specifically solve the puzzle you’re working on. My only real issue with the game is that it ended rather abruptly. Just when I thought I was clearing the first section of the game, credits started rolling.


61. The 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 The 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 off. 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. 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 game has some clunky controls which often result in accidentally building roadways where you don’t mean to.


63. The Survivalists™

Description:

Team17 takes their crafting/survival formula to the tropics with The Survivalists. Like Robinson Crusoe, you are stranded on an island and have to find a way to fend for yourself. Luckily, you can unlock blueprints for pretty complicated items and train monkeys to help take the tedium out of gathering or crafting particular items.

Rank Explanation:

The Survivalists is certainly better than the other island-themed crafting/survival game on the service, but it's still very much one of those games and operates pretty much exactly as you'd expect it to. It's competent, but far from special.


64. Shinsekai Into the Depths

Description:

This game is sort of like an undersea Castlevania-type game. You wander the ocean depths in a scuba suit, defending yourself from all sorts of deep sea creatures, all while trying to discover why there’s a sudden influx of ice that has started flash freezing the waters around your home.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a slowness and murkiness to Shinsekai that takes some getting used to, but once you do, the game is pretty intriguing. There’s a lot of systems to balance as you float about and discover mineral deposits you can use to upgrade your suit to travel to new depths. There are definitely some weird and unpolished things going on with this game, but it’s also such a confidently weird take on a well worn genre that it’s hard to put down.


65. Reigns: Beyond

Description:

Reigns has finally leaped into the future. In Reigns: Beyond, you play as an amnesiac who captains a starship and plays guitar in an intergalactic rock band. Swipe your way through all kinds of sci-fi adventure and make stops to play shows, make money, and grow your following.

Rank Explanation:

Reigns? Are you ok? What happened? You were once a silly, stripped down adventure game and now you’re... a sci-fi Guitar Hero management sim? I don’t say this to sound entirely negative. Reigns: Beyond is mostly fine, but it feels like a game made without confidence in what made the original game great. On a specifically negative note though, I do wish Reigns: Beyondcould have lasted at least 30 minutes before serving me repeat cards.


66. Where Cards Fall

Description:

Where Cards Fall is a mysterious puzzle game that’s difficult to explain. It’s a traversal puzzle game, but you need to move your character from point A to point B by folding and unfolding card structures for him to walk over or around. In between these puzzles, you watch vignettes that unfold a somewhat vague story about the character you’re controlling.

Rank Explanation:

The card stacking mechanics of Where Cards Fall is certainly novel, but the narrative that comes with it seems completely inconsequential and the game moves a bit too slowly for its own good. It’s otherwise a competent puzzle game, but not the strongest traversal puzzler on the service.


67. Super Impossible Road

Description:

Finally, a racing game that encourages cheating. Super Impossible Road has you piloting a futuristic sphere on spiraling tracks suspended in a void with one goal (reach the finish) and no rules. Veering off the track to fall onto a lower, further part of the track isn’t only allowed, it’s encouraged. The result is a racing game with a phenomenal sense of danger and clever risk/reward system.

Rank Explanation:

Super Impossible Road is just such a neat idea for a game. Bouncing off of pieces of track to finish a track in seconds feels phenomenal, but it’s a hefty challenge that can set you really far back if you’re not careful. Luckily, nothing about the game is made harder by playing on touchscreens (though I still prefer it with a controller). As a racing game, Super Impossible Road thrives as a multiplayer title, but its single-player mode is the only way to save you from waiting endlessly in empty lobbies.


68. Spelltower+

Description:

Spelltower is a word-search style game that's also kind of like a matching game. In a wall of words, you can draw lines between nearby letters to form a word. If you make one, you can submit it for score, which then pops those letters off of game board. There are a variety of modes that operate slightly different using this base gameplay, but the general idea is to link letters to make the most impressive words possible and score big.

Rank Explanation:

Spelltower+ is a good word game, but it's not exactly my speed. The big wall of letters gives me analysis paralysis, so I spend way too long looking to make individual moves and usually end up quitting sessions while I'm ahead. I'd much rather have Zach Gage's other word game, Typeshift on Apple Arcade, but I'm still pretty happy with Dear Reader as my subscription-based word game of choice.


69. The Lullaby of Life

Description:

The Lullaby of Life is a puzzle/exploration game that uses sound mechanics as you pilot a blob around a strange, primordial universe. Most of the game involves floating around environments and gathering the right companions that allow you to play sequences of sounds that unlock the next area.

Rank Explanation:

The environmental puzzles in Lullaby of Life are clever, but game’s style and presentation don’t do a whole lot for me. I’m particularly bothered by the fact that game that seems so preoccupied with music, yet the game itself doesn’t have great music. Even the sound-based puzzles never end up sounding like music making. It’s just a series of sound effects that unlocks your way forward.


70. The Hitchhiker

Description:

Chat your way down the open road with a variety of different drivers. Things always start out friendly enough, but there's a dark underbelly to these conversations you uncover as you go. Occasionally, you'll also have to do some sleuthing find the next step of your journey.

Rank Explanation:

The Hitchhiker wastes no time getting weird, so no spoilers here. Anyway, the conversations you have with your drivers can go a long time before they reach interesting territory. In the meantime, you can aimlessly look around the car, which can and will frequently trigger dialogue options by accident. This is fine enough, though, since the game doesn't really seem to care what you say to your drivers. Overall, not particularly impressed.


71. Populous Run

Description:

Populous Run is an arcade runner where you guide a crowd of people through levels full of hazardous donuts, cupcakes, lollipops, and other sweet treats. Your goal is to steer your crowd well enough to reach the end of stages, though there are bonus objectives based around how many people you finish a level with, how many coins you collect, and whether or not you're able to unlock secret characters and take them to the exit with you.

Rank Explanation:

Populous Run makes a great first impression thanks to its polished look and charmingly goofy soundtrack. Once you've gotten your fill of its aesthetic (which doesn't take long, by the way), it's just a mildly novel runner that controls really loosely.


72. King’s League II

Description:

King’s League II is basically the video game equivalent of plate-spinning. You are in charge of a team of fighters who spar in a kind of fighting league. Between fights though, you have to rest all of your fighters, train them, and secure increasing tributes to your team in order to win championships and advance to more challenging leagues. All of this moves along in real-time without a pause button, so you have to exercise sound judgement and manage time efficiently at all times.

Rank Explanation:

I really dig the structure of King’s League II, even though it can be hectic at times, but the game's combat just isn't engaging enough to keep me playing it for any significant amount of time. Fighters just bumble into each other and the team with higher numbers usually wins.


73. World of Demons

Description:

World of Demons isn't exactly a new game, but it's Apple Arcade release is an overhaul of what would have otherwise been a pretty middling free-to-play action game. In this version of the game, you wander barren environments in search of Yokai to kill so that you can upgrade and unlock new gear to let you kill more powerful Yokai.

Rank Explanation:

The Apple Arcade version of World of Demons is much better than the soft launch experience from 2018, but that's not saying a whole lot. Having on-screen buttons with snappier movement and more control over your attacks is great, but the game's inky look still looks pretty drab and environmental exploration drags out play sessions in a way that isn't particularly mobile friendly. At the end of the day, World of Demons is also still just an upgrade treadmill that doesn't seem to lead anywhere.


74. SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit

Description:

Spongebob’s arch-nemesis, Plankton, is once again up to no good. With the Krabby Patty formula stolen and his friends all imprisoned, it’s up to you to control Spongebob in this auto-running platformer. Unlike a lot of runners, Patty Pursuit’s levels are non-linear, so the game plays more like a traditional 2D platformer, where you are hunting for collectibles, finding secret paths, and more.

Rank Explanation:

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Spongebob or not, Patty Pursuit is a pretty solid platformer that is good about mixing up its gameplay as you progress. As you complete levels, you rescue characters (e.g. Patrick, Squidward, etc.) each of whom can join you to help you access new areas and give you special abilities. It’s a little annoying that you’ll have to play and replay levels with different characters to gather all of these collectibles, but that’s kind of the only thing that puts a damper on this undersea adventure.


75. Don't Starve: Pocket Edition+

Description:

Another crafting/survival game hits Apple Arcade, but this time it's one of the classics. Klei's Don't Starve didn't kick off the survival game explosion, but has certainly established itself within the canon thanks to its distinct style and humorously bleak tone. Your objective is right there in the title, but achieving it is much harder than you think, especially given the horrors that lurk within the strange land you're surviving in.

Rank Explanation:

Every time I get a new opportunity to try and get into Don't Starve, I amp myself up thinking "this is the time it will really click for me!" But, then I do a couple runs and die because of some nonsense and have to start over again from nothing. This Apple Arcade version does feature a more casual mode which mitigates the punishing nature of the standard mode, but playing that somehow feels wrong. I'm still supportive of Don't Starve in theory, but struggling to love actually playing it.

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+

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