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 | 151-175 | 176+


51. Threes!+

Description:

Slide over, imitators (I'm looking at you, 2048), the original number-combining tile slider has hit Apple Arcade. This is a game about making the number three and then combining it over and over again to make higher multiples for a high score. The only catch is that every slide you make moves every tile on the board, so you have to be strategic with your slides.

Rank Explanation:

When it released, Threes! was a revelation--a truly new puzzle format that could draw just about anyone into its unique grasp. I still appreciate Threes! from this historical perspective, but I honestly have a hard time going back to play it. Each new run has this long ramp of setting up your board that I find tedious. It's still a good game, but not exactly for me.



52. Star Trek: Legends

Description:

The entire Star Trek universe has been sucked into a mysterious force known as the Nexus, and it's up to the crew of the USS Artemis to discover what exactly is going on. As you play, you'll be able to outfit the crew of this ship with fan favorites across nearly every iteration of Star Trek and pit them in turn-based rpg combat when going on missions to figure out what this Nexus is all about.

Rank Explanation:

Star Trek: Legends is essentially a gacha game that you can't pay for. You get new crew members by summoning them randomly through your ship's teleporter. There are even timer-based expeditions that you can send your idle crew on between play sessions. It's kind of neat seeing how a non-monetized version of these mechanics can still work for a turn-based strategy game, but the combat in Star Trek: Legends is a little too basic and everything in it take a bit too long for the experience to be engaging for long.


53. Survival Z

Description:

A zombie shooter that takes after Slay the Spire's structure, Survival Z has you shooting, looting, dying, and repeating on loop in hopes building a survivor strong enough to take on overwhelming waves of undead. Along the way, you'll also build up an arsenal of defenses to deploy and survivor companions to shoot alongside.

Rank Explanation:

Survival Z would be dangerously close to my new favorite Apple Arcade game, but it's one of those games that squanders its potential at every turn. I'd love its roguelike structure if it didn't seem so dependent on grinding. Deploying defense structures gives Survival Z a tower defense vibe, but your access to them is disappointingly limited. The worst part about the game right now though is its hit boxes, which allow zombies to hit you from unreasonable distances.


54. Grindstone

Description:

Capy’s addition to Apple Arcade is a match-three title where you control a barbarian who is slashing through patterns of creeps to meet certain kill goals in order to gather loot that will let you take on even tougher challenges.

Rank Explanation:

Grindstone has a great premise for a mobile game, which is probably why there are already games on the App Store that do what it does, and better. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not terribly exciting, either.


55. TinyCrossword+

Description:

TinyCrossword+ is exactly what it sounds like. This game serves up micro-puzzles with 5-6 rows and columns each and serves up clues for you to start filling in the blanks with. As you go, you unlock harder difficulties, which you might need to overcome with the help of some hints like random letter powerups, highlights of incorrect letters, or straight-up asking for the answer.

Rank Explanation:

A crossword is only as good as its clues, and the ones in TinyCrossword+ are solid. It covers a lot of ground between abbreviations, pop culture knowledge, idioms/sayings, and more with its riddle-like hints. I do wish the game's keyboard felt a little more snappy, and it only took me a dozen puzzles or so before I got a repeated clue, but knocking out a tiny crossword on the daily as part of my Apple Arcade experience feels nice nonetheless.


56. Tetris Beat

Description:

This Tetris variant combines rhythm game mechanics with the timeless block-stacking puzzle game that practically everyone knows and loves. Play with a backing track of modern (mostly electronic) music, with two modes that require and reward timing actions to the beat of the music, and one that serves up the standard classic version of Tetris while the music just plays along in the background.

Rank Explanation:

This is not a Tetris game, but I think that's ok! Its new game modes are interesting and fun, mostly because the soundtrack here is actually pretty varied and current while avoiding piling up any cliche mega-hits or novelty songs. If you're just interested in playing plain old Tetris, I'm not sure the controls are up to snuff here, but they work really well for the timing-based rhythm variants that seem to be the focus of this title.


57. The_Otherside

Description:

The_Otherside feels like if someone made Stranger Thingsinto a board game. It’s a retro-styled turn-based game where you control up to four party members in an effort to close otherworldly gates, all while defending themselves from the hellish creatures that come through them.

Rank Explanation:

It’s hard not to draw comparisons between The_Otherside and Zombiecide: Tactics and Shotguns. They’re extremely similar digital board games that involve a lot of enemy crowd control, dice-based combat, and environment exploration. All of those elements are pretty well executed here though, and I’m happy to have a new strategic board game added to my library.


58. Cricket Through the Ages

Description:

Learn about the history of cricket as you have two astronauts throw space rocks at each other. Cricket Through the Ages is a goofy physics game where wild-armed players "play cricket" by flailing about wildly. There is a competitive aspect to this nonsense, but it’s not the main focus.

Rank Explanation:

Cricket Through the Ages is most enjoyable when things are going out of control on screen. Fortunately, this is often the case, as this game goes out of its way to be completely absurd in the best ways possible. Although I enjoy this game quite a bit, Cricket Through the Ages loses some points for feeling a bit too much like it’s cribbing from Colin Lane’s games. There are also times where the physics buffoonery works against you in frustrating ways.


59. 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.


60. 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.


61. 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.


62. 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.


63. 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.


64. 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.


65. 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.


66. 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.


67. 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.


68. 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.


69. LEGO Star Wars Battles

Description:

Build decks of LEGO-fied Star Wars armies and battle live opponents in what is basically a Clash Royale-like experience. Players are competing to destroy their enemies base, but can construct towers at specified parts of the battlefield they control. If no base gets destroyed, the player who controls the most towers wins.

Rank Explanation:

This game is fine, but mostly because Clash Royale is a great game. LEGO Star Wars Battles takes out some (but not enough) of the free-to-play design elements, but trades them in for annoyingly long animations for basically everything to add visual flair to a game that doesn't really need it. This isn't the worst trade, to be fair, but it could be better.


70. 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.


71. 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.


72. 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.


73. 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.


74. Crossy Road+

Description:

An updated version of Hipster Whale's smash-hit, Crossy Road+ finally brings some quality Frogger action to Apple Arcade. In this version, there's a management layer added on top of the simple score-chaser that gives some additional purpose to collecting new animals to play as.

Rank Explanation:

Perhaps the best thing about the original Crossy Road was that it was simple, quick, and had an amazingly fair free-to-play model. Crossy Road+ bloats up some of the game with its management mechanics and then otherwise feels like an unnecessary addition to Apple Arcade. It's still a fun time though.


75. 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.

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+

Posted in: News, Lists
Tagged With: Backgammon, Review, The oregon trail, Tint, Game Dev Story, Jetpack Joyride, SpellTower, Mosaic, Lego Star Wars, Badland, Asphalt 8: Airborne, The Room Two, Blek, Leo's Fortune, Crossy Road, Mini Metro, Don't Starve Pocket Edition, Reigns, INKS, Chameleon Run, Super Stickman Golf 3, Really Bad Chess, Layton's Mystery Journey, Flipflop Solitaire, Thumper: Pocket Edition, cat quest 2, Monster Hunter Stories, Card of Darkness, Overland, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Bleak Sword, Grindstone, What the Golf, Where Cards Fall, Sneaky Sasquatch, Sonic Racing, Hot Lava, The Get Out Kids, Assemble With Care, Dead End Job, Dread Nautical, Spaceland, Over the Alps, Jenny LeClue - Detectivu, Exit the Gungeon, Super Impossible Road, Cricket Through the Ages, Hyperbrawl Tournament, ChuChu Rocket Universe, Lego Brawls, Mutazione, Dear Reader, Cat Quest II, Neo Cab, King’s League II, Pilgrims, Outlanders, Down in Bermuda, Fledgling Heroes, Big Time Sports, Dodo Peak, Skate City, Punch Planet, Way of the Turtle, Painty Mob, Mini Motorways, Things that Go Bump, Shinsekai Into The Depths, EarthNight, Redout: Space Assault, Word Laces, Patterned, Stellar Commanders, Nightmare Farm, Spelldrifter, Tales of Memo, The Enchanted World, Possessions., Decoherence, Various Daylife, frogger in toy town, spek., agent intercept, atone: heart of the elder tree, super mega mini party, Guildlings, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Hogwash, Pac-Man Party Royale, Stela, Don't Bug Me, Ballistic Baseball, Rosie's Reality, Lifelike, Explottens, tangle tower, monomals, UFO on Tape: First Contact, Takeshi and Hiroshi, discolored, sociable soccer, marble it up: mayhem, Manifold Garden, ShockRods, Cardpocalypse, Steven Universe: Unleash the Light, Mind Symphony, Battlesky Brigade: Harpooner, Spidersaurs, operator 41, ultimate rivals: the rink, projection: first light, Stranded Sails, charrua soccer, secret oops, loud house: outta control, lifeslide, Crossy Road Castle, A Fold Apart, Butter Royale, Doomsday Vault, Earth Night, Fallen Knight, Fledging Heroes, Hexaflip: The Action Puzzler, Inmost, Jumper Jon, Kings of the Castle, Legend of the Skyfish 2, Lego's Builder Journey, Murder Mystery Machine, No Way Home, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, Rayman Mini, Red Reign, Roundguard, Scrappers, Speed Demons, Spyder, Star Fetched, The Bradwell Conspiracy, The Pinball Wizard, Towaga: Among Shadows, Yaga, Beyond Blue, neversong, The_Otherside, The Winding World, Towers of Everland, Spongebob: Patty Pursuit, Little Orpheus, Beyond a Steel Sky, Creaks, Necrobarista, Good Sudoku, The Lullaby of Life, Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows, Next Stop Nowhere, The Last Campfire, Samurai Jack, World's End Club, A Monster’s Expedition, Marble Knights, South of the Circle, Slash Quest, Reigns: Beyond, The Collage Atlas, All of You, The Survivalists, The Pathless, Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes, Warp Drive, Alba, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, Frogger Toy Town, Lego Builder's Journey, Lifelike: Chapter One, The Loud House: Outta Control, lumen, Marbe Knights, The Mosaic, Mutazoine, Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon, Pligrims, Populus Run, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, Socialable Soccer, Spongebob SquarePants: Patty Pursuit, Tower of Everland, Winding Worlds, Yaga: The Roleplaying Folktalke, NUTS - A Surveillance Mystery, Survival Z, Spire Blast, Sping, farm it, cozy grove, fantasian, the hitchhiker, wonderbox, Star Trek: Legends, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat, Simon's Cat - Story Time, SongPop Party, Solitaire by MobilityWare+, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, fruit ninja classic+, mahjong titan+, clap hanz golf, Cut the Rope Remastered, Chess - Play & Learn+, Checkers Royal+, Legends of Kingdom Rush, Frenzic: Overtime, Solitaire Stories, Ultimate Rivals: The Court, Alto's Odyssey: The Lost City, Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector+, Angry Birds Reloaded, Doodle God Universe, tetris beat, wurdweb, super leap day, detonation racing, baldo, DoDonPachi ResurrectionHD+, Zookeeper World, Zen Pinball Party, Masterchef: Let's Cook!, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure
Share This: