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

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


51. 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:

Unlike many other Apple Arcade games, King’s League II is almost too good at checkpointing. Time is of the essence in this game, and days fly by and the game auto-saves seemingly every second. When I can muster the focus, this makes for a really engaging, fun, and deep management sim. When I can’t though, I’m just left wishing this game had a pause button.

Update: There’s nothing new about King’s League II, but I was pulled back to it nevertheless. In concept, I really like the idea of training up a team of fighters to compete in a sports-like league, but the combat doesn’t reach the level of depth I was initially anticipating. I’m still surprised at how great and polished the game looks, but I always leave sessions with it wanting a bit.

Update: I was surprised to see a content update drop for King’s League IIshortly after coming back to it. Tons of things like new character classes and even new campaigns have been added, but I’ve come to find the core problem with the game being the combat. There just isn’t enough control over the action that it feels satisfying. The rest of the game is really polished and appealing though, which makes the game feel more and more like a missed opportunity.


52. 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.

Update:_Patty Pursuit_ remains a perfectly ok auto-running platformer. New levels are nice, but they don't totally elevate or change the experience beyond adding more of it.


53. 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 defintely 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.


54. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (NEW)

Description:

Explore a beautiful island town surrounded by natural beauty in an adventure that focuses around documenting wildlife. You play as Alba as she works together with her grandparents and other townsfolk to preserve it as it is.

Rank Explanation:

ustwo's house style continues to be pretty games that don't really have much to them. Alba--like Assemble With Care--is fine, but it's mostly a laundry list of facile tasks to do. In the case of this game, most of it revolves around taking pictures of animals and picking up trash. Kudos to the team for trying new things and not just making Monument Valley over and over again, but I'd like to see more substance behind ustwo titles.


55. 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.

Update: Patterned got updated with multiplayer support, but that’s not really the reason for its rise up in the ranks. After spending more time with the game, I have found it to be more pleasant and relaxing than I initially gave it credit for. With the huge number of puzzles it now has, I’m also less concerned about its level of challenge. It’s also cool that the game now has secret patterns you can unlock, which gives a sense of progression and satisfaction as you play.


56. The Collage Atlas

Description:

An artsy, walking simulator-type affair, The Collage Atlastakes place in a world of paper, pages, and words. There is definitely environmental puzzle-solving alongside its abstract narrative, but the game seems mostly focused as a linear storytelling vehicle.

Rank Explanation:

The idea of a world made of paper is more interesting than The Collage Atlasmakes it seem. This game ends up looking too same-y with its black and white visuals and repetitive goals of retreiving keys, though I was intrigued by its story.


57. Stranded Sails

Description:

In Stranded Sails, you and your crew have been shipwrecked on an island, and it’s up to you to gather all the survivors and... well... survive. This plodding game feeds you a laundry list of crafting objectives that lead you all around the island, teaching you how to farm, build, fish, and more, most of which serve as ways to let you keep exploring more across the island.

Rank Explanation:

This seems like the kind of game you’d want to put behind a subscription. A slow-burning survival/crafting game can make sure you always have something to do. The only problem is Stranded Sails is a little too slow. It takes a long time to do just about anything in the game, and all the while you need to be managing your stamina and trying to get things done before the sun goes down. Sometimes, this is just fine, but there are also other mobile crafting games that do everything Stranded Sails does but better, and those you don’t need to pay for monthly.


58. All of You

Description:

In All of You, you play as a mother hen trying to gather her chicks back. This happens across levels where you are in control of how and when the hen moves between scenes spaced apart from each other. In a way, it feels like FRAMEDin how you can manipulate the order or orientation of scenes to find the way forward.

Rank Explanation:

This kind of puzzle game feels the most tired on mobile. All of You’s trial and error levels each have small tricks that slowly ramp up to things that are actually interesting, but it doesn’t entirely feel worth it. There’s nothing technically wrong with the game per se. It’s just pretty boilerplate.


59. Spek.

Description:

Everything is a matter of perspective in Spek. Quite literally the game is about manipulating your viewing angle to allow a dot to collect fragments so you can advance to the next level. Its minimal style and puzzle design also gives it a little bit of an Echochrome vibe.

Rank Explanation:

Spek. is quite a solid puzzler and certainly stands above Possessions., another Apple Arcade entry about moving the game camera to solve puzzles. As abstract as it can be, though, there are times when your perspective shifts don’t work out the way you expect them to, or the game doesn’t explain them well. Sometimes, this leads to pleasant discoveries. Other times, it can be a little maddening.


60. World's End Club

Description:

World's End Clubis a narrative adventure game about a club of young students who are off on a road trip when a series of mysterious and catastrophic things happen. From there, it's up to the club to use their own ingenuity and the power of friendship to uncover the mysteries of the new world they wake up in, which is done mostly via reading dialogue and some light puzzle platforming.

Rank Explanation:

The quick and dirty pitch for World's End Club might as well be "it's Danganronpa but also a platformer." The game even starts with a scenario that feels almost exactly like the happenings at Hope's Peak Academy, though to solve it you have to run and jump around a 2D environment to hit switches, run from threats, and catch up to your friends to progress the story. Mechanically, performing these tasks isn't particularly satisfying, and the characters performing them feel underdeveloped, but (to it's credit) I am curious to see where World's End Club goes, which is more than I can say about most Apple Arcade titles. Update: The deeper I get into World’s End Club, the worse it gets. The game’s writing is pretty weak, and there’s a lot of it. I was hoping for more from the minds behind Danganronpagames.


61. Marble Knights

Description:

Marble Knights is a 3D beat em up where you play as characters that roll around on top of marbles. In addition to fighting well, you need to make sure you can steer you characters around levels without falling off edges or into pits.

Rank Explanation:

There’s nothing wrong with Marble Knights, but there’s nothing that interesting about it either. The marble-based traversal doesn’t add as much dimension to the gameplay as you might think. Also, the game seems to be focused on multiplayer, but only offers it through private codes or local co-op.


62. Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes (NEW)

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 understand what is going on in it, which can lead to frustrating defeats.


63. Ballistic Baseball

Description:

Remember when sports games weren’t hyper-realistic simulations? Remember when they were just cartoony approximations that didn’t take themselves too seriously? That’s the whole deal with Ballistic Baseball. This multiplayer baseball game has players take turns across three innings trying to outwit each other through pitching mind games and quick-reaction hits to bring in runs. The player who sneaks in more runs than their opponent wins. Simple as that.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t like Gameloft. They routinely make gorgeous knock-offs of console and PC games and load them up with in-app purchases in the process. So imagine my surprise when they put out a game on Apple Arcade and it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable multiplayer baseball game. Sure, it’s definitely still derivative (It’s basically a gussied up version of Bottom of the 9th), but it feels nice to play an arcade baseball game, especially since there’s plenty of online competition to enjoy.


64. UFO on Tape: First Contact

Description:

UFO on Tape: First Contact is a game about taking pictures. These pictures are mostly of alien spacecraft, but they can be of all kinds of other things, too. In fact, every level in UFO on Tape has specific shots it’s looking for you to capture, some of which are just interesting signs or of the surrounding nature. Once you capture enough of these specific shots well enough, you earn enough money to move on to the next level.

Rank Explanation:

UFO on Tape kind of feels like Pokemon Snap, but it’s main failing is that you spend a lot of your time looking at boring spaceships instead of cute monsters. The photography gameplay is interesting and entertaining to a point, but it wears thin quickly, especially since you have to play levels through multiple times to get good enough shots to progress to the next scene.


65. Doomsday Vault

Description:

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

Rank Explanation:

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

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


66. 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.

Update: Sneaky Sasquatch has had a bunch of content added to the game since launch. There’s now a story where you can save the park, and its open-world areas are all a bit more fleshed out with side activities to complete. The game now feels kind of like an empty version of Grand Theft Auto, but you’re still a sasquatch. There’s something satisfying about that, but it also wears thin at times.

Update: Paradoxically, after adding a whole new landmass, Sneaky Sasquatchfeels emptier than ever. This is both because moving between points of interest in the game takes longer than ever, and the activities available on the island are more thin mini-games that grow old quickly.


67. Agent Intercept

Description:

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

Rank Explanation:

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

Update: Agent Intercept has aged poorly in general, and the addition of a new level type doesn’t really help things. The once-per-day level idea sounded good at first, but there’s just not enough going on in the stages to feel like things you want to revisit all that often. Even the challenges that have been added to the game don’t feel particularly varied or engaging.


68. Neversong

Description: Neversong is a strange mishmash of games. It’s a mediation on mental health, but it’s also an action platformer. You play as a boy Peet, who’s girlfriend was stolen away from him, causing him to fall into a coma. After waking, he sets off on a strange and surreal adventure to find his girlfriend while battling bug-like enemies and swinging around environments.

Rank Explanation: I think the odd blending of tones and genre conventions gives Neversong a truly unique flavor, but I’d like it more if the things it implemented felt a little better. The platforming itself is serviceable, but Peet’s hitbox in combat doesn’t feel right, and the swinging mechanics that the game introduces later on don’t work well on touch at all. I want to see where Neversong goes, but I’ll only be enjoying it in small bursts using a controller unless some updates come through to improve the touch experience.


69. Speed Demons

Description:

Speed Demons is technically an auto-runner, I guess, but it feels more like a racing game because it involves cars. Race your way down winding roads across a variety of event types, most of which ultimately want you to drive fast and keep others from doing that better than you. To enhance the experience, Speed Demons relies heavily on an high frame rate and a propulsive soundtrack.

Rank Explanation:

When you’re in the zone in Speed Demons, it feels incredible. This involves the convergence of a lot of moving parts, though. You yourself have to be in the right mental (and physical) space to concentrate on the game. Then, the soundtrack needs to land on the right tune (thankfully, you can control this relatively easily). Finally—and most crucially—the game actually needs to be running at 60 frames per second or higher, which is sometimes a struggle. If any of these ingredients aren’t just right, the magic of Speed Demons doesn’t quite work. Fortunately, it works most of the time.

Update: I want Speed Demons to be mobile Burnout, and I think Radiangames does too, and it’s frustratingly close to being that. When everything is going well, the game feels great, but sometimes the its physics and procedural generation get in the way and can make entire races feel completely rigged against you. Unfortunately, the latest update doesn’t do much to solve these problems. While it’s true there is now a respawn button and more leniency around star and level requirements, it’s still frustrating when entire runs get derailed due to things that feel completely out of your control.


70. Assemble With Care

Description:

Assemble With Care is a narrative puzzle game about a young girl named Maria who repairs things. As she fixes objects for the people of Bellariva—a town she is just passing through—she learns a lot about them and their lives. The gameplay here mostly consists of poking and prodding at broken objects with virtual tools to get them in working order again. Every time you fix an object, you then get a small dose of story that leads you to the next puzzle.

Rank Explanation:

I’m starting to think there’s something I’m missing when I play ustwo games. I love the attention-to-detail in games like Monument Valley and Assemble With Care, but I don’t find the overall experience all that compelling. It probably doesn’t help that Assemble With Care doesn’t really give itself room to develop its ideas. On the plus side, this is an easy title to burn through if you’re using a free trial of Apple Arcade.

Update: The added chapter to Assemble with Care adds one additional puzzle to the game, and it feels as vapid as the rest of the game. Looks nice though.


71. Little Orpheus

Description:

Who would’ve thought that the creators of Dear Esther, a plodding and cerebral meditation on trauma, would be the same studio to make a game with a pitch like "what if we made Inside but with bright colors and there are cosmonauts and dinosaurs?" This is essentially what Little Orpheus is: A hollow, meandering romp of simple platforming set pieces accompanied by voiceover narration.

Rank Explanation:

Little Orpheus gestures at great ideas and fails to really execute on any of them. It looks great in screenshots, but is really clunky and borderline unplayable using touch. It evokes Inside, but does not have the same clever puzzle design or creativity. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s voice actors charmingly quip without ever really landing a punchline. To its credit, I was intrigued by the game’s overarching narrative and its general style to see the whole thing through in short order, but I walked away from it being pretty disappointed.


72. Tales of Memo

Description:

What starts as a simple memory game quickly evolves into a frenetic twitch-based puzzle experience. Tales of Memo is more or less about just finding matching numbers from opening random chests, but you need to use these matches strategically to take down enemies and advance to the next level.

Rank Explanation:

The first level or two of Tales of Memo are dumbed down to the point that it’s hard to tell what the game is supposed to be. Then, there are a couple more levels where finding matches is dead simple. It’s not until you push through all of this to find what is actually a pretty solid game build around the mechanics of basic memory games. It’s kind of impressive, though ultimately boils down to speed and a little bit of luck to pass stages.


73. Marble It Up: Mayhem!

Description:

Marble It Up: Mayhem! is a platfomer that puts a lot of emphasis behind momentum and physics. You roll a marble around levels and you need to hop over gaps, gather gems, and reach and exit, while making sure not to roll too fast that you accidentally slide of a ledge or hit a bumper to send your marble flying.

Rank Explanation:

I have never really understood why you’d want to play a platformer where your ability to control things feels muddy and slow, but games like Marble It Up: Mayhem prove there is some kind of audience for these things. Even placing my personal hang-ups aside, I’m not sure Marble It Up is great at what it’s trying to do. Half the time I try to trigger the jump button, it doesn’t seem to work, and the game’s multiplayer mode is a barely functional mess. Not great!

Update: Marble It Up: Mayhem! controls a lot better than it did when I first played it, though its new update makes no mention of tweaks in that department. Its better feel as a platformer is the main reason for it shooting up the rankings. The multiplayer aspects of the game (even the new modes) are not very appealing, especially since online opponents seem to skip and jump around levels in unpredictable ways.

Update: Marble It Upgot updated and deleted all my progress in the game. There is a new auto-camera, a better unlock system, weekly challenges, and new multiplayer modes, but those are hard to get excited about when I have to replay a bunch of the game again. Also multiplayer is now a ghost town, so there’s not much reason to hop online anymore.


74. Takeshi and Hiroshi

Description:

Takeshi is a 14-year-old who also happens to be an amateur game designer. When his little brother, Hiroshi, gets sick, Takeshi decides to make a game for him. The only problem is, the game isn’t finished, so Takeshi has to go in and direct the action to try and make sure his little brother has a fun time. Playing Takeshi and Hiroshi consists of watching animated cutscenes and then choosing waves of enemies for Hiroshi to fight. Your ultimate goal is to create a satisfying challenge that doesn’t over or underwhelm Hiroshi.

Rank Explanation:

Takeshi and Hiroshi is absolutely adorable to watch, but dreadfully boring to play. To put it plainly, the game Takeshi made for his brother isn’t particularly interesting or good. Even the meta system where you have to manage Hiroshi’s stress and thrill levels fails to add dimension to the flavorless rpg placeholder used as the bond between these two brothers. Although there’s some great animation work and cute storytelling going on in Takeshi and Hiroshi, it doesn’t always feel worth the sloggy gameplay.


75. EarthNight

Description:

EarthNight is a strange auto-runner. You play as two of Earth’s last remaining fighters who are defending the planet from dragons. At the start of each run, you dive out of a spaceship and skydive toward Earth, and each dragon you land on becomes a auto-runner level that ends with you trying to kill said dragon by stabbing it in the head a bunch. Along the way, you gather tons of little collectibles, which you can use to purchase upgrades or unlock new items to help you get further in the game.

Rank Explanation:

There’s something so distinct about EarthNight’s style that I really love. Sure, it’s an auto-runner, but it has a lot of personality and specific ideas about how its game works. I don’t love how repetitive it is, but there is something cool about playing a few runs every once in a while, which allows it to it to sit higher on this list than it would otherwise.

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

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