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

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


51. 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.


52. 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.


53. World's End Club (UPDATE)

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 Clubgoes, 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.


54. Marble Knights (NEW)

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.


55. 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.


56. 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.


57. 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.


58. Sneaky Sasquatch (UPDATE)

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.


59. 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.


60. 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.


61. 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.


62. 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.


63. 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.


64. 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.


65. Marble It Up: Mayhem! (UPDATE)

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 Up got 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.


66. 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.


67. 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.


68. Crossy Road Castle

Description:

The follow up to Crossy Road is a simple platformer who’s main selling point is that up to four players can wander through its micro stages together. Players collect coins while trying to avoid spikes, enemies, and giant bird bosses, all while piloting voxel animals that reflect the iconic styling of Hipster Whale’s breakout mobile hit.

Rank Explanation:

Crossy Road Castle feels like it has so much potential for zany antics, but is mostly just a pretty mild platformer. Players can’t interact with each other in multiplayer, and the levels themselves don’t feel particularly special aside from being pretty small. The game also has a weird structure where you always start the game from the very beginning and play stages in a random order. The levels aren’t procedurally-generated though, so you end up seeing and playing a lot of the same levels repeatedly.

Update: Online multiplayer in Crossy Road Castle makes it a lot more fun than it is on your own. It’s micro-style platforming is still a little hit-or-miss, but it can be fun to barrel through levels with three other players.


69. 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.


70. 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.


71. 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.


72. 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.


73. CHARRUA SOCCER

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.

Update: A content update to Charrua Soccer gives you more reason to keep playing it. You can now play against St. Patrick’s Day teams to unlock them, and the matches in these challenges have special rules, which is kind of fun. There are definitely other problems that persist in this game, but this update does make it a little better.

Update: Charrua Soccer now has just about everything that Sociable Soccer has, but without gameplay that feels random and no arbitrary grind limits. I'm still not in love with either of these soccer games, but if I'm going to pick one back up, it'll be Charrua Soccer.


74. 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.

Update: Down in Bermuda got updated with a new island and a new control scheme, so it felt worth re-evaluating. I think it’s fair to say the controls in the game are much more intuitive, but controlling the game itself—that is to say constantly scrolling, panning, and zooming around environments—still feels clumsy. Also, the new island took me about 10 minutes to complete. It had new puzzles, which was nice, but the hardest part of the game continues to be orb-gathering, which is both dull and arduous.


75. 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.

Update: I returned to Butter Royale to see how their handling of seasonal content compared to that of other mobile battle royale games, and was not particularly impressed with what I saw. There are of course skins and other cosmetics to unlock, but the road to earn them is so long and the combat so simple that it quickly feels like a pure grind. At least they removed limits on earning rewards though.

Update 2: Butter Royale continues to shorten its progression grind with the introduction of daily and weekly quests that can grant bonus rewards. In returning to it, I found it slightly easier to control and I found myself having some amount of fun with it. That also could have just been because I won, though. There still isn’t anything here that would make me play it before any of our top battle royale picks.

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

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

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Tagged With: Review, Tint, Mosaic, cat quest 2, 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, Neo Cab, King’s League II, Pilgrims, Outlanders, Down in Bermuda, 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, 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 Winding World, Towers of Everland, Spongebob: Patty Pursuit, Beyond a Steel Sky, Creaks, Necrobarista, 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
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