This is part 5 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176-200 | 201+


101. 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.



102. 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.


103. 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.


104. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

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.


105. 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:

Patterned is just a really chill puzzle game. It has some gorgeous artwork to put together, and it doesn't try to overcomplicate the simple pleasure of solving a jigsaw puzzle.


106. Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat

Description:

A mobile version of Namco's popular taiko drum rhythm series, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat tests your skills in tapping along to a soundtrack of about 30 songs, which include notably strange selections like the My Little Pony theme song, the prelude from the opera Carmen, and select tunes from other Namco games. As you tap on your drum, colorful animated characters celebrate your rhythm mastery.

Rank Explanation:

I love how colorful, bright and kooky this game is, but I truly struggle to enjoy this game's soundtrack and rhythm design. If I'm playing a drum, it doesn't make sense to me to play to the rhythm of the vocals before switching to drumming along to a guitar solo, and it's even harder to abide this when nearly every song is arguably of the "novelty" variety. New songs get added to this game over time, but they still feel too niche or cliche. I don't feel cool drumming along to Flight of the Bumblebee.


107. The Collage Atlas

Description:

An artsy, walking simulator-type affair, The Collage Atlas takes 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 Atlas makes it seem. This game ends up looking too same-y with its black and white visuals and repetitive goals of retrieving keys, though I was intrigued by its story.


108. Masterchef: Let's Cook!

Description:

Compete against other aspiring amateur chefs in battles to create the most favored dish. Masterchef: Let's Cook! is a heavily modified version of the popular reality show's format that pits players against each other in real-time cooking challenges that you complete through various mini-games. The chef who aligns their dish to the judge's requirements, completes it quickly, and executes each step with precision comes out on top.

Rank Explanation:

I'm actually surprised at how fun Masterchef: Let's Cook! is. It has loot boxes galore and is styled like a tossed off free-to-play title, but matches feel fun and intense. I wish there was a little more variety in the challenges, but maybe some more of that will come in future updates.


109. Construction Simulator 2+

Description:

Build your own construction empire by filling holes with dirt, laying pipe, towing freight, and more. Construction Simulator 2+ is a simulation management game that puts your right in the driver's seat of heavy construction vehicles that you add to your fleet as you complete jobs and manage your money carefully.

Rank Explanation:

As noted in my review for the non-Apple Arcade version, this game is oddly satisfying. There's something cool going on with the no-nonsense simulation happening here, but it also feels like it takes forever and doesn't want to cooperate with you.


110. 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.


111. Spire Blast

Description:

This color-matching game has you launching balls of color at medieval towers constructed out of blocks of the same material. If you hit a block with a same-colored block, they burst and can challenge the structural integrity of the tower. Your goal is mostly to collapse the tower completely, though there's usually some side objectives to complete as well.

Rank Explanation:

Spire Blast is oddly satisfying when physics are on your side. Seeing towers crumble under their own weight after you take out enough load-bearing blocks just feels cool, but only up to a point. As the game turns more objective-based, Spire Blast's light arcade appeal dissipates and feels like a chore.


112. 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.


113. 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. It starts with a bang, but peters out pretty quickly due to a lack of compelling character development.


114. 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.


115. Flipflop Solitaire+

Description:

This variant on Solitaire makes it possible to solve every deal, regardless of the setup. Zach Gage's take on the card stacking single-player game lets you stack cards in both ascending or descending order with minor rule variations depending on how many suits you decide to play with.

Rank Explanation:

Flipflop Solitaire+ is a good Solitaire game, but it's hard for me to love it knowing that it comes from the creator of Sage Solitaire, a much more exciting take on clearing and organizing cards. Flipflop Solitaire+ just feels too much like the regular game, and its extra rules can make it feel convoluted at times.


116. Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls

Description:

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls is a reboot of what was initially envisioned as a free-to-play game where you collect characters and gear from the iconic Castlevania series as you go on dungeon runs through cursed grimoires. This reboot keeps almost all of those components intact, but does away with the parts where you can spend money, allowing you to grind out currencies to kit out Alucard, the Belmonts, and others to complete increasingly difficult levels full of dark fantasy monsters and bosses.

Rank Explanation:

Grimoire of Souls is a snooze-fest if you are expecting anything approaching a Castlevania game. I'm partial to the "Metroidvania" versions of these games, but even if you like the level-based titles there is very little of interest here. All of the challenge comes from your ability to grind and match the power of the enemies you're fighting. Upgrade-a-thons aren't necessarily bad. They can be meditative, and this one has polish and has some fun with Castlevania lore, but it doesn't feel special in the slightest.


117. 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.


118. Blek+

Description:

Blek+ is a minimal puzzle game about collecting colored balls by drawing lines. The tricky part about it is the lines you draw move in the same way you drew them once you lift your finger. It's kind of a mind-bending idea, and that seems to be the point with the game. Can you train your brain to animate a line to avoid obstacles while achieving your goal?

Rank Explanation:

The idea of Blek+ is much more appealing on paper than it is in practice. I don't find it fun to see my failed drawings sulk off the screen, and I don't find much enjoyment in experimenting with the gameplay to get good at drawing lines to solve the game's more complicated challenges. This ends up reducing most puzzles into trial and error, which is not particularly fun.


119. 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.


120. 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. Wandering through levels is needlessly clunky regardless of whether you’re playing with touch or a controller.


121. Sneaky Sasquatch

Description:

Sneaky Sasquatch starts as 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. Play it for long enough though and it expands into a gigantic open world full of mini-games to let your Sasquatch enjoy.

Rank Explanation:

It’s a funny concept, but Sneaky Sasquatch feels a little too aimless. For as big as its world is, the mini-games that punctuate points of interest only highlight how empty the game really is.


122. 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.


123. Neversong

Description:

Neversongis 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 Neversonggoes, but I’ll only be enjoying it in small bursts using a controller unless some updates come through to improve the touch experience.


124. 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.


125. 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.

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1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176-200 | 201+

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