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

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


101. Next Stop Nowhere*

Description:

Night School Studios's contribution to Apple Arcade is a narrative adventure about a space courier who gets wrapped up in an exciting plot after a chance encounter at a watering hole. The game revolves primarily around dialogue and decision-making to help guide the overall story, though there is some light puzzle-solving and spaceship flight sequences where you have more direct control of your character.

Rank Explanation:

I wanted to blaze through Next Stop Nowhere as soon as I fired it up because of its colorful world, clever writing, and tremendous voice acting, but I have decided to put it down for now. The game launched with some pretty annoying technical issues that can make it hard to move your characters, and--more importantly--cause certain lines of dialogue to be cut off from other people chatting. I'm going to wait and see if Next Stop Nowhere gets a little more polish so I can enjoy it in full without these frustrations.

Update: I was very encouraged by the news that Next Stop Nowheregot an update that supposedly fixed a lot of the problems the game launched with, but the game is still unfortunately very, very buggy. Characters talk over each other constantly, subtitles miscue, characters get stuck alternating between animations, and more. I can't wait to play this game, as it seems extremely up my alley, but there's no reason to touch it for now.


102. Fledgling Heroes

Description:

Fledging Heroes is an auto-runner where you pilot various birds through different environments. In controlling birds, tapping in this game causes your bird to flap, and—depending on what kind of bird you happen to be controlling—said flap may behave differently. Some levels ask you to complete certain challenges in order to gather feathers (which then unlock new areas), while others are time trials of sorts that grant similar rewards. There’s also endless modes, boss stages, and even a level editor.

Rank Explanation:

If you’re going to release a runner on mobile in 2019, it better be something incredible. This is a genre that’s been done to death on mobile, so it’s hard for me to muster excitement for these games unless there’s some really creative twist involved. Unfortunately, Fledgling Heroes does very little change things up. The one edge it presents is the ability to create your own levels, but my experience in level creation was marred with bugs.

Update: Updates to the level creator in Fledgling Heroes finally fix the problems it had at launch, plus it lets players share levels with each other. In the time since this happened though, a little game called Levelhead came along and is a much better outlet for level creation and sharing than this game is likely to ever be.


103. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner

Description:

Launch your bunny pilot into the skies to blast away baddies and collect coins. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner combines the mechanics of a vertical shooter and a fishing game. As you are launched out on your journey, you want to blast as many things as possible, but when your rope runs out, you cast a net and want to collect as many coins and other currencies as possible. Upon your return, you can use your collectibles to upgrade your ship to take on harder airspaces.

Rank Explanation:

This game feels an awful lot like Ridiculous Fishing, but it is nowhere near as charming or satisfying. The overall game is also slow and poorly explained. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner feels like a way to waste your time while buying upgrades. It’s certainly not the worst way to do that on Apple Arcade, but nothing about this game comes off as exciting or innovative.


104. Punch Planet

Description:

Punch Planet is a six-button fighting game that somewhat closely resembles Street Fighter. In its roster of six fighters, most special moves are executed using quarter circle motions, though there is one charge character who also doubles as a grappler. The whole game also has a cool, cartoony sci-fi aesthetic.

Rank Explanation:

Punch Planet is a very cool, stylish, and fun experience, except it only feels like half a fighting game. It only has two single player modes that are barely distinguishable from each other and no online multiplayer. Once you’ve cleared Arcade mode, there isn’t much to do, especially considering you can’t even change the AI difficulty.


105. A Fold Apart

Description:

A Fold Apart combines puzzles designed around a "paper folding" mechanic with a story that examines the anxiety and uncertainty of a relationship being put to the test. Each chapter begins with a texting conversation where you can choose from some pre-determined replies. This then transforms into a nightmarish puzzle landscape whenever one person texts something that strikes a nerve. In this part of the game you have to flip and fold your environment to get your character to collect stars in order to press forward.

Rank Explanation:

If I had to think of one word to describe A Fold Apart, it would be immature. The characters in the game have wild overreactions to each other’s messages in a way that feels juvenile. This descriptor also applies to A Fold Apart’s gameplay, which could have used some more time to fully develop. The controls are frustratingly imprecise and slow, and puzzles need a quick undo or restart button. None of A Fold Apart really feels like it fits together the right way.


106. Painty Mob

Description:

Painty Mob is a super bright arcade game about painting characters and then avoiding them as they give chase. It’s bizarre, but colorful, and tries to celebrate that in as many ways as possible.

Rank Explanation:

My main issue with Painty Mob is that it’s super difficult to tell what’s going on in the game. The ultra-bright visuals and frantic gameplay just don’t mesh very well into a particularly readable experience. In a lot of ways, it seems like Painty Mob is going for the Katamari-like zaniness, but that doesn’t work with how punishing and illegible everything is.


107. Decoherence

Description:

Decoherence is a multiplayer game where you build and program robots to fight alongside your own player character. This turns what would be a one-on-one battle into a dynamic battlefield that challenges you to master both tactical decision-making and sharp reaction times to defeat your opponents. Each match consists of a building and planning phase followed by a real-time battle where players can hop into their own robots to take matters into their own hands.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot going on in Decoherence, and I like almost all of it... in theory. In practice, it’s a bit overwhelming. The game’s tutorial is long and explains a lot regarding how the game works, but it also somehow feels like not enough. I’m not sure why I should prefer one kind of bot over another, or what match ups are favorable vs. unfavorable and why. I assume you can learn these things by just playing the game a lot, but there’s not really anyone online to play against. This leaves you with the option to play random matches against AI or Decoherence’s roguelike mode, both of which feel like fallback modes that support a cool multiplayer experience, but not particularly substantive modes in their own right.

Also worth noting that Decoherence is borderline unplayable on phone screens. Menus are borderline unreadable and it’s just hard to control the action on such a small screen.


108. Murder Mystery Machine

Description:

Murder Mystery Machine is a modern detective mystery game where you investigate crimes by gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, and connecting the dots between a given scenario to determine what happened.

Rank Explanation:

The mystery-solving in this game feels like you’re playing a big guessing game. The evidence you find rarely feels like it actually proves the conclusions you’re drawing, yet Murder Mystery Machine also insists that you gather each little detail of evidence and literally draw connections between them. It’s a weird imbalance that makes for a pretty unsatisfying experience.


109. Towaga: Among Shadows

Description:

Towaga: Among Shadows is a sequel to Towaga, which is a defense shooter where you stand in place and blast away at shadowy creatures with beams of light. Much like its predecessor, Among Shadows is gorgeously animated and moves at a super smooth frame rate. This sequel also adds a "Flying Mode" which feels a lot like a dual-stick shooter.

Rank Explanation:

Aside from having some nice animation, Towaga: Among Shadows is a pretty hum-drum shooter. It’s also one that makes you grind out a currency to improve your ability to beat certain levels. Even in early stages it feels like it doesn’t matter how good your reflexes are. If you don’t have the stats, you won’t succeed. Not a great look for an action game.


110. Lego Brawls

Description:

If you turned a side-scrolling beat ‘em up into a multiplayer game, you’d end up with something like Lego Brawls. Players make their own minifigures, join a team online, and battle in "territory control"-style competitions. In addition to using their fists, players can pick up items like hot dog guns and rocket ships shaped like fists to take down enemies and capture control points.

Rank Explanation:

There’s some goofiness and charm to Lego Brawls, but none of that comes from actually playing it. Without the appeal of Lego, Brawls is a really lite and floaty multiplayer game that grows stale almost immediately. This game also loses points because it’s basically multiplayer only.

Update: New maps and items have been added to a game that continues to have a pretty hollow core. Lego Brawls is begging for any amount of added precision to make swinging fish and swords at opposing minifigs feel like it involves any amount of skill or prowess.


111. Mind Symphony

Description:

Mind Symphony is a music game with two modes. In the first, you play a Geometry Wars-like shooter that spawns enemies in time with a song you’re listening to in the background. In the other mode, you fly a peaceful, metallic bird through a desert and tap on rings in an effort to match the beat of the song you’re listening to.

Rank Explanation:

I can kind of see how Mind Symphony can be fun using your own music, but the game only works with Apple Music users. If you aren’t a subscriber (like me), you’re stuck with a collection of a dozen songs, and only one of them really convinced me that Mind Symphony does much to make interesting gameplay in response to the music you’re listening to. Also, the shooter mode is the only mode worth playing. The meditation mode is a super simple rhythm game that doesn’t even seem to sync up with songs very well.


112. Stela*

Description:

Did you play Inside? The developers of Stela sure did. This game is shockingly similar to Playdead’s gorgeous puzzle platformer from 2016. There are a few differences, like you play as a woman, and... well, that’s about the only difference. You still jump around desaturated environments and solving strange puzzles, all while trying to avoid dying too much.

Rank Explanation:

I’m not sure how such a blatant Inside rip-off made it onto Apple Arcade. It’s not even a good imitation, either. The game doesn’t communicate how you can interact with its environment very clearly at all, so most of the time you just end up dying repeatedly wondering what you’re supposed to do. To be fair, this can happen in Inside sometimes, but at least solving puzzles in that game feels rewarding. In Stela, you just walk away frustrated and feeling like you’re being swindled.

After some reader feedback, I gave Stela another shot and came away more pleased with it than I was initially. It still feels like an Inside clone, but it does have some terrific music and creates a more intense atmosphere than I was expecting. That said, in my revisiting of Stela I also encoutered some significant progress-breaking bugs. Luckily those weren’t permanent, and they somehow didn’t stop me from actually enjoying parts of the game more than I did before.


113. Sonic Racing

Description:

It’s a cart racer that has Sonic and all of his compadres in it. Just like Team Sonic Racing, which came out earlier this year on consoles, the twist in this game is that racers play on teams. This means you don’t necessarily have to get in first place to win. As long as your team does better than your opponent’s, you’re the victor.

Rank Explanation:

I’m impressed at the lengths Sega HARDlight went to to make a mobile-friendly racing game, but perhaps they went a bit too far. By default, the game presents itself as something you play in portrait mode with a virtual steering wheel, but you can go so far as to play the game in landscape mode with a controller. Playing in either mode never really ends of feeling that compelling. Using touch, you feel like you don’t have the fidelity you’d like, and playing console-style ends up making it feel like a pretty light and dumbed-down experience.

Another thing to note about Sonic Racing is its multiplayer focus. There really isn’t much to do playing offline, and if a race gets interrupted, that’s tough luck. Something about the whole thing feels like it was an unexpected addition to Apple Arcade, too, because the game is built like a free-to-play game (there are upgradable drivers and items), though they took the part where you might spend money out.

Update: It doesn’t really matter how many modes or tracks you add to Sonic Racing. The game’s driving model is just too simple to feel particularly satisfying. In a world where there’s a free-to-play kart racer that feels more robust and satisfying than Sonic Racing, there’s not much reason to play it.


114. Towers of Everland

Description:

Towers of Everland is a dungeon-crawler in the same vein as Legend of Grimrock, albeit a much more stripped down and procedurally generated affair. You choose a hero from several fantasy archetypes, go on quests to kill enemies and loot towers, and then use your spoils to upgrade your hero and town to take on more difficult quests.

Rank Explanation:

Towers of Everland is so streamlined that it’s pretty boring. The environments are almost completely non-interactive, and any new loot or stat upgrades to your hero don’t really change up the combat. They just make you stronger as your enemies get stronger, so everything ends up feeling static throughout.


115. Hot Lava

Description:

What if someone turned the old childhood "ground is lava" game and turned it into a video game? That’s what Hot Lava is. It’s a sort of parkour-like platformer where you try to race through levels hopping on objects that somehow aren’t being melted by the lava underneath it.

Rank Explanation:

I’d love to have a platformer on Apple Arcade focused around time trials, provided it wasn’t a first-person game. First-person platforming rarely feels good because it’s always so hard to tell where your feet are. Same is true here with Hot Lava, plus the game defaults to a goofy motion-based control scheme that asks you to wave your phone or tablet around to look. All of this feels better once you change some settings (ideally to play with a controller), but even then, Hot Lava doesn’t feel as good to control as it should.

Update: Unless Klei makes some fundamental changes to how first-person platforming works, I’m not sure Hot Lava is going to be worth your time. The game is most playable with a controller, but even then it’s hard to gauge where your feet are or when you should jump off of platforms. Adding new courses and items might intrigue platformer diehards to sink some more time into this game, but it’s definitely not for everyone.


116. Super Mega Mini Party

Description:

Super Mega Mini Party is like Mario Party, but without Nintendo characters and weird board game meta-layer on top of it. This is to say it’s a multiplayer mini-game collection where you and up to three other people can compete in challenges like hopping on pogo sticks over lava and passing dynamite around like it’s a hot potato.

Rank Explanation:

I actually think the mini-games in Super Mega Mini Party are actually kind of fun. They control well and are reasonably well thought out to make for some fun multiplayer moments. The only bummer of all this is that you can’t really enjoy it whenever you want. Gathering multiple people to play games together is hard, but it’s especially hard when you ask them to play a mobile game modeled after Mario Party. Of course, you can try to play online with random people, but no one appears to be doing that as far as I can tell. This just leaves you with the option of playing practice mode in single-player, which isn’t much of a party at all.

Update: The update to Super Mega Mini Party adds an interesting matchmaking system where players are supposed to be able to wander an open-world and challenge each other to mini-games. I say "supposed to" because I am yet to see a single person playing this game. Perhaps this is a fun game to play with people, but at this rate I will never know.

Update 2: Revisiting this title again so soon because the updates keep coming. Also, it now seems like people are actually playing the multiplayer so I’ve been able to test my skills against humans. It’s still a mini-game collection, so I’m not sure it’s a great thing to play with random strangers on the internet, but you can if you want, and it seems like some people want to do that.


117. Scrappers

Description: In the far-flung future, the Earth is only inhabited by two things: robots and trash. This is the setup for Scrappers, a side-scrolling beat ‘em up where you play as a robotic sanitation worker who needs to fight their way through junkyards while depositing trash into your truck to earn money. You can also do all of this with up to three other people in the game’s co-op mode.

Rank Explanation:

Scrappers is a mound of poor decisions that got bundled up into a colorful package. Beat ‘em ups are rarely ever good; co-op focused games with no matchmaking make for a boring time; and making "picking up trash" your differentiating mechanic is not exactly my idea of fun. Even if you happen to like beat ‘em ups, Scrappers is a tough sell because of how easy it is to exploit the game’s combat system and suck all of the challenge out of it.

Update: The latest patch for Scrappers makes some significant changes. You now have an AI sidekick in single-player sessions who collects and tosses trash automatically and an auto-catch feature to make passing trash a little easier. The game's multiplayer mode also now allows for random matchmaking, but this addition seems to be too little, too late. I've yet to find a single person trying to play Scrappersonline, and I don't blame them. The game itself is still just a mediocre beat 'em up with a mildly interesting mechanic layered on top.


118. Spidersaurs

Description:

Spidersaurs is a 2D shooter that tries to stir up lots of 80s and 90s nostalgia. Its "Saturday Morning Cartoon" style combines with throwback gameplay that has you running and gunning to take down dinosaur/spider hybrids.

Rank Explanation:

For as cool as Spidersaurs looks, it controls horribly. It seems to be going for a Contra-like experience, but it’s impossible to control using touch and is functional, but sluggish, on controller.


119. The Get Out Kids

Description:

Interactive fiction is a good way to describe The Get Out Kids. It’s a very story-focused adventure game set in the 1980s. What starts as a fun night of mischief between friends becomes something much darker and more sinister, and it’s up to you to figure out what’s going on by tapping your way through diorama-like scenes.

Rank Explanation:

Apple Arcade has quite a few adventure puzzlers on its service, and The Get Out Kids is probably the hardest one to recommend. The controls are awkward, the puzzles too simple, and the whole thing moves at a snail’s pace. Aside from an intriguing setup and nice visuals, The Get Out Kids isn’t a particularly strong Apple Arcade title.


120. The Mosaic

Description:

The Mosaic is a narrative adventure set in a future society where a single corporation has seemingly taken over the world. You play as an employee of this corporation who (surprise!) doesn’t seem to enjoy his job. Over the course of the game, you’ll play through this worker’s commute, which gets routinely interrupted by strange visions and dream sequences.

Rank Explanation:

There’s something really compelling about The Mosaic’s balancing of the surreal and mundane, but it all ends up feeling like a missed opportunity. Playing the game is pretty boring, not to mention super clunky to control, and by the end of the game, it’s not really clear what The Mosaic is trying to say. The surface-level critiques of modern society that are presented at the beginning of the game persist throughout the experience, but nothing that happens over the course of the story dive much deeper than that. By the end of the game it doesn’t feel like you’re reached a satisfying conclusion, and there’s nothing about the mechanics, visuals, or storytelling that make the trek feel particularly worthwhile.


121. Pac-Man Party Royale

Description:

In Pac-Man Party Royale, four players all chomp pellets on a single Pac-Man stage, with the ultimate goal of being the last player standing. Players can knock each other out by eating each other after picking up power pellets, knocking opponents into ghosts, or staying alive the longest as a glitched-out ring reduces the playable area. The first player to hit three wins takes the match.

Rank Explanation:

Pac-Man Party Royale isn’t Pac-Man Vs., nor is it Pac-Man Battle Royale, and both of those are better multiplayer Pac-Man games than Party Royale. It also doesn’t help that this game has a terrible online setup where players can essentially only play with friends using lobby codes, as opposed to offering any kind of matchmaking for folks to play online with random players. Overall it’s a pretty disappointing Pac-Man game, and a generally weak offering for Apple Arcade.

Update: It won’t matter how many new powers get added to PAC-MAN Party Royale until the game actually supports online matchmaking. Even then, the sluggish movement of your Pac-Man still makes it feel like a third-rate title.


122. Frogger in Toy Town

Description:

Frogger in Toy Town takes the basic tenets of the classic Frogger arcade game and turns it into a sort of collection-based physics platformer. You control a frog and wander through various household environments, avoiding things like toy cars and pens as you climb over toy blocks and books to rescue baby frogs and collect jelly beans.

Rank Explanation:

The physics aspect of Frogger in Toy Town make this game both an interesting and frustrating experience. On the one hand, it’s neat to experience what it’s like to disrupt the classic Frogger experience by suddenly being able to block cars from moving by moving a block into the road to stop them. On the other, it can feel like you’re constantly fighting tons of variables in Frogger in Toy Town just to do simple tasks like jump up on top of something. This can lead to a lot of times where you die or miss an objective, and it doesn’t really feel like there’s a whole lot you could have done differently to prevent that from happening. When everything’s working as intended though, Frogger in Toy Town is a fun new take on classic Frogger.

Update: The simple mode for Frogger in Toy Town makes it much more playable, as the game’s physics engine is wildly unpredictable and makes it impossible to play the game well with any consistency. This update doesn’t fix the physics though, so you still will be frustratingly blocked from rescuing frogs or hit by things you couldn’t possibly dodge, but at least now you won’t get as punished for it.


123. ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree*

Description:

ATONE is a wild mishmash of game mechanics. It’s part adventure game, there’s tons of environmental puzzles, and it also has combat that plays like a hardcore rhythm game. This disparate pieces are all tied together with a story steeped in Norse mythology.

Rank Explanation:

ATONE’s strangeness works both for and against it, but it’s mostly a good thing. The game itself is beautiful and fascinatingly odd. It’s puzzles and rhythm-based combat are also pretty brilliant and satisfying. There are just some things like character movement, game dialogue, and some unclear pathfinding that can sprinkle tiny blemishes on what is otherwise a bizarre gem.

Update: ATONE’s precipitous fall is due to some pretty significant technical issues. In returning to the game I’ve experienced regular hard crashes that make it hard to recommend. When I have been able to play the game in a crash-free stretch, the rhythm game aspects also now feel off, with the note paths and music not quite syncing up in the way that they should. Hopefully all of this gets fixed up soon.


124. Red Reign

Description:

Red Reign is a real-time strategy game that borrows the concept of lane-based combat from MOBAs like Arena of Valor. The concept is simple: two players race to build units and upgrade their base to eventually send an army (or armies) down lanes that are large enough to destroy their opponent’s base.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t have a problem with Red Reign’s core mechanics, but it seems heavily biased toward anyone looking to maximize their actions per minute. There are so many little actions you can (and should) do to gain advantages over your opponent that if you don’t train yourself to do them, your opponent will be able to beat you every single time. In this way, Red Reign feels like a throwback strategy title, but it’s also so streamlined to the point that you it doesn’t feel worth diving deep into. Perhaps if it had less of a focus on multiplayer and had more robust single-player offering, it would be higher on this list.


125. Various Daylife*

Description:

Do your job. Buy your food. Go to sleep. Colonize the land. These are all the main directives of Various Daylife, a role-playing game that seems very caught up in simulating routine activity. Players create their own character, choose one of 20 classes, and start grinding away, all in the name of colonizing and mysterious new land.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a ton of things in Various Daylife that rub me the wrong way. First and foremost is the way it talks about colonization in 2019 like it’s part of the natural order and is somehow good. Aside from that, the game seems built around being pretty boring and repetitive, and is designed similarly. Huge chunks of screen real estate are just an empty void, and there are lengthy load times in between just about everything that you do. I will say that there is some interesting combat design happening in Various Daylife, but all of the repetitive, slow, and problematic crap you have to dig through to see it is not worth it.

Update: Various Daylife got updated with some nice quality of life features, but remains an absolute snoozefest. It just feels like an upgrade treadmill that leads to nowhere.


126. Nightmare Farm

Description:

Nightmare Farm is an idle game about growing crops to earn hearts that allow you to grow different plants and entertain your dog. If this doesn’t sound nightmarish, that’s because it isn’t. Aside from having a slight Burton-esque bent to its cartoon aesthetic, Nightmare Farm is mostly a colorful and cute game where you tap on things to help you build more things.

Rank Explanation:

For an idle game, Nightmare Farm takes far too long to boot up. First you get the Apple Arcade screen, then the developer logo, then a menu that you tap to hit a load screen, and then you can do your maintenance tasks. This can result in play sessions that last shorter than the boot sequence. Beyond this, Nightmare Farm seems totally serviceable as an idle game, but I don’t know why you’d pay for Apple Arcade to play this when there are so many idle game options out there that provide superior experiences for less money.


127. Discolored

Description:

Discolored is a first-person puzzle adventure where you’re trying to restore color to a monochromatic environment. You do this by activating certain color prisms, though the game is very mum about what these prisms are about, who you are, or why you’re doing any of this. As a result, it’s up to you and your magical viewfinder to figure out what parts of the environment you can manipulate and which items you can combine to slowly bring colors back into the world.

Rank Explanation:

This game is too minimalist for its own good. Everything, including puzzle solutions feel like things that you happen upon by chance as opposed to anything logical that you might be putting together based on context. To make matters worse, your character moves as slow as molasses, so most of the game consists of you sluggishly sliding between objects randomly tapping on them and waiting for something to happen.


128. Way of the Turtle*

Description:

Way of the Turtle is a very conventional platformer starring two turtles. These turtles may walk automatically, but you choose when they jump or when they use their different shell powers that they accumulate over the course of the game.

Rank Explanation:

There’s nothing wrong with Way of the Turtle’s concept per se, but it also doesn’t feel all that special. It’s just very expected. This is the kind of game that may be satisfying at times, but is rarely surprising.

It’s also worth noting that Way of the Turtle bugged out a few times loading into the game on a couple occasions, and I had to restart it to get it working properly again.

After Way of the Turtle got a new content update, so I decided to give it another shot, and it wasn’t pretty. For whatever reason, Way of the Turtle had not saved any of my previous progress when I came back to it. It also decided that each time I came back to the game it would keep my progress (good), but always start me back at the beginning of the game map some reason (not good). This, plus the fact that Way of the Turtle has a confusingly poor frame rate on iPad drove me away from the game faster than it did when I first tried it.


129. Redout: Space Assault

Description:

You like Starfox? Well, Redout: Space Assault is kind of like that, which is to say it’s an on-rails space shooter. Your ship fires automatically and follows a set path, but you have to fine-tune the maneuvering of your ship to shoot at enemies, avoid obstacles, and shake heat-seeking missiles off your tail.

Rank Explanation:

Redout: Space Assault scores poorly because of how generic it is. There’s almost nothing about the game that makes it special. Even the graphics, which I guess arguably are technically "good," don’t really read as impressive, nor do they enhance the experience all that much.

Update: The more I play Redout, the less I get it. It’s like if someone wanted to jam space sim-style missions into a Starfox game, but then couldn’t decide which control style would work best for that design so they gave up. Certain sections of the game feel undertested and easy to break while others almost impossibly challenging. I guess the silver lining is that the missions are short? My personal silver lining is there are a lot of other, better games on Apple Arcade I could be playing.


130. Big Time Sports

Description:

Big Time Sports is a colorful mini-game collection that where you participate in sporting events like basketball, skiing, and skateboarding by performing quick-time events.

Rank Explanation:

Big Time Sports may feature more sports, but it feels like an also-ran to Cricket Through the Ages. There’s some charm to its visuals, but it lacks the goofiness that mini-game collections traditionally rely on to keep you engaged.


131. Word Laces

Description:

Word Laces gives you a picture and a bunch of letters below it. From there, you’re supposed to figure out the words you should spell using the letters given based on the picture. As you get further into Word Laces, you start having to solve puzzles with multiple words and more complicated answers.

Rank Explanation:

I generally like word games, but Word Laces is really not for me. Guessing words based on pictures is a novel idea, but it’s really easy to have different associations with pictures than those of the game designers. There are no penalties for forming words incorrectly or misspelling things, which I guess keeps it from being frustrating, but it also removes all the stakes. As a result, Word Laces doesn’t really feel like a game so much as just "a thing to do," and there are enough other things to do on Apple Arcade that I’d prefer to spend my time elsewhere.


132. Lifeslide

Description:

Lifeslide is a game about being a paper airplane. You glide around, picking up "parts" and "time" which help you upgrade your plane and continue flying respectively.

Rank Explanation:

This is one of those games that really wants you to tilt your phone to control something. Perhaps it’s better if you play it that way, but I refuse to do that. Instead, I changed Lifeslide’s controls to touch and experienced what is a pretty dull flying game. If someone hops in the comments here as the Lifeslide defender, I might give it a chance using tilt controls, but until then, no thanks.


133. Lifelike

Description:

Lifelike is an abstract game about flocking particles. You move an orb of light around flatly colored backgrounds until you reach spheres of particles that you move into to activate. From there, the particles move with you until you wander into a new set of particles. If that sounds weird, then I’m describing it well. Lifelike is weird.

Rank Explanation:

I’m not opposed to abstract games, but I literally fell asleep playing Lifelike. In piloting my little light around, I felt like I was wandering aimlessly to no end or purpose, waiting for something to happen, and what happened was I got bored. While this game is certainly pretty, there’s just precious little to Lifelike that makes it worth checking out.


134. Loud House: Outta Control

Description:

Remember Flight Control? Well, Loud House: Outta Control is basically the same game, but it features locations and characters from Nickelodeon’s animated series, The Loud House. Characters wander onto the screen and you have to draw walking paths for them to reach specific objectives while making sure no one runs into each other. It’s a basic concept that can get complicated quickly.

Rank Explanation:

I have no familiarity with The Loud House, but I used to play a ton of Flight Control, and Outta Control feels like a bad knock-off version of a classic. Although this game tries to mix up the action with different kinds of levels, Outta Control feels weirdly imprecise for a game where you literally draw lines for characters to walk along. Even if you don’t have any intersecting paths, characters still seem quite easy to have run into each other, which immediately ends the level you’re on, leaving you no option but to try it again from the very beginning. It’s pretty frustrating and unimaginative from top to bottom.


135. Things That Go Bump

Description:

Imagine a fighting game where you have to build your character as you play. That’s kind of what Things That Go Bump is going for. You control a spirit that possesses household objects to build a body of sorts that you then use to battle other spirits doing the same thing. You do this in either a single-player wave-based "Horde Mode" or online up against up to three other players.

Rank Explanation:

There’s not a whole lot to Things That Go Bump’s combat, and it seems like a lot of other people agree. The online multiplayer for this game is a ghost town, leaving you only with the option to play the Horde Mode, which isn’t a whole lot of fun, either.


136. Operator 41

Description:

Operator 41 is a stealth action game where each level involves moving your spy past guards to reach a telephone. Your character and guards move in real-time, so you need to time your movements carefully and take advantage of distractions to avoid getting caught.

Rank Explanation:

Operator 41’s stealth mechanics are not particularly innovative and the game itself exudes zero personality. You could play this game, but there’s nothing about it that makes you want to do so.


137. Hyperbrawl Tournament

Description:

Hyperbrawl Tournament is an arena combat sports game. Two teams of two compete to put a ball in their opponent’s goal by any means necessary. This includes punching, kicking, and even using weaponry like hammers and swords to KO opponents, take control of the ball, and score.

Rank Explanation:

I’d probably rate Hyperbrawl Tournament higher on this list if more people were playing it. The game’s biggest issue right now is it’s basically multiplayer-only and queuing for matches is quite long. Once you’re matched with someone though, Hyperbrawl Tournament is a heck of a good time. There’s a surprising amount of depth here, and it allows for a lot of mind games and tricky high-level play.

Update: It doesn’t seem like anyone is playing this game anymore, so it’s hard to have much to say about the new characters that have been added to the game or maintain much enthusiasm for it.


138. Secret Oops

Description:

This is essentially a spy-themed Lemmings game. Your special agent infiltrates buildings by blindly walking straight ahead toward his goals, and you have to look out for him by tapping cameras to shut them off, open doors for him, and reveal evidence for him to gather. Secret Oops is also largely designed around augmented reality, where you can move your phone or tablet around to get a better view of your agents actions and the obstacles that lay ahead.

Rank Explanation:

The idea of playing a game where I have to physically move my phone around to get a better view of the action is completely unappealing. Secret Oops gives you the option to play in a non-AR mode, but it’s virtually impossible to see and tap the things you need to tap while playing this way. Even if the game was more playable outside of the AR mode, Secret Oops would still feel pretty generic and unimpressive.

Update: Secret Oops needs to fix its non-AR mode before I’ll revisit it again. New levels, mechanics, etc. don’t mean much if it’s still asking me to play by goofily moving my phone around just to be able to see what’s happening.


139. Beyond Blue*

Description:

Beyond Blue is an undersea adventure where you play as a diver named Mirai performing research and scanning wildlife activities in the ocean depths. While on dives, you explore a rich ecosystem full of marine life and between missions you have calls with other members of your research team and even family members, which is how the game tells most of its story.

Rank Explanation:

I’m intrigued by Beyond Blue, but it has so many technical problems and mobile unfriendly design choices that there’s really no reason to play it right now. In my time with the game, I played each of the first two dives twice and sat through the same interstitial conversation four times. The game is super buggy and can hard lock on you, and—even when things are working properly, the checkpointing is so bad that it’s really easy to lose progress.


140. Fallen Knight

Description:

There’s not a whole lot I can say about Fallen Knight. It’s an action platformer. You run, you jump, you swing your sword at things. It’s about as simple as that.

Rank Explanation:

Part of the reason I can’t say much to describe Fallen Knight is because its controls feel so broken. The virtual buttons for the game don’t trigger until you release your finger from the screen. This isn’t so much the case if you play with a controller, but Fallen Knight’s timing windows are clearly tuned for touch. As a result, you have two extremely awkward methods for controlling this game, to the point that Fallen Knight is basically unplayable.

And that's it for all our rankings! Check back in as we add new titles and update old ones, or see below to jump to another page:

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

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