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+


101. Cut the Rope Remastered

Description:

Cut the Rope Remastered takes all of Zeptolab's previous candy-feeder physics puzzle titles and rebundles them into a single game with updated graphics. The basic idea is simple: cut ropes to get a piece of candy to fall into a little monster's mouth, but the Cut the Rope games quickly escalate where you're manipulating bubbles, magnets, and other items that keep you guessing.

Rank Explanation:

Guessing is the operative word to me when playing Cut the Rope Remastered. Aside from the first couple levels, I'm really lost as to how to get three stars on every level. I guess that's a good sign for supplying me with challenges to wrap my head around, but it'll take more than some updated graphics to get me interested in a puzzle game that felt shallow when it released over a decade ago.



102. 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. 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.


103. Really Bad Chess+

Description:

Chess is one of the most flawlessly designed games ever conceived. Really Bad Chess is not that. It uses the same rules and board as traditional Chess, but mixes up all the pieces so that you might have four queens or five knights. The game generates piece assortments to try and keep a semblance of balance across a variety of modes, all of which have you facing off against an AI opponent.

Rank Explanation:

I want to like Really Bad Chess... really badly. Something about it just doesn't click for me. It's one of those games that sounds incredible, but is more fun to think about than actually play. The chaos of having such wild board compositions is almost too overwhelming, but it still follows such a rigid set of rules that it doesn't feel as whimsical or irreverant as it should.


104. 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.


105. 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.


106. 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.


107. 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.


108. Solitaire by MobilityWare+

Description:

Solitaire by MobilityWare+ is a no-nonsense Solitaire game, specifically for the Klondike version. You stack cards in descending number order by alternating color with the ultimate goal of filling the top four rows with each card sorted by suit and number. Solitaire+ has a lot of customization options multiple ways to play, including a daily challenge with a leaderboard.

Rank Explanation:

Solitaire is fine, but it doesn't really make me excited about my Apple Arcade subscription. I like that this version has options to play with Vegas scoring and a lot of neat card faces, backgrounds, and card backs to choose from, but it's still just Solitaire, and a version that defaults to Draw One mode, the objectively worst way to play Solitaire.


109. 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.


110. Warp Drive - Teleport Racing!

Description:

Warp Drive is a racing game where players can customize their own futuristic hovercraft to speed across racetracks with multiple sections of tracks that racers can teleport between. It also features arcade kart-racing mechanics like random item pickups and boost pads.

Rank Explanation:

I can't think of a racing game with a more bizarre structure than Warp Drive. It's a single-player only game that offers a linear set of random events and... that's it. That's all you can do. Take on the race in front of you or don't play. Weird. Structure aside, it's a neat idea, but feels half-baked. Vehicles move slowly, there's not much choice when it comes to teleporting around tracks, and its style feels like a grabbag of limp references to games that actually have a bold style ad sense of self.


111. lumen.

Description:

lumen. is a puzzle game where you twist light sources and mirrors around a puzzle box to try and develop photos. As you complete puzzles, you'll learn about the puzzle box's creator and her other inventions via bits of dialogue.

Rank Explanation:

This is a very basic puzzle game that feels like a dime a dozen on the App Store. It looks nicer than most (and obviously doesn't have ads, IAPs, or anything like that), but almost nothing about it has much of a personality, even its story bits.


112. CHARRUA SOCCER

Description:

Charrua Soccer is an arcade soccer game inspired by retro classics. There are some stats for teams and players, but with only some light progression. You mostly 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 not much keeping you wanting to come back to it.


113. 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.


114. Wonderbox

Description:

This game takes the tools of adventure games like The Legend of Zelda and repackages them into small, diorama-like "rooms" that you journey between in a quest to collect "The Heart of Adventure." You can go on these journeys by yourself or with up to three other players. Or you can forgo the adventuring altogether and make your own quests for others.

Rank Explanation:

Wonderbox is less a game and more a level creation platform. The pre-packaged adventures aren't particularly impressive (aside from how they look). This is to say I was largely bored by the game until I started making my own levels. The only thing that has since stopped me is a bug that disabled my character's movement as I was trying to validate my level for publication. Wait for a fix here, folks.


115. 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 encounters 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.


116. Sudoku Simple+

Description:

Sudoku Simple+ tries to train your brain to learn and love Sudoku through the power of color. By color-coding the number grid and providing shorter puzzles, the idea is that you'll be able to recognize and untangle the logic of a number puzzle more easily.

Rank Explanation:

Sudoku is great, but the only reason I have come to that conclusion is thanks to Good Sudoku+, which is a better teacher and overall app than Sudoku Simple+. In fairness, this game's color system is surprisingly helpful, but I'm not sure I need two Sudoku apps in my Apple Arcade library.


117. Fruit Ninja Classic+

Description:

Fruit Ninja Classic+ brings the tried-and-true fruit-slicing arcade game to a subscription service. It's simple, slice the fruit as it flies on screen and avoid hitting any bombs. You get bonus points for slicing multiples of fruit, and there are a few modes that switch up some of the ways you can score big.

Rank Explanation:

I feel like Fruit Ninja is upheld as such a classic simply because it came around at the right time at the right price. It's a perfectly fine arcade game and it plays to the strengths of touchscreen devices. Playing it now feels kind of like playing a cultural artifact, though. That can be its own kind of fun, but the game itself feels really past its expiration date.


118. LEGO Builder’s Journey

Description:

It’s a puzzle game built around Lego. Take random pieces scattered about the world to build bridges, create slides, or solve more complex puzzles. Along the way, you’re treated to a light story and some emotive music.

Rank Explanation:

Builder’s Journey has a lot going for it. It’s a puzzle game where you can actually be creative in building things with Lego, which is a really neat idea. It’s also got a great soundtrack. It even has a great narrative setup. But is squanders almost all of these things at every turn. Its puzzles vary wildly in difficulty (and quality), parts of the game cut out the music completely, and the story goes absolutely nowhere. Add to this how the game has really unresponsive controls and an overly minimalist design (why aren’t the people just minifigs?), and I’m just confused and disappointed.


119. Sociable Soccer

Description:

Sociable Soccer is an arcade soccer game where you build a dream team of footballers to try and take down other players’ teams. Along the way, you pick up other players to add to your roster, which you can use to create alternate lineups or feed to your other players to upgrade their stats. The whole thing feels a lot like a gacha game, except you can’t spend any money on it.

Rank Explanation:

I’m very frustrated by Sociable Soccer. It constantly teases you with gestures at good ideas, but they all turn out to be empty. The arcade soccer is so simplistic that it feels kind of random. Collecting and upgrading players is a ridiculously long grind (especially since the game limits how many times you can play matches). Managing your team involves arranging formations of players, and... nothing else. This is to say that Sociable Soccer has set up a bunch of great structures for creating a fun sports game with rpg elements, but said structures aren’t filled with anything satisfying.


120. 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, but its bigger problem is a complete lack of online opponents at this time.


121. 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:

Many of the technical issues that plagued Beyond Blue at launch are now gone. Its mission structure is still a little onerous, but at least you don't have to replay sections a bunch anymore. The only thing left to fix now is making its oceanscapes feel a little more alive, dangerous, and wonderous. Otherwise, you'll just have to depend on the narrative to drive you along.


122. Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows

Description:

Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows is an idle game where you play as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Your duty is to protect the southern lands from all manner of threats that live in the north, and you do this mostly by sending scout troops beyong the wall, gathering supplies, and making decisions about some of the strange happenings that exist in the Game of Thrones universe.

Rank Explanation:

As it turns out, the day-to-day life of the Night’s Watch isn’t all that exciting, at least not in the world of Tale of Crows. After playing the game incessantly for a couple days, I saw a whole lot of repeated events, and not many of them were all that interesting. The silver lining of this disappointment is that the game is designed for quick check-ins, so it never felt like a huge waste of time. I just wish that there was more to discover whenever I did check in on it.


123. Stellar Commanders

Description:

A portrait-mode real-time strategy about planetary annihilation, Stellar Commanders pits two players against each other in a plodding race to see who can control the most territories before destroying the environment. Combat itself operates a lot like Clash Royale’s Elixr-based system, but involves a lot more management of node control, and subverting your opponent’s expectations.

Rank Explanation:

The store page for Stellar Commanders looks rad as hell. There’s helicopers, rockets, and tanks deploying simultaneously all over the planet. Too bad this isn’t really how the game plays, or—if it is—it’s not how things start. Matches in Stellar Commanders move at an odd, lumbering pace, where it never really feels like you’re particularly productive. You can only really do single actions at a time and spend a lot of time just waiting to see what your enemy does to see if you can counter it. To be clear, this can deliver satisfying moments from time to time, but it’s not enough to make it something you’ll want to return to regularly.


124. Rayman Mini

Description:

Rayman Mini is an auto-runner much in the same vein as other Rayman entries on iOS. Rayman has been shrunk, and the only way to undo this spell is by running through levels full of huge bugs, jumping on giant leaves, mushrooms, and other flora to specified exits, apparently. As you work your way through these levels, you can gather collectibles that unlock new costumes for your limbless protagonist.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a whole lot of auto-runners on Apple Arcade, and Rayman Mini decides to be the one that stands out by using popular characters and being weirdly technical. Even in early levels, collecting every little item is a challenge that requires a high degree of level memorization and sharp reflexes. Part of this is by design. Rayman Mini wants you retrying levels until you’ve perfected runs through them. The only problem is that I find it overly difficult to navigate levels due to Rayman Mini’s controls, which feel weirdly imprecise and slow given the demands of the game.


125. Explottens

Description:

In Explottens, you are a hot shot pilot who also happens to be a cat. The plane bit doesn’t really matter though, because the game itself is basically just a level-based dual-stick shooter where you can move your plane in any direction you want at any time or just hover in mid-air at will.

Rank Explanation:

Explottens feels like a pretty slapped-together game. Your plane doesn’t feel like a plane and there are extreme swings of difficulty between levels. As you play more Explottens the odd choices keep stacking up, and none of them feel intentional. Sometimes they work, but often they don't.

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

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

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