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+


101. Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon

Description:

Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon is an arcade dungeon-crawler with a retro aesthetic from the developers of Oceanhorn 2. This game is a top-down affair about simply clearing out levels of enemies using four heroes and surviving for ten floors in order to take down tough bosses.

Rank Explanation:

Chronos Dungeon looks like a cool Super Nintendo game that everyone forgot about, but that's about the only positive thing I can say about it. It's otherwise super simplistic, not terribly challenging, and its random elements don't feel like they shake things up very much at all.


102. Projection: First Light

Description:

Emulating traditional shadow puppetry aesthetics, Projection: First Light is a puzzle platformer where you guide a young girl named Greta through mysterious, monochromatic environments. The shadowy visuals aren’t just a visual gimmick though. Many of the game’s puzzles require that you manipulate a light following Greta, which can cast shadows and create platforms for you on your journey.

Rank Explanation:

The light manipulation mechanics of Projection: First Light are interesting, but are poorly executed. Shadows that you cast can shift and flicker unpredictably, and it’s almost easier to put yourself in more difficult platforming situations than it is to make things easier for yourself. As a result, it’s hard to recommend Projection: First Light, especially when there’s already a fun platformer with unique aesthetics and mechanics on Apple Arcade (Monomals).


103. Oceanhorn 2

Description:

The follow up to Oceanhorn, Oceanhorn 2 is an action adventure game that bears more than a little resemblance to The Legend of Zelda games. You play as a young adventurer with a sword who journeys into dungeons in order to solve puzzles, discover new items, and use those items to help you with the next dungeon.

Rank Explanation:

Oceanhorn 2 might as well be called The Legend of Zelda: Knockoff Edition. If you’re itching for a Zelda-like experience on iOS, this one fits the bill, but it’s not anywhere near as well designed as the real deal. Oceanhorn 2 also seems designed to take great screenshots, but has moments when in motion where it can look kind of janky. The game itself controls fine, but it's overall pretty directionless and reminds you constantly that it's an also-ran.


104. Ultimate Rivals: The Rink

Description:

Play hockey using all manner of sports stars, from Drew Brees to Megan Rapinoe, in short, three-on-three matches. Ultimate Rivals: The Rink feels a bit like if NHL Hitz had the sports equivalent of the Super Smash Bros. roster. Each player also has unique skills and abilities, allowing you to create a custom dream team that matches your play style before going head-to-head online.

Rank Explanation:

Ultimate Rivals has a lot of the right concepts down to be a fantastic arcade sports game, but the hockey in it just isn’t terribly exciting. Your players automatically aim for the net and it feels like the game performs some background dice rolls based on your shot power and distance from the net to determine if it goes in or not. As a result, I found a ton of success in the game by just mindlessly shooting at the net as much as possible. I know that part of the appeal of arcade sports games is that they are simple and accessible, but Ultimate Rivals might be a bit too simple for its own good.


105. tint.

Description:

tint. is a puzzle game about mixing watercolor paints on a virtual notebook. You paint lines from pools of color in an effort to activate certain colored nodes. The trick is that these nodes might be different colors than your pools, or they might be surrounded by lines of other colors. To circumvent this, you have to be creative in how you have your colors intersect to create new colors while also leaving space for you to activate all notes on a given page.

Rank Explanation:

tint. has a lot of neat ideas, but there are a few things about it that rub me the wrong way. There are arbitrary rules about how many times your paints can be mixed and how to draw your paint lines that make the game feel less like a playful puzzle game and more like a chore. The end result of each puzzle never really ends up looks too artistic either, which feels odd against a backdrop that is so clearly in love with its art-based premise.


106. The Pathless

Description:

In The Pathless you play as a hunter tasked with restoring light to a world shrouded in darkness. Equipped with little more than a trusty bow, you must explore a barren landscape to solve puzzles and find out how to undo the curse plaguing the land.

Rank Explanation:

I'm going to be straight-up here: The Pathless is a snoozefest. It has no direction, no color, and no personality. To make matters worse, playing the game with touch feels terrible with swimmy movement and a dashing system that feels weirdly stilted and uncooperative. Maybe it feels better with a controller, but even then you still have to contend with its vague and generic design. What a disappointment.


107. Beyond a Steel Sky

Description:

Beyond a Steel Sky is the long-awaited follow-up to the cult classic adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky. You continue your adventure as Robert Foster, who this time is investigating the disappearance of a child after a violent attack in the game’s opening. Your investigation quickly brings you back to Union City, which has been transformed into a bright, technolocratic metropolis as a result of Foster’s actions in the first game. It is here you spend the majority of your time solving puzzles that involve item combinations, dialogue trees, and hacking.

Rank Explanation:

I really want to like Beyond a Steel Sky more than I do. At times, it can feel like Fallout or Mass Effect, but without all the crunchy stats and shooting, but the game is so laser-focused on being an adventure game such that its open 3D environments feel hollow and distracting. Some puzzle sections in the game also follow bizarre logic or are otherwise poor at communicating how you can or should interact with your environment to progress forward (even when using the in-game hint system). This is all made worse by how buggy the game is. Several puzzles bugged out to the point that I spent hours experimenting on puzzles, only to learn I had done the right thing initially but needed to reload the game for it to actually work properly. It’s unfortunate.


108. Rosie’s Reality

Description:

Rosie’s Reality is a puzzle game where you need to build pathways for a robot to reach an exit. You can’t just build any old pathway, though. You only get a specific set of special tiles to build your paths, and you need to use these to avoid enemy robots, jump over obstacles, and take advantage of your surroundings to reach your goal.

Rank Explanation:

There are a lot of neat things about Rosie’s Reality, with the blend of AI programming with traversal puzzling being chief among them. Unfortunately though, Rosie’s Reality is obsessed with its own animations, and it makes for a game that moves at a frustratingly slow pace. If this game got updated to make it a little more responsive to player input and less focused on drawing attention to every little movement on screen, Rosie’s Reality could shoot up these charts. Until then, it’ll hang out right here.


109. Jumper Jon

Description:

Jumper Jon is an exploration platformer where you only have 30 seconds to make it between checkpoints, or else you die. In this way it feels kind of like a mashup between Castlevania and Minit. You race through puzzle rooms, jumping over obstacles and on enemies as quickly as possible in hopes you can make it to a golden feather that will restore your clock to a fresh 30 seconds. Then, you do it all over again.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t care how creative your platformer is if it doesn’t feel good to play. Such is the case with Jumper Jon. The limited time limit makes you feel like you’re speedrunning a game you’ve never played before, but it ultimately doesn’t feel satisfying because of the floaty controls.


110. Star Fetched

Description:

There’s a lot of genre-mixing going on in Star Fetched. It’s an action platformer, but it also has a good amount of crafting, rpg elements, and even tower defense. The whole concept of the game is you’re a goofy little space explorer looking to save the galaxy from an imminent alien threat.

Rank Explanation:

None of Star Fetched’s component parts feel fully cooked. Come to think of it, the game just doesn’t seem finished. In addition to feeling shallow on all fronts, Star Fetched has a lot of rough edges. Tons of bugs hamper what would already be a pretty middling experience. It has lots of neat ideas, though so it scores above some other games in that regard.


111. 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.


112. 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 these days, 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 even that isn't all that compelling or new.


113. 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.


114. 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 has two single player modes that are barely distinguishable from each other and no one is playing it online. Once you’ve cleared Arcade mode, there isn’t much to do, especially considering you can’t even change the AI difficulty.


115. 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.


116. 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.


117. 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.


118. 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.


119. 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.


120. 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.


121. 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.


122. 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. It does have some terrific music and creates a pretty intense atmosphere, but that's about it.


123. 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 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 an overly light and dumbed-down experience.


124. 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.


125. 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.

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

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

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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, Little Orpheus, 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, South of the Circle, Slash Quest, Reigns: Beyond, The Collage Atlas, All of You, The Survivalists, The Pathless, Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes, Warp Drive, Alba
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