This is part 6 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+


126. 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.



127. 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. I was harsh on Lego Builder's Journey when it first came out because of how much potential it had that it seems to squander with poor controls, a story that goes nowhere, and some audio bugs that disrupt the incredible soundtrack. The first two things are still a problem in the 2.0 version of the game, which also supports additional levels, but at least now the sound is fixed. The game is now technically better, but still frustratingly kneecapped.


128. 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.


129. 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.


130. Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector+

Description:

Attract cute cats to your backyard by putting out toys and food for them! Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector+ is a premium version of the original free-to-play idle game all about turning a plain outdoor space into a playground for kitties.

Rank Explanation:

There's nothing wrong with the original Neko Atsume, and that makes it a somewhat confusing addition to Apple Arcade. This particular version gives you a head start with currencies, but is otherwise the same idle management game. Games of this ilk just don't seem to be worth paying a subscription for, though I guess as a toss-on to the catalog as a whole it's fine?


131. 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.


132. 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.


133. 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.


134. 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.


135. 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.


136. 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.


137. 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.


138. 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.


139. 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.


140. Samurai Jack

Description:

Samurai Jack’s archnemesis, Aku, has trapped him in a place "between time" where he’ll have to work together with his allies to defeat all manner of dangerous foes. For fans of Samurai Jack, this means a lot of fan service packed into a pretty straightforward action-combat game.

Rank Explanation:

I was initially very excited when booting up Samurai Jackand seeing how much work went in to make the game look and feel like the classic animated series. However, the game itself feels like older licensed games that just kind of stitch together familiar ideas and faces into a game that otherwise doesn’t feel particularly special.


141. Yaga The Roleplaying Folktale

Description:

Much like its full name suggests, Yaga is an action-rpg steeped in folklore. In it, you play as a one-armed blacksmith who is cursed with bad luck. The tsar of the kingdom sends you out on a quest a variety of quests in hopes to break a curse laid upon him by Baba Yaga. When you aren’t simply wandering through areas and fighting baddies, you can take on quests and make dialog choices that shape your blacksmith’s personality and impact the narrative. This, plus a ton of Slavic influence, are the things that differentiate Yaga from other action-rpgs.

Rank Explanation:

Yaga is a fascinating mishmash of things. Slavic folklore, Mass Effect-esque dialogue wheels, action combat, and rhyming couplets all play a part to make this game undeniably distinct. The only problem is, I’m not sure the blending of these component parts ends up making something cohesive.


142. Kings of the Castle

Description:

Kings of the Castle is a super-colorful first-person platformer about collecting diamonds. Your goal is to parkour all over an environment, collecting these gems so you can pay a dragon to free a prince locked away in a castle.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot I like about Kings of the Castle’s style and sense of speed, but it just doesn’t feel like a great fit for Apple Arcade. First-person platforming is tough, especially if you’re doing it via a touch screen, and the game’s multiplayer mode is basically nonexistent unless you can round up some real life friends to play with you.


143. NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition

Description:

2K Sports has added a version of their popular pro basketball game franchise to mobile. Play as your favorite NBA teams with real players, or create your own and play out their full career. NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition also features online multiplayer and a Blacktop mode for playing 3v3 street hoops.

Rank Explanation:

NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition is an attempt at bringing a realistic basketball experience to smaller screens, but it mostly just feels swimmy and flat. I will say--against my better judgement--I am oddly compelled by the idea fighting my way up to the starting lineup with a created character, but most of that involves struggling against a really unresponsive control scheme, weird background audio, and a lot of cutaway shots that get in the way of me just playing some poor-feeling basketball.


144. INMOST

Description:

INMOST is a platformer with an emotional story driving things along. You play as a variety of characters through various vignettes, and solve puzzles and learn how these seemingly disparate characters are tied together. To set the mood, INMOST also sports a beautifully dark pixel art style.

Rank Explanation:

I’m intrigued by the story of INMOST, but I don’t really enjoy playing it. The platforming is slow and clunky, and a lot of the puzzles rely on trial-and-error. Instead of feeling challenging—which is what I believe INMOST is going for with these decisions—it makes for a pretty boring and repetitive experience.


145. Skate City

Description:

Skate your way through different cities, whether just to find perfect lines or complete specific challenges. Skate City is kind of a 2D take on the Skate series, where you aren’t doing crazy trick combos or finding collectibles. Instead, the focus is on performing specific tricks and riding smoothly.

Rank Explanation:

Overall I’m not super impressed with Skate City. The controls are not as intuitive as they look. It’s visuals also look kind of dumpy. This, plus the fact that Skate City has very little personality to speak of, makes it feel pretty forgettable.


146. 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.


147. Farm It

Description:

Farm It is a farm-building game where you cultivate the land for crops and livestock through a set of mini-games. As you harvest and sell through your goods, you earn coins that allow you to upgrade your farm, purchase furniture for your farm house, and make more things to sell.

Rank Explanation:

This game is essentially an endless treadmill of upgrades, and it lacks so much personality I almost forgot to rank it. That said, it's surprisingly easy to get sucked into a session with the game because of how nice it feels to "scrape" crops into a basket and offers a more mobile-friendly experience than similar titles on Apple Arcade.


148. 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).


149. 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.


150. Frenzic: Overtime

Description:

This simple puzzle game test how quickly you can flex your spatial reasoning skills by matching colors and circle sections in a race against the clock. As you build your own skills, the challenges start adding more colors and mechanics to always keep you on your toes, but powerups can come in handy to keep you from timing out before completing a challenge.

Rank Explanation:

Frenzic's core design is fun despite its simplicity, which I feel like could make it a fun competitive multiplayer game. It's a shame that it's not because the way this game builds challenge instead is by basically forcing you to need to grind and spend currency for powerups to be able to make it through challenges ok. This is the kind of gameplay I expect on non-Apple Arcade titles, so it's not exactly welcome here.

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

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