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 | 176-200 | 201+


126. BADLAND+

Description:

This side-scrolling platformer has you tapping to control a flapping, fuzzball-like creature through mysterious environments. There are lite obstacles in your way, but they basically only pose a problem because the screen is always scrolling over to the right as you play. If you take too long in your navigation, you have to start over.

Rank Explanation:

Badland is another one of those high-profile mobile games I never got around to playing, but after playing it I have a hard time understanding what made it special. It's brand of puzzle platforming seems fine, but not especially revelatory. It would also be a lot more fun to play if controlling it didn't feel so floppy and imprecise.



127. Assemble With Care

Description:

Assemble With Care is a narrative puzzle game about a young girl named Maria who repairs things. As she fixes objects for the people of Bellariva—a town she is just passing through—she learns a lot about them and their lives. The gameplay here mostly consists of poking and prodding at broken objects with virtual tools to get them in working order again. Every time you fix an object, you then get a small dose of story that leads you to the next puzzle.

Rank Explanation:

I’m starting to think there’s something I’m missing when I play ustwo games. I love the attention-to-detail in games like Monument Valley and Assemble With Care, but I don’t find the overall experience all that compelling. It probably doesn’t help that Assemble With Care doesn’t really give itself room to develop its ideas. On the plus side, this is an easy title to burn through if you’re using a free trial of Apple Arcade.


128. Little Orpheus

Description:

Who would’ve thought that the creators of Dear Esther, a plodding and cerebral meditation on trauma, would be the same studio to make a game with a pitch like "what if we made Inside but with bright colors and there are cosmonauts and dinosaurs?" This is essentially what Little Orpheus is: A hollow, meandering romp of simple platforming set pieces accompanied by voiceover narration.

Rank Explanation:

Little Orpheus gestures at great ideas and fails to really execute on any of them. It looks great in screenshots, but is really clunky and borderline unplayable using touch. It evokes Inside, but does not have the same clever puzzle design or creativity. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s voice actors charmingly quip without ever really landing a punchline. To its credit, I was intrigued by the game’s overarching narrative and its general style to see the whole thing through in short order, but I walked away from it being pretty disappointed.


129. Layton's Mystery Journey+

Description:

Follow private detective Katrielle Layton in her first major foray in investigating. Solve a series of cases across London while also trying to uncover the mysterious past of your initial client, a talking dog. Along the way, you meet plenty of colorful characters, most of whom serve up logic and lateral thinking puzzles for you to solve to move forward.

Rank Explanation:

I'm honestly not sure why more "Layton"-style games keep getting made. The puzzle format is fine, but every iteration past the first couple scrapes the bottom of the logic puzzle barrel, resulting in a lot of challenges that are either obtuse in a dumb way or entirely too easy. The story and adventure here is fun and charming, but doing all of these puzzles is just not that appealing.


130. Tales of Memo

Description:

What starts as a simple memory game quickly evolves into a frenetic twitch-based puzzle experience. Tales of Memo is more or less about just finding matching numbers from opening random chests, but you need to use these matches strategically to take down enemies and advance to the next level.

Rank Explanation:

The first level or two of Tales of Memo are dumbed down to the point that it’s hard to tell what the game is supposed to be. Then, there are a couple more levels where finding matches is dead simple. It’s not until you push through all of this to find what is actually a pretty solid game build around the mechanics of basic memory games. It’s kind of impressive, though ultimately boils down to speed and a little bit of luck to pass stages.


131. wurdweb

Description:

wurdweb is a word game that's like Scrabble but all the words are already fully formed. You place them on a board at intersection points with various goals in mind. Some challenges want you to reach a specific square on the board, while others challenge you to squeeze as many words into the play space as possible. It also comes with different modes and modifiers to always give you a new thing to try.

Rank Explanation:

This game is pleasant and cute, but most of its gameplay is not particularly compelling. There is no challenge to your own vocabulary abilities here, and the spatial manipulation is a little unweildy, not to mention the fact that there's basically one best strategy to keep your board open for stacking in new words. Doing all of this not exactly boring, but I can think of other word games on Apple Arcade I'd rather play.


132. Marble It Up: Mayhem!

Description:

Marble It Up: Mayhem! is a platfomer that puts a lot of emphasis behind momentum and physics. You roll a marble around levels and you need to hop over gaps, gather gems, and reach and exit, while making sure not to roll too fast that you accidentally slide of a ledge or hit a bumper to send your marble flying.

Rank Explanation:

I have never really understood why you’d want to play a platformer where your ability to control things feels muddy and slow, but games like Marble It Up: Mayhem prove there is some kind of audience for these things. Even placing my personal hang-ups aside, I’m not sure Marble It Up is great at what it’s trying to do.


133. Gibbon: Beyond the Trees

Description:

Swing and slide your way across jungle canopies as a pink gibbon. Gibbon: Beyond the Trees tells the story of a primate family as they deal with increasing human contact. Along the way, you can work together with other gibbons to fling yourself through the air and slide down trees to launch yourself skyward in a game all about maintaining fast and fluid movement through an environment.

Rank Explanation:

There are a lot of neat ideas in Gibbon: Beyond the Trees, but none of them actually feel very good to pull off. Or rather, the game seems to have designed its environments to limit your ability to do cool things often, which--as it turns out--makes a majority of the movement mechanics feel bad or unhelpful. For a game that is all about movement, this is not good.


134. Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis

Description:

Take control of Nickelodeon favorites like Spongebob Squarepants or Catdog as they compete an arcade form of tennis that includes powerups, special moves, and special rackets.

Rank Explanation:

I'm a fan of arcade sports games, but Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis doesn't have enough going on in it. You have very poor control of your actual tennis shots and everything seems very dependent on your ability to grind out and upgrade gear. It's also not super easy to find multiplayer matches, which isn't something you want from a competitive game on your phone.


135. 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.


136. 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.


137. 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.


138. 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.


139. 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.


140. 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.


141. 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.


142. 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.


143. 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.


144. Gear.Club Stradale

Description:

Gear.Club Stradale brings some more realistic auto racing to the App Store, and along with it some social features that aim to make its racing action feel like a fun (but competitive) car-focused vacation in Tuscany.

Rank Explanation:

Racing simulation is a dubious endeavor on mobile at best, but especially when this game does so much to drive for you and doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of competition outside of grinding for upgrades that let you compete at the power levels required to advance. If I were picking good-looking car games to play on Apple Arcade, I'd choose to play Asphalt 8 over Gear.Club Stradale every time.


145. Zen Pinball Party

Description:

Zen Studios brings their expertise at emulating the look and feel of pinball action to Apple Arcade with Zen Pinball Party. This game has a dozen virtualized pinball tables that you can simply play casually or take on to compete in various challenges via online leaderboards.

Rank Explanation:

This is a fine and good pinball game if you want a more pure pinball experience on mobile. It's also definitely captures the feeling of real pinball better than other games on the service like The Pinball Wizard or Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes. That said, the purity of the experience also makes it feel a little sterile, which is good if you're really into straight-up pinball, but not so much if you just kinda like it more in theory. I'm more the latter.


146. 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.


147. 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.


148. 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.


149. 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.


150. 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.

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

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

Posted in: News, Lists
Tagged With: Backgammon, The oregon trail, Tint, Game Dev Story, Tiny Wings, Jetpack Joyride, SpellTower, Hearts, Lego Star Wars, Sonic Dash, Badland, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, Asphalt 8: Airborne, The Room Two, Monument valley, Blek, Threes, Leo's Fortune, Crossy Road, Mini Metro, Prune, Don't Starve Pocket Edition, Crashlands, Reigns, INKS, Galaga Wars, Chameleon Run, Super Stickman Golf 3, Splitter Critters, Hidden Folks, Really Bad Chess, Layton's Mystery Journey, Construction Simulator 2, Monument Valley 2, Flipflop Solitaire, Thumper: Pocket Edition, Oddmar, World of Demons, Monster Hunter Stories, 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, Dear Reader, Cat Quest II, Neo Cab, King’s League II, Outlanders, Down in Bermuda, Fledgling Heroes, 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, EarthNight, Redout: Space Assault, Word Laces, Patterned, Stellar Commanders, Nightmare Farm, Spelldrifter, Tales of Memo, The Enchanted World, Possessions., Decoherence, Various Daylife, 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, Explottens, tangle tower, monomals, UFO on Tape: First Contact, Takeshi and Hiroshi, discolored, 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, lifeslide, Crossy Road Castle, A Fold Apart, Butter Royale, Doomsday Vault, Fallen Knight, Hexaflip: The Action Puzzler, Inmost, Jumper Jon, Kings of the Castle, Legend of the Skyfish 2, 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, Beyond Blue, neversong, The_Otherside, Little Orpheus, Beyond a Steel Sky, Creaks, Necrobarista, Good Sudoku, The Lullaby of Life, Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows, Next Stop Nowhere, The Last Campfire, World's End Club, A Monster’s Expedition, 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: A Wildlife Adventure, Frogger Toy Town, Lego Builder's Journey, Lifelike: Chapter One, The Loud House: Outta Control, lumen, Marbe Knights, The Mosaic, Mutazoine, Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon, Pligrims, Populus Run, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, Socialable Soccer, Spongebob SquarePants: Patty Pursuit, Tower of Everland, Winding Worlds, Yaga: The Roleplaying Folktalke, NUTS - A Surveillance Mystery, Survival Z, Spire Blast, Sping, farm it, cozy grove, fantasian, the hitchhiker, wonderbox, Star Trek: Legends, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat, Simon's Cat - Story Time, TinyCrossword+, Sudoku Simple+, SongPop Party, Solitaire by MobilityWare+, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, fruit ninja classic+, mahjong titan+, clap hanz golf, Cut the Rope Remastered, Chess - Play & Learn+, Checkers Royal+, Legends of Kingdom Rush, Frenzic: Overtime, Ultimate Rivals: The Court, Alto's Odyssey: The Lost City, Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector+, Angry Birds Reloaded, Doodle God Universe, tetris beat, wurdweb, super leap day, detonation racing, baldo, DoDonPachi ResurrectionHD+, Zookeeper World, Zen Pinball Party, Masterchef: Let's Cook!, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure, TRANSFORMERS: Tactical Arena, Crayola Create and Play+, NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition, LEGO® Star Wars™: Castaways, Dandara: Trials of Fear+, Disney Melee Mania, spades+, Nickelodeon extreme tennis, Alto's Adventure -- Remastered, Pocket Build+, Gear.Club Stradale, Pro Snooker & Pool 2022+, Moonshot, Badland Party
Share This: