This is part 7 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+


151. 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.



152. 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.


153. NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition

Description:

NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition is exactly what it sounds like. It's an annualized sequel to NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, complete with updated player rosters and stats if you're into that kind of thing. You can also go your own way by creating your own custom player to see how you might make it in the NBA.

Rank Explanation:

As is the case with a lot of annualized sports sequels, NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition doesn't feel very different from last year's counterpart. It's still kind of a muddy-feeling and messy approximation of pro basketball that at times can look the part, but almost never feels it.


154. Dandara: Trials of Fear+

Description:

The unique, salt-traversal-based Metroidvania game from Raw Fury has come to Apple Arcade, complete with the Trials of Fear expansion content. Leap between patches of salt through a byzantine cluster of rooms to try and save the world from destruction.

Rank Explanation:

I was not very kind to Dandara when it first hit mobile, and I largely stand by my assessment of it. The restrictive movement grows irksome very quickly, and the challenges designed around its unique movement mechanics aren't terribly interesting. That said, somewhere along the way the game got updated with a better map system, but that alone doesn't make Dandara: Trials of Fear+ a dramatically better game.


155. 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.


156. 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.


157. 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.


158. 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.


159. Disney Melee Mania

Description:

Choose your favorite Disney and Pixar characters and have them compete in multiplayer team challenges that resemble a simplified MOBA or games like Brawl Stars. Teams of three face off in two modes that ultimately require team work and player skill to come out on top.

Rank Explanation:

Disney Melee Mania is the worst kind of Apple Arcade addition. This is clearly a game that was designed with monetization in mind, but the ability to spend money was removed. Otherwise, the systems of juggling currencies completing events and hitting up the game shop are still there. It also doesn't help that the game itself feels like a smattering of ideas from other games smashed together into a kind of clunky package.


160. 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).


161. 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.


162. 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.


163. Crayola Create and Play+

Description:

Crayola Create and Play+ is more of an activity app than it is a game. It has pixel art drawings you can do, some matching games, and--of course--the ability to color in all kinds of drawings.

Rank Explanation:

If Apple Arcade was meant for smaller children or focused on educational apps, an addition like Crayola Create and Play+ might make sense. As it stands though, this feels like a totally random addition to the library. If you were in the market for this kind of app though, Apple Arcade is a steal, as the App Store version of Create and Play charges a $35 annual subscription for just one app.


164. DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+

Description:

The heralded vertical shooter has come to Apple Arcade. Control one of three ships and slide around waves of bullets and enemies while blasting them away. For this iOS version of the game, DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+ has a special Smartphone Mode that allows for easier play and a modified scoring system, as well as a straight up port of the original arcade version.

Rank Explanation:

I don't know much about the DoDonPachi games or bullet hell games in general. This seems like it would be a solid one--perhaps even good or great--if not for a ton of frame rate issues. Maybe on newer devices this is not a problem, but on my iPhone XR, there isn't a single level where things aren't stuttering at some point.


165. Backgammon+

Description:

You can now play Backgammon on Apple Arcade! It's the same Backgammon you've never really known how to play, and it lets you play against AI, online players (in live, synchronous multiplayer only), or people you want to play in person by passing your phone back and forth.

Rank Explanation:

Backgammon+ taught me how to play Backgammon, and now I can say with authority that the game is middling among classic tabletop games. This version of the game also doesn't sport much customization options or anything, so it's a pretty boring version of a perfectly acceptable board game.


166. 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.


167. 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.


168. 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:

Fallen Knight sat at the bottom of this list for a long time because it was essentially unplayable. This is no longer the case, and I can now say it's a pretty tough action platformer in that takes quite a bit of inspiration from Mega Man. It's nowhere near as good as those games, though, and has some inscrutable mechanics that can drive you away from it pretty easily. Better than being broken, I guess.


169. Cozy Grove

Description:

In Cozy Grove, you play as a spirit scout that has found themselves on an island full of undead animal friends. Each day, you wander the woods looking for ethereal creatures to help in exchange for spirit logs to fuel your campfire and bring color back to this lonely island. The only catch is there's only so much you can accomplish in a day before checking back in tomorrow.

Rank Explanation:

I'm not really sure what business a game like Cozy Grove has on Apple Arcade. Every third game on the App Store competes for your attention by trying to hold you to a schedule of completing a time-gated checklist. Being on Apple Arcade, there's a guaranteed lack of ads or in-app purchases, but that doesn't make it unique or feel like anything more than a thing you could do.


170. 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.


171. 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.


172. 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.


173. 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.


174. 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.


175. 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.

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+

Posted in: News
Tagged With: Backgammon, The oregon trail, Tint, Game Dev Story, Tiny Wings, Jetpack Joyride, SpellTower, Lego Star Wars, Badland, Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, Asphalt 8: Airborne, The Room Two, Monument valley, Blek, Threes, Leo's Fortune, Crossy Road, Mini Metro, Don't Starve Pocket Edition, Reigns, INKS, Galaga Wars, Chameleon Run, Super Stickman Golf 3, Splitter Critters, Really Bad Chess, Layton's Mystery Journey, 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, Oceanhorn 2, 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, Cat Quest II, Neo Cab, King’s League II, Pilgrims, 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, 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, yaga the roleplaying folktale, UFO on Tape: First Contact, Takeshi and Hiroshi, discolored, sociable soccer, marble it up: mayhem, Manifold Garden, ShockRods, Cardpocalypse, Mind Symphony, Battlesky Brigade: Harpooner, Hexaflip, 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, Fallen Knight, Inmost, Jumper Jon, Kings of the Castle, Legend of the Skyfish 2, Murder Mystery Machine, No Way Home, 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, Towers of Everland, Spongebob: Patty Pursuit, 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, 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, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, Lego Builder's Journey, lumen, The Mosaic, Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon, Winding Worlds, 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, Unleash the Light, Populous Run, Warp Drive - Teleport Racing!, 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
Share This: