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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 2.22]

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 22nd, 2021

In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.

Over a year into the Apple Arcade experiment, I’m adjusting my approach to these rankings to make it a bit less cumbersome to update and read. For the most part, this means the number of updates on previously released games will decrease, and the text below each entry will be kept to a brief-yet-accurate justification for its positioning.

This has less to do with the pace of Apple Arcade releases and more to do with the fact that the general quality of games on the service simply isn’t what it should be. In the time that one release comes to the service, multiple high quality games hit the App Store that you don’t have to pay monthly upkeep for. Unless something drastic changes with the service, my opinion on it probably won’t change much.

Anyway, on with the ranking updates:

Game ranking updates for 2/22:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 2.22]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 2 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

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


26. Shantae and the Seven Sirens

[img id="101666" alt=""]

Description:

Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a colorful and beautifully animated platformer that feels a lot like a Castlevania game. Shantae and her friends arrive on an island for a half-genie celebration, when all of them get kidnapped (except for Shantae, of course). To rescue the half-genies, you must pilot Shantae across different parts of the island to find magic powers that let you explore new locations. All along the way, island wildlife and other enemies stand in your path, and you have to decide how best to deal with them using your hair-whipping skills, magical abilities, or otherwise just avoiding them.

Rank Explanation:

I really dig the straightforward and old-school style of Shantae and the Seven Sirens. It’s also just a gorgeous game. There definitely aren’t many surprises with a game like this, but Shantae manages to execute so well on creating a Castlevania-type game that it’s also hard not to have a good time with it.


27. The Bradwell Conspiracy

[img id="101605" alt=""]

Description:

An accident has happened at the newly opened Bradwell Museum, and somehow everyone was able to evacuate except for you. In this desolate first-person adventure game, you solve a bunch of environmental puzzles while winding your way through this museum which leads you to the discovery (shocker!) that everything isn’t quite what it appears to be.

Rank Explanation:

I didn’t really know anything going into The Bradwell Conspiracy, and I think that’s the best way to approach it. It’s much more of a puzzle game than I was anticipating, and a pretty creative one at that. It doesn’t always execute on its ideas as elegantly as it should, but The Bradwell Conspiracy gets high marks for trying a bunch of new ideas and doing right by a good number of them.


28. Cat Quest II

[img id="100904" alt=""]

Description:

Cat Quest II is a bigger, bolder version of the fantastic Cat Quest. As the name might suggest, these games are fantasy role-playing games where you play as a cat. You wander what looks like an overworld map in most games, but this operates as the primary view for doing just about everything in the game, including combat. Cat Quest II ups the ante by offering co-op play (where player two is a dog!), a larger world, and more stuff to do, find, and discover.

Rank Explanation:

Cat Quest II is one of those sequels that is just more of the first game. This is by no means a bad thing. Cat Quest was super charming and fun, so I’m glad there’s now more of it to play. It does feel a little odd as a game somewhat designed around co-op, though. Also some of its systems are a little too easy to exploit, making the game a bit too easy.


29. NUTS - A Surveillance Mystery

[img id="109256" alt=""]

Description:

NUTS is a narrative adventure game about a young researcher sent into a forest to document the life and habits of squirrels. You do this by wandering the wilderness and setting up cameras and other observation gear before going back to your RV to see if you were able to gather the intel you were looking for.

Rank Explanation:

What starts as a novel meditative experience quickly gives way to a curious mystery that only gets more puzzling as you continue to capture the habits of these strange squirrels. It certainly helps that NUTS is super stylish and has a lot of fun quirks in the way it controls, though I wish some of observation challenges were a little less convoluted and tedious.


30. Manifold Garden

[img id="102012" alt=""]

Description:

Manifold Garden is a mind-bending puzzler where you can adhere to any surface or fall infinitely off of cliffs as you explore an unsettling, non-euclidean environment. It’s very minimal in its presentation, but that’s part of what makes the game so mesmerizing.

Rank Explanation:

Every time I complete a puzzle in Manifold Garden, I’m in awe. For a game that gives you an amazing amount of freedom, it’s impressive how the game keeps coming up with ways to block your path. Sometimes the challenges here are so tough that I wander aimlessly for a while (not great for a mobile game!), but in dedicated play sessions, Manifold Garden is an immersive treat.


31. The Last Campfire

[img id="106643" alt=""]

Description:

In The Last Campfire, you play as a lost traveler named Ember, who is searching for a way home. What you discover in this strange land is other people who have been mysteriously trapped here as well, and by solving puzzles, you can help them move on. Travel between various different locations and complete anything from sliding block puzzles to more standard fetch questing in this mysterious narrative puzzle game.

Rank Explanation:

The Last Campfire is a competent and varied puzzle game that feels almost like what a PC or console version of something like Monument Valley might look like. Environments are more spaced out, and the variety of puzzles expands beyond simple traversal (though that is a big part of this game). I don’t love the way the game controls, particularly how it forces you to make distinct swipes or turns to activate switches once you’ve tapped to activate them, and it’s not exactly bursting with new ideas, but The Last Campfireis enjoyable nonetheless.


32. Bleak Sword

Description:

Bleak Sword challenges you with combat encounters that are encased in little monochromatic diorama scenes. There’s a story here, but the main focus is: Enter arena, kill enemies, get loot, level up, and repeat.

Rank Explanation:

It’s really hard to get action-based combat right on touchscreens, but Bleak Sword kind of nails it (and in portrait mode no less!). The controls are simple and responsive without feeling limiting. If you want micro doses of really stylish-yet-minimal action combat, this is the way to go.


33. Survival Z

[img id="109261" alt=""]

Description:

A zombie shooter that takes after Slay the Spire's structure, Survival Z has you shooting, looting, dying, and repeating on loop in hopes building a survivor strong enough to take on overwhelming waves of undead. Along the way, you'll also build up an arsenal of defenses to deploy and survivor companions to shoot alongside.

Rank Explanation:

Survival Z would be dangerously close to my new favorite Apple Arcade game, but it's one of those games that squanders its potential at every turn. I'd love its roguelike structure if it didn't seem so dependent on grinding. Deploying defense structures gives Survival Z a tower defense vibe, but your access to them is disappointingly limited. The worst part about the game right now though is its hit boxes, which allow zombies to hit you from unreasonable distances.


34. Grindstone

[img id="105975" alt=""]

Description:

Capy’s addition to Apple Arcade is a match-three title where you control a barbarian who is slashing through patterns of creeps to meet certain kill goals in order to gather loot that will let you take on even tougher challenges.

Rank Explanation:

Grindstone has a great premise for a mobile game, which is probably why there are already games on the App Store that do what it does, and better. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not terribly exciting, either.


35. The_Otherside

[img id="104844" alt=""]

Description:

The_Otherside feels like if someone made Stranger Thingsinto a board game. It’s a retro-styled turn-based game where you control up to four party members in an effort to close otherworldly gates, all while defending themselves from the hellish creatures that come through them.

Rank Explanation:

It’s hard not to draw comparisons between The_Otherside and Zombiecide: Tactics and Shotguns. They’re extremely similar digital board games that involve a lot of enemy crowd control, dice-based combat, and environment exploration. All of those elements are pretty well executed here though, and I’m happy to have a new strategic board game added to my library.


36. Cricket Through the Ages

Description:

Learn about the history of cricket as you have two astronauts throw space rocks at each other. Cricket Through the Ages is a goofy physics game where wild-armed players "play cricket" by flailing about wildly. There is a competitive aspect to this nonsense, but it’s not the main focus.

Rank Explanation:

Cricket Through the Ages is most enjoyable when things are going out of control on screen. Fortunately, this is often the case, as this game goes out of its way to be completely absurd in the best ways possible. Although I enjoy this game quite a bit, Cricket Through the Ages loses some points for feeling a bit too much like it’s cribbing from Colin Lane’s games. There are also times where the physics buffoonery works against you in frustrating ways.


37. No Way Home

[img id="102677" alt=""]

Description:

This is a sci-fi exploration-based action adventure game where you play as a human that has just woken up after drifting through space for nine million years. Lost in an alien galaxy, you take on missions, upgrade your ship, and try to discover a way back home.

Rank Explanation:

No Way Home is a game that borrows mechanics from a few different popular genres. It’s exploration-heavy like Castlevania, has a crafting system like a survival game, and features dual-stick shooter combat. All of these disparate parts are pretty cool, but they don’t gel together as well as they could. As a result, No Way Home feels a bit disjointed and aimless, despite having some neat ideas.


38. Dead End Job

Description:

Dead End Job is like The Real Ghostbusters with a toned-down Ren and Stimpy aesthetic. You wander through haunted areas, busting ghosts using standard dual-joystick shooter controls. All the while, you’re earning upgrades and money, which can help you take on even more powerful poltergeists. Although it looks like a pretty casual game, Dead End Job can be rather punishing to all but patient and deliberate players.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot to like about Dead End Job, but its action-oriented nature makes it best suited for controller play only. This limits its appeal on devices meant for on-the-go play. Also, it’s not that hard to find other, better dual-stick shooters on iOS outside of Apple Arcade.


39. ShockRods

[img id="102097" alt=""]

Description:

This is a car combat game, but it moves and plays like a typical third-person shooter. You compete in classic multiplayer shooter modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch, but you control a car that can go from moving forward to strafing sideways no problem. As you play, you can unlock new cars to customize your automotive avatar.

Rank Explanation:

ShockRods feels like an old shooter, but in all the right ways. It’s not trying to make too much sense, and prioritizes gameplay that feels good to make you want to keep playing it. I can’t say this game is too fun on a phone using touch, but using an iPad and a controller it’s a fun throwback multiplayer game.


40. Spyder

[img id="103997" alt=""]

Description:

Play as a super-spy who also happens to be a robot spider in this puzzle/platformer. Crawl all over the surfaces of submarines and trains to do things like hack computer terminals, defuse bombs, and vent deadly gas to keep your team one step ahead of the bad guys.

Rank Explanation:

Spyder makes a pretty good first impression. It has nice visuals, a creative and fun conceit, and its level designs are actually quite clever. The only thing really holding this game back is its camera controls, which are pretty bad regardless of whether you’re playing via touch or controller. If the camera here improves, I could see Spyderleaping a bit futher up this list.


41. Legend of the Skyfish 2

[img id="104355" alt=""]

Description:

Legend of Skyfish 2 is the second game in Mgaia’s Zelda-inspired action/adventure series. You play as a Red Hook Guardian, a kind of warrior armed with a fishing rod that you use to bash enemies and pull yourself around environments to solve light puzzles. This game builds on the first primarily through adding a quest system and a somewhat open, interconnected world.

Rank Explanation:

My issue with the first Legend of Skyfish game was that it was too easy, and this is still a problem in Skyfish 2. The whole game is incredibly linear (even the quests are supposed to be done in a specific order) and it feels trivial to blaze through just about everything that stands in your way. Even the puzzles don’t take much thought to complete. The game looks nice though, plus sometimes it feels good to play a game that makes you feel overpowered.


42. Winding Worlds

[img id="105006" alt=""]

Description:

Do your best to fix everyone’s problems in this surreal, narrative adventure. Winding Worlds has you controlling a character as he leaps between mini-worlds, chatting up the people there, and trying to find ways of solving whatever has gone wrong there.

Rank Explanation:

Winding Worlds is a pretty simple game, but massive props to KO_OP for designing a title that plays beautifully in landscape on iPad and portrait on iPhone. The game itself is pretty short, and its story is a basic parable, but its gameplay is varied enough and the writing is charming enough to make it enjoyable... enough.


43. Creaks

[img id="105862" alt=""]

Description:

Amanita Design’s second release on Apple Arcade is a more standard puzzle adventure than Pilgrims. Creaks has you playing as a young man who is lost in a mysterious world found through a crack in his apartment. The challenges here are ones of traversal, and most of your time is spent figuring out how to manipulate your environment to hit the right switches you need to move forward.

Rank Explanation:

Creaks hit during a wave of Apple Arcade duds hit the service, and even then it’s nothing too fancy. Of course, it has the signature Amanita Design style, but otherwise feels like their take on Inside (a thing quite a number of Apple Arcade games have done for some reason). It’s a totally solid experience that is helped a lot by its audio and visual design, despite feeling a tad derivative.


44. Don’t Bug Me!

[img id="101698" alt=""]

Description:

Don’t Bug Me! is a sort of off-kilter tower defense game where you play as an astronaut defending mission-critical space hardware. This game merges the basic tenets of tower defense with resource management, real-time strategy, and light shooter elements.

Rank Explanation:

This is very much one of those games that is more than the sum of its parts. Don’t Bug Me! isn’t especially challenging, or long, or deep, but it does what it does well, and presents everything in a pleasing and colorful low-poly style. It’s just a nice and inviting experience that feels well-scoped for a service jam-packed with long games fighting tooth-and-nail for your attention.


45. Pilgrims

[img id="100906" alt=""][img id="100910" alt=""]

Description:

We’ve seen a lot of card-based games on mobile, but not really one that tries to emulate adventure games. Pilgrims does exactly this and with all of the charm you can come to expect from Amanita Design releases. In it, you take a charater from location to location and you gather objects and companions who are kept as cards in your inventory. At new locations, you need to pull these cards out to solve light puzzles, witness bizarre hijinks, and play through a brief story.

Rank Explanation:

Pilgrims reduces the trial-and-error of conventional adventure game design down to a small card game that rarely wastes your time. Part of this comes from establishing a game logic that’s pretty easy to follow, but it also helps that Pilgrims rewards players with funny little scenes and collectible cards for trying out cards that don’t specifically solve the puzzle you’re working on. My only real issue with the game is that it ended rather abruptly. Just when I thought I was clearing the first section of the game, credits started rolling.


46. The Pinball Wizard

Description:

You play pinball, but your ball is a wizard, and your table is a tower floor littered with enemies and loot. In The Pinball Wizard, your goal is to get as high up a tower as possible without dying. All the while, you collect experience and money that you can spend on upgrades to your wizard between rounds so that you’ll stand a better chance at making it further up the tower on your next play session.

Rank Explanation:

The idea of Pinball Wizard is incredible, but I don’t really love the execution. The pinball physics here feel off. Your wizard hugs the wall in an odd way and everything feels slow and sluggish. Also, it’s only playable in landscape mode, which seems odd for a pinball game. It’s fun enough despite these minor gripes, but it’s hard not to feel like Pinball Wizard isn’t fully realizing its potential.


47. Mini Motorways

[img id="101254" alt=""]

Description:

Mini Motorways is the follow up to Mini Metro. Only this time, instead of building public transportation, you are building road ways from houses to buildings with parking lots. Your goal is to create as smooth and quick a flow of traffic as possible, and if too few cars can reach their destination in an appropriate amount of time, you lose.

Rank Explanation:

Mini Motorways is a fine minimalist puzzler, but it doesn’t feel all that different from Mini Metro. On top of that, the game has some clunky controls which often result in accidentally building roadways where you don’t mean to.


48. The Survivalists™

[img id="108433" alt=""]

Description:

Team17 takes their crafting/survival formula to the tropics with The Survivalists. Like Robinson Crusoe, you are stranded on an island and have to find a way to fend for yourself. Luckily, you can unlock blueprints for pretty complicated items and train monkeys to help take the tedium out of gathering or crafting particular items.

Rank Explanation:

The Survivalists is certainly better than the other island-themed crafting/survival game on the service, but it's still very much one of those games and operates pretty much exactly as you'd expect it to. It's competent, but far from special.


49. Shinsekai Into the Depths

[img id="105520" alt=""]

Description:

This game is sort of like an undersea Castlevania-type game. You wander the ocean depths in a scuba suit, defending yourself from all sorts of deep sea creatures, all while trying to discover why there’s a sudden influx of ice that has started flash freezing the waters around your home.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a slowness and murkiness to Shinsekai that takes some getting used to, but once you do, the game is pretty intriguing. There’s a lot of systems to balance as you float about and discover mineral deposits you can use to upgrade your suit to travel to new depths. There are definitely some weird and unpolished things going on with this game, but it’s also such a confidently weird take on a well worn genre that it’s hard to put down.


50. Reigns: Beyond

[img id="107856" alt=""]

Description:

Reigns has finally leaped into the future. In Reigns: Beyond, you play as an amnesiac who captains a starship and plays guitar in an intergalactic rock band. Swipe your way through all kinds of sci-fi adventure and make stops to play shows, make money, and grow your following.

Rank Explanation:

Reigns? Are you ok? What happened? You were once a silly, stripped down adventure game and now you’re... a sci-fi Guitar Hero management sim? I don’t say this to sound entirely negative. Reigns: Beyond is mostly fine, but it feels like a game made without confidence in what made the original game great. On a specifically negative note though, I do wish Reigns: Beyondcould have lasted at least 30 minutes before serving me repeat cards.

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

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

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 2.22]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 3 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

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


51. Where Cards Fall

Description:

Where Cards Fall is a mysterious puzzle game that’s difficult to explain. It’s a traversal puzzle game, but you need to move your character from point A to point B by folding and unfolding card structures for him to walk over or around. In between these puzzles, you watch vignettes that unfold a somewhat vague story about the character you’re controlling.

Rank Explanation:

The card stacking mechanics of Where Cards Fall is certainly novel, but the narrative that comes with it seems completely inconsequential and the game moves a bit too slowly for its own good. It’s otherwise a competent puzzle game, but not the strongest traversal puzzler on the service.


52. Super Impossible Road

Description:

Finally, a racing game that encourages cheating. Super Impossible Road has you piloting a futuristic sphere on spiraling tracks suspended in a void with one goal (reach the finish) and no rules. Veering off the track to fall onto a lower, further part of the track isn’t only allowed, it’s encouraged. The result is a racing game with a phenomenal sense of danger and clever risk/reward system.

Rank Explanation:

Super Impossible Road is just such a neat idea for a game. Bouncing off of pieces of track to finish a track in seconds feels phenomenal, but it’s a hefty challenge that can set you really far back if you’re not careful. Luckily, nothing about the game is made harder by playing on touchscreens (though I still prefer it with a controller). As a racing game, Super Impossible Road thrives as a multiplayer title, but its single-player mode is the only way to save you from waiting endlessly in empty lobbies.


53. The Lullaby of Life

[img id="106135" alt=""]

Description:

The Lullaby of Life is a puzzle/exploration game that uses sound mechanics as you pilot a blob around a strange, primordial universe. Most of the game involves floating around environments and gathering the right companions that allow you to play sequences of sounds that unlock the next area.

Rank Explanation:

The environmental puzzles in Lullaby of Life are clever, but game’s style and presentation don’t do a whole lot for me. I’m particularly bothered by the fact that game that seems so preoccupied with music, yet the game itself doesn’t have great music. Even the sound-based puzzles never end up sounding like music making. It’s just a series of sound effects that unlocks your way forward.


54. Populous Run

[img id="109258" alt=""]

Description:

Populous Run is an arcade runner where you guide a crowd of people through levels full of hazardous donuts, cupcakes, lollipops, and other sweet treats. Your goal is to steer your crowd well enough to reach the end of stages, though there are bonus objectives based around how many people you finish a level with, how many coins you collect, and whether or not you're able to unlock secret characters and take them to the exit with you.

Rank Explanation:

Populous Run makes a great first impression thanks to its polished look and charmingly goofy soundtrack. Once you've gotten your fill of its aesthetic (which doesn't take long, by the way), it's just a mildly novel runner that controls really loosely.


55. King’s League II

[img id="105976" alt=""]

Description:

King’s League II is basically the video game equivalent of plate-spinning. You are in charge of a team of fighters who spar in a kind of fighting league. Between fights though, you have to rest all of your fighters, train them, and secure increasing tributes to your team in order to win championships and advance to more challenging leagues. All of this moves along in real-time without a pause button, so you have to exercise sound judgement and manage time efficiently at all times.

Rank Explanation:

I really dig the structure of King’s League II, even though it can be hectic at times, but the game's combat just isn't engaging enough to keep me playing it for any significant amount of time. Fighters just bumble into each other and the team with higher numbers usually wins.


56. SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit

[img id="105431" alt=""]

Description:

Spongebob’s arch-nemesis, Plankton, is once again up to no good. With the Krabby Patty formula stolen and his friends all imprisoned, it’s up to you to control Spongebob in this auto-running platformer. Unlike a lot of runners, Patty Pursuit’s levels are non-linear, so the game plays more like a traditional 2D platformer, where you are hunting for collectibles, finding secret paths, and more.

Rank Explanation:

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Spongebob or not, Patty Pursuit is a pretty solid platformer that is good about mixing up its gameplay as you progress. As you complete levels, you rescue characters (e.g. Patrick, Squidward, etc.) each of whom can join you to help you access new areas and give you special abilities. It’s a little annoying that you’ll have to play and replay levels with different characters to gather all of these collectibles, but that’s kind of the only thing that puts a damper on this undersea adventure.


57. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

[img id="108434" alt=""][img id="108435" alt=""]

Description:

Explore a beautiful island town surrounded by natural beauty in an adventure that focuses around documenting wildlife. You play as Alba as she works together with her grandparents and other townsfolk to preserve it as it is.

Rank Explanation:

ustwo's house style continues to be pretty games that don't really have much to them. Alba--like Assemble With Care--is fine, but it's mostly a laundry list of facile tasks to do. In the case of this game, most of it revolves around taking pictures of animals and picking up trash. Kudos to the team for trying new things and not just making Monument Valley over and over again, but I'd like to see more substance behind ustwo titles.


58. Patterned

Description:

In Patterned, you basically put together fancy puzzles. Each level presents you with a repeating background, and you have to slot in shapes that match parts of the background. It’s as simple as that.

Rank Explanation:

Patterened is just a really chill puzzle game. It has some gorgeous artwork to put together, and it doesn't try to overcomplicate the simple pleasure of solving a jigsaw puzzle.


59. The Collage Atlas

[img id="107857" alt=""]

Description:

An artsy, walking simulator-type affair, The Collage Atlastakes place in a world of paper, pages, and words. There is definitely environmental puzzle-solving alongside its abstract narrative, but the game seems mostly focused as a linear storytelling vehicle.

Rank Explanation:

The idea of a world made of paper is more interesting than The Collage Atlasmakes it seem. This game ends up looking too same-y with its black and white visuals and repetitive goals of retrieving keys, though I was intrigued by its story.


60. Stranded Sails

[img id="102397" alt=""]

Description:

In Stranded Sails, you and your crew have been shipwrecked on an island, and it’s up to you to gather all the survivors and... well... survive. This plodding game feeds you a laundry list of crafting objectives that lead you all around the island, teaching you how to farm, build, fish, and more, most of which serve as ways to let you keep exploring more across the island.

Rank Explanation:

This seems like the kind of game you’d want to put behind a subscription. A slow-burning survival/crafting game can make sure you always have something to do. The only problem is Stranded Sails is a little too slow. It takes a long time to do just about anything in the game, and all the while you need to be managing your stamina and trying to get things done before the sun goes down. Sometimes, this is just fine, but there are also other mobile crafting games that do everything Stranded Sails does but better, and those you don’t need to pay for monthly.


61. Spire Blast

[img id="109259" alt=""][img id="109260" alt=""]

Description:

This color-matching game has you launching balls of color at medieval towers constructed out of blocks of the same material. If you hit a block with a same-colored block, they burst and can challenge the structural integrity of the tower. Your goal is mostly to collapse the tower completely, though there's usually some side objectives to complete as well.

Rank Explanation:

Spire Blast is oddly satisfying when physics are on your side. Seeing towers crumble under their own weight after you take out enough load-bearing blocks just feels cool, but only up to a point. As the game turns more objective-based, Spire Blast's light arcade appeal dissipates and feels like a chore.


62. All of You

[img id="107858" alt=""]

Description:

In All of You, you play as a mother hen trying to gather her chicks back. This happens across levels where you are in control of how and when the hen moves between scenes spaced apart from each other. In a way, it feels like FRAMEDin how you can manipulate the order or orientation of scenes to find the way forward.

Rank Explanation:

This kind of puzzle game feels the most tired on mobile. All of You’s trial and error levels each have small tricks that slowly ramp up to things that are actually interesting, but it doesn’t entirely feel worth it. There’s nothing technically wrong with the game per se. It’s just pretty boilerplate.


63. World's End Club

[img id="106815" alt=""]

Description:

World's End Clubis a narrative adventure game about a club of young students who are off on a road trip when a series of mysterious and catastrophic things happen. From there, it's up to the club to use their own ingenuity and the power of friendship to uncover the mysteries of the new world they wake up in, which is done mostly via reading dialogue and some light puzzle platforming.

Rank Explanation:

The quick and dirty pitch for World's End Club might as well be "it's Danganronpa but also a platformer." The game even starts with a scenario that feels almost exactly like the happenings at Hope's Peak Academy, though to solve it you have to run and jump around a 2D environment to hit switches, run from threats, and catch up to your friends to progress the story. It starts with a bang, but peters out pretty quickly due to a lack of compelling character development.


64. Spek.

[img id="101549" alt=""]

Description:

Everything is a matter of perspective in Spek. Quite literally the game is about manipulating your viewing angle to allow a dot to collect fragments so you can advance to the next level. Its minimal style and puzzle design also gives it a little bit of an Echochrome vibe.

Rank Explanation:

Spek. is quite a solid puzzler and certainly stands above Possessions., another Apple Arcade entry about moving the game camera to solve puzzles. As abstract as it can be, though, there are times when your perspective shifts don’t work out the way you expect them to, or the game doesn’t explain them well. Sometimes, this leads to pleasant discoveries. Other times, it can be a little maddening.


65. Marble Knights

[img id="107042" alt=""]

Description:

Marble Knights is a 3D beat em up where you play as characters that roll around on top of marbles. In addition to fighting well, you need to make sure you can steer you characters around levels without falling off edges or into pits.

Rank Explanation:

There’s nothing wrong with Marble Knights, but there’s nothing that interesting about it either. The marble-based traversal doesn’t add as much dimension to the gameplay as you might think. Also, the game seems to be focused on multiplayer, but only offers it through private codes or local co-op.


66. Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes

[img id="108436" alt=""]

Description:

Imagine pinball, except the ball is a hero being launched into battle to take out zombies. That's what Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes is. This action-oriented pinball game has you complete challenges while fending off the undead by launching your round protagonist directly at them or objects in the environment that can help you slow their advance.

Rank Explanation:

I like the way Zombie Rollerz feels as compared to Pinball Wizard, but neither really feel like pinball or even quality alternatives. Zombie Rollerz has some neat ideas with how to turn pinball into a sort of combat puzzle, but it can sometimes get a bit too difficult to follow the action, which can lead to frustrating defeats.


67. UFO on Tape: First Contact

[img id="101782" alt=""]

Description:

UFO on Tape: First Contact is a game about taking pictures. These pictures are mostly of alien spacecraft, but they can be of all kinds of other things, too. In fact, every level in UFO on Tape has specific shots it’s looking for you to capture, some of which are just interesting signs or of the surrounding nature. Once you capture enough of these specific shots well enough, you earn enough money to move on to the next level.

Rank Explanation:

UFO on Tape kind of feels like Pokemon Snap, but it’s main failing is that you spend a lot of your time looking at boring spaceships instead of cute monsters. The photography gameplay is interesting and entertaining to a point, but it wears thin quickly, especially since you have to play levels through multiple times to get good enough shots to progress to the next scene.


68. Doomsday Vault

[img id="102678" alt=""]

Description:

Doomsday Vault is set in a bleak future where the Earth’s environment has collapsed. You play as a seemingly lone adventurer who is exploring the planet’s abandoned infrastructure in order to rescue some of the last remaining plant life so that you can hopefully restore the natural order. The resulting game is an exploration-focused puzzle platformer that challenges you to find hidden collectibles while managing your enviro-suit’s power.

Rank Explanation:

I love the concept, look, and puzzle design of Doomsday Vault a lot. There’s just something really satisfying about exploring every nook and cranny of these post-apocalyptic settings. My problem with it though is that the controls and UI are both pretty lousy. Wandering through levels is needlessly clunky regardless of whether you’re playing with touch or a controller.


69. Sneaky Sasquatch

Description:

Sneaky Sasquatch starts as a stealth game where you play as a cryptid who steals food from unsuspecting campers for survival. Each day, you wander campsites looking for picnic baskets, grills, and coolers to snatch food out of so you don’t go hungry. Play it for long enough though and it expands into a gigantic open world full of mini-games to let your Sasquatch enjoy.

Rank Explanation:

It’s a funny concept, but Sneaky Sasquatch feels a little too aimless. For as big as its world is, the mini-games that punctuate points of interest only highlight how empty the game really is.


70. Agent Intercept

[img id="101550" alt=""]

Description:

Agent Intercept is a cross between a racing game and a puzzle game. You play as a secret agent who is chasing all sorts of villains all over the world. In your chase, you need to drive fast, but you also get points for drifting, hitting jumps, and taking down henchmen. The ultimate goal of any level is to get the best score on the leaderboards, which change out every day when a new level becomes available.

Rank Explanation:

This game gets a lot of bonus points just based on its style alone. The super spy theming of Agent Intercept is so spot on and makes playing it feel really cool. Its "one challenge per day" structure also feels like a perfect dose for this kind of game. I just wish the driving felt a little better. The controls just give you a slider to move your vehicle from left to right, which doesn’t always feel the most responsive.


71. Neversong

[img id="104797" alt=""]

Description:

Neversongis a strange mishmash of games. It’s a mediation on mental health, but it’s also an action platformer. You play as a boy Peet, who’s girlfriend was stolen away from him, causing him to fall into a coma. After waking, he sets off on a strange and surreal adventure to find his girlfriend while battling bug-like enemies and swinging around environments.

Rank Explanation:

I think the odd blending of tones and genre conventions gives Neversong a truly unique flavor, but I’d like it more if the things it implemented felt a little better. The platforming itself is serviceable, but Peet’s hitbox in combat doesn’t feel right, and the swinging mechanics that the game introduces later on don’t work well on touch at all. I want to see where Neversonggoes, but I’ll only be enjoying it in small bursts using a controller unless some updates come through to improve the touch experience.


72. Speed Demons

[img id="101609" alt=""][img id="101610" alt=""]

Description:

Speed Demons is technically an auto-runner, I guess, but it feels more like a racing game because it involves cars. Race your way down winding roads across a variety of event types, most of which ultimately want you to drive fast and keep others from doing that better than you. To enhance the experience, Speed Demons relies heavily on an high frame rate and a propulsive soundtrack.

Rank Explanation:

When you’re in the zone in Speed Demons, it feels incredible. This involves the convergence of a lot of moving parts, though. You yourself have to be in the right mental (and physical) space to concentrate on the game. Then, the soundtrack needs to land on the right tune (thankfully, you can control this relatively easily). Finally—and most crucially—the game actually needs to be running at 60 frames per second or higher, which is sometimes a struggle. If any of these ingredients aren’t just right, the magic of Speed Demons doesn’t quite work.


73. ChuChu Rocket! Universe

Description:

In ChuChu Rocket! Universe, you have to lead mice to a rocket using arrows you draw on the ground. In this particular entry, there’s a single-player focus full of levels with various puzzles and challenges. Universe still features multiplayer, but it is relegated to a small sub-menu.

Rank Explanation:

I don’t have any nostalgia for the original ChuChu Rocket!, so this game doesn’t do a whole lot for me. It’s a lot like heaps of other puzzle games on the App Store, and features a multiplayer mode that is so fast-paced that I’m not really sure what’s going on at any given moment. Still though, it’s a really well made puzzle game.


74. 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.


75. Little Orpheus

[img id="105521" alt=""]

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.

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

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

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 2.22]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

This is part 4 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

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


76. 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.


77. Marble It Up: Mayhem!

[img id="101784" alt=""]

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.


78. Takeshi and Hiroshi

[img id="101781" alt=""]

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.


79. EarthNight

[img id="104368" alt=""]

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.


80. Crossy Road Castle

[img id="103534" alt=""]

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.


81. The Enchanted World

[img id="101488" alt=""]

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.


82. 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.


83. Possessions.

[img id="101489" alt=""]

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.


84. Warp Drive - Teleport Racing!

[img id="108437" alt=""]

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.


85. lumen.

[img id="109255" alt=""]

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.


86. CHARRUA SOCCER

[img id="103313" alt=""]

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.


87. 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.


88. Butter Royale

[img id="105974" alt=""]

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.


89. LEGO Builder’s Journey

[img id="102399" alt=""]

Description:

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

Rank Explanation:

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


90. Sociable Soccer

[img id="101783" alt=""]

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.


91. Ballistic Baseball

[img id="101699" alt=""]

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.


92. Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows

[img id="106277" alt=""][img id="106278" alt=""]

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.


93. 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.


94. Rayman Mini

[img id="101607" alt=""]

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.


95. Explottens

[img id="101702" alt=""]

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.


96. Samurai Jack

[img id="106644" alt=""]

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.


97. Yaga The Roleplaying Folktale

[img id="101767" alt=""]

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.


98. Kings of the Castle

[img id="102886" alt=""]

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.


99. INMOST

[img id="102013" alt=""]

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.


100. 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.

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

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

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 2.22]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

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

[img id="109257" alt=""]

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

[img id="102125" alt=""]

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

[img id="102127" alt=""]

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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