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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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. With the most recent update bringing older established titles to the service, Arcade is certainly the strongest it has ever been, but additional shakeups like this will need to keep happening to finally sell me on the service.

Anyway, on with the ranking updates:

Game ranking updates for 9/16:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 126-150 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 2021

This is part 6 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

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


126. Down in Bermuda

Description:

Down in Bermuda gives players an isometric view of colorful dioramas that you mostly just tap around in to solve puzzles. It kind of bridges the gap between a hidden object game and adventure game, as some tapping actions revolve around simply spotting certain kinds of objects, where as others require some logic and environmental manipulation.

Rank Explanation:

When I play Down in Bermuda, I’m reminded of titles like GNOG, and Vignettes, though both of those games are more enjoyable. There are some wonky controls in Down in Bermuda that definitely take some getting used to. Also, this game is a little overwhelming with the amount of things it wants you to collect and tap on. Some of these things result in entertaining and clever interactions, but there are other collection objectives that just feel like filler.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151-175 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 2021

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. DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+

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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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 176+ [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 2021

This is part 8 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+


176. Towers of Everland

[img id="105091" alt=""]

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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+


26. Neo Cab

[img id="100905" alt=""]

Description:

Neo Cab is a narrative adventure game where you work nights as a cab driver in the cyberpunk metropolis that is Los Ojos. As you drive around, you pick up all sorts of interesting characters and chat with them. While you do this, you need to balance your car’s charge, your driver rating, and try to solve an overarching mystery.

Rank Explanation:

There’s a lot of things I really like about Neo Cab’s look and storytelling, but there’s also a lot of things that make it a pretty poor mobile experience. The game has a great vibe and sharp writing, but there are way too few checkpoints in the game and it’s just a tad too easy to miss dialogue.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+


51. Threes!+

[img id="110365" alt=""][img id="110366" alt=""]

Description:

Slide over, imitators (I'm looking at you, 2048), the original number-combining tile slider has hit Apple Arcade. This is a game about making the number three and then combining it over and over again to make higher multiples for a high score. The only catch is that every slide you make moves every tile on the board, so you have to be strategic with your slides.

Rank Explanation:

When it released, Threes! was a revelation--a truly new puzzle format that could draw just about anyone into its unique grasp. I still appreciate Threes! from this historical perspective, but I honestly have a hard time going back to play it. Each new run has this long ramp of setting up your board that I find tedious. It's still a good game, but not exactly for me.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+


76. Beyond a Steel Sky

[img id="105661" alt=""]

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). Since launch, Beyond a Steel Sky has seen several rounds of updates to fix its technical problems. Although it's not entirely free of the occasional weird visual bug or strange behavior, it is much more playable (and enjoyable) than it once was.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 126-150 | 151-175 | 176+


101. 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.

Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 15th, 2016
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A SWEET SURPRISE
This luchador-themed free-to-play game takes some of the most common mobile game mechanics and combines them to create something truly unique and fun.
Read The Full Review »

A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays

Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STEAKFRIES! :: Read Review »

The holiday season is upon us, and Australian developers Halfbrick have decided to make their complete iOS catalogue free for a limited time to celebrate. Listed below are the games on sale, listed the only way games should at this time of year: to the tune of 'Deck the Halls.'

Deck the Halls with Age of Zombies,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
'Tis the season to Fruit Ninja,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Troul the Fish Out Of Water!,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
See the Monster Dash before us,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the Colossatron,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
All of these are free for now,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

Square Off Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Chris Kirby on November 27th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BLOCKHEADED
A variation on an old theme, Square Off succeeds at what it attempts but doesn't warrant a purchase.
Read The Full Review »

The Best App Ever Awards - 5 Years Worth of Winners

Posted by Rob Rich on July 8th, 2013

The Best App Ever Awards have been around ever since ever since the App Store first came into being five years ago. Each year the best of the best have been culled from hundreds (even thousands) of releases. This list represents five years worth of winners, as decided by Best App Ever readers. Five years worth of apps and games that have been chosen above all others due to their all-around awesomeness. Five of the Best Apps Ever.

Here they are.

2008


Shazam (Shazam Entertainment)
A lot of people were pretty excited when the iPhone first came out, and it was apps like Shazam that helped to keep them that way. In a time when smartphones were being scoffed at, being able to hold your phone up to a speaker and have it identify whatever song is currently playing was pretty freaking impressive. It goes so far beyond kitschy stuff like virtual lighters or photo booths. This is an app that serves an incredibly useful purpose; especially for those of us who enjoy finding new music.

2008 was the App Store’s first year, and even then there was no shortage of great apps and games for iOS users to enjoy. The likes of eWallet, Fieldrunners, Facebook, and Rolando were all exemplary nominees. However, in the end they just weren’t able to compete with the ability to identify any song that’s playing on the radio, in a store, or wherever else. It’s simply too handy.

2009


Pocket God (Bolt Creative)
I don’t want to be presumptuous, but Bolt Creative may very well be responsible for creating the current “Feel like something’s missing? Wait for an update!” environment that has overtaken the App Store. With 47 (47!!!) episodes released to date, Pocket God is just might be the most thoroughly supported app in the world. This funky sandbox of wrongness has seen so many tweaks and changes over the years that it provides users with mini-games that cover almost every single popular genre on the App Store.

2009 was very close, but Pocket God managed to take first place over apps like 2Do and Twitter, and some wonderful games like Real Racing and Flight Control. Perhaps it was due to all the diversity inherent in all those episodes, or maybe people just really like torturing small virtual islanders. Whatever the reason, Bolt Creative captured a lot of hearts (and probably zapped them with lightning or tossed them to the sharks) that year.

2010


Angry Birds (Rovio Entertainment Ltd)
Say and think what you will about Angry Birds and its current cultural phenomenon status; it’s still a clever game. Rovio’s little physics puzzler that could took the App Store by storm and has continued to do so with multiple spin-offs. Often duplicated, never replicated, this little bird-chucking game has solidified the genre as something synonymous with mobile gaming. There’s even one version that uses the “Star Wars” license. Honestly, there aren’t many other iOS games that can make that claim, and even fewer that aren’t directly affiliated with Lucasarts one way or another.

2010 saw the inclusion of a number of fantastic iOS games to the awards. Games like Infinity Blade, Real Racing 2, and Solipskier are all wonderful in their own right. That makes it all the more impressive so see them, and second place nominee Pocket Legends get edged out by a game about loading birds into a slingshot. Don’t underestimate the power of simple yet addictive gameplay.

2011


Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick Studios)
Barry Steakfries wasn’t new to the App Store when Jetpack Joyride was released, but it is the game that cemented his mobile celebrity status. Barry’s hijacking of a jetpack made of machine guns wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of gameplay (think a hybrid of endless runners and classic corridor flying games like Copter), but Halfbrick polished the heck out of all the mechanics and absolutely overloaded it with personality. To this day it’s still one of the best examples of “just one more try” games on iOS.

2011 was a great year for iOS gamers. Infinity Blade II, World of Goo, Tiny Tower, Where’s My Water, and a whole lot more all made the list. To see little ol’ Barry with his impossible flying machine sitting above them all is a great indication of just how powerful and compulsive an extremely well-made endless game can be. Especially on a mobile platform.

2012


Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
Telltale’s adventure games have been a bit hit-and-miss over the years, but pretty much everyone felt The Walking Dead was a major hit. Lee’s tale won over many a stone-hearted gamer, and the iOS release more or less cemented Apple’s mobile devices as viable gaming platforms. Making the tough choices isn’t any easier when it’s on a smaller screen, that’s for sure.

2012 was another great year; with games like Punch Quest and Outwitters, and apps like Clear and Action Movie FX narrowly edged out. It’s a testament to how far the App Store has come to see so many great and diverse offerings listed. And it’s a testament to Telltale Games’ ability to craft an incredible story about equally incredible characters to see Walking Dead: The Game come out on top.

Swipe Bomb HD Review

By Angela LaFollette on June 6th, 2012
Swipe Bomb is an addictive pick-up-and-play game that is suitable for players of all ages.
Read The Full Review »

Jetpack Joyride Update with Gadgets is Finally Available!

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 30th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: JOYFUL :: Read Review »

The long-awaited Jetpack Joyride 1.3 update is here. We've been teasing it for months now, but now it's finally available. Yes, the world can now finally use gadgets in order to help get higher scores. Hang out near the top too much? Use the Gravity Belt to help fall faster, though they may make it more difficult to stay up in the air. Want to travel farther at the end of a game? Then use Insta-Ball to bounce around in a ball after death. Really, really hate those scientists? Use Nerd Repellant to replace them with cobwebs and tumbleweeds. Want to make more money? Use the Gemology gadget to enable special gems worth extra coins that pop up in the coin formations. Certain gadget combinations have special names to them: Insta-Ball plus Gravity Belt equals Serious Bounce, for example.

The update also features a nice tweak for frequent users of the cloud save functionality, as the game now says when and from what device the cloud save is from, assuming that doesn't match the current device's save file. It's a nice addition designed to make picking the more advanced save easier. The free update is available now.

Jetpack Joyride Reveals More Gadgets

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 6th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: JOYFUL :: Read Review »

Jetpack Joyride's 1.3 update is still in the works, and Halfbrick continues to roll out teaser trailers showing off some of the new gadgets that will be made available. The latest animated teaser is for the Gravity Belt. While its effects are still somewhat unknown, it appears as if gravity will greatly increase while using this belt. Will this make it easier to fall to the floor when up high, helping those runs go up even longer? We'll soon learn just what exactly it does, as the update is scheduled to hit this month. The only other of the 15 total gadgets revealed so far are the Air Barrys and the Freeze-O-Matic, each with their own teaser trailer. Any two Gadgets will be usable together, though they will unlock in tiers of three each. So until this major update finally hits, keep collecting those coins, and get ready for the Gadget onslaught.