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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 5.11]

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 11th, 2022

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 5/11:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 201+ [Updated 5.11]

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 13th, 2022

This is part 9 of our Apple Arcade rankings. Quick navigation to other parts:

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


201. Angry Birds Reloaded

[img id="111575" alt=""]

Description:

Angry Birds Reloaded is an repackaging of Rovio's immensely successful bird-slinging puzzler. This title is a remake of the original Angry Birds game, but with some new birds, new challenges, and a whole new game mode.

Rank Explanation:

Angry Birds Reloaded feels about as dry a remake as you can get. The updated visuals I'm sure make the game look sharper, but it truly looks and feels like a game from over a decade ago. That, plus a whole host of consumables and currencies that give it a free-to-play feel, make Angry Birds Reloaded easy to pass over.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 126-150 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


126. BADLAND+

[img id="111006" alt=""]

Description:

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

Rank Explanation:

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

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151-175 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


151. Wonderbox

[img id="109873" alt=""]

Description:

This game takes the tools of adventure games like The Legend of Zelda and repackages them into small, diorama-like "rooms" that you journey between in a quest to collect "The Heart of Adventure." You can go on these journeys by yourself or with up to three other players. Or you can forgo the adventuring altogether and make your own quests for others.

Rank Explanation:

Wonderbox is less a game and more a level creation platform. The pre-packaged adventures aren't particularly impressive (aside from how they look). This is to say I was largely bored by the game until I started making my own levels. The only thing that has since stopped me is a bug that disabled my character's movement as I was trying to validate my level for publication. Wait for a fix here, folks.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 176-200 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


176. Farm It

[img id="109866" alt=""][img id="109867" alt=""]

Description:

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

Rank Explanation:

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

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


26. Kingdom Rush Frontiers+

[img id="113597" alt=""]

Description:

Ironhide Game Studio has brought one of their acclaimed tower-defense games to Apple Arcade with Kingdom Rush Frontiers+. Your goal is simple, protect a goal point by building towers stationed by archers, wizards, warriors, and more as waves of increasingly challenging and complicated enemies get thrown at you.

Rank Explanation:

The Kingdom Rush games are untouchably good tower defense games. I can't think of another franchise that even approaches the same level of quality and polish as these ones. That said, I think Frontiers is a relatively weak pick from their lineup to throw onto Arcade. It's great, but it's no Vengeance, so basically on par with a lot of Apple Arcade decision-making.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


51. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


76. Mini Metro+

[img id="110589" alt=""]

Description:

If building roadways in Mini Motorways wasn't exactly doing it for you, Dinosaur Polo Club's original commuter-puzzler has come over to Apple Arcade. Link different subway stops together by dragging transit lines between them to try and plan out the most efficient way to get people to their destinations while being careful not to let any stops jam up with too many people. All of this is presented in a simple geometric style that reflects classic transit map design.

Rank Explanation:

Mini Metro+ feels more intuitive than Mini Motorways, making it my preferred flavor of transit puzzling. It still can be a bit of a slow burn and rounds can be cut short with some poor luck, though. This, plus its age don't make it the most attractive Apple Arcade offering, despite being occasionally a good time.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 5.11]

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 | 176-200 | 201+


101. World of Demons

[img id="110370" alt=""]

Description:

World of Demons isn't exactly a new game, but it's Apple Arcade release is an overhaul of what would have otherwise been a pretty middling free-to-play action game. In this version of the game, you wander barren environments in search of Yokai to kill so that you can upgrade and unlock new gear to let you kill more powerful Yokai.

Rank Explanation:

The Apple Arcade version of World of Demons is much better than the soft launch experience from 2018, but that's not saying a whole lot. Having on-screen buttons with snappier movement and more control over your attacks is great, but the game's inky look still looks pretty drab and environmental exploration drags out play sessions in a way that isn't particularly mobile friendly. At the end of the day, World of Demons is also still just an upgrade treadmill that doesn't seem to lead anywhere.

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.