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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 7.14]

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 14th, 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 7/14:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151+ [Updated 7.14]

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 11th, 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+


151. BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner

[img id="102099" alt=""][img id="102100" alt=""]

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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 7.14]

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 | 126-150 | 151+


26. Reigns+

[img id="110255" alt=""][img id="110256" alt=""]

Description:

It's Reigns again! The first game in Nerial's now somewhat tired series of swipe-based management games is now on Apple Arcade. You play as a succession of kings that has to balance their kingdom's power between the church, people, military, and economy to complete achievements, discover new cards, and otherwise try to rule as long as possible.

Rank Explanation:

After being increasingly nonplussed by subsequent Reigns entries, I wasn't sure if the magic from the first game would still be there. As it turns out, the first game isn't all just novelty. It's still really good--almost better than I remember. It's whip-smart writing is the star, and doesn't get obscured by too many other gimmicks or puzzles like it does in later entries. If you're going to play one Reigns game on Apple Arcade, make it this one.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 7.14]

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 | 126-150 | 151+


51. TinyCrossword+

[img id="110367" alt=""][img id="110368" alt=""]

Description:

TinyCrossword+ is exactly what it sounds like. This game serves up micro-puzzles with 5-6 rows and columns each and serves up clues for you to start filling in the blanks with. As you go, you unlock harder difficulties, which you might need to overcome with the help of some hints like random letter powerups, highlights of incorrect letters, or straight-up asking for the answer.

Rank Explanation:

A crossword is only as good as its clues, and the ones in TinyCrossword+ are solid. It covers a lot of ground between abbreviations, pop culture knowledge, idioms/sayings, and more with its riddle-like hints. I do wish the game's keyboard felt a little more snappy, and it only took me a dozen puzzles or so before I got a repeated clue, but knocking out a tiny crossword on the daily as part of my Apple Arcade experience feels nice nonetheless.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 7.14]

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 | 126-150 | 151+


76. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 7.14]

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 | 126-150 | 151+


101. 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.