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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 11.17]

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 17th, 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 11/17:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 126-150 [Updated 11.17]

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. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151-175 [Updated 11.17]

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. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 176+ [Updated 11.17]

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. Towaga: Among Shadows

[img id="102401" alt=""]

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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 11.17]

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. Exit the Gungeon

Description:

Exit the Gungeon is an action roguelite that has elements of bullet hell shooters. You ride elevators and clear floors of enemies that are shooting at you constantly. A couple twists are that 1) bullets can’t hurt you as long as you are airborne (or rolling) and 2) your gun transforms to have different properties every few seconds. It’s a wild, hectic time.

Rank Explanation:

I have a hard time imagining another action-oriented game charting higher on this list. Exit the Gungeon is simply fantastic. It’s endlessly replayable, humorous, and devilishly difficult (without feeling unfair). While it is definitely best played using a controller, Exit the Gungeon changes its mechanics for touch play in a way that makes a manageable (though a bit less enjoyable) experience.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 11.17]

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. Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls

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Description:

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls is a reboot of what was initially envisioned as a free-to-play game where you collect characters and gear from the iconic Castlevania series as you go on dungeon runs through cursed grimoires. This reboot keeps almost all of those components intact, but does away with the parts where you can spend money, allowing you to grind out currencies to kit out Alucard, the Belmonts, and others to complete increasingly difficult levels full of dark fantasy monsters and bosses.

Rank Explanation:

Grimoire of Souls is a snooze-fest if you are expecting anything approaching a Castlevania game. I'm partial to the "Metroidvania" versions of these games, but even if you like the level-based titles there is very little of interest here. All of the challenge comes from your ability to grind and match the power of the enemies you're fighting. Upgrade-a-thons aren't necessarily bad. They can be meditative, and this one has polish and has some fun with Castlevania lore, but it doesn't feel special in the slightest.

Path of Giants review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on August 29th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: PEAK PUZZLING
Path of Giants is an incredibly well-made traversal puzzler that prioritizes player experience.
Read The Full Review »

Linn: Path of Orchards review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on February 18th, 2019
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LABORIOUS LEAPING
This platformer has neat ideas, but doesn’t execute on them in the best ways.
Read The Full Review »

Where Shadows Slumber review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on September 20th, 2018
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: REMAIN IN LIGHT
This puzzle game has its fair share of issues, but it’s worth seeing through to the end.
Read The Full Review »

What mobile gaming can learn from the Nintendo Switch

Posted by Harry Slater on January 16th, 2018

While Nintendo might not have had things all its own way since it began developing for mobile, one thing it has got right is the release of the Switch. After the disappointment of the WiiU, which I still can't really explain, the Switch felt a little make or break for the big N. And it's fair to say it fits squarely in the make category.

The things that the Switch does so successfully are things that I've been saying mobile gaming has needed to do for a while now. It just so happens that Nintendo has got there first. But that doesn't mean that the mobile gaming world doesn't have things it can learn from the Switch. Things like these.

GNOG review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on January 8th, 2018
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ROBUST ROBOTS
GNOG takes a simple emerging genre and smartly gives the additional depth it deserves.
Read The Full Review »

Starman: Tale of Light review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 13th, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: TALE OF LITE
Starman is a short but sweet artistic puzzler.
Read The Full Review »

Pathos review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on July 7th, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: FLIPPING GIMMICKS
Pathos is a puzzle game that struggles to find an identity.
Read The Full Review »

Monument Valley 2 review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 12th, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PRETTY PUZZLES AGAIN
Sequels can be tough, especially when you have monumental shoes to fill.
Read The Full Review »

Monument Valley developers launch a new mindfulness app

Posted by Jessica Famularo on April 4th, 2017




Monument Valley developers ustwo have a new app out for iOS, though it might not be quite what you're expecting. Rather than a cerebral puzzle game, their latest project, in collaboration with Danish wellness company PauseAble, is a mindfulness tool. Sway allows you to relax and focus no matter where you are. Here's how it works.