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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 7.26]

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 26th, 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 7/26:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151+ [Updated 7.26]

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. Star Fetched

[img id="102015" alt=""]

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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 126-150 [Updated 7.26]

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 22nd, 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+


126. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 7.26]

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. 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 7.26]

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. 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.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 7.26]

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. The Hitchhiker

[img id="109872" alt=""]

Description:

Chat your way down the open road with a variety of different drivers. Things always start out friendly enough, but there's a dark underbelly to these conversations you uncover as you go. Occasionally, you'll also have to do some sleuthing find the next step of your journey.

Rank Explanation:

The Hitchhiker wastes no time getting weird, so no spoilers here. Anyway, the conversations you have with your drivers can go a long time before they reach interesting territory. In the meantime, you can aimlessly look around the car, which can and will frequently trigger dialogue options by accident. This is fine enough, though, since the game doesn't really seem to care what you say to your drivers. Overall, not particularly impressed.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 7.26]

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. 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.

The 5 Best Mobile Games Like The Last of Us Part II

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 18th, 2020

The Last of Us Part II is set to come out this week, but review scores have already been rolling in to pump up excitement for the latest entry in Naughty Dog’s expensive-looking apocalyptic survival horror series. Generally speaking, the game has already received near universal praise for its technical prowess, it’s a little less clear whether its story and tone will be as successful.

Some of this is due to the review embargo Naughty Dog has put in place around The Last of Us Part II, which has restricted critics from writing about the game in its entirety. Outside of that, there has been also heavy discussion among writers about how the game’s tone feels overly brutal and needlessly bleak, particularly since these aspects are seemingly being used in order to raise the same tired questions about player agency and violence that have been explored repeatedly in over a decade’s worth of “prestige” games.

The 5 Best Mobile Turn-Based Strategy Games

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 25th, 2020

In a lot of ways, turn-based strategy games are an ideal fit for mobile. Their menu-heavy navigation and slow pace mesh better with touch input than just about any other control scheme.

Unsurprisingly, this means there are a lot of strategy games to choose from on mobile, but not all of them are worth your time (or money). Take, for example, War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. For all its flashy visuals and pedigree, it’s a shameless gacha game that capitalizes on your fondness for Chocobos and older, better games while locking up its strategic depth behind a dizzying amount of monetized systems.

With that in mind, I went ahead and selected our top picks for the best turn-based strategy games on mobile. Check them out below. Oh, and click here to check out all the great lists we’ve been making recently.


The Battle of Polytopia (Free)

If you’re new to this genre and wondering where to start, I can’t recommend The Battle of Polytopia highly enough. It’s free, matches are short, and it does a great job of teaching you the fundamentals of strategy games without feeling overly complicated.

It’s also one of the most convenient strategy games there is, as it plays well in portrait mode and auto-saves constantly. Once you feel ready, you can also spend as little as $ 0.99 to unlock a new tribe that will also give you the ability to play with others online.

Click here to read why The Battle of Polytopia is the perfect introduction to strategy games