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Night in the Unpleasant House review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on July 6th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: UNDONE BY UNPLEASANTNESS
Well I’m not sure what I was expecting.
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The Innsmouth Case review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 30th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: LAUGHING AT LOVECRAFT
The Innsmouth Case takes clever jabs at Lovecraft’s work, but refuses to deliver a knockout punch.
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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 6.29]

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 29th, 2020

In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.

Patch Notes:

Patch notes have been removed and have been replaced with (NEW) designation for the games most recently added or updated on this list.

*UPDATE:* As the pace of Apple Arcade has slowed, old games will also be re-evaluated based on reader feedback and content updates. Recently re-evaluated titles will be designated with (UPDATE) next to the title name.

Game ranking updates for 6/17:

  • Grindstone (#27)
  • Assemble with Care (#55)
  • Crossy Road Castle (#62)
  • Kings of the Castle (#75)
  • Beyond a Steel Sky (NEW)* (#82)

Games marked with an asterisk(*) are games that suffer in rank due to technical problems.

All current rankings are listed below. More titles will be added frequently until the list is complete.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 6.29]

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+


26. Bleak Sword

Description:

Bleak Sword challenges you with combat encounters that are encased in little monochromatic diorama scenes. There’s a story here, but the main focus is: Enter arena, kill enemies, get loot, level up, and repeat.

Rank Explanation:

It’s really hard to get action-based combat right on touchscreens, but Bleak Sword kind of nails it (and in portrait mode no less!). The controls are simple and responsive without feeling limiting. If you want micro doses of really stylish-yet-minimal action combat, this is the way to go.

Bleak Sword limits its appeal by being so reaction-based, not to mention super hard. Dying also comes with some hefty penalties that might make you want to put it down rather than digging in and mastering it.

Update: I’m a little bummed to have discovered that Bleak Sword apparently doesn’t keep a local save file. It’s always accessing iCloud, meaning you can’t continue your progress in the game unless you’re connected to data.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 51-75 [Updated 6.29]

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+


51. Agent Intercept

[img id="101550" alt=""]

Description:

Agent Intercept is a cross between a racing game and a puzzle game. You play as a secret agent who is chasing all sorts of villains all over the world. In your chase, you need to drive fast, but you also get points for drifting, hitting jumps, and taking down henchmen. The ultimate goal of any level is to get the best score on the leaderboards, which change out every day when a new level becomes available.

Rank Explanation:

This game gets a lot of bonus points just based on its style alone. The super spy theming of Agent Intercept is so spot on and makes playing it feel really cool. Its “one challenge per day” structure also feels like a perfect dose for this kind of game. I just wish the driving felt a little better. The controls just give you a slider to move your vehicle from left to right, which doesn’t always feel the most responsive.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 6.29]

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+


76. Skate City

Description:

Skate your way through three different cities, whether just to find perfect lines or complete specific challenges. Skate City is kind of a 2D take on the Skate series, where you aren’t doing crazy trick combos or finding collectibles. Instead, the focus is on performing specific tricks and riding smoothly.

Rank Explanation:

Overall I’m not super impressed with Skate City. The controls are not as intuitive as they look. It’s visuals also look kind of clunky. This, plus the fact that Skate City has very little personality to speak of, makes it feel pretty forgettable.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101+ [Updated 6.29]

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+


101. Scrappers

[img id="104356" alt=""]

Description:
In the far-flung future, the Earth is only inhabited by two things: robots and trash. This is the setup for Scrappers, a side-scrolling beat ‘em up where you play as a robotic sanitation worker who needs to fight their way through junkyards while depositing trash into your truck to earn money. You can also do all of this with up to three other people in the game’s co-op mode.

Rank Explanation:
Scrappers is a mound of poor decisions that got bundled up into a colorful package. Beat ‘em ups are rarely ever good; co-op focused games with no matchmaking make for a boring time; and making “picking up trash” your differentiating mechanic is not exactly my idea of fun. Even if you happen to like beat ‘em ups, Scrappers is a tough sell because of how easy it is to exploit the game’s combat system and suck all of the challenge out of it.

Crying Suns review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 25th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RECURSIVE ROGUELITE
Crying Suns is an innovative and modern evolution of FTL’s winning roguelite formula.
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Death Come True review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 25th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: VIDEO GAME
Death Come True is a thrilling and competent (though conventional) FMV mystery.
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Golf on Mars "review"

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 23rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad


Golf on Mars is a minimalist golf game and the follow up to Desert Golfing. In it, you traverse a seemingly unending Martian landscape by hitting a golf ball from hole to hole using the tried-and-true pull-and-release touch control scheme popularized by Angry Birds. But there are no birds here, much less any that explode. Nor are there powerups, enemies, menus, or even levels. It's just you, the ball, the holes, and the seemingly endless Martian landscape for you to navigate. Oh, and there's a counter at the top that's tracking your total stroke count, too.

Slay the Spire review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 15th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: COMPROMISED CRAWLER
Such a fantastic game deserves a better mobile port than this.
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100% Golf review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 12th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LOW POWER PUTTER
100% Golf is a novel but fleeting experience.
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KartRider Rush+ review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on June 4th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DREAMY DRIFTING
After spending dozens of hours with it, it’s safe to say that KartRider Rush+ is the best kart racer on mobile.
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High Rise review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on May 27th, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MERGING MANHATTAN
High Rise is a surprisingly novel puzzler that rises above the competition
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If Found... review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on May 22nd, 2020
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BURN WHILE READING
If Found... is a gorgeous narrative experience about human connection.
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