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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 Room Two is Currently on Sale for $0.99

Posted by Ellis Spice on October 7th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC PUZZLING :: Read Review »

As much as I'd like to reveal to you that The Room Two, the great logic puzzle title from Fireproof Games, is currently on sale for 66% off, I'm afraid that you'll need the spyglasses pictured below in order to see this news.

It's a shame, really. You likely would have loved to have known that we gave the game 4.5 stars in our review, and that it currently carries an 8.9 rating over on QualityIndex. But alas, you'll likely never know that this game is very much worth getting at this price, especially with The Room Three set to release next year.

The Room Two Goes on Sale for $0.99 - Buy it

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 8th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC PUZZLING :: Read Review »

Fantastic puzzle game, The Room Two, is currently on sale for $0.99 and, well, I don't really want to say any more than that. It's brilliant - what more do you need to know?

Richly deserving of our Editor's Choice award at the end of 2013, the game has you attempting to unlock multiple boxes in order to piece together the mystery that binds them all together. It's a deeply atmospheric puzzle game that feels remarkably tactile in nature.

It was a bargain at its regular price and it's all the sweeter at $0.99. Buy it now before the price goes back up.

The Room Two Will Be Available for the iPhone This Thursday (1/30)

Posted by Rob Rich on January 27th, 2014

Were you looking forward to Fireproof Games' The Room Two, only to be disappointed to find out it was only available for the iPad? Well turn that frown upside-down because The Room Two is officially coming to the App Store for the iPhone this Thursday (1/30). When Jen Allen reviewed the iPad version back in December, she said "It’s the kind of game that gets into the player’s brain, leaving them thinking about how to solve something even when not playing. That’s a sign of a classy game, which this most definitely is." Sounds intriguing, right?

So if you've been anxious to try out the sequel to one of the App Store's most popular box-puzzlers, but unable to procure an iPad, then keep an eye out on Thursday. You'll be banging your head against the wall (in a good way) before you know it.

The Room Two Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 12th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: FANTASTIC PUZZLING
Bigger, better, stronger, The Room Two is an exceptional sequel to the equally exceptional first game.
Read The Full Review »

The Room Two: Barry Meade of Fireproof Games on Why You Should Be Excited

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 5th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: EERILY DELIGHTFUL :: Read Review »

Arguably the most anticipated puzzle game of the year thanks to the runaway success of its predecessor, The Room Two is set for release on December 12. In the buildup to this very exciting time, I had the chance to go hands-on with the game to see exactly what's to come next week.

Only having had the chance to play the early stages of the game and not wishing to spoil too much, The Room Two is immediately enticing. There's an easy-to-follow tutorial for those who haven't yet enjoyed the original (and if so, why not? There's still plenty of time to lose one's self to it!), and a gentle introduction to what to expect. As before, puzzles are set to be as tactile as they are logical with a layering of conundrums to keep players busy. The eerie music continues to add plenty of tension to what's going on. This time there's set to be a wider variety of rooms to tackle too, which should prove quite enthralling.

The Room Two is set to be the kind of experience where it's best to go in cold, but it's looking pretty positive so far. We'll be sure to bring you a full review next week. For now, we've shared a few words with Barry Meade, commercial director at Fireproof Studios, about how development has gone and just how the success of The Room helped pave the way.

148Apps: The first game was commercially and critically very successful. Have you found this adding to the pressure to get the second game right?
Barry Meade (BM): Not really, we're honestly just delighted to get the chance to work on our own games full stop. Having said that I think we'd all be disappointed if the second game doesn't do better than the first as we've put a lot more work into it this time around. But we do honestly feel that if The Room Two is good enough and deserves to do well, it will do well, and that if it fails its because we failed. And so, if the game's fate is in our hands alone then there's no point in worrying unduly about outside pressures or expectations. We'll do the best we can and see how that flies with our audience.

148Apps: How has that success helped with the development of the sequel?
BM: Hugely. Whereas The Room had only 1 programmer and 1 or 2 artists on it at one time, The Room Two has had up to 4 programmers and 8-10 artists on it during the course of development. We made The Room Two in the time frame that the design required rather than hurried because we needed to make money by X date or whatever, and we were only able to decide that because of The Room's success. But frankly we can't think of any better way to spend the money we earn than to reinvest it in our creative process. For us financial success means freedom - freedom to do what we think is necessary to make the best version of the game we want to make - not to have to work for or make decisions for somebody else's benefit.

For instance if we had to work with a publisher, The Room would never have been created at all - it's a rare publisher that wants to push things forward for gamers and they generally look down on games and developers who do that. No, we needed to listen to ourselves for The Room to happen and thankfully that's what we did, and put our own savings on the line to do it. Now that it has paid off for us, we're even less likely to listen to others. We're in an ideal creative place but we're very aware that this position depends on us genuinely making novel, new, interesting games that deserve audience attention. I hope we live up to it.

148Apps: How will The Room Two be different from its predecessor?
BM: We were all very happy with how The Room turned out as our first game, though the very limited money we had to spend on its development made the game smaller than it deserved to be. So this time around we wanted to give the concept what it deserved in terms of development time, resources, manpower etc. to see where we could take it. In almost every way The Room Two is a more fully-featured game than the first one - taking what worked and building on it, making it deeper, larger and even a bit more complicated. The environments are a lot more interesting, the objects more intricate and interactive.

So it was a harder project to make this time, it had more moving parts, testing it was a bit more fraught etc. but we knew all that going into it - we just wanted to make it bigger and better across the board. Fireproof may never be a flashy AAA developer but as long as we are working on something we are going to make the best damn version of it that we possibly can. It was that attitude which helped us make The Room in the first place and this time is no different. We think its better in every way than the first, let's hope the audience agrees.

148Apps: After the success of the original, was there the temptation to simplify the game to appeal to a more casual market?
BM: Nah. We're amazingly happy with the audience we have, we have no interest in trying to squeeze squillion$ of dollars from The Room. It would be great to pick up more users with The Room Two as we've worked hard to make it as good to play and value-for-money as possible. But for us its very important to make our work with our own sensibilities at the forefront and not to worry too much about what others expect or think. Our audience bought into the love we put in the first game and if we want to please anyone else then it's those who enjoyed the first game. They will be our toughest critics and rightly so.

As gamers we've always believed that if we pleased our own sensibilities and standards first, others will pick up on the care and attention we put into it, whereas if we obviously attempt to chase what other people want or expect, the audience will see through it, smell the desperation and move onto something more honest and interesting. As in a lot of things in life, chasing something indirectly is often the way to catch it, so concentrating on our own wishes for the game and by extension our current audience seems the most reliable and sensible way to attract brand new users into the game.

148Apps: Many players wished they had more time with The Room, will its sequel be longer?
BM: Yes, quite a bit longer. A lot of people who played The Room thought it was a bit short but well worth the money they paid, in fact the user ratings are amazingly high for it so we're hoping that adding a bit of length and depth will keep them just as pleased and perhaps tickle them even more. The curious thing about puzzle games is how mistaken everybody can be about other players experiences. Some player who is a freak for puzzle games generally will play the game and complete it in 1.5 hours and will be convinced the game is actually short. But for every one of those Ninja players we know there's 5-10 other players who took 3-5 hours to play it, and they have a very different view on the length - any longer and they would feel overwhelmed.

Puzzle games are very different to other games in that sense - the experience they give players depends very much on the personality and brain of those who are playing it. It's this engagement of the brain that makes them so beloved I think - people's own imagination takes a very active part in the playing. It might explain all the love the game gets - we're not the biggest selling game by any stretch but people who have played it really really love the game. We are super thankful for that, I can tell you it makes us sleep well at night knowing it.


Many thanks to Barry for taking the time to answer our questions.

Set for release December 12, we'll have a full review of The Room 2 that day. In the meantime, why not get reacquainted with The Room?

The Room is Getting a Free Epilogue Expansion and a Temporary Price Drop

Posted by Rob Rich on August 29th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: EERILY DELIGHTFUL :: Read Review »

The Room has been entertaining and creeping out iOS gamers with its eerie puzzles for almost a year now, and it's not about to stop anytime soon.

Fireproof Games has just released a new chapter, simply titled "Epilogue," for free. Few details have been given since nobody wants to spoil anything but it's meant to bridge the gap between The Room and The Room Two, which the developers hope will be available "before Xmas." So if you're anxiously waiting for the sequel, grabbing this free bonus chapter is probably the thing to do.

Oh, and on top of that The Room is currently on sale for $0.99. So, you know, buy it if you haven't already. Then get psyched up for part two.