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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 - 126-150 [Updated 7.14]

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. Stellar Commanders

Description:

A portrait-mode real-time strategy about planetary annihilation, Stellar Commanders pits two players against each other in a plodding race to see who can control the most territories before destroying the environment. Combat itself operates a lot like Clash Royale’s Elixr-based system, but involves a lot more management of node control, and subverting your opponent’s expectations.

Rank Explanation:

The store page for Stellar Commanders looks rad as hell. There’s helicopers, rockets, and tanks deploying simultaneously all over the planet. Too bad this isn’t really how the game plays, or—if it is—it’s not how things start. Matches in Stellar Commanders move at an odd, lumbering pace, where it never really feels like you’re particularly productive. You can only really do single actions at a time and spend a lot of time just waiting to see what your enemy does to see if you can counter it. To be clear, this can deliver satisfying moments from time to time, but it’s not enough to make it something you’ll want to return to regularly.

The Top 10 Mobile Games of the Generation

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 8th, 2020

With new consoles coming out soon, it's inevitable for folks to want to look back and determine what were the best games that came out across the current console's lifecycle. This process is commonly referred to as picking the best games of the generation, but that terminology is making less and less sense as the games industry expands beyond console hardware and the systems themselves see half-step upgrades.

As silly as it may be as an exercise, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at "this generation" of mobile titles and pick and rank the ten best. In terms of time period, this takes us back to November 2013, which is actually interesting timing for mobile games. It's a world where Flappy Bird already released but hadn't yet become a cultural phenomenon, and the latest and greatest iPhone was the 5S.

Anyway, enough preambling, let's get to the list. See below for the best mobile games of the generation:

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 - 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.

Twinfold guide

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 7th, 2018

Twinfold may look like a cheap Threes! clone at first glance, but it's so much more than that. It's actually a rather deep roguelite with a really satisfying difficulty curve and almost endless replayability.

Since the game's depth does take some digging to understand, your first few games of Twinfold might not go so well. Check out these tips to help you improve your game faster.

Twinfold review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on December 5th, 2018
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: THREES
This game borrows heavily from Sirvo Studios’s Threes! but the result is a game that feels completely unique and brilliant.
Read The Full Review »

The best puzzle games for iPhone and iPad

Posted by Harry Slater on May 23rd, 2018

In the latest part of our roundup of the best games in specific genres, we're going to take a look at the best puzzle games you can pick up for iPhone and iPad. And there are some of the very best games period on this list, so it's definitely going to be worth your while to give it a read.

We've added download links and links to our reviews as well, so you can make sure you've got all the knowledge you need before you make a purchase. And if you've got your own suggestions to add, then make sure you chuck them in the comments at the bottom of the list. We'd really appreciate it.

BoneSwiper review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 22nd, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DUNGEON THREES
This Threes!-like may not look too pretty, but its got a lot of neat ideas.
Read The Full Review »

Sidewords review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on July 20th, 2017
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SPATIAL SPELLING
Sidewords turns the traditional conventions of word games on their heads in a way that is truly unique and fun.
Read The Full Review »

4 smart and stylish puzzle games like TypeShift

Posted by Jessica Famularo on March 27th, 2017
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: TERRIFIC TYPOGRAPHY :: Read Review »


TypeShift launched a little over a week ago, offering some puzzling new challenges for word nerds equipped with an iOS device. Created by Zach Gage, the mind behind Spelltower, TypeShift boasts, like its predecessor, a sleak design and some very smart puzzles. TypeShift isn't alone though. If you're looking for more slick mobile puzzle games, why not try one of these other games?

Byte Master Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 17th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TECHY THREES
Byte Master might seem like a Threes! clone, but there's more going on underneath its surface.
Read The Full Review »

4 Games We Really Want to See on the Apple Watch

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 2nd, 2015

So, the Apple Watch launch is very nearly upon us, presumably changing our lives in ways that we can only imagine, much like the iPhone before it. Failing that, hopefully it’ll be a cool and useful watch to own. We thought we’d take a look at four of the games we’d love to see make their way to the device, bearing in mind the limitations that its size might offer.

Presenting the International Mobile Gaming Awards Winners!

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 5th, 2015

11th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards ceremony, hosted by actress Allison Haislip, gathered mobile game developers and publishers from around the world. They chose 13 winners out of the 93 nominations. British studio USTWO won the the Grand Prix for their innovative puzzler, Monument Valley. The rest of the winners were:

- Jury's Honorable Mention: Threes by Sirvo, United States
- People's Choice Award: Vainglory by Super Evil Megacorp, United States
- Guilty Pleasure: 2048 by Gabriele Cirulli, Italy
- Best Quickplay Game: Crossy Road by Hipster Whale, Australia
- Best Meaningful Play: Papers, Please by Lucas Pope, United Kingdom
- Excellence in Storytelling: 80 days by inkle, United Kingdom
- Best Multiplayer Game: Soccer Physics by Otto-Ville Ojala, Finland
- Excellence in Gameplay: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, United States
- Best Technical Achievement: Vainglory by Super Evil Megacorp, United States
- Excellence in Audio, Visual, Art & Design Award: Tengami by Nyamyam, United Kingdom
- Best Upcoming Games: Prune by Joel McDonald, United States
- Excellence in Innovation: Bounden by Game Oven, Netherlands

"This year's winning games reflect the tremendous wealth of exceptional talent at work in this $20bn mobile games industry."says Maarten Noyons, founder of the IMGA.