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Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 9/16:

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 126-150 [Updated 9.16]

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. Down in Bermuda

Description:

Down in Bermuda gives players an isometric view of colorful dioramas that you mostly just tap around in to solve puzzles. It kind of bridges the gap between a hidden object game and adventure game, as some tapping actions revolve around simply spotting certain kinds of objects, where as others require some logic and environmental manipulation.

Rank Explanation:

When I play Down in Bermuda, I’m reminded of titles like GNOG, and Vignettes, though both of those games are more enjoyable. There are some wonky controls in Down in Bermuda that definitely take some getting used to. Also, this game is a little overwhelming with the amount of things it wants you to collect and tap on. Some of these things result in entertaining and clever interactions, but there are other collection objectives that just feel like filler.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 151-175 [Updated 9.16]

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. DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+

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Description:

The heralded vertical shooter has come to Apple Arcade. Control one of three ships and slide around waves of bullets and enemies while blasting them away. For this iOS version of the game, DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+ has a special Smartphone Mode that allows for easier play and a modified scoring system, as well as a straight up port of the original arcade version.

Rank Explanation:

I don't know much about the DoDonPachi games or bullet hell games in general. This seems like it would be a solid one--perhaps even good or great--if not for a ton of frame rate issues. Maybe on newer devices this is not a problem, but on my iPhone XR, there isn't a single level where things aren't stuttering at some point.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 176+ [Updated 9.16]

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. Towers of Everland

[img id="105091" alt=""]

Description:

Towers of Everland is a dungeon-crawler in the same vein as Legend of Grimrock, albeit a much more stripped down and procedurally generated affair. You choose a hero from several fantasy archetypes, go on quests to kill enemies and loot towers, and then use your spoils to upgrade your hero and town to take on more difficult quests.

Rank Explanation:

Towers of Everland is so streamlined that it’s pretty boring. The environments are almost completely non-interactive, and any new loot or stat upgrades to your hero don’t really change up the combat. They just make you stronger as your enemies get stronger, so everything ends up feeling static throughout.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 26-50 [Updated 9.16]

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. 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 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 151-175 | 176+


51. Threes!+

[img id="110365" alt=""][img id="110366" alt=""]

Description:

Slide over, imitators (I'm looking at you, 2048), the original number-combining tile slider has hit Apple Arcade. This is a game about making the number three and then combining it over and over again to make higher multiples for a high score. The only catch is that every slide you make moves every tile on the board, so you have to be strategic with your slides.

Rank Explanation:

When it released, Threes! was a revelation--a truly new puzzle format that could draw just about anyone into its unique grasp. I still appreciate Threes! from this historical perspective, but I honestly have a hard time going back to play it. Each new run has this long ramp of setting up your board that I find tedious. It's still a good game, but not exactly for me.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 76-100 [Updated 9.16]

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 16th, 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 | 151-175 | 176+


76. Beyond a Steel Sky

[img id="105661" alt=""]

Description:

Beyond a Steel Sky is the long-awaited follow-up to the cult classic adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky. You continue your adventure as Robert Foster, who this time is investigating the disappearance of a child after a violent attack in the game’s opening. Your investigation quickly brings you back to Union City, which has been transformed into a bright, technolocratic metropolis as a result of Foster’s actions in the first game. It is here you spend the majority of your time solving puzzles that involve item combinations, dialogue trees, and hacking.

Rank Explanation:

I really want to like Beyond a Steel Sky more than I do. At times, it can feel like Fallout or Mass Effect, but without all the crunchy stats and shooting, but the game is so laser-focused on being an adventure game such that its open 3D environments feel hollow and distracting. Some puzzle sections in the game also follow bizarre logic or are otherwise poor at communicating how you can or should interact with your environment to progress forward (even when using the in-game hint system). Since launch, Beyond a Steel Sky has seen several rounds of updates to fix its technical problems. Although it's not entirely free of the occasional weird visual bug or strange behavior, it is much more playable (and enjoyable) than it once was.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - 101-125 [Updated 9.16]

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. Sneaky Sasquatch

Description:

Sneaky Sasquatch starts as a stealth game where you play as a cryptid who steals food from unsuspecting campers for survival. Each day, you wander campsites looking for picnic baskets, grills, and coolers to snatch food out of so you don’t go hungry. Play it for long enough though and it expands into a gigantic open world full of mini-games to let your Sasquatch enjoy.

Rank Explanation:

It’s a funny concept, but Sneaky Sasquatch feels a little too aimless. For as big as its world is, the mini-games that punctuate points of interest only highlight how empty the game really is.