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The best Apple Arcade games to try out
Mobile phones were generally relegated to casual gaming in the past, restricted by their technical capabilities. Modern devices, however, are capable of delivering fully-fledged gaming experiences that give consoles a run for their money. Despite this, the mobile gaming market has been saturated with free-to-play games that exploit microtransactions and provide sub-par experiences.
Apple Arcade is the answer to this problem. For a monthly subscription fee, Apple Arcade will give you access to over 200 premium games to sink your teeth into. You should definitely give it a try, and you can always cancel the subscription if you don’t like what you see. This list will introduce you to the best Apple Arcade games.
The best Apple Arcade games
Air Twister is a classic on-rail shooter in which you try to destroy a wide range of unique enemies as you fly through the sky. You take on the role of a Princess defending her homeworld from a conquering force. The bosses are creative and challenging, and the combat is also slick. The addition of power-ups, special moves, and game modes like Turbo-mode and Boss Rush give the game extreme replayability.
It’s considered a spiritual sequel to game designer Yu Suzuki’s masterpiece Space Harrier. Suzuki is best known for his work on Sega titles like Out Run, Shenmue, and Virtua Fighter, so you can rest assured the man’s work is high quality.
Neo Cab lets you play as Lina, the last remaining human cab driver in the fictional city of Los Ojos. It plays as a visual novel mixed with some survival aspects. You drive around passengers and converse with them using dialogue options.
Your choices affect Lina’s mood, which in turn has an effect on the conversation and whether you can pick up more passengers. You can track Lina’s mood using a visual aid called the Feelgrid. You will also need to keep an eye on money and fuel left in the cab. If you are in the mood for some classic neo-noir mysteries with a cyberpunk backdrop, Neo Cab is the game for you.
Assemble With Care
Assemble With Care takes a premise as simple as repairing a tape recorder or unpacking a suitcase and makes it an enjoyable puzzle you have to solve. Taking full advantage of a touchscreen, the developers (who also made the excellent Monument Valley) have hit a home run with this game.
You play as Maria, who works as an antique restorer, fixing her customer’s most prized possessions. Set to an ’80s-inspired soundtrack, you work by figuring out how the various parts of an object interconnect and go about assembling it. When you repair the object, a brief story exposition. It’s a little short, though, taking just about one and a half hours to complete.
Samba De Amigo: Party-to-Go
Samba De Amigo is a rhythm game developed and published by Sega. While the console versions require you to shake your controllers like maracas in synch with the shapes on the screen, the mobile version does away with all that complexity.
All you have to do to play this version of the game is tap on the notes as they appear on your iPhone’s screen. It’s a perfect way to bring this rhythmic series on mobile platforms. This version also includes a story mode (which is a first for the series) and boasts an enviable soundtrack full of licensed hits.
Card of Darkness
Combining elements of number-based card games and strategy systems, Card of Darkness is a visually stunning adventure game. The beauty of the cartoonish graphics is reminiscent of Adventure Time because the creator of that series, Pendleton Ward, also worked on this game.
You explore dungeons, solve puzzles, and combat enemies using card-game-style gameplay. The core gameplay loop is addictive, and while the randomly generated dungeons get stale after some time, the simple yet endearing story more than makes up for it. It is the perfect game for a pocket-sized device like an iPhone, and playing it on road trips and the like will prove to be a satisfying experience.
The Room is a puzzle game that may seem barebones on the surface but is very complex once you dive into it. The gameplay requires you to solve a puzzle box with various mechanisms that need to be unlocked. You’ll need to use the touchscreen to navigate around the box, rotate it, activate switches, and turnkeys.
Once you open a box, another box awaits within. With this basic gameplay loop, The Room tells the mysterious story of a researcher who went insane trying to decipher the secrets of the box. It’s a very short game and will take you about an hour to complete, so be sure to check it out.
Cat Quest 2
An action role-playing game with a feline twist, this adventure follows a cat and a dog as they fight to save their kingdom from evil. This game can be played both single-player and co-op, with AI taking control of one character if you choose the former. You can switch between both characters as you explore the various towns and dungeons in the kingdom.
The gameplay involves attacking enemies at close range, casting spells, and dodging. Close-quarters combat requires weapons, while ranged attacks can be deployed by using potions which come at the cost of your health. While you are encouraged to complete the main quest, there are a ton of side activities you can indulge in on the way.
Really Bad Chess
Despite the title claiming otherwise, this inventive take on chess by developer Zach Gage is a highly addictive game. Really Bad Chess plays like normal chess, except for one small thing. Instead of the normal chess pieces, each player gets at the start of a game, this game allots one king and 15 other random pieces based on your skill level.
This minor change completely upends the conventional strategies that chess players employ. The game also doesn’t allow draws, so the stalemated player loses the game. Threefold repetition also can’t be used to enforce a draw. This game is sure to breathe new life into chess for veteran players.
Crossy Road Castle
The sequel to the immensely popular Crossy Road, this game overhauls the gameplay of the original while retaining its charm. Instead of crossing a road, this game tasks you with climbing an endless tower with randomly generated floors. You will need to overcome a variety of hazards, including scores of blocky enemies, and platforms to traverse.
Each playthrough has three hearts which you lose one by one if you fail to cross a hurdle. Lose all three, and it’s game over. Coins and tokens are also placed for you to collect, which you can exchange for either hearts or collectibles like new characters or wacky hats.
What The Golf?
What The Golf? is what you get when you combine golf with all sorts of zany nonsense. While the first few levels play like regular golf, it soon devolves into a whirlwind of dodging traffic, sneaking around security cameras, and even sending your golf ball to the hole via horseback.
Each level has its theme and mechanics, and each of them is very short so they don’t outstay their welcome. The slapstick comedy is the unique selling point of this game. While the game can be completed in six hours, the levels are all replayable, and there are also optional objectives that earn you crowns. This is truly one for the completionists out there.
Disney Melee Mania
Disney Melee Mania is what you get when you combine League of Legends with Disney characters. It is a MOBA that brings together iconic Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear for a brawl to dominate the battle arena.
Players assemble teams of three characters, each with a unique set of skills and cosmetic items to unlock. They are then thrust into brawls lasting five minutes in which they are required to knock out the opposite team’s champions and secure the most points for victory. There are also multiple game modes and regular in-game events for you to participate in.
World of Demons
It may seem impossible to distill a full PlatinumGames hack-and-slash experience onto a mobile device, but the developer has done just that with World of Demons. You play as a samurai who (with the help of spirits called yokai) fights demons or oni in medieval Japan. Traditional hack-and-slash mechanics like ripostes, dodging, and swordplay are all here.
You complete various challenges, ranging from combat challenges to puzzles, as you progress through the story. The addition of yokai also adds a new layer to combat, as each yokai that you collect comes with its special attack. This is truly one of the most premium gaming experiences found on mobile.
Exit The Gungeon
The sequel to the 2016 sleeper hit Enter the Gungeon, Exit the Gungeon is more of the same procedurally generated bullet-hell action with a lot of nuance in its 2D arenas and gunplay mechanics. The player assumes control of one of 4 playable characters as they attempt to escape a collapsing dungeon.
Enemies spawn randomly and there is a lot of variety in them too, with each enemy requiring a new approach to tackle. As you kill more and more enemies, your gun is upgraded with new abilities and increased stats. The touch screen on the iPhone actually makes gunfights a lot easier. This one is a must-play on Apple’s subscription.
If we missed any great games available on Apple Arcade, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.