This time last year, Apple Arcade was still a new service, but one with a lot of potential. For $ 5 a month, you can get unlimited access to a large library of interesting games, the kind no one really sells in the App Store anymore. It’s still not a place to find the latest blockbusters, but Arcade has steadily evolved to become one of the best in gaming. The game selection is varied and consistently surprising, with everything from family-friendly multiplayer games to captivating puzzles to weird story-driven adventures.
If you just picked up a new Apple device and signed up for Arcade (a new device gives you three months for free), the sheer number of games available can be overwhelming. Here are some great places to start.
With Fortnite no longer a viable iOS experience, Butter Royale may just be your second best option. Like Epic’s massive hit, Butter Royale is a colorful shooting game where the goal is to be the last player standing. But there are a few important differences. The battles play from a top-down perspective, like a classic arcade game, and the game is decidedly non-violent, with weapons shooting ketchup and popcorn instead of bullets. Perhaps the best part is that because it’s part of Arcade, there are no in-app purchases, so you do not have to worry about dropping real money on a cute giraffe costume for your character.
The Czech studio Amanita Design is known for dark, atmospheric point-and-click adventure games, but it is also a developer who is not afraid to experiment. Cabinet keeps the unsettling mood, but transfers it to a kind of puzzle / platform hybrid. You explore a sprawling mansion, one that never seems to end, while finding ways to manipulate machines and monsters to help you get through to the end. As with Amanita’s previous work, it takes place in an absolutely beautiful hand-drawn world, but the action is a little more cerebral this time.
Games of Thrones: Tale of Crows
Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows is a game where you actually do not do very much. It fits closely into the idle genre, where the idea is to start plans and then see how they play out. Here you get the responsibility for the infamous night shift from Game of Thrones. It’s kind of a management game. People come to you with problems, you have to send rank out on scout trips, and kingdoms from all over Westeros will ask for help. All of these things take time; you may have to wait a few hours before a group of rangers returns a raven describing their struggle with some strays. Tale of Crows is a game full of death and danger, but it is also surprisingly soothing. And it fits nicely into your life: all you have to do is play a few minutes each time to watch the story unfold.
Slipestein was one of Apple Arcade’s best launch titles, a game that takes the addictive nature of wooden puzzles and mixes it with utterly brutal fantasy action. imagine Candy Crush using Frank Frazetta. Since then, Slipestein has received a steady stream of updates that have only enhanced the experience, with many more levels, weapons and enemies to keep things interesting.
Across the first entries, has Reigns the series has been about exploring stories in a fantasy realm. It plays out like an interactive version of Tinder: As you scroll through the story, you are constantly confronted with options, and you swipe either left or right to decide what to do. Reigns: Beyond takes the same formula and blows it out into space, while adding a musical element. You are the captain of a living ship, leading a crew through the cosmos while also booking gigs for your intergalactic rock band. It’s silly and weird, and almost impossible to put down.
The classic puzzle Peggle is one who feels timeless, and yet Round guard has managed to put a fascinating new spin on the formula. Essentially, the game takes the stick-breaking action and merges it with a fantasy role-playing game, where you fight monsters and use spells, while still shooting small balls to clear the level. The two elements fit together so well that it’s weird no one has tried this before.
Skateboarding games were thrown back into the spotlight this year thanks to the remastered collection of Tony Hawks Pro Skater game. But Skate City is still the best approach to the sport of mobile. It simplifies things, with a side-scrolling perspective and swipe-based controls, but it manages to capture the feeling of exploring a neighborhood in search of new ways to bring out tricks. It has also grown since its launch, with the addition of new cities such as Miami.
The world’s end club
Famous Japanese writers Kotaro Uchikoshi and Kazutaka Kodaka are known for some incredibly dark games, including Zero Escape and Danganronpa series, and The world’s end club on Apple Arcade fits very well into that shape. At the beginning of the game, a small group of students wake up in an underwater amusement park, and they all have to fight – or work together – to find a key to escape. The twist is that they only have one hour, and only one person can actually get the key. imagine The The Death Games like a psychological thriller and you’re in the middle of nowhere.