by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 11th October, 2019
Apple Arcade is teeming with amazing games and it's pretty hard to decide which ones to play first. But don't worry since we picked the best ones to start your Apple Arcade journey with!
Apple Arcade is the current king of video game subscription services on mobile devices. If you like mobile games and own an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even Apple TV) you simply have to get it.
For $5 per month, a price of a not-so-fancy cup of coffee, you'll get more than 50 games at the time of this writing with more titles being added in the future. By the end of 2019, Apple Arcade should have more than 100 titles in its lineup, which is nothing short of impressive.
A lineup this big is amazing for mobile gamers, especially since there're zero (and again, ZERO) titles that come with in-app purchases or in-game ads. Further, most of the titles are flat out excellent mobile games that would pick high praise by any mobile gamer.
This makes Apple Arcade an unbelievable offering but also carries a sort of a problem; which games to play first? Which games are the best ones to start your Apple Arcade journey with?
Well, worry no more since we scoured the whole library and handpicked the perfect titles for you to enjoy right after you get subscribed to Apple Arcade. So, take your phone (or a tablet, or your Apple TV remote) and start downloading the gems featured below!
A minimalism wonderland. Bleak Sword borrows its identity from Downwell, with which it shares its simplistic yet impressive visual identity based on black and white pixel art with an occasional sparkle of some other color.
Add 3D battlegrounds and you got yourself one of the most unique looking games available on Apple Arcade.
Controls are similarly simple yet they offer an incredible amount of possibilities, mainly thanks to Bleak Sword's 3D design where you always have to pick where to swipe in order to land precise attacks and on-time deflects.
Superb controls are married with incredible combat that takes Sekiro's two life mechanic allowing players a second chance after they die to stay alive and keep their loot.
The game's tough but fair bosses are what will make you return to Bleak Sword again and again because most of them offer incredible encounters that are nothing short of impressive. This wonderful action game that looks like nothing else (well, except Downwell to an extent) is a perfect partner for late-night gaming sessions when you just want to kill some baddies and earn some loot.
Cute 2D visuals, wacky ragdoll physics and simply insane premise where you have to hit someone in the head with a cricket ball and then whack them until they fall to their death is what you'll get with Cricket Through the Ages. Levels are original, funny, and sometimes straight-up bizarre. Stand your ground against cavemen, medieval knights, dinosaurs, even space shuttles.
Combat is fast-paced and messy, just the way we like in a game made for morning work commutes. A game that doesn't just deliver satisfying gameplay coated in cute visuals but one that also puts a smile on your face, which is an honorable job in this day and age of constant work and less and less time spent smiling.
Cricket Through the Ages isn't the best game on Apple Arcade, far from it, but it's perfect to fill those small pockets of free time all of us get through the day. And in case you have a friend to play during your lunch break well, Cricket Through the Ages supports 2-player mode. So dig in and go hit some heads!
Enter the Gungeon still is one of the best indie action games available right now, especially if you're a mobile gamer. Exit the Gungeon is a spin-off available exclusively on Apple Arcade and the game is wacky and enjoyable as the first one.
This is a title that isn't suited for short gaming sessions or for late-night casual gaming while waiting for sleep to visit. No, this one's a serious title meant to be played with a controller (iOS devices support both Xbox One and PS4 controllers so don't fret about that) coupled with an iPad.
The game features a series of randomly generated dungeons filled with enemies who just wait for you to send them to the afterlife. They offer incredible action sequences that only get better during boss battles, which are some of the best set pieces you can experience on a mobile device.
But be warry since once you die it's game over. The goal is to reach and beat the final dungeon and every defeat makes the struggle a bit easier by keeping the money you earned allowing you to get more powerful weapons to use during your next run. A perfect title for hardcore mobile gamers.
This is the best puzzle game you can get on Apple Arcade and possibly the best puzzler to play on mobile devices at the moment. You play as a fearsome knight, a mercenary tasked with killing monsters in mines located inside the Grindstone Mountain.
And well, there are tons of monsters for you to kill and earn money which you spend on getting even better monster-slaying tools.
The game plays like a puzzle where you have to think about your next move, trying to kill as many monsters in one swipe as possible. You create routes leading to each level's exit by killing monsters of the same color and performing combos.
Combos allow the mercenary to chain even more monsters and to kill tougher ones, or break various obstacles in his way.
There are also treasure chests found on each level that host a range of upgrades, adding variety to the already amazing gameplay.
The only problem with Grindstone is that the game's so addictive it's capable of ruining your whole day by making you lost inside it for hours on end. Because of that make sure to play it only when you have at least an hour of free time on your hands.
Another great puzzler that isn't as addictive as Grindstone but still an enjoyable game on itself. That's a blessing in disguise because this makes Hexaflip a perfect companion for short gaming sessions during various small pockets of free time during the day.
The premise is simple: you have to reach the end of each level made out of hexagons by flipping your own hexagon left or right. But the thing is that reaching the end isn't as simple as it sounds. Each level features different modifier tiles that have various effects once you step on them.
Some will hammer you down if you stay too long on them, others will launch you in the direction the arrow on them shows, others will simply transport you to a random tile. Hexaflip is the penultimate puzzler on Apple Arcade and a perfect game to play in short bursts. One level per day and this one will last you for a long time.
Mini Motorways is a sequel to the phenomenal Mini Metro and if you haven't played that one you should definitely give it a go. Now that you tried (and got addicted) to Mini Metro it's time to play Mini Motorways, one of the biggest and most valuable gems in Apple Arcade's library. While Visuals are richer and more detailed than in Mini Metro the perfect gameplay formula is kept and improved upon.
Instead of constructing metro lines across the globe in Mini Motorways players construct public roads across the globe. This includes connecting all of the buildings on the map and creating a fluid road network that is as efficient as possible.
As you progress through levels the task becomes tougher and tougher but that's the magic of Mini Motorways.
Every map found in the game can host a superfluid road network, all you have to do is design one that actually works. The game offers plenty of maps and plenty of challenges. And since latter challenges can be pretty tough and complex it is advisable to play this one either on iPhone Max models or on an iPad.
The sequel to the magnificent Zelda-like action game will take dozens of hours of your time while trying to reach the end of it.
Oceanhorn 2 is bigger, more complex, and noticeably prettier than the first game and another hardcore gaming offering available on Apple Arcade. Yes, that means this is another game that begs for a controller and a large screen (read iPad).
The game looks amazing when it comes to its visuals, like a sequel to Breath of the Wild just this time for iPhones and iPads. And the gameplay is like a simplified BOTW, with a bit more combat and bit less environmental puzzles.
You have a huge map with lots of dungeons and areas to explore but this isn't an open-world game.
You will get quests, reach areas where quests take place and then return to the town to get new quests and to spend money on upgrades. And while solving quests you'll also unroll an interesting story that is good enough to keep you hooked till the end.
Oceanhorn 2 is one of the best and prettiest games on Apple Arcade and is definitely worth your time.
Painty Mob is so simple yet so hard to explain with words. You have your characters, who's a mob and your goal is to paint all other mobs chilling out at various levels.
There are combos, special items that make your paint even stronger and further-reaching and other cool gameplay parts that make this one a proper joy to play.
Combine that with cool music and a huge number of levels and you have one of the best Apple Arcade games, period. If you want to find out more well, just check gameplay videos; a minute watching those and you'll definitely download and play this one.
Rayman mobile games such as Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run are some of the best platformers available for mobile devices, no matter whether you play them on the iOS or Android. They offer a simple formula that includes autorun mechanic, simple controls, lots of coins to collect, and incredible level design.
Things stayed the same in Rayman Mini only this time our titular hero got shrunk and now he has to find out a way to return to its normal size. His journey through the tiny world includes stunning environments that hide lots of coins and lots of secrets. Your goal is to ultimately end each level with a perfect score.
This is another Rayman mobile game that hits all the right chords and that definitely is one of the best titles in Apple Arcade lineup.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a dreamy pop album in the form of a video game that's as brilliant to listen to as it's to play. The game plays as a platformer but also as a rhythm game with action elements. Each level offers a unique gameplay experience that won't feel stale even after you finish the game.
On top of that, you also have incredible neon-filled visuals and a story that takes you searching for a deck of tarot cards but let's keep the story mystery since it's pretty good.
If you're looking for a unique game filled with excellent pop music (that's so good even those who don't really like pop will like it) look no further. Another heavy hitter found on Apple Arcade and a game that plays perfectly with touch controls.
Skate City is a tiny but superb little side scroller that shakes up the classic formula by introducing skateboard tricks to the mix. And it's incredible to see that just this one change made the game so much better than most other side-scrolling mobile games.
You pick one of the three available locations (Los Angeles, Oslo, and Barcelona) and then the magic begins. Each level is filled with trick-enabling objects and each level keeps the track of your high score.
So, no story, no hundreds of levels, just three skate parks, lots of swiping, and only one goal - beating your own high score. Wonderful and unique.
Top-down high-speed racing in the vein of Burnout is the gist of Speed Demons and if you like the sound of that you will definitely like the game. Each level features different roads but the premise is the same - reach the end of it alive while trying to destroy as many other vehicles as possible.
And the game doesn't disappoint and completely fulfills its promise of high-octane crash racing. You have to avoid traffic at times, hit into anything that moves, even use weapons at moments.
And all that plays brilliantly. Physics is amazing and the pace of the game is perfect in slowly building chaos that erupts during the latter parts of each level.
There are lots of game modes and most of them cherish destruction. So, if you want to play a fast racer where everyone just waits to be taken down by your car Speed Demons is the best choice hosted on Apple Arcade.
Pinball Wizard (the game, not a song by The Who) is a marvelous mix between pinball and dungeon crawling with a bit of rogue-lite for good measure.
We've had pinball-like games in the past (think Creature in the Well or Yoku's Island Express) and they've been pretty good. And Pinball Wizard's also pretty good but it can be a rage-inducing title at times.
You start each level (levels are floors of a giant tower with the goal of reaching the final floor) by being launched by two wooden paddles and from then on it's pinball baby! You bounce off walls, hit monsters, and try to stay alive.
The goal of each floor is killing everything in your way and obtaining the key that unlocks the next floor.
The Pinball Wizard is simple yet addictive because you have to be careful not to fall between paddles, an action that costs you a bit of health. So instead of losing a ball you lose some health and get launched again.
Get the key and reach a new level or fall into the hole too many times and start from scratch. The game includes lots of upgrades and new skills meaning that, with each new start, you have new tools at your disposal that will lead you farther than before until you reach the top of the pinball tower. And believe us, you will keep playing until you reach the end because The Pinball Wizard is one hell of a game.
The whole world is golf, at least according to What The Golf? one of the most unique golf games you can find at the moment. You will hit golf balls, people, houses, cars, etc. The game features cute visuals that coat everything in warm pastel colors and the twitchy ragdoll physics is there for the laughs.
The combination of "normal" levels where you have to place objects into holes and other levels where you do dozens of different things (like avoiding traffic, climbing a mountain, or playing soccer) is a winning formula and will definitely keep you hooked for weeks.
Another amazing Apple Arcade offering and another perfect game for those sweet but short pockets of free time.
Where Cards Fall is a game about life, memories, and struggle with depression accompanied by a deeply emotional soundtrack that is exquisite and will surely find its way into many Spotify playlists. Where Cards Fall also is one of the most unique (if not the most unique) games offered on Apple Arcade.
The game's an isometric puzzle in its core, where you have to manipulate cards (which are also your memories) to solve at first sight unsolvable puzzles. As you progress, you'll witness past memories shifting, changing, and inducing a wide range of emotions, both in you and in the main character.
A longing, evocative journey through life that is probably the best hidden gem found in Apple Arcade's library and a must-play game for every subscriber.
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