Apple Arcade is now out allowing you to play a selection of around 100 games for £4.99/$4.99 a month. The games are best described as “beautiful” and have been hand-picked by Apple to showcase what it perhaps believes gaming on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV should be like.
If you’re wondering what we mean by that, think of past titles like Dumb Ways to Die, Monument Valley, Broken Sword, Numbers, Alto’s Adventure or Ordia. If you are familiar with any of those games, you’ll know they all come with their own individual style that where a lot of love and attention has gone into them, rather than being bashed out to serve adverts to an unsuspecting audience.
In searching through the games available on the new subscription service, we’ve yet to find any games that involve you collecting gems, working towards upgrades, or any of the usual freemium gaming metrics often found in the top 10 free games charts.
The other thing that sets these games out from the usual games you might download is that there are no adverts. That’s just a pleasant and welcomed surprise, especially for those with young kids concerned about what their children will be subjected to every time they die in a game.
The service won’t be for everyone. This isn’t a replacement for Xbox Game Pass, or Google Stadia when it arrives. Nor will it quench the first of those that like games like Fortnite or Hayday. But for the casual gamer that likes playing games when they get a chance and want to be safe in the knowledge that other members of that family can enjoy the benefits too, the prospect of Apple Arcade is very appealing, especially when you factor in the cost of the games we’ve mentioned above are all in that £2.99-5.99 price range or thereabouts.
So in no particular order, here are our favourites so far that we recommend you try first.
Where Cards Fall
Created by the developers behind Alto’s Odyssey and Alto’s Adventure, Where Cars Fall sees you work your way through a number of challenging puzzles swipes and pinching packs of cards to help get across levels. The graphics are cute, the sound track calming and the puzzles interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. Don’t expect a follow on to Snowman’s previous titles though, this is a very different much more relaxing experience.
Mini Motorways is the follow up to Mini Metros and sees you tasked with the simple challenge of getting people from their home to work by slowly building a sprawling metropolis. If that sounds easy, it’s because to begin with it is, but as the game builds, so will your stress levels as you have to place traffic lights, bridges and motorways to get people around the city without running out of track. What starts off as quiet and calming can soon end up very chaotic. Expect to lose track of time very quickly.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
A thumping soundtrack and psychedelic colour palette will mean that for much of the first 10 minutes of this Annapurna developed game you won’t really have an idea of what’s going on or whether your taps and swipes are actually having an impact. That’s okay, because once your brain has settled down to what it’s seeing and hearing, the dreamy game about riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts game all at 200mph will soon grow on you. And if you struggle to complete it, the soundtrack is enough to want to keep it on in the background anyway.
Developers RAC7 Games have a couple of games in the launch line up of Apple Arcade, but of those available we’re really enjoying Sneaky Sasquatch. This fun little game sees you play Bigfoot in a number of mini games like stealing picnics, playing golf, and fishing all while trying to avoid the park rangers. Cute and fun at the same time.
This easy to control skateboarding game has the perfect balance of being able to keep your interest, but not be too challenging at the same time. The side-scrolling levels keep things moving along nicely without getting too complicated, and the soundtrack only adds to the experience. Think Alto’s Adventure but with cool skateboarding tricks and you’ll be on the right lines.
What The Golf
Golf games are two a penny, so how do you offer a golf game that brings something fresh to the party, but is also appealing to more than those who just like playing golf games? The answer with What The Golf is to make it so you bash the golfer down the fairway, whether that’s on their own or on the back of a sofa. Incredibly surreal at times, we’ve had plenty of actual laugh out loud moments already.
Cricket Through the Ages
One of the more bizarre games available at launch, Cricket Through the Ages sees you battling against a friend (on the same screen) with wonky physics making everything pretty much impossible. The name? Because you start by throwing rocks at each other before moving on to other things like lightsabers. When that fails its slaps around the face. Why, we are sure, but we’ve never laughed so hard.
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