Apple Arcade is officially available with the launch of iOS 13, and Apple along with third party developers have an insane launch catalog. There’s a one month free trial, and the service only costs $4.99 a month for full access to over 100 games. The real question isn’t if you should sign up, as it’s a no-brainer, but rather where do you start once you do sign up? There will always be a personal preference for game genres for relevant recommendations. That’s why we picked one game from each of the main game genres. This list is designed so you can take full advantage of your one month free trial, and get fully invested in Apple Arcade for months to come (sorry, not sorry).
You really can’t go wrong with any game from Apple Arcade, and figuring out this list of games was like picking your favorite child. With that in mind, let’s begin with an accessible action game that anyone can enjoy.
What The Golf - Action
At first glance, you may think this is a golf game. It turns out, there’s just a passing resemblance to golf. In the second level of the game, you pull back to imitate your shot, release, and your golfer actually flies forward. Then, you start sending a house to the hole, and you realize this is just a crazy action game of chaotic scenarios that is just a ton of fun. Every single hole introduces a new surprise to interact with including cars, explosives, bowling, and more. The only connection to golf is the accessible gameplay mechanic to pull back and release to initiate your shot towards the hole. From there, you get to sit back and laugh at the crazy hole set ups. It’s like a combination of the minimalistic golf games and the crazy arcade sports games for an experience uniquely its own.
What The Golf offers quick action, and if you want a little more contemplative gaming, here’s a puzzle game you can play any where and any time.
Card Of Darkness - Puzzle/Card
Card based puzzle games are great resources to have for those times when you have a few spare minutes during your day, like when you’re waiting in line. Card Of Darkness offers a compelling card battle system with a dungeon crawler design. It’s as though Card of Darkness combines the best elements of Card Crawl, MeteorFall, and Solitairica. If that wasn’t enough the game comes from Zach Gage, the maker of SpellTower, Really Bad Chess, Picket Run Pool, and more. His design pedigree has consistently added puzzle elements to familiar existing game types, and Card Of Darkness is no different. There are so many layers of strategy to unpack as every card matters in the layout, even the ones you don’t play. Card battle games are great to have on your phone, and Card Of Darkness continues the evolution of great gameplay in the genre.
Card Of Darkness gives you time to contemplate your actions, but for a little more thinking on the fly, here’s a real time strategy game.
Mini Motorways - Strategy
Don’t we all hate traffic? Not only that, but don’t you despise the planning commissions that created the roadways that just can’t support the number of cars in the area? Well, Mini Motorways lets you oversee the roadways. The game lets you place the roads to connect residents to office buildings, and tasks you with controlling the very growing population. It’s up to you to make the best commute so that everyone arrives on time on maps based on real world locations including Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. It’s a non-stop challenge as the traffic is always flowing, and new buildings are added to the map to test your traffic grid full of stop lights, overpasses, and bridges. Mini Motorways comes from the makers of our 2016 Game of the Year, Mini Metro, and takes the railway formula and makes it more complex with roadways. The city planning of Pocket City meets the traffic management of Does Not Commute with the silky minimalism of Mini Metro. Get ready to manage structured chaos.
Mini Motorways still requires a contemplative play style, but amplifies the action to get you in the mood for an action adventure experience that just may be platforming defining.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm - Adventure
The Nintendo Switch launched with one major title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Apple Arcade is launching with over 100 titles, but none may be as grand in scope as Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. It’s easy to compare the game to Zelda with the action adventure set-up that lends itself to sword and arrow combat across fantastical woodlands. Now, that’s not to say Oceanhorn 2 is a direct competitor to Breath of the Wild, but what Breath of the Wild is to the Switch, Oceanhorn is to Apple Arcade. The original Oceanhorn was our 2013 Game of the Year, and six years later the differences are amazing. This is one of the best looking games ever released for iOS, and focusing on the amazing graphics is selling short the expansive world to explore and intricate gameplay to partake in.
Oceanhorn 2 offers an adventure that will take you double digit hours to complete, and the most important factor, you will want to complete it. That adventure will get you right in the mood to continue the experience with a cute, yet intricate RPG.
Cat Quest II - RPG
Oceanhorn isn’t the only deluxe adventure or ornate sequel in the Apple Arcade. Cat Quest II takes the original and seemingly doubles the best parts of it highlighted by a second playable character. What truly makes Cat Quest stand out is the open world action RPG in which the map is completely playable. You run, fight, and interact all across the actual map for a continuous flow of action across varied quests. The original was our Game of the Year in 2017, and the sequel enhances and expands the missions types while maintaining the fast paced combat complete with sword and sorcery commands. Cat Quest takes a normally niche genre, and makes it as accessible as possible with free flowing action, cute characters, linked quests, and a clear upgrade system. Cat Quest II will also deliver hours and hours of adventure fun, and is another game in which you will want to set aside time to play it.
Cat Quest II builds the story driven experience theme, and yet even more complex story telling is available.
Jenny LeClue Detectivu - Story
When it comes to story telling, Jenny LeClue is on a whole other level in the Apple Arcade as it features two stories in one. The main story focuses on Jenny, who is a teenage sleuth in the vein of Nancy Drew with even more of a detective pedigree. There’s also a subplot that focuses on the author of the Jenny LeClue series that leads to Jenny’s most daring story yet. To be completely honest, Jenny LeClue Detectivu is more like an interactive novel than it is a pure game, and that’s what makes it so great. There’s definitely a lot of text to go through, but it’s extraordinarily well written for a compelling narrative that you get to accent with all kinds of scenes to explore. Layton Brothers would be proud of Jenny Leclue, and the game is a great addition to the Apple Arcade.
After you have experienced the amazing story of Jenny LeClue, some times you just want to go as fast as you can.
Speed Demons - Arcade/Racing
Speed Demons delivers break neck speed with a top down perspective for an all new way to race. The best part of Speed Demons is that you’re not limited to racing thanks to multiple game modes including escape, rampage, rally, and pursuit. Even the race mode isn’t traditional, and instead fits more of the Horizon Chase mold in which you start in 25h place, and have to pass everyone. The escape mode calls back to the outstanding Reckless Getaway 1 & 2, and yet the top down perspective shift makes it feel brand new. No matter which mode you pick, the game is effortless to play as you simply tap on the left or right side of the screen to swerve through tons of traffic. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an outstanding physics engine for car collisions accented by neon particle effects for all of the cars in the race or escape. There’s just so much to like with Speed Demons and it makes sense when it’s a creation from RadianGames, the makers of the outstanding retro-inspired shooters Fireball, Inferno, and Super Crossfighter, among other titles.
Speed Demons is a great description for all of us rushing to get iOS 13 downloaded to sign up for Apple Arcade.
Only the beginning...
There are so many good games on Apple Arcade, and this list is just a great jumping off point for the service to try out some of the best experiences across the main game genres available. To think, this list doesn’t even include Sayonara Wild Hearts, Hot Lava, Where Cards Fall, Overland, Sneaky Sasquatch, Assemble With Care, Skate City, and so many more.
Join AppAdvice on Mixer all day September 19th as we stream Apple Arcade games. We will stream a new game every half hour from 10AM to 6PM.