When Apple Arcade was launched in September, the subscription service debuted with an incredible number of games – so many, that it was difficult to find the best things to play. In the weeks and months that followed, continuous droplets of new games reached the platform, making the search more difficult.
Apple Arcade is now home to more than 100 games, and while the top end is full of great titles, the quality is a little different. And that becomes more true because the service becomes more crowded.
A very large number of games, compared to Apple’s relatively calm way of releasing them, means there is a good chance you missed some better titles to get the service. (The holiday season is filled with long films like Death Stranding and new Pokémon, too. It doesn’t help.) If you’re a customer, here are five relatively new games that you should check out – and if not, they might just push you over the edge.
Fellowship of many things. This is a story of young adults wrapped in a fantasy adventure, which combines elements from RPG and adventure games. But most importantly, this is very charming. It starts quite simply. Your character becomes a disembodied blob that communicates via a magical smartphone; You then use the power you just discovered to help your sister escape from house arrest, and then recruit a group of like-minded adventurers.
It’s like a traditional fantasy RPG seen through the lens of a modern smartphone and self-care culture. Dialogue comes in the form of group texts, and to solve many puzzles your party members must be in a good mood. (There are even great scenes with frightening terms of service.) Everything is very fun and funny, and most importantly, the game – referred to as the first chapter – only lasts about six hours, making it easy to put into weekend play sessions.
Takeshi and Hiroshi
Takeshi and Hiroshi are the types of games that seem ideal for Apple Arcade. It’s short and simple, which is an attribute that doesn’t get much attention on the App Store now. But it is also very heartwarming and clever, and unlike anything I have ever played.
The title alludes to two brothers; Takeshi is a beginner game designer, while his younger brother Hiroshi is a big fan who also deals with diseases that regularly get him hospitalized. To maintain the spirit of his brother, Takeshi designed the best RPG. Actually, the game that you are playing is about designing the game itself.
Among the adorable stop-motion sketches, you will set the game while Hiroshi is playing, balancing things so that battles are not too difficult but still interesting enough to keep him interested. The way the story and gameplay are intertwined is brilliant, really draws you into the sweet story of these two children.
In some cases, you generally know what to expect from games developed by Amanita Design. The Czech studio behind people like Machinarium and Chuchel is known for its unique and charming point-and-click adventure game, which uses art and animation to tell strange and beautiful stories. Pilgrims ticked all the boxes.
But it’s also a very experimental game that explores what you can do within the limits of the classic point-and-click game. Instead of a traditional user interface, you have several cards, each representing a character, item, or action. This makes the game feel fun, because you can experiment with placing cards and seeing what happens, eliminating many of the frustrations inherent in the genre.
If you mash together the mysterious Myst mystery with the impossible architecture of Monument Valley, you will get something that looks like a Manifold Garden. First person adventure game is confusing at first. You explore a strange and full of seemingly endless worlds, and you must find a way to get through it.
The main touch is you can basically reverse gravity; walk to the wall, press the button, and now the wall becomes the floor. This forces you to see things differently, find new perspectives and points of view to solve the puzzle. Sometimes it can be confusing, and I once spent 30 minutes walking down a never-ending ladder. But when you finally understand the logic of the game, it is very satisfying.
Pac-Man Party Royale
Sooner or later, battle royale is coming for all of us. The last standing genre of people, popularized by Fortnite, has made its way to iconic franchises such as Tetris and Civilization with varying degrees of success. Now it’s part of Pac-Man – and it really works.
Party Royale is quite small in scale. Four pac-guys compete, struggle to eat a point and stay the longest. (You can play with friends online or against bots.) You should avoid ghosts like traditional Pac-Man, but there is a new twist: when you eat electric pellets, you can eat ghosts and your competition. It becomes busy, especially when time is randomly accelerating or the labyrinth is distorted. It’s like the original, only more deadly and chaotic.