If Xbox Game Pass is the best deal in gaming, Apple Arcade is a close second. Launched in September 2019 for just $4.99 a month, it puts an extensive, exclusive library of the very best games from the very best mobile game developers in your pocket on iPhone – and offers the exact same library on iPad, Mac and Apple too. TV, complete with cloud storage.
While the more expensive Xbox Game Pass has a regularly rolling library of titles, Apple Arcade has the distinct advantage of being an ever-expanding catalog, with Apple regularly adding more brand new and classic titles to the service each month without any long-standing favorites. Apple Arcade is only going to get bigger, with all the games available at launch still there to play today.
That’s a good thing, because so many of them are highly addictive. While there are a myriad of “one-and-done” games on Apple Arcade, such as the awesome Assemble With Care and Sayanora Wild Hearts, many Arcade games are expertly tuned to keep you hooked for centuries. These are the five Apple Arcade games I’ve been playing for months.
Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker
Ever played a Zelda game and thought, “Can I make anything better than that?” No? Probably not – Zelda games are great. But you’ve probably felt like trying a video game adventure yourself. Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker lets you do just that.
Hating the fairytale dungeon crawling style of the Nintendo franchise, you can create a series of interconnected dioramas to build your own gaming adventure around. From damp castles to snowy peaks, you can fill them with all kinds of friendly characters and monstrous creatures, with secrets to find and treasures to discover. Think of an isometric Minecraft and you’re almost there, with Wonderbox that allows you to share your creations with the growing community of players and download adventures created by other players. With Game Center, you can also play any adventure you like with a few friends.
It’s just a shame the Apple TV version doesn’t offer the same ‘create-a-game’ options as the other Wonderbox builds – I hope the rumors about the Apple TV games-focused edition rights are wrong.
Knowing Peggle is loving Peggle, playing Diablo is being addicted to Diablo. So what if you could combine both? Roundguard takes Peggle’s basic precision pinball mechanics and marries it with an adorable roguelike dungeon crawler that will have you totally hooked.
Instead of just knocking pegs off the board, fire a hero at skeletons, spiders, goblins, and more, collecting treasure, and using powerups to get as far as possible through the ever-changing labyrinth of levels on offer.
With tons of different items to discover, gameplay modifiers to try and powers to master, there are dozens of hours of fun to be had – maybe even hundreds, given the recent introduction of ‘Encore Mode’ that takes up the challenge considerably. increases.
The best Apple Arcade game of all? Probably – Grindstone is now as addictive as it was on its first release with Arcade launching in 2019. In many ways, it’s similar to the Roundguard game above. It also has a Cartoon Network-style aesthetic and wraps it around two major infusions of game mechanics – in this case dungeon crawling and gem-matching puzzle games.
What that doesn’t explain is how wild the game is. Like a muscle-pumping barbarian slicing and dicing your way through fantasy enemies on your way to your next treasure hunt, developers Capybara Games expertly deliver satisfying feedback on every stroke. As your combos tie together and your comic book kills get more bizarre, so does the feverish way your character’s bloodthirsty killings play out.
Bejeweled by Adventure Time, almost three years after release and I still can’t get enough.
Clap Hanz Golf
It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever picked up a club in your life, know a wedge driver or can spot Augusta from the beach putting course – golf is one of those bizarrely universal sports among gaming fans. A satisfying swing from a Wii Remote or a long-range birdie with a few precise taps of a button, golf has been well digitized for decades.
Few developers have succeeded in this as well as Clap Hanz, who has been responsible for creating the accessible yet deep Everybody’s Golf games for two decades. We leave that franchise name for Apple Arcade, it’s essentially the same series under a different name with Clap Hanz Golf.
Years of experience pay off in the exclusive Arcade – whether you’re playing on a gamepad or touchscreen, the game plays an average 18 holes, allowing you to pull precision drives and expert chips. Don’t be fooled by the colorful cast of collectible golfers – this is a real golf game with a lot to offer. With regular seasons, challenges and a clever RPG-style leveling system, this is an Apple Arcade game not to be missed.
Lego Star Wars: Castaways
That galaxy far, far away (you know it) is always best enjoyed with friends — and there’s no reinterpretation of George Lucas’s sci-fi universe more beloved than that conceived by the geniuses at Lego. With Lego Star Wars: Castaways, you get the best shared world Star Wars experience since The Old Republic MMO.
A kid-friendly action-adventure, it falls somewhere between Destiny and Diablo, offering top-down quests to take on with friends as you level up your Star Wars minifigure for bigger adventures. It gets a little sloppy at times, but the unlockables are great, and the Star Wars world lovingly realized. The vehicle missions in particular are visual treats, and pretty much anything the recent Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga console games have offered.
Unlimited games, one price
Apple Arcade has over a hundred premium games and more are added every week. There’s something for everyone here, and it’s only $5 a month for all you can game!
Want more gaming action on the go? Check out the best iPhone games we’ve picked for your enjoyment. And if you want a bigger screen, try our pick of the best iPad games too.
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