It’s not been long since Apple launched its gaming subscription service Apple Arcade. It’s free to try for a month, and then it’ll set you back by Rs 99 a month in India, or $4.99 in the US. You can download and play as many games as you want, with no ads and no in-app purchases, and there’s a lot to choose from.
That can be a little intimidating, and not everything on the service is a winner, so you don’t want to waste your time on games that aren’t good enough. But some of them are exceptional, and we’ve done the hard work of finding them for you.
If you have an iOS device and are wondering whether to try Apple Arcade, go right ahead and play the following ten games. It’s free to subscribe, and you can find all these games there.
1. Assemble with Care
Coming from the folks who made the highly acclaimed Monument Valley series, Assemble basically tells the tale of a girl who is good at fixing old things, and who has arrived in a small town. Of course she gets things to fix there as well and this is where the game comes into its own—you have to select tools and move them to the right part of the device to be repaired, such as fixing a screw, turning a cassette tape and so on.
And even as you fix things, you discover things about their owners. Things that will make you smile or sadden you. Some might find the storytelling a little tedious, but the game itself is simple and beautiful.
2. Where Cards Fall
One of the most innovative titles on Apple Arcade, or actually on any platform, Where Cards Fall is a story of a boy who travels from place to place. Sounds simple enough? Well, it actually is... and isn’t. For, you will have to help him in his journey and placing cards right along his path when obstacles pop up.
You can spread cards out to make a simple path across a river, set them up in the form of a platform to cross a valley...and much more. The game has beautiful graphics, giving you a top down view of a surprisingly detailed environment and music that is very reminiscent of Alto’s Odyssey.
3. What The Golf?
Do not get fooled by the name. This is not a golf game. Even though it is. Well, sort of anyway. Only here, the action is anything but logical. The ball might fly off in a different direction from where you tried to send it, you might have to hit the ball with something else, the course might go rogue and suddenly change shape...the works.
If this is a golf simulation, golf is clearly not what we thought it was. But there’s no doubting that this is one heck of an entertaining game, unless you take golf very seriously indeed.
4. Projection: First light
Projection: First Light is presented in the form of a shadow puppet show. So what you are going to be seeing are mostly outlines of characters. Your play the role of Greta, a young girl, who has a magical source of light which allows her to spot special patterns in shadows.
She meets a number of heroes on her travels, as she moves though some amazingly designed locations. The game actually is a sort of rough history of shadow puppetry itself, complete with the sort of music you get in shadow puppet shows. It is not riveting and edge of the seat thrilling (it is a platformer basically), but an incredible experience nevertheless.
Imagine Candy Crush Saga with hack and slash action and explosions? Well, that is Grindstone. In a manner of speaking. You play a Viking call Jorg who has to hack his way through a bunch of creepy crawlies and collect Grindstones as he ascends a mountain.
Of course, the bad fellas are arranged in a Candy Crush like grid and you have to hack a path through similar coloured ones, and killing a certain number releases Grindstone. It is very Candy Crush but plus gore and minus the sweetness and riot of colour that some find overwhelming.
6. Oceanhorn 2
The closest thing you can get to a full-fledged adventure game with fantastic almost console level graphics (especially if you are a Nintendo fan), Oceanhorn 2 puts you in the shoes of a young knight who (of course) has to save the world from evil. This involves everything from good old sword fighting to casting spells and taking on all kinds of villains in exotic lands.
The gameplay is not always the smoothest and the storyline is a little flat (basically travel, fight, travel some more and fight some more) but in terms of appearance, this has got to be one of the most spectacular games out there on any platform.
Also, in case you already have an Xbox One S or later, or a PlayStation 4, then you can pair your existing game controller and use it with your iPad as well, which is really handy for console-like games like this one, on Apple Arcade.
7. Bleak Sword
If Oceanhorn 2 is a new age action adventure game, then Bleak Sword is very much an old school one. At least in appearance. It has got that pixellated look that games in the nineties had. That said, it comes packed with hectic battles and action aplenty that is very reminiscent of classic dungeon crawlers like Diablo.
You are always going to be fighting someone or the other, getting new weapons and updating your stats as you try to lift the curse of the Bleak Sword. It might look a little dated, but if you are a hack and slash fan, this is the game for you.
Imagine someone making a game around Stephen King’s terrifying The Stand. Well, Overland comes close to it. A lot of world seems to have been destroyed and you are on a scary road trip with strange creatures all around you. You have to ensure that your car does not run out of fuel and remains in good running shape, even as you try to find your way to safety.
And of course, there are other survivors to rescue as well. There is literally everything in this game, from strategy (whom to rescue, what weapon to pick) to stealth (dodging those creepy crawlies) to adventure (where do you go next and by what route). The graphics are very good, although mostly from a top down view perspective. It will send more than the odd chill down your spine, while also entertaining you.
Find Overland on Apple Arcade.
9. Mini Motorways
Mini Motorways is a game for those who love traffic control games (like Air Traffic Controller). Your task is to keep traffic moving smoothly in a city. And for this, you have to keep making roads at different locations. However as the city keeps expanding, so does the traffic and before you know it, you need to make different roads, keep an eye on intersections and a whole lot more.
Changing maps of cities, which the developer says are based on real cities, make the game very challenging as you have to keep your eyes on different parts of an ever expanding arena. The graphics are simple but the game is supremely addictive and because of the constant movement and need to adjust and change tactics. It is like playing chess on a board where the pieces keep changing positions.
10. Cricket Through the Ages
In its early days, Apple Arcade clearly does not believe in doing straightforward sports-oriented games? Just as What the Golf totally turned the game of golf on its head, Cricket Through the Ages has very little to do with actual cricket. There are batting and bowling motions, but hardly any proper kit in sight.
You basically have to throw things and hit others with cricketing strokes in scenarios that involve Stone Age man, dinosaurs, knights and a whole lot more. You can play it alone or with a friend. It is more of cricketing combat than cricket, is simple to play (you just have to press a button or tap another ) and the cartoon-like graphics will make you smile, even though mastering it will take some doing.