Apple Arcade is a subscription service that lets you play more than 200+ games on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac.
If you haven’t heard of it before, don’t worry. Apple Arcade hasn’t been promoted nearly as much as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. But at £4.99 a month (after a free trial month), it’s a great deal if you want a way to try all kinds of games outside of those available on expensive consoles.
We particularly recommend Apple Arcade if you’re keen to find the best games that can be played in a range scenarios – like on a big TV at home or on your iPhone while you’re commuting – and own a number of Apple devices already.
With more than 200 titles (and new ones added every week) it can be tricky to figure out which games to try. Although we think the standard of every game in the Apple Arcade library is high, there are bound to be some that appeal to you more than others.
That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting and taken a quick look at every single game available on Apple Arcade in our guide below. In just a few words, we’ll tell you what you can expect and offer some micro-reviews based on our own playing sessions.
Three word review: Love obsessed puzzler
It might look like a platformer, but A Fold Apart is a candy-colored puzzle game oozing with sweetness. The objective is you must fold parts of the screen, like pages of a pulpy romance novel, to reunite a pair of lovebirds who have been forced apart by a long distance relationship.
Three word review: Action heavy racer
Take every car chase and driving scene from action movies over the last 50 years, leave them to simmer on the hob until you have a dense, tangy paste, then compress it all into a stock cube and you have Agent Intercept — it’s a fast, action-packed vehicular romp.
Three word review: Miniature environmental Zelda
Don’t miss this beautiful, relaxing adventure. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure has some of the world-building charm of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and a stronger environmental message. Alba’s out to save the wildlife on the island where her grandparents live. Take pictures of the local fauna, and the whole thing can be done and dusted in a few hours, so there’s no open world bloat.
Three word review: Avian puzzle adventure
Help a chicken find its lost chicks in this cute and family-friendly puzzle game. It’s easy-to-play but a little different because it has a unique game mechanic that requires you to swap circles around the screen that highlight obstacles and dangers you have to avoid in each level.
Three word review: Endless desert sandboarding
Somewhere between the magnificent indie adventure game ‘Journey’ and an endless runner game, you’ll find Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City. This visually-stunning game tasks you with chaining together tricks across dunes, canyons and temples, whether that’s sliding down vines, bouncing on hot air balloons or gliding along in your very own wingsuit.
Three word review: Log-flipping puzzler
In this simple puzzle you must make your way from island to island by cutting down trees and flipping over logs, which you can use as bridges to get over the water. It sounds basic, and at the start it is, but you’ll need to position the logs carefully to get them in the right place, especially when the islands start getting more crowded.
Three word review: Birds bomb pigs
If you’ve had a smartphone at any point in the last ten years, you know the drill. Using a catapult, you fire an assortment of birds at fortifications, aiming to knock them into the pigs within. Surprisingly addictive and perfect for touchscreen play, there’s a reason it’s perhaps the best-known mobile gaming hit of all time.
Three word review: Real fast cars
This is a fast-paced and beautifully-modelled driving game, a glitzy arcade racer that includes cars and bikes alike. You’ll never get bored with more than 400 career events, 1500 mystery challenges, six game modes, countless ways to upgrade your vehicles and multiplayer mode to challenge your friends. There’s something very cool about driving gravity-defying Ferrari and Ducatis around impossible race tracks.
Three word review: Broken gadget simulator
This gentle and satisfying puzzler from ustwo, the team of geniuses behind Monument Valley, requires you to take apart and repair gadgets, like watches and cameras. Not only is it a relaxing experience, but it’s lovely to look at with bags of style and dreamy colors.
Three word review: Dark music RPG
This moody isometric adventure game is an RPG, but other than that it defies genre. That’s because it has a strong narrative element that leans on Nordic myth, interactive gameplay, puzzles, combat and sound. Yep, it turns into a synth-heavy rhythm game when you get into fights.
Three word review: It’s just backgammon
If you’re a fan of backgammon, you’re in for a treat. Everyone else, keep moving, because this is, simply, backgammon with no bells and whistles or new elements to spice up the game. Instead, it’s an easy-to-use and intuitive take on the board game classic that you can keep in your pocket.
Three word review: Award-winning platformer
An atmospheric, side-scrolling platformer, Badland started life as a paid-for app and is now, thankfully, part of the Apple Arcade library. Thanks to the magical, gorgeous visuals and smart puzzles you encounter on your journey through a dark and eerie forest, this one has become a mobile Game of the Year winner.
Three word review: Ghibli meets Zelda
Take the hand-drawn anime art style of the Studio Ghibli movies, and throw in some Zelda exploration gameplay, and you’ve got Baldo. You might find this game to be a bit rough around the edges, with some steep difficulty spikes, but it’s gorgeous to look at with some beautiful areas to explore.
Three word review: It’s simply baseball
A baseball game in your pocket, Ballistic Baseball is a casual game, but it’s packed with animations that have some of the snappy, vivacious aesthetic of games like Team Fortress 2 and Fortnite, which give it a punchier feel. A recently-added home run hitting contest is fun and you can take part in real-time showdowns with other players.
Three word review: Cute vertical shooter
This game might look like a simple vertical shooter, but there’s a twist. You fire out your character into each colorful level and as you bust baddies, you reveal coins. A rope then pulls you back to the start (that’s the harpooner bit) when your net deploys to grab the cash.
Three word review: Point ’n’ click
Gaming veterans take note. Beyond a Steel Sky is a sequel to the 1994 point ’n’ click adventure Beneath a Steel Sky. Think a classic adventure game with modern graphics. Even if you’ve never heard of Beneath a Steel Sky before, if you like a sci-fi adventure you should give it a go as you’ll love the game’s cyberpunk aesthetic.
Three word review: Chilled scuba diving
This great-looking game is a fantastic showcase for the graphical power of iOS devices. Dive into Beyond Blue and swim through the sea, chasing down giant whale sharks, dolphins and other ocean-dwellers. It’s relaxing, and even potentially educational for the little ones, too.
Three word review: Mini games ahoy!
An extremely minimal game with extremely simple controls, Big Time Sports is a collection of reaction-based games with a sports theme. It has a distinctive visual style that might remind you of classic arcade sports games. You can play each of the games on your own, but we prefer teaming up with friends.
Three word review: 8-bit Dark Souls
Don’t be put off by Bleak Sword’s ultra-pixelated graphics because it looks great in motion. This is a stylish and highly distinctive horror action game that has some of the same dark DNA as other popular titles, like Dark Souls or Bloodborne. Work your way through nine chapters, fighting monsters in swamps, forests, castles and dungeons to lift the curse of the Bleak Sword.
Three word review: Join the dots
An innovative puzzler, the aim of Blek+ is to draw flowing lines to connect colored circles on your phone. The key is managing to connect all of the dots without hitting the black holes on your screen. It’s a simple concept but there are some surprisingly deep possibilities for puzzle solving.
Three word review: Twin-stick MOBA
A battle arena shooter without the violence, Butter Royale pits up to 32 players against each other in a large arena where they’ve got to take part in the ultimate food fight – think firing sauce, throwing bread, knocking people out with pie. It has some of the same appeal as today’s online first-person shooters, but it’s viewed from top-down.
Three word review: Card-y dungeon crawler
You might be able to tell from the overall vibe of this game, but Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward had a hand in Card of Darkness. What we’re saying is, it’s cute AF. Underneath the candy-colored dressing sits a compulsive, card-based dungeon crawler. As you progress, you’ll find more powerful cards to use in each level. These levels represent a floor of the dungeon. It’s an epic adventure shrunk down to iPhone-friendly proportions.
Three word review: Magic the Gathering
Cardpocalypse adds a great story onto the gameplay of a one-on-one card battler. Set in the 90s, it has cute graphics and a kid-friendly theme too. So although we think it’s great for older, nostalgic games, it’s also more accessible than some of the “grown-up” alternatives in this genre for the little ones.
Three word review: Castlevania goes mobile
An all-new game in the long-running action-horror series. You’ll see the return of favorite characters, like Alucard and Simon Belmont, who must battle through 60 side-scrolling levels with a wide range of equipment to unlock. This one’s a bit more linear than the explorative nature of other entries in the series, more like the earlier, pre-Symphony era titles.
Three word review: Feline action adventure
You could easily pile 10+ hours into this friendly adventure. Yes, you’re a cat, but there’s solid hack and slash mechanics bolstered by character-upgrading RPG systems underneath, to appeal to the non-cat people. You can tell it’s a console-grade game, not least because you can also buy Cat Quest II for PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Three word review: Color match auto-runner
Finding something new to do with the auto-runner genre on mobile isn’t always easy, but Chameleon Run adds a cool twist. You must jump and land on the correctly-colored platform to match your player. The graphics are cool and stylish and there are a bunch of fun jumping mechanics, like ‘double jump’ and ‘head jump’.
Three word review: Football on fast-forwards
Charrua Soccer is UK/European football played at an intense speed. This means you can cram the action of a 90-minute match into a time slot that suits a quick bus ride. It’s quick and fun with simple controls and retro art.
Three word review: It’s checkers, stupid
It’s checkers, you know the rules! Jump the other player’s pieces to win the game. This is an easy-to-use version of the classic game with different offline and offline modes, tournament options, and customisable rules.
Three word review: You know, chess?
Another board game classic brought to Apple Arcade. Chess Play and Learn+ boasts the “world’s largest online chess community”, offering online play, speedy ‘Bullet’ timed games and adaptive AI players who become more (or less) skillful depending on your in-game performance.
Three word review: Retro game revival
The original ChuChu Rocket! made its debut on Dreamcast way back in 1999. Now, it returns with a new space theme on Apple Arcade. Gameplay is much as we remember; you have to direct your space mice across each level to avoid the space cats. It’s colorful and fun with all kinds of 3D puzzles to solve.
Three word review: Party golf action
One of Apple Arcade’s best games, Clap Hanz Golf is an action-oriented take on the gentleman’s sport, reminiscent of Everybody’s Golf on the PlayStation. Guide chibi-like golfers around arcade-oriented courses, with a control scheme well-suited to mobile play. A must-download this one.
Three word review: Dark Animal Crossing
Imagine Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, but on a haunted, ever-changing island filled with ghosts and spirits. That’s what Crozy Grove is. You’ll be exploring the island while taking part in various activities, like crafting, fishing and decorating to help befriend the ghostly folk of Cozy Grove.
Three word review: Learning is fun
A great, fun educational app for kids, Crayola Create and Play+ is filled with different activities for children to develop their self-expression and artistic independence. This app is certainly more than just drawing and colouring. Kids can solve puzzles, practice spelling and even try coding.
Three word review: Hand-drawn charm
There’s something about the hand-drawn art style of Creaks that instantly draws us in. It adds atmosphere, and a sense of world-building you don’t always get in a puzzler like this. Explore an otherworldly mansion and be prepared for some mild brain-teasing. It comes from the makers of Machinarium, which is no surprise given Creaks’ graphical style.
Three word review: Pure physics insanity
First things first: don’t approach Cricket Through the Ages expecting a traditional cricket game. It has a much wider appeal than that. Levels include a battle between bone-wielding cavemen, jousting knights and exploding samurai. You might learn a tiny bit about how real-world cricket works, but it’s gags and ridiculous cartoony physics that hold this game together, not cricketing.
Three word review: Not Crossy Road
The original Crossy Road is about, well, crossing increasingly unlikely roads. Crossy Road Castle is completely different for lots of reasons. The main being you’re not crossing roads here, but working your way higher and higher up towers of a castle. And each tower run is procedurally generated, so it’s different every time. There’s also a co-op mode in this version that lets you play with up to four other people.
Three word review: Deliver the candy
The award-winning and ever-popular puzzle game Cut the Rope is back with a beautiful 3D remaster. Cut ropes, avoid obstacles and use Newton’s law of physics to complete puzzles with lots of obstacles and fun boosters, from magic hats to whoopee cushions, along the way. Your mission is to deliver sweet treats to Om Nom, the little green monster with a candy addiction.
Three word review: Cartoon twin-stick mayhem
Get ready to fulfil all your ghost-busting fantasies. With this twin-stick shooter you visit all kinds of haunted locations with a plasma blaster to rid them of ghosts. You rack up money for each ghost exorcised. It’s fast and manic, and you get to upgrade your abilities between levels.
Three word review: Literary word game
There are countless word games for iOS, but Dear Reader uses actual text from works of literature that have slipped out of copyright, including classics from Jane Austen, Voltaire and Jules Verne. You fill in the right missing words, or swap them, to restore the original text. This one might even nudge a couple of you to read some of the classics afterwards.
Three word review: Genre mash-up
Not content with one genre, Decoherence dabbles in a bunch. It’s part twin-stick shooter, part tower defense, part strategy game. The aim is to build robots that fight in matches against others. It isn’t the simplest to get to grips with, so this one is probably best experienced on an iPad.
Three word review: Explosions galore
Race and drift around a track rigged with explosives and wrecking balls. Detonation Racing might be the most dangerous racing game you’ve ever played. This game is easily accessible but hard to master, so play with friends online or choose the career mode, which is jammed full of challenges to beat the most hazardous tracks in Detonation Racing.
Three word review: Obtuse, surreal, engaging
A first-person puzzle adventure with an eerie atmosphere. Your aim is to restore color to a world turned monochrome. It’s a quickie, with an average length of just over an hour according to howlongtobeat.com, but you might find yourself stumped by some of its puzzles.
Three word review: Dodge the bullets
Fight your way through the bullet-filled hellscape of DoDonPachi Resurrection HD+. Dash and weave past a flurry of bullets to beat the various bosses in the world of resurrection, but you’ll need practice. Thankfully, you can test your skills in practice mode to stop you from dying all the time – or at least some of the time.
Three word review: Colorful arcade retro
Dodo Peak borrows gameplay mechanics from a few classic arcade games, like Qbert. Scale the mountain to rescue your lost chicks while avoiding enemies. This one gets middling reviews, but certainly has visual charm.
Three word review: Martian tower defense
One of the early Apple Arcade releases, Don’t Bug Me! is an odd little game set on Mars with some incongruous shooter sections. You play the role of Commander Abigail Blackwell who has to fend off Martian attacks. It’s part resource management, part tower defence with lots of first-person mechanics, too.
Three word review: Please don’t starve
The award-winning dark survival game enjoyed by more than 20 million players across various platforms is available on Apple Arcade. Explore, fight and craft to ensure your survival in the gloomy wilderness and discover its secrets. The aim of the game is to find your way back home without starving.
Three word review: Your own universe
Use your imagination to create your own universe. You have four essential elements that you can combine to create hundreds of new ones and make your world come alive. Every time you create a new element, you’ll be rewarded with the wit and wisdom of the greatest philosophers and comedians in history.
Three word review: Breezy, brief puzzler
A short isometric puzzler in which you play as a cut bulbous robot. Navigate through a flooded city to find seeds that you can take to a vault. You’ll need to break into an underground lair, explore a pyramid and solve puzzles. The 3D environments look nice and there’s a cool soundtrack, too. Not too hard, not too long.
Three word review: Charming isometric puzzler
In this beautifully drawn game you take on the role of an aviator stranded in a time bubble. You must explore themed island levels, each packed with codes to crack, puzzles to solve and magic orbs to collect. Each one you escape brings you one step closer to a way back home.
Three word review: Pint-sized X-Com
A tactical, turn-based RPG. A ship has been commandeered by supernatural nasties and it’s your job to find other survivors, track down food and resources, and keep your safe haven safe. There are 20 decks to explore and 13 different survivors that you can play as.
Three word review: Artistic aerial platforming
This is a beautiful game that’s part painting come to life and part retro game. The premise is simple: dragons have taken over, people have fled to space and you must find a way to Earth while hitching a ride on the back of massive dragons that are snaking through the clouds. It’s a platformer, of sorts, but you send most of your time in the air. It’s intense, intricate and nice to look at.
Three word review: Pain and gain
The sequel to Enter the Gungeon, Exit the Gungeon is a hardcore single-screen quasi-platformer with 16-bit style graphics and a major focus on gunplay. Your weapon changes almost constantly, forcing you to change your strategy on the fly as you try to escape through a series of levels and dangerous elevators. Rooms are constantly changing, as well as enemies and bosses, so no two attempts are the same.
Three word review: Aerial cat carnage
Cats in planes shooting guns all day long. That is the Explottens way. In this side scrolling arcade shoot-em-up you have to dart around each level constantly to avoid enemy fire. It’s an unrelenting dogfight but there are ways to customize it for little ones or if the explosions get a bit too intense.
Three word review: Mega Man wannabe
Play as a futuristic descendent of Lancelot – Lancelot the 50th to be precise – facing off against your enemies. This is a classic-style, Mega Man-inspired action platformer with virtual gamepad controls if you choose to use the touchscreen. Fallen Knight would be a good title to test a wireless gamepad.
Three word review: A classic JRPG
The legendary Final Fantasy game creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has created a new and beautiful RPG: Fantasian. Fantasian is a classic JRPG with the same turn-based combat, but it comes with several quality of life improvements, like the ‘Dimengeon Battle’, which will send enemies to another dimension to streamline combat.
Three Word review: Upcoming slice-em-up
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own farm you’re now one step closer. Swipe to slice a knife through crops and fields, which burst into blocks, and then use the resources to plant new stuff. You can also decorate different areas of your farm and meet lots of different in-game characters and cute animals
Three word review: Bird-based runner
Remember Flappy Bird? Fledgling Heroes is a more built-up take on that style of aerial gameplay. You tap to flap your wings, and have to manoeuvre to avoid obstacles, and pick-up collectables.
Three word review: A puzzle frenzy
Solve hundreds of puzzles to conquer the 45 levels of Frenzic industries in Frenzic Overtime. There are daily challenges, multiple game modes and hundreds of mini-modes to complete.
Three word review: Original Apple showcase
Frogger in Toy Town was one of the main showcase games when Apple first unveiled Arcade. We can see why. It looks great. However, it’s not the perfect execution of the frogger formula, where you hop through environments to avoid dangers.
Three word review: Keep slicing fruit!
Start frantically swiping again as the fruit-cutting epic, Fruit Ninja, returns. Slice as much fruit as you can to score points, but make sure to avoid chopping up those bombs. Fruit Ninja is even more fun now you can compete with your friends online to find out once and for all who has the best fruit-cutting skills.
Three word review: Design great games
Manage your own game company and create critically-acclaimed games in Game Dev Story+. Hire talented developers and train their skills to unlock more game genres and content to build into brilliant new games. If your company has what it takes, you could reach the pinnacle of the gaming industry.
Three word review: Build that wall
Pretty much the polar opposite of Telltale’s graphic adventure Game of Thrones, Tale of Crows sees you take on the role of the Night’s Watch. You send out expeditions and maintain the wall’s defenses. But instead of watching the action happen, you issue commands and then come back to the game every now and then to see how it all turned out. It’s not action-packed, but that’s not the idea.
Three word review: Sudoku is back
The classic Sudoku puzzle arrives on Apple Arcade with Good Sudoku+. It comes with 70,000 sudoku puzzles, three daily puzzle modes and six levels of difficulty. If you love number games and the unique challenge of Sudoku, there’s plenty of content here to keep you entertained for ages.
Three word review: (Non) Bloody brilliant fun
Want a truly unmissable Apple Arcade game? You’ve found it. Grindstone looks a bit like Candy Crush but maps symbol-matching gameplay onto an adventure. It’s made by Capybara Games, which produced classics like Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. Looking for games for the kids? Don’t worry. While there’s plenty of slashing action here, there’s no blood.
Three word review: Roleplay meets novel
This is a quirky RPG that’s also part visual novel. Ideal for anyone who wants a story alongside their gameplay and doesn’t mind doing a bit of reading. In this game you need to go on a quest to reach mystical mountain temples and battle it out with goblins, ghosts and other creatures. It’s a fun fantasy game with a modern tech twist.
Three word review: Six-sided puzzling
No fancy visual themes here, just colourful hexagonal pieces and fast-paced action-infused puzzles. Make your way through the maze-like levels, moving left or right at each turn.
Three word review: Solve your mystery
Hitchhiker is a mystery game and you must solve the unique puzzle of your own backstory. You have no memory of your past, so you’ll have to talk to five different strangers and solve environmental puzzles to decode your history, all while hitchhiking across a beautiful landscape.
Three word review: Muddy multiplayer mayhem
It’s three versus one in this farm-themed multiplayer title. You play as either the farmer, who has to clean up the farm, or as one of the muddy pigs, spreading muck far and wide. We know which side we’d choose.
Three word review: Game show parkour
Watched Floor is Lava on Netflix? This is a game based on the same idea. You can’t touch the floor because, this time, it is literally lava. Parkour your way over platforms to complete levels. You’ll need to spend a little time to master the controls but a wireless gamepad helps.
Three word review: Slap-happy sport
Take ice hockey, remove the ice, add even more violence and you have HyperBrawl: Tournament. It’s a future-tinged 2-on-2 sports ball game with ultra-short rounds to keep the action snappy.
Three word review: Pinball but artsy
The award-winning Inks has put its own twist on the classic pinball game with a beautiful and unique art style. Bursts of color paint the canvas of the pinball machine, which records a visual history of your game as you perfect your score. Inks.+ features 100 different pinball tables to play on and there’s an online scoreboard to share your high scores.
INMOST (Editor’s Pick)
Three word review: Spellbinding
“A moving story of loss and hope” wound into a good-looking puzzle platformer. With play time of around three hours this is just the kind of game we want to see on Apple Arcade. Highly recommended for fans of games like Inside and Braid.
Three word review: Positive role model
A charming 8-10 hour adventure with a story-led approach and a liberal smattering of puzzles that won’t leave you scratching your head for too long. The main meat of the game is played in side-scrolling platformer style.
Three word review: High-flying Mayhem
The global hit game Jetpack Joyride has made its way to Apple Arcade. This high flying manic side-scroller keeps you on edge by testing your reflexes against an endless amount of lasers and zappers that want to end your jetpack run. When you’re done dodging guided missiles, upgrade your jetpack with a variety of ridiculous outfits.
Three word review: Quickfire by design
Jumper Jon is an exploration-based side-scroller where time is always an issue. A 30-second timer sits at the top of the screen. If it runs out, it’s game over and you have to head back to the last checkpoint. Fill it up by picking up items or killing enemies.
Three word review: Endless enemies
Kingdom Rush Frontiers TD is taking tower defense games to a whole new level. Defend your lands against over 40 enemies using various attack abilities, like pestilence clouds and death riders. Even if you manage to fight them off the first time, different difficulty modes means enemies will always be a challenge.
Three word review: Big-headed battler
Train a team of giant-headed warriors to take into battle. This one looks cute, but be prepared to get your head around some reasonably deep systems as you progress. It’s definitely a strategy game rather than a fighting game.
Three word review: Jumping Flash 2021
Explore islands and pick up enough gems to free the prince, who has been locked in the castle. We get strong Jumping Flash vibes from Kings of the Castle. For those not as ancient as us, that was an early PlayStation game.
Three word review: Solve a mystery
The aim of the game in Layton’s Mystery Journey is to find your missing father. Discover clues, deduce the truth and solve multiple puzzles as you’re whisked around London’s famous landmarks. This game has the most extensive collection of puzzles in any Layton series title and a new cast of characters to meet.
Three word review: Old-school Zelda-ing
The top-down isometric action of Legend of the Skyfish 2 reminds us of the earlier Zelda games. But that’s no bad thing. You play as one of the last Red Hook guardians and must use a fishing pole as a weapon and a grappling hook to face threats. There are some lovely-looking landscapes and creepy creatures along your journey.
Three word review: Defend your kingdom
Journey through a medieval fantasy world in this turn-based RPG with rogue-like elements. Become a leader of a party of heroes and stop enemies in their tracks with a combat system that’s easy to learn, but hard to master. Strategy is key to combat. You’ll need to move your heroes on a grid based on their combat skills and you’ll never get bored as there are over 100 narrative events.
Three word review: Super Smash Brickers
Super Smash Bros. meets Capture the Flag, LEGO Brawls is a chaotic fighting game. As you’d expect from a LEGO game, you get to create your own minifig and build power-ups from your bricks. There are 8 different arenas to play in, like Castle and Jurassic world and you can play with friends, too.
Three word review: LEGO gets deep
What’s this? A deep and meaningful LEGO game? That’s right. LEGO Builder’s Journey is a great way to relax after a session with LEGO Brawls. You complete construction puzzles using, obviously, LEGO bricks. The visuals are fantastic and there’s a great soundtrack to lull you into a creative flow state.
Three word review: Use the force!
Set your hyperdrive to a galaxy far, far away and lead your favourite LEGO Star Wars characters in this multiplayer game with tower defense battle arenas inspired by different Star Wars locations. Build LEGO towers on the battlefield to defend your base against attacking enemies or capture enemy territories. You can also use characters abilities, like Darth Vader’s force slam or toss enemies away using Luke Skywalker’s force push to disable them.
Three word review: Star Wars refreshed
This isn’t a standard galaxy far, far away battle game. Instead, the premise is you’re a castaway on a random planet and must create a character (as you’d expect from a LEGO game, this is really fun), find other characters, go on quests, challenge people and more. You’ll still get to recreate scenes from the movies and, of course, wield a lightsaber, if you like.
Three word review: Roll to gold
Play as Leo, a green furball with a moustache, in this award-winning platform adventure game. Your aim is to hunt down a thief who has stolen your gold. Every level is intricately detailed with stunning visuals and lush environments. But don’t let the beauty fool you, as traps and puzzles are scattered throughout the levels.
Three word review: Art meets gaming
From the award-winning creators behind Blek and FROST, this is a hypnotic and beautiful Apple Arcade title in which you control a little blob of light. Experiment with how Lifelike’s swarms of particles (or creatures) react to solve its levels.
Three word review: Paper plane simulator
Pilot a paper plane through 21 levels. We’ve enjoyed chilled glider games like this since the early days of the App Store. Lifeslide isn’t a true exploration game as you effectively fly downhill through a wide corridor, but sink into it and you’ll feel your heart rate dropping as you relax.
Three word review: High production values
An adventure puzzle-platformer from The Chinese Room, makers of games like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Death Esther, Little Orpheus aims for madcap rather than meaningful. Still, it’s beautiful and has the great sound design you’d expect from a developer with The Chinese Room’s reputation.
Three word review: So very Nickelodeon
Loud House: Outta Control probably isn’t the sort of game you’d expect from a glance. It’s not an adventure or a light role-player. It’s an air traffic control game like iOS classic Flight Control, but you direct family members rather than planes.
Three word review: Illuminating chilled puzzler
Discover a box from the 1800s created by a famous inventor. This is no ordinary puzzle game. lumen. has a bunch of unique mechanics that require you to solve levels using lights, a set of lenses and mirrors. There are a range of levels and most are family-friendly for little ones.
Three word review: Keep on matching
A simple Mahjong game, which means you need to match the tiles to win. With more than 2000 boards available to play, you’ll never get bored – assuming you’re a fan of Mahjong.
Three word review: Trippy gravity puzzles
A first-person puzzler in which you play with gravity to make progress and, quite possibly, scramble your brain in the process. That’s because the laws of physics are different in this Escheresque world and falling down leads you right back to the beginning again.
Three word review: Marble Madness reborn
Control a marble and guide it through mazes of ever-increasing complexity. Marble It Up: Mayhem! uses a camera that sticks close to your ball for a real sense of speed. Exciting, if perhaps a little too challenging for some, as the controls battle with the later levels’ designs.
Three word review: Fantasy roller disco
What do you get if you compared a sword-fighting fantasy game with a fast-paced marble throwing game? Marble Knights! This is a co-op adventure in which the main characters stand atop rolling marbles. Play with friends for the most fun.
Three word review: Become a chef
Become the ultimate chef in MasterChef: Let’s Cook. This is a fun and fast-paced cooking competition game. Compete against other players online, choose the right ingredients and make sure you cook your dishes properly using the touch controls. Once you’ve cooked your dish, MasterChef judges will assess it based on your performance and speed. You can also complete and unlock new recipes, mini-games and challenges along the way.
Three word review: Stress versus calm
Vertical shooters like Mind Symphony are usually high-stress experiences in which you constantly move to avoid enemy fire. This one claims to offer meditative gameplay, at least in its “Calm” mode. The “Release” play mode offers the more traditional shoot ‘em up play style. Both are sync’d up to the game’s soundtrack.
Three word review: Be efficient!
In this award-winning game you must design a subway for a growing metropolitan city by drawing lines between stations. However, as new stations begin to open, you’ll have to start redrawing the subway lines to keep them running efficiently. The game ends if you can’t keep the trains moving.
Three word review: Mini Metro Redux
Played Mini Metro? It’s a satisfying, if difficult, casual-style metro management sim. Mini Motorways takes the action above ground, and sees you drawing roads to connect a city. This one’s mechanics are even deeper.
Three word review: Colorful musical nonsense
Monomals’ vibrant game world and chip tune-inspired music are sure to put a smile on many faces. You unlock musical notes and elements in the swipe-controlled action levels, and can then compose tunes in the baked-in synthesiser to try to get them up the charts. This one is hard to explain. Just give it a try.
Three word review: Make monster friends
The critically acclaimed JRPG Monster Hunter Stories has made its way onto Apple Arcade. Embark on a new adventure as a Hunter fighting powerful beasts and monsters, all to defeat the threat of the Black Blight. Befriend monster companions and build a bond with them, then they’ll fight beside you in battle and in the multiplayer mode against other online players.
Three word review: Beautiful art piece
Manipulate the beautiful architecture of the environment around you as you guide a princess through optical illusions and hidden paths to outsmart the crow people of Monument Valley. Each world is stunningly designed and could be a work of art in its own right. This game is best experienced with headphones on in order to also hear the atmospheric soundscape of each world you visit.
Three word review: Whodunnit?
A crime-solving adventure in which you play a detective who has to interview suspects. This game has an episodic structure, and the story was written by “professional film and TV writers”, apparently.
Three word review: Definitely a grower
Don’t miss Mutazione if you play games for their stories and characters. This is a beautifully drawn adventure. Its developer calls Mutazione a “mutant soap opera”, but forget all the negative associations you may have with that term. The significance here is that the story is informed by the humdrum lives of its characters as much as the grander events that take place in the plot. If you’re up for a slower-paced, contemplative title, check this one out.
Three word review: Play some basketball
Live out your basketball dreams in NBA 2K22 on Apple Arcade. Choose your favourite NBA teams and then take on competitors or other players in an online match. Want to take the game even more seriously? You can become a general manager or head coach in MyCareer mode and you can manage the NBA roster, make trades and scout for new players.
Three word review: Play more basketball
Just like in NBA 2K22, you can fulfill all your basketball dreams in NBA 2K22. Play as your favourite basketball team in a quick match or join your friends online for a head-to-head game. Dive into MyCareer mode and manage your own basketball team, making trades to win games and tournaments.
Three word review: Deathly visual novel
A pretty visual novel that’s heavy on the themes of death and necromancy. Don’t download it for the gameplay. But that same advice applies to every visual novel-style game.
Three word review: For cat lovers
If you love cats, this game is a must-have. Discover all kinds of different types of cats in Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector and become a master cat collector. Attract more than 40 different varieties of cats – plus some rare ones – with food and toys, then log them in your catbook.
Three word review: Cyberpunk cabbie detective
A novel concept: you’re a taxi driver chatting to your passengers. And through those conversations you find out more and more about the disappearance of your friend. A compelling but ultimately relaxing experience with some nice neon visuals.
Three word review: Atmospheric platformer
Neversong is an action-puzzle platformer with a haunting vibe. You play as a boy who wakes from a coma to find the world has changed. What are the screams coming from Neverwood? And why are people behaving like zombies? He must go on a mission to find out what’s happened in this dream-like fable that’s lovely to look at – even though it’s a little eerie at times.
Three word review: Mobile space opera
Next Stop Nowhere is a space adventure. You play a courier dragged into a dramatic story. The game was originally criticised for being buggy, but it’s smoother now and worth a play if you are a fan of story-driven adventures with nice visuals.
Three word review: Tim Burton’s farm
In this dark and dreamy world you play a heartbroken girl who maintains a farm, grows stuff and gives characters food and toys. Oh and wear goth make-up. Nightmare Farm is the kind of game that might be riddled with micro transactions if it wasn’t on Apple Arcade.
Three word review: Space Miner II
No Way Home reminds us of one of the greatest mobile games most people haven’t played: Space Miner. It’s a top-down space shooter with twin stick controls. The basic action is fun enough, but the story and mechanic of gathering swag for upgrades elevates it to another level. It supports controllers, too, if you find the touch controls imprecise or fiddly.
Three word review: Damn those squirrels
A highly stylised game with overtly singular mechanics. You set up surveillance cameras around Melmoth Forest to observe the movements of a gang of squirrels. But, of course, the story isn’t quite as simple as that. May remind some of you of Firewatch.
Three word review: Apple Arcade’s Zelda
Oceanhorn 2 is about as close as you can get right now to Zelda: Breath of the Wild on your iPad. Of course, you’ll have a better time with this 10-12 hour adventure if you don’t go in comparing it like-for-like with one of the most celebrated games of the last decade. Oceanhorn 2 is a beautiful open-world title that won’t suck as much of your time as the average console game of this genre.
Three word review: Oceanhorn goes retro
It may be set 200 years after Oceanhorn 2, but Chronos Dungeon takes a more old-school approach. This is a top-down dungeon-crawler RPG. Why not dabble in both Oceanhorns to see which suits?
Three word review: Beautiful viking adventure
In this colorful and great-looking game you play as Oddmar, a viking who goes on a mission to prove himself. Help him to journey through 24 puzzle and strategy levels with the help of magical weapons and shields. Visit magical forests, snow-topped mountains and dangerous mines.
Three word review: Real-time Hitman Go
Operator 41 is a stealth game with levels broken up into a grid. You might expect a turn-based experience, like that of Hitman Go or Lara Croft Go, but this one takes place in real-time. It looks really unique with a moody vibe reminiscent of old crime shows.
Three word review: Build ‘em up
Build a town and watch it run through the days and weeks. This game is serene and rewarding, and because it’s on Apple Arcade there are no micro transactions involved here. Bliss.
Three word review: FTL Roadtrip Edition
Aliens have invaded. You have to keep your band of survivors alive as you trek across the US. The action is split into ambush events, when you bump into aliens along your travels. These are turn-based, and your job is to survive rather than smash those aliens into dust. As these encounters are randomly generated you could spend dozens of hours playing Overland.
Three word review: Alpine adventure
This is a stylish narrative-led spy adventure in which you must stay undercover as you journey across 1939 Switzerland. Think of it as a Hitchcockian World War Two spy thriller, but with cheerful and colorful visuals that look like vintage postcards. The choices you make influence the story, which is filled with lots of adventure and a whole cast of characters.
Three word review: PAC-Man’s on something
Classic PAC-MAN gameplay is given a 2021 boost in PAC-MAN Party Royale thanks to shinier graphics and power-ups. If you can play multiplayer (up to four can play at once) then this is a must-try.
Three word review: Bizarre splosh-a-thon
Run around splashing paint on everything within your reach. That sounds fun, right? But the problem is the locals aren’t fans of your redecoration and will start forming a mob to take you out. The colorful, fast-paced chaos ensues.
Three word review: Mindful jigsaw puzzles
Patterned is a jigsaw puzzle game. You start off with a pencil sketch and have to reinsert the full-colour pieces into place. It’s a great one to try if the world is getting you down and you need a little zen restored.
Three word review: Charming card adventure
A hand-drawn adventure from the folks behind Machinarium. You pick up cards that represent items. These are used to solve puzzles throughout your travels. Quirky as they come, and a great fit for both iPhone and iPad, you can finish Pilgrims in roughly an hour. It’s a good way to spend part of an evening.
Three word review: Follow the crowd
This fairly new addition to the Apple Arcade library is an endless running game in which you must control a big ol’ crowd of people. The visuals are brilliant, think being stuck inside a giant pink marshmallow, and it isn’t just about running, there are all kinds of other things to do like jump down slides, battle rapper bosses and more.
Three word review: It’s about perspective
This quick and clever puzzler plays with 3D space. In each scene you’ll see objects that appear to be disjointed, or floating in the air. You have to move the camera so they appear to be in the “right” place. It’s a relaxing play with a strong sense of visual style.
Three word review: Shadow puppet theatre
A platformer with an eerie vibe and a story behind it. You play as Greta, a girl travelling through a fairy tale-like shadow puppet land. She’s accompanied by legendary heroes from different cultures and must control light and learn how to manipulate it along the way. There are puzzles to crack and enemies to beat along the way.
Three word review: Sci-fi street fighter
Punch Planet is a one-on-one fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. You don’t see too many of those on iOS.
Three word review: Auto-run Raymond
Like several of the more recent Rayman games, Rayman Mini is an auto-run platformer. This keeps the pace up, making you tear through its lovingly-drawn vistas at speed.
Three-word review: No rules chess
It’s chess, but really bad chess. When you begin, you’re given random chess pieces to play. For example, how about using four queens in a game, why not? This is an excellent twist on the classic board game, which is a fun challenge for chess-lovers and anyone interested in strategy games.
Three word review: Beautiful bogey blaster
A pretty 3D space shooter. Blast your way through levels and upgrade your ship with new shields and weapons.
Three word review: Strategy made simple
A mobile-friendly strategy game from Ninja Kiwi, the developer behind the hugely popular Bloons TD games. It’s no wonder Red Reign’s simplified real-time strategy has a more than hint of tower defense flavor.
Three word review: Keep your throne
Created by the brilliant indie developer Devolver Digital, Reigns is a fun, historical strategy game with events that span centuries. The game allows you to live out your dreams as a medieval monarch as you handle a gauntlet of requests from advisors, peasants, enemies and allies. But these requests come with many serious implications and deadly consequences that could put your reign and family at risk.
Three word review: Rockstars use Tinder
The story: you are a rock band travelling to different planets to raise your profile through the galaxy. The reality: gameplay involves swiping left or right on decision cards. There are also rhythm game-adjacent sections where you drag your guitar across the screen to hit the right notes. It all sounds a bit bizarre, but makes sense in context. Just about.
Three word review: Peggle dungeons
Ever played Peggle? You shoot a ball into an arrangement of blocks you need to bash and hope for the best. Roundguard takes this Pachinko concept and adds to it, making every level a “dungeon” complete with enemies, mana potions and healing potions. Different characters have their own abilities, too, which can be fired-off mid-air.
Three word review: Late 90s action
Samurai Jack is reminiscent of the 3D platformers of a few console generations ago. Of course, it’s much more likely to appeal to a slightly younger audience, those fans of the TV series this game is based around.
Three word review: Rhythm gone wild
This hypnotic, entrancing rhythm game is a must-play, even if you think you’ll end up bouncing right off its play style. The visuals and music are quite something to behold. While the fireworks are going off, you control your character by dragging across the screen to collect objects. It’s best played with a controller as, judging by our playthrough on iPad, the touch controls aren’t great.
Three word review: Streets of Trash
A garbage-themed side-scrolling beat ‘em up in the vein of Streets of Rage, complete with a soundtrack that wouldn’t seem out of place in that era. That’s no trash talk, by the way.
Three word review: AR awkwardness
Want to try iOS augmented reality? Secret Oops! isn’t a bad place to start. The aim is to protect a spy as he goes about his sneaky business.
Three word review: Lauded retro platforming
This is the fifth game in the Shantae series, which is a boon for those who wish game companies had never stopped making the 16-bit platformers that stuffed shelves back in the 90s.
Three word review: Underwater Metroidvania
Capcom’s Shinsekai into the Depths takes exploration elements of the Metroid and Castlevania games and slots them into a beautiful (if kinda creepy) underwater environment.
Three word review: Flying car carnage
Shockrods is a 3D action-packed car deathmatch game where the cars can launch into the air using the equivalent of a jetpack. Silly chaotic fun.
Three word review: Cats and puzzles
Help Simon and his cat in this matching puzzle game. By completing the puzzles, you’ll earn stars to unlock the next phase of the story and win coins to purchase helpful game boosts that’ll assist you in completing challenging levels.
Three word review: Become Tony Hawk
Control your skateboard on this touch-interactive game. Learn new tricks and skills to become a master skateboarder while immersing yourself in the beautiful cities of LA, Barcelona and Miami. Then put all of your skills to the test in challenge mode.
Three word review: Gigantic sword silliness
This one is slightly hilarious. You wield a talking sword that can grow in length in Slash Quest!, and rather than controlling your character directly as such, you control which way the sword points – and you head in that direction. It doesn’t have the depth of a Zelda-a-like, but makes up for it in sheer cuteness.
Three word review: Furry stealth antics
Sneak around town as the hirsute mythical Sasquatch, raiding people’s picnics for goodies. Dripping in character.
Three word review: Traditional football, lads
Sociable Soccer 2020 is a football game for people who like football. So if you like football, give it a go. Others are more likely to appreciate the less strait-laced approach to the sport.
Three word review: Simply just solitaire
This is simple solitaire, with daily challenges, customization options, personal leaderboards and statistics.
Three word review: Storylines for solitaire?
It’s nothing more than solitaire, but now with an exciting and difficult storyline, global challenges and customization options.
Three word review: Guess the song
SongPop Party is a fun, music-based trivia game. Play with family and friends to find out who has the most outstanding musical knowledge by guessing the song. In arena mode, you can challenge other players online in a music trivia frenzy.
Three word review: Mario Kart-a-like
A Mario Kart-style racer featuring Mario’s old nemesis Sonic. It’s one to try if you want something other than Mario Kart Tour, although that game’s dynamics are mostly better than this one’s.
Three word review: Engaging adventure
South of the Circle is a cinematic narrative-led adventure with animations that look almost rotoscoped. Don’t come expecting the most involved, advanced gameplay, but if you want an engaging, well-told story it is well worth trying. Offers around 4 hours of play.
Three word review: Space Marine war
A turn-based isometric strategy game. It’s a little like X-Com, but the simplified game dynamics make each level something of a puzzle to solve.
Three word review: Speed racer
A top-down racing game focused on giving you a sense of speed and traffic-based peril.
Three word review: Clever, simple puzzler
Spek. looks dead simple in screenshots. A ball travels along a line to pick up other objects. But it is a little smarter than that. Each level’s “line” is actually the outline of a 3D model that can be turned around to let the ball, our protagonist, reach new areas.
Three word review: Strategy card game
A turn-based battle game with a card deck mechanic thrown in. The cards look like they’ve been taken straight out of Magic the Gathering thanks to their fetching artwork.
Three word review: Scrabble and Tetris
Combine Scrabble and Tetris and you’ll get SpellTower. Letters rise from the bottom of the screen, and you’ll need to find the words as they appear. But act fast, if letters make it to the top row, the game is over.
Three word review: Keep on swinging
Swing, swing and swing some more in this one-button, calming puzzle game. Avoid obstacles and progress to the next stage in over 250 levels and other daily challenges. Earn new characters and unlock secret challenge modes by getting a perfect score.
Three word review: Thrills from 1995
If it’s still the mid-90s in your heart, you might like Spidersaurs. This action platformer has visuals and sound inspired by 90s cartoons and the games we used to play on Genesis and SNES.
Three word review: Destruction trumps creation
Spire Blast looks like a tower building game. It’s the opposite. You use the familiar colour-matching mechanic to zap blocks, firing balls into the brickwork. The aim is to take down the tower as soon as possible.
Three word review: Audiovisual Spongebob perfection
Patty Pursuit doesn’t re-write the rulebook. It’s a fairly familiar simplified platformer, but it nails its graphics and sound. This one should appeal to all the SpongeBob fans out there. And who doesn’t love SpongeBob?
Three word review: Pretty robot-spy adventure
Crawl around detailed 3D environments as a spider-like spy robot, alongside plenty of cartoony characters. This wouldn’t look out of place on console. We recommend using a pad if you can, though, as we found the touch controls tricky at times.
Three word review: Visually distinctive platforming
This game looks a little different to everything else on Apple Arcade. Thick outlines provide a specific cartoonish style, which works well with the space adventure story. Definitely one for fans of the side-scroller genre.
Three word review: A Trekkie’s delight
A real treat for Star Trek fans, the basic premise behind Star Trek: Legends is that the Nexus – that big energy ribbon that deems time and space meaningless – has brought together all of your most beloved characters in a new ship designed to enter it. Ignore whether that makes sense and revel in the chance to discover new worlds and recruit from more than 40 characters spanning most of the major franchises, like The Next Generation, Voyager and Picard.
Three word review: 2D cinema club
We’re not short of platform games on Apple Arcade. But Stela stands out, because it’s dripping in atmosphere. You can see some of this in screenshots, with all that sepia charm and fog. You’ll need to play to experience its wonderful music, which adds a sense of dread to its monster encounters.
Three word review: One-on-one war games
This is a sci-fi strategy game, a one-on-one battle against another AI player. Planets are split into Risk-like zones, which you need to conquer to win. If you want a slower, more thoughtful game this one’s for you.
Three word review: Survival build’em up
You’re stranded on a deserted island. How do you survive? By building copious amounts of stuff, of course. This mostly boils down to farming for food. Combat is introduced later down the line, too.
Three word review: Sudoku but fun
Designed for players who love the idea of Sudoku but find it too complex or tedious. Colors are added to this game, which the creators believe will better train your brain to spot number patterns and inject more fun into the Sudoku. As you get used to the game, you can amp up the difficulty.
Three word review: Hectic ball balancing
Super Impossible Road is a racing game that puts you in control of a glowing ball rather than a car. The tracks snake around like a rollercoaster, but there’s little gravity to keep you stuck to them, so more than half the challenge is not flying off into oblivion. Or at least using the physics to make a cheeky shortcut.
Three word review: Fun retro platformer
A sequel to the original Leap Day, Super Leap Day is a colorful and fun game with a retro vibe. It’s a platform game, so you need to run, jump, blast through blocks, avoid traps, and collect prizes along the way. You can play as different characters to test their special powers, like floating with an inflatable head or sticking to walls. The aim is to complete each level and collect a gold cup at the end. A new level is added each day to keep the game fresh.
Three word review: Fun with friends
A mini-game collection with bright, colorful 3D graphics. Like almost every mini-game library, Super Mega Mini Party is much better played with friends.
Three word review: Golf with friends
This 2D golf puzzle game features a range of different crazy courses where you can discover power-ups, collectible cards and wild game modes. You can play on your own or with up to 8 friends in multiplayer mode to battle it out in real-time and be in with a chance of bagging the virtual cup.
Three word review: Tense zombie blaster
One of the newer additions to the Apple Arcade library, Survival Z is a zombie game that requires you to find any fellow survivors and work out how to kill the zombies threatening all of your lives. Routes are randomly generate and you must battle your way through lots of different environments that are crawling with zombies.
Three word review: Beat the drum
Taiko no Tatsujin is a traditional Japanese drumming rhythm game that’s been redesigned for Apple Arcade. Ideal for those who like simple music challenges, you have to tap the drum in sync with the notes. Each attempt will be ranked, and you fill the Soul Gauge the better you do. Although the premise might sound simple, there are many different modes, difficulty levels and costumes to collect to keep gameplay fresh and fun.
Three word review: Tear-jerker
Takeshi makes games for fun. His brother Hiroshi ends up in hospital and Takeshi decides to make him games to cheer him up. The story, told in claymation interludes, is the main draw here. But what a central conceit.
Three word review: Chest infection
Open up a chest. Then try to open up another chest with the same number inside to clear the pair. It’s that old memory game conceit, back in Apple Arcade form.
Three word review: A knotty mystery
Put together clues and solve puzzles to untangle the knots in this murder mystery story. An adventure that truly feels made for the touchscreen.
Three word review: Color matching adventure
Super popular Temple Run returns with a new Apple Arcade game that’s got hundreds upon hundreds of levels of colour and shape matching puzzles. Each puzzle helps the main character, adventurer, archaeologist and Temple Runner Scarlett Fox, overcome obstacles in her path and brings her closer to unlocking the secrets of ancient sites and temples.
Three word review: Block stacking beats
This is the Tetris you already know and love but with a thumping soundtrack of tunes from artists like Alison Wonderland, GARZA, Hannah Diamond and Octo Octa, which add a bassy rhythm to your block stacking and update every month. If you manage to stick to the beat, you can ramp up your score, but you can also select Marathon mode to pick your own music for a more classic Tetris experience.
Three word review: Puzzling walking sim
The Bradwell Conspiracy is a walking sim on the face of it. 3D first-person perspective. Check. Mystery to unwind. Check. But there are some more challenging puzzles here than in plenty of other walking sims.
Three word review: Monochrome meditation
Walk through a pretty monochrome world, collecting pieces of images and words floating in the air to complete cod-philosophical collages in each area. This one may not be for everyone, but it weaves a particular spell that may draw you into its enigmatic world.
Three word review: Slide, slide, slide
The Enchanted World is a slider puzzler with a pretty layer of fantasy gloss on top, giving you another reason to keep playing.
Three word review: One for readers
This is a visual game with chapters that are interspersed with a range of logic puzzles. Set in 1984, two friends go on a rescue mission to find their dog, Moses. Each chapter unfolds in a 3D diorama and there are 7 new arcade mini games to play too.
Three word review: Mournful but magical
There’s a soulful loneliness to The Last Campfire that gives its shadowed world a sense of magic. It’s a lovely game, brought together by a rather wonderful voice over narration and affecting score. The gameplay is based around light puzzling, with either tap-to-navigate controls or a virtual joystick. But the emphasis on storytelling gives this game an unusual weight. Recommended.
Three word review: Musical adventure
A puzzler-adventure that looks like a goofy kid’s game, but has hidden depths. Its aural soundscapes are much more like those of the navel-gazing games critics tend to love. Music also features in the puzzle-solving, as locks require different note combinations from the sounds you and companions you meet can make.
Three word review: Loneliness of crowds
A dark and surreal adventure about the loneliness of cities. For those who want games with some story and meaning rather than anything upbeat or fast-paced.
Three word review: It’s adventure time
Based on a series of educational games, this version is designed for Apple Arcade. The idea is, you’re making a trip from Missouri to Oregon in the late 1800s and learning all about the nature, trail and people you meet along the way. But you’ll need to manage your inventory, take care of your wagon, see to the health and morale of the people you’re travelling with, and much more – some events are procedurally selected, so each play feels fresh.
Three word review: Fantasy board game
A turn-based strategy game in which you battle creatures from another dimension and juggle action points to make sure you’re not caught short. It’s presented like a classic board game, which is nice.
Three word review: Where am I?
An open-world game from the creators of Abzu, a highly directed and kinda magical experience. Is this one as good? There’s certainly more to explore, and a willingness to do so is key to enjoying this singular title. Go in with an open mind, but you can always look online if you end up with no idea as to what you’re meant to do.
Three word review: Pinball dungeon crawler
What a mash-up. This is pinball, in which your ball becomes the weapon to take out rooms of fantasy-themed nasties. It’s certainly strange, but it kinda works.
Three word review: Creepy pocket puzzler
The Room was an award-winning game and now its sequel, The Room Two+, brings all the best bits back for a new and mysterious escape room puzzle in your pocket. This game weaves a compelling story with gorgeous visuals, challenging puzzles, eerie audio and a super creepy atmosphere to delight fans of spooky stories. Its pick up and play design means you can easily catch up where you left off, but it’s one you’ll want to stay up all night to finish – while hiding under the duvet, of course.
Three word review: Retro Don’t Starve
You guessed it. The Survivalists is a survival game, in which you gather provisions and craft stuff to cobble together the makings of a miniature civilization.
Three word review: Exorcist goes inanimate
A rather strange game in which you possess inanimate objects, which then become your “character” in an all-on-all fighting game set in a suburban house.
Three word review: Simple sticky sums
Slide number tiles around the screen to create three or numbers that are multiples of three. If this sounds achingly simple, wait until you’re a few minutes in, Threes!+ is oddly addictive, and the more you slide the tiles around, the more you can’t stop thinking in terms of three. It’s a super sticky game for anyone with a soft spot for number puzzles who doesn’t want anything too taxing on the brain.
Three word review: Neon space racing
High-energy, fast-paced and set to a booming soundtrack, Thumper: Pocket Edition is well worth downloading if you enjoy the thrill of racing games with a futuristic twist. There are no cars or cute go-karts here. Instead, you’re a shiny space beetle hurtling along neon race tracks before facing big boss battles. The gorgeous graphics and sound create a Tron-like vibe that’s both hypnotic and a massive adrenaline buzz.
Three word review: Mindful coloring-in
A relaxing painterly puzzler that may even teach you a little about color theory. You must drag realistic-looking watercolour paint across the screen, blending colours to complete levels.
Three word review: Upgrade your vocab
If you often buy a newspaper just to crack the crossword in the back, this game is for you. Tiny Crossword+ brings you access to thousands of crosswords and a fresh one is introduced every day with a different theme. If you’re sick of mindless games that only require you to tap the screen, this is a refreshing change that’ll get you thinking and improve your vocab while you’re at it.
Three word review: Learn to fly
You’re a tiny bird with tiny wings and need all the help you can get from rolling hills to push you up into the air and fly. The game’s goal is to keep moving, sliding and flying before the night rolls in behind you. One tap pushes you forward and up, which is why this game is mesmerising and oddly soothing. Especially because procedurally generated graphics mean each time you visit Tiny Wings+ land, you’ll see a different, colorful world unfold around you.
Three word review: Blast ’em up
A shooter that vacillates between a single-stick and dual-stick style between levels. Journey through the jungle and fly through the skies as you wield light that destroys a big ol’ bunch of demons hell-bent on killing you. It’s fun to play and looks great, with visuals inspired by anime.
Three word review: Eye of beholder
Craft weapons, fight enemies and rebuild the Great City. Towers of Everland is a grid-based dungeon crawler, the kind popular in the early 90s and made popular more recently by titles like Legend of Grimrock. There are endless variations to how gameplay will unfold, so play again and the action will still feel fresh.
Three word review: Robots in di-cards
Take part in real-time strategy battles against players worldwide using teams of your favorite characters from the Transformers series. Collect and level up different cards to build a squad that fits your playstyle to become the best player in the game.
Three word review: X-Files lite
This short adventure game sees you follow a tightly-scripted sequence in each level. Your control consists of operating your DSLR camera, to take pictures of UFOs and other phenomena to send to the “fake news media”. Hmm.
Three word review: Super-speed ice hockey
Fast paced ice hockey, played 3-on-3. Features, for some reason, players from the NBA, NFL and MLB, and others, as well as famous hockey stars.
Three word review: Steven Universe RPG
If you’re a fan of the Steven Universe series, then Unleash the Light is the perfect Apple Arcade game for you. On your RPG adventure, you can play as eight different characters from the series, including Steven, Garnet and Lapis Lazuli as you face off against two mysterious new Prism-wielding Gems. The story is co-written by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and even uses the series’ voice actors.
Three word review: For JRPG fans
This is one of the more specialist games on Apple Arcade at the time of writing. It’s a JRPG, but not the kind you may have played before, as it’s made for shorter play sessions.
Three word review: Hover racing deluxe
Warp Drive is a futuristic racer where the cars hover and the environments fly past at 1000mph when you hit a warp boost. Not the most exciting racer ever designed in terms of feel, but not bad.
Three word review: Turtle vs Sonic
An accessible platformer suitable for all ages. You need to help two turtles stranded on an island find one another. There are difficult obstacles to overcome and evil magic in the island that transforms creatures into monsters. Make friends with island natives that will help you on your quest.
Three word review: Hilarious non-golf mania
One of the few games those who have never used Apple Arcade may already know. What the Golf? is hugely inventive, throwing away all the conventions of a golf game. Much more than just a silly gag, What the Golf? even ends up having some of the sensibility of Valve’s Portal games. Who’d have thought it? The one bit that is golfy: you flick back on the screen to choose your swing strength. Don’t miss it.
Three word review: Arty-looking puzzler
A stylish puzzler with emotional story sections between its levels. Build houses of cards to work your way through memories and navigate dreamlike puzzles. It’s a great-looking game with more than 50 different puzzles to challenge you.
Three word review: Short, charming puzzler
Use different moves and gestures to manipulate and turn the globes of Winding Worlds’ levels. That’s how you solve the different puzzles you’ll encounter along the way. It’s a light and cute game that’s easy to pick up and play whenever.
Three word review: Captain Toad maker
If you’ve enjoyed the diorama based gameplay of Captain Toad but hungered to make your own levels, that’s what you get with Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker. The story campaigns are a little short, but there are thousands of player creations to explore, and thanks to various in-game tools, you’ll be able to create a narrative through the levels you make.
Three word review: Simple word matching
Match up letters and pairs of letters to make words that match the pictures in each scene. It’s simple, but may be just the light brain stimulation you’re after.
Three word review: Become the samurai
Platinum Games is known for major PC and Console action games, like Nier Replicant and the Bayonetta series, and they’ve brought all their expertise to World of Demons. This hack and slash adventure brings their flashy action to iOS devices as you take on the role of a samurai on a quest against evil.
Three word review: Underwater battle royale
With a plot similar to classic movie Battle Royale, it’s no great surprise this game is mostly about the plot. You get to interact with 12 characters, our group of pre-teen survivors. Gameplay seems basic, but the Japanese voice acting sounds neat.
Three word review: Infinite word puzzles
This game is like Scrabble, but instead of letters, you’re given whole words, and your goal is to place a certain number of them on the board without running out of words or space. It’s simple but perfect for keeping your brain active on a lazy afternoon – and thanks to its intelligent algorithm, it boasts you’ll never run out of puzzles to solve.
Three word review: Unusual folksy RPG
A role-playing game set in a world of Slavic folk tales. This gives it quite a different vibe to other RPGs on Apple Arcade. At times it’s darkly funny and has a Romanian hip-hop soundtrack.
Three word review: Virtual classic pinball
Zen are experts at creating virtual pinball machines, and Pinball Party is no exception. The game features a massive range of tables – with a healthy mix of Zen’s own creations, tables based on popular franchises and even classic Williams pinball tables. If you want to play pinball on the go, this is a great option.
Three word review: Pinball castle defense
This is a fun mix of pinball and castle defense. Zombies attack your stronghold. You bash them with the ball and flippers. There are even RPG elements, with a map screen to head between missions and loot-based upgrades.
Three word review: Low-key zoo builder
Zookeeper World blends match-three puzzles with a chill zoo simulator that is much less restrictive than the free-to-play game version. With a cute art style that looks like it’s been lifted from the Nintendo DS era, you’ll be playing for hours and hours as you work to clear its over 200 levels.
Still not convinced Apple Arcade is worth the investment? Check out our comprehensive review for our verdict on the premium gaming service.