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Apple Arcade games list: every game you can play right now

Apple Arcade
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Arcade is a subscription service that lets you play 180+ games on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac. 

It hasn’t been promoted anything like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, but is still a great deal if you’re interested in trying something outside of mega-budget console games, particularly on Apple's family of mobile devices. 

Don’t know what to try? Sifting out the gold in a big pile of titles you’ve never heard of isn’t easy, so we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you and take a quick look at every single game on Apple Arcade. 

In just a few words we’ll tell you what to expect and offer some micro-reviews based on our own play sessions. Ready?

A Fold Apart

Three word review: Love obsessed puzzler

 It looks like a platformer but A Fold Apart is a puzzler in which you fold parts of the screen, like pages of a pulpy romance novel, to reunite a pair of sappy lovebirds. 

Agent Intercept

Three word review: Action heavy racer

Take each car chase and driving scene from action movies of the last 50 years, leave them to simmer on the hob until you have a dense tangy paste, compress it all into a stock cube and you have Agent Intercept — a fast, action-packed vehicular romp. 

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (Editor's Pick)

Alba A Wildlife Adventure

(Image credit: ustwo)

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 of the island on which her grandparents live. You 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.  

All of You

Three word review: Avian road trip

Help a chicken find its lost chicks by pausing and swapping the circles that highlight the obstacles and dangers in each level. 

A Monster's Expedition

Three word review: Log-flipping puzzler 

Make your way from island to island by flipping logs which let you get over bodies of water. You’ll need to position the logs carefully to get them in the right place, mind.  

Assemble with Care

Three word review: Broken gadget simulator

This gentle puzzler from ustwo, the team of geniuses behind Monument Valley, sees you take apart and repair gadgets like watches and cameras. A relaxing experience with bags of style. 

ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree 

Three word review: Rhythm game RPG

This moody isometric RPG adventure turns into a rhythm game when you get into fights. There are puzzles too: a multi-faceted one, this. 

Ballistic Baseball

Three word review: It’s baseball, stupid

Animations with some of the snappy, vivacious aesthetic of games like Team Fortress 2 and Fortnite give this casual baseball game a punchy feel. 

Battlesky Brigade: Harpooner

Three word review: Cute vertical shooter

A vertical shooter with a twist. You fire out your character into each level, bustin’ baddies to reveal coins. And then a rope pulls you back to the start, when your net deploys to grab the cash. 

Beyond a Steel Sky (Editor's Pick)

Beyond a Steel Sky

(Image credit: Revolution Software)

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 with modern graphics. Newcomers who like a sci-fi adventure should also give it a go. 

Beyond Blue

Three word review: Chilled scuba diving

A great showcase for the graphical power of iOS devices, Beyond Blue sees you 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. 

Big Time Sports

Three word review: Mini games ahoy!

Reaction-based mini games with a sport veneer. Big Time Sports has a distinctive visual style and is best played with friends. 

Bleak Sword (Editor's Pick)

Bleak Sword

(Image credit: More8Bit)

Three word review: 8-bit Dark Souls

Don’t be put off by Bleak Sword’s ultra-pixelated graphics. It looks great in motion. This is a stylish and highly distinctive horror action game that has some of the same dark DNA as a title like Dark Souls or Bloodborne. 

Butter Royale

Three word review: Twin-stick MOBA

A battle arena shooter without the violence, Butter Royale sees up to 32 players firing sauce at each other in a large arena. Has some of the appeal of today’s online first-person shooters, but is viewed from top-down. 

Card of Darkness (Editor's Pick)

Card of Darkness

(Image credit: Zach Gage)

Three word review: Card-y dungeon crawler

You may be able to tell from the look, but Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward had a hand in Card of Darkness. It’s cute AF. But underneath that 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. 

Cardpocalypse 

Three word review: Magic the Gathering

Cardpocalypse grafts a story onto the gameplay of a one-on-one card battler. Cute graphics and a kid-friendly theme make it more accessible than some of the “grown-up” alternatives in this genre. 

Cat Quest II (Editor's Pick)

Cat Quest 2

(Image credit: The Gentlebros)

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. 

Charrua Soccer

Three word review: Football on fast-forwards

Charrua Soccer is UK/European football played at intense speed, cramming the action of a 90-minute match into a time slot that suits a trip to the toilet. It’s quick and fun. 

ChuChu Rocket! Universe

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. 

Creaks

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. 

Cricket Through the Ages (Editor's Pick)

Cricket Through the Ages

(Image credit: Free Lives)

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. 

Crossy Road Castle

Three word review: Not Crossy Road

The original Crossy Road is about, well, crossing increasingly unlikely roads. Crossy Road Castle is completely different, a platform with a co-op mode for up to four players. 

Dead End Job

Three word review: Cartoon twin-stick mayhem

A twin-stick shooter. You are a ghostbuster who racks up money for each ghost exorcised. It’s fast and manic, and you get to upgrade your abilities between levels.  

Dear Reader (Editor's Pick)

Dear Reader

(Image credit: Local No.12, LLC)

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. 

Decoherence

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. Not the simplest, so this one is probably best experienced on iPad. 

Discolored

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. 

Dodo Peak

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. 

Don't Bug Me!

Three word review: Martian tower defense

One of the early Apple Arcade releases, Don’t Bug Me! is an odd tower defense game set on Mars with some incongruous first-person shooter sections. 

Doomsday Vault

Three word review: Breezy, brief puzzler

A short isometric puzzler in which you play as a cut bulbous robot. Not too hard, not too long.  

Down in Bermuda

Three word review: Charming isometric puzzler

The beautifully drawn Down in Bermuda sees you explore various themed islands, each of which is packed with puzzles. 

Dread Nautical

Three word review: Pint-sized X-Com

A turn-based battle strategy title. You have to save a ship from supernatural nasties across 20 decks. 

EarthNight

Three word review: Artistic aerial platforming

Dragons have invaded earth. Earthnight is packed with the things. It’s a platformer of sorts, but one in which you spend much of your time in the air, rather than sauntering along platforms. 

Exit the Gungeon

Three word review: Pain and gain

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. 

Explottens

Three word review: Aerial cat carnage

Cats in planes shooting guns all day long. That is the Explottens way. You have to dart around each level constantly to avoid enemy fire. It’s an unrelenting dogfight. 

Fallen Knight

Three word review: Mega Man wannabe

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. 

Farm It!

Three Word review: Upcoming slice-em-up

Not yet available at the time of publishing, but Farm It! looks like fun. You swipe to slice a knife through crops and fields, which burst into blocks, and then use the resources to plant new stuff. 

Fledgling Heroes

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. 

Frogger in Toy Town

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. 

Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows

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. 

Grindstone (Editor's Pick)

Grindstone

(Image credit: Capybara Games Inc)

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. 

Guildlings

Three word review: Roleplay meets novel 

A quirky RPG that is part visual novel, which should suit if you want a story and don’t mind doing a bit of reading. 

Hexaflip: The Action Puzzler

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. 

Hogwash

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. 

Hot Lava

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. 

HyperBrawl: Tournament

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. 

INMOST (Editor's Pick)

INMOST

(Image credit: Hidden Layer Games)

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. 

Jenny LeClue - Detectivu

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. 

Jumper Jon

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. 

King's League II

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. 

Kings of the Castle

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. 

Legend of the Skyfish 2

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. 

LEGO Brawls

Three word review: Super Smash Brickers

Super Smash Bros. meets Capture the Flag, LEGO Brawls is a chaotic fighting game. Up to eight can play at once. 

LEGO Builder’s Journey

Three word review: LEGO gets deep 

What’s this? A deep and meaningful LEGO game? That’s right. A great way to relax after a session with LEGO Brawls. You complete construction puzzles using, obviously, LEGO bricks. 

Lifelike: Chapter One

Three word review: Art meets gaming

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. 

Lifeslide

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. 

Little Orpheus

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. 

Loud House: Outta Control

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. 

lumen.

Three word review: Illuminating puzzler?

This one is listed as “coming soon” at the time of writing so we haven’t had a chance to play, but it’s one of those familiar puzzlers where you direct light beams to send them to a certain spot in a grid-based play field. 

Manifold Garden

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. 

Marble It Up: Mayhem!

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. 

Marble Knights

Three word review: Fantasy roller disco 

A co-op adventure in which the main characters stand atop rolling marbles. Play with friends for the most fun. 

Mind Symphony

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. 

Mini Motorways

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. 

Monomals

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.

Murder Mystery Machine

Three word review: Whodunnit? 

A crime-solving adventure in which you have to interview subjects. Has an episodic structure, and the story was written by “professional film and TV writers”, apparently. 

Mutazione (Editor's Pick)

Mutazione

(Image credit: Die Gute Fabrik)

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. 

Necrobarista

Three word review: Deathly visual novel

A pretty visual novel heavy on the themes of death and necromancy. Don’t download it for the gameplay. But that applies to every visual novel style game. 

Neo Cab

Three word review: Cyberpunk cabbie detective 

A novel concept: you are a taxi driver chatting to your passengers. And through those conversations you find more and more about the disappearance of your friend. A compelling but ultimately relaxing experience. 

Neversong

Three word review: Atmospheric platformer 

A boy wakes from a coma and finds the world changed. Neversong is an action-puzzle platformer. 

Next Stop Nowhere

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 is worth a play if you are a fan of story-driven adventures. 

Nightmare Farm

Three word review: Tim Burton’s farm 

Maintain a farm. Grow stuff. Wear goth make-up. Nightmare Farm is the kind of game that might be riddled with micro transactions were it not on Apple Arcade. 

No Way Home (Editor's Pick)

No Way Home

(Image credit: SMG Studio)

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. 

Nuts - A Surveillance Mystery

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

Oceanhorn 2 (Editor's Pick)

Oceanhorn 2

(Image credit: Cornfox & Brothers Ltd)

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. 

Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon 

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?

Operator 41

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. 

Outlanders (Editor's Pick)

Outlanders

(Image credit: Pomelo Games)

Three word review: Build ‘em up 

Build a town and watch it run through the days and weeks. It’s serene and rewarding, and there are no micro transactions involved here. Bliss. 

Overland

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. 

Over the Alps

Three word review: Alpine adventure 

A narrative-led spy adventure in which your choices influence the story as you travel across Switzerland by train. 

PAC-MAN Party Royale

Three word review: PAC-Man’s on something 

Classic PAC-MAN gameplay is given a 2021 boost with shinier graphics and power-ups. If you can play multiplayer (up to four can play at once) this is a must-try. 

Painty Mob

Three word review: Bizarre splosh-a-thon 

Run around splashing paint onto everything within your reach. But the locals aren’t fans of your redecoration and will start forming a mob to take you out. Fast-paced chaos. 

Patterned

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. 

Pilgrims (Editor's Pick)

Pilgrims

(Image credit: Amanita Design)

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. 

Populus Run

Three word review: Follow the crowd 

This one isn’t yet available at the time of writing. Populus Run is an endless runner in which you control a whole group of people rather than just one. 

Possessions.

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. 

Projection: First Light

Three word review: Shadow puppet theatre 

One of those “meaningful” platformers, this time based around shadow puppetry. 

Punch Planet

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. 

Rayman Mini

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. 

Redout: Space Assault

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. 

Red Reign

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.  

Reigns: Beyond

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. 

Roundguard

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. 

Samurai Jack

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. 

Sayonara Wild Hearts (Editor's Pick)

Sayonara Wild Hearts

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

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. 

Scrappers

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. 

Secret Opps!

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. 

Shantae and the Seven Sirens

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. 

Shinsekai into the Depths

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. 

ShockRods

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. 

Skate City

Three word review: 2D Tony Hawk 

This looks like the kind of skating game that made headlines on consoles years ago. But Skate City is actually a 2D title with 3D gloss, making it a flashier version of the other trick-based games you often see on iOS. 

Slash Quest!

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. 

Sneaky Sasquatch

Three word review: Furry stealth antics 

Sneak around town as the hirsute mythical Sasquatch, raiding people’s picnics for goodies. Dripping in character. 

Sociable Soccer 2020

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. 

Sonic Racing

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. 

South of the Circle

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. 

Spaceland

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. 

Speed Demons

Three word review: Speed racer 

A top-down racing game focused on giving you a sense of speed and traffic-based peril. 

Spek.

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. 

Spelldrifter

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. 

Spidersaurs

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. 

Spire Blast

Three word review: Destruction > 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. 

SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit

SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit

(Image credit: Old Skull Games)

Three word review: Audiovisual Spongebob perfection 

Patty Pursuit does not 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?

Spyder

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. 

Star Fetched

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. Definitely one for fans of the side-scroller genre. 

Stela

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.  

Stellar Commanders

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. 

Stranded Sails

Three word review: Survival build’em up 

You are 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. 

Super Impossible Road

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. 

Super Mega Mini Party

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. 

Survival Z

Three word review: Zombie blaster 

This one wasn’t available at the time of writing, but Survival’s zombie action is sure to rack-up a few downloads on day one. 

Takeshi and Hiroshi

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. 

Tales of Memo

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. 

Tangle Tower

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. 

The Bradwell Conspiracy

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. 

The College Atlas

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. 

The Enchanted 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. 

The Get Out Kids

Three word review: One for readers 

Visual novel chapters interspersed with logic puzzles. 

The Last Campfire

The Last Campfire

(Image credit: Hello Games)

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.  

The Lullaby of Life

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. 

The Mosaic

Three word review: Loneliness of crowds 

A downbeat adventure about the loneliness of cities, peppered with surreal elements. 

The_Otherside

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. 

The Pathless

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. 

The Pinball Wizard

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. Strange, but kinda works. 

The Survivalists

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. 

Things That Go Bump

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. 

Towaga: Among Shadows

Three word review: Blast 'em up 

A shooter that vacillates between a single-stick and dual-stick style between levels. Has visuals inspired by anime series. 

Towers of Everland

Three word review: Eye of beholder 

Towers of Everland is a grid-based dungeon crawler, the kind popular in the early 90s and made popular again by titles like Legend of Grimrock. 

tint.

Three word review: Mindful coloring-in 

A relaxing painterly puzzler that may even teach you a little about color theory. You drag realistic-looking watercolour paint across the screen, blending colours to complete levels. 

UFO on Tape: First Contact

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. 

Ultimate Rivals: The Rink

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. 

Unleash the Light

Three word review: Steven Universe tie-in 

A cute but challenging turn-based battle RPG based in the Steven Universe…. universe. 

Various Daylife

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. 

Warp Drive

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. 

Way of the Turtle

Three word review: Turtle vs Sonic 

An accessible platformer suitable for just about all ages. 

What the Golf?

What the Golf

(Image credit: The Label)

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.

Where Cards Fall

Three word review: Arty-looking puzzler 

A puzzler with emotional story sections between its levels. 

Winding Worlds

Three word review: Short, charming puzzler 

Flicks up and sideways manipulate and turn the globes of Winding Worlds’ levels. These are the keys to solving its puzzles. Light and cute. 

World Laces

Three word review: Word search 

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. 

World's End Club

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. 

Yaga The Roleplaying Folktale

Three word review: Unusual 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. 

Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes

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. 

Still not convinced Apple Arcade is worth the investment? Check out our comprehensive review for our verdict on the premium gaming service.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.