The best of Apple’s all-you-can-eat iPhone games subscription
In 2019, Apple launched gaming subscription service Apple Arcade. Many titles are exclusives. All lack advertising and in-app purchases. And the service costs just $4.99/£4.99 per month – and is also part of Apple One.
Whether you enjoy lean-back chill-out puzzles or high-octane arcade fare, there’s something for you in Apple Arcade. But with over 200 titles on offer, where should you start? Here are our favorite new games added to Apple Arcade during the past year. (That’s May 2022 – April 2023, if you’re keeping track.)
Six great mobile exclusives on Apple Arcade
You won’t find these six superb titles on Android – or, in some cases, anywhere else.
Drop squiggles. Solve puzzles. That’s the bones of this game, which gives you a written clue, a visual scene, and a box to scribble inside of. You draw your squiggle, watch it drop, and hope your strategic thinking and artistic talents are enough to complete the task at hand.
Shovel Knight Dig
Frenetic arcade fare here as you dig deep underground, scoop up gems, duff up monsters, and discover buried secrets. This one’s tough and arguably best with a controller; but if you want a console-like classic on your Apple device, you’ll dig this game.
Horizon Chase 2
This one’s all zoomy racing larks, with more than a hint of old-school gameplay. That means scant regard to physics, and lashings of speed and gorgeous landscapes rather than seas of gray asphalt. Collectibles add replay value, and you can compete head-to-head with friends.
This tap-to-flap sequel builds on previous Badland games, with richer and more thoughtful level design. The classic gameplay remains, though: a put-upon critter attempting to pick its way through hazard-strewn landscapes. Fortunately, power-ups let you clone your flying hero, increasing your chances of reaching the goal.
Frogger and the Rumbling Ruins
There are hints of Monument Valley and Lara Croft GO in this puzzler where you rescue Frogger’s friends. They’re lurking within underground ruins – 3D landscapes with moving components you drag with a finger. The cut scenes are skippable, but the visuals, level design, and boss battles are great.
Get Frogger and the Rumbling Ruins
Football Manager 2023 Touch
Unleash your inner Ted Lasso with this detailed management simulator. Select a team from dozens of international leagues, or create your own, and then set about guiding your players to glory – or watching highlights and wondering why your striker can’t get the ball in the net from two yards away.
Get Football Manager 2023 Touch
Six App Store Greats on Apple Arcade
App Store Greats bring classic games from the App Store’s long history into Apple Arcade.
This ‘ambient’ arcade game has you direct a mote – a blob that moves by ejecting parts of itself. Your aim is to traverse scenes from microscopic to galactic scales, biding your time and carefully moving to absorb smaller motes, in order to reign supreme.
A mad space monk has used his mechanical hydra to smash up a load of planets, because video games. In this point-and-click adventure, you seek to put things right. The gameplay’s familiar, but Samorost 3 stands out with surreal visuals, grin-inducing set pieces, and exploratory puzzles.
Platform games aren’t all leapy plumbers and speedy hedgehogs. In GRIS, the protagonist explores a watercolor world of ruins. It’s thoughtful and delicate. And although the game is wordless, it has plenty of emotional heft as the hero brings hope and vibrancy back to her world.
The Gardens Between+
Two kids find themselves in a world constructed from childhood memories. Your aim is to reach the summits of surreal, fantastical islands, by solving puzzles. The twist is that success often depends on manipulating time. One to savor, from the clever puzzles to the sheer visual spectacle.
Love You To Bits+
This constantly inventive adventure finds space explorer Cosmo searching for missing pieces of his robot friend. Scenes riff off pop culture, from movies to other games, and there’s so much charm here that you’ll forgive the odd overly cryptic puzzle lurking among the gems.
Kingdom Rush Vengeance TD+
This tower defense game has buckets of character as you construct towers and train heroes to hold back waves of foes. Play on an iPad if you can, to afford your fingers more precision placement – and your eyes a better shot at spotting cunning enemies trying to sneak past your defenses.