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Best of Apple Arcade – Joe’s personal top three

For anyone even remotely interested in gaming, Apple Arcade makes a pretty appealing value proposition. Over 100 new and (pretty much) exclusive games for $5/month, with no pesky ads or in-app purchases to dilute the experience. The quality on show is impressively high, too – these titles are, by and large, leagues better than your average App Store find.

That means the problem facing most subscribers is one of choice. How do you dig into such an overwhelming catalog of titles?

We’ve been exploring Apple Arcade since it hit beta release, with each of our five writers picking three of their personal favorites to tell you about. This is the final Arcade roundup – if you missed it, we also have selections from Tom Rolfe, Craig Grannell, Jon Mundy, and Andy Price.

This time, though, we’re focusing on long-time contributor Joe White‘s favorite titles. Joe’s picks lean toward the contemplative over the action-packed, so if you like games with a slower pace this is an excellent place to start.

Joe’s top three


For fans of town-building strategy games, this is a great title in the Arcade lineup. While the mechanics of the game will seem familiar – you’re in charge of a town and need to harvest and manage resources while working towards a series of goals – what’s great about Outlanders is its excellent look and feel.

It’s clean, crisp, and quick, and doesn’t seem cluttered or sluggish (as so many similar titles do). And it’s well grounded with storytelling hook: rather than letting you go off your own, Outlanders requires gamers to help town leaders through problems or dilemmas. It’s a game you can easily get lost in.


Projection: First Light

It’s easy to overlook this game as just another Limbo clone, but this 2D platformer-puzzler is a real gem. In it, you take control of Greta – a shadow puppet girl chasing a ball of light through a shadowy sepia world. Players can help Greta out through pulling levers and moving objects which are hidden here and there. But you can also manipulate the light to cast shadows over which Greta can walk, creating hills and bridges out of thin air.

Combined with the game’s rich environments and careful soundtrack, this makes Projection: First Light a lot of fun to play – especially on an OLED iPhone in a dark room!



The beauty of an Arcade subscription is you can try lots of new things, and this is a great example. It’s a turn-based tactical sci-fi game for people who don’t usually go in for those genres, in which you investigate a strange, icy planet inhabited by dangerous alien monsters.

Turn-based gaming might sound slow-paced, but that isn’t the case here: you can quickly tap through moves and attacks to progress through areas at a pretty fast rate, uncovering new characters and topping up your ammo as you go. Spaceland lets you build up a squad and take on enemies in team-based combat, too, and with a huge range of weapons (and enemies) to discover, you won’t get bored quickly.