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The best Apple Arcade games you should play right now

The iPhone has always been a great place for gamers, but Apple Arcade puts a new spin on things. After a free one-month trial, it costs $5 per month to subscribe, but that fee gives you and your family unrestricted access to a wonderland of great games with no in-app subscriptions or advertisements in sight. The service launched with more than 100 new and exclusive games alongside a few familiar titles from other platforms, and more are being added all the time. Apple Arcade works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, but also on Macs and the iPod Touch.

To help you get started, we’ve picked out our favorites, the cream of the crop. These are the best Apple Arcade games you can play right now. You may also want to check out our picks for the best iPhone games.

Further reading

LEGO Builder's Journey

LEGO Builder's Journey
80%
E
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Light Brick Studio
Publisher
The LEGO Group
Release
December 20, 2019
Select, rotate, move, and insert familiar Lego bricks in the right places to build structures and create paths for your simple character to move through each level. At first glance, you’ll be reminded of Monument Valley because Builder’s Journey has a similarly relaxing feel and high level of polish with soothing soundscapes to match, but for the most part, this puzzle game is simpler. There’s a lovely story here, and the game stays true to Lego’s ethos, giving you complete freedom to spin your diorama and find your own solution to each puzzle. You can take your time experimenting and see what works. For Lego fans, perfect sound effects elevate the brick play and they click into place with a satisfying motion that echoes the feel of physical bricks, making the whole thing instantly accessible and evocative of childhood Lego sessions. If there’s anything wrong here, it’s the relatively short length and limited replay appeal.
LEGO Builder's Journey Trailer - Apple Arcade

Exit the Gungeon

Exit the Gungeon
60%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Shooter, Platform, Adventure, Indie, Arcade
Developer
Singlecore Games, Dodge Roll
Publisher
Devolver Digital
Release
September 19, 2019
If you’ve played Enter the Gungeon, then you absolutely need to give Exit the Gungeon a shot. This sequel is a bullet-hell-style game where, rather than diving further and further into the titular gungeon, you’re climbing your way out. It’s still got that rogue-lite style element of runs never being the same but now framed as a 2D side-scroller as opposed to the top-down, floor-based layout of the original. All the main characters are back, plus new and old enemies, bosses, and items. This is a shorter experience, making it great for bite-sized attempts.
Exit the Gungeon - Teaser Trailer

Pilgrims

Pilgrims
80%
E10
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Point-and-click, Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
Amanita Design
Publisher
Amanita Design
Release
October 05, 2019
This deliciously dark point-and-click adventure game is beautifully made with an incredibly quirky art style and moody music. You have to explore a map, meeting odd characters as you go, and work out how to get the things you need to progress. The local innkeeper wants a cooked fish in exchange for a bottle of booze, for example, but things get an awful lot stranger than that. The animations, sound effects, and voice acting make the testing process — as you try out different objects on different characters — genuinely fun and sometimes hilarious. The controls are simple taps, and objects and characters that join you are denoted by cards and stacked in your inventory at the bottom of the screen; it’s a clever, simple design that works perfectly on an iPhone or iPad. The makers, Amanita Design, were the creative force behind Machinarium and Samorost. Because there are so many possible interactions and 45 achievements to collect, Pilgrims also offers good replay value.
Pilgrims Official Trailer

Bleak Sword

Bleak Sword
Platforms
Mac, iOS
Genre
Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Indie
Developer
more8bit
Publisher
Devolver Digital
Release
September 19, 2019
If you’re a souls-like fan, you might not expect Apple Arcade to offer any games in the genre that would satisfy you, but Bleak Sword manages to be a great option. The graphics are intentionally basic, but it’s clear once you start playing that all the team’s efforts went into making the game play as good as possible. You will go through nine chapters in an attempt to break a curse through defeating a range of bosses with attacks, spells, rolls, and parries. While a gamepad is ideal, it is very well-tuned for touch controls as well.
Bleak Sword - Apple Arcade

Manifold Garden

Manifold Garden
79%
E
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
William Chyr Studio
Publisher
William Chyr Studio
Release
October 18, 2019
Playing through this M.C. Escher-inspired geometric puzzle world requires you to let go of your preconceptions about shapes and how they fit together. You can shift gravity by tapping near a wall, and each perspective is assigned a different color. There are switches and things to pick up or activate, but working out how to get from point A to point B can be surprisingly tricky. It’s a little unsettling and bewildering at times, because your perspective keeps shifting, opening up new possibilities, but it’s also gentle and devoid of any real threat, so you can experiment and explore at your own pace. Developer William Chyr spent seven years developing this game and it is visually stunning, with engrossing puzzles that demand patience. This is not an experience to rush through, it’s best to take your time, look all around and properly survey your surroundings before picking your path.
Manifold Garden - Announcement Teaser Trailer | PS4

Super Mega Mini Party

Super Mega Mini Party
Platforms
iOS
Publisher
Red Games CO, LLC
Release
November 01, 2019
If you’re looking for some multiplayer fun, then you’ll find eight fast and frenetic mini-games on offer here that support up to four players. You can choose to create a party and invite friends, or join up with strangers online, to compete for mini-game mastery. The games are all very different, but they’re easy to play on an iPhone with touchscreen controls. There’s a game of pass the dynamite, you can try and sink each other with well-placed cannonballs on the high seas, and you can blast into space to try and rescue an astronaut. Many are based on familiar, popular games with simple mechanics, what they have in common is that they make for comical competition. Super Mega Mini Party is at its most fun when you’re playing together with friends in the same room. It’s family-friendly with a cute, cartoon art style and silly sound effects. Developer, Red Games, has promised to add more mini-games and characters soon.

WHAT THE GOLF?

WHAT THE GOLF?
74%
E10
Platforms
Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Puzzle, Simulator, Sport, Adventure, Indie, Arcade
Developer
Triband
Publisher
Fig Publishing Inc., FoxNext Games, Triband
Release
September 19, 2019
Billed as “Golf for people who hate golf” this clever puzzle game is enormously fun and it confounds your expectations at every turn. At first glance, it appears to be a golf sim, but as soon as you start playing the surprises come thick and fast. The only thing that remains constant is the basic pull back, aim, and release mechanic, which is perfect for touchscreen control. What you’re actually firing across the screen, your view on it, and the obstacles in your way all change from one level to the next. It’s wonderfully well presented, with a lot of witty gags that will make you laugh out loud, and a host of game references and tributes. There are lots of puzzles to beat, some easy, some really tough, but you don’t have to beat everything to progress, so if you’re stumped you can simply move on. While some Apple Arcade games are best enjoyed on an iPad with a game controller, this is a perfect game to play on your iPhone.
WHAT THE GOLF? - ☠️Failure trailer☠️ - top 5 bugs

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Sayonara Wild Hearts
80%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Music, Adventure, Indie, Arcade
Developer
Simogo
Publisher
Annapurna Interactive
Release
September 19, 2019
Beautifully animated and well-designed, this game immediately draws you in and doesn’t let go.  You’ll run, fly, and guide skateboards, motorbikes, and even a deer through a smooth, super stylish, psychedelic, indie-pop dreamscape that pulses along with the music. Ostensibly, you’re guiding a girl with a broken heart as she races through spectacular neon landscapes grabbing heart-shaped shards, avoiding obstacles, and trying to defeat enemies. There’s also Tarot card styling and narration by Queen Latifah. The gameplay is mesmerizing as it challenges you to time your taps and swipes correctly but offers forgiving instant replays if you mess up. Clearly inspired by Rez, this game leans a little more towards style than substance, but it’s so nicely made and such immersive fun that it’s well worth at least one playthrough, which should only take you about an hour, though it’s likely you’ll be back for more.
Sayonara Wild Hearts - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
E10
Platforms
Mac, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Indie
Developer
Cornfox & Bros.
Publisher
Cornfox & Bros., FDG Entertainment
Release
September 19, 2019
The original Oceanhorn was a fantastic adventure RPG that challenged you to grow from a boy into a legend and this follow-up is bigger and better. There are treasure-filled dungeons to loot, quests to complete, and evil enemies to defeat. Set in Gaia, you’ll play as a noble, young knight tasked with defeating the Warlock Mesmeroth and his evil hordes. Luckily, you have a bit of help, some of the time, in the shape of a samurai robot called Gen and the granddaughter of Arcadia’s leader Archimedes called Trin. The hack-and-slash gameplay is occasionally broken up by a brain-teasing puzzle. With a cute art style and a sense of wonder, this is clearly inspired by Zelda, but that’s no bad thing and it has been thoughtfully designed to provide enough challenge to hook you without ever feeling frustrating.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm - Title Theme

ChuChu Rocket! Universe

ChuChu Rocket! Universe
Platforms
Mac, iOS
Genre
Puzzle
Developer
Hardlight
Publisher
Sega
Release
September 19, 2019
This quirky action puzzler is all about guiding astronaut mice to the rocket that will take them to safety, being careful to avoid obstacles, traps, and cats. The mice have a mind of their own, so you’ll have to plot safe passage carefully and then set them on their way to see if your plan worked out. A series of planets gradually ramps up the difficulty, from flat to 3D environments, with ever-increasing complexity and new mechanics, including teleporters and switches. Keeping your mice alive requires some thoughtful route planning, but you can always try again if things wrong. Whether you remember the original Chu Chu Rocket on Dreamcast or not, this is easy to pick up and proves to be an engaging puzzle game.
ChuChu Rocket! Universe

Skate City

Skate City
E
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Simulator, Sport, Indie, Arcade
Developer
Room 8 Studio, Agens
Publisher
Snowman
Release
September 14, 2019
You may be more likely to try this out if you are, or were, a skater, but you really don’t need to know an ollie from your elbow to pick it up. Skate around cityscapes in this side-scrolling title, holding on screen to build up speed and swiping in different directions to pull off tricks. Mastering the timing is the tricky part at first, but things get increasingly complex as you progress. Luckily, some solid mechanics, including the need to balance when grinding, make for a relatively gentle challenge and there’s a free-skate mode if you prefer to do your own thing. You’ll start in Los Angeles, but you’ll get to skate in Barcelona and Oslo later on. All look great and combine well with a chilled-out score and weather effects to create an atmospheric feel.
Skate City – Teaser Trailer

Where Cards Fall

Where Cards Fall
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Platform, Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer
The Game Band
Publisher
Snowman
Release
September 19, 2019
A stunningly beautiful and thoughtful puzzle game, Where Cards Fall is an unmissable Apple Arcade title. Your task is to guide the unnamed protagonist through a series of levels, helping him get from point A to point B, and you can collapse and expand houses of cards to help you do it. Muse a little more on the strange cutscenes in between and you can see that this is a journey through time, as well as space. It’s a dreamy coming-of-age tale that riffs on the importance of memories, but it’s also an engaging spatial puzzler that will have you swiping and pinching to try and unveil the way forward. Naturally, your journey gets trickier and requires more thought the further you progress.
Where Cards Fall – Release & Platforms Announcement Trailer

Sneaky Sasquatch

Sneaky Sasquatch
Platforms
Mac, iOS
Genre
Arcade
Developer
RAC7 Games
Release
September 19, 2019
Can you guide an adorable Sasquatch through a large park and ensure that he purloins enough grub to keep him alive without spooking the campers or drawing the angry attention of the park ranger? It’s tougher than it sounds, but you’ll definitely have a lot of fun trying. Luckily there’s a raccoon to guide you, a bear who’ll buy excess food for cash, and all manner of handy gear to buy or loot. The stealth gameplay is really fun and intuitive, the art style is irresistibly cute, and there’s even an overarching plot that slowly unfolds as you rob the place blind. This is wholesome, Yogi Bear-style fun for the whole family and it gets sillier and sillier as it goes on.

Spek

Spek
Platforms
Mac, iOS
Genre
Puzzle
Developer
RAC7 Games
Publisher
RAC7 Games
Release
September 19, 2019
You really have to play this puzzle game to get your head around it. Screenshots of the sparse art style simply don’t convey the challenge here as you work your way through a string of colorful puzzles that blend into one another as you solve them by guiding your dot to collect fragments and avoid dangers. It’s a stylish experience that requires you to think in terms of 3D space and objects, even though all you have on screen is 2D representations.
Spek Trailer

Cat Quest II

Cat Quest II
70%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Indie
Developer
The Gentlebros Pte. Ltd.
Publisher
PQube, Flyhigh Works, The Gentlebros Pte. Ltd.
Release
September 19, 2019

This is a cat-themed, action-fantasy RPG — and you really don’t need to know any more. With adorably cute graphics and a plethora of hilarious feline puns paired with a surprisingly deep, classic RPG underneath, Cat Quest 2 is purrfect for a spot of mobile gaming. This time around, a doggo accompanies our feline protagonist and you can switch between them or, even better, play co-op with a friend. There are magic powers to acquire, or you can accumulate heavy armor and a dangerous arsenal as you loot dungeons, fight a vast array of different monsters, and try to use the environment to your advantage. You’ll enjoy Cat Quest best as a co-op experience and it’s a great game for kids and adults alike. Once you start your Cat Quest 2 journey, you’ll never want to leave the dreamy world of Felingard (and beyond).

Cat Quest II - Official Reveal Teaser

Assemble With Care

Assemble With Care
70%
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), iOS
Genre
Puzzle, Indie
Developer
Ustwo Games
Publisher
Ustwo Games
Release
September 19, 2019
If you’re tired of the action-packed arcade games and time-consuming journeys, Assemble with Care might be a more suitable pick for you. Playing as Maria, you have to tap and drag things around the screen to repair them in this satisfyingly different puzzle game. Your mission is to work on cameras and cassette recorders (a handful of other objects). There are 13 in all. The game is somewhat similar to the Room series, but it differs because each item you take apart and put back together again reveals something about the owner. As time passes in the game, you learn that you’re not just repairing the object, but also the owners and their relationships. It’s a satisfying game to play with a unique art style and animation, fitting music and voice acting, and some unexpectedly touching moments. If you want something relaxing and pleasurable, Assemble With Care will serve you well.
Assemble With Care - Launch Trailer

Butter Royale

Butter Royale
Platforms
iOS
Release
January 24, 2020
Your iPhone offers a virtually endless array of battle royale options, including games such as Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, among others. But Butter Royale, a game that revolves around food fighting, won’t let you down if you’re in the mood for a quick gaming session. The rounds in this game last less than five minutes, and the mobile-friendly app makes it easy to play while waiting in line or on the bus. Your goal in Butter Royale is straightforward: be Butter Island’s only survivor. You have over 50 playable characters to choose from before you head to the sprawling battleground. Once there, you and 31 other players will compete for survival on the game’s island arena. Considering it’s just a mobile game, Butter Royale has impressive features like multiple game modes and hundreds of unlockable items.

Editors' Recommendations

Jesse Lennox

Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more Japanese game devs than his own neighbors, and has a way better knowledge of the game industry at large than anything going on in "real" current events. You can catch him defending the plot of Kingdom Hearts and geeking out over awesome combo videos in character action games any day of the week. Connect with Jesse on LinkdIn.

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