Apple Arcade, the PlayStation Now of mobile gaming, was just unleashed for a random few that are running the iOS 13 beta, despite that the official launch date is set for September 19th. We fired up our trusty old iPhone XR
running the 13.1 beta, and, sure enough, the Arcade tab was chillaxing at the bottom of the App Store.
Tapping on the "Start free trial" button subs you to, well, a month of free games before you decide if you want to splurge $4.99 a month for the service. Is it worth it?
Well, the games list is an eclectic mix of word puzzles, racers, hack&slash, and even heavy FPS titles, so check out the list, and decide for yourself. If you are on a family plan, everyone there can play for the same price, which is a pretty svelte deal when you think of it, too. If you own a basic 64GB model, though, watch out.
Apple Arcade full games list at launch
Currently, there are no less than 59 titles that Apple is releasing Arcade with, so there is a bit of wiggle room to be filled until it reaches the promised 100 titles. What happens then, remains to be seen, but if PlayStation Now is any indication, the list will just grow exponentially.
And no, the games aren't four-year-old titles like the ones on Now, but new and exclusive, and Apple said it will be adding titles every week. Check them out:
- Agent Intercept (PikPok)
- Assemble With Care (usTwo)
- ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree (Wildboy Studios)
- Big Time Sports (Frosty Pop)
- Bleak Sword (Devolver Digital)
- Card of Darkness (Zach Gage)
In “Card of Darkness,” players solve card-based challenges that feature hand-drawn characters with a sense of humor. Solo developer Zach Gage, 34, teamed up with legendary animator Pendleton Ward to bring this game to life.
Gage has spent his life making video games and art. When the first iPhone was released, he saw an opportunity. “I looked at [iPhone] and said this is an art platform,” says Gage. He designed and released his first game, “SynthPond” in the fall of 2008 — one of the first games on the App Store. Since then, Gage has designed more than a dozen iOS games.
“I want games to reach the place where people discuss them as if they’re books or movies,” says Gage, who sees the Apple Arcade business model as freeing for developers. “I didn’t have to spend time thinking, ‘How do I fit ads into this?’ I just got to work with incredible artists and make incredible art — Apple Arcade is letting me do that.”
Apple Arcade's Card of Darkness
- Cat Quest II (The Gentlebros)
- Cricket Through the Ages (Devolver Digital)
- Dead End Job (Headup)
- Dear Reader (Local No. 12)
- Dodo Peak (Moving Pieces)
- Don't Bug Me! (Frosty Pop)
- Dread Nautical (Zen Studios)
- Exit the Gungeon (Devolver Digital)
- Explottens (Werplay Priv.)
- Frogger in Toy Town (Konami)
- Grindstone (Capybara Games)
- Hot Lava (Klei Entertainment)
- King's League II (Kurechii)
- LEGO Brawls (LEGO)
- Lifeslide (Block Zero Games)
- Mini Motorways (Dinosaur Polo Club)
- Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik)
- Neo Cab (Surprise Attack Games)
- Oceanhorn 2 (Cornfox & Bros)
- Operator 41 (Shifty Eye Games)
- Over the Alps (Stave Studios)
- Overland (Finji)
“Overland” is a post-apocalyptic road trip adventure game from Finji, co-founded by Adam and Bekah Saltsman, 37 and 38, respectively. The couple, who live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their two young sons, modeled “Overland” after a mishmash of their favorite classic board games, books and films. Players drive west across a rapidly deteriorating United States, rescuing survivors, scavenging for supplies and occasionally inviting a stray dog along for the ride.
What drives Finji’s creativity? Adam and Bekah credit the company’s commitment to quality of life. “I want people to have full lives and I want people to make games,” says Bekah. “So whatever we need to do to make that work, we will do that. If my team wants to have kids — how much time do [they] need? I want to work with these friends and make something beautiful with them.”
Apple Arcade's Overland
- Patterned (Borderleap)
In Borderleap’s “Patterned,” players color intricate puzzle pieces and arrange them to complete a satisfying canvas. Nate Dicken, 43, the solo developer behind the outfit in Blacksburg, Virginia, created the game as a method of finding calm. The varied patterns were sourced from 15 designers around the world — 14 of whom are women. Nate created “Patterned” exclusively for Apple Arcade.
“The App Store made it possible for me to have a platform to do what I do,” says Dicken, who has designed more than a dozen iOS games in the last seven years. “I wouldn’t have built this game if it weren’t for Apple Arcade.”
Apple Arcade's Patterned
Projection: First Light (Blowfish Studios)
Apple Arcade's current Sayonara Wild Hearts splash screen
- Punch Planet (Block Zero Games)
- Rayman Mini (Ubisoft)
- Red Reign (Ninja Kiwi)
- Sayonara Wild Hearts (Annapurna)
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens (WayForward Technologies)
- Shinsekai Into the Depths (Capcom)
- Skate City (Snowman)
- Sneaky Sasquatch (Rac7 Games)
- Spaceland (Tortuga Team)
- Speed Demons (Radiangames)
- Spek. (Rac7 Games)
- Spelldrifter (Free Range Games)
- Stellar Commanders (Blindflug Studios)
- Tangle Tower (SFB Games)
- The Enchanted World (Noodlecake Studios)
In “The Enchanted World,” players take on the role of a fairy who uses puzzles and challenges to piece back together her collapsing world. For creators and friends Ivan Ramadan and Amar Zubcevic, both 33, the game is much more than that: It’s a metaphor for a child growing up in a time of war. Both Ramadan and Zubcevic grew up in Sarajevo during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s, and both had parents that used creativity to shield them from the violence and danger around them.
“Sarajevo was under siege for four years,” says Zubcevic. “There was no electricity … there was no running water, you had to go to a well … and we would go with [our parents] and help them carry back containers — it was a game for us, helping them.”
Out of those childhood memories, “The Enchanted World” was born. The game, published in conjunction with developer Noodlecake, features the music and folklore of the Balkans.
“Our game is about all those children who, with their endurance and imagination, can create those magical worlds for themselves and their friends, even in the worst of circumstances,” says Zubcevic. “That's why their world is enchanted, and why I think that we can always do one better than what came before.”
“We wanted to make this a peaceful game and a fairytale,” says Ramadan. “We hope kids and their parents can enjoy it together.”
Apple Arcade's Enchanted
- The Get Out Kids (Frosty Pop)
- The Pinball Wizard (Frosty Pop)
- Tint. (Lykke Studios)
- Various Daylife (Square Enix)
- Way of the Turtle (Illusion Labs)
- WHAT THE GOLF? (The Label)
- Where Cards Fall (Snowman)
- Word Laces (Minimega)