Illustration by Grayson Blackmon / The Verge
There’s a lot to play on Apple’s game subscription service
Apple Arcade is a gaming subscription service that offers a wealth of great titles with no ads for $4.99 per month. Some great new games were released for it this year, but there are also many Apple Arcade-exclusive versions of some of the biggest App Store hits, and they’re just as fun as when they first came out. We’ve compiled a mix of new and classic games you might want to check out if you’re a new subscriber.
Fantasian features handcrafted dioramas that create a distinctive style.
Fantasian is a mobile JRPG from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. It takes cues from many classic JRPGs, features a soundtrack from another recognizable name to Final Fantasy fans, Nobuo Uematsu, and takes place in a game world built from handcrafted dioramas. The game first released in April and got a part two update in August.
Clap Hanz Golf
Image: Clap Hanz
Clap Hanz Golf is a spiritual successor to the Hot Shots Golf games (or Everybody’s Golf outside of North America), so if you’ve played that series, you should feel right at home with Clap Hanz Golf’s arcade-y take on the sport. Clap Hanz is actually the developer for all of the Hot Shots Golf titles except for the first, and the studio brings all of their expertise on the virtual greens to translate the sport to Apple’s platforms.
Tiny Wings Plus
Image: Andreas Illiger
Tiny Wings Plus
In Tiny Wings Plus, you play as a tiny bird with the goal of building momentum between sloping hills. If you hit the curve of the hills just right, you pick up speed and fly through the air — which is made even more fun by the bird’s charming chirps of joy. The game is accompanied by a wonderfully peaceful song that you’ll be humming happily long after you’ve stopped playing.
Look how happy the tiles are!
Threes Plus is a puzzle game where you swipe tiles with numbers to match them together. It’s a bit more complex than I’m making it sound, but the game does a great job explaining its rules. You have as much time as you need to make a move, which makes it more relaxing than some other puzzle games, and it’s all elevated by a delightful presentation — the tiles are full of personality, with silly faces and cute voices, and the music is excellent.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts is filled with vibrant worlds.
My colleague Andrew Webster described Sayonara Wild Hearts as “an electrifying ride through a world made of pop culture,” and I think that’s pretty apt. Stages are short, too, which means that you should be able to make progress whether you only have a few minutes to play or a little bit longer.
Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City
Jump through beautiful landscapes in Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City.
Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City is a relaxing sidescroller where you jump off rolling hills. The goal is to go as far as you can without crashing into rocks or falling on your head while trying to do a flip. The excellent mechanics are complemented by a gorgeous art style, and you’ll find ample opportunities to use the built-in photo mode for snapping pictures of flips across beautiful landscapes.
Image: Local No. 12
A Dear Reader puzzle.
Dear Reader makes puzzles out of pages of classic books. In this relaxing game, you’re tasked with putting mixed-up passages back in order by filling in blanks, swapping words around, and more. The game offers a clever way to work through a puzzle while simultaneously absorbing some classic literature.
Jetpack Joyride Plus
Image: Halfbrick Studios
You’ll collect a lot of coins in Jetpack Joyride Plus.
Jetpack Joyride Plus is an action-oriented infinite runner where you collect coins, dodge missiles and obstacles, and pick up items (including ridiculous vehicles like a giant robot dragon) to make it easier to get as far as you can. There are also fun missions that add some structure to each run, and completing them gives you more coins you can spend on upgrades and items.
Swipe to learn more.
In Reigns Plus, a clever card-based monarchy simulator, you swipe right or left on requests brought to you to keep your reign in place for as long as possible. Each decision affects the balance of your kingdom, and some have adverse consequences that may lead to your eventual demise. The simple gameplay and excellent writing make for an engaging game where you’re constantly creating your own story, and it is satisfying to play for just a bit or for a long while.
Crossy Road Plus
Image: Hipster Whale
You’ll dodge many obstacles in Crossy Road Plus.
In Crossy Road Plus, you play a tiny voxel animal trying to navigate through busy streets, logs floating down rivers, and other types of perilous terrain, one tiny hop at a time. It’s kind of like a modern-day version of the classic Frogger, but with more cute digital animals.