Lego Builder's Journey is the latest addition to Apple Arcade and a fantastic puzzler using LEGO bricks. The game is basically a bunch of mind bending puzzles that you have to solve by putting LEGO bricks in the right space. In the early stages you just have to put LEGO pieces in correct spots. In later stages you have to move LEGO people to certain locations.
I am getting ahead of myself. As I said above, you start by putting LEGO pieces in certain spots. There is a tutorial through the first few levels that teaches you how to play. You touch a brick to moves it, hold to set it down, and tap to rotate it. The controls are fairly simple, although I had some trouble getting the bricks to do what I wanted at times.
Here's is gameplay video through the tutorial and the first six levels until the opening title.
As the game progress you are introduced to two figures that appear to be hikers. Your goal is to get them to certain points in each puzzle by manipulating the bricks the correct way. There appears to be some sort of story, but it is not very obvious of what the narrative is. I'm not really sure it is even important, but there is a conclusion at the end.
The levels get progressively harder to figure out. The final level had me stumped for close to an hour total. I had to keep stepping away and taking a break. Eventually I figured it out and solved it. If you would like to view the gameplay/walkthrough video I made click here. I will not embed it into this video for the sake of spoilers and those who don't want to see it.
Overall this game is fantastic! It isn't perfect, but I could not put it down. The puzzles are all solvable without a walkthrough (even the last one if you put your mind to it). I highly recommend downloading this from Apple Arcade. This is the type of game that makes Apple Arcade worth the money.
AArcade Reviews Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Big news today from Apple! You can now get a yearly subscription to Apple Arcade for $49.99 U.S. That means you can get 2 months for free with the yearly subscription!
Is it worth it? That depends on you. How much do you use Apple Arcade? Do you plan on having it for an entire year? If the answer to that question is yes, than it is well worth it. If you aren't sure, or don't want to lay out essentially $50, than no it is not for you. Tie that in with an iTunes card deal you can usually find this time a year, you might be able to get another month or two free (after the discount on the card).
You would think that someone running a reviews site for Apple Arcade would jump right on that offer. However, I am not. I still want to see where Apple Arcade is going before committing to a year of membership. I am a little worried about the pace of games being released since hitting the 100 games mark. One game every other week amounts to about two games a month. Yes, there are old games to play and games I keep on my devices, but I have to see more from Apple Arcade to pay for a year up front.
Are you going to jump on the year? Leave a comment below.
Apple Arcade is still only a few months old, but it has provided some amazing games for $4.99 a month. It has also provided some lousy games. AArcade Reviews has tried almost all of them and, even though it has only been a few months it is the end of the year, these are the AArcade top 5 Apple Arcade games of 2019.
Before we get to the list some notes. 1. The games on the list are only chosen from the MUST PLAY classification on the Quick List. 2. The order of the list is based on the review score and enjoyment of the game combined. Some games have the same score, and a decision was made. 3. Originality and fun factor played a big part in the list in addition to nostalgia.
I'm sure there are games that you might think belong on the list. That is fine. Leave your top 5 or 3 or whatever below. This list is the opinion of one person, and people like different types of games.
With that said, here's the list. Links are provided to the original site review. From there you can find links to the Arcade listing.
NUMBER 5: Frogger in Toy Town
This was one of the first games in Apple Arcade and it is a fantastic reimagining of Frogger. It plays on the nostalgia factor, but is also a ton of fun. You can play for five minutes or hours. This is one I keep going back to time and again.
NUMBER 4: Down in Bermuda
While not a game I keep going back to to play (because I have played as far as I can and eagerly awaiting an update), it is a fantastic puzzler that I could not stop playing. The puzzles are definitely solvable, for the most part, and the game looks great.
NUMBER 3: Way of the Turtle
Another game I am eagerly awaiting an update. When I was playing this game I could not put it down. I spent hours playing this one through to the current end. It takes me back to my childhood and playing platforms like the Mario series. The game looks fantastic and is very enjoyable.
NUMBER 2: Assemble With Care
Another game that hits the nostalgia factor on all cylinders. It is a different nostalgia than Frogger. This is nostalgia of repairing items I grew up with, like a typewriter or a rotary phone. Not only is this game nostalgic but really original. Again, one game I could not put down.
NUMBER 1: Pilgrims
If you haven't played pilgrims what are you waiting for????? It is just pure fun. The game is original, has a great look to it, has replayability (I played it over several times to see the different outcomes), and it is full of humor. I wish it was longer or that the developer make a Pilgrims 2!
Honorable Mention, in no particular order: Grindstone, Hexaflip, Thing That Go Bump
Well, there you have it. The AArcade Reviews Top 5 Apple Arcade Games of 2019. It was not an easy list to make, and there are a bunch of other great games out there. Let's hope 2020 brings even better games!
One of my favorite sports is Soccer, and I used to love playing various soccer arcade games growing up on my computer system. I could never get into FIFA games because they were too complicated with controls and I didn't find them to be fun. Sociable Soccer, a new soccer game through Apple Arcade, is the type of soccer game I enjoy. Fun, easy to play, and FUN.
The premise of Sociable Soccer is simple. You manage a team through tournaments and various games in the app. I'm not going to get into the different types of games and modes you can play, because what I really want to get into is the gameplay. Gameplay in this soccer game is so simple. There is a virtual direction controller on the left and three buttons on the right. The buttons are for shooting, passing, and chipping the ball.The buttons for controlling the ball are also for defensive moves. That is it. There is a fantastic tutorial that runs you through the controls and how to use them.
For me the controls are simple to use with or without a controller. In fact, I find the game easier to play without a controller.
When it comes to gameplay, controlling the players is smooth and responsive. Kicking the ball or passing does what you would expect and works fine. The graphics look great and the game plays like I want a soccer game to play - for the most part. I did some some parts of the game lacking. When you take a free kick or a throw in you can't control where your players go to receive the ball. You can control the direction the ball is going, but you can't control someone to be there for the ball. This basically results in putting the ball in play and hoping you can get to it.
One other quirk of gameplay is the amount of red and yellow cards I receive. Maybe it is how I play, but it seems like every time I slide tackle a person I am getting carded.
However, with that being said this is still a really fun soccer game to play. The games themselves only last about three minutes (90 second halves). While I appreciate the short games, and believe me I do, it would be nice to be able to increase the game to five minutes or more if you choose.
Watch the short video of gameplay from 1/2 of a game below.
There is a level of managing that happens in the game with upgrading players, which are represented by cards. You can earn cards with rewards through the game too. I haven't quite grasped this part of the game yet, so I am not going to dive deep into that. I will say it doesn't seem that important for playing the game. I have no issues playing, scoring, or winning games. It is challenging, but like I keep saying it is fun. At the end of the day, that is what makes a good game over a bad one.
AArcade Review Rating 4 out of 5
Download it here.
Super Mega Mini Party, by Red Games Co., is a fun mix of 8 mini games meant to be played with others online or locally via bluetooth. However, the biggest issue is finding someone to play against. Read on to learn more.
Before I get to the issue mentioned above, I'll start with the games. The games themselves are very fun and several are very original. They consist of pirate ship battles, motorcross racing, chopping down trees with martial arts moves, jumping over arctic animals as a penguin to stay on a sheet of ice, and more. The most original games out of the eight (in my opinion) are Penguin Plop, Spruce Lee, Lava Leap, and Miner Threat.
I think my favorite game of the list is Penguin Plop. In Penguin Plop your are a penguin jumping over fish, walruses, polar bears and more. The goal is to be the last penguin standing on a sheet of ice. It is easy to play with just one button to click and a lot of fun.
Speaking of being easy to play, all of the controls are very simple to understand. Some of the games only have one button while others might have two or a directional pad. For the most part all of the games are easy, except for Lunatic Lander.
Lunatic Lander is a classic type of game. Navigate your ship to save an astronaut while avoiding asteroids. Once you have the astronaut bring him/her back to the landing pad. The problem is it is very difficult and no way to stop once started. I played several games where no one could rescue the astronaut. After several minutes my opponents had quit and I was suck myself. Eventually I quit because there is no time limit on the game itself. Someone has to win. Also, if you quit one game in the competition you forfeit them all and return to the menu and have to start over. There is no way to forfeit that game and still stay in the main competition.
When you play against one or more players the games are chosen at random and you compete in a total of five games. There is a single player training mode that lets you play the game of your choice by yourself. This is a good way to get a feel for each game, or a good way to play when you can't find anyone to play with. You can also choose your character from the main screen and there are a bunch to choose from.
Here is some gameplay in training mode of each game:
This brings up my other issue, and my issue mentioned above. Games like this rely on other players to play against. Not many people will have someone locally to play and the developers have realized this making an online multiplayer option. However, I had trouble finding people online to play against too. When I have found someone to play against it is only one person. I have never played a full game with three other players (four total). Hopefully, this is due to being a new game in the Arcade and others will be joining soon, because this is a really fun game.
I did notice the game is developed by the same company as LEGO Brawls. I have had the same issue of finding players in LEGO Brawls and I have with this game. Coincidence or a server issue? I don't know but just a thought.
The issue of finding others to play online makes this is a hard game to rate. It truly is a lot of fun. The games are original or twists on a classic. If I could easily find someone to play it would be an easy 4.5 out of five. However, I think I'll have to go with a 3.5 for now.
Arcade Review Ratings 3.5 out of 5
Yaga The Role Playing Folktale, by Versus Evil, is as the name implies. A role playing game inspired by Slavic Folklore and Pagan beliefs, as stated in the description. It seems like a simple game, but it is more complex than meets the eye.
The basic story is you play a one handed blacksmith with bad luck. I don't really understand the bad luck part of the game, but it goes with the story. At times a bad luck spirit comes out and appears to attack you and he takes your weapons. However, I have only found one way to lower your bad luck temporarily and that is not always available.
As Yaga you have to go on several missions by the tzar. As you do this there are side missions and other missions required to get to the end goal of the main mission. Your choices along the way will effect how you accomplish the goal. The choices can make it easier or harder.
There is also a witch named Baba Yaga, and here friends. The witches play the part of the story tellers and guide decisions when your game progresses or when Yaga dies. At times you can continue and other times you have to go back to the campsite and restart that portion of the game. This is one of my biggest annoyance with the game. When you run out of revives you have to restart that entire part of the game over. None of the progress is saved. Plus, the map changes too! None of the progress in that mission is saved. If you gave a giant chicken a piece of corn once, you have to do it again and again until you reach the end goal. It would be nice if the different locations have save points or checkpoints to go back to when you die instead of going back to the campsite and having to restart.
Here is another annoyance. When you die the witches tell you you left your gear behind. You go back. to the campsite and it appears as if you have to reforge a new weapon, shield, etc. However, if you look in your inventory all of your previous items are still there and you just have to arm them.
As far as gameplay, I did find it much easier to play on the larger iPad screen and with a controller. Controlling Yaga and fighting enemies is much better with a controller. Also, there is a lot to read and it is difficult to read on an iPhone screen. There is fantastic voiceover that can help with this, however, many people might be using the iPhone in a place where they have the sound muted and have to rely on the text.
Annoyances aside, Yaga is a fun game and there is a lot of game to play. I am having a lot of fun playing it and I don't want to put it down. I definitely recommend giving it a try.
AArcade Reviews Rating 4 out of 5
Here is some gameplay of the game. I might contain possible spoilers on how to accomplish part of the second missions so I am putting it at the end of the review.
One of my most anticipate games for Apple Arcade was a new Pac-Man. I had no idea what it was going to be, but I was really looking forward to it after seeing a tease in an Apple Arcade trailer. When it was finally released a Pac-Man Party Royale by Bandai Namco I immediately downloaded it. Unfortunately, I am sorry to say, I was disappointed in the game I played. Read on to find out why.
Pac-Man Party Royale is not your typical Pac-Man. Instead of trying to clear the board and avoid ghosts and eat fruit, you are trying to avoid just one ghost while eating more pellets than three other Pac-People. While doing that you are trying to eat what I would best describe as a moving power pellet which enables you to eat the other players and the ghost. Your goal is to be the last one standing.
Now, these game scenarios could be fun, and it is at first. However, it gets old fast.
One of the biggest issues before even playing the game is figuring out how to play a one player game. There is no guidance on how to do this when you open the app. Upon opening the app you are given the option of hosting a game or joining a game. The games have to be local, meaning not over the internet, but via Bluetooth with people around you. If you don't have anyone to play with it appears as if you are out of luck.
However, there is another option and that is to play by yourself again three Pac-Bots. The problem is finding this, which I did accidentally. You have to start a game and keep clicking through until you are given the option to play Pac-Bots. You start the game and are playing solo. As I said, there is NO indication of this at all. Most people probably see that can't play a solo game and delete the app. The beginning of the video below will walk you through the steps.
This is not the only issue with the game. As you play you pick up speed by eating more pellets. However, the starting speed is too slow. It is insanely slow. It is almost to the point where you don't want to play because it is so slow. Then there is the game itself. As I said earlier, it is fun at first, but it gets old and boring fast. I found winning against the bots to be fairly easy.
Controls are also not the best. Swiping on the iPad or iPhone is not very responsive and difficult. I used a controller, and it was much better, but not the greatest. It seems as if all Pac-Man iOS apps suffer from this issue. I would have hoped they would have figured it out by now.
Finally, what this game really needs is true online play where you can jump in and play people around the world. The description in Arcade says more modes are coming soon, and hopefully this is one of them. Of course, this will require other people playing it and hopefully enough people are still playing the game when and if it is added. If this is a mode coming soon it should have been in the initial release and the local player games should have been saved. After all how many people actually have a house full fo people ready and willing to play a battle game of Pac-Man?
I will hold out hope that things improve in an update, but for now I can't recommend this game.
Arcade Reviews Rating 2 out of 5
Download the game here.
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