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
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.
I enjoy playing baseball video games. However, I don't enjoy games where I have to manage the team and keep track of injured player and then there are different button combinations to push to certain hits and pitches and you have to memorize an entire manual to play the game. If you feel the same way, then Ballistic Baseball is the baseball game for you.
Ballistic Baseball, by Gameloft, brings baseball back to the basics. You play the pitcher on defense and the batter on offense. When you pitch you can easily choose the pitch you want to throw and where you want to throw it. There is an accuracy slider for when to through the ball similar to many golf video games. That is about it for pitching. The game takes care of fielding for you. The only other pitching option is changing pitchers when your pitcher gets too tired. I did find that pitchers tend to get tired very fast. In a one inning game I went through about a pitcher for every two batters.
When you hit you can move the batter away from the plate, or closer, and you swing the bat. Nothing more. The game chooses when you run and how far to run.
I don't think it can get too much simpler than that. In fact, it might be a little too simple for my taste. While I enjoy the game, I do wish there was the option to bunt and steal bases. If I had to choose between the two it would have to be bunting. I think a baseball game needs the option to bunt.
When you play there are three modes of play. Online, play with a friend locally and vs. an AI opponent. Online gives you a three inning game (which I like) and offline gives the option of choosing 1 to 9 innings and the stadium you want to play on. The stadium is chosen when you play online. The stadiums are a nice variety of scenes. One even has a pirate ship in the background.
I do appreciate the offline option here. I tried playing online once and there was no one else for me to play. I have played several games without an offline mode and when there is no one to play you eventually stop trying and delete the game. I did not try the local player option.
I played the game with and without a controller. I personally found hitting and getting the perfect pitch to be easier with the button on the controller. Your experience may vary.
My only other minor problem with the game, and it more of a patience thing on my part, is I would appreciate the ability to click through the cut scenes between innings. I know it is small, but those get boring and repetitive after a while.
Overall, Ballistic Baseball is a nice baseball game for iOS and AppleTV. It is fun and great for those, like me, who want a game you can just pick up and play.
Arcade Reviews Rating 4.5 out of 5
Download from Apple Arcade here.
When I started Things That Go Bump by Tinybop Inc. I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a nonstop fun game that was like Battlebots with household items!
In the game you start as a spirit or a colored light and you choose a house of the room to play in. There are several options and each has items specific to that room. Once in the room you have to find an item to be your body (this might be a spool of yarn or a cheese grater) and then find weapons to connect to the body (a kitchen knife for example). You need a weapon to battle other living creations that have come to life in the room.
There are two modes to play. One is online against other players and is basically a last person standing type of game. The other is single player and you just keep battling other utensil monsters until you are defeated.
Gameplay is fun and very easy to learn. You find items and press one icon on the right of the screen to control it or add it to your body. Another icon lets you jump and a third lets you fight. The left side of the screen has a joystick type of controller for moving around. I played on an iPad and iPhone. I found it easier on my iPad, but very playable on the phone. No controller is needed for this game.
That's basically the game in a nutshell. Did I mention how much fun it is? I really enjoyed it. The fun nature of the graphics and the speed of play make it more enjoyable.
My only complaint is that I wish there were more rooms or perhaps more houses to advance to once you beat one house. Maybe that can be considered for a future update. For now, this game is staying on my devices.
Arcade Reviews Rating 4.5 out of 5
For some reason this is not made obvious in the game. What you have to do is start a multiplayer game and keep clicking through. It looks like you need to add friends by giving out the code, but keep clicking through. Eventually, you arrive at a screen where you can choose AI players. Select that and you can now play a one player game.
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