Apple Arcade Reviews: 'Surprisingly Excellent Game Lineup,' Unique Mechanics and Visuals, Fun Gameplay

Ahead of the launch of Apple Arcade this Thursday, Apple has allowed YouTubers and media sites to go hands-on with the service, and reviews are now available letting us know what we can expect.

Below, we've rounded up some highlights from the reviews, which will be of interest to anyone thinking of subscribing to ‌Apple Arcade‌.

According to Engadget's Devindra Hardawar, the demo games that Apple allowed testers to play each had unique gaming elements. "It's clear that Apple is trying to build a service that shows off what its devices can do with truly innovative games," writes Hardawar.

He went on to call the service a "no brainer subscription" for anyone who owns an Apple device, and called ‌Apple Arcade‌ "one of the best deals in gaming."

Sneaky Sasquatch, image via Engadget

iMore's Rene Ritchie said that it felt like Apple spent "a lot of time" making sure there was a wide range of diversity in its launch catalogs and shared his thoughts in a hands-on video.

Sure, there are stealth games, but maybe you're not a sniper... you're a Sasquatch. There are puzzle games, but maybe not to climb a tower but to delve into your childhood memories.

There's Frogger and Chu Chu Rocket and Lego Brawls, but there's also Skate City, Projection: First Light, and Way of the Turtle. One of the biggest, oldest knocks against Apple has been that they don't get gaming.

It's usually made by studios and players who want a hardcore, PC-like, even console-like experience on the Mac or iOS.
The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg called ‌Apple Arcade‌'s launch lineup "surprisingly deep" that goes beyond the lackluster Frogger debut we saw on September 10.

Where Cards Fall, a puzzle game from Snowman (via The Verge)
My colleague Dieter Bohn got to try out a few of the upcoming games, and his take is: "All the games are good." Even that Frogger game has more to it than first thought. It's made by Q-Games, which previously made PixelJunk Monsters, and it's almost indicative of the entire Arcade reveal: lackluster at first, until you look closer and see that there's actually a lot happening.
Gizmodo's Alex Cranz said that ‌Apple Arcade‌ "probably isn't going to suck," and that after sampling some of the games, he's "tentatively excited." He wasn't a fan of some of the gameplay on the iPad, though, and he thought that several of the games "looked really similar."

An ‌Apple Arcade‌ game on an ‌iPad‌, image via Gizmodo
Across the board, most of the games were a drag on the ‌iPad‌. Quite a few of the games like to use the device itself to mimic a controller when played on touch devices. That works with a phone, which is roughly the same size as a controller from Sony or Microsoft. But using the ‌iPad‌ as a giant controller was really uncomfortable. My hands were too damn small to pretend a 10.2-inch ‌iPad‌ had joysticks on either side of the display.
Lifewire's Lance Ulanoff said that ‌Apple Arcade‌ games don't "break any new ground" beyond what's already in the App Store, but the promise of "all you can eat games" across Apple devices without in-app purchases for just $4.99 per month is "compelling."

Other Reviews: VentureBeat, Mashable, MobileSyrup, BGR, Digital Trends, and CNET.

Video Reviews and Game Demos:

At launch, ‌Apple Arcade‌ will be priced at $4.99 per month. That $4.99 fee will allow an entire family of up to 6 people (that uses Family Sharing) to access games.

Apple is planning to offer a free one month trial of ‌Apple Arcade‌, which is launching in more than 150 countries and regions. There will be dozens of new and exclusive games available, with additional games coming in the future.

Top Rated Comments

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18 weeks ago
As a parent of three young kids, if they have enough games to keep 2-9 year olds happy, this will be a massive slam dunk. I am so sick of the "free" games that have intrusive, inappropriate ads and constantly crash the ipad.
Rating: 26 Votes
18 weeks ago
So, it doesn't suck like everyone predicted before even trying the games?
Rating: 22 Votes
18 weeks ago
I'm excited for this. A bunch of indie creators I'm into are dropping games.

I'm also excited to see how the 'real gamers' on here complain that these are all bad games.
Rating: 10 Votes
18 weeks ago
I do consider myself a hard-core gamer and expect that the games I play on my PC will be beautiful, smooth and sophisticated.

But, when my adult kids come over, we play JackBox Games or LEGO titles on the TV with SteamLink.

I anticipate playing some of these instead on my AppleTV with controllers. And when I'm waiting for my oil change, it will be nice to have something decent to play on my phone and maybe even pickup where I left off on my AppleTV.

So, while some hard-core gamers can be snobs, some of us are happy to be casual sometimes serious at other times.

I will be signing up on day one.
Rating: 8 Votes
18 weeks ago

Look at Microsoft’s game pass. Great games great price and still not successful. Game subscriptions are kind of stupid if you ask me.

Microsoft has something like 10 million active phones in the wild. Apple has a billion.

Microsoft's service is $15/month for xbox and pc. Apple's is $5 for Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Remember, Apple device users in general aren't hardcore gamers. Arcade isn't for people looking for huge, complex, GPU-intensive first person shooters running on liquid-cooled graphics cards that cost $500. And most of those games aren't available for Mac anyway (although I use Boot Camp for those games.)

Apple is going to make a KILLING with this. Mark my words.
Rating: 6 Votes
18 weeks ago
I thought Macrumors members already said the games sucked and this is a flop on arrival?
Rating: 5 Votes
18 weeks ago
Looking forward to proper reviews. Just scanning those videos, it looks like the usual YouTube "tech" reviewers were invited to test Arcade, not actual games journalists
Rating: 4 Votes
18 weeks ago

It’s a different kind of game that appeals to a different audience. More casual gamers I think. To ‘me’, they look like bad games but I can see how they can appeal to others.
I’d be the type that prefers to pay more, give up a bit of convenience, and stick with a console or a PC.
(When the choice of both is available).

We'll have to wait and see, but it's now a different world where a game on mobile doesn't mean that it's either a bad or a sub-par experience. The Apple TV, and the iPad Pro specifically, have beefy chips capable of running some really good games, without any sacrifice of making it a light version. And for whatever market reason, they are even more affordable than say on a PS4, Nintendo Switch, or Steam.

Take for example games such as Hitman Go, Dead Cells, Oxenfree, and Hyper Light Drifter (all of these for $5, except Dead Cells at $8 I believe). All of these indie games are well reviewed on PC or traditional console, but now also available on iOS, iPadOS (and sometimes tvOS) as a complete port including proper controller support in iOS 13. Hyper Light Drifter even runs at 120hz on an iPad Pro, arguably making it the better version vs the Nintendo Switch (60hz) if you're using a controller.

The examples are of course indie games - you won't be playing Call of Duty or Borderlands 3 on an Apple TV. And none of these games mentioned will be on Apple Arcade. But Apple Arcade are getting good indie developers to develop games (some in this thread have already mentioned their excitement at this). These indie developers can still release on other platforms, just not other mobile platforms, so good for them to not be completely locked in. Cautiously optimistic, but looks good so far.
Rating: 3 Votes
18 weeks ago

Looking forward to proper reviews. Just scanning those videos, it looks like the usual YouTube "tech" reviewers were invited to test Arcade, not actual games journalists

Yes, don't believe or trust anyone that doesn't hate everything about everything. But then again, we already know they'll hate it since they hate everything and they'll get the million hits and go back to playing Minecraft.
Rating: 3 Votes
18 weeks ago
Let me guess - Rene Richie gives it a glowing review?
Rating: 3 Votes

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