Well folks, if you’re an Apple enthusiast, the week you were waiting for has arrived – iOS 13 arrived on iPhones yesterday, and the newest iPhones and Apple Watches (the 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max and Series 5, respectively) have hit shelves today.
Personally, I will be one of the masses picking up an iPhone 11 Pro and an Apple Watch Series 5 in the not-too-distant future, but the reason why I’m writing, and the key thing which made me update to iOS 13, even in it’s slightly buggy state1 was Apple Arcade.
For those unaware, Apple Arcade is Apple’s play to make mobile gaming, well, less scummy.
When the iOS ecosystem launched, we were in an uncharted era – developers were making things for this handheld computer for the first time. What was the right price? How would maintenance be handled? How do we make this “a job”?
Sadly, we entered a world, especially in the world of mobile gaming, of free apps met with scummy “pay-to-play” mechanics, all under the idea of developers finding a way to make money, or in some cases, developers looking to take advantage of a marketplace.
Never the less, Apple Arcade is Apple’s attempt to turn the tide.
For just $5 a month you gain access to a series of exclusive games (roughly 62 at the time of this writing), with new games released every month. These games are by known developers, and have been funded by Apple as exclusives, either in the world of mobile, or in general. (Some games do have non-mobile releases.)
All of the games can be downloaded and played to your iPhone, iPad (yes, I installed the iPadOS Beta for this), and eventually to macOS and tvOS.2
All of the games are unique, cool, interesting, stylish, and so far, extremely fun to play. Many even support controller usage, just in time for iOS and tvOS to support the use of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers!
More than all of that – the first month is a free trial, so I had to give it a spin.
I’ve only played three games so far, and I’ve adored each, so I wanted to give you a quick peak at each of them.
From publisher Snowman, they of the Alto’s franchise, Skate City is a fun, easy-to-pick up skateboarding game – sort of a hybrid of the Alto games and Tony Hawk: Pro Skater. I’m amazed both by the graphical design and how damned fun the controls are to use, even on the phone. They really thought this one through perfectly. It’s complemented by a stellar soundtrack by Peer Synth and DJ Granbar, which I can’t wait to add to my Apple Music collection – very chill, great music for focusing.
The team at Dinosaur Polo Club, who gave us the tense yet zen-like train-track planning game Mini Metro, is back…and this time, they’re focusing on highways and byways.
I was a massive fan of Mini Metro, and Mini Motorways takes the gameplay I loved and shakes it up for a different kind of planning process. I didn’t know I could be both enamored and shook by a puzzle/strategy game, but here I am. Love it.
What the Golf
I had never heard of What the Golf prior to the launch of Apple Arcade, but once I saw the trailer, I knew I’d have to give it a spin. This is one of the most unique, silly, and hilarious games I’ve ever played. Don’t look up any of the courses. Don’t look up anything beyond this trailer. If you have Apple Arcade, get this game and start playing immediately.
I’ve never laughed so hard at a video game. Goddamn.
This is just a small fraction of the games available, and I haven’t even gotten into some of the other titles I wish to play, like Simogo’s Sayonara Wild Hearts, UbiSoft’s Rayman Mini, Cornfox & Brothers Oceanhorn 2, or Capcom’s Shinsekai Into the Depths. But so far, everything has been fun, refreshing and interesting. $5/mo very well spent.
Have you picked up Apple Arcade yet? What games have you played? Fire off in the comments.