Are you curious about what the current Apple Arcade games have to offer and still undecided about whether a subscription is worth it? We want to help you make that decision with the help of this article, presenting seven of the best Apple Arcade games currently available.
From console-quality jump-and-runs, creative skill games to city-building simulations, and action-packed side-scrollers, we introduce you to our favorite games from different genres, detailing what excites us about each game. Of course, there are many more Arcade games worth playing, but in this selection, we focus on our favorite games that we have extensively played and would vouch for.
With Apple Arcade, you get access to over 200 games without ads or in-app purchases. New games are regularly added, and all Apple Arcade games can be played offline. You can try Apple Arcade for free for one month, and afterward, the subscription costs 6.99 euros per month.
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But enough of the elaborate words. Curtain up for the top eight gaming gems on Apple Arcade!
1. SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit
If you enjoy jump-and-runs and have a soft spot for SpongeBob, this game is tailor-made for you. In SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit, you hop through Bikini Bottom and experience a fun platformer.
If you want to explore the world of the yellow sponge on your iPad and awaken your inner child, this is the perfect Apple Arcade game for you. The game is suitable for both young and old alike.
While the story of a jump-and-run may not be the most important, it is actually quite funny here. The evil genius Sheldon J. Plankton wants to steal the secret Krabby Patty recipe. As if that weren’t bad enough, he has also kidnapped SpongeBob’s friends. It is now up to you to protect the secret Krabby Patty recipe and free SpongeBob’s friends.
In the game, you traverse the colorful world of Bikini Bottom and explore familiar locations from the SpongeBob universe, including the Glove World and the Trash Can. You overcome obstacles and collect coins and spatulas to free your friends and defeat Plankton’s minions.
The familiar series characters add to the charm of the game: Sandy, Patrick, and Squidward are on board, as well as the villain Plankton.
Throughout the game, SpongeBob gains new forms and abilities. This way, you solve puzzles and elegantly hop through the game world a la Super Mario.
In SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit, there are six different areas of Bikini Bottom to explore. Each area offers multiple levels and hidden items such as coins and spatulas.
If you want to uncover all the secrets and complete the levels one hundred percent, you need to be clever, always look around carefully, and tackle some sections multiple times.
The game’s visuals are very appealing, featuring detailed levels and smooth animations. Fans of the yellow sponge will feel right at home in Bikini Bottom. It’s also great that the game features the original voice actors.
SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit plays quite well via touch controls. However, the experience becomes truly precise and console-like with a controller. I use a PS5 controller for gaming on the iPad, and it works seamlessly with this game.
The well-executed boss battles are also a lot of fun, and thanks to the many hidden items in each level, boredom won’t set in quickly.
Fans of platformers who are looking for a great Apple Arcade game and are not entirely averse to the SpongeBob universe should definitely give this lovingly crafted jump-and-run a chance.
Apple App Store: SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit
2. Rayman Mini
Rayman Mini brings the charm of the Rayman series into the modern era as an Apple Arcade game.
The game preserves the typical Rayman characteristics, including adorable characters with smooth animations and beautiful hand-drawn worlds.
Rayman Mini also offers a fun story. The titular hero has been shrunk to the size of an ant, and to reverse this “curse,” you must navigate through a world full of insects, mushrooms, and leaves before finally achieving healing.
I find it a bit disappointing that Rayman automatically runs forward in this installment, and you can only perform jumps or attacks. This reduces the gameplay complexity somewhat. Additionally, the touchscreen controls are not always one hundred percent precise, although they generally work well. I still recommend using a controller to enjoy the best gaming experience.
While Rayman Mini looks cute, it is genuinely challenging in terms of difficulty. Every missed jump or attack requires you to restart the section. The goal is to find the ideal rhythm, and the dynamic musical accompaniment helps with that. To progress, you need good reflexes and may have to replay some sections multiple times.
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The game’s scope is commendable, featuring 48 levels divided into six worlds. There is also a variety of collectibles, including Lums, cards, and costumes. Additionally, you have the option to choose between three different characters.
I love the fast-paced gameplay of Rayman Mini, which quickly puts me into a rhythmic flow. It’s just a lot of fun to hop and slide through the charming levels. The stylish graphics combined with the dynamically adapting soundtrack and smooth gameplay create a certain addictive quality.
Apple App Store: Rayman Mini
3. What the Car?
Contrary to what the title suggests, “What the Car?” is not a traditional racing game.
While you are, in a broad sense, controlling a car, it may come with oversized or tiny legs, have a giraffe or a bear in tow, or take the form of a ball. Sometimes the car has a superabundance of legs, a cold, or doors that swing like wings. These are just a few examples of the fantastic creativity of the developers of “What the Car?”.
Depending on the shape your car takes, your vehicle handles differently. Your main task is to overcome a course with obstacles and pitfalls, reaching the goal as quickly as possible. On the way to the goal, there are hidden collectible cards in the levels that you can only grab with skill.
“What the Car?” is brimming with imagination and creativity. What I like best about the game is that you never know exactly what to expect in the next level. What form will the car take? How will it handle? How will the level be structured? This curiosity keeps me hooked on the game as I am always eager to see what creative ideas the developers have come up with for the next level.
Spoiler: In the course of this bizarre game, you’ll flip burgers, go fishing, swim, sing your heart out in car karaoke, and encounter a laser cow. What sounds like a curious fever dream turns out to be incredibly enjoyable.
In the game, you race, hop, jump, slide, and glide through hundreds of unique, crazy levels, doing everything you wouldn’t expect from a car.
Throughout the game, your car also forms friendships with bears, giraffes, and others. Additionally, you occasionally need to solve amusing puzzles in the game.
It’s also cool that you can create your own crazy levels, which you can then share with your friends or family. Even strangers can play your self-designed levels. A few acceleration fields here, a few cuddly bears there, a few steep abysses there, and your first self-designed level is ready.
The level editor is user-friendly. You navigate around a level in a top-down view to supplement and modify the environment. It’s easy for newcomers to understand but has enough depth for advanced users who want to create complex levels.
The controls, in my opinion, feel a bit vague, but I got used to it after a while. Besides, the game feels very different depending on the form of the car.
“What the Car?” nevertheless stands out as one of the most creative and amusing games in the Apple Arcade lineup and is definitely worth taking for a “test drive.”
Apple App Store: What the Car?
4. Cypher 007
If you have a penchant for stealth games and enjoy James Bond, you should definitely download Cypher 007. The game not only looks stylish but also impresses with exciting gameplay.
Those who played console games like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid will quickly feel at home in this Bond stealth game. However, unlike in Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, you control the British secret agent from a top-down perspective.
The touchscreen controls take some getting used to and, even with practice, are not perfect. I must admit, to my shame, that it took me at least five minutes to understand how to properly use the rocket launcher in the introductory level. Aiming and shooting in Cypher 007 is genuinely unusual and can feel a bit cumbersome at times.
The game is much more enjoyable with a separate controller. I also tested Cypher 007 with a PS5 controller, and the game felt a class better in my opinion.
The gameplay in Cypher 007 largely involves what you would expect from a secret agent adventure. You sneak through hostile areas, execute covert attacks on unsuspecting villains, and try not to be detected. You can also crouch and roll forward, although the movements may seem a bit wooden and stiff for a well-trained secret agent.
Throughout the game, you navigate through short solo missions that slowly unfold the overarching story. You can also run and shoot, but the game rewards you for choosing the stealth approach and proceeding with calmness and composure. This earns you a higher score at the end of a level, unlocks weapon upgrades, etc.
During the game, you encounter iconic Bond characters and locations. I find it somewhat disappointing that the good dialogues between the known characters are only written and not synchronized. This could have added additional atmosphere to the game. However, Cypher 007 is entirely playable in German.
The game comes with a classic Bond story: the criminal mastermind Blofeld, head of Spectre, has devised a plan again to sabotage his arch-nemesis James Bond. This time, he uses mind-washing techniques known as the “Mind Trap” to imprison Bond in his mind and transform him into the ultimate double agent.
As a player, you assume the role of Agent 007. Your mission is to escape the Mind Trap, defeat Blofeld, and terminate the CYPHER program.
You dive into the James Bond universe and experience a modern take on a top-down stealth adventure.
In the game, you gather information while exploring various impressively detailed environments. Characters from MI6, such as Q, M, and Moneypenny, assist you during your missions.
Overall, Cypher 007 is a successful Bond title that will delight fans of the series and lovers of stealth games. The slightly clunky touch controls leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste, but this issue can be addressed by playing with a classic controller.
The real star of this Bond adventure is the lovingly crafted levels, bursting with details and looking really fantastic. This spy trip on the iPad has given me a lot of joy overall.
Apple App Store: Cypher 007
5. Cut the Rope 3
Around ten years after the last installment, developer ZeptoLab has conjured up a new adventure of Om Nom for the iPad and iPhone. This time, Om Nom even has his adorable offspring named Nibble Nom in tow.
The Cut the Rope series was born in 2010 and was a real hit on smartphones and tablets. The success of Cut the Rope is primarily due to its interesting and entertaining gameplay: as a player, you cut ropes so that the cute Om Nom can reach the candies in each level, of which he never seems to get enough. At least that’s how it was until now.
In the latest installment, Om Nom has his son named Nibble Nom in tow.
When Om Nom and little Nibble Nom discover many rare and special creatures outside, they decide to go on a journey with a hot air balloon and visit four different locations. There, they tackle their “daily bread”: cutting ropes, solving puzzles, collecting stars. As a reward, they get a photo of an interesting animal that they can add to their album. Have you ever heard a sweeter story?
So begins the campaign of Cut the Rope 3, which currently consists of 120 levels, without much ado, and it requires you to apply wit, skill, and timing in the familiar Cut the Rope fashion. The reward for completing every three levels is a photo of one of about 40 Pokémon-like animals that Nibble Nom is eager to collect.
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The proven formula of the series has not lost any of its charm. The game is wonderful for spending a few hours relaxedly. The game’s challenge could be a bit tougher, and it’s usually not a particularly significant hurdle to complete a level with three stars.
Thanks to the new character Nibble Nom, the gameplay is even more dynamic than before.
Although Cut the Rope 3 is again a physics-based puzzle game, there are a few new features in the game. For example, you no longer have to feed Om Nom candies in every level but reunite him with Nibble Nom.
You don’t just cut ropes anymore in Cut the Rope 3; you use a whip, for example, to swing between platforms, float through levels with a balloon, and employ other new game mechanics to collect stars and reunite with your young companion.
Nevertheless, the fundamental gameplay feels pleasantly familiar. However, there are enough new elements for series veterans to enjoy.
While the campaign could be a bit more challenging, Cut the Rope 3 consistently brings a lot of joy.
The cartoonish style combined with the adorable animations of Om Nom and Nibble Nom makes Cut the Rope 3 one of the most charming games in Apple Arcade. The various colorful environments also visually spice up the gameplay. The musical accompaniment always fits the gameplay but can feel a bit monotonous in the long run.
Without a doubt, Cut the Rope 3 is the strongest part of the series and one of the best Apple Arcade games currently available. Apart from the slightly too easy difficulty level, there is nothing that I would seriously criticize about the game. Especially since I find Om Nom and Nibble Nom way too sweet to want to criticize them in the slightest.
Apple App Store: Cut the Rope 3
6. Cityscapes: Sim Builder
If you’ve ever wanted to be a mayor or unleash your creativity as a builder and city planner, then this game might be just right for you. Fans of Sim City should also take a closer look at this title.
In Cityscapes: Sim Builder, your task is to create a vibrant, sustainable city. By thoughtfully placing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, roads, and various facilities, you shape the cityscape according to your vision. The game draws on familiar elements from the SimCity series and introduces new aspects of sustainability, although the complexity of Cityscapes: Sim Builder’s mechanics doesn’t quite match up to its predecessor.
Every decision influences the growth and development of your city. As your city level grows, new opportunities open up. From schools to fire stations, to renewable energy and parks – you decide the future of your citizens.
Creating a city from scratch is not particularly difficult. However, this game is not just about lining up streets and buildings; it’s also about sustainability.
Therefore, in your city planning, you should consider environmental protection and the well-being of your residents. Your construction activities affect the well-being and quality of life of the inhabitants. This sounds complex but is actually quite simple. For example, you should avoid building a residential building right next to an industrial building.
Cityscapes offer different landscapes and biomes. The game motivates players with unlockable buildings and landmarks that can be gradually integrated into your city. Each new element gives your city an individual touch and brings your vision of your own “kingdom” to life step by step.
Despite its solid game mechanics, motivation tends to wane in the long run. This is partly because you earn money too easily in the game, making it feel less challenging and somewhat repetitive after a while.
The game mechanics are relatively straightforward, do not reach the complexity of models like Sim City, and could benefit from a bit more intricacy.
The growth of your population is the main criterion for increasing your “city level” in this game. This city level allows you to progress in the game and unlock new campaign cards. You need to add residential buildings near commercial buildings and farther away from pollution-causing industrial buildings. In summary, it’s not much more complicated. For example, you don’t have to lay power lines and water pipes to each block, which I actually welcome. While you do need power plants and water towers, these invisibly connect to every building in their radius. However, a bit more depth would still be beneficial for the game.
Perhaps the developers have placed too much emphasis on sustainability and not implemented it perfectly in the game mechanics, although the idea itself is great.
Despite these criticisms, Cityscapes: Sim Builder is a great city-building simulation that newcomers to this genre will enjoy. I find it fun to return to Cityscapes: Sim Builder from time to time and play the role of a visionary builder.
Apple App Store: Cityscapes: Sim Builder
7. Jetpack Joyride 2
Jetpack Joyride 2 is a classic side-scrolling game in a modern guise.
Unlike its predecessor, which was an endless runner, the developers of Jetpack Joyride 2 have chosen to divide the game into different levels and give it a proper campaign.
You can choose between the characters Barry or Betty as the protagonist.
This time, the game has a health bar, and you don’t have to start over from the beginning if you make a mistake. There are also a variety of timed power-ups.
Between missions, you can use the collected coins and other collectibles to unlock or enhance new upgrades. For example, you can improve the attack strength or resilience of your hero, etc.
The gameplay is fast-paced and action-packed: the character hovers in the air and shoots downward when you touch the screen, requiring precision to dodge traps and enemy fire.
The game feels a bit like a crazy mix of Flappy Bird and a shoot’em-up.
With the increasing difficulty levels in later stages, the gameplay becomes more profound, and you need to skillfully use your abilities and power-ups to successfully complete a level.
Speaking of power-ups – from simple “triple cannons” to the powerful “meteor shower,” your main character has a lot in store to defend itself.
Your opponents in Jetpack Joyride 2 are pleasantly diverse, and there are regular cool boss fights.
Graphically, the game has stayed true to the style of its predecessor. However, it is now higher resolution and smoother than before. Overall, the visual presentation exudes retro charm without feeling outdated.
I also appreciate the humorous dialogues between your character and its enemies before each mission.
The touch controls are well-executed and feel precise. For this game, I didn’t miss having a controller.
Overall, Jetpack Joyride 2 is a strong recommendation for anyone who enjoys an action-packed side-scrolling game of old-school style with contemporary technology.
Apple App Store: Jetpack Joyride 2
8. Wylde Flowers
Wylde Flowers is a charming life and farm simulation game with a touch of magic.
As a player, you take on the role of Tara, who moves to an idyllic rural island to support her grandmother and help with the family farm.
In the game, you explore a charming world full of witchcraft, mystical forests, beaches, and secrets waiting to be uncovered.
All characters in the game are fully voiced, providing an interesting background story. You can form friendships and even engage in romantic relationships in the game.
One of your main tasks is to nurture and care for the Wylde Family Farm. This involves growing fresh vegetables, planting fruit trees, and taking care of your farm animals. If, like me, you had a fondness for Harvest Moon, you’ll find some mechanics in Wylde Flowers pleasantly familiar.
A potential downside could be the game’s reliance on quite a bit of backtracking, and some mechanics may feel somewhat repetitive over time. You often find yourself walking between familiar locations, doing similar tasks repeatedly, but this is somewhat inherent in the game’s design. Additionally, the distances to cover are not particularly large, making the backtracking less of an issue.
Unlike Harvest Moon, in this game, you can use your wand and broom. As you progress, you expand your magical abilities, allowing you to control the weather, change seasons to optimize your farm’s output, and even transform into a cat. Not that turning into a cat is relevant for a bountiful harvest, but I didn’t want to withhold this crucial detail from you.
Moreover, you can learn hundreds of recipes for food or art goods that you can then sell.
Between fishing, mining, producing goods, farming, and a touch of magic, there’s plenty to do in Wylde Flowers.
The gameplay is quite straightforward, and you don’t need to have studied agronomy to get your farm up and running. Despite the simplicity, the game kept me motivated for a long time due to its variety of activities and individual approach.
The controls are also user-friendly and don’t require a long adjustment period.
While Wylde Flowers’ graphics might not be groundbreaking nowadays, they are well-executed and contribute to the game’s charm. However, the animations feel a bit dated compared to some of the other games mentioned earlier.
As you build relationships with the witch circle, engage in romantic relationships with other characters, and enjoy the idyllic country life, you gradually uncover the mysterious events in the heart of the small town of Fairhaven.
Although the gameplay becomes somewhat repetitive over time, with a fair amount of backtracking, the relaxed, unhurried atmosphere, and the sweet presentation make me return to the enchanting witch world of Tara and friends. The interesting story with adorable characters and the extensive campaign further adds to the long-lasting motivation.
If you enjoy games like Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, or The Sims, Wylde Flowers could be the perfect Apple Arcade game for you.
Apple App Store: Wylde Flowers
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