After anxiously awaiting the arrival of the iOS 13 update, watching the September keynote and listening to Tim Cook talk about Apple Arcade for hours on loop, I would kind of consider myself an Apple expert. A whole collection of curated games from one of the biggest tech companies in the world? Count me in.
As if anyone would expect anything else, the first five hours after I updated were dedicated solely to trying out all the shiny new games at my disposal. And I’m glad to say that Apple’s newest venture into curated games lives up to the brand’s standard of amazing.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Apple Arcade is a new monthly subscription for games — essentially the Netflix of the App Store. And just like Netflix, the Arcade has a lot of options. It can be tough to decide which games are worth your time, let alone decide if the subscription is worth the $4.99 a month – but trust me, it is.
I’ve got you covered with my three favorite games on the service.
Neon-drenched and colorful, Sayonara Wild Hearts is more of a playable-music-video than it is a video game. So if you’re looking for an eye-catching visual experience, Sayonara Wild Hearts is for you. But if you were hoping for a challenge, it falls short of any game-like structure.
There’s little control in the game — you’re just along for the ride. The control you do have is over where the heroine drifts as you collect hearts to add to your high score, but the ride itself is hypnotizing. The zodiac-inspired settings feel like they were pulled straight from the 80s and 90s cartoons like She-Rah or Sailor Moon.The story is mesmerizing and well-paced, so you’ll never be bored as you watch the masked heroine slide through hearts on the back of deer, motorcycles and playing cards. The whole experience is emotionally moving– definitely the standout game of the Arcade.
Assemble With Care is a trick, in the best way. You think you’re in for a run-of-the-mill visual novel, but in reality the story behind the game and the game itself takes place as relaxing brain-teasers. I promise this game is more than just pretty illustrations (however shoutout to the illustration team, it’s killer). If you aren’t handy in real life you can be in this game. You take up shop as a repairwoman whose job is about repairing objects and relationships. You follow Maria through her trip to Bellavara, a small town in India, where she becomes the local handywoman. She fixes neon signs, video game systems and old watches, all while learning the importance of each object to its owner.
The puzzle aspect of fixing these broken objects by taking them apart and putting them back together is a good break from your annoying IB English poetry journal, but these tasks can seem too easy at times and other times deceivingly complex, which provide both variety and an uneven playing experience. For those of us who can’t match the cogs of a watch, the harder levels drag on for too long, and feel like they’ve been included just to prolong the experience. Clocking in at a total of 45 minutes to complete, Assemble With Care is short and ends with a conclusion that’s satisfying but still leaves you wanting more. Assemble With Care isn’t a game changer – it’s barely a game at all, but it’s definitely worth your care.
Sneaky Sasquatch is a laid-back, snack-in-the-afternoon-instead-of-dinner kind of game. You might miss it on your first look around the Arcade, but it’s one you shouldn’t skip over. To put it simply, you go around a campground as a sasquatch stealing food from campers as you evade capture from the rangers. The idea isn’t complicated and the execution feels like the creators accomplished exactly what they intended to make – the cutest sasquatch simulator. You just mess around. There isn’t any story, but there doesn’t need to be. You make your own story through the campers you steal from, the grand escapes from the rangers and the wild animal friends you make along the way. The simplicity and charm of the game keeps it from ever feeling tedious or boring.