Best Apple Arcade Games 2021

Apple Arcade is a fantastic gaming service for players who want to experience a wide selection of mobile titles without having to purchase them directly. For just 5 USD a month, you gain access to a treasure trove of 100+ high-quality games without ever having to deal with pesky timers or ads.

Additionally, every title is compatible with Apple’s suite of products, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and iPod touch.

With that said, there’s still some room for improvement when it comes to the service’s built-in discovery and curation tools.

To make things easier, here we’ll be recommending the best games available on Apple Arcade.

Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future with new entries and if you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:

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Described as “the golf game for people who hate golf,” What the Golf? offers a collection of mini-game levels where the concept of golf is constantly twisting and turning.

On one level, you’ll find yourself orbiting planets as you golf in space; in another, you’ll be smacking an entire house around as if it were a golf ball. Things only get more ridiculous from there as the game begins to reference other video games in both level design and actual gameplay mechanics.

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Mirroring the addictive gameplay of mobile heavy hitters like Bejeweled and Candy Crush, Grindstone is a puzzle-battler with a simple yet endlessly satisfying formula. The game casts you as a rage-fueled swordsman who slices his way through rows of monsters.

Each turn you’re tasked with deciding where the warrior’s blade will travel by chaining together kills of the same enemy type before witnessing your deadly strategy play out on-screen in all of its cartoonish gory glory.

Indie dev Dodge Roll’s frenetic dungeon crawler gets a satisfying spin-off with Exit the Gungeon, a bullet hell “dungeon climber” that cleverly tasks players with exiting the same Gungeon they had been exploring in the original game.

However, this time around the level of challenge is much higher as you find yourself battling enemies in confined environments that can easily become overcrowded with projectiles of all shapes and sizes.

As you defeat enemies, your gun will evolve into different kinds of weapons, which have their own special quirks and strategies.

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Answering the question, “what if wizards had access to the internet?” Guildlings is a lighthearted RPG with a story targeted towards a younger audience.

Of course, you don’t have to be a kid to understand the game’s appeal as it oozes charm throughout every bit of dialogue, with conversations presented as text message exchanges that are cleverly written and amusing to read.

Combat in Guildlings is just as enjoyable as turn-based battles manage to feel both challenging and approachable for those who are new to the genre.

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What immediately stands out about Bleak Sword are its retro-inspired visuals that place 2D objects and characters in 3D environments. The result is an immersive dark-fantasy game with enough atmosphere and intensity to rival that of Dark Souls and similar to the FromSoftware games,

Bleak Sword features an interesting design choice—players are only given one chance to replay a level they’ve died in before losing any XP or gear they’ve acquired.

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Oceanhorn 2 is about as close as you’re going to get to a mobile The Legend of Zelda RPG without Nintendo getting involved.

The sequel is largely similar to the first Oceanhorn, but it features drastically improved graphics to the point that you’ll find yourself asking, “Is this really running on an iPhone?”

You play as a knight (who shares a striking resemblance with a certain tunic-wearing hero) as they embark on a quest to unite nations and take down a dark lord.

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Offering a brief but relaxing gameplay experience, Assemble with Care is a narrative-driven puzzle game with a fantastic soundtrack. The story is told across multiple chapters and revolves around a repairwoman who moves to a new town and gets to know her neighbors by fixing their most valuable possessions.

Aside from containing a cast of well-written characters and dialogue, AWC features a surprisingly engaging gameplay component in which you’re tasked with dismantling and reassembling old cameras, cassette players, Game Boys, and other retro devices.

Card of Darkness offers a unique twist on the card-battler genre by placing players in grid-like “dungeons” where they’ll have to use decks containing spell and monster cards to carve a path to victory.

It can feel intimidating at first since the game throws a lot of different creatures and cards with varying powers and effects early on.

However, if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with a charming and addictive card-battler.

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If you enjoy complex puzzle games that force you to consider all possible outcomes, then you might enjoy what Manifold Garden has to offer. The game sees you navigating intricately-designed architectural wonders as you locate and drop boxes on corresponding switches.

However, to be successful, you’ll find yourself having to manipulate the environment by flipping the world upside down to reveal new pathways and hidden objects.

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Developed by one-person studio Radiangames, Speed Demons is an endless auto-racer in which you control a car speeding down a congested highway filled with other vehicles.

You’re unable to decide how fast or slow the vehicle is traveling, resulting in an adrenaline-fueled test of endurance to bob and weave all incoming traffic.

It makes for an action-packed racing experience packed with more explosions and close calls than a Michael Bay movie.

Sneaky Sasquatch puts you in the rather hairy and large shoe-less feet of Bigfoot as he sets off on a chaotic adventure reminiscent of 2019’s Untitled Goose Game.

You’ll spend your days rummaging through campsites in search of food to sell, dressing up as a human to try and fool campers, go for a joyride in a golf cart, and many more hijinks.

Equal parts stealth and action, the game is best described as Grand Theft Auto minus guns and with a lot more Sasquatch.

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Developed by Capcom, Shinsekai: Into the Depths is an underwater platformer with an exciting premise: The game takes place in a world where increased global warming has triggered the start of an ice age, prompting mankind to seek refuge below the surface on the ocean’s floor.

However, this proves to be only a temporary solution as the ice continues to spread, forcing your character to venture forth into unknown depths in search of a new home.

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While the average Lego game is usually focused on delivering mindless fun for the whole family, this is rarely the case when it comes to spin-offs licensing the Lego name; such is the case with Builder’s Journey.

Described as a “poetic puzzler,” the game takes you through a series of minimalist levels, which each feels like Lego-versions of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

It’s a memorable experience that offers a lot of room for finding creative solutions to challenges, even if it means sometimes breaking the rules.

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Super Impossible Road is an anything goes futuristic racer that encourages you to break the rules if it means coming in first. Races see you controlling a ball skyrocketing down narrow rollercoaster-like tracks with various twists, turns, and spirals.

The game is unique in that it gives you the ability to jump off the track at any time to create a shortcut and continue racing (assuming you can make it back to the road).

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There’s a reason why town-builders do so well on mobile; they make for great idle games while still being able to convey a sense of progression to the player visually. This is what makes Outlanders on Apple Arcade such an enticing title, as it puts you directly in control of a humble town and its many inhabitants.

The game offers a great deal of flexibility, allowing you to set your own goals to work towards, whether that be seeing how long you can survive or simply crafting things.

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Games like Session and Skate City represent a growing resurgence of the sports sim’s popularity since the glory days of playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater. And while the aforementioned game may not have as complicated of a control scheme or super realistic physics, Skate City is still arguably the most authentic skateboarding experience on mobile.

Its purposely simplistic set-up is complemented by a toned-down aesthetic and laidback soundtrack that’s perfect for hitting gaps and grinding rails.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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