Apple Arcade has significantly expanded its offering. The evolving service added more than 30 games in early April, and the offerings feature strong gamers that will be sure to grab core gamers’ attention.
It’s a remarkable mix of mobile classics like Monument Valley and established blockbusters like NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition. The company even added titles based on timeless pastimes like chess and crossword puzzles. The diverse portfolio caters to a wide audience and makes the subscription service a tempting offer for $ 4.99 per month. It also begs the question: if Apple builds it, will players come?
A wide range
The new additions are a sign that Apple is providing a wider network for the service. An older generation may like the idea of the Timeless Classics category. Think of it as the service version of Nintendo’s surprisingly great Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. Virtual versions of backgammon, crossword puzzles and solitaire are created.
The versions of these games are made by third-party developers, but some offerings have some twists on the classics. For example, Zach Gage’s Really Bad Chess turns the concept of towers, knights and queens on its head by creating an imbalance.
“People are fascinated by chess, but the impeccable fairness turns people off,” said Gage. “It’s the idea of fairness. We want the rules of the game to be fair. “
But what makes the drama of the game is injustice. He mentioned the idea of outsiders and David and Goliath.
“We like it better when there is injustice,” said Gage.
To create more interesting scenarios in Really Bad Chess, Gage creates boards on which you have four queens and four knights and your opponent has a number of pawns. He mixes up the pieces. At first, players have an overpowering hand, but as players improve in the game, it becomes more difficult when the board leans against them.
“It’s sacrilegious but feels like playing it,” he said.
Old favorites are returning
A second group of people the service applies to may have grown up watching mobile games or becoming gaming fans since the App Store opened in 2008. These are people who love “Angry Birds” or “Crossy Road”. For this audience, Apple Arcade created another category called App Store Greats.
The offers here have a distinct feeling. These are games designed for cell phones that take advantage of iPhone and iPad touch screens. That means they’re easy to learn and play, while they’re great for bite-sized fun. Players don’t have to block an afternoon to play them. The levels are short and the experience is good enough to make your way home on the train quick.
The App Store sizes include “Threes!” The original number slider game is addicting and the type of puzzle game that players can master for hours. Meanwhile, Fruit Ninja Classic was one of the games that demonstrated the potential of the touchscreen interface of the iPhone and made a game easy to learn by slicing melons with your finger like a ninja.
Although these games were hits, Monument Valley is the instantly recognizable title and one of the defining projects on the platform. It’s been downloaded 73 million times and comes with all the bells and whistles on Apple Arcade.
This is one of the advantages of subscription services. There are no ads or additional charges. What the players get is a complete experience with no other conditions. For Monument Valley, this means that it has content that can be downloaded from Apple Arcade, such as Ida’s Dream and Forgotten Shores.
This approach to gaming is almost a throwback to the old console days. Before titles could be patched if something was wrong with them, they were released in full on disc and tapes. Players didn’t have to worry about purchasing expansion packs to play with their friends or continue the story. The game came in a box, it worked, and players enjoyed a finished experience.
Shoutout to the core games
This type of approach will appeal to core and long-term gamers that Apple Arcade is touting with its Apple Originals. It’s not a new category in the service per se, but it does reload with a number of titles that will appeal to that crowd.
Platinum Games, the makers of hits like “Bayonetta” and “NieR: Automata”, released “World of Demons”. It looks like the cult favorite “Okami” and that shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the game’s director Hideki Kamiya was a co-founder of the studio. “Demons” has a console feel with its fast twitch button-mashing sword fight, but has mobile elements like the bite-sized confrontations and levels. Best of all, it works with a controller to make the console feel to be on mobile devices.
For older players, “The Oregon Trail” can be a good afternoon break. The graphics and some game mechanics have been redesigned, but it’s essentially the same game fans played on the Apple II computer. Gamers will appreciate the beautiful graphics that are light years ahead of the green and black images they saw in childhood.
Final Fantasy fans should check out Mistwalker’s Fantasian. It’s an RPG that reunites series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The special thing about this role-playing game is that the scenery is created using real dioramas over which the characters are placed. It’s an unusual mix of practical and computer-generated effects that together tell a fascinating story with combat mechanics.
While all of these games will spark the interest of core gamers, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition is the game that may find the largest audience. Either way, this is a full version of the core game. It has all the NBA teams, multiplayer and MyCareer. It works with a controller or touchscreen controls.
Parts of the game like MyCareer are a bit reduced. It still has the feel of a basketball RPG, but the story is told through voice narration instead of cutscenes.
It is noteworthy that as an Apple Arcade game, there are no microtransactions. That’s something that the console versions are packed with. This makes the Apple Arcade game feel like a purer version of the experience. Players simply tap the game’s icon and play without worrying about extra cash. VC is still in the game, but it is awarded like normal points that help improve a character. Players no longer pay money to power up their avatar. Instead, it does this through normal campaign play.
Regarding the online modes, Tyler Nation, Vice President and Head of Mobile at 2K, said Visual Concepts tried to make matchmaking fair by playing players on controllers versus players on controllers and players on Macs versus players on Macs. Online play is a major attraction of the franchise.
All of these additions provide Apple Arcade with a list of 180+ games. It’s a catalog that is more attractive than before and is part of a bigger trend. Gaming companies like Microsoft are investing in their own subscription services, buying studios and making offers for this content. It’s part of a process that will make the gaming scene look more like Netflix in five years.