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A deep dive into the Apple Arcade—Part Three

My new iPad Air came with a surprise (at least, to me): A three-month trial to Apple Arcade. So I decided to look at all 139 games available in the Apple Arcade.

Here's what's in each part of the series:

  • Part One: This post includes what I look for in games, some general observations on the games in the Arcade, and the lengthy list of games that didn't make my first cut.
  • Part Two: A slightly deeper look at the first half of the games I felt merited additional time for playing and testing.
  • Part Three: The part you're reading now; a slightly deeper look at the second half of the games I felt merited additional time for playing and testing.
  • Part Four: The first half of my set of definite keeper games.
  • Part Five: The second half of my set of definite keeper games, including my two favorites.
  • Part Six: Wrapping it all up.

Here's the second set of nine games that I felt worth more time testing. Obviously these summaries still aren't anything close to a full review, but there's a bit more detail (and screenshots; click for the large version).

No Way Home What starts as a top-down space shoot-em-up turns into more of a mission-focused shooter—collect things for upgrades, take this to that. Lovely graphics and fun gameplay, plus a helpful robot assistant helps you battle. And while it's another dual control, the second control is for firing direction not camera view direction, which is much less of a pain for me.
Operator 41 One of the "sneak about in the dark" games, and the graphics have a nice grainy texture to them. The ground is divided into grid squares, and you move by tapping on a destination grid square. It's a simple concept, but it's well executed here, and some of the moves require impeccable timing—roving guards and rotating security lights make for brief bits of protected space.

Rayman Mini A fast-paced side-scrolling platformer with lovely graphics and fun gameplay. Platform-like games aren't usually my thing, but I'm finding this one fun, though I can't quite say why. The environment is one—the colors and lighting are fantastic. The music and sound effects are also good. Overall, it's just fun to play (even if I'm awful at it).
Secret Oops! You control a character from above, helping them navigate puzzles during various spy missions. What makes this more tricky is that you'll need to spin and zoom the view in order to solve some of the puzzles. Two things make this game unique in the Arcade: It's played in portrait mode (only of only a few), and it has an AR mode that will place the game on a real world surface. I tried this, but much prefer the non-AR version.
Shinsekai Into the Depths Another underwater diving game, but this time, you're in a heavy dive suit that has thrusters. This game is clearly an adventure/puzzle game, and it takes place in a very detailed environment. There are also some strategic elements, as you have to find and use supplies to replenish your air (and probably other things, though I haven't gotten that far yet).
Speed Demons A unique top-down arcade racing game—and it's the second portrait mode game in my selections. This one's all about carnage, as there's traffic galore on the roads, and you can't help but bash into it, causing impressive shows of sparks, fire, and smoke. There are multiple events—race, rampage, escape, slalom, and many more—across mulitple locations. I find the game really fun, but I don't really know why. This one might be moving into the Keep folder.
The Last Campfire The story of a dying ember from a fire, and its journey to help other embers stuck in the "in between" space. A gorgeous adventure/puzzler with a unique premise. The graphics are well done, and the story is definitely part of the game. The puzzles aren't overly tricky, but do require some thought, which is just the right balance to me.
The Pinball Wizard You might think thiis is a pinball game, and you'd be correct, sort of. It is pinball, but the ball is the main character, and it's your job to use the flippers to send the character in the proper directions to collect various things to complete each level. It's…weird but oddly fun.
Where Cards Fall Here's the App Store description: "Where Cards Fall is a slice of life story where you build houses of cards to bring formative memories to life. Create pathways through dreamlike spatial puzzles to navigate the insecurities and emotions of high school and beyond." It's a puzzler where you arrange decks of cards to help the character navigate a path. It's a bit slow but the puzzles are fun.

Coming next week, the final set of games and the wrap-up.

Note: All logos and game images used here are copyright by the original copyright holders; they are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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