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A deep dive into the Apple Arcade—Part Two

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 139 141*Two more games were released during the writeup of this series. 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: The part you're reading now—a slightly deeper look at the first half of the games I felt merited additional time for playing and testing.
  • Part Three: 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.

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).

A Fold Apart This puzzler's unique twist is that the characters are walking around in what is, essentially, a landscape made up of pieces of paper. The paper can be folded and/or flipped over, and solving puzzles involves some combination of flipping and folding in order to complete the path the characters are following. It's colorful and relaxing, yet the puzzles require some creative thinking.

Agent Intercept A "catch the bad guys" pure arcade game, with a heavy feel of a 1960s spy movie. Drive a car that turns into a boat, shoot missiles at the bad guys, ram their cars off the road, and generally wreak mayhem. The visuals are very well done, and the James Bond-like theme music helps set the mood. It's not going to win any prizes for realism, and the off-the-back-right view angle is odd but I got used to it.
Beyond Blue To me, this doesn't really feel like a game, it's more of an "explore and log" activity. You're diving in the ocean, and identifying various marine animals using a high tech scanner. I just like it because the visuals are very nice—you don't see a lot of underwater games, and this one is well modeled. Although it uses split move and camera controls, which I generally hate, I think they work OK here because things move more slowly under water.
Butter Royale Think Forntite, but with guns that fire butter and ketchup and all sorts of other oddities. You can participate in battles against the AI, or online against up to 32 other players. I'm awful at most online stuff, but this is a fun and friendly way to play—and it's just such a colorful world.
Creaks An incredibly looking adventure/puzzle game that takes place in a tunnel system that your character discovers in the walls of his home. I know I've said all these games have great visual appeal, but this one is truly astonishing. I'm not very far yet, but the puzzles have been fun without being ridiculously difficult, and the atmosphere is terrific. This one could move to the "keep" category.
Fledgling Heroes Somewhat reminiscent of Flappy Bird, but the birds are now underwater, the theme is fun and not frustration, and there are mini objectives on each short level. Colorful and fast to play with a very low learning curve.
Lifelike This puzzler has me puzzled. In a space-like environment, you interact with particles that then interact with other particles, and you make them do things. When they do the right thing, one of the objectives for the level is accomplished. However, it's not always clear what it is you need to do, so there's some frustration at times. Still, the game is lovely—the animations are enthralling—with a nice soundtrack.
Little Orpheus A side-scrolling adventure/puzzler set in an incredibly lush forest deep in the center of the earth. Really. The environment in this one—from the sound effects to the incredible scenery—is really well done. The puzzles mainly (so far) involve figuring out the path between various disconnected logs, and swinging Tarzan-like from rope to rope.
Neversong Another side-scrolling adventure, the hero awakes from a coma and finds that his girlfriend—and all the adults—have vanished. Simple controls—move, jump, and swing—with engaging puzzles and an interesting story. There's a nice mix of indoor and outdoor areas, too.

Tune in tomorrow for the second set of nine in the "Further Play Testing Needed" stack.

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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