8 great Apple Arcade games from 2022 for your iPhone or iPad
There are plenty of good games to download right now in Apple’s regular App Store — hello, Marvel Snap — but the fact remains that if you’re going to be playing regularly on your iPhone or iPad, Apple Arcade is the best deal. For $4.99, you get unlimited access to a growing library that now includes not only franchises like Fantasia, but also many of the best releases from the glory days of iPhone gaming. And none of the games contain ads or microtransactions, so you can just enjoy them without having to worry about getting extra money.
Since its debut in 2019, the game library has steadily expanded, and Apple has settled into a nice pace of releasing a game almost every week. Here are the eight best extensions to the service from 2022.
Offers a variety of games for your Apple device for $4.99 per month.
If Air Twister had come out on the Sega Dreamcast, it would probably be heralded as a cult classic today. Instead, it’s something you can stick on your phone and play anytime. It’s an arcade-style rail shooter from legendary designer Yu Suzuki, and it’s notable for a few reasons: the touch controls make it feel perfectly suited for a smartphone, the alien world design is insanely weird, and the prog soundtrack rock is just begging you to put on headphones. It truly feels like a genre classic made for modern tastes, and there’s nothing else quite like it on iOS (or anywhere, really).
Dead Cells is one of the best pure action games of the last decade, and now the full game – along with all its expansions – has come to Arcade. The game combines brutal and unforgiving combat with a Gothic Castlevania-style tone and a deceptive structure that has you slowly but steadily progressing through the world. It’s hard, but once you get a rhythm going and figure out the perfect build, it’s also hard to put down.
Horizon Chase 2 is a game that harkens back to some arcade classics, so it’s the perfect thing if you want to go back to Ridge Racer or Cruisin’ USA. The controls and tracks are complex enough to provide a challenge without making you feel like you have to be an F1 driver just to win a race. It also has a solid single-player mode, complete with cars to upgrade, and the colorful visuals really pop on a good screen.
The Elder’s Journey is like a painting you can touch. It tells the story of one man’s life, a simple but touching tale that ends at a speed of two hours. What makes the story particularly special, however, is how you interact with it. The Old Man’s Journey is a fairly simple adventure, but the twist is that you traverse gorgeous scenery by manipulating the world itself, turning picturesque scenes into puzzles.
Football Manager 2023 Touch
Long-term Football Manager is the best thing if you’re still sad that the Men’s World Cup is over. Unlike the FIFA series, which is mostly about recreating the experience on the pitch, Football Manager puts you behind the scenes. You are hired at a club where you are responsible for tactics, finances, scouting and more. And while the series clearly has PC roots, making the menus a little complicated for a small iPhone screen, it’s actually great for mobile because it’s the kind of experience that can be played in short bursts and starts. Instead of spending my free time answering work emails, I answer fictional ones in Football Manager.
Gris is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played, kind of like an amazing animated movie that’s also interactive. It’s a seemingly simple side-scrolling game about returning color to a deserted world, but it has an incredible style and flow to help set it apart. It’s also incredibly forgiving, with no enemies or deaths to mar the experience and prevent you from seeing all the beauty the game has to offer.
We all need moments of quiet contemplation and Hidden Folks is great for that. There are no time limits and you are never rushed. Instead, you can take your time exploring different worlds with a Where’s Waldo-style game. that has you using hidden clues to find strange and adorable characters and objects. The black and white levels are large and playful, allowing you to look for surprises.
The Monument Valley series is a high watermark for mobile gaming, and this year, Apple Arcade added its second great game. Like the original, the game consists of a series of architecturally impossible levels that you must manipulate to help a small figure reach the end. This time the game also tells a sweet story about motherhood, conveyed without a single spoken word.