Apple Arcade Subscription Service
During a broader event focused on new services coming from Apple, the company revealed Apple Arcade. This is a new subscription-based service that will allow users to download and play a selection of premium games for one fee. These are games that will be playable on iOS, macOS, and Apple TV--they can also be played offline. Unlike Google Stadia, this is not a cloud streaming service; instead it's Apple's version of an Xbox Game Pass-style model for games across Apple platforms. The service is slated to launch sometime this fall in 150 countries.
Some big name developers and publishers are already on board including Sega, Platinum Games, Devolver Digital, Annapurna, and Konami. Even the esteemed Hironobu Sakaguchi, known for his leading roles on the Final Fantasy series and other notable RPGs, was featured with his upcoming game, Fantasian. Many of these games are not exclusive to Apple platforms, but will be included in Apple Arcade alongside the 100 exclusives that have been promised at launch.
New games will be added regularly, although it's unclear how often that will happen. We also don't know if each game will be a permanent addition to the catalog, but that appears possible given that Apple says it will be involved in supporting development of the games. These will all be premium, non-free-to-play games, and subscribing to Arcade will get you the full versions, including any updates or DLC that are released for them.
We've compiled games that have been confirmed for Apple Arcade with a brief description of each to give you an idea of what's on the way. For more on Apple's big event, check out all the details on Apple TV+ and every show that's coming to it.
Fantasian comes from an incredible pedigree--it's being developed by Mistwalker and led by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who's best known for his prominent roles on many Final Fantasy games throughout the years. What's special about Fantasian is that its world is built through photographing 3D dioramas in real life and importing them into the game itself;they are literally constructing a game world by hand. It's ambitious, and Sakaguchi himself said, "I am scared of how many sets we are going to have to build in the end."
Annapurna Interactive is bringing a new game, The Pathless, to Apple platforms, and it seems to be an action-adventure with a world of vast, damp forestry to explore. There's a huge, mysterious, fiery rock floating above the sky, too. It appears to be impressive in scale, judging by a short clip that shows the player holding onto a hawk to glide down from a massive mountain top.
Team Sonic Racing
Sonic and his friends return to the racetrack in Team Sonic Racing, an upcoming racing game that features 15 playable characters. Like Sonic Riders, Team Sonic Racing divides characters into three types--Speed, Technique, and Power--and includes several vehicle options to customize your in-game performance. Unlike Riders, Racing puts an emphasis on working together, as teams compete against one another in cooperative-focused races across four different modes.
Where Cards Fall
The small team at The Game Band have been working on Where Cards Fall for a few years now, and was featured during the Apple Arcade reveal. It's a narrative-focused game with a distinct hand-drawn art style that tells a coming of age story said to touch on uncomfortable topics centered around a teenager going through high school.
Beyond A Steel Sky
Beyond a Steel Sky is the upcoming sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky, a sci-fi cyberpunk adventure game that came out in 1994. As opposed to its 2D point-and-click predecessor, Beyond a Steel Sky features 3D environments. According to Variety's interview with Revolution Software, protagonist Robert Foster returns in Beyond a Steel Sky, now seeing his city through the eyes of the AI he created at the end of the first game. The game's story will explore the pros and cons of living in a society overseen by an omniscient AI.
The team at Finji is bringing its post-apocalyptic, squad-based, survival strategy game to multiple platforms, including the Apple ecosystem. Overland features bite-sized procedurally generated maps throughout the game that's essentially a road trip to unveil the mysterious source behind Earth's apocalyptic event.
Projection: First Light
Projection: First Light has a striking art style that directly ties to its themes--you'll play as Greta, a shadow puppet, who goes on a journey across many different cultures in hopes of finding enlightenment. This 2D puzzle-platformer incorporates the history of shadow puppets as it relates to cultures in Indonesia, China, Turkey, Greece, and 19th century England.
Klei Entertainment is bringing its first-person parkour platformer, Hot Lava, to Apple's ecosystem--it will also be available on PC through Steam. Hot Lava has a goofy, fun atmosphere inspired by the silly game you used to play as a kid where THE FLOOR IS LAVA and you can't step on it! It's evident in the house and classroom levels seen with gameplay reminiscent of Mirror's Edge.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights Of The Lost Realm
The sequel to the action-adventure Zelda-like, Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas, will be part of Apple Arcade. Finnish developer Cornfox and Bros were part of the reveal with Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, and it appears to deliver more spellcasting, swordfighting, dungeon crawling, and open-world exploring with a whole bunch of story and lore to unravel in the game's mystical world of Gaia.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
It's a bit tough to discern what Sayonara Wild Hearts exactly is, but developer Simogo describes it as "a pop album video game." The game plays closely to a hyper-fast endless runner, but places a heavy emphasis on its upbeat electropop soundtrack against dark, neon-colored environments. In a way, it's kind of like a rhythm-action game that flaunts its flamboyant style.
Lifelike seems to be a relaxing, stress-relieving experience where you take part in swarm behavior akin to natural wildlife--it brings back memories of Abzu in a way. Denis Mikan of developer Kunabi Brother said, "we wanted to have a calming effect on players," and that "we just simply don't want to be responsible for adding another layer of chaos to the world."
LEGO Arthouse / LEGO Brawls
LEGO Arthouse and LEGO Brawls are seemingly vague names for the latest additions to the toy company's ongoing series of games. They're both being worked on internally at the company as opposed to developer Traveller's Tales, who typically are associated with LEGO's gaming efforts. If their names are anything to go by, we can likely expect these games to be quite different from the licensed games we've come to expect.
The Artful Escape
An upcoming game called The Artful Escape, which was previously slated as an Xbox One/PC exclusive, made an appearance in the Apple Arcade reveal. This stylish platformer follows the nephew of a famous folk musician as he discovers his own path in music and art, and draws influence from renowned artists like David Bowie and Bob Dylan.
No Way Home
Developer SMG Studio has only teased its new game No Way Home with an image that's drawn with a charming cartoon-like vibe: eight characters, many of which are alien, overlook a rocketship launched into space against the backdrop of a far-away moon and planet.
Repair is the latest from Ustwo Games, the famed studio behind the critically acclaimed Monument Valley series. Aside from a single image depicting who we assume to be Repair's protagonist, next to nothing is known about its premise or how it will play. Ustwo Games promises to reveal more about the game later this year, so stay tuned.
Hitchhiker is an adventure game that puts you in the role of, well, a hitchhiker. As an amnesiac drifter, you're set on a journey where you're not quite sure who you are or where exactly you're going. But as you progress, you'll piece together details about yourself from your driver and whatever clues you can find scattered about the vehicle you're in. Hitchhiker's intriguing premise and apparent simplicity makes it a good fit for Apple Arcade's roster of games.
Cardpocalypse is a story-driven card game where you can change the cards and rules as you play. You take control of Jess, a 10-year old who's incredibly passionate about a hit card game called Mega Mutant Power Pets. After her school bans the game, Jess tries to figure other ways to play with her friends, but things start getting weird when creatures from the card game start appearing in the real world and kidnapping her friends. Your mission is to defeat these monsters in a game of cards while also saving your buddies in the process.
The Brandwell Conspiracy
The Brandwell Conspiracy is a first-person adventure game where you play as a nameless survivor who wakes up one day in a security facility after a seemingly catastrophic explosion. The rubble has trapped you inside and your only means of contact is with another survivor named Amber, who's trapped on the other side of a locked doorway; you must figure out a way to escape by using a pair of AR glasses to communicate with one another about your surroundings.
Yaga, from Versus Evil, is an upcoming Apple Arcade release that's currently available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It's a third-person action-RPG with a narrative that the team promises is both charming and organic, shifting in new directions based on the choices you make during story sequences between levels.
Down In Bermuda
Down in Bermuda is a new game from Yak and Co, the team behind Agent A. Judging by the art on Apple's Arcade site, Down in Bermuda will likely feature an explorer in search of adventure on shrine- and temple-dotted islands, though there's no telling how the gameplay will reflect this. If Agent A is anything to go by, logic puzzles could play a prominent role in Down in Bermuda.
Winding Worlds is a new game from KO_OP, the team behind GNOG which featured complex and reactive fantasy toys that produce curious and delightful effects when you poke at their various components. It's tough to know what Winding Worlds will be, but its cute cast of characters looks like a curious bunch, to say the least.
UFO On Tape: First Contact
The original UFO on Tape was a sleeper hit on iOS that used your phone's camera to provide a lens into your surroundings, and a virtual representation of the real world as the canvas for fake UFO appearances. First Contact, the follow-up confirmed during the Apple Arcade reveal, has a stormy Akihabara, Tokyo as its thumbnail's backdrop with a formidable alien ship lurking next to the iconic Taito arcade building, because, you know, Space Invaders?
Frogger In Toy Town
Frogger In Toy Town looks just like how it sounds. It appears to be a modernized version of the classic Frogger gameplay with colorful, detailed visuals, also developed by Konami itself. We're curious to see how a frog will splat in this visual style. Oh no.
Doomsday Vault is the latest game by the developer Flightless. We're not entirely sure what the game is about, as the studio hasn't posted any details regarding the project. However, if it's like the other games in this list, then it's likely to launch on Apple Arcade sometime this year.
Kings Of The Castle
Kings of the Castle is a cartoonish mobile game of some sort by developer Frosty Pop. Not much is known about the game aside from the brief screenshot we got during Apple's presentation. There appears to be a castle with eyes and a face and trees surrounding it with similar human characteristics. Kings of the Castle will be available sometime later this year.
Not much is known about Sneaky Sasquatch other than that it's a quirky adventure game where you play as a Sasquatch driving a golf cart. Created by a two-person team named RAC7, it looks to fall in line with the developer's previous work, which have typically been simple pick-up-and play experiences. Sneaky Sasquatch is expected to come out on Apple Arcade later this year.
There's no telling what Mr. Turtle might be other than another cute iOS platformer, and judging by its developer's back catalog, which includes Mr. Crab and Mr. Crab 2, that seems perfectly in Illusion Labs' wheelhouse.
Spidersaurs is a new game coming from WayForward, developer of the Shantae and Switch Force games. Apart from the developer, thumbnail art, the game's home on Apple Arcade, no other concrete info is known about Spidersaurus at this time--except that it will feature human soldier-types with guns, and a T-Rex with spider legs for arms. But considering that it's a WayForward game, there's a strong chance Spidersaurs will be a side-scrolling action title, but that, of course remains to be seen.
Atone: Heart Of The Elder Tree
The original Atone from Wildboy Studios is an adventure game based on Norse Mythology that places great emphasis on puzzle solving and rhythm-based combat. That game isn't actually out yet, so it's difficult to tell what exactly distinguishes it from the game announced today for Apple Arcade game, Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree, but our guess is that there will be some form of narrative or gameplay connection to justify their common moniker.
Enter The Construct
Not much information is out there on Enter The Construct, but we caught a quick glimpse of it, and it looks like it's shaping up to be a sci-fi first-person shooter. Developer Directive Games has a few games in its portfolio. It made the competitive VR shooter Super Kaiju and the iOS tower defense strategy AR game The Machines, which we played for a feature covering the AR capabilities of Apple's phones.
Monomals is an intriguing music game where you cast a rod into the ocean in hopes of snagging one of its titular creatures. With your haul of musical Monomals in tow, you compose music and then share it online with your friends and the community.