Hi everyone, and welcome to the first edition of Apple Arcade Unwrapped, which will be similar to my weekly roundup called My Week Unwrapped. At least while Apple Arcade is new, I’ll be posting every day about the games I played since the previous issue. The idea is to include gameplay videos and blurbs to help my readers decide which games to play first. There are already over 60 games available and I’m only one person, so please bear with me. But as I cover more games, I’ll be linking to that coverage here so you can find it all easily. Today’s roundup includes the first six games I’ve tried, and they’re all very worth your time. Keep reading to see why.
Assemble with Care
ustwo games is best known for their gorgeous mind-bending perspective puzzler, Monument Valley. I’ve only spent about 20 minutes with their new Apple Arcade game, Assemble with Care, but it was hard to force myself to put it down so I could try other games. It’s a narrative work that reminded me a bit of Simogo’s Device 6 at first glance. You do swipe to move the story along, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. You play as a young woman named Maria who repairs broken things. She decides to go traveling because she wants an adventure. The game is fully voice acted, and impressively so. Each chapter has Maria meeting someone new and learning a bit about them while fixing one of their beloved possessions. This could be a tape recorder, an old telephone, or even a shattered figurine. The puzzles on their own haven’t been too difficult yet, but I like how they involve using tools like a screwdriver, similar to how you would in Fireproof’s The Room series. What really makes it hard to put down, though, is the story and the people you meet. I keep wanting to learn more about Maria and see who else she’ll befriend. It also doesn’t hurt that the artwork and overall presentation are so easy on the eyes. If you’re looking for a relaxing but meaningful game, Assemble with Care is one you’ll want to play sooner rather than later.
The Enchanted World
I’d heard of AI Interactive and Noodlecake Games’ The Enchanted World a while back and thought it looked great, but forgot about it when it fell off my radar. I was pleasantly surprised to see it announced recently as part of the Apple Arcade lineup and I knew it would be one of the first games I try. So far, I’m not disappointed at all. The game looks stunning, including all the details like rabbits, birds, and trees that bloom to the touch. It starts off with your friend — or maybe sister? — getting sucked into a hole in the ground and you have to go after her. It’s a puzzler in which sliding tile puzzles block your path — because they literally are the path. You need to swipe to rearrange them so they form a route that allows you to continue. It starts off simple but quickly gets more challenging. Contrary to what I first believed, you don’t have to complete the path before walking in it. You can move to a tile and then continue moving other tiles around you. Sometimes that makes it easier, sometimes it doesn’t. Around where I took a break, there was a puzzle in which I had to complete two different paths — one for walking and one for a river. They actually had to be done separately so you could reuse tiles. I thought that was a nice little twist and am looking forward to what else the game throws at me. This is one that puzzle fans definitely don’t want to skip.
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu
Mografi’s slick point-and-click adventure, Jenny LeClue, is by far the game I’ve been waiting the longest for, and I didn’t even know until a week or two ago that it was releasing so soon and as part of Apple Arcade. It was the first game I booted up, and I’m absolutely in love. The art style is every bit as gorgeous as I imagined, with tons of little details that catch the eye. The game features Jenny LeClue who, as it turns out, is a character in Arthur K. Finklestein’s series of detective novels. His books aren’t selling well and his publisher tells him he needs to make the stories more exciting, kill of some characters. I played about 45 minutes so far and everything about it is just oozing with charm. I love the humor, the mechanics, the puzzles. The only thing is that I’m currently stuck finding some student papers for my mother, a forensics teacher. Once I figure that out, I’m eager to see where the rest of it goes. I am a little disappointed that it’s not voice acted, but there is a lot of dialogue, so I understand how that might have been impossible. Anyway, I’ll be sure to post more about Jenny LeClue in the coming days and weeks. But if you’re at all interested in point-and-click adventures, definitely give it a go.
Die Gute Fabrik’s Mutazione is a narrative-heavy adventure game in which you play as 15-year-old Kai as she explores a mysterious island full of mutated plants and creatures. Everyone you meet looks different, I think as a result of a meteor that crashed on the island. I’m enjoying the game so far, but it does demand a lot of you time. I played for about 40 minutes and haven’t even gotten to planting any seeds yet, only gathering some. Most of that time was spent walking around and talking to locals, which I admit has been entertaining. I do wish there was a quicker way to travel, though. You’re often sent on fetch quests and it would be nice to be able to teleport back to where I need to return instead of walking all the way back. This is a game you can’t rush through, but should instead play when you have a nice chunk of time to devote to it. Thankfully, you can also take it on the go, so you don’t have to sit at home playing. I would like to see some improvements with the touch controls, though. They can be a bit finicky in that it’s sometimes hard to find the exact spot where an interaction will pop up. Perhaps a hot spot locator could fix that? At least there doesn’t seem to be anything that demands precise controls, so it’s not a big deal, just a little annoying. Anyway, if you like exploring and planting and just chilling in general, this is a game for you.
Spek. is a clever and creative puzzler made by RAC7, the folks behind the ingenious Splitter Critters. It has you guiding an auto-running dot around outlines of shapes to reach collectible diamonds. What makes it so unique, though, is that you’re only rotating the camera. When the perspective changes, the shapes overlap and their lines merge, allowing the dot — or speck — to travel onto the other shape. Things get crazier as enemies are introduced that can kill you, or switches that can move objects along a path. There’s even a weight mechanic where your dot can cause a shape to slowly drop if it stays on it long enough. In fact, almost every level I played so far had a new mechanic. The game was designed around touch controls, so it feels perfectly natural on an iDevice. You simply swipe or drag your finger to change the camera perspective, and tap the screen to reverse your dot’s direction. I stopped at level 18 when the game started becoming a bit too demanding for my overtired brain. You have to collect a number of small diamonds before the timer runs out or they disappear and you have to start over. I definitely plan to give that level another go, but after I’ve had some proper sleep. If you’re a puzzle fan, definitely give Spek. a go. Just be aware that it doesn’t stay relaxing throughout.
If it’s relaxing you want, Lykke Studios’ watercolor painting puzzler, Tint., is the game for you. I played through about 30 of the 50 levels available at the moment and I like what I’ve seen. It has you painting with your finger through colored dots and mixing colors to reach the goals. For instance, you might have a yellow spot of paint and a red spot of paint, with an orange goal. You need to draw a line between the two colors and then to the goal to complete the level. It took a while to offer a challenge, but now that it’s getting trickier, I’m really enjoying it. New mechanics were added like water drops that can erase a single bit of color. See, one of the rules is that a mixed color can’t go back over another color that’s already mixed inside it. So a lot of the puzzles involve finding a path around that won’t cause the wrong colors to cross each other. It’s a chill game that’s great for any age, and I highly recommend checking it out, even if it does take a while to show what it’s made of. Hopefully we’ll see more levels one day, too.
And that’s all the Apple Arcade games I’ve had a chance to try so far. I plan to continue trying a few games each day and writing these roundups if I don’t die from sleep deprivation. I already have a list of games I want to try first, but if you have one you’d like me to cover, suggest it in the comments sections and I’ll consider covering it sooner. And once again, make sure to keep an eye on this page, where you can find all my Apple Arcade coverage in one place. Now get out there and play some amazing games!