Hi everyone, and welcome back to my roundups of Apple Arcade games, called Apple Arcade Unwrapped. It’s similar to my weekly roundup called My Week Unwrapped. As I make my way through the Apple Arcade games, I’ll be posting my impressions 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 100 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. It’s been several months since my last roundup, so there’s a lot to cover in this one. I have been including Apple Arcade games in my My Week Unwrapped articles, so my impressions won’t be new for all of these. But still, I want to make sure I give them all proper attention. So here’s the latest in my Apple Arcade coverage.
Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows
I wrote some early impressions for Devolver’s Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows, and I was still somewhat interested in the game at that point. After spending more time with it, though, the whole thing started to fall apart and I lost interest altogether. Missions kept repeating themselves and the same bodies kept falling from the sky. It just felt like a waste of time and I couldn’t justify giving it anymore of my attention. I think it got an update since, but I haven’t been that eager to go back to it. It might still be worth trying if you want something you can play for about two minutes at a time throughout your day, but don’t expect anything too deep from it.
The Last Campfire
Hello Games, the folks behind No Man’s Sky, recently released an open world puzzle game called The Last Campfire. In it, you control a small creature called Ember, as he rescues others of his kind and helps them move on. I enjoyed it immensely and would highly recommend it to any puzzle or adventure fans. It encourages exploration, as there are collectibles to find throughout, and the whole world is just oozing charm. It also has a sad but meaningful story. I did have some minor complaints with it, one being that a single puzzle required a clue and felt out of place. I also would have liked a better system for finding missing collectibles, as there’s still one I never found. The controls were also a bit buggy at times, but nothing game-breaking. Overall, I’d say this was one of my favorite Apple Arcade games so far and very much worth playing. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you get stuck on any puzzles.
WayForward’s Marble Knights has you controlling a warrior that rides on the back of a rolling marble. You can either use an invisible joystick to control him or tilt controls, but I can’t imagine that anyone would actually choose the motion controls. You can roll off the edges of platforms, so tilt controls are just begging for trouble. Overall, it’s a well-made game and, though I didn’t spend a lot of time with it, there wasn’t anything necessarily bad about it. I just didn’t find it particularly fun. The first boss battle I encountered also overstated its welcome and when it was finally over I was kind of over the game. I still recommend trying it out, especially if you have friends to play the multiplayer mode with. But there are too many other games i rather play more.
A Monster’s Expedition
Draknek’s open world puzzler, A Monster’s Expedition, is one of those games that’s so good I had to give it a proper review. I spent a solid week or two basically living inside that one game. That said, I was waiting for an update that would add a more detailed overhead map on my iPad so I could work on the bonus puzzles that are more difficult and require some out-of-the-box thinking. That was added this week and I spent a bit of time with it, but haven’t managed to access any new islands yet. I’ll hopefully find some time this weekend to work on it. I already found almost 500 islands and there’s plenty more that I can see but not access yet. So there’s a ton of content here for puzzle lovers, and it’s all crafted so well. Just read my review if you need more convincing. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you get stuck on any puzzles.
Next Stop Nowhere
Next Stop Nowhere is the latest game from Nightschool Studio, the folks behind one of my favorite games, OXENFREE. It release a little while back, but the voiceovers wouldn’t work while I was recording video, so I had to wait for an update to play properly. As with OXENFREE, the story and dialogue seem to be the best parts of the game. Once again, you choose from different dialogue choices, but you can’t think about them for too long. The voice acting is great also, and I’m certainly interested in seeing where the story takes these space adventurers. One thing I don’t really like, though, is controlling the ship to avoid asteroids and other obstacles. I’m not sure how often you have to do it, but I find it hard to gauge where I need to be in order to not hit anything. It’s also hard to tell how high or low I can fly until it’s too late. I still plan to continue playing, but I have to fit it in between all the other games I’m working my way through.
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time is an action RPG in which you control Samurai Jack through different time periods. I rather enjoyed the time I spent with it, but I played with a physical controller to avoid having to use a whole slew of on-screen buttons. It plays really well and I was surprised that I made it through the first boss without much trouble on the Normal difficulty mode. But it’s just less effort to play the games that don’t require a controller, so I haven’t played more than that initial session. I do want to eventually continue, but I’m not sure when. If you have a controller, I recommend checking it out, but you might not have the best time without one.
Noodlecake’s Slash Quest! just released this week and I love the art style and humor of it, and even the controls to a degree. But I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to tolerate the intentionally awkward controls. You see, you play as a young shepherd who comes across a talking sword. He needs to get back to the queen, but he has no legs and needs someone to carry him. But he’s also big and unwieldy. So the game tries to mimic awkwardly carrying and battling with an oversized sword. It does so by giving you left and right spin controls and then a button to move straight in the direction you’re facing. It can be tricky, especially when trying to navigate through paths surrounded by dangerous thorns or battling enemies. You can adjust the controls, but no matter what I do, the area for turning right is too far from my thumb on my iPad, so I end up just always turning left. I’m managing with it so far but I don’t know if it will become an issue as the game gets more difficult. I do like that each area is fairly small, so you can play through it in about 15 to 20 minutes. I also love how the sword makes different faces, and there’s some puzzly aspects to the game as well. Overall, it’s a very polished and well-made experience, but your enjoyment will be directly linked to how tolerant you are of the awkward controls. I recommend just giving it a try and see if you can get used to it.
World’s End Club
World’s End Club is by the same folks who made Dangonronpa, and it starts off similarly, with a bunch of school kids trapped in a building and forced to play a game where only one survives. That’s not what the whole game is like, but I don’t want to spoil things for you. I never finished Dangonronpa because the dialogue started grating on my nerves early on. I have that same problem here — there’s far too much cringe-y dialogue to get through. But I am a few hours into the game and I like the parts that become more like a puzzle platformer, using the kids’ different superpowers to overcome obstacles. I was planning to play more of it, but then A Monster’s Expedition released and I forgot all about it. I might still go back to it sometime, but the dialogue is still a deterrent for me. Still, give it a try and see if it gels with you. You can also watch more of my gameplay videos here.
I mentioned Grindstone‘s back when it got a new update and I was struggling with one of the levels. But I finally got through all the main levels and it’s since gotten yet another update, which included a new Daily Grind mode and new side areas that are easier. I wrote a piece about the daily challenge mode, but I lost interest in it after a week or two. They’ve since added a second Daily Grind that’s quicker and better for daily play, but I tend to forget about it. I also made a walkthrough for the first side area, but I lost interest when I saw the gold requirement to craft the new gold items. Anyway, it’s still a great game, but I think I’ve mostly had my fill until they add a proper endless mode that I can play for a few minutes here and there. And remember, you can still see my full walkthrough here.
No Way Home
I had a lot of great things to say about SMG’s No Way Home back when I first played it, but I got distracted by a ton of other games. It’s since gotten some updates, so I wanted to check it out again. I’m not sure if I got bad at it after a long break or if the game got harder, but I was struggling a lot in the small amount of time I spent with it. I don’t think I ever died the last time I played, and it seemed more about the exploration than anything else. But I died two or three times just traveling around and trying to get to the new arcade that was added. I kept getting overwhelmed by enemies. I found it far more stressful than when I played initially, and I’m not sure I’ll continue playing at this point.
Finji’s turn-based end-of-the-world survival game, Overland, was one of my most anticipated Apple Arcade games, and one of the first ones I tried out. But the initial release was plagued with bugs, especially related to controls. It took so many attempts to get the game to accept the action I was trying to perform. It just wouldn’t recognize that I was pressing a button on the screen. Combined with a crazy difficulty level, I bounced off it fast and never returned. But they recently updated it to add easier difficulty modes, as well as an all dogs mode. I couldn’t pass that up, so I gave it another try this past week. Unfortunately, I encountered the same issues with the controls. I did like the extra flexibility from the Normal mode, but dealing with the controls was an exercise in frustration and I think I’m done with it, cute dogs or not.
And that’s all the Apple Arcade games I played and reviewed over the last few months. I’ll try to get back to doing these more regularly so the games don’t pile up. But it’s been a pretty crazy last few months and there have just been so many great games to cover, that it kind of got away from me. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re playing, and I’ll see you back here next time with more Apple Arcade Unwrapped!