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 a while 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.
All of You
I wanted to love Alike Studio’s All of You, as it shares some mechanics with the developer’s previous game, Bring You Home. But too many of the puzzles require fast reflexes and pausing the slides at exact moments. There’s still a lot to like, but without a skip button, it means you have to complete each level — even the demanding ones — to see all the clever ideas used throughout the game. I wrote a full review here and made a walkthrough here if you get stuck.
The Collage Atlas
The Collage Atlas is a hand-drawn first-person 3D puzzle adventure game made entirely by one man, which is quite impressive. I love the look of it and I really wanted to be able to play through the whole game. Unfortunately, first-person 3D games often give me motion sickness, and looking around a lot for hidden secrets didn’t help matters. If that’s not an issue for you, definitely check it out.
The Pathless, from Giant Squid and Annapurna Interactive, was among the first games announced for Apple Arcade, and we had to wait a long time for it. It finally came a few weeks back and I was pretty into it at first. You run around, shooting floating crystals with your bow, which make you run faster, to the point that you can even slide at top speed. The first part of the game is about helping some mystical bird that then shrinks down into a normal-sized eagle to help you on your quest to save her children. The eagle can carry you — while you’re shooting those crystals! — and also carry items to help with puzzles. The eagle is my favorite part of the game, and since the game is also pretty forgiving, I thought I would stick with it. But after some more time with it, I got frustrated because everything looks the same and it’s hard to tell where I’m meant to go. That on its own wouldn’t be so bad, but I kept getting sucked into these red bubbles that injure the eagle. I’m then forced to stealthily make my way to the eagle to save it, avoiding a creature that can only see me if I move in the light. The first couple of times I had to do that it was somewhat interesting. But the third and fourth time, I had enough. Nothing about it changes and it doesn’t really offer a challenge. It just wastes time. But I can’t explore freely and try to solve puzzles without risking being pulled into one of those stealth zones again. So I can’t really bring myself to play any more of it. It’s a shame, because I really was looking forward to it and I enjoyed flying with my eagle and petting it to heal it. Maybe I’ll try it again if it ever gets an update that improves the parts that didn’t work for me. I still think it’s worth trying out for yourself before dismissing it.
South of the Circle
State of Play’s South of the Circle is one of my favorite Apple Arcade games and one of my favorite games of the year. It combines masterful storytelling, professional voice acting, motion capture, and a gorgeous soundtrack to make a compelling game that I had a hard time putting down. I wrote a proper review for it, so read that instead of having me repeat myself. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you need help with the light puzzle aspects.
Reigns: Beyond is the latest in the Reigns series of swipe-based games made up of binary choices. This time, you’re the captain of a spaceship in which the crew is also your band. You fly around to different planets and play gigs to earn money so you can afford to upgrade your ship. As with the previous games, there’s always something more going on under the surface, secrets to find, and lots of cards and deaths to unlock. This one seems a little more forgiving in that everything you earn in one run carries over to your next. You still want to try and last as long as possible before dying to get a high score, but the overarching story definitely takes priority. The problem is, I think I’ve just had my fill of Reigns, this being the fourth game of balancing factions or stats. It’s also feeling very repetitive after only an hour, as I’ve been getting a lot of repeat cards, sometimes only a few minutes apart. I appreciate how much has gone into this game and I probably would have enjoyed it a lot if I hadn’t played the other three games first. But right now I feel all Reigned out and it’s just not really holding my attention. I still think it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re not tired of the formula yet.
Warp Drive – Teleport Racing!
I’m not much into racing games, but I liked the art style and color palette of Warp Drive, as well as the idea of teleporting around, so I gave it a try. Unfortunately, the touchscreen controls are pretty terrible on my iPad. There are two arrow buttons for left/right movement and their positions can’t be adjusted. The few minutes I spent with it, I just felt awkward trying to hold my iPad and move my ship. There’s also no tutorial whatsoever, not even to explain what the three other buttons do. I could easily figure out that the big orange flame gives you a burst of speed, but it took me longer to realize that the more colorful flame was for warping at certain points. But I still never figured out what the third button does. I didn’t notice any change when I pressed it, and couldn’t even find a diagram explaining the buttons. Overall, this was not a great experience and I’ve already deleted it.
Back in 2019 when Guildlings first released, I listed it as one of my favorite Apple Arcade games. It was still only the first episode, so we’ve all been patiently waiting for the rest. Well, the true continuation of the story is still in development, but they recently updated it to add on some side quests that fill out the first part of the game. So if you’re new to Guildlings, the first episode will take you longer to complete than it did for me. If you’re returning to the game, you can still play all the new content, but you need to hop around the map and find the quests you didn’t complete yet. I’ve spent some time with the new content and really enjoyed it, especially all the quirky startups. But I still need to find time to play the rest of it. There are just too many games!
WHAT THE GOLF?
Triband’s silly anti-golf game, WHAT THE GOLF?, just got a winter-themed update for the holidays, called It’s Snowtime! Somewhere between my last session and updating to the new version, though, the game wiped all my progress. I still wanted to play the snowy levels, though, and thankfully the two are independent of each other so I was able to. Aside from a few frustrating levels, it was good, crazy fun. Definitely give it a go if you have an Apple Arcade subscription.
And those are all the Apple Arcade games I’ve played over the last month or so. The year is coming to an end, so this will probably be my last AA roundup until 2021, but you’ll definitely see some of these games on my Game of the Year list. There’s also a few games releasing soon that sound promising, so keep an eye out if you’ve been debating whether to subscribe or not. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which Apple Arcade games you’ve been enjoying and I’ll see you back here next time with more of Apple Arcade Unwrapped!