Apple Arcade may not have gotten off to the most promising start at Apple’s iPhone 11 keynote — the company decided to show a minutes-long demo of… Frogger in Toy Town to showcase the service — but Apple has been steadily revealing a lot more interesting titles for Arcade, which gives us a better idea of the level of quality the company is hoping to achieve.
The titles are an interesting mix of big-name game studios and indie developers. But it’s a surprisingly deep lineup that goes way beyond the lackluster onstage debut. My colleague Dieter Bohn got to try out a few of the upcoming games, and his take is: “All the games are good.” Even that Frogger game has more to it than first thought. It’s made by Q-Games, which previously made PixelJunk Monsters, and it’s almost indicative of the entire Arcade reveal: lackluster at first, until you look closer and see that there’s actually a lot happening.
From Snowman (the studio behind Alto’s Adventure), there’s Where Cards Fall, a meditative puzzle game, and Skate City, a skateboard game that excels on a touchscreen (although playing with a controller is apparently less fun).
There’s Spek (from RAC7), a colorful puzzle game that also offers an AR mode, which Dieter says was “the only enjoyable AR game” he’s ever played.
It’s not just puzzle games or mobile platformers, though: deeper, longer games will also be available, like Finji’s post-apocalyptic, turn-based survival game Overland, which is making the jump from PC to join the Arcade lineup. There’s also the surprisingly Breath of the Wild-looking Oceanhorn 2, and Various Daylife, a brand-new RPG from Square Enix, the makers of Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler.
Big-budget studios have games coming, too: Sega will have Sonic Racing and a new ChuChu Rocket puzzler called ChuChu Rocket Universe. There’s Pac-Man Party Royale from Bandai Namco, while Capcom will have Shantae and the Seven Sirens and Shinsekai: Into the Depths. Devolver Digital will also have a few titles: Exit the Gungeon (a spinoff of the popular rogue-like shooter Enter the Gungeon) and Cricket Through the Ages.
From Annapurna, there’s the “playable music video” Sayonara Wild Hearts, which Apple showed off onstage at its event, as well as the more mysterious adventure game The Pathless, which has been one of Apple’s highlighted games in a lot of the marketing for Arcade. The Pathless is the second game from studio Giant Squid, which made the critically acclaimed Abzu and is led by Matt Nava, the art director for Journey.
There are also some surprises, like the long-anticipated, Escher-esque Manifold Garden, which will finally be released on Apple Arcade (as well as the Epic Game Store), although there’s still no formal release date attached.
A video posted by Apple after the event showed off even more games, including Hot Lava; Jenny LeClue – Detectivu, a narrative detective game; and the multiplayer Lego Brawls, which features a uniquely Apple-leveraging mode that lets players link up for local multiplayer on their own devices and uses an Apple TV as a scoreboard.
All of this is just scratching the surface, too. Apple is promising “100+ new games rolling out this fall,” which means that if none of the above titles sound appealing, odds are, there’s something worth playing in the mix. While it’s not likely that every single one of these games will be a winner, if you’re already paying the $5 for Apple Arcade anyway, Apple’s hoping that you’ll likely give at least a few of these games a try once you’re on board. That said, Apple hasn’t announced what the lineup will look like at launch or at what rate new titles will be added, so stay tuned for more details as the launch approaches on September 19th.