As an Android user, this is a sentiment that pains me to say, but Apple Arcade is bloody good.
A gaming subscription that launches on Apple devices later this week, Apple Arcade gives users instant access to a library of games for just £5 a month. It’s iOS’s equivalent of Xbox Game Pass, basically. And after spending some time using the service, I’ve got to admit that I’m very impressed.
While Apple Arcade doesn’t launch until Thursday, iPhone and iPad users that have opted into the iOS 13 beta have been able to gain access to the service a little early. At present, there are 59 games available, with plenty more to come. Several of those have been added since last night, so it’s entirely possible that more games will be available by Thursday’s launch.
It’s a varied and impressive selection. While not all games will be exclusive solely to Apple devices – Cat Quest II will be making its way to PC and consoles, for example, and Sayonara Wild Hearts will be available on Switch – every game will be a mobile exclusive, meaning you aren’t going to be getting any of Apple Arcade’s games on Android.
The library of games isn’t filled with fluff or your typical mobile games, either. There’s no Candy Crush-like or clicker game in sight. There’s a varied selection, covering all corners of interests and genres. There’s interesting word games like Dear Reader, which tests your comprehension and intelligence by gamifying popular classic literature. There’s Oceanhorn 2, the sequel to 2016’s Zelda-like adventure Oceanhorn, which promises epic action and exploration. I’ve already mentioned Sayonara Wild Hearts, the gorgeous music runner, and Cat Quest II, the sequel to the lovely lite-RPG Cat Quest.
Apple Arcade also brings the launch of What The Golf, a wonderfully humorous take on golf; a brand new Rayman adventure in Rayman Mini, cutesy adventure Jenny LeClue, and the long-awaited Dead End Job. That’s only scraping the top of the iceberg.
iOS also provides the ability to sync a controller via Bluetooth, so I’ve been able to enjoy a number of the games with an Xbox One controller. It syncs flawlessly, and providing you have somewhere to stand up your device, it’s worlds apart from playing games with a touchscreen. Of course, not all games are compatible with a controller, but a surprising amount are.
I’ve downloaded about 40 of the games currently available on Apple Arcade, and I’m itching to try each of them out. It’s exciting to actually be enthusiastic about games on a mobile device – but the quality of Apple Arcade’s lineup could really be a turning point to how a lot of us see mobile gaming. I’m already regretting the choice of 64GB storage in my week-old iPad Mini; it’s already almost full with games and there are so many more great games to come.
It’s actually remarkable that Apple Arcade is only going to cost £5/$5 a month, too. OK, on the top of an ever-growing list of monthly subscriptions, one more isn’t ideal, but if you’re a fan of playing games on the go, I really think this could be the killer service. Even better, one subscription can be shared between up to five family members, making the price of admission as little a £1 a month if you’re able to share.
Yes, I’m waxing lyrical about a service that hasn’t even launched yet. But it’s already shaping up to be something rather impressive. It’s well worth a try if you have an iPhone or iPad – and once it launches properly on Thursday, Apple users will be able to sign up for a free month’s trial so you can try it out for yourself. We’ll have more on Apple Arcade and its games later in the week.