Update: Since posting this story Apple has since brought the release of iPadOS forward one week from September 30 to the 24th. For The Apple TV Gaming Blog however, September 30 is still where the big cheese is at. Read on, folks.
Original Story: It was 2:55am when my alarm took me by surprise, urging me to start a new day at a time that can only be described as ungodly.
But in an effort to watch Apple’s September event at the same time as the people attending it – the much more civilised 10am – I had no other choice. The world is, unfortunately, a sphere, and not a vertical strip where we can all live comfortably in the same time zone.
On my way to the lounge room I poured a giant mug of coffee (God bless) from the machine that was probably complaining to the toaster about being forced to wake up at 2.45am to make its master a hot beverage.
TV on, recliner reclined, coffee at the ready, and Apple was trying to hypnotise me with a gorgeous Apple logo cycling through a beautiful colour-scheme of slowly changing neon. Did the tech-giant know how susceptible to hypnosis I might be at 3:00am? Probably.
Soon after, out came CEO Tim Cook, dispensing with the usual sales updates, and straight into Apple Arcade – time to pay attention. 13 minutes later, that was that. Not much screen time for the new gaming subscription service, but finally we had a release date and pricing. Now we just needed a big fat list of games.
So a day and a night and another day later, here’s a big fat list of 61 games for you to chew on.
Releasing on September 19 for iOS, September 30 for tvOS and iPadOS, and some time in October for macOS Catalina, Apple Arcade will be USD$4.99 monthly (AUS$7.99), with a one month free trial.
That seems like pretty good bang for your buck, considering that in the coming weeks, Apple has promised more than 100 games will be made available for the service. All the games will be exclusive to iOS, will not be found on any other subscription service, and able to be played offline (with the caveat that some Apple TV games will require an online connection). Another big tick in the plus column is that one subscription allows access for up to six family members via Apple’s Family Sharing feature. Nice.
The release of iOS 13, tvOS 13, iPadOS and macOS Catalina will see compatibility added for Xbox and PS4 controllers as well, opening up the service to a lot of gamers already equipped with the best in the business.
Playability across mobile, desktop and TV, with no ads and no in-app-purchases rounds out a pretty positive feature-list.
But what about the games?
Developers must have been relieved to have finally been allowed to shout from the virtual rooftops of social media about involvement in Apple Arcade, and after scouring the Internet I’ve put together a list of 61 titles below. It’s a fascinating mix of big, well-known gaming houses like SEGA, Konami, Capcom, Ubisoft, and Square Enix, coloured through with a who’s-who of indie studios such as Snowman, Yak & Co, Illusion Labs, Devolver and many, many, many more.
The more I write and think about it, the more excited I am about this bold card that Apple is playing. Time will tell if it sticks to the wall, but with more than 100 titles for the entry price per month, playable across all sized screens from your iPhone on the go, desktop in the spare room, and Apple TV console on the big flatscreen, the signs are pointing in the right direction.
But I mentioned 61 games. So here they are (with more trailers and info to be added as it becomes available):
ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree – Wildboy Studios
“A story-driven puzzle game inspired by Norse Mythology and set in a 2D world comprised entirely of hand-drawn art.” – Wildboy Studios
Ballistic Baseball – Gameloft
“An action-packed arcade baseball game that captures the intense battle between pitcher and batter in live head-to-head multiplayer matches.” – Apple press release
Beyond a Steel Sky – Revolution Software
“A dramatic, humorous, cyberpunk thriller in which fun, engaging puzzles drive a timely, intelligent narrative.” – Revolution Software
The Bradwell Conspiracy – Bossa studios/A Brave Plan
“A beautifully stylised conspiracy adventure thriller with a humorous twist.” – Apple press release
Cardpocalypse – Versus Evil (publisher) – Gambrinous (developer)
“A single-player card game where you change the cards and the rules as you play, delivered within a charming school-based narrative.” – Gambrinous
Cat Quest 2 – The Gentlebros Games
“A fast paced open world action RPG where you play as both a cat and a dog.” – The Gentlebros Games
ChuChu Rocket! Universe – SEGA
“Sega launches the beloved ChuChus into a universe of strange and wonderful planets with over 100 mind-bending puzzles.” – Apple press release
Cricket Through The Ages – Free Lives
A very silly take on Cricket. Okay?
Decoherence – Efecto Studios
“Decoherence is a competitive action/strategy game where you build robots, devise a battle plan by configuring their A.I and fight alongside them. Get ready to put your strategic thinking, sharp reflexes and adaptability to the test.” – Efecto Studios
Dodo Peak – Moving Pieces Interactive
“Play as a dodo bird to find and rescue your lost babies from a series of dangerous peaks.” – Moving pieces Interative
The Doomsday Vault – Flightless
Down in Bermuda – Yak & Co
A new game from the makers of Agent A.
Dread Nautical – Zen Studios
“Turn-based tactical strategy gameplay.” – Zen Studios
EarthNight – Cleaversoft
“EarthNight is an illustrated procedurally generated platformer that takes place in a dystopian future just after the dragon apocalypse. Humans have been exiled to space, forced to live in orbit above the planet. Our heroes, Sydney and Stanley have had enough! They’ve decided to skydive back down to the planet, taking out as many dragons as they can along the way.” – Cleaversoft
* Obviously the above trailer is the Nintendo Switch version.
The Enchanted World – Noodlecake
“Players help a young fairy piece together a magical world torn apart by dark forces.” – Apple press release
Enter The Construct – Directive Games Limited
Exit The Gungeon – Devolver Digital (publisher) – Dodge Roll (developer)
“Players must escape a collapsing hell dungeon as increasingly perilous obstacles and opponents stand in their way.” – Apple press release
Fantasian – Mistwalker
“The new world of Fantasian comes alive by merging handcrafted dioramas with 3D CG — with the technology and tools available today, we’re able to breathe new life into our game design and world building.” – Mistwalker
Frogger in Toy Town – Konami
Frogger in Toy Town had some quality stage time during Apple’s event, with Konami’s reboot looking very slick. Players will constantly chase the top of the screen in classic Frogger gameplay, avoiding obstacles while enough collectibles will enable a super-powered Frogger to emerge for a short time create havoc.
HitchHiker – Versus Evil (publisher) – Mad About Pandas (developer)
“In Hitchhiker, the player catches a series of rides on the highway without knowing the answer to this most basic question— who am I, and where am I going?” – Mad About Pandas
Hot Lava – Klei Entertainment
“Traverse distinct worlds, from school hallways to the memories of your darkest fears. This is a game of dexterity and ingenuity, you will have to use all your skills to complete the treacherous obstacles that await.” – Klei Entertainment
Inmost – Chucklefish Games (publisher) – Hidden Layer Games (developer)
“Inmost sees you controlling three playable characters, each with their own unique gameplay mechanics, within one dark, interconnecting story. The narrative is intricate and set across two worlds, weaving together a tale of suffering, sacrifice and a family stuck in the middle of it all.” – Chucklefish Games
Jenny LeClue – Mografi
“A narrative adventure game about detectiving, relationships, choosiness, and aseptic tangled mystery.” – Mografi
Kings of the Castle – Frosty POP
LEGO Arthouse – LEGO System A/S
“A narrative journey about play itself, touching deeply on the belief of we only get old because we stop playing. Targeted at a more mature audience, it is an expression of the value of creativity in a coming of age story, set amongst a micro LEGO world heavily inspired by our AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community.” – LEGO
LEGO Brawls – LEGO/Red Games
“A fast-paced LEGO take on multiplayer platforming, full of building, rebuilding and uniquely LEGO brick humor. The key inspiration for the title is a game where players literally build their own Heroes. By design, winning is a team-collaboration, working together to build and control contraptions within the levels, while battling the other team.” – LEGO
Lifelike – Kunabi Brother
Lifeslide – Dreadteck
“An arcade-flight-adventure that will take you along a metaphorical journey through life. Take wind as a paper plane soaring through the ever-changing world of a child’s curiosity, a grown man’s dreams and an elder’s wisdom.
Lifeslide is an exciting and vibrant adventure where each chapter represents a stage of human life using nature.” – Dreamteck
Little Orpheus – The Chinese Room
“In 1962, NASA were trying to put a man on the moon. In a remote corner of Siberia, a Soviet cosmonaut was heading in the opposite direction…” – The Chinese Room
Manifold Garden – William Chyr
“Manifold Garden is a game that reimagines physics and architecture. Explore the infinite and master the impossible.” – William Chyr
Monomals – Picomy
“Fish for Monomals in deep water.” – Picomy
Mosaic – Krillbite Studio
“Mosaic is a mysterious narrative game, where you follow the repetitive and lonely life of an average commuter…. Until one day, when strange things start happening.” – Krillbite Studio
No Way Home – SMG Studio
Overland – Finji
“A post-apocalyptic road trip adventure where players fight dangerous creatures, rescue stranded travellers and scavenge for supplies to survive.” – Apple press release
Oceanhorn 2 Knights of the Lost Realm – Cornfox & Bros
ATVG has been covering Oceanhorn 2 extensively, and you can work your way back through the articles by starting right here.
PAC-MAN Party Royale – Bandai Namco
“A brand-new arcade experience featuring a four-player Battle Mode where the last PAC-MAN standing wins.” – Apple press release
The Pathless – Annapurna Interactive (publisher) – Giant Squid (developer)
“From the creators of ABZÛ, The Pathless is a mythic adventure game about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest.” – Annapurna Interactive
Possessions – Lucid Labs
“A minimalist 3D puzzle game about perspective and spatial awareness.” – Lucid Labs
Projection: First Light – Blowfish/Shaowplay Studios
“Players follow the adventures of Greta, a girl living in a mythological shadow puppet world as she embarks on a journey of self-enlightenment, helped by legendary heroes from ancient cultures along the way.” – Apple press release
Rayman Mini – Ubisoft
“Rayman has been reduced to the size of an ant! Players use insects, mushrooms and plants to run through the world as quickly as possible or try over and over again to achieve the perfect score.” – Apple press release
Repair – Ustwo Games
Redout: Space Assault – 34BigThings
“Redout: Space Assault puts you in control of a Super Orbital Recon Fighter during the Colonization: outsmart, outmanoeuvre, overpower, outclass your opponents in lightning-fast, adrenaline-inducing singleplayer and multiplayer space combat.” – 34BigThings
Sayonara Wild Hearts – Annapurna Interactive (publisher) – Simogo (developer)
“Sayonara Wild Hearts is a euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords and breaking hearts at 200mph.” – Simogo
Shantae and the Seven Sirens – WayForward
“Players explore a vast sunken city and battle the Seven Sirens in the Half-Genie’s most thrilling adventure yet.” – Apple press release
Shinsekai: Into the Depths – Capcom
A stunning 2D action-platformer, Shinsekai was featured heavily onstage during Apple’s event, showcasing sound effects that were actually recorded underwater for authenticity.
ShockRods – Stainless Games
“Stainless Games are back with a brand new IP featuring all the over the top, in your face vehicle combat that you have come to expect from this world class dev studio. ShockRods is a 6v6 or 12 player free-for-all arena shooter, bringing all the blisteringly fast-paced action, mayhem and overpowered weapons you would expect.” – ShockRods
Skate City – Snowman
“Snowman brings the heart and soul of street skating to life with multi-touch controls as city streets become the ultimate skater playground.” – Apple press release
Sneaky Sasquatch – RAC7
“Players live the life of a Sasquatch and do regular, everyday Sasquatch stuff like sneaking around in disguise, raiding coolers and picnic baskets, playing golf and more.” – Apple press release
Sonic Racing – SEGA/HARDlight
SEGA’s Team Sonic Racing for Apple Arcade, minus the ‘Team.’ This one is being kept pretty closely under wraps, although some gameplay video was finally shown during Apple’s 100 second games roundup video, which you can check out right here.
Spidersaurs – WayForward
Spyder (working title) – Sumo Digital
Steven Universe: Unleash the Light – Cartoon Network
“An original Cartoon Network game, co-written by Rebecca Sugar, where players pick their favourite characters, choose which Gems are in their party, unlock awesome new abilities and equip alternate costumes in the ultimate mobile role-playing game (RPG).” – Apple press release
Super Impossible Road – Rogue Games
“A futuristic, high-speed racing game where players master hairpin turns on courses that twist and coil over beautiful galactic backdrops.” – Apple press release
Towaga: Among Shadows – Sunnyside Games
“An intense single-player action game.” – Sunnyside Games
UFO on Tape: First Contact – Revolutionary Concepts
Various Daylife – Square Enix
“A brand-new RPG from the creators of “Bravely Default” and “Octopath Traveler.” In the year 211 of the Imperial Era, players explore a newly discovered continent while living life to the fullest in the city of Erebia.” – Apple press release
Way of the Turtle – Illusion Labs
A very cute looking auto-runner from the makers of the Bacon Escape series, Touchgrind BMX series, and Mr. Crab series.
What The Golf? – Triband
“A silly physics-based golf parody where every golf course is a new surprising type of golf, some brilliant or hilarious, others so absurd they will make you go: WHAT THE GOLF?” – Triband
Where Cards Fall – Snowman/The Game Band
“A coming of age story where you build houses of cards to move through imaginative puzzles and bring vivid memories of adolescence to life” – Snowman/The Game Band
Winding Worlds – KO_OP
“Jump in. Make friends. Change worlds. A colourful and dreamy puzzle-adventure about exploration, friendship, and acceptance.” – KO_OP
Yaga – Versus Evil (publisher) – Breadcrumbs Interactive (developer)
“An action RPG with light rogue-like elements about a one-handed blacksmith sent on impossible quests by an envious king. Enter the gloomy world of Eastern European folklore and mythology, rich with deadly creatures, charming characters and lots of secrets!” – Breadcrumbs Interactive
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2019 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.
* This article has been updated to include more games and trailers.