Gone Fishing: The Apple TV Gaming Blog Will Return In 2020


Okay Apple TV gamers and dear readers, you’re on your own for a bit.

It’s been a big year, and ATVG has just posted its Best Apple TV Games of 2019. You really should check it out if you haven’t already.

Very quick news roundup before I sign off:

Apple Arcade was made cheaper recently as there is now an annual price rather than monthly, and of course if you pay out in one lump sum, you save. Easy.

Also, today Apple Arcade hit 104 titles with the release of LEGO Builder’s Journey, and I’ll be checking that out over the break no doubt.

If you haven’t heard, Oceanhorn 2 will be extending its universe by releasing a manga in 2020, and those of you signed up to studio Cornfox’s newsletter will have received chapter one in your inboxes recently, with chapters two and three to come next year. It tells of an adventure had by Trin prior to the events of Oceanhorn 2, and I’ll be writing more about that after the break, but it looks nice.

Sneaking in before the App Store freeze this coming week, a whole truckload of content updates just landed on a bunch of Apple Arcade titles, such as PAC-MAN Party Royale, Grindstone, Red Reign, Stela, Various Daylife, and Frogger in Toy Town.

I’m sure I missed some but check out your updates and you’ll find some of the games you’ve been digging now have even more to dig.

And with that I think I’m done.

Keep an eye on the social feeds (mash them in the banner up top) as that’s where I’ll chime in on any holiday news while not posting here on the site.

Oh yeah, did you know you can follow along on Apple News now as well?

I’ve had an absolute blast this year, and can’t say how much I appreciate your readership. I know you’re out there, I can see the site’s stats. Keep on keeping on and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings to the now not so undiscovered country of Apple TV gaming.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and to all of you who are not of the Christmas-celebrating persuasion, I wish you all peace, love, and all good things.

Onwards and upwards.


The Best Apple TV Games Of 2019


My apologies to anyone getting sick of the above photo.

Soon after Apple Arcade’s launch, I discovered that when connected to your Apple TV, a PS4 controller’s light bar would go the signature colour of Apple’s gaming subscription service. Straight away I shot a quick happy snap on my iPhone, and have been using it whenever a story warrants it.

For me, the image has become superfluous with Apple TV gaming in 2019 – the Year of Apple Arcade.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week leading up to today’s Best of list, during which I’ve celebrated the last three years of Apple TV gaming since starting this site in December 2016.

For those who missed out, here’s some links to this week’s coverage:

ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – Year One (2016)
ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2017
ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2018

Prior to The Apple TV Gaming Blog, I was posting occasional stories about Apple TV gaming over at Grab It Magazine, and eventually decided to start a site dedicated to the platform, given that I couldn’t find one to follow myself. And here we are.

If Apple TV gaming ever grows to a stage where someone is driven to write its history, March 25 2019 will go down as the day the platform was saved from the brink.

Between January 1 and March 24 2019, nothing much happened, and I’d even considered letting this site wind down and die a natural death.

There were two posts on this site during that time. The first was January 26 (Australia Day) when I wrote about studio Four Fats, posting a video the team had released detailing its history. Worth a watch, considering Four Fats has a bunch of games available on Apple TV.

The day after, January 27, Cornfox & Bros. revealed Hero, Trin, and Gen, the main characters to star in Oceanhorn 2. This was before Apple Arcade was even revealed to the public.

And then nothing until March 25, and bang, we were back in business.

But then the long wait began until more news. We knew the basics: subscription-based, downloadable games (as opposed to streaming), and no ads or in-app-purchases. It was a pretty exciting package. But what about the games?

That too was pretty exciting, as you’ll see from the long list in that story.

As I mentioned earlier this week in the recap of 2018, the Steam Link app arrived and went straight to number one on the App Store, and I haven’t really heard much news of it since. I don’t know how many actually use it to stream their Steam library to their Apple TV, but the option exists, for better or worse.

The story continued to unfold at WWDC 2019, during which Apple CEO Tim Cook announced to the world that along with the arrival of Apple Arcade, compatibility for PS4 and Xbox One controllers would be along for the ride. Big news that opened up the service to many more, given that as long as players were equipped with an Apple TV, their existing console controller of choice would give them access to Apple’s upcoming world of gaming.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, Rush Rally 3 and Horizon Chase: World Tour kept us entertained while we waited for AA to drop in ‘The Fall.’ Quality games too, all three.

Hovercraft: Getaway managed to sneak through the door just before AA’s release, and then boom, Apple hit the big red Go button on Apple TV’s launch of Apple Arcade a week early. It was announced as coming to Apple TV September 30 but arrived September 24, and all of a sudden I was frozen by indecision. Where do I start? No doubt I was not alone, as Apple TV gamers around the world who pulled the trigger on their month long free trial were wondering which game to try first?

In case you’re wondering, here are the first four Apple Arcade games I played on Apple TV.

Batches of freshly baked games were delivered golden brown straight to our TVs in successive weeks following AA’s launch, and today as I write, the count sits at 104.

Just this morning, the 104th game – LEGO Builder’s Journey – came to the service, and the trailer looks like it promises some real LEGO fan service mixed with a poetic narrative. Can’t wait to check it out.

Apple Arcade is not perfect. Fans of first-person-shooters have no offerings for example, but apart from that little hiccup, ATVG is absolutely gobsmacked at the consistently high bar of quality that AA titles keep holding up. That, combined with the modest price of entry, the fact that there’s no IAPs or ads, games can be played offline, and there’s universal play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV makes it a must-have for anyone sporting an Apple ecosystem of devices.

Will Apple Arcade’s success bring non-Apple Arcade games to the Apple TV platform? That remains to be seen, but ATVG suspects the answer will be yes, although at a slow burn. While 2019 will go down as a formative year in the history of Apple TV gaming, 2020 will be a fascinating followup to watch unfold.

The success of Apple TV+, which no doubt will drive some Apple TV sales might also lead to some more adopters of Apple TV gaming. I’ve long suspected that many lapsed adult gamers are finding their way back to their hobby after having bought an Apple TV box ostensibly for streaming media, only to discover that coupled with a controller, it also games rather well. And there’s 104 high quality games they can pull the trigger on instantly. Are you one of them?

Just after Apple Arcade’s launch, Dead Cells – a non-AA title – launched on Apple TV and made trying out all those AA titles even more challenging, given that I couldn’t tear myself away from Dead Cells. Check the Best of list below to find out if Motion Twin’s offering found its way in.

In other non-AA news, Formula 1 racing came to Real Racing 3 six-and-a-half years after launch. That game just keeps on giving.

Shadowgun Legends – ATVG’s Best Apple TV Game of 2018 – was brought back to life on Apple TV via the 1.0.2 update from Madfinger, and it now has more content than ever, with a current Christmas event going on as I write. If Apple TV gamers are starved for a quality FPS, there is always Shoadowgun, and it does not do things by halves.

More AA releases, a big raft of content updates, and that pretty much brings us up to date, ready to take a break and log some quality hours of gaming. Maybe even kick back with a few whiskitoes.

All that’s left is for you to scroll on down and check out ATVG’s Best Apple TV Games of 2019, which at the very bottom is revealed the absolute Best Apple TV Game of the Year.

How has your year been Apple TV gamers? Mileage varied? Hit up the social feeds (see the banner up top) and chime in with your thoughts. Where do you see the platform heading? I look forward to hearing from you.

Okay? Okay. Did I miss anything? Probably.

Not to worry. That’s what the update button is for.


Read on!

Continue reading “The Best Apple TV Games Of 2019”

ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2018


Prelude: Welcome to Part 3 of ATVG’s celebration of three years of Apple TV gaming.

Tonight we’ll look at Apple TV’s journey as a gaming platform through 2018, which will lead us up to this coming weekend, at which point I’ll bring us up to the present with 2019’s Best Apple TV Games of the Year.

What will be 2019’s Game of the Year? Will it be an Apple Arcade title? No spoilers.

First though, 2018.

Scrolling back through ATVG’s posts from last year, it feels like things slowed down a little after the excitement of 2016 and ’17. There were some big releases and plenty of news, but it really felt like support for the platform was lacking from Apple, and as a consequence, from developers.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Pint-sized Peregrin got things rolling in January, with the Warhammer franchise arriving not long after. Off to a good start.

As I look back at some of these games now, such as Dandara landing in February, I find that I’m starting to think of them as Apple TV classics of a sort. I guess when you have a gaming console that lives in such a niche, the really notable titles stand head and shoulders above the other releases.

Other Apple TV classics, such as Trials: Frontier, Asphalt 8, and Real Racing 3 continued to get content updates throughout the year. Asphalt 8 teamed up in a weird marketing ploy with Fall Out Boy and did this, while Real Racing 3 turned five, and gave players a free 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Now we’re living.

Speaking of classics, March meant Evoland 2. And wow. Evoland 2 actually toys with the evolution of gaming itself, paying a beautifully realised homage to RPGs. The references are not cheap and nasty, but thoughtful and respectful, going so far as to depict graphical evolution as well as gameplay. Definitely a contender for Game of the Year.

Pixelbite confirmed in March that work had begun on Space Marshals 3, while admitting at the same time that release was a ways off in the future. Still no further word on that one, but I’d guess at 2020. And maybe a move to Apple Arcade? We’ll see.

In last night’s post looking back at 2017, I mentioned studio Vector Unit. Well the team actually celebrated 10 years of developing games in 2018, and ATVG posted a profile looking at the studio’s work. This was the next best thing to being able to attend the actual party, with ATVG having to turn down the invitation given that it was on the other side of the world. When you are based in Australia, everything is on the other side of the world.

April saw the release of what I would now call one of Apple TV’s flagship titles – Shadowgun Legends. Madfinger’s epic sci-fi FPS was awarded ATVG’s 2018 Best Apple TV Game of the Year, and although there were fears that it was fading, Madfinger recently updated the game yet again to bring the ATV version into line with its mobile counterpart, adding content with new PvE adventures.

Shadowgun Legends really shows what the Apple TV is capable of as far as high-end gaming goes, but it’s not the only one.

In November, Barbearian was followed soon after by Teslagrad, and both should exist in your Apple TV gaming library. Big, fully-realised, and such utterly playable console titles.

A couple of smaller arcade games joined the catalogue throughout the year – I have a fondness for Ammo Pigs and PAKO Forever to name a couple. Excellent little pick-up-and-play arcade joints that massage that retro muscle in a completely good way, showing that size doesn’t always matter.

As with 2017, 2018 also had its share of news items that contributed to the story of Apple TV’s evolution as a platform for gaming.

The most notable that springs to mind is the Steam Link app saga, with Valve at first announcing the app was coming, Apple rejecting it, and finally releasing it in May 2019, at which point it shot straight to number 1 in the free games charts. Unsurprisingly.

For those who didn’t follow the bouncing ball, the Steam Link app allows players to stream their Steam library straight to Apple TV from their PC or Mac connected to the same Wi-Fi network, taking Steam gaming into the lounge room, and opening up an endless world of gaming on your Apple TV.

Following a chat on Twitter that I had with Legendo’s studio head Björn Larsson, I posted this story, outlining why the Steam Link app might not be such a healthy prospect for the future of Apple TV gaming. It’s some interesting food for thought.

ATVG wrapped up 2018 with the original list you’ll see below, and some fine gaming was had. 12 months ago I had no idea what 2019 would bring, and wondered if I’d even continue this site. Obviously I did, and I’m glad.

So here’s to another 12 months in the can, and I look forward to joining you again on the weekend to look back at 2019 and post the LIST. And then stop. Maybe just for Christmas. Don’t worry, not for long.

But anyway, there’s work to do before all that.

Check out the original 2018 list below.

Continue reading “ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2018”

ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2017


Prelude: 2017 was a strong year for Apple TV game releases, and of course September 2017 saw a hardware upgrade with the Apple TV 4K.

Faster, smoother, bigger, better.

As Xander Davis – head of studio Astrogun – told ATVG in our December 2017 interview, “…there’s actually little difference with what you can do on an Apple TV versus a PS4, except for horsepower (and the gap is closing), at this point.”

But that was the end of the year, and there was plenty going on in 2017 right from the get-go. Studios may not have been making money from releasing games on the Apple TV platform, but there was plenty of activity.

The Trials franchise from Redlynx kicked things off in January, and the team continues to support the game on ATV today with regular updates (a holiday update dropped recently).

One of my 2D platforming games of the year – Le Parker – came along, with pixelised macarons I wanted to reach out and gobble, coupled with beautiful, exacting gameplay. Speaking of platformers, Leo’s Fortune turned up later in the year to offer up some competition, and wow, what a looker (and player).

January really did get things off to a good start, as Oceanhorn 2 was announced, with Cornfox telling ATVG straight away it was aiming for ATV. Two and a half years later, here it is as a flagship Apple Arcade title.

I won’t go through every release of the year, but scrolling back through the stories it feels like ATV gamers had a good run.

Last night I retrospectively chose Halfbrick’s Dan The Man as 2016’s Apple TV Game of the Year, and so why not do the same tonight for 2017?

I don’t even have to think about it – Space Marshals 2. With games like Pixelbite’s ATV offering I was convinced that the platform had a future. The studio gave the strategic top-down shooter such great support as well, with multiple updates, and a fantastic DLC addition arriving in November of that same year – Ava’s Storyline.

On the downside, Gameloft stopped supporting Modern Combat 5 early in the year, meaning Apple TV gamers really had no options at all for first-person shooters, until December, when Astrogun launched Apple TV’s first ever platform exclusive – VAST.

Xander Davis in his interview with ATVG was excited about the prospect of launching on such a new platform that showed so much promise, yet at the same time lamented the lack of support Apple was giving the hardware as a place to game. That really summed up the Apple TV story for that first couple of years, really until the announcement of Apple Arcade in March 2019.

Another disappointment, although exciting at the time, was the announcement from Thatgamecompany that Sky would hit ATV before any other platforms, and yet here we are wrapping up 2019, and Sky has released elsewhere but with no news on the ATV version. Highs and lows, swings and roundabouts.

November saw Gameloft throw a little love at Modern Combat 5 with an update, giving us false hope about ongoing support for the title, which quickly dried up not long after.

The year ended on some more positive notes though, with Legendo starting to tease Draugablíkk: Serpents in the Mist, ATVG discovered RPG classic The Bard’s Tale was available on the platform, Inside dropped in December, and a free bonus mission arrived  in yet another Space Marshals 2 update.

Throughout the year, titles were released by a couple of big supporters of the platform – Vector Unit and Mooff Games (now trading as Four Fats), and we hope to see more from them in the future. Maybe some Apple Arcade titles? We know that Vector Unit had plans to release Beach Buggy Racing 2 for ATV in 2019, but the studio’s site now says TBD, so 2020 on Apple Arcade perhaps?

2017 was a fascinating chapter in the evolution of the little black box, as we started to really see what kind of potential there was for high quality titles. All that was left was for studios to find a way to make it viable to release on the system.

Through it all, ATVG kept cranking out words, readers read them, and the world kept turning.

Check out the original 2017 list over the page.

Continue reading “ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2017”

ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – Year One (2016)


Correction: The fourthgen Apple TV was of course released 2015 not 2016. Time to start fact checking myself (I’ll blame it on too much jazz, whisky, and a long day at work. My apologies dear readers). The story below has been corrected accordingly.

Prelude: In a very real way, 2019 feels like the year that Apple TV as a platform for gaming came of age.

Apple Arcade has absolutely been the most significant event in the platform’s three-and-a-bit year history, bringing over 100 quality titles to a console that up until the launch of the gaming subscription in September, was having a very slow year for releases.

With more players finally starting to discover and explore this relatively new country of gaming, ATVG thought that now was a perfect time to do something a little special. For the rest of the week I’ll showcase the last three year’s Best of lists, in an effort to shine a light on the dark path a few of us trod in order to get to the light.

After a look back, with a preamble such as this before each to highlight each year’s most significant events, we’ll get to this coming weekend, at which point I’ll post 2019’s Best of. That’ll be a tough one. A lot of games have hit Apple TV in 2019, 103 of them since September with the launch of Apple Arcade, arriving late in the year to rearrange the furniture.

But for now let’s go back to 2016. The beginning.

When Tim Cook announced the fourth-generation Apple TV at WWDC 2015 with its gaming capability, I knew straight away watching the event that a new platform had arrived. I also suspected that it would be a slow burn, but a captivating journey. I wanted in on this niche.

How often does one get to follow a gaming platform from inception, watching it evolve. Three years on, I can say it’s been nothing short of fascinating.

I didn’t actually end up picking a Game of the Year until 2018, but if I had my time again, I’d pick Dan The Man for year one – 2016 – in a heartbeat.

The bulk of the games in this 2016 list were launch titles, and after setting up my brand new fourth-gen Apple TV and pairing my Steel Series Nimbus, Dan The Man and Real Racing 3 were some of the first games I downloaded.

Playing Dan The Man with a controller in-hand confirmed that a path had opened up for this new gaming platform, and knowing how much fun I had with Halfbrick’s title, I was confident I’d embarked on a journey worth taking. And here we are.

I’d like to thank all the developers who shared their games, their time, and their insights with me over the last three years, and of course for taking chances on releasing games for this platform that really looked like it was going nowhere fast.

Thanks also to the readers, for your emails, your shares, likes, RTs, and of course for your valuable time spent reading these silly ramblings of mine. Much appreciated.
Unfortunately, we’ve lost a few of the games from this list along the wsy, with Gameloft no longer supporting Modern Combat 5, and also Minecraft and Geometry Wars 3 leaving the platform. They were fun while they lasted.

Gameloft is of course back on Apple TV with its Apple Arcade title Ballistic Baseball. So, welcome back Gameloft. It’s stories like these that shape a platform and give it history, with games coming and going, rising and falling.

We’re certainly in a different place now then we were three years ago.

Ready to jump in the time machine? Excellent. Let’s go.

Continue reading “ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – Year One (2016)”

Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, Game No. 103 Hits Apple Arcade


Those looking for futuristic sports kicks on Apple Arcade have a couple of good options following today’s latest release.

Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, joins HyperBrawl Tournament on Apple’s subscription gaming service for players after a hyper-realistic, Tron inspired neon battler.

And in an interesting turn, the 103rd game to hit Apple Arcade is actually the start of an exclusive franchise.

Continue reading “Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, Game No. 103 Hits Apple Arcade”

Tim Cook Visits Mistwalker, Studio Behind Upcoming Fantasian


Fantasian would have to be one of ATVG’s most highly anticipated upcoming Apple Arcade titles.

Fantasian is being cobbled together by the team at Mistwalker – helmed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series.

Sakaguchi’s creation featured back in March in a fascinating slice of video, in which the games veteran is seen bent over obsessing with real-world models being created for the upcoming game.  As you’ll see in the video, and in the character design from the screenshot above, there is definitely a Final Fantasy flavour going on here.

Apple CEO Tim Cook toured the studio earlier this week, and photos from his visit give a sneak peek at some of those models which will be used as environments in-game.


Sakaguchi narrates the video, bemoaning how many models the team will need to fashion to complete the project, and the narration almost reads like a beautiful Haiku.

The full dialogue is as follows:

Fantasian is a game that shouldn’t exist.
Every day is a challenge, creating game worlds by hand.
We are building dioramas, photographing them and adding 3D characters.
I’m a little scared of how many sets we are going to have to build in the end.

The Fantasian portion of the video kicks in at 1:15, and it’s a must-watch to see these
dioramas being carefully crafted, and then gameplay footage shown implementing them.


Does the fact that Cook visited Mistwalker during the week mean that Fantasian is readying for release? Remains to be seen.

Whether it finds its way to the service in 2019 or 2020, Fantasian is an exciting prospect.

Roll the video.

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 2020 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.

10 Apple Arcade Games That Have Already Had Free Content Updates


No ads, no in-app-purchases (IAPs).

These were only two of the bullet points promised back in March 2019 when Apple unveiled Apple Arcade, its disruptive gaming subscription service. But those two bullet points add up to a whole lot of value for Apple Arcade gamers.

No IAPs also means no paid downloadable content, meaning that any content updates that come to Apple Arcade games, will be free.

Have you ever opened up the App Store to check for updates and noticed one of your go-to games has had a free content update? Now you can love that game you already love even more. And as we know, love is all folks.

An excellent example is the recent 8.0.0 update that came to Real Racing 3, bringing Formula 1 racing to this six and a half year old game, and getting me playing again.

With 102 games currently available, ATVG expects to see a lot of Apple Arcade games receiving free content updates over the next 12 months, but even now, with the service only having launched in September, many games have already received additional goodness to enjoy. And there is more on the way.

In this recent piece, ATVG had a look at studio Cornfox’s 2020 roadmap for excellent JRPG Oceanhorn 2, noting that there’s a big content update brewing. I guess I’ll have to get in and finish the game before then. Work to do.

Over the page you’ll read about 10 Apple Arcade games that have already had content additions in the last couple of months. Some are small, such as additional achievements, and some are big, adding whole new levels and worlds.

Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “10 Apple Arcade Games That Have Already Had Free Content Updates”