Apple has never been particularly focused on gaming, preferring to leave its rival Windows to establish a virtual monopoly over that sector in the desktop OS space. And while the iPhone kicked off the app-gaming revolution that gave us everything from Angry Birds to Plants vs. Zombies, Apple has never appeared to throw its considerable resources behind establishing mobile gaming dominance over Android.
That is until 2019, when Apple Arcade seemingly came out of nowhere. Here was a subscription-model, ad-free gaming service that takes the very best games in the App Store and gives them to subscribers to enjoy.
A veritable Netflix of games, Apple Arcade has gone from strength to strength, now offering over 200 games, with several major productions in the works alongside industry legends such as Sega.
Of course while Apple Arcade promises a ‘crème de la crème’ of the App Store’s 1+ million games, there are certain gameplay experiences that players must go further afield for.
No effort has been spared by tech news platforms in publishing Apple’s very public spat with Fortnite developer Epic Games over their differing interpretations on third party microtransaction sales. Suffice to say that as of 2022, Fortnite, arguably the world’s most popular battle royale game, is still not available officially in the iOS ecosystem.
That means you won’t find it for download in the App Store and you certainly won’t be seeing any future collaborations between Apple and any of Epic Games’ intellectual property. But all hope is not lost, as adventurous gamers can still readily side-load this game—and many others which may not be otherwise available for reasons such as region-locking—onto their devices and play to their heart’s content.
Elsewhere, while certain other gameplay experiences aren’t wholly banished from the App Store, the best in-class examples are only to be found beyond its purview. This is the case for iGaming, resulting in, for example, Antipodean casino aficionados looking for the leading online gaming platforms in NZ to turn their efforts towards the Safari browser and the open internet.
There, on reputable comparison platforms such as CasinoReviews, slots and table fans will be met with a who’s who of top-tier platforms, all provided alongside competitive sign-up offers and welcome bonuses.
All of this is to state that while Apple Arcade is a decisive step forward for gaming on iOS, Apple’s long history of ambivalence in the face of the games industry is still not fully a thing of the past.
However this is not to deny the fact that Apple Arcade is home to some of the best gaming experiences you’ll find anywhere, and with the service’s cross-play functionality that enables you to enjoy its catalog on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV, it’s also one of the most flexible.
But what are the best games Apple Arcade has to offer in 2022? Let’s take a look below.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
The Oceanhorn games are not embarrassed by taking pages out of The Legend of Zelda series’ playbook – in fact, quite the opposite. Oceanhorn, and its more refined and visually impressive sequel, Oceanhorn 2, proudly offer themselves in homage to Nintendo’s masterpiece, Breath of the Wild.
With an 11-hour campaign and plenty of side-quests and collectibles to keep you busy, what this one maybe fails to achieve in innovation it more than makes up for in solid, entertaining gameplay.
World of Demons
An utterly gripping ‘hack n slash’ title, World of Demons is not a sophisticated game – rather it’s one that seeks to get the adrenaline flowing as you battle through its colorful world populated by all manner of demonic entities.
Its quickfire action is topped up with a charming cel-shaded style that gives the game a characteristic anime flair.
Fantasian is one of the more impressive coups for the Apple Arcade platform, being a turn-based RPG designed and written by Hironobu Sakaguchi, with original music composed by industry legend Nobuo Uematsu.
This is significant, as these are the guys behind the original Final Fantasy games. As such you can expect a solid tactical turn-based adventure with the kind of writing you’ve come to expect from the top tiers of the J-RPG world.