Skip to main content

The best Apple Arcade games to play in 2024

Here are some pocket-sized games for you to play on the go.

Update: New games are being added to Apple Arcade all the time, so we've updated this list of the best Apple Arcade games with some new additions to the service that are worth checking out.

As mobiles have become more powerful pieces of pocket technology over the past decade or so, we’ve seen an enormous amount of games finds their way onto the smallest screen. Whether it's a mobile-only title, a port or adaptation of a prolific video game series, or - let's face it - a mere cash-grabbing clone, the App Store is packed with great games to play, and home to the best Apple Arcade games too.

Which of these games are actually worth your time, however, can be hard to discern. Apple Arcade at a small cost, has helped me discover some of the App Store’s hidden gems, as well as kill some spare time.

Apple Arcade is Apple’s monthly mobile subscription service that grants you access to a dozen games, ad-free, for £4.99 a month. New subscribers can also get a one month free trial. I’ve found it to be a great way of discovering new, smaller titles to sink my teeth into, and have been impressed with just how many great games there are to try. So whether this is your first visit or you're a regular subscriber, here are some of the best Apple Arcade games to play right now!


Dead Cells+

  • Genre: Roguelike/Metroidvania
  • Developer: Motion Twin, Evil Empire

Dead Cells is one of those games that I see and hear everywhere. Yet, I’ve always overlooked the "roguelike metroidvania" platformer in favour of something that looks a little less tricky. What a mistake that was, because Dead Cells is a gorgeous platforming frenzy, with procedurally generated levels that change upon each death.

A player faces a boss in Dead Cells+

It’s incredibly refreshing for a mobile game to maintain a similar level of quality as its console counterpart, and this is one of Apple Arcade’s many gems that you’ll keep coming back to.

Fantasian

  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Mistwalker

Fantasian is a solid RPG experience on mobile, and will provide you with a classic Final Fantasy fix of sorts, without actually playing one of Final Fantasy’s various mobile titles.

In fact, the games come to us from Mistwalker, an independent studio founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Sakaguchi just to happened to create the Final Fantasy series and directed Final Fantasy I to V, so you know it’s bound to be good.

A player in a diaroma environment in Fantasian
Look at this diorama!

What actually makes Fantasian stand out among the crowd is its backgrounds, which are made up of real, hand-built dioramas. As you advance with the game, your character gets to explore these interesting domains, and it shapes up for an incredible visual experience on mobile.

NUTS

  • Genre: Adventure/Simulation
  • Developer: Joon, Pol, Muutsch, Char & Torfi

NUTS is a small game with an eye-catching visual style that makes it feel incredibly unique. The premise is that you’re a wildlife photographer trying to snap some shots of endangered squirrels; surveilling squirrels isn’t the easiest thing to do, but what makes this game so interesting is how the story unfolds.

The player watches squirrels with a camera in NUTS
Don't dismiss this bright visual style just yet.

Before you dismiss this one as ‘boring’, go ahead and give it a go because things get strange. Trust me.

Disney Melee Mania

  • Genre: Action
  • Developer: Mighty Bear Games

If you’ve ever wanted to see your favourite Disney and Pixar characters battle it out, now you can, and on mobile. Disney Melee Mania is made up of 3v3 multiplayer matches, with the likes of Buzz Lightyear, Moana, Elsa, and more being among the roster of characters to choose from.

A group of players engage in a 3v3 in Disney Melee Mania

To keep things fresh, you’re also able to rack up points that can be used to power-up your characters with various skills. Honestly, it’s no Pokemon Unite, but it’s pretty good.

Assemble with Care

  • Genre: Puzzle/Narrative
  • Developer: Ustwo Games

Assemble with Care is one of those games that desperately had me wishing the Nintendo Switch’s touch screen was actually put to use more. The game makes perfect use of mobile touch screen, requiring you to carefully piece together various items to help the people of Bellariva, a fictional Spanish town.

The player fixes a cassette player in Assemble with Care
Fix up cassettes, cameras, and more.

Between repairs, you’ll learn the stories of your customers. Paired with a distinct visual style and wonderful sound design, this might just be the most therapeutic game on this list.

Monster Hunter Stories+

  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Capcom

Monster Hunter Stories+ is your way of getting a taste of Capcom’s monster-hunting game on mobile, but don’t expect it to feel like the full Monster Hunter Rise experience. Monster Hunter Stories+ features turn-based combat when battling, with the opportunity to befriend the monsters you meet, just like the other Stories spin-off games.

This game looks a little different to your usual Monster Hunter instalments...

Go ahead and grab yourself some Monsties! Yes, that’s short for monster besties, and yes, they’re actually called that in-game.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

  • Genre: Action/Rhythm
  • Developer: Simogo

Sayonara Wild Hearts is one of the first games you ought to download when subscribing to Apple Arcade. This rhythmic action game has an outstanding, eye-catching neon visual style which, alongside its music, takes you on a journey that pulsates with life.

A character stands in front of a motorbike in Sayonara Wild Hearts

It’s a fast-paced, engaging experience, so this game will require your full attention, and don’t worry if you crash a few times. It’s bound to happen, but persevere with Sayonara Wild Hearts and you won’t be disappointed by the euphonious adventure you end up on.

Survival Z

  • Genre: Survival
  • Developer: Ember Entertainment

It’s not quite Vampire Survivors or Project Zomboid, but Survival Z can scratch the same itch on mobile. Zombies are ravaging the earth as you know it, and in Survival Z, it’s your job to rescue the remaining survivors while also not becoming someone's next meal.

The player takes on zombies at a gas station in Survival Z

While actively taking on zombies and shooting their brains out, you’ll be required to place traps, upgrade your equipment, and more as the game progresses. As is the case with many games like this, no single run is the same either, so there’s plenty of replayability if you find yourself to be a big fan.

Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker

  • Genre: Adventure/Sandbox
  • Developer: Aquiris Game Studio

Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker is exactly as it sounds; you craft your own adventure! Fear not, however, if this seems daunting. Wonderbox has plenty of adventures for you to dip your toes into, but it also has the tools to make your own when you finally feel ready.

This adventure maker is simple and vibrant, and a genuine joy to play; employ the masters of magic and create your own school of witches and wizards, or build your own castle. You can even set up goblin raids, or build your own desert adventure. There are loads to choose from when it comes to Wonderbox, and that’s part of why it’s so great.

Exit the Gungeon

  • Genre: Roguelike/Shooter
  • Developer: Dodge Roll, Singlecore

Exit the Gungeon is a spin-off of indie roguelike classic, Enter the Gungeon, and follows the adventures of the Gungeoneers further as they ascend through dungeons via elevators and take on waves of ruthless enemies. For those of us who like dungeon crawlers, and a challenge, it’s a must-play.

A player ascends a lift while fighting enemies in Exit the Gungeon

Both frantic and chaotic, Exit the Gungeon will keep you busy for hours at a time, and no run is the same. And believe me, there’ll be more than one run that you scramble through. Much like Survival Z, there’s endless replayability here if you find yourself addicted, which you likely will.

Skate City

  • Genre: Sport/Simulator
  • Developer: Agens, Room8

Sure, it’s not Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, nor is it Skate 3. However, Skate City is the best skating experience on mobile, and it’s free with Apple Arcade! With delightfully muted visuals, Skate City is all about perfecting your boarding skills while exploring iconic locations.

The player character skates along a stair railing in Skate City

That said, it’s relaxing too; in the endless mode, you can simply cruise along rather than trying out tricks, checking out Barcelona, Los Angeles and more. Even better, you can record your kickflips and ollies to show off on Twitter or wherever you choose.

What the Golf?

  • Genre: Sports (with a sprinkle of chaos)
  • Developer: Triband

What the Golf? is a golf game… in one way. In about a million other ways, it’s just sheer chaos. At first glance, you’d think this is a cute golf game where your goal is to sink the ball around an assortment of courses.

A golfer is hurled across the golf course in an ice cube in What the Golf

What the Golf? fulfils that criteria, but also adds to it, turning golf into a wacky assault course full of rumbustious surprises that are best discovered for yourself. I’ll say one thing, though, and it’s that your golf ball will not be the only thing soaring through the skies in this game.

Card of Darkness

  • Genre: Strategy/Puzzle
  • Developer: Zach Gage, Pendleton Ward, Choice Provisions

Having already played Really Bad Chess from Zach Gage, I was curious as to what his other Apple Arcade title, Card of Darkness, would entail. Then, when I found out that Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time was involved, and this game became a must-play.

A set of cards in Card of Darkness

In Card of Darkness, you’ll be presented with stacks of cards, To put it very simply, you must use these cards to create a path to the end of the level. There are a lot more complexities involved than that, which you’ll learn as time goes on, and fortunately, Card of Darkness is incredibly easy to learn.

Mutazione

  • Genre: Adventure (but relaxing)
  • Developer: Die Gute Fabrik

Mutazione is the type of game I signed up to Apple Arcade hoping to find, and is one of the reasons I’ll keep hold of my subscription a while longer.

This indie-adventure will have you gardening while meeting an array of unique characters, and while looking after your plants is the main goal of the game here, it’s not what you’ll walk away thinking about.

The main character stands at a show in Mutazione

It’s a slow game, but instead of becoming dry or boring, Mutazione is a relaxant, forcing you to slow down after a long day.

Oceanhorn 2

  • Genre: Action/Adventure RPG
  • Developer: Cornfox & Bros.

One glimpse of Oceanhorn 2, and you’ll already be able to make a solid guess at what I’m about to say. Oceanhorn 2 is essentially The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on mobile.

The player enters a village in Oceanhorn 2

You don’t need to worry about playing the first game, either. In Oceanhorn 2, you’re a knight who must go about quests, battles, and even puzzles, as you try to save the world from its uncertain fate. Sounds a lot like Link’s adventures, if you ask me.

Neo Cab

  • Genre: Visual Novel/Adventure
  • Developer: Chance Agency

Neo Cab caught my attention thanks to its rather unique premise; in a land where taxi services are all automated, you're Lina, the last remaining human cab driver.

Image credit: Chance Agency

Lina has nothing else to do aside from keep on driving. You'll be made to connect with the passengers that you pick up while trying to maintain the perfect star rating, but is it all really worth it for Lina's mental health? Only one way to find out, but this particular narrative-adventure looks rather interesting.

Shinsekai: Into the Depths

  • Genre: Deep-sea Adventure
  • Developer: Capcom

If you're looking for something as close to an AAA game as possible on Apple Arcade, Shinsekai: Into the Depths from Capcom should have you covered. That is, provided you don't mind deep sea exploration. In this adventure game, you play as an Aquanaut who is only accompanied by a small drone as he explores hidden truths throughout the underbelly of the ocean.

Image credit: Capcom

As the solitary Aquanaut, discover exciting creatures, explore via submarine, and keep on eye on that air supply of yours. Ultimately, you'll be uncovering treasure, taking on daunting bosses, and plunging into the depths in this thrilling deep-sea adventure. It looks pretty cosy, too.

Manifold Garden

  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Developer: William Chyr Studio

Manifold Garden is the creation of artist, William Chyr, and you can certainly tell. It's a beautiful, puzzling indie game in an Escher-esque world; M. C. Escher was an artist who specialised in exploring the likes of geometry and tesselation in their artwork, and this definitely comes through in William Chyr's unique game.

Image credit: William Chyr Studio

The first person indie has you play with gravity and geometry to solve an abundance of trippy puzzles. You'll be tasked with manipulating your environment in such a way so that you can view the world differently, thus completing more puzzles. If you fancy a troubling, albeit beautiful and satisfying time, try Manifold Garden. This one is also a must-play for anyone who has played, and enjoyed, The Witness.

Grindstone

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: GAME START

Grindstone is a colourful, satisfying puzzle game that's right at home among Apple Arcade's best games. At the core of Grindstone, you'll be completing puzzles to rob enemies - known as creeps - of their grindstones throughout 250+ levels.

Image credit: Capybara Games

Imagine that Candy Crush Saga collaborated with the likes of The Regular Show, and you almost have Grindstone nailed. Attack Creeps depending on their colour, and with enough grindstone acquired, you can even change up power up your gear and your attacks. It's endlessly stimulating with a delightful array of levels and puzzles to work your way through, and there's no better place to play it than on your iOS device.

Japanese Rural Life Adventure

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: GAME START

Japanese Rural Life Adventure is one of a few games from developer, GAME START, for Apple Arcade. It's very similar to Stardew Valley in both gameplay and style, but it instead whisks you away to the rural mountains of Japan where you must fix up your broken cottage, prove your worth to your new landlord (ugh), and ultimately, help breathe some life into the surrounding community.

The player attends a community festival in Japanese Rural Life Adventure
Image credit: GAME START

You'll experience different seasons and various events to get involved in, much like Stardew, and will even receive your own pet to follow you around. The only difference is that this game is exclusive to mobile, and provides a much-needed change of scenery when Pelican Town tires you out.

Downwell+

  • Genre: Scrolling Shooter/Platforming
  • Developer: Ojiro Fumoto

It's taken a while for Downwell to arrive on Apple Arcade, but the primarily black-and-white scrolling shooter feels right at home on the subscription service. You play as Welltaro, a curious individual with some impressive Gunboots, as he dives straight into a mysterious well to explore what lays beneath the countryside.

Wellarto dives into a well while firing at enemies with his Gunboots in Downwell
Image credit: Devolver Digital

As you might expect, the caves below this well are full of treasure, monsters, and nefarious platforms. Welltaro must use his Gunboots (and you must use your three buttons to control him) as he travels deeper and deeper into this well, stomping on monsters and acquiring upgrades so that he can keep going a little longer.

Each time you dive into the well, what unfolds is procedurally generated, making this a simple yet easily replayable game to have on your mobile. It's great for killing time on long journeys or in waiting rooms, especially if mobile roguelikes — like Exit the Gungeon — have a little too much going on for your liking.

Sonic Dream Team

  • Genre: Platforming/Adventure
  • Developer: SEGA

Sonic Dream Team is an unbelievably good-looking Sonic game added to Apple Arcade. A stylish, 3D action-platformer with typical Sonic gameplay, this particular rendezvous with Sonic will see the speedy hedgehog and his companions strive to put an end to Dr. Eggman's evil plans once more.

Cream the Rabbit soars through one of Sonic Dream Team's 12 levels
Image credit: SEGA

Dr. Eggman is attempting to make his maniacal dreams a reality using a device known as the Reverie, which can manifest dreams in the real world, and it's on Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream the Rabbit, and Rouge the Bat to help Sonic prevent this from happening. There's also all-new character, Ariem, too, who's Ram-like appearance and name - which appears to be a pun on REM sleep - go to show that they'll no doubt be pivotal in thwarting Eggman once more.

Disney Dreamlight Valley: Arcade Edition

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: GameLoft

Disney Dreamlight Valley: Arcade Edition is the entirety of Dreamlight Valley - A Rift in Time DLC included - with all microtransactions removed. This means that you can go about restoring the valley, befriending Disney and Pixar characters, and doing all kinds of typical life-simulation activities from the comfort of your mobile.

All of the latest updates to the game will be included on Apple Arcade, too. This means that while you forage, fish, farm, and complete an abundance of charming, fun quests, you'll also be able to hang out with the likes of WALL-E, Jack Skellington, and more. It's a lovely game that does away with the perilous grind of most life-simulation titles, making it rather relaxing, and ideal for iOS platforms like iPhone and iPad.

Kingdoms: Merge & Build

  • Genre: Puzzle/Simulation
  • Developer: Cherrypick Games S.A.

Who doesn't love a merge and match game from time to time? A type of game that definitely thrives on mobile, Kingdoms: Merge and Match has been a personal favourite for me as of late. In this particular puzzle game, you'll be striving to turn your humble abode into a grand kingdom again by merging and matching different resources.

It's ideal for when you're winding down and want something simple to dive into, with plenty of quests to complete and features to unlock even hours down the line. There's also a mysterious story at play, community events to dabble with, and more to keep you coming back.

Squiggle Drop

  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Developer: NoodleCake Studios

Another simple but puzzling game to pick up from Apple Arcade is Squiggle Drop, which I've become enamoured with while on the go. Boasting over 250+ levels for players to complete, this game tasks players with getting creative and drawing various shapes or structures to solve each level.

Three different levels from puzzle game Squiggle Drop are shown
Image credit: VG247/Noodlecake Studios

Take the above examples; crown the king means you should draw a crown on the king, while other levels will see you drawing defense mechanisms for cities, or portecting cakes from the rain, and so forth. They're silly, fun, and really challenge the player to see just how creative they can get!

Dear Reader

  • Genre: Puzzle/Educational
  • Developer: Local No. 12

Dear Reader is a new addition to Apple Arcade, and one that bookworms or literature students will really enjoy. It turns entire books into a selection of word puzzles where you'll primarily be filling in the blank throughout sentences, which might not seem all that engaging at first, but think of it as a way to reexperience books you love, or a more interactive version of CliffNotes.

A library of public domain books is shown in mobile game, Dear Reader
Image credit: Local No. 12

It's more of a challenge than you'd think, and it has you revisiting (or visiting) books that have been made available in the public domain. It also features links to where you can read these books for no cost, and is one of few educational games that has managed to keep my attention.

Cooking Mama Cuisine

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: Office Create Corp

Cooking Mama was easily one of the best game series' on the Nintendo DS, and now, you can also play the cooking simulator from the comfort of your phone. There's also Cooking Mama: Let's Cook, a port of the original 2006 DS game, available on iOS if you fancy revisiting where it all began.

The player cooks a steak in a pan in Cooking Mama: Cuisine
Image credit: Office Create Corp

Cooking Mama: Cuisine is everything you'd expect from a Cooking Mama game for mobile. You'll take part in multiple touch-screen minigames as you strive to prepare and cook a range of delicious meals. Successful cooking leads to points that can be used to customise Cooking Mama herself, and this game is currently recieving regular updates, so you can expect new seasonal recipes and events!

Honourable Mentions

Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure, Fruit Ninja, Cat Quest 2, Crossy Road Castle, Hidden Folks, Pac-Man Party Royale, Cozy Grove, Wylde Flowers, Mini Motorways, The Last Campfire, The Pathless, Oregon Trail, Don’t Starve Pocket Edition, Goat Simulator+, GRIS+, Jetpack Joyride+, Layton’s Mystery Journey+, LEGO Brawls, lumen, Outlanders, Bloons TD 6

That's it for the best Apple Arcade games, but for more titles to try, check out our guide to the best games on Xbox Game Pass, as well as the best Nintendo DS games.

Read this next

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news