Apple Arcade Games List: 5 Top Titles for the Second Anniversary - VRGyani News and Media

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Apple Arcade Games List: 5 Top Titles for the Second Anniversary

Launched in 2019 with just over 50 games, Apple’s ad-free subscription gaming service Apple Arcade ($4.99/mo. or available as part of an Apple One subscription) just recently surpassed over 200 games. With that much variety on the menu, it can be daunting to determine what’s worth a download.

Here are five sure-fire hits to add to your queue, playable now and compatible with cross-save on iOS and Mac OS devices and Apple TV.

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Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City

What it is: A side-scrolling endless runner with a sandboarding twist.

When it comes to mobile-focused games, the simplest gameplay ideas are typically the most successful, and the core mechanic that drives Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City couldn’t be simpler. A short tap executes a jump, while a longer press executes a backflip. That’s it. And just using those limited inputs, the game somehow perfectly nails the feeling of what skateboarders and snowboarders call “flow,” the transcendent state where heightened focus and practiced skill join together in perfect unison and every movement segues perfectly into the next.

Whether speeding down sandy hills, wall-riding, bouncing off hot-air balloons, grinding rails and ropes or piloting a wingsuit, Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City finds endless and entertaining ways to expand its vocabulary, making every run an epic adventure in miniature. And since levels are procedurally generated, it’s never the same run twice. Though it’s been available since 2018 on iOS and Android, Alto’s Odyssey: Lost City is a recent addition to Apple Arcade, now sporting an entirely new city-focused biome.

Oregon Trail

What it is: A 21st century update to a beloved edu-tainment franchise / dysentery simulator.

Installed in elementary school computers throughout the United States in the early 1980s, the original Oregon Trail served as a gateway drug for thousands of gamers of a certain age (this writer included), besmirched with its tragic narrative of pioneers braving death, misadventure and disease (so much disease).

Updated for 2021, Gameloft’s Oregon Trail doesn’t deviate much from the structure these games have followed since those heady days. Players are still tasked with leading a group of four settlers from Independence, Missouri to Oregon’s Willamette Valley with limited funds and supplies, under constant duress from the environment and happenstance. It’s essentially a game of small decisions that can quickly snowball into disaster as supplies run low and morale inevitably sags.

Should you ignore your party member’s broken ankle and set the travel pace to “grueling” to try and make the next fort quickly for the opportunity to trade and heal, but which may also worsen their injury? Do you take the ferry across the river, which will deplete your funds, or do you risk it all and try to caulk your wagon and float it across? Do you stop and try to salvage parts from an abandoned wagon, risking life and limb in the process? Sidequests and opportunities to level up and acquire improved equipment provide a light-RPG element to the proceedings.

All in all, it’s a loving tribute to the original, blending pixelated and modern animation to striking effect, with fantastic sound design filled with bird calls, buzzing insects and a beautiful soundtrack evocative of the old West. There has also been a concerted effort on the part of the development team to give Native Americans better representation, further bringing Oregon Trail into the modern age.

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Grindstone

What it is: Color-matching-puzzle-adventure-battle mashup

Developed by Capybara Games of Below fame, Grindstone is about as different from that title as it can possibly be. While Below is about making you feel insignificant, carefully mincing your way forward through a hostile environment where every step could mean certain death, Grindstone is about pure power, the kind you wield while mercilessly cutting down hordes of fools who dare stand between you and your goal, laughing giddily at the sight of their ruinous end. Protagonist Jorj is a barbarian in the classic mold, his unbridled rage leading to a slash-first-ask-questions-later approach, which is undeniably understandable when the answer is always “DIE JORJ!”

Really a grid-based color-matching puzzle game at heart, Grindstone’s twists on the formula are pure genius, from the addition of secondary objectives within each room to the light-RPG elements, such as the ability to acquire blueprints and switch between unique sets of armor and weapons with different abilities. There’s a compelling risk vs. reward mechanic at play, as the longer you stay in a given level to try and mop up treasure and objectives, the more difficult the level becomes.

The chirpy, cartoonish animation and sterling soundtrack makes the world a wonderful place to stay for minutes that will surely stretch into hours.

What the Golf?

What it is: Not golf in any way, shape or form, that’s for sure.

If you think golf is a pointless activity with few if any redeeming qualities, What the Golf? is for you. An absurdist take on “golf” in the loosest sense possible in that the goal of each level is to make it onto the green and hit the flag, What the Golf? serves up one hilarious scenario after another.

The game starts off on an innocuous note, with the first and second tutorials demonstrating the standard golf-game mechanic of aiming with the touchpad or mouse, then pulling back and launching. Then, in the third tutorial, that same action unexpectedly launches the player. From there the surreal happenings are quickly ratcheted up to genuinely funny effect, and never lets up, with houses, pianos, cars, cats and exploding barrels just a few of the props adding to the silly shenanigans.

Few games are capable of eliciting actual laughs-out-loud, but What the Golf? manages it with aplomb.

Sneaky Sasquatch

What it is: Metal Gear Sasquatch.

Stealth adventure games can be hit and miss, but this game starring a mischievous bigfoot proves itself a welcome addition by amping up the chill factor and dialing down the frustration.

The story of a hungry sasquatch who has to scrounge a large campground for food (and also enough scratch to save the campground from a greedy developer), it’s a Legend of Zelda-lite with a helping of forgiving stealth gameplay. Featuring a day-and-night cycle and a looping structure that gently folds into a larger traditional narrative with an ending, it’s the perfect game to take in small bites that slowly add to the overall progress. Discovering new tools and upgrades through story beats and sidequests opens up new paths to forward the story, but mainly it’s just fun to sneak around and get into trouble in this charmingly animated world.

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