Hands on with Apple Arcade in iOS 13

Posted:
in iOS
Apple Arcade launches on September 19 for everybody on iOS 13. AppleInsider goes hands on today with the activation process, game installation, and looks at several launch titles.


Getting started with Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade isn't an app on its own, rather it is a sub-section of the App Store itself. A new tab will populate after the launch of iOS 13 with a retro game controller and the title "Arcade."






From this tab, users can quickly sign up for Apple Arcade, including a free trial. It then will bring up the standard App Store subscription confirmation before allowing access to all Apple Arcade titles. Unlike standard App Store games, Apple Arcade games will all say "get" and are downloadable for "free" -- other than the monthly fee.

Once a game is downloaded, it can be played on any of your devices that support Apple Arcade including iPad and eventually Apple TV and Mac.

Playing Apple Arcade titles

Where Cards Fall on Apple Arcade
Where Cards Fall on Apple Arcade


There are many games available on Apple Arcade, spanning in-depth platformers, racing titles, puzzles, and much more.

The list of titles is quite impressive out of the gate, and we've only had a bit of time so far to start playing but we already have several favorites including Where Cards Fall, Oceanhorn 2, Hot Lava, Lego Brawls, Frogger, and Skate City.

Where Cards Fall, from developers of the outstanding Alto's series, is wonderful with stunning audio, beautiful visuals, and stimulating gameplay. We've been waiting for this title for quite a while and we're excited to get playing.

Frogger in Toy Town
Frogger in Toy Town


We also tried out the Frogger title that Apple demonstrated on-stage and it had much more depth than we originally expected. It is abundantly clear that these games are not shallow offshoots, but many are very robust and will provide hours upon hours of playtime.

Oceanhorn 2 -- which feels very Breath of the Wild-inspired -- was great while using a PS4 controller and we can't wait to get this up on our Apple TV to play on a larger screen.

Hot Lava was a new title we hadn't heard of before Apple Arcade but was very clever, retro feeling, and sharp. It takes the childhood game of "the floor is lava" and makes it into a full digital game. The sense of humor feels very on-point and something we'd keep playing.

Skate City on Apple Arcade
Skate City on Apple Arcade


We aren't going to review every title in Apple Arcade here, or probably ever, but simply-put there are a lot of games and almost everything we downloaded was well-done and fun. Of course, there are going to be titles that don't appeal to everyone but Apple has done a good job of appealing to a wide variety of gamers.

The games also take advantage of Apple's hardware and software. All save game and score data is stored on iCloud and moved between devices, support for MFi controllers including PS4 and Xbox One controllers is baked in with good multi-touch control, and the Taptic engine rumbles appropriately with physical feedback. Apple has executed unique integrations, like utilizing the Apple TV as a scoreboard with players in the same room on different iPhones.

Cancelling

Apple is allowing users an entire month-long trial of Apple Arcade before the monthly $4.99 price point kicks in. If you decide Apple Aracde isn't your cup of tea, you can cancel any time that trial without being charged. You, of course, can also cancel after you started paying and your subscription will run until the end of the billing period.

Apple Arcade in the App Store
Apple Arcade in the App Store


To cancel, head to the App Store and tap on your account icon in the top right corner. Then go to your subscriptions and look for Apple Arcade. This will also tell you your next billing date.

Availability

Apple Arcade will officially launch on September 19th, the same day Apple is releasing iOS 13 to everyone. There will be over 100 titles released this fall for Apple Arcade and at launch, there are more than 50 titles AppleInsider counted in the App Store.

We'll be looking more at the service over the next few weeks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    I like my big screen Mac. Will the games even work on Macs? Will they work with my macOS keyboard (or maybe even my trackpad)? Or must I purchase a controller?
    davgreg
  • Reply 2 of 18
    All game developers have had to make their games work on iOS, iPadOS, macOS and AppleTV. They've also had to make them work with touch screens, keyboard & mouse and game controllers regardless of what hardware/OS their games are played on. I think Apple has released some behind the scene stories from game developers about the unique challenges these requirements posed when they were developing games for Apple Arcade.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Any distinguishing icons to show which apps you've download are AA games and which aren't? Also, what happens to downloaded AA games if you let your subscription lapse? Is save data maintained in case you re-subscribe? And are there options to purchase games outright if you don't subscribe to AA or if you do subscribe and like a game enough that you want to have it without a subscriptions? Lots of questions not answered here.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    I understand why Apple wants the games to work with touch screens but game controllers are really very different in capability than touch screens (and vice versa) so I worry this will be a handicap for developers (and result in either weaker games or some game concepts never being introduced). But at $5/month it's a low risk that is hard to resist. I do wish the full 100 titles were available at launch and that AppleTV was supported at launch ("eventually Apple TV and Mac") as the neglect of gaming on AppleTV has been frustrating (we bought controllers years ago and have almost no games to use them on).
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    YaBoiNickYaBoiNick Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    So far, I'm whelmed.
    kevin keedavgreggilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Just subscribed on my iPad with iOS 13.1 and while the idea may be good in principle, at the moment - the lack of games (let alone good ones) is glaring.

    I will be avoiding until the catalog beefs up a LOT.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Only had a small amount of time to play with the service on my iPad but it seems very promising. Game play is just as good whether playing directly on my iPad or using my PS controller. There are no games which jump out as being amazing, these are only the launch titles. I'm very positive about the service simply because the sheer number of great game developers Apple has managed to get on board. I can't wait for Apple to release the new versions of AppleTV and macOS so I can play the games on my Mac and TV.
    kevin keelolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    So is there a “Halo” game that absolutely everyone must play?
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 9 of 18
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,664unconfirmed, member
    entropys said:
    So is there a “Halo” game that absolutely everyone must play?

    That's the problem. They need a Mario/Fortnite/Halo exclusive game. 
  • Reply 10 of 18
    All game developers have had to make their games ... work with touch screens, keyboard & mouse and game controllers regardless of what hardware/OS their games are played on. I think Apple has released some behind the scene stories from game developers about the unique challenges these requirements posed when they were developing games for Apple Arcade.
    Thanks for your assertions. But I couldn't find the video you alluded to, so I'm unable to substantiate your claim. 

    That
     bold text would answer my question if it was true. How do you know that's true? MacOS supports game controllers and game developers could support that instead of a keyboard. I would be wasting my money on Apple Arcade if this isn't true. But I guess I can find out for myself with the initial free month. I was just hoping that someone would look into this.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    The games made for Arcade support all OSes and controllers, so I presume 'all' developers should follow this.

    During the WWDC 2019 conference in San Jose, Apple announced that Apple Arcade will support the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller, as well as the Xbox One controller, making it even easier for players to dive in and enjoy their games.
    edited September 16 gilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    I am of the generation that grew up with computers and the original console games. I am not a fan of using an iOS device as a controller for anything other than board type games. Like an earlier comment, I like my big screen Mac (32" UHD H-P Pavilion) and would prefer to use a proper controller.

    My gaming interest is not in shooter type games or the "pay to win" stuff so prevalent in the app stores for iOS and Mac OS. There are numerous classic older games out of publication that could be updated with state of the art graphics.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    davgreg said:
    I am of the generation that grew up with computers and the original console games. I am not a fan of using an iOS device as a controller for anything other than board type games. Like an earlier comment, I like my big screen Mac (32" UHD H-P Pavilion) and would prefer to use a proper controller.

    My gaming interest is not in shooter type games or the "pay to win" stuff so prevalent in the app stores for iOS and Mac OS. There are numerous classic older games out of publication that could be updated with state of the art graphics.
    You can use your Mac and a proper controller and there are no pay to win or even IAPs in Apple Arcade, and at a glance, very few of the games premiering with the service look like "shooters" of any kind.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Are there any multi-players games?
  • Reply 15 of 18
    matrix077 said:
    Are there any multi-players games?
    All the games are offline, so I don't think they are. I might be wrong - they could support local network.
    edited September 17 matrix077watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    LaraCroft836LaraCroft836 Posts: 8unconfirmed, member
    I like my big screen Mac. Will the games even work on Macs? Will they work with my macOS keyboard (or maybe even my trackpad)? Or must I purchase a controller?
    your funny

    kevin kee said:
    matrix077 said:
    Are there any multi-players games?
    All the games are offline, so I don't think they are. I might be wrong - they could support local network.

    Incorrect Lego Brawls is 4 player and you can share scoreboard to Apple TV 
    matrix077watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    So there's no technical limitation on multiple players on Arcade. Great!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,967administrator
    matrix077 said:
    Are there any multi-players games?
    FTA:  Apple has executed unique integrations, like utilizing the Apple TV as a scoreboard with players in the same room on different iPhones.
    watto_cobrafastasleep
Sign In or Register to comment.