This Zelda-like Has a Great Hook – ‘Legend of the Skyfish 2’ Review

Legend of the Skyfish 2 from Crescent Moon Games is a “top-down Zelda-like” RPG that promises players a medium length Apple Arcade experience filled with action, great art, and the spirit of fishing.

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What’s the Deal With: iOS Game Saves?

I’ve loved covering Apple Arcade games since the beginning of 2020 when I first reviewed Lego Builder’s Journey. I’m quite proud of the reviews and editorials I’ve been doing this year, and I’m proud of the work Apple Arcade has been doing with their platform – but I think we both have room for improvement. I’ve already talked about how developers and Apple need to be working together more on hyping up their games to the press and the public, so now I would like to talk specifically about game library functionality.

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‘Monomals’ Review

Monomals on Apple Arcade is the sort of game that is so filled with uncommon levels of eclectic fun that I am surprised it hasn’t earned more recognition for the excellence that its developer, Picomy, has created. Monomals plays it cool as we first delve into its world, introducing players to chill platforming with a mostly forgiving extra life system with some happy-go-lucky music playing in the background. This part of the game can be very fun; as we dodge enemies and hazards, we collect coins in our hunt towards each level’s boss. We play as a sentient fishing hook on the hunt for elusive Monomals – music-making fish.

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‘Crossy Road Castle’ Review

Crossy Road Castle, or Crossy Castle as it sometimes calls itself, is a new release on Apple Arcade as of late February 2020. Created by the developers of the extremely popular and particularly addicting mobile game Crossy Road, I shouldn’t be so very surprised by Crossy Castle’s high quality.

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‘Rayman Mini’ Review

Rayman is a long-time running series that has earned its street cred over the years. I only started playing them as recently as Rayman Legends on Xbox One, but something about the games really caught my attention. Rayman Mini on Apple Arcade made me hopeful that it would be another whimsical adventure full of fun moments. Unfortunately, I was not prepared for Rayman Mini to disappoint and frustrate me as much as it did through its artificial feeling barriers and cheap feeling controls.

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‘Butter Royale’ Review

Butter Royale, freshly posted to Apple Arcade as of January 24th, is a heck of a surprising game. Perceptive purveyors of the Apple Arcade platform may have noticed a significant battle-royale sized hole in the platform before Butter Royale’s release. Developer Mighty Bear Games has done an excellent job with the game, creating a completely safe environment for younger audiences to enjoy the genre inspiring so many Fortnite-alikes. Butter Royale is certainly a promising new entry to the Apple Arcade platform!

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‘Kings of the Castle’ Review

Released on Apple Arcade on January 17th, Kings of the Castle is a solid and enjoyable first-person parkour game. The pitch for Kings of the Castle is straightforward – it’s a multiplayer parkour racing game, like if Mirrors Edge met Mario Kart. Or more accurately, since this is Apple Arcade territory, imagine the ramping speed of Hot Lava with the competitive racing of Sonic Racer. Continue reading

‘Why Can’t I Find Anything to Play on Apple Arcade?’ – On iOS Marketing

I recently subscribed to Apple Arcade and have been loving playing through their huge library of indie games. There are a ton of great titles on their platform, but it can be a little frustrating to pitch it to friends. Their argument has been that they could only find a game or two on the library, and then unsubscribed out of boredom.

But here’s the thing – there are over a hundred games on there, almost all of them from established indie game creators with relatively solid reviews. Logically there are more than a couple enjoyable games to spend time with on Apple Arcade, so why aren’t people finding them? I believe this comes down to Apple not promoting their games enough.

To be fair to the tech giant, so many games on the App Store are either sponsored and promoted as advertisements for hugely profitable mobile games, or they have been indie games reliant on word of mouth to really take off. Apple Arcade of course, is in the middle – sure Apple is behind it all, but I feel like the indie developers have been put in charge of their own self-promotion. And honestly, not all indies do exceedingly well at marketing.

An example for my theory comes from my time writing about Dear Reader, one of my favorite games I’ve played through the service so far. The App Store entry for the game was well written and had screenshots and all that potential players need to decide if the game’s worth trying, but outside the App Store the game’s marketing was entirely on the developer’s website. I had to find images for my article on the developer’s presskit page that they had created using a popular website addon.

The fact the developers apparently had to find and create their own tools for marketing tells me that maybe Apple isn’t all that involved. And I just want to know, why the heck not?

I think there are a few things Apple needs to do to help its new Arcade platform flourish. The biggest thing is they need to look outside their own bubble to other successful platforms. We need something like Steam’s Discovery Queue, a tool that shows people games they probably haven’t played yet. Just as important is the need to show players what is coming to the platform.

As of writing this, a game or two is released a week on Apple Arcade, with no real schedule or promotion beforehand. The game LEGO Builder’s Journey released the week before Christmas, and almost no one I talked to had even noticed its existence. This is insanity; it’s a LEGO game, a franchise that myself and many others adore, being minimally marketed and only highlighted as a spot in the new releases section of the store. Apple one hundred percent needs to be telling us about what to expect, what to be excited for, and most importantly, why we should remain subscribed.

I really am admiring the effort Apple has made to support indie games with Apple Arcade. So please, Apple, don’t mess it up.

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‘Dear Reader’ Review

Dear Reader from developer Local No. 12 is a game that very cleverly uses its assets to create one of the most bingeworthy experiences on Apple Arcade. The game first presents itself as straight-forward and simple – each level is a chapter of a book in the public domain, we interact with the levels by rearranging sentence structure, fixing typos, and otherwise restoring books to their original intent. All the books used are certainly classics, though there were many I hadn’t personally heard of.

The game gets its hooks in players with its points system, promising players more content if only they spend a little more time playing through what is already available. As we unlock new books and finish more chapters, more ways of challenging the players are unlocked. New players only have access to levels where they will select the correct words to fill in the blanks, and as the game continues to earn our respect and invested playtime, things get more complicated. At time of writing I have eight specific types of wordplay, out of a total of twenty-four available.

I have already put a heavy amount of time into Dear Reader, much more than I have with any other Apple Arcade game I’ve played so far. Between the daily challenges and the promise of more books to unlock, I am confident the game will hold my interest for some time going forwards.

I’ve always been a fan of what I call the cross-binge, which is the art of listening to audiobooks while playing games like Elder Scrolls Online or something equally undemanding. I suppose with Dear Reader I have unlocked another style of the cross-binge, now playing a game while reading a book with Netflix or something in the background. This makes me very happy.

Dear Reader was played on Apple Arcade.

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