Apple Arcade has been out for a month, and subscribers have mostly dug their way through the huge list of games and found their favorites. Unfortunately, with so many games releasing at once, there was bound to be some real gems that got lost in the mix.
Here are five hidden gems on Apple Arcade that haven't gotten the attention they deserve.
1. Fledgling Heroes
Flappy Bird may have been a laughably shallow game when it stormed the mobile gaming world back in 2013, but there's a reason it got popular: the challenge of flapping your way around obstacles was simple enough for anyone to pick up but difficult enough to require some real skill to progress.
Fledgling Heroes takes that gameplay and crafts an actual game out of it, complete with hand-designed levels, varied enemies, branching paths, multiple characters, and bosses to defeat. It's even got a level builder for those who want to keep the game going when they finally beat the whole thing.
2. Towaga: Among Shadows
Back in 2012, the mobile game ZiGGURAT had players standing atop a mountain fending off unending waves of enemies in a desperate bid for survival. Towaga: Among Shadows takes inspiration from that core idea, and forges an impressive story-based game around it.
Steeped in a an impressive atmosphere and featuring some impressive animations and sound design, Togawa: Among Shadows does a lot to rise above the simple aspirations of ZiGGURAT and creates a constantly-evolving experience where players unlock new powers and adopt new strategies to deal with the constantly-changing threats around them.
3. Bleak Sword
It's pretty easy to see why everybody overlooked Bleak Sword when Apple Arcade came out. Games with retro graphics are a dime a dozen these days, and at first glance these graphics look even more retro than usual. Its two-color stick figure world looks more at home on the Apple II than on the NES.
But behind the basic visuals lies an intriguing story and a surprisingly deep combat system that perfectly marries touch-screen controls with Dark Souls-esque combat that has players dodge rolling, parrying and countering their way across a broken world.
Much like Bleak Sword, the simple graphics of Spek aren't much to look at, though they serve an actual game-related purpose in this case. Spek is a perspective puzzle, where players help guide a moving dot along 2d lines by manipulating the 3D objects that the lines portray.
It's a bit an advanced version of Monument Valley, where the perspective is no longer fixed and players have to think their way through 2D paths, 3D space, and the occasional physics puzzle to work their way to their goal.
I included Cardpocalypse in my top 10 games on Apple Arcade, but for some reason most people didn't get the hint. Anyone who grew up in the 90s and has a passing interest in collectible card games will love what this game has to offer. It perfectly captures what it felt like to be involved in a craze that school faculty looked on with suspicion.
Well, except for the part where monsters from the game leak out into the real world and must be defeated through card battles... though maybe I just went to the wrong school for that.
The card game at the center of it all is as deep and exciting as some of the best CCGs out there, with the added bonus of not requiring players to open their wallets before they can get their hands on all the cards they want. All it needs is a multiplayer mode and there would be no reason to go back to Hearthstone.