I know what you’re thinking already: “What the heck is an Apple Gamer?”
For years, I’ve heard PC owners brag about their customized machines that run fast, glow with neon, and show off their speed, versatility, and endless amounts of games that push graphics to the limit. They gloat about their dual monitors. They Instagram their 15-button mouse. They screenshot their pristine 4K graphics. Where does that leave the Apple product user? Where is our recognition? It’s practically non-existent, and I say enough is enough! I am Michael Sangregorio, and I speak for the Apple user!
Some of you may be already thinking, “That’s all well and good, Michael, but Apple doesn’t have any games!”
This is where you’d be wrong, fellow Replayers. The games you can play on an Apple device go far beyond games like The Sims and… well, the sequels to The Sims. Have you not heard of Apple Arcade? It’s one of my favorite investments, and I’ve never been dissatisfied by their library of games. I’m going to break down my favorite selections from the Apple Arcade and the App Store that you can play on iOS and macOS devices.
SEGA Forever Collection
When I was growing up in the console wars of the 90s, we were either Nintendo kids or SEGA kids. My devotion was to the home of Sonic the Hedgehog. I owned the SEGA Genesis, Game Gear, and even the Nomad. You heard that right. I was very into these games. With all of those consoles having gone by the wayside, and nowhere to find them except for video game stores that aren’t named something like “Game Halt,” where can one revisit their youth right in the palm of their hand?
SEGA Forever launched in 2017 for Android and iOS and now has a catalog of 30 classic SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Master System, Dreamcast, and SEGA CD games. Their collection continues to grow, and they’re free to play if you don’t mind ads. You can save your game and even compete for top leaderboard spots. As soon as that familiar 16-bit opening tone of the “SEGA” title screen plays, you will be dipped right back into the nostalgia pool. Let it wash over you and bring you back to a simpler time of three buttons and a directional pad.
This mobile game by Devolver, the developers of Fall Guys, slipped under the radar for a few. I first got word of it from a video by YouTuber CallMeKevin (one of my hidden YouTube gems of 2020). It may appear as a simple card game, but it will have you coming back for more each time you play. Besides iOS and Android, the Reigns series is available on the Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia consoles and the three major desktop platforms: macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Linux.
As the ruler of a fictional kingdom, you’re given everyday choices on how you’ll rise up or potentially ruin all that you control. A swipe to the left or the right can make the difference between war from a neighboring kingdom or a bountiful harvest. My personal record for longest reign is 98 years where my people survived invasion, pestilence, and even a revolt. I stand by my decisions, though, as I believe myself to be a benevolent-ish dictator.
What the Golf
What seems like a simple putting simulator in a colorful world quickly reveals itself to be a hilarious and light-hearted ridiculing of a game that is, as Tribrand developers put it, “mostly played by rich people so it seemed a safe target.” It’s available for macOS and iOS through Apple Arcade.
The levels are short and full of pun titles at the end of every hole. For instance, a successful putt that gets the ball to go into a giant pit in the ground in the shape of a “1” rewards the player with “Hole in One.” There are layers of slapstick comedy and sight gags that will have you laughing through each hole in the course. I’ve revisited them plenty of times and picked up jokes that I missed in the first playthrough making the replayability a big selling point.
If you like Untitled Goose Game, then this Apple Arcade game is right up your alley. As its simple title suggests, you play a Sasquatch (or Bigfoot) in the modern world who’s just trying to enjoy life. However, with the park ranger always watching, you’ll have to be clever and stealthy with your approach to getting picnic baskets. While this may seem mundane, you progress into levels outside of the park to do things like dig up buried treasure, get your driver’s license, work as a photographer for the local newspaper, and a lot of other activities where you’ll have to disguise yourself as a human.
On my first playthrough, I was reminded of the classic Animaniacs segment “Chicken Boo” where a giant chicken was wearing simple, poorly hiding disguises to blend in with humans and yet no one ever immediately realized it was a giant chicken. In that same regard, donning a park ranger’s hat on my Sasquatch’s furry dome allowed him to seamlessly blend in and trick campers into allowing him to inspect their tents, which I immediately looted for food. It’s silly, it’s simple, and it’s fun, which is all I ask for in a good game.
Beyond a Steel Sky
Looking to play a cyberpunk game that doesn’t glitch and require patches just to be playable? Beyond a Steel Sky is for you. Revolution Software’s point-and-click adventure is actually a sequel to the 1994 game Beneath a Steel Sky. It’s on the Apple Arcade service for macOS and iOS, and it’s also available for Windows, Linux, Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and Steam. You play as Robert Foster in this dystopian future, unraveling a greater mystery along the way.
This game first drew me in with its graphics. Using Unreal Engine 4 to create 3D cel-shaded designs, it feels like you’re playing a walkthrough graphic novel. The story kept me intrigued as it developed, and the puzzle-solving point-and-click gameplay felt on par with a Telltale game. It raised interesting questions in its narrative about AI and the human condition. While critics of Apple Arcade games may be quick to point to the more “cartoony” games that appeal to younger audiences, Beyond provides depth and storytelling that all gamers should experience.
At some point in a child’s life, they took the cushions off the couch, spread them randomly around the living room floor, and jumped one to the other making sure their feet never touched the carpet as they proudly declared “The floor is lava!” This Apple Arcade game takes that idea and turns it into a first-person adventure, twisting the children’s game into an extreme sport.
Fans of Mirror’s Edge will like the parkour and wall-running aspect and be entertained with the Saturday morning cartoon presentation. While you still jump from different household platforms like tables and couch cushions, the floor literally becomes lava. As the levels progress, you’ll be able to swing from ropes, climb on pipes and ledges, and figure out the best paths in this virtual obstacle course.
How many times have you asked yourself, “Why can’t there be something that combines my love of dungeon crawls and pinball?”
If the answer is, “Never, Michael. Not even once,” then I’m going to disregard it and tell you about this game anyway. Frosty Pop’s Pinball Wizard on the Apple Arcade is a charmingly and magically addictive experience. What would normally be a ball is replaced by a tiny wizard trying to make its way from the bottom up of a dungeon, launched by flippers, bouncing off barrels, and avoiding obstacles like ghosts and goblins.
A clever campaign mode tells a fun and simple story while the Dungeon Mode tests your skills at surviving an ever-increasing difficulty with each passing level.
South of the Circle
It’s 1964. Your plane has crashed in Antarctica. The only means of survival is relying on your training to keep you alive and your memories to keep you sane. This narrative game on Apple Arcade blew away all expectations and had me playing an hours-long marathon as I became fully engrossed in the story.
You play as a Cambridge academic that ends up working for England’s intelligence branch of the military during the Cold War. As you try to survive your crash and make your way to safety, memories of your greatest love unfold and begin to blend into your present reality. Rich environments with a simplistic art style that blends with fully motion-captured performances make this a unique visual experience.
The added element of dialogue choice and branched-off consequences make the gameplay unique with each revisit. As the timelines of your past and present begin to blur, you end up with a beautiful narrative adventure game about memory, survival, and the consequences of not dealing with the past.
Have you played any of these on Apple devices, or do you have any other Apple games that you enjoy and want to share? Let’s chat about them in the comments!