Apple takes the wraps off Apple Arcade, invites you to “play something extraordinary”

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Yesterday, at its grand iPhone 11 reveal event, Apple took the wraps off its upcoming Apple Arcade subscription service. It’ll cost $4.99 for a family subscription, giving every Apple-slinging member of your household access to a wide range of games, and will hit iOS devices on September 19.

When it launches on September 19, it’ll be available as a one-month free trial, giving players access to 15 brand new, exclusive launch titles and a library of over 100 games that will be “playable across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.”

The presentation for it started off with an updated Frogger from Konami and Q games, and while it looks like it could be a fun diversion, they spent entirely too long showing off this single game. I was entirely ready to write off the whole thing, until it was revealed that SEGA would be bringing a new Chu Chu Rocket game Apple Arcade, which means I have to have this. The big problem? The stark lack of capable Apple devices in my home. [insert sad emoji here]

Here’s an overview of some of the exclusive games coming to the service:

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  • Ballistic Baseball” from Gameloft, is an action-packed arcade baseball game that captures the intense battle between pitcher and batter in live head-to-head multiplayer matches.
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  • ChuChu Rocket! Universe” explodes as Sega launches the beloved ChuChus into a universe of strange and wonderful planets with over 100 mind-bending puzzles.
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  • In “Exit the Gungeon” from Devolver, players must escape a collapsing hell dungeon as increasingly perilous obstacles and opponents stand in their way.
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  • Overland” from Finji, is a post-apocalyptic road trip adventure where players fight dangerous creatures, rescue stranded travelers and scavenge for supplies to survive.
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  • PAC-MAN PARTY ROYALE” from Bandai Namco, is a brand-new arcade experience featuring a four-player Battle Mode where the last PAC-MAN standing wins.
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  • In “Projection: First Light” from Blowfish, players follow the adventures of Greta, a girl living in a mythological shadow puppet world as she embarks on a journey of self-enlightenment, helped by legendary heroes from ancient cultures along the way.
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  • In “Rayman Mini” from Ubisoft, Rayman has been reduced to the size of an ant! Players use insects, mushrooms and plants to run through the world as quickly as possible or try over and over again to achieve the perfect score.
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  • In “Shantae and the Seven Sirens” from WayForward, players explore a vast sunken city and battle the Seven Sirens in the Half-Genie’s most thrilling adventure yet.
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  • Skate City” from Snowman brings the heart and soul of street skating to life with multi-touch controls as city streets become the ultimate skater playground.
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  • In “Sneaky Sasquatch” from RAC7, players live the life of a Sasquatch and do regular, everyday Sasquatch stuff like sneaking around in disguise, raiding coolers and picnic baskets, playing golf and more.
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  • Steven Universe: Unleash the Light,” is an original Cartoon Network game, co-written by Rebecca Sugar, where players pick their favorite characters, choose which Gems are in their party, unlock awesome new abilities and equip alternate costumes in the ultimate mobile role-playing game (RPG).
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  • Super Impossible Road” from Rogue Games, is a futuristic, high-speed racing game where players master hairpin turns on courses that twist and coil over beautiful galactic backdrops.
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  • The Bradwell Conspiracy” from Bossa, is a beautifully stylized conspiracy adventure thriller with a humorous twist.
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  • In “The Enchanted World” from Noodlecake, players help a young fairy piece together a magical world torn apart by dark forces.
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  • Various Daylife” from Square Enix, is a brand-new RPG from the creators of “Bravely Default” and “Octopath Traveler.” In the year 211 of the Imperial Era, players explore a newly discovered continent while living life to the fullest in the city of Erebia.

“We are so excited to launch Apple Arcade on the App Store. A curated selection of over 100 new and exclusive games from many of the most innovative game developers in the world is the perfect complement to the App Store’s existing massive catalog of games,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We think customers of all ages are going to be delighted that a single subscription gives the whole family unlimited access to the full catalog of amazing Apple Arcade games, all without any ads or additional purchases, while knowing every game must meet Apple’s high privacy standards.”

Not all of the games will be specifically touch-based, and the service itself will support controllers, including MFi ones, DualShock 4s and Xbox One controllers. Of course, this isn’t really a threat to console or PC gaming in any way, and is more of a supplementary gaming service.  It’s sort of the antithesis to Google’s Stadia, which is trying to take control of where and how you play your games by offering console-like experiences via streaming, mostly buying your games piece-meal. Here. it’s more like Netflix – or indeed closer to  Xbox Game Pass, uPlay+ or Origin Access – where a single subscription fee lets you download and play games online or off. For fans of mobile games and more casual experiences, it seems like a worthwhile offering from Apple – and I have to admit there’re more than a few games coming to it that I’d love to play.

Last Updated: September 11, 2019