Really launched a few hours ago on iPhone with iOS 13 on board, Apple Arcade is the new subscription video game service launched by Apple. We have tested it from release to today and in this article, in addition to explaining what it is, we tell you ours: is it worth it? Here's what we think.
What is Apple Arcade
First of all, what is Apple Arcade. By now even the walls really know this, but for those who have not been interested up to now, here is in short what it offers. At a cost of € 4.99 per month, the Apple user can download a selection of games from the App Store Arcade section, without extra costs.
At the moment the catalog has almost 60 games, some of which are launched exclusively in Arcade, that is, which are not present in the App Store. It is, therefore, a store in the store, where you can download games without paying extra compared to 4.99 euros per month.
At this address, however, you will find everything you need to know about Apple Arcade.
Moreover, you will have the certainty that the games downloaded within Arcade will not contain advertising, nor IAP purchases, as additional game elements: everything is contained within the monthly fee of 4.99 euros. The price also allows you to share games with up to six family members, which is why the service is even more convenient.
How Apple Arcade works
By accessing the Arcade section, in fact, one has the feeling of entering a streaming game service completely different from the App Store. At first glance it really seemed to us to touch something new, different from the simple download of the games on the Apple store. As if it were an application in its own right, as if it were a service similar to Steam. Of course, if Apple had created a dedicated app, the possibilities to customize this videogame Store would have been greater.
To be honest, however, we liked the Arcade section a lot, it is really well defined, with the product sheets showing a large preview icon, in addition to the basic description, a video trailer and images that immediately convey the idea. what to expect.
Each card also proposes the compatibility of the title, with all the games that currently indicate iPhone, iPad and iPod touch as compatible devices. Note that Apple Arcade will be available on Apple TV from September 24th.
Some details are still missing in the product sheets, such as the possibility of understanding whether the title can be played completely offline, or not, but considering that the service has just been born, these are absolutely justifiable and, all in all, marginal shortcomings, even in consideration of the data plans now in force, which should not create problems for any users. Anyone who owns an iPhone, for better or worse, won't bother spending a few more MB to play online.
The Arcade section is absolutely intuitive, also because it will be familiar to all users of the App Store. There are categories within which games are offered, such as the “New Arrivals”, “Getting Started”, “Start Your Adventure” section and more. From this point of view, there could be room to improve and make the consultation of the catalog even more immediate, but we reiterate our positive feeling from the first approach. Moreover, to remind us that we are taking advantage of a new service we think the splash screen of each title, that is the initial screen, in which the word “Arcade” appears in plain sight.
After choosing the game to download, simply click on the “Get” button to start the download. We have downloaded several at the same time without any problems, and there does not seem to be any limits in this regard. It is useless in this article to evaluate the goodness of each game, because we want to focus on an opinion to the service, and not to the individual titles.
We can however say that many of the Apple Arcade exclusives return a different feeling from the classic hit and run games present in the App Store, and some of these titles feel closer to a console world than to a mobile side.
Available titles – Gallery from the interface
Here is a sequence of screenshots from the iPhone 8 showing you the titles available at launch
Which games to try now
As soon as you enter Apple Arcade you will be inundated with numerous games ready for download. There are nearly 60 of them, many of which look really good. We advise you to try these immediately:
A true masterpiece, at least for all those who love Zelda-style adventures. It is considered the real alternative title to the Nintendo title, where you can explore an island full of enemies and treasures to discover. This is a title that is in no way envied by other console productions.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
It is a truly original arcade game, especially from the point of view of stylistic and graphic choices. Apple presented it on the same stage where it gave birth to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. It tends to be a title with runner traits, with a third-person perspective, with the camera behind the protagonist.
Frogger in Toy Town
Nostalgics will not be able to help but try Frogger's latest adventure, which this time will find himself traversing 3D environments, with much more freedom than previous titles.
Jenny LeClu – Detectivu
A real rare pearl for those who love puzzle adventures. With a unique, modern and minimal style, the player will find himself going through stages having to solve environmental puzzles.
If you love old school platform games you can't help but test Rayman Mini. It is a horizontal scrolling platformer, with simple but impactful colorful cartoon graphics.
Should I subscribe to Apple Arcade?
This is probably the question that many are asking, and we want to have our say on this too. We anticipate right away that the answer will be dry, but not definitive, and that we believe we cannot give a final judgment to the service. This is because it is an ever-expanding platform, and constant updates will tip the balance towards a positive or negative answer to the question.
In any case, we believe that it is worthwhile to subscribe to Apple Arcade, but we could advise you to wait a few days before activating the service. On September 30, in fact, Apple Arcade will be available on Apple TV. If you own the Apple set top box, we recommend that you “play” the free month when it will be available on the Apple TV box, being able to take advantage of the service in an even wider way, checking the quality of the products on the living room TV.
Overall, we believe Apple TV is a really good service, with an incredibly positive value for money. If you think that a premium title, well done, complex and deep, costs more than 4.99 euros, it is easy to understand the convenience of subscribing. Basically, by paying the price of a single game per month, you will have the possibility to access the vast Apple Arcade catalog.
It should be noted, however, that the quantity and quality of the games will determine the quality of the service over the following months. It depends on how many, and which games will be added to the service, it depends on how often the catalog will be updated. If Apple manages to offer a good number of new games per month, then the price of € 4.99 per month will certainly be worth it.
Furthermore, although gaming on the go has its advantages, we believe that to fully evaluate Apple Arcade we have to wait for availability on Apple TV. Only then, pad in hand, the player will feel Apple Arcade as something comparable to the videogame experience of traditional consoles. Already now it is possible to play with the Mfi pads, or with the PS4 and Xbox BT version ones, but the small screen of the iPhone certainly does not lend itself to a particularly immersive experience.
Huge positive element of the service, like all subscriptions of the same kind, from Netflix to Spotify, is the possibility to cancel at any time, without having to pay penalties and without additional costs in case you decide to subscribe again in the future.
It is a very versatile service, to be activated and deactivated at will. Moreover, canceling is really easy: just go to the App Store, click on your profile, access the subscriptions section and, from here, cancel the trial period.
What we did not like, however, is that the deactivation of the Apple Arcade trial service will result in the immediate loss of the benefits of the service, without waiting for the end of the 30-day subscription. This, at least, is what we understand from the wording Apple: “ If you cancel your subscription test, the services will terminate immediately “. We hope, and we are sure that this is the case, that during the non-trial subscription period, therefore for a fee, the deactivation of the service still allows the user to play until the natural expiry of the 30-day contract.
Our experience with Apple Arcade is absolutely positive. We believe that the service has the potential to really scare away the sacred monsters of the sector, but to make a definitive judgment, at least in our opinion, it is necessary to wait for the release of Apple Arcade on Apple TV, and wait for the succession of months, to verify how much Apple's support will be incisive, ie understanding how many new titles will be available each month. A Triple A game per month would be enough, ie the one that alone “is worth the ticket price”, to justify a subscription of 4.99 euros per month. At the moment, there are several titles that alone are worth the subscription to Apple Arcade, but how many others will there be? How often will these Triple A appear on Arcade?
Apple Arcade is currently available with iOS 13 on iPhone and iPod touch with all models compatible with the new operating system. It will arrive on iPadOS and tvOS on September 24th and then on MacOS Catalina in October. The first month is free and then the subscription goes up to € 4.99 per month.