One month in, I’m hooked on Apple Arcade [Review]

By

iPad browsing Apple Arcade games catalog with iPhone and Xbox Controller
I was sure I was going to cancel, but I'm actually enjoying Apple Arcade games quite a bit!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I don’t consider myself much of a gamer, but the idea of games always seems to appeal to me. That’s why, when Apple Arcade launched, I activated my subscription to test the waters. My hope was that I’d get some clarity before it cost me anything to try.

Now, a month has passed, and I’ve got some mixed feelings about the service. Should I keep paying for it? Are its 100-plus games worth the monthly fee? Can I play it when and where I want? Get the lowdown in my Apple Arcade review.

Apple Arcade review

After testing Apple Arcade for 30 days, and rolling into the paid subscription, there’s a lot to like about the service. In a nutshell, Apple Arcade is a really solid offering of games for a relatively low price. The catalog of titles offers something to appeal to gamers (and non-gamers) of all types.

Finding the right game can be tough, with the App Store editorial team influencing which ones are most discoverable. Playing some of the iOS titles also proves challenging, with on-screen controls a bit too complex at times.

Apple Arcade on Apple TV

Playing on Apple TV is also a struggle, especially with any game that requires more than a swipe or tap. With Apple Arcade, developers can now require a controller to play certain games. This means on top of buying an Apple TV, and paying $5 each month for the service, you might need to drop some extra cash for a compatible game controller (like this Xbox One S controller for $39).

If you’re already into games, it’s very likely that you already own a controller that will work, or another system that can take advantage of the controller. But then again, you also probably already know about Apple Arcade and have made your decision about whether Apple’s gaming service is worth it or not.

For the less dedicated gamer, it’s a tougher call. If you’re the type to occasionally play a single game every once in a while, Apple Arcade is a pricy way to do that. If you like the idea of experimenting with different games, or constantly want to try something new, it’s a lot more appealing than paying for a game you may dislike.

A great service for casual gamers

Non-gamers — those who either never play games, or just aren’t interested in starting — have probably made their minds about Apple Arcade, too. But if you have even the faintest interest in gaming, Apple Arcade is worth trying out. Best of all, you get your 30 days free. If you don’t like it, simply cancel your subscription and move along.

More likely, you’ll discover lots of fun, simple offerings on Apple Arcade. Those games then act as a gateway into some amazing content that you didn’t even know you liked. Take it from me — I almost never play games, and I’m finding myself checking the Apple Arcade section of the App Store every few days for something new to try.

Either way, Apple Arcade is a great value for the price. For just $5 per month, you can enjoy more than 100 games across your iOS devices, Apple TV and Mac (running macOS Catalina). You won’t find any nasty surprises, like in-app purchases or ads. It’s a very vibrant service, with an ever-growing catalog of games. It’s well worth the price of admission.