Apple Arcade is starting to kick into gear after a slow start to 2020

By , on April 12, 2020
Last modified 2 years, 4 months ago

Apple Arcade, the tech giant's mobile game subscription service, has been a weird one so far. It had an incredibly strong run for the first couple months of its release, with many of 2019's best games arriving as part of the service, but then the rate of new games slowed down and those that did launch weren't especially strong.

To be clear, this was always going to happen – there was never any way that Apple could keep that first-month momentum going forever. It's been pointed out before by our sister site that Apple's surprise approach to launching its games can exacerbate the issue of its sporadic release schedule.

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I feel the same way and would far prefer more transparency going forward. In an ideal world, we'd know exactly what to expect from the service on a weekly or monthly basis, much like how Sony or Microsoft announce their "free" games for PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold respectively.

Even Apple can't magic games out of thin air, and that wouldn't be so much of a problem if it would stop acting like it can or has been.

Thankfully, it just so happens that most of its recent games have been far stronger than what was offered at the start of the year. Spyder, Legend of the Skyfish 2, Scrappers, and Roundguard are all great, and next week's release, A Fold Apart, looks wonderful.

It's also impressive to see the sheer variety of games from week to week. That list alone features an old-school RPG, an adventure game spy thriller, a fresh spin on pachinko, and a co-op actioner where you play as robot bin men.

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So while the hype has definitely died down and there are still problems when it comes to Apple's secretive nature, the quality of the releases is back on track, which is great to see.

Even on weeks where we haven't had a new game launch, Apple has instead released sizable updates for games already on the service, like Grindstone or Patterned. That's a decent alternative, though it only really works if people actually want to revisit those games.

From a consumer perspective, I still think Apple Arcade is a solid deal, especially for those who're yet to work their way through most of its initial releases. There's more than enough on there to keep most busy for dozens of hours, but it's ultimately the quality of the games that's going to keep folks around, and that's what Apple is nailing right now.