We recently had dinner with a family friend, H, who’s a proud owner of the latest iPhone 12. She shared with us that the purchase came along with a 3-month Apple Arcade free trial (if you aren’t already a subscriber). For that reason, she wanted some game recommendations to play with her daughter, D (11).
Of course, some of M (8) and my favorite games immediately came to mind – I sent these to H via text after dinner. In addition, I knew I had to share our favorite games in this space for folks who are new to Apple Arcade too!
New to Apple Arcade? Here are the Best Games to Try on Your New iPhone 12
If you’re completely new to Apple Arcade and, like H, don’t know where to start from the catalog of over 130 games, here’s a list of games that you definitely need to try. As usual, they are in no particular order.
1. What The Golf? – Best Physics-based Puzzle Game
If you’re expecting to learn real golf skills from this game, I can assure you that there will be none. The goal of this physics-based golf parody is to guide a golf ball through different areas and clear flagpoles which represent courses that you need to play to make progress in the game.
The gameplay is simple and all you need to do is to drag your finger down the screen and then release it to shoot the golf ball or whatever you’re using. Yes, expect to golf with not just your regular golf ball but a cat, a TV and even a house because with this wacky game. You never really know what you’re gonna get. You will be constantly amused by the ridiculous logic (or lack thereof) of the game and be floored by the lame puns and popular references (think Super Mario Bros., Flappy Bird, etc.).
2. Spek. – Best 3D Perspective-based Puzzle Game
A simple game of geometry, Spek. is about guiding a dot over outlines in different minimalist yet colorful dimensions full of challenging puzzles, dangerous inhabitants and innovative mechanics that will make you think in new ways. You can rotate your screen to manipulate the 3D space.
This is a relaxing one for me to play at the end of a long day after putting the kids to bed since there are no time limits or high scores to beat. I especially like the peaceful and immersive soundscapes of the game that’s perfect before bedtime. Since the game had an Age Rating of 4+, I let E have a go at it as well. I have to admit that he’s not the best at solving the puzzles, but he does enjoy the game as he gets to play around with shapes, and I think it’s great that he’s also increasing his spatial perception.
3. Sneaky Sasquatch – Best Stealth Adventure Game
Sneaky Sasquatch is a chill and relaxed adventure game where you sneak around in campsites and try to steal food from coolers and picnic baskets without getting caught. There’s a large variety of things for you to do and that includes disguising yourself in human clothing, playing golf, renting an apartment, taking a driving test and getting a driver’s license, selling food to a bear to earn cash, and lots more.
Overall, this was a really fun and family-friendly adventure game which we chanced upon. I believe it should take around 6-7 hours to finish the entire game if you are the kind who likes to complete everything in one seating. M took about a week in October to complete the game since I was limiting her screen time on the iPad.
4. Frogger in Toy Town – Best Beginner-friendly Action Game
You play as the legendary Frogger in this game who has been asked to help save froglets that are left stranded in human houses after a tornado swept through the neighborhood. You will need to travel from the bottom of the screen towards the top and avoid a wide variety of hazards looking to knock you out.
E was soooo obsessed with this game and kept asking for us to play it over and over again. Well, there must be something about the graphics and toy theme that appeal to him since he’s always pointing out all the different objects (toy cannonballs, helicopters, spring-toys, vacuums – you name it, they have it) on the screen. If you must know, yes, I’m the one on the controls while E simply gives the commands but we both have a hopping good time, nevertheless.
5. Dodo Peak – Best Beginner-friendly Arcade Platformer Game
Dodo Peak is a cute and accessible arcade platformer which tasks you, a Dodo bird, to navigate tricky islands to rescue your lost babies against sneaky snakes and malevolent monkeys.
This game is great for beginners. Its gameplay is fairly straightforward with simple touch controls that players of all ages can learn easily. M needed little guidance and only asked me for help on certain stages when the challenges prove to be tougher and require more strategy.
6. Butter Royale – Best Battle Royale Action Game on Apple Arcade
Experience the food fight of your life in Butter Royale where you can play solo or in squads against 31 others in fast-paced 5-minute food fights. Knock out your opponents with food and aim to be the last one standing which avoiding an ever-encroaching lava pool of butter.
Regular readers and close family friends will know that M and I are both huge fans of Butter Royale. We have so much fun playing it on the iPad and Apple TV respectively. This game also made it to our list of Best Apple Arcade Shooter Games for Kids. We were hooked on the recently concluded Night of the Living Bread for Halloween which focused on melee combat. The Time-limited Events gave us extra reasons to play the game even more often since there were special event bonuses.
Honestly, we can’t wait for more updates and more time-limited events on this game, especially since the holidays are nearing. (M would really love to see a Christmas-themed event featuring turkeys, puddings, gingerbread houses and the like!)
7. The Pinball Wizard – Best Pinball Action Game on Apple Arcade
In this mash-up of Pinball and Dungeon Crawling, you play the role of a young apprentice who is propelled into action by a set of flippers, just like the ball in a pinball machine. The goal of the game is to survive twenty-one levels and get to the top of the tower to defeat the big boss and save the day.
I got pretty addicted to the game upon discovering it and completed all levels within one day (oops!). However, M didn’t seem too interested when I introduced this game to her. I figured it was because she was already occupied with her regular games and didn’t want to explore new ones for now. Nonetheless, I will still urge parents to try out this easy-to-pick-up game with your kids. Once they unlock new levels, new skills and new bosses, I know I will be back at the game for sure.
Are there other beginner-friendly games that I left out? Help a dad out – leave a comment and suggest titles for us to play!