Apple Arcade review: Unbelievable value

A microtransaction-free mobile gaming haven.
Apple Arcade logo
Overall Rating 4.75 out of 5

Whether you’re a hardcore or casual mobile gamer, Apple Arcade represents pretty unbeatable value at just $7.99 per month."

Quick verdict

Whether you’re a hardcore or casual mobile gamer, Apple Arcade represents pretty unbeatable value at just $7.99 per month. For your money, you’ll get access to an expanding library of over 180 games, playable on your iPhone, iPad, MacBook and more. We’d like to see the collection grow a little faster, but regardless, we can’t think of many reasons not to subscribe.

Pros

  • Great selection of classic and new games, all playable offline
  • No microtransactions, ads or one-off payments
  • Compatible across most Apple devices
  • Affordable subscription price
  • One subscription can be shared with up to 6 people

Cons

  • More titles would be nice

Subscription games services are reasonably new, but thanks to the killer value offered by the popular Xbox Games Pass, the concept is gaining a lot more traction. So it’s only natural that Apple jumped on the bandwagon, launching Apple Arcade in September 2019.

But unlike most of their other products and services, Apple hasn’t been flogging its Arcade with quite the same gusto, so it’s possible that this is the first you’re hearing about it. So, before we get into whether or not it’s worth your money, let’s get a little background.

What is Apple Arcade?

Simply put, Apple Arcade is kind of like Netflix for mobile gaming. For a monthly fee, you get unlimited access to over 170 games which can be accessed from just about any Apple device. To check it out or sign up, simply go to the App Store and click on the Arcade tab at the bottom of your screen. From there, you can browse what games are available, and if you like what you see, you can sign up. Unlike free or freemium games, there are no microtransactions or ads, and you don’t have the usual one-off payment that comes with paid games.

Apple Arcade price

Like most subscription services, Apple Arcade comes with a month-long free trial, allowing you to try before you buy. After the trial period (providing you don’t cancel), you’ll be charged $7.99 each month you continue your subscription. Through Family Sharing, this single subscription can be shared with up to five other friends or family members, meaning it could work out as little as $1.33 per person, per month.

You’ll also get three months free when you buy an eligible Apple device, or bundle your Apple Arcade subscription with other services (like Apple Music, Apple TV+, iCloud Storage and more) with an Apple One subscription, which starts at $19.95 per month.

Apple Arcade games

It sounds good on paper, but the real value lies in Apple Arcade’s collection of games. The already-decent library exploded in April 2021 with the addition of over 30 classic mobile games and App Store hits, bringing the total number of games to over 180.

We’re not going to list every single game available in Apple Arcade, but we’ll go through some of the most exciting titles on offer. If you’re simply after the best, check out our top Apple Arcade picks here.

Arcade Originals

  • Star Trek: Legends
  • NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Fantasian
  • Clap Hanz Golf
  • Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker
  • World of Demons
Apple Arcade NBA 2K21 Arcade Ediition

App Store Greats

  • Fruit Ninja Classic+
  • Monument Valley+
  • BADLAND+
  • Chameleon Run+
  • Blek+
  • The Room Two+
  • Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition+

Timeless Classics

  • Chess – Play & Learn+
  • Solitaire by MobilityWare
  • Flipflip Solitaire+
  • Backgammon+
  • Checkers Royal+
  • Good Sudoku+
  • Mahjong Titan+
Backgammon on Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade compatible devices

Apple is generally pretty good with device compatibility, and Apple Arcade is no different. Basically, all you need is a relatively recent Apple device running the latest operating system. Games are available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and even iPod Touch, which, if you can believe it, still exists.

Many games are also compatible with controllers (in fact, some Apple TV games even require one). All you need to look out for is a controller icon on the app page of the game you want to play. You can use your PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, Xbox Wireless, Elite Wireless or Adaptive controller, and more recently the PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series S/X Wireless Controller, as well as any other controller specifically made for iOS.

Is it worth it?

Without a doubt, Apple Arcade is worth every cent. The price is affordable, the games are great and cater to just about every kind of gamer, and the fact that a single subscription can be shared with up to five others, across multiple devices, is a literal game-changer. Apple Arcade was never something I felt was missing from the Apple experience, but now that I’ve tried it (and loved it), I don’t think I could go without it.