Apple launched its much-awaited Arcade subscription gaming service for its smartphones, tablets and computers in September 2019, and has slowly added new games to the list since then. Now, Apple is making some changes to how Arcade is set up for the first time. At Rs. 99 per month in India or Rs. 999 per year, Apple Arcade is competitively priced and more affordable than in other countries. The latest roster expansion is giving new life to Apple Arcade, and introducing two new categories.
With 30 new games added earlier this month, there were major changes to the platform. Unlike the original and exclusive games introduced Apple Arcade So far, the latest expansion offers two new categories for games —Timeless Classics and App Store Greats.
The former brings familiar games in a new look and feel to Apple devices, while the latter adds well-known premium games to the Arcade list at no additional cost on top of the subscription fee. I took a closer look at some of these new games, including Really Bad Chess +, Monument Valley +, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, and Star Trek: Legends, and talked to the developers behind these titles.
Really Bad Chess + changes the way you play Chess
Chess has recently gotten a huge boost in mainstream interest thanks to the limited Netflix series Gambit Queen. However, this may seem a little daunting to beginners, especially given the importance of openings, and the mind games that come into play in competitive Chess. That’s where Really Bad Chess + comes in, offering a brand-new and utterly outrageous version of the game.
Really Bad Chess + is the Arcade version of Zack Gage Really Bad Chess, which was released in 2016 on iOS. The new version is completely unlocked, with no in-app purchases or restrictions, but works the same way as the original. “There are pawns randomly generated on the board, all fairness between competitors is removed, and there is no room for traditional learning or unveiling,” said Zach Gage, the developer behind Really Bad Chess +.
You start with what looks like an advantage in terms of the pieces you want, but the game soon finds ways to reverse that advantage or exploit your weakness. The graphics are simple, with a focus on gameplay. “It’s obviously inspired by Chess, but it’s not real Chess either,” said Gage of the game he’s developed.
Really Bad Chess + is part of the Timeless Classics collection, which also includes a variety of other simple casual games based on Sudoku, Word Search, Checkers, Solitaire, and many more. And if you want to play chess well, Apple Arcade has one too Chess – Play and Learn + available in the collection too.
Monument Valley + brings back perspective-based puzzle solving
The second new collection is the App Store Greats, and one of the main titles is Monument Valley +. As with Really Bad Chess +, the Arcade version is completely unlocked with all levels and extensions available for immediate play. “Even though we made Monument Valley 2 free to play last year, the original Monument Valley remained a premium game. This new version brings the game into Apple Arcade’s subscription model, ”said Maria Sayans, CEO of Ustwo Games, developer of the series.
Ustwo Games has collaborated with Apple Arcade in the past as well, and was released Alba: Wildlife Adventure on the platform in December 2020. However, Monument Valley remains one of the most iconic games ever for a mobile platform, and adds tremendous value to customers who may not have played this perspective-based puzzle solver from 2014.
Big franchises get new Apple Arcade games
While Apple Arcade games are usually standalone titles, recent expansions have added several familiar names and franchises to the list. Among the most interesting new games are NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, which is the mobile version of the popular basketball game for high-end consoles and PCs. This is one of the most significant cross-platform titles to get the Arcade version, suggesting that more of such games are in the works.
Fans of the Star Trek universe are also getting something in the latest expansion, with Star Trek: Legends. While the game doesn’t follow and won’t affect the Star Trek canon, it still has enough familiarity and material for fans of the franchise, according to Amir Lotan, Creative Director at Tilting Point, the developer behind the game.
Is the MacBook Air M1 the laptop portable beast you’ve always wanted? We discussed this Orbital, the Gadget 360 podcast. Orbital is available at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get podcasts.