The sheer volume of games available via Apple Arcade has meant that we’ve had to try and take a different approach to coverage. Richard’s ‘Arcade Roulette’ was an idea we came up with that would allow us to look at a range of games all at once, but in less detail than what would be typical.
After-all, if you’ve already committed to paying the subscription, you’ve got 80+ games at your finger-tips you can try out for free. If you’ve not, our bet is that you don’t necessarily need full-reviews of every game in order to sway you one way or the other.
Apple’s very committed to getting themselves to 100 games as part of their initial line-up, and at the pace they’re going it’s not going to take them long to get there. At least four new games have been added to the service over the past few days, and we actually managed to try out a few of them before they were due to go live.
Consider this a ‘bonus’ episode of the review roulette – please note that I wasn’t able to give them a full work-out like Richard would typically do. I was only at the event for about an hour, but here are some initial impressions anyway to help you decide whether these one are worth your time. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll keep these in the potential pool for a full Roulette entry, so they may turn up again with a more comprehensive overview (and a score).
Monimals at first glance seems like a bit of a run-of-the-mill game, but it’s got some interesting additional applications it hope will earn it a bit more longevity on devices.
It’s a puzzle/platformer where you must navigate a sound jack underwater through levels to try and find ‘Monimals’, creatures that embody a single musical note. There’s the usual array of hazards and light level manipulation, with a ‘boss’ fight in the end that can help you win the monimal.
Each Monimal represents a single note or sound across lead guitar, bass and drum, and as you collect them you can then jump into the game’s ‘other’ mode and use the collected monimals to create your own music. It’s a simple drag and drop interface that lets you place a sound and define its length, as well as other typical tools you’d need for something like this. You’re not likely to create masterpieces, but you can create some pretty decent tunes. You can also have those songs play in the background as you go back into the ‘game’ part and find more monimals.
The developer’s have said that players will own the IP rights to everything they create within the app, but that it’s against the terms of service for someone to recreate a piece of music that already exists. They don’t sound too keen on trying to police that though, and they’re also working on ways for players to be able to share their music amongst themselves online.
This one stretches the definition of the term ‘game’, but it was still a really neat little app that I can actually see being great for young children. You are in charge of a little dot – the Diver – and you’re able to use simple swipe controls to guide it around a sparse open space inhabited by brightly coloured creatures that look a bit like swarms of fish.
The whole game is partly inspired by the lead designer’s experience with diving, but it also uses meditative techniques to give a very calming and relaxed experiences as you wander around. You can ‘discover’ a species by hovering over a specific point, and then that swarm will start interacting with you. Sometimes you can lead them, sometimes they lead you. There are lots of different levels, species and music to experience.
This one’s the least ‘game-y’ of the three, but I really appreciate how colourful the swarms are, and the way they move and flow about the map is quite mesmerising.
This one was definitely the most ‘fun’ of the three. I don’t want to say ‘enjoyable’ because given the breadth of apps available, something like ‘enjoyment’ is actually pretty relative to both a person’s tastes and the intent of the app to begin with (e.g. Lifelike).
This was definitely one you can imagine sitting down with some friends to have a couple of rounds. It’s got that ‘party game’ feel, even if it doesn’t quite support the numbers for it, being limited to only four players. One person plays as a farmhand, the three as pigs. The pigs need to run around the game map, getting themselves dirty, and then trying to make the Farmer’s prized possessions so dirty they can’t be cleaned.
The farmer, armed with only a simple (tho, unlimited) water hose, must chase after the pigs – they can wash clean anything that hasn’t been ‘maxed out’ in terms of dirt, and they can also try and catch the pigs and hogtie them (only another pig can free them). If the farmer catches all three he wins, otherwise it becomes a kind of ‘top score’ determined by how dirty/clean everything is, and then either the Farmer or the Pigs win.
It’s good clean (dirty?) fun, and has both a single-player mode against an AI (which is no slouch) and online multiplayer.
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