Apple Arcade review

Apple Arcade hit the market in September 2019 and immediately began turning heads. In typical Apple fashion, instead of running with the herd and competing against other gaming platforms, the company decided to blaze its path. The service has done well thanks to its device compatibility and impressive value. It also has a ton of fresh, new games—most of which have been created by indie developers. 

Understanding the Apple Arcade plan

All housed under one exclusive plan, as a new subscriber, you get a one-month free trial to see if Apple Arcade is the right fit.

Apple Arcade
Monthly price$4.99/mo.
Free trial length1 month
Number of games100+ games
Number of user accountsUp to 6 family members
StorageiCloud
Parental controlsScreen time

How much is Apple Arcade compared to competitors?

With an impressive cost to content ratio, Apple Arcade deals out over 100 games for $4.99/mo. Its closest competitor, Google Play Pass, offers 350 games and non-game apps for $5/mo.

Is Apple Arcade the right gaming service for you?

All of Apple Arcade’s games are exclusive to Apple products. Because you can play most games offline, the gaming service will appeal to you if you live in an area with shoddy internet access or your frequently on the go. It’s also a great bet if you’re interested in an indie-inclusive gaming experience. 

Up to six family members can use one Apple Arcade account, making the service an affordable gaming option everyone can enjoy.

User experience

Apple Arcade doesn’t include an Arcade app. You download games from the Apple App Store, which then appear as individual apps on your iPad, iPhone, Mac or other compatible devices. 

And to put the online vs. offline question to bed, Apple Arcade is most suitable for downloadable content (DLC) gameplay. That said, it’s available for standard online use — just not to the same extent as its competitors

Apple Arcade is a one-size-fits-all, all-inclusive gaming package. There are no additional features or add-ons. To experience the gaming service for yourself, you simply need an Apple device and a monthly Apple Arcade membership. 

Device compatibility

Apple Arcade works with the following Apple products:

  • Apple TV
  • iPad 
  • iPhone
  • macOS

Apple Arcade features

Apple Arcade has found its niche outside of online gaming by emphasizing innovative experiences that focus on interactive play. Mobility is key with Apple’s gaming service, as well as some of the standout features below. 

Switch between multiple devices

The service is only available on Apple products, which means your games automatically save and upload data to your Apple ID’s iCloud storage. That way, you can switch between devices with ease. Just make sure you’re signed in to your account and have downloaded the games on each device you plan on using. 

Use parental settings

Apple Arcade’s family-friendly playable content and parental features also make it a reliable choice for those with children. 

Play with any controller

For more accuracy and better gaming experience, you can also use just about any modern wireless controller. Apple’s iOS 13 pairs easily with controllers such as Xbox One and PS4 DualShock4. 

Cancel at any time

You can cancel your subscription at any time directly through the App Store on your Apple device.

What to play on Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade’s gaming categories include brawlers, fighting, multiplayer, puzzles, platform jumpers, racing, RPG and sports. It also blurs lines with experimental games. 

Apple Arcade has teamed up with independent developers to provide unique gaming experiences. A few popular options are Annapurna Interactive’s Sayonara Wild Hearts, the Sci-Fi thriller Neo Cab and the fantastical Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

 Apple Arcade’s vast selection of games includes choices appropriate for children and adults alike, and the service adds games every month. Reviewers have praised Apple Arcade for its creative content.

How to sign up for Apple Arcade

Interested in signing up? To get started, you’ll first need to install the iOS 13 Public Beta. Here’s what the process looks like: 

  1. Navigate to the iOS 13 Public Beta Program page. 
  2. If you’re a member, sign in. If not, enter your Apple ID and agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Once signed in, click on the iOS tab and Enroll Your Devices.
  4. Scroll to the Install Profile section and click Download Profile.
  5. Once your download is authorized, open your Settings app. 
  6. A message will populate stating you have a profile ready for installation. Tap and install. 
  7. Your device will restart. 
  8. After your device has restarted, access Settings > General > Software Update. You can now install your update. 

Now, to access Apple Arcade: 

  1. Launch the App Store on your device.
  2. Hit the Arcade tab. 
  3. Click on the Arcade with free sign up option and complete the necessary fields. 

For all of Apple Arcade’s impressive qualities, it doesn’t offer popular AA and AAA brands like PUBG, or any multiplayer games at all for that matter. Besides, the service focuses primarily on family-friendly content. This may not appeal to you if you’re seeking a grittier, more mature gaming experience.

The takeaway

Rather than competing with popular online behemoths, Apple Arcade focuses on casual players that enjoy mobile gameplay. If you’re attracted to a more casual form of gaming, or into indie developers, Apple Arcade might be a good fit. It’s a haven for casual and mobile game lovers, and that’s what sets it apart from the competition. 

Zack Kulm

Contributing Writer

Zack Kulm is a writer and contributor of soda.com. He covers a variety of topics from entertainment and gaming technologies to pop culture commentary. Kulm received a degree in English from Penn State University and Film Studies from Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute. He also produces award-winning documentaries.