(Pocket-lint) - Apple has its own games subscription service as part of the App Store: Apple Arcade.
It offers more than 100 games to play across multiple platforms for one monthly fee, with the majority of them being "new and exclusive".
All in-app purchases and downloadable content expansions are included and the list of available titles is refreshed regularly meaning there should always be fresh games waiting to be played.
Here then is everything you need to know about Apple Arcade.
What is Apple Arcade?
Apple Arcade is a subscription service where you get instant access to a large library of games to play across multiple devices for one monthly fee.
The games have been hand-picked by Apple and sit across multiple genres, including family, puzzle, sports, RPG and strategy. There is even a category that suggests games for "beginners".
Each game is available at no extra cost, with all in-game items and downloadable content included.
It isn't a cloud gaming platform, such as Google Stadia or Microsoft's Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but is more like the main Xbox Game Pass service. You download games entirely to your device and can play them as often as you like.
They also feature cross-save, so your progress on one device will be instantly restored on another should you switch.
Is it available in my country?
Apple Arcade is available across 150 countries, including the UK and US. Basically, it is available everywhere there is access to the Apple App Store.
How much does it cost or is Apple Arcade free?
Apple Arcade costs £4.99/$4.99 per month all-in. New subscribers get a one-month free trial period first.
There are no additional hidden costs, with no in-app purchasing nor adverts inside Apple Arcade games.
Apple One bundle
Apple’s services bundle for Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and Fitness+ launched in October 2020. That means you can now subscribe to Apple Arcade through one of three different Apple One bundle tiers: Individual, Family, and Premier. Apple One's Individual and Family plans are available in over 100 countries and regions, including in the US and UK. The Premier plan also launched, but only in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Here's how much each Apple One tier costs at launch:
- Individual: You get Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for £14.95/$14.95 per month.
- Family: Up to six members of your family get Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade, and 200GB of iCloud for £14.95/$19.95 per month.
- Premier: Includes all the other benefits, but ups the iCloud storage to 2TB per month and adds subscriptions to the News+ magazine and newspaper service and the newly announced Fitness+ service for £29.95/$29.95 per month.
First-time subscribers can follow these steps to subscribe to Apple One:
- Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
- Go to your name at the top of Settings.
- Select the Subscriptions menu.
- Select Get Apple One.
- Choose the Apple One tier you want.
- Select Start Free trial.
If you already have an Apple subscription, like to Apple Arcade, you’ll receive a pro-rated refund for any days remaining on your existing subscription(s).
For more details, check out our guide on Apple One.
Apple Arcade Family Sharing
As further icing on the cake, an entire family (of up to six members) can access as many games as they want as part of the same monthly subscription, through Apple's existing Family Share feature.
Apple Arcade supported devices
Apple Arcade is designed to work on more than just iOS devices.
As well as iPhone and iPad, you can play the available games on your television through an Apple TV set-top-box. They are also available to users of an iMac or MacBook. And, iPod touch owners needn't feel left out, as it will work on that portable device too.
MFi Bluetooth game controllers are supported by some of the games. Devices running iOS 13, iPadOS 13, macOS Catalina, and tvOS 13 or above can also be linked to Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 controllers via Bluetooth.
What games are available on Apple Arcade?
Many of the games available on the service are "new and exclusive" to mobile platforms.
Apple works with a large array of development partners, including Sega, Konami, Lego, Bossa Studios and the Cartoon Network. Each provide games on a regular basis.
The Arcade line-up is hand curated by Apple's team and have no adverts, ad tracking nor additional purchases. Apple is also contributing to the development costs, becoming a games publisher in its own light.
Three top games to get you started
As we've said there are 100s of games available to suit all styles of gaming. Three of our favourites are:
Sayonara Wild Hearts
A thumping soundtrack and psychedelic colour palette means that, for much of the first 10 minutes of this Annapurna developed game, you won't really have an idea of what's going on or whether your taps and swipes are actually having an impact.
That's okay, because once your brain has settled down to what it's seeing and hearing, this dreamy game about riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts will soon grow on you. And, if you struggle to complete it, the soundtrack is enough to want to keep it on in the background anyway.
Mini Motorways is the follow up to Mini Metros and sees you tasked with the simple challenge of getting people from their home to work by slowly building a sprawling metropolis.
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If that sounds easy, it's because it is to begin with. However, as the game builds, so will your stress levels as you have to place traffic lights, bridges and motorways to get people around the city without running out of track. What starts off as quiet and calming can soon end up very chaotic. Expect to lose track of time very quickly.
What The Golf?
Quite simply one of the best games on Apple Arcade and genuinely funny. What the Golf? is a mini-golf game with a major difference - you don't necessarily have to hit a ball into a hole.
Instead, anything and everything can become the ball depending on the level and part of the fun is in trying to work out which item it is you have to swipe to the flag each time. It's simple, but wholly effective and incredibly addictive.