The best Apple Arcade games is a list that continues to be contentious thanks to there be so many games - and so many of them exciting or unique. This month saw the revival of several classics, like Jetpack Joyride and Alto's Odyssey, though we've saved our choices for the best Apple Arcade games for a few other juggernauts. With almost 200 games in the library now, there's something for everyone. Here's what we've been playing lately and what you may love too.
Best Apple Arcade Games: Game of the Month - Angry Birds Reloaded
For months, I've praised Apple Arcade for its library of not just exclusive games, but experiences that, in some cases, only fit on iOS devices. The service nears 200 games today and many of them are unlike anything you've played before. But the latest Apple Arcade game of the month is not one such game. In fact, it's very likely a game you already played, but maybe not in a long time. This month, I'm spotlighting the reborn greatness of Angry Birds Reloaded.
Angry Birds Reloaded is a quasi-remake of the original game, taking some of the same design, power-ups, and level concepts and mixing them with new versions of each of those elements. The end result is a game that reminds me how Angry Birds was the game that built the App Store. Over a decade ago, Angry Birds was inescapable, and today it carries on with spinoff games, a movie franchise, and its own section of every toy aisle.
But Angry Birds Reloaded is the best the IP has been in a long time, not least of all because of the basic principles of Apple Arcade. Free of microtransactions and advertisements, Angry Birds shines as one of the first huge app games, now reborn for new and nostalgic players alike. I say it every month, but it really doesn't get old; playing formerly ad-supported games without the ads is like when you are finally able to drive yourself to school as a newly licensed teen, no longer dependent on the noisy bus. It's liberating, exciting, and clearly overall better.
But Angry Birds Reloaded isn't just the classic game sans ads. New levels mean new concepts, and it's fun to see the game's core design of finding the cascading element in each level - the well-placed bird, the domino-like plank of wood, etc - come to life once more in new ways. Angry Birds has always been one of the poster children for "just one more level" and that remains true today. I play every new Apple Arcade game per month, but I admit I had to push myself to make time for the other new additions this month because I couldn't put Angry Birds down.
The funny thing is, I wasn't a massive fan the first time. I played it - everyone played it, after all. But I'm more invested in it now despite having much less free time and many more games to play. I think it's because the game has always been so well-designed, but in 2009 or so, I didn't appreciate it for that yet. With a career covering games now in my rearview (okay, and ahead of me too), I look at Angry Birds from a more critical eye, but in turn it holds up even more strongly.
New power-ups and a new power-up store, free of all real-money purchases means chasing three-star scores is more enticing than ever, as those stars translate to spending power. The game also starts players off with a great number of power-ups right away, no longer worried about teasing new content behind paywalls. It feels like Angry Birds Reloaded is unshackled from the ad economy just like players are, and it's all the better for it.
I write all this as a returning fan, but the game initially blew up over 10 years ago. No doubt there are some players who have never played Angry Birds even as they may be in the target demo of all those toys and movies. If you're uninitiated, find some time to give Angry Birds Reloaded a try. Just be sure that it's more than a few minutes, because you'll likely need it for several one-more-tries.
Turn to the next page to find our rundown of the best Apple Arcade games...