Top 20 Apple Arcade partnerships

From Sonic Racing and Oceanhorn 2 to Sayonara Wild Hearts and Layton's Mystery Journey

Top 20 Apple Arcade partnerships

Apple launched its game subscription service Apple Arcade on September 19th, 2019 with 72 titles and now features over 200 games.

Apple Arcade brings exclusive titles in partnership with worldwide leading developers such as Sega, Annapurna Interactive, Rovio, Sumo Digital, and more.

In addition to both free-to-play and premium games that were previously listed on the App Store, with the removal of in-app purchases and adverts.

Principle partnerships

Apple Arcade has two pricing options available to users: a monthly subscription of $4.99 or an annual subscription costing $49.99.

Several of the premium games featured on the service cost more than the monthly subscription cost, giving a good incentive to join the service to play these titles and more at a lower price.

After initially being released via Apple Arcade many games go on to be released on other platforms, most often the Nintendo Switch. Apple Arcade provides a strong platform for audience growth, which is one of the main reasons developers are drawn to the subscription service.

It has been almost two years and over 200 games since Apple launched the service, so we have decided to take a look at 20 of the biggest Apple Arcade partnerships to date.

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  • Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

    Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm logo

    Developer/Publisher: Cornfox & Bros.

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Action-adventure

    Oceanhorn 2 serves as a prequel to Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas and was an exclusive release title for Apple Arcade.

    The first game in the series proved to be very popular and was highlighted as an Editor’s Choice on the App Store. Securing the highly anticipated sequel for Apple Arcade was a must for Apple and the marketing campaign for the service featured the Hero from Oceanhorn 2.

    The Oceanhorn series is heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda, with Oceanhorn 2 being no exception, bearing a striking resemblance to Breath of the Wild. Oceanhorn 2 was likely to draw fans of the Zelda series to Apple Arcade, hence Apple’s decision to make it a flagship title of the service.

    In October 2020, Oceanhorn 2 was released for the Nintendo Switch, with support for other platforms expected in the future.

    More recently Cornfox & Bros. added another game to the service, Oceanhorn Chronos Dungeon, suggesting the company is satisfied with the subscription service as a platform for its games.

  • Sonic Racing

    Sonic Racing logo

    Developer/Publisher: Sega Hardlight

    Date Added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Racing

    Sonic Racing is an iteration of Team Sonic Racing developed for iOS and was released at the inception of Apple Arcade. The game features 15 characters from Sonic the Hedgehog who each race in their own unique vehicle.

    Having Sonic Racing available on the roster at the start of Apple Arcade was a huge selling point for Apple, with Sonic featured heavily in the marketing campaign. No doubt having a Mario Kart competitor featuring long-running rival Sonic was bound to strengthen the appeal of the subscription service.

    Sonic racing is one of two games Sega currently have on Apple Arcade the other being Chuchu Rocket Universe.

  • The Pathless

    The Pathless logo

    Developer/Publisher: Giant Squid/Annapurna Interactive

    Date added: November 12th, 2020

    Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

    The Pathless is a third-person action-adventure game from Giant Squid, the developers of Abzû.

    In The Pathless, players control the Hunter to lift a curse from the island the game is set on. The Hunter uses a bow and arrows to shoot talismans across the world that allows faster navigation.

    Unlike many open-world games, The Pathless does not feature a mini-map (hence the name) and instead, players must use "spirit vision" to find locations of interest. In addition, the game features stealth elements and puzzles that players solve to upgrade their abilities.

    The Pathless launched simultaneously on Apple Arcade, Playstation consoles, and PC, and was featured as a headliner during the reveal for Apple Arcade, showing the company’s interest in the title.

    We previously spoke with the founder and creative director of Giant Squid about the four-year journey to create The Pathless.

  • Angry Birds Reloaded

    Angry Birds Reloaded logo

    Developer/Publisher: Rovio Entertainment

    Date added: July 16th, 2021

    Genre: Puzzle

    Angry Birds Reloaded is a remaster of the original 2009 casual puzzle game Angry Birds.

    Reloaded brings back similar features from the first game with the addition of several birds from across the Angry Birds franchise and a new game mode.

    Angry Birds was one of the pioneers of the modern mobile games industry, popularising the platform as a way to play games.

    The addition of an adored family-friendly franchise was likely to expand the subscription’s audience to tailor to previous players of the game and young, new players alike.

  • World of Demons

    World of Demons logo

    Developer/Publisher: PlatinumGames

    Date added: April 2nd, 2021

    Genre: Hack and Slash

    World of Demons is a hack and slash game where players take control of one of four Samurai who control creatures called Yokai in a fight against trolls known as Oni.

    PlatinumGames is best known for developing console titles such as the Bayonetta series and Nier: Automata, with World of Demons being the studio’s first mobile title.

    In June 2018, World of Demons was soft-launched on the App Store in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines but was removed in September 2018 without receiving any updates, leaving many to speculate the game had been cancelled.

    Other than the art style and concept, Mistwalker rebuilt World of Demons from the ground up after an agreement with Apple to release the game on Apple Arcade, following Apple's interest in the title.

  • Ultimate Rivals: The Rink

    Ultimate Rivals: The Rink logo

    Developer/Publisher: Bit Fry Studios

    Date added: December 12th, 2021

    Genre: Sports

    Ultimate Rivals: The Rink is a hockey sports arcade game where players compete in three-on-three hockey matches.

    Ultimate Rivals includes over playable 60 athletes across hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. The game features an online challenge mode that allows players to compete with friends.

    Ultimate Rivals: The Rink was the first game developed by Bit Fry and was well received. Seemingly pleased with the partnership with Apple Arcade, Bit Fry released Ultimate Rivals: The Court on the service on July 9th, 2021.

  • Fantasian

    Fantasian logo

    Developer/Publisher: Mistwalker

    Date added: April 2nd, 2021

    Genre: RPG

    Fantasian is an RPG developed by Mistwalker, a Japanese development studio founded by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.

    The story follows Leo who has recently lost his memory due to entering an alternate universe known as the Machine Realm. Players journey with Leo as he attempts to recover his memories with help from various characters along the way.

    The game was produced and written by Sakaguchi and the music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who is also best known for composing the music for Final Fantasy, having worked on almost every game to date.

    A game from two of Japan’s most influential games industry creators is bound to draw curiosity from fans of their previous games. Apple Arcade gaining exclusivity to Fantasian is one of its most valuable partnerships to date.

    Additional gameplay was added to Fantasian on August 13th, 2021, adding up to 40 hours of extra gameplay.

  • Spyder

    Spyder logo

    Developer/Publisher: Sumo Digital

    Date added: March 20th, 2020

    Genre: Adventure

    Spyder is an adventure game from the perspective of a spider, set in a retro-modern world, developed by Sumo Digital.

    The game follows Agent 8, a miniature robot spider created by the British Spy Agency known as 'EP-8'. Agent 8 uses a variety of spy-themed gadgets to explore environments and gather intel to help save the world.

    Spyder began as a winner of an internal game jam at Sumo, created by three of the studio’s designers and was eventually turned into a full game. Sumo Digital lead game designer Nic Cusworth told us that the decision to release Spyder on Apple Arcade was a "great opportunity to bring the game to a whole new ecosystem and player base".

  • Rayman Mini

    Rayman Mini logo

    Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Platformer

    Rayman Mini is a runner platformer game and is the 45th instalment in the long-running Rayman series.

    Rayman Mini features the titular character who has been shrunk to the size of an ant by a supervillain and has to pass through levels in order to reverse the spell. Players can also play as frequent Rayman characters Barbara and Globox.

    Ubisoft senior producer Abdelhak Elguess told us that the decision to bring Rayman Mini to Apple Arcade was that the studio believed the game’s family potential was ideal for the platform. Elguess also mentioned that Ubisoft strive to maintain a presence on new platforms from launch and Apple Arcade was no exception.

  • Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows

    Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows logo

    Developer/Publisher: Devolver Digital

    Date added: August 7th, 2020

    Genre: Narrative/Idle

    Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows is a narrative idle game set in the Game of Thrones universe.

    Players guide the decisions of Lord Commanders to launch expeditions beyond the Wall, exploring the history of the Night’s Watch eight thousand years before Jon Snow took the Black.

    One of the key features of the game is that time passes in the world during your absence but awaits your response to events.

    Game of Thrones was one of the most popular (and inescapable) TV series of the 2010s and the decision to add the game to Apple Arcade is to attract fans with a chance to return to Westeros and unravel a new story.

  • Little Orpheus

    Little Orpheus logo

    Developer/Publisher: The Chinese Room/Sumo Digital

    Date added: June 12th, 2020

    Genre: Platformer

    Little Orpheus is a 2.5D action-adventure platformer developed by The Chinese Room and published by Sumo Digital.

    Little Orpheus follows soviet cosmonaut Ivan Ivanovich retelling the story of his journey to the centre of the Earth and how he saved the world. Players explore lost civilizations, undersea kingdoms and prehistoric jungles in a world untouched by man for centuries.

    The Chinese Room director Ed Daly told PG.biz that the studio did not want to opt for in-app purchases or in-game adverts for Little Orpheus and that Apple Arcade was the only viable option to bring the title to mobile. This highlights one of the ways Apple Arcade allows developers to bring a more premium mobile experience to users.

    Little Orpheus is one of two games from Sumo Digital featured on this list.

  • The Last Campfire

    The Last Campfire logo

    Developer/Publisher: Hello Games

    Date added: August 27th, 2020

    Genre: Puzzle

    The Last Campfire is a puzzle game from Hello Games, the studio behind No Man’s Sky and the Joe Danger series.

    Players take the role of Ember, a soul who is trying to help its fellow souls that have lost hope to find a new purpose to rekindle the lost hopes. Players can also play the game in an "explore mode" that removes the majority of the game’s puzzles.

    The Last Campfire is one of Hello Games smaller projects and was created by only three of the studio’s employees. The game was primarily developed for Apple Arcade with the controls programmed with touch screens at the forefront of the developers’ minds.

  • Beyond a Steel Sky

    Beyond a Steel Sky logo

    Developer/Publisher: Revolution Games

    Date added: June 26th, 2020

    Genre: Adventure

    Beyond a Steel Sky is a cyberpunk sci-fi adventure game set on Earth in the far future.

    Beyond a Steel Sky is set 10 years after 1994’s Beneath a Steel Sky, with players assuming the role of Robert Foster once again, returning to Union City on the hunt for a kidnapped child. The plot follows the concept of how artificial intelligence would interpret an order to make humans happy.

    The game was originally launched on Apple Arcade on June 26th, 2020 and received positive feedback from fans and critics alike. Since launching on Apple Arcade the game has been released for Windows, with a console release scheduled in the near future.

    The game’s predecessor was critically acclaimed, as was a 2009 iOS remaster, so Apple’s decision to add Beyond a Steel Sky to Apple Arcade was likely to draw fans of the series to the subscription platform.

    We spoke to Revolution co-founder Charles Cecil about why a sequel took 26 years to make after the original release.

  • Pac-Man Party Royale

    Pac-Man Party Royale logo

    Developer/Publisher: Bandai Namco

    Date added: October 28th, 2019

    Genre: Arcade

    Pac-Man Party Royale is a multiplayer maze chase developed by Bandai Namco.

    Players compete in a four-player battle mode to be the last Pac-Man standing. To win, players eat pellets to increase speed to get the super pellet that allows the eating of ghosts and other player’s Pac-Man.

    Once eaten, players turn into ghosts and can exact revenge on the other players to return into a Pac-Man to take another shot at winning.

    Pac-Man Party Royale is a sequel to Pac-Man Battle Royale, an arcade game celebrating the 30th anniversary of the franchise.

    The addition of Pac-Man Party Royale expands the portfolio of well-known IP to Apple Arcade, drawing in fans of the franchise. 

  • Sayonara Wild Hearts

    Sayonara Wild Hearts logo

    Developer/Publisher: Simongo/Annapurna Interactive

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Rhythm

    Sayonara Wild Hearts is a music-based rhythm and action game featuring 23 levels that are each set to a unique song.

    The plot of the game follows a heartbroken woman who travels through surreal landscapes using different vehicles in an attempt to repair her broken heart. The game is influenced by the major arcana of tarot cards, the protagonist representing The Fool.

    The brief narration of the story was voiced by American musician Queen Latifah, with Annapurna stating they wanted someone "unexpected" to narrate the game.

    The game was a launch title for Apple Arcade, however, it was not an exclusive title and launched simultaneously for iOS, MacOS, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

    The response to Sayonara Wild Hearts was positive, with the soundtrack receiving critical acclaim and the game won several awards, including the Apple Arcade Game of the Year.

    Sayonara Wild Hearts is one of two games published by Annapurna Interactive available on Apple Arcade, alongside The Pathless, which is also featured on this list.

  • Spongebob: Patty Pursuit

    Spongebob: Patty Pursuit logo

    Developer/Publisher: Nickelodeon

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Platformer

    Spongebob: Patty Pursuit is a platform running game based in Bikini Bottom.

    Players guide Spongebob and friends to stop Plankton from getting away with the Krabby Patty formula. The game takes players to iconic locations, such as the Krusty Krab, and includes well-known characters from the series.

    Adding Spongebob: Patty Pursuit to the service was an opportunity for Apple Arcade to grow an audience that encompasses all ages from day one.

  • Grindstone

    Grindstone logo

    Developer/Publisher: Capybara Games

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

    Grindstone is a puzzle-adventure game that involves players completing levels by clearing all of the enemies.

    The game takes place on a grid where players can move the protagonist, Jorj, in eight directions - horizontally, vertically and diagonally - to attack monsters in the room. Each level has a specific goal, such as defeat a certain amount of monsters or defeating a boss, with the option to proceed to the next level or remain to collect more rewards.

    The game was influenced by Capybara’s 2008 iOS puzzle game Critter Crunch and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, a puzzle RPG adventure that initially launched on the Nintendo DS in 2009 and landed on iOS in January 2013.

    Garnering favourable reviews, Grindstone proved to be a popular launch title for Apple Arcade. We spoke with Capybara’s Dan Vader where he discussed how launching on Apple Arcade helped Grindstone find an audience. Grindstone was subsequently released on the Nintendo Switch on December 15th, 2020 and Windows on May 20th, 2021.

  • What the Golf?

    What the Golf? logo

    Developer/Publisher: Triband

    Date added: September 19th, 2019

    Genre: Sports

    What the Golf? is a golf sports game developed by Triband.

    Players complete levels by reaching the hole in order to travel around the world map, however, each level features a twist. Funding for the game was raised via crowdfunding platform Fig.

    The developers chose to use golf as the sport for the game as they were planning to ridicule the sport a lot and didn't want to upset fans, choosing golf as a safe bet.

    What the Golf? features humour typically centred around slapstick comedy as it was an easily accessible comedic genre.

    What the Golf? was a launch title for Apple Arcade but launched simultaneously on Windows PCs. Following a positive reception, the game launched on the Nintendo Switch less than a year later.

  • Monster Hunter Stories

    Monster Hunter Stories logo

    Developer/Publisher: Capcom

    Date added: August 8th, 2021

    Genre: RPG

    Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in October 2016, Monster Hunter Stories is a spinoff from the Monster Hunter franchise that features a different art style and gameplay focus.

    As opposed to hunting monsters, players take on the role of riders who instead befriend the monsters and battling alongside them in a turn-based combat system. Monster Hunter Stories was first added to the App Store in September 2018 before being made available on Apple Arcade in August 2021.

    The addition of Monster Hunter Stories to Apple Arcade will benefit both Apple and Capcom, drawing fans of the franchise to Apple Arcade and gaining a new audience for the series for Capcom. A sequel, Monster Hunter Stories 2, was released worldwide on Nintendo Switch and Windows on July 9th, 2021. No doubt the game was also added to the service to promote the series for the newly released sequel.

    Monster Hunter Stories is the second game from Capcom to come to Apple Arcade, following Shinsekai Into the Depths.

  • Layton's Mystery Journey

    Layton's Mystery Journey logo

    Developer/Publisher: Level-5 Inc.

    Date added: September 3rd, 2021

    Genre: Puzzle

    Layton’s Mystery Journey is a puzzle video game developed by Level-5 Inc. and serves as the seventh main entry to the Professor Layton series.

    Set in London, players take the role of Katrielle Layton, the daughter of the eponymous Professor Hershel Layton, to search for her missing father. During the course of the game, players will solve separate cases.

    Layton’s Mystery Journey was originally released on July 20th, 2017, on the 3DS in Japan and on mobile devices worldwide. The game was a free-to-start mobile title that included in-app purchases consisting of additional cases to continue the story, extra puzzles, and cosmetic items for Katrielle.

    Similar to other entries on the list, Layton’s Mystery Journey bolsters Apple Arcade’s portfolio of much-loved existing IP, helping to diversify and expand the subscription’s user base.

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