Apple Arcade Games for the Soul

A few months ago I was washing my sheets. A little while later, I heard a thumping sound coming from the washing machine and realized I couldn’t find my phone. All of this is to say that I got a new phone recently and it came with a free three month subscription to Apple Arcade, something my old phone didn’t have the storage for. I decided to comfort myself with these Apple Arcade games to get over the fact that I was the fool who threw their phone in a washing machine. 

With finals and everything else going on I’ve been very stressed out. But these three games gave me a chance to find a little bit of solace in the day, which is why I think you might find them to be good for the soul, too. Prior to this I hadn’t played any mobile games for a hot minute, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I still enjoyed them. Not only are they great mobile games, but great games in general, bringing me back to the good old days of playing town builders and infinite runners on my iPod Touch. But, if you don’t have access to Apple Arcade these games or their alternatives are also available on different consoles.

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Screenshot from Alba: A Wildlife Adventure with protagonist staring out onto the sea.

Alba brought back memories for me. I used to watch a lot of Animal Planet and I had tons of DS games about helping animals in the wild. That’s why I was thrilled to see it in Apple Arcade. In Alba: A Wildlife Adventure you help the titular Alba save her local nature reserve from greedy hotel investors. Throughout the game you get to document the wildlife on your phone. The AR controls work really well and I loved hunting down rare species of birds and marking them down in my notebook. 

Alba is a charming game with a cute message, and I would even say it’s great for kids and adults. If at any point in your life you have enjoyed The Crocodile Hunter or Zoboomafoo I would highly recommend this game for you. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is also available on the PC. 

Cozy Grove

Screenshot from Cozy Grove showing the player's avatar in a field of sunflowers.

Cozy Grove was being praised by reviewers for being a spooky Animal Crossing. After playing for a few weeks I would say that this life sim is so much more than that. Cozy Grove has you play as a Spirit Scout stranded on a deserted island. Your goal is to help the lost souls of Cozy Grove move on. The game is definitely adorable (I mean just look at the bear characters) and the Animal Crossing comparisons are fair considering it also has a lot of the same crafting, gathering, and decorating mechanics 

Cozy Grove screenshot with character named Patrice Furbac saying "Why if it isn't my Little Letter Getter who's come to chat."

But two things keep me coming back. One, it’s made for casual mobile play, and two, its storyline. Cozy Grove is designed to be played in small bursts every day. It’s perfect for mobile gaming and a nice calming way to relax for a bit during the day, but it still has a lot of memorable characters and plot within those short gameplay sessions. There’s a mystery that surrounds each resident of Cozy Grove, something that keeps them tethered to the island. Slowly growing closer with and uncovering the stories of the residents is really the best and most heartfelt part of the game.

But if you don’t have access to Apple Arcade, don’t worry. It’s also available on PC and Switch. If you like games that are cute and relaxing this should be your next pick up!

Taiko No Tatsujin: Pop Tap Beat

Promotional art from Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat

I had been craving a good rhythm game lately and I was eyeing Taiko no Tatsujin on the Switch. I had heard a lot of praise for the game before knowing it is an arcade staple in Japan. The only thing that put me off was that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the gameplay relevant to the $40 price tag, which is why it was very convenient that Apple Arcade just released a mobile version of the game, Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat.

I can now safely say that this is a great game and worthy of its fame. It’s a straightforward but addicting rhythm game that I quickly grew to love. The touch controls on mobile are solid and even hold up to the button controls on Switch. The only gripe I have with the app is that it could use more songs, but the convenience of having it on the go makes up for it. But, if you love your music and you’re willing to pay for it, the Switch version is always available. So if you’re in the mood for a rhythm game, or any good time sink, you can’t go wrong with Taiko no Tatsujin

Harriette Chan

Harriette Chan

Harriette is a cheesecake enthusiast, videogame lover, and disgruntled college student. When they grow up they want to be a writer, or an archaeologist, or a barista. Whatever, they'll figure it out. You can find them @heyriette on Twitter.
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