Apple Arcade is a largely unique game subscription service, which seeks to offer an unlimited, ad-free gaming experience on iPhones – for a monthly fee. Its satisfactory collection has plenty of titles across genres. However, when it comes to sports games, the collection on Arcade is fairly limited – in comparison to others. Interestingly, the sports games that Apple Arcade does offer bring an interesting mix of engaging gameplay and flagship grade graphics. On this note, here are our picks for the best sports games to play on iPhones and iPads, via Apple Arcade.
In our review of Apple Arcade as a service in India, we noted NBA 2K21 as one of its best games, and how games like these are exactly what it needs in order to gain greater popularity. NBA 2K21 brings a very console-esque gameplay experience to iPhones and iPads, producing rich graphics, discernible player faces, and fun, end-to-end short matches – exactly how you’d want sports games to be. All of this makes 2K21 one of the poster titles for Arcade.
There are the few odd glitches in the game, such as players merging into each other while animating on the sidelines, and an audience that looks very evidently fake. The controls aren’t exactly the best, either, and takes a while to get used to. However, once you do, the gameplay picks up. Matches aren’t particularly easy to play, but that’s a good thing – and the fact that you get the entire game minus annoying popups, thanks to Arcade, makes the experience even better.
All things considered, NBA 2K21 is hands down the best sports game to play on Arcade, and in fact, is one of the best games on Arcade. It is also one of the best overall sports games to play across any mobile platform.
Super Stickman Golf 3+
A surprisingly engaging game, Super Stickman Golf 3+ gives you bizarre putting greens. It compels you to think of the physics behind every stroke, and soon you will find yourself engrossed on how to bounce the ball off the right edges to get a hole in one. As you play more, you proceed to unlock various abilities such as shot trajectory projection. Don’t be fooled, though – each course continues to get increasingly difficult as you level up, meaning that you will need the special abilities and better clubs to reach higher levels.
Without taking racing games into account, Super Stickman Golf 3+ is our second favourite from the sports bucket, and is also possibly the one Arcade game that we’ve spent the longest time playing. It is fun, simple and very easy to get used to. It doesn’t need you to be too invested in storylines, rivalries or any other element of the sort, making it a perfect game to play on the move as well.
Before beginning, I’ll admit that I’m not particularly a big fan of skating. Naturally, I had my scepticism behind Skate City. What drew me to it is probably its graphics, and how it gives a feeling of zen. It’s not a high octane, adrenaline rushing, skating rink title. Instead, it is an infinite side scroller that you can play for hours – aided by the soothing music, the muted colour palette and pleasant, classy visuals.
What’s great about Skate City is how even without the threat of a competition, you feel drawn to its pleasant gameplay aesthetics. On the way to your skating glory, you unlock some of the world’s most iconic cities, which sees the background colour palette alter as you level up. Each city has a signature style, and Skate City captures this in a rather calm and collected manner. There’s also a ‘Challenges’ mode that you can play to tick off objectives, earn stars and upgrade both your character and your board.
In a limited sports collection on Arcade, Skate City joins SSG3+ and NBA 2K21 in being three of the outright best games to play via the subscription service – even beyond sports. They also serve as the kind of sports games that Apple should get more of for Arcade, in order to capture the fancy of a wider audience. Until they do, the above three are must-plays for your iPhone and iPad.