Apple Arcade will officially launch later this week, when iOS 13 is released to the public on September 19th. Ahead of that, the early hands-on and reviews of Apple Arcade are in – and they’re overwhelmingly positive.

Of course, 9to5Mac went hands-on with Apple Arcade on the Mac last month, but a few things have changed since then.

The Verge describes the initial launch catalog as a mix of well-known game studios and indie developers that is “surprisingly excellent.” It also notes that the on-stage demo last week was “lackluster” in comparison to what’s actually available:

“The titles are an interesting mix of big-name game studios and indie developers. But it’s a surprisingly deep lineup that goes way beyond the lackluster onstage debut. My colleague Dieter Bohn got to try out a few of the upcoming games, and his take is: “All the games are good.” Even that Frogger game has more to it than first thought. It’s made by Q-Games, which previously made PixelJunk Monsters, and it’s almost indicative of the entire Arcade reveal: lackluster at first, until you look closer and see that there’s actually a lot happening.”

Gizmodo offered up quite a bit of praise for Apple Arcade, but pointed out that the experience on iPad is rather cumbersome due to the device’s size:

“Across the board, most of the games were a drag on the iPad. Quite a few of the games like to use the device itself to mimic a controller when played on touch devices. That works with a phone, which is roughly the same size as a controller from Sony or Microsoft. But using the iPad as a giant controller was really uncomfortable.”

Of course, the easiest way to fix this is by using an Xbox or Playstation controller for Apple Arcade, which is supported in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. As for the games themselves, Gizmodo says “they’re really fun.”

Mashable detailed some of the games they were able try out via Apple Arcade, including Where Cards Fall, Skate City, Shinsekai Into the Depths, Overland, Sneaky Sasquatch, Spek, and much more.

CNET praises some of the early games:

“Of the first batch of Apple Arcade games I’ve tried, my two favorites fall into neither camp. They’re both isometric 3D games built around very analog ideas. Where Cards Fall uses stacks of playing cards to solve puzzles, while Overland plays like a miniatures-on-a-map tabletop strategy game. Console gamers will take to Oceanhorn 2, a very convincing Zelda-like 3D adventure that could fit in on any current game console.”

MobileSyrup describes Seaky Sasquatch as having the potential to “become the Animal Crossing of mobile games.”

Lifewire describes the user experience:

“Each time I loaded a game, I was greeted by the orange and white Arcade splash screen and then signed into Apple’s Game Center, which appears to manage the player stats, as, at least in one case, “Arcade Player 6.” After that, though, there was nothing in any of the game experiences to remind me I was inside the Apple Arcade.”

What remains unclear is which games will be available though Apple Arcade on launch day this Thursday. However, many reviewers seem pleased with the collection of titles, as well as the value of $4.99 per month.

Do you plan on subscribing to Apple Arcade after seeing these reviews and videos? Let us know down in the comments.

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About the Author

Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

Tips, questions, typos to chance@9to5mac.com