Another win for Netflix Games – this week in mobile gaming

Hey friends. For the first time in forever, this post is available in video form. Check it out if that’s what you prefer!

I learned a few interesting things this week:

Did you know that the iTunes Music Store was launched almost exactly 20 years ago, on April 28th, 2003? This was huge at the time, because it was the first digital platform that sold songs from all the major record labels at the time.

Which doesn’t mean much for mobile gaming specifically, but without the success of iTunes Music, we would probably never get the App Store, which was launched later in 2008, just after the iPhone 3G.

I also learned that Apple officially released a game in 2019, which was on the App Store for only a week. The game was Warren Buffett’s Paper Wizard, a 3D take on Atari’s Paperboy (Wikipedia), where you fling papers at houses to deliver them.

The entire game could be completed in just a few minutes, but what’s funny is just how pissed off some people on the internet got over it. Comments ranged from “why does this exist” to the hyperbolic “tHiS iS tHe EnD oF aPpLe”, and that they were pandering to one of their biggest investors.

There’s probably some truth to that, though I’m pretty sure that Apple outsourced development to an experiential writing/marketing company. Either way, the game was released during an investor meeting after featuring in a cute short featuring Tim Cook and Warren Buffett, and was removed from the App Store the following week.

With that little bit of trivia out of the way, let’s talk about some relevant games!

20 additions to Apple Arcade

Instead of the usual drip of releases throughout the month, for some reason Apple just dumped 20 games onto the App Store. Good for us, I guess! I haven’t had a chance to play through the originals yet, but they sure look good, and the others include some of the best games on the App Store.


From the makers of WHAT THE GOLF, there’s now… this. It defies explanation, just watch the video!

Available on Apple Arcade: App Store link

TMNT Splintered Fate

Someone described this as TMNT channeling Hades… I’m not sure I see that, but it’s a damn fine looking roguelike made by the developpers of *checks notes* Vainglory!?

Available on Apple Arcade: App Store link

Disney SpellStruck

They keep referencing crossword style gameplay in the marketing, but this straight up looks like Scrabble with powerups to me.

Available on Apple Arcade: App Store link

Cityscapes: Sim Builder

On mobile we are rather starved for competent city builders. I’m never going to say no to adding another into the mix!

Available on Apple Arcade: App Store link

16 App Store greats:

Chess Universe+
Disney Coloring World+
Disney Getaway Blast+
Farming Simulator 20+
Getting Over It+
Hill Climb Racing+
Iron Marines+
Kingdom Two Crowns+
My Town Home: Family Games+
Octodad: Dadliest Catch+
Time Locker+
Very Little Nightmares+
Temple Run+

Highlighted in bold are my recommendations if you only want a couple to get started with.

Laya’s Horizon

Oh man, Laya’s Horizon is wonderful. And it’s an easy game of the week for me.

It was made by Snowman, the folks behind Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey, which are also worth checking out.

Laya’s Horizon is a game of wonder and exploration. You’re armed with a cape that lets you glide, and then set loose in a world that feels alive. From the very first time you jump off the starting perch, the world is open to you. See that smaller peak over there? Go on, land on it.

That bell tower in the distance? There’s an NPC circling it that you can join.

Sure there are objectives and missions that unlock new capes and trinkets, but if you enjoy games that let you explore for the sake of exploration, or games where you are free to discover the magical wonders of a well crafted world, this one is for you.

Available as part of a Netflix subscription:
App Store link
Google Play link

What I’m playing:

Super Meat Boy Forever

Super Meat Boy Forever is the sequel to Super Meat Boy that you might be familiar with. It’s an auto-run platformer where you constantly move forward with only two buttons: jump and punch.

Which is perfect for mobile, which lets you focus on the dastardly and occasionally downright evil levels. I’ve replayed each level many, many times. Once to complete it, again to speedrun, another time to get the occasional collectible and, finally, once more to cross the finish line without dying. Multiply that by about 60 attempts, and you have a pretty good picture of what the game loop is like.

It’s tough, but almost always fair, and nothing beats the feeling of utterly acing a level that gave you trouble to start with.

Super Meat Boy Forever is available on iOS and Google Play for $0.99, and on many other platforms.

Traffix: City Rush

Traffix: City Rush is one of my favourite games on the App Store. It’s simple but tough, in a way that’s very different to Super Meat Boy Forever.

You see, the premise is simple. You’re just controlling traffic by toggling lights at the right time. Each level is like a beautiful puzzle in motion that often asks you to think about (and keep an eye on) multiple things at the same time.

And then it clicks. You enter the zen-like flow state, where you feel like a mastermind with an intricate web of calm and control.

However… NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would design roads like these in real life. Thankfully.

Traffix is available on iOS and Google Play for $1.99, but goes on sale often.