The Bradwell Conspiracy is a narrative-driven first-person game where you have to uncover the truth behind the explosion that destroyed the Bradwell Electronics facility. At the start of the game, you wake up in the rubble with only a computerized voice in your "smart glasses" to guide you. The glasses guide eventually connects you to another person trapped inside the facility and you must find a way out.
As a kid, I was obsessed with Harriet the Spy, so I love this game. Jenny LeClue is set in the seemingly-idyllic town of Arthurton, where you play as Jenny, a kid sleuth who is eager to prove her worth as a detective. When your mother is accused of murder, you set out to prove the truth. You quickly realize that nothing, and no one, is what it seems as you seek out answers.
In this single-player game, you use card games to defeat monsters that've been kidnapping students (think Yu-Gi-Oh from back in the day). The narrative displays like a comic book. The Cardpocalypse animation reminds me of a children's book I read back in the '90s. I also appreciate the representation of a character in a wheelchair. It's a coming-of-age puzzle game.
I can't promise that I didn't audibly gasp when this game was announced. As a cat owner for most of my life, I'm equal parts excited that there's a Cat Quest II and an original Cat Quest. This open-world action RPG lets you play as either a cat or a dog. Go on quests, defeat monsters and bring peace to your kingdom.
The Get Out Kids mixes mystery with nostalgia taking players back to 1984. Molly, Salim and Molly's dog Moses sneak out one night to catch a late showing of the Ghostblasters movie at the local drive-in. Along the way, they have to navigate creepy woods and sneak past the surly cemetery worker. When Moses goes missing suddenly and suspiciously, Molly and Salim begin an adventure unlike any they've ever had before to find out what happened to their canine friend. This narrative-driven game includes puzzles, hidden object searches and more.
Grindstone is a puzzle game in which you must defend Grindstone Mountain, which has been overrun with nefarious creatures called Creeps. As you solve 150 levels of puzzles, you can upgrade your weapon to battle bosses, find resources and forge gear.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Screenshot/ Apple Arcade
Developer: Rogue Games
Navigate hexagonal puzzle mazes loaded with hammers, spikes, lasers and more in this colorful game.
Developers: Hidden Layer Games and Chucklefish Games
Inmost immediately drops players into a creepy world. Despite the pixelated art design and tiny characters, the game is gorgeous and immersive from the start. In the game, you can play as three different characters -- a knight fighting shadow beasts, a regular guy and a lonely young girl. As you progress in this hidden-object platformer, you'll find that the characters' stories are connected as they fight the forces of evil.
Lego Builder's Journey, formerly Lego Arthouse, gives Lego back to an older audience. The game uses a narrative style to explore how as people get older, they can lose a connection to the creativity they had as kids. The Lego Ambassador's Network describes it as "an expression of the value of creativity in a coming-of-age story, set amongst a micro Lego world."
Draw roads to build a network and build up a busy metropolis in Dinosaur Polo Club. Adapt and think ahead to keep traffic moving smoothly and meet demands.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Screenshot/Dinosaur Polo Club Twitter
Developers: Noodlecake and Lucid Labs
This colorful, minimalist, aesthetically-pleasing 3D puzzle game is all about perspective. Lucid Labs' site says players will look at objects from different angles until the objects appear to be in the right spot. The puzzles go alongside a calming soundtrack and a narrative of a struggling family, without any dialogue or text.
Sayonara Wild Hearts, named Apple Arcade's Game of the Year for 2019, is an electric new take on the endless arcade runner. It centers on a woman who's had her heart broken. Every level gets more challenging as you face lasers, motorcycle battles and the woman's "other self" -- The Fool. It's all set to an amazing soundtrack.
In Sneaky Sasquatch, players are just that: a sneaky Sasquatch. Sneak into a campsite and fill your backpack with snacks. Sometimes the other animals, like a snoozing bear, might want some picnic leftovers, and is willing to pay for them. You can use the money at your friend the raccoon's shop. Just make sure you tip-toe so you don't get caught by the surly park ranger or scare any campers.
In this clever, colorful game, Detective Grimoire and his sardonic partner Sally are on the hunt for a murderer in the mysterious Tangle Tower. The clues are pouring in long before you cross the threshold to find that the prime suspect is a painting. Investigate, explore, gather evidence, question suspects and solve puzzles to discover the truth.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Developer: Lykke Studios
In this relaxing artistic game, you'll level up by mixing watercolors to match colored origami paper in your own garden studio. No rush, no timers and no one to beat. Each chapter brings something different -- sounds of rain, the warm glow of sun, the chirping of birds and more. There's also a mode for colorblind and vision impaired users.
Manifold Garden lets players solve puzzles in a space where the laws of physics don't exist. Cultivate geometric gardens in infinity itself, venture into the expanse, look at things from a new perspective, and master the rules of the universe.
With Pinball Wizard, Frosty Pop paired a timeless game with a fun new story. You play as a young apprentice who must bring peace back to your homeland by restoring a lost treasure in a high tower. Along the way, you must defeat enemies and collect keys to find the next room. The game works like a pinball game, so the higher you go, the more health you lose if you fall out of the ring.
Developers: Blowfish Studios and Shadowplay Studios
Projection: First Light is a shadow puppet adventure where players control light to solve puzzles. In the game, Greta embarks on a journey of self-discovery with the help of her heroes. It also has educational aspects about the history and art of shadow puppetry.
Pilgrims is a chill game you don't have to worry about beating. Meet characters and help complete their stories along your travels. There are multiple story options, and the game is designed to be played more than once.
In Super Impossible Road, you can race futuristic pods on a course in space. Customize your pod and play with others, and the track is new every time. Swerve, slide and cheat your way to the finish line.
Stela is about a woman witnessing a mysterious, ancient world come to an end and learning to survive. Players will navigate treacherous terrain, outsmart dangerous beasts through puzzles, and explore haunted towns and creepy forests in this adventure.
Puppet animation meets RPG in Takeshi & Hiroshi. You play as Takeshi, an aspiring game designer who is building a game for his little brother Hiroshi. Hiroshi plays quickly, so Takeshi has to improvise, since the game is still in the making. As the game progresses, making sure Hiroshi enjoys the game but still finds it challenging becomes a challenge in itself.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET
Where Cards Fall
Developers: Snowman and The Game Board
Where Cards Fall describes itself as a "dreamlike journey through youthful uncertainty." The developers created the narrative-driven coming-of-age story using cards as a clever metaphor: what it's like to be a teenager. The cards, which players can build or collapse, were a huge inspiration to the game's creation.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Snowman and The Game Band
What the Golf?
Triband's new parody game What the Golf? is designed for people who hate golf and made by people who don't know anything about it. The site says players will be able to "golf horses" and partake in "epic golf boss fights." It also promises not to make you a better golfer. It will, however, make you laugh.
Neo Cab is a survival game for the digital age embroiled in a mystery. You play as Lina, the last human taxi driver in a world overcome by automation. When you move to Los Ojos to reconnect with your best friend, Savy, things don't go as planned when she vanishes. With no other options, you must keep taking passengers to earn money and get information about Savy's disappearance. Just keep an eye on your Feelgrid bracelet to stay in tune with your emotions and ultimately remain human in this tech-noir game.
In this upbeat game, you play as a dodo bird that has to save its eggs after they roll out of the nest. Get them home safely while collecting coins, avoiding obstacles like monkeys and snakes, and unlocking more dodos. The game offers challenges like getting all the eggs back safely in under 30 seconds and more.
Lifelike is meant to be a calming gaming experience, with gameplay that centers on mysterious amoebic creatures with swarming and flocking tendencies. Enjoy playful, relaxing, almost hypnotic interactions with the creatures in this aesthetically pleasing game.
Butter Royale is set in the near future, where weapons have been banned globally. To release tensions, citizens sign up for a game show called Butter Royale where they're air-dropped onto an island to duke it out with food. After upgrading from stale baguettes to Nutritionally Operated Machines, or NOMs, players engage in "culinary combat," and try to outrun floods of butter and get to safe zones in five-minute matches. Butter Royale has offline modes where you can play against a bot, or online multiplayer modes. Whether you're playing with up to 32 others solo or in squads, like in Fortnite, the goal is to be the last one standing.
Take to the skies as Biscuit the Brave, a young macaw, in this tropical platform game. Tapping makes the bird fly. Too much tapping sends it too high, not enough tapping drops it too low. You must maintain the right altitude to avoid enemies and obstacles and collect coins. As you explore more islands, you'll learn more tricks and meet different characters like Penny the Penguin, who wants to be a pirate.
Oceanhorn 2 is a prequel to Monster of the Uncharted Sea, according to the game's site. So, if you've played that one already, you might see some places you're familiar with but that've been revamped. Warlock Mesmeroth has returned with a Dark Army. Unite with the Owrus, Gillfolk, and others to save the world.
In this game, you must rescue lost "froglets" from inside the human's house. You'll navigate a toy-filled terrain -- avoid getting squashed by little cars, climb block buildings, collect jelly beans and save the froglets. When you rescue a froglet, it hops on Frogger's back (which is just as cute as it sounds). If you liked the old-school Frogger, this might be a remaster you're interested in.
Way of the Turtle is a cute, colorful, single-player platform game. In the first level, you must find Ms. Turtle on your honeymoon. Navigate a beachy obstacle course, avoid traps and gather coins. As you continue, you'll earn shells that give you more abilities.
Stealth game fans might like this game. In Operator 41, you must reach a telephone to call headquarters. The catch? There are vigilant guards patrolling the grounds that you must distract, sneak by or knock out. Strategy is key.
In this Wall-E style puzzle game, the Earth's climate has collapsed and you must rescue the remaining plant life. Explore what's left of the planet in your robot suit, collect plant life and return it safely to the Doomsday Vault.
Ready to get nostalgic? Now you, or your kids, can play what was once called The Floor Is Lava without getting off the couch (so, I guess it still counts). The game supports up to eight players, and your whole family can run, jump, climb, surf and ultimately try to stay off the lava ground.
Borderleap's game aims for an aesthetic experience. Each pattern starts as a sketch and players use visual clues to solve the puzzle. As the pattern becomes more assembled, it'll start to come to life.
Published:Caption:Shelby BrownPhoto:Apple/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET
Shinsekai Into the Depths
You play as a diver in this sidescrolling action game takes place underwater. The controls let you navigate your way through the sea's dark depths. Keep an eye on your oxygen levels and watch out for unfriendly creatures! CNET got an exclusive preview of the game in the video below:
You play as Chimù, a light-wielder who protects the temple of Towaga against hordes of evil spirits in this exciting single-player action game. You'll fight enemies in the jungles and while soaring in the skies. Improve your chances by learning new spells and powers.
Sonic is a classic. There's a good chance you know who the speedy little hedgehog is, even if you've never played the games. The game is fun and the controls aren't hard to pick up on. You'll race on teams with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. As you level up, you can change your team to other characters like Shadow, Amy and others. Maneuver your car to grab as many rings as possible, avoid traps and win.
Mutazione is a "mutant soap opera" set in a hand-illustrated world seen through the eyes of 15-year-old Kai. Kai visits Mutazione to see her ailing grandfather. Customize your own garden, explore the island, attend BBQs, get to know your strange neighbors, but be ready for dramatic twists and turns, too.
In this game, you and your crew are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Since the captain, your father, is injured, you assume the role of leader. Take care of the survivors by farming, building a new ship and searching the island for treasures. Go on new quests, solve the mystery of the island and watch out for dangers.
Rayman is another classic like Pac-Man. The platformer doesn't use a timer and lets you try as many times as you need to progress. While you jump, bounce off of flowers and slide down streams of water. You gather lums (little firefly-type bugs), coins and other special prizes along the way.