Fresh Look’s Puzzle Game Picks From the Apple Arcade

I realized recently that I haven’t spent any time on Apple Arcade in the past few months. To rectify that, and justify my continued subscription, I downloaded a few recent releases. Here are my thoughts on some of the newest games released on Apple Arcade in September and October.


Stitch is a unique puzzle game that came to Apple Arcade last Friday. As someone who enjoys embroidery, I was instantly intrigued by these embroidery style puzzles. Stitch very much feels like sudoku meets paint by number. Each level consists of a design in an embroidery hoop that is broken down into smaller sections.

Each section is a grid puzzle with numbers in some grids, but most of the grids are empty. The numbers are colored to correspond to the color of thread used in the pattern.

I found the beginning levels very easy. You only have limited access to hoops until you reach a certain level in the title, then everything opens up. There are definitely some challenging puzzles, but nothing too terribly difficult. The only time I had to use a hint was when I didn’t realize I hadn’t cleared the entire section. The one section that was left had filled in on accident and was preventing me from solving the section. The most difficult puzzle I’m working on now is the limited seasonal puzzle. In the time it would take me to finish a larger puzzle, I’m only one-fourth of the way through this puzzle.

Stitch is great for people who enjoy more simple level puzzles. Don’t expect a large challenge, but it’s also not mindless work. The main appeal with Stitch is its unique puzzle style and the adorable embroidery designs.

Garden Tails

Garden Tails is a simple match 3 game that is very charming. Garden Tails came to Apple Arcade in mid-September. As a longtime fan of Gardenscapes, I was immediately drawn to the cute animals and garden theme. Most of the powerups available offer the standard assistance, like removing a line of tiles or all the tiles of a certain shape. Some of the powerups are more interesting. The bee powerup functions as 2 bombs that are set off separately. Where things get really different is that two powerups can be combined for increased effectiveness. My favorite is the combination of the rabbit and the butterfly. The butterfly removes all tiles of a given type, and the rabbit removes a line of tiles. Combined, the butterfly spreads rabbits to all tiles of a chosen type, so you can have a dozen plus rabbits knocking out rows of tiles.

Completing levels provides currency for adding more plants to the garden. Garden Tails also identifies the name of each plant type and gives a brief description of each, which is a nice educational touch. By adding more items to the garden, you increase the animals’ happiness, which allows you to unlock new animal friends. The animals are all very adorable, and between certain garden additions the animals will chat with you briefly.

Garden Tails is a great title for people who enjoy match 3 games. It is very relaxing between the calming background music and adorable fluffy animals. With an interesting twist on powerups and unlimited lives (due to it being on Apple Arcade), Garden Tails sets itself apart as a great way to unwind.

The Gardens Between+

The last title I tried out was The Gardens Between+. This is another interesting puzzle game that was released on Apple Arcade in mid-October. The title originally released in September of 2018 and is currently available on PC, Play Station, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, and mobile. Despite it being a highly decorated game, if you’re like me, it either flew right under the radar or perhaps you weren’t a big gamer in 2018. Either way, if you have Apple Arcade, now’s your chance to enjoy this beautiful and surreal game for free.

The Gardens Between+ is unlike any puzzle game I’ve ever played. Each isometric level consists of a 3D island puzzle that you solve by manipulating time to bring a light sphere to various checkpoints. The really intriguing thing is that the time manipulation is not limited to the two main characters. There are different items that either of the characters can interact with to manipulate objects or events on the level. One such item manipulates time on a separate “time segment”. On one level, a bowl of popcorn is knocked off the couch. On another, a variety of children’s toys are disrupted. For these levels, you have to manipulate two separate time segments to solve the puzzle. With several moving parts, you may have to play out a section of the puzzle multiple times to understand all of the pieces.

If you’re looking for a unique spin on puzzle games, The Gardens Between+ is for you. The title doesn’t take very long to complete, but the limited levels offer some great brain teasers.

Let me know in the comments what games you are currently playing on Apple Arcade, and what new releases you are most excited for. Until the next time, stay cool, be you. Bye!

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