The new Apple TV is more than just a 'hobby', it's now a fully-fledged television system complete with apps, and even more importantly, games. Now the Apple TV is available online and in store, you're be able to play games using the Siri Remote or an MFi (Made For iOS) controller.
All this is set to turn the Apple TV into one of the best video games consoles on the market. While it's tempting to think of the Apple TV as a games machine for casual and non-traditional gamers - the sort of device that Nintendo specialises in - the quality of gaming on the iPad and iPhone has risen tremendously in recent years. And with the new A9X processor and Metal software, you shouldn't underestimate the power of the new Apple TV.
It's worth noting that Apple hasn't included a way to link directly to Apple TV apps, so you'll have to open the Apple TV App Store and manually search for the app you want to download. Sorry everyone!
Guitar Hero: Live is, for us at least, the best game available at the moment for the Apple TV, complete with the guitar accessory we all love. Guitar Hero: Live has had a facelift when compared to older games - in career mode, the CGI-based gameplay is gone and has been replaced by live video which changes depending on how well (or badly) you're doing. If you're hitting every note perfectly then the crowd and your bandmates will respond positively, cheering and dancing - but if you start to miss notes and loose your combo, the crowd will respond accordingly by not dancing and becoming increasingly hostile with their jeers. Your bandmates start to give you evil looks, too.
Unlike with older Guitar Hero games, the colour-based system has been replaced by something simpler - though it may seem more complicated at first. Whereas before you'd have to strum whenever a red, green, yellow etc. marker was on screen, Guitar Hero: Live features only black and white keys, with three black keys and three white keys directly above them. This makes it more difficult as you really have to pay attention to whether you're hitting the top or bottom buttons, but once you get used to it, it's a great system to have.
You've also got an online multiplayer mode, with a difference. Instead of going head-to-head with a specific person, you choose from two channels playing (usually very different) genres of music and play along with everybody worldwide instead. Your scores are displayed in real time along the side of the screen, to provide visual feedback on your progress. This gives you more competition, which is always exciting - especially when you're in first place. The best part is that Guitar Hero: Live isn't just for the Apple TV - it's for the iPad and iPhone too. Those of you thinking it might be awkward to play with the guitar when using an iPhone display are correct, which is why the company also provide you with a touch-based version of the game for smaller screens.
Price: £89.95 from the Apple Store
Skylanders Superchargers: Perfect game for kids
Skylanders Superchargers is primarily a game for the younger generation, however we found ourselves playing it for slightly longer than we'd care to admit to. The gameplay is simple and addictive, with an easy to follow storyline - Skylands is in peril due to Kaos unleasing the 'Doomstation of Ultimate Doomstruction', and the 'SuperChargers' have been assembled to pilot some very interesting vehicles. The Skylanders Superchargers starter pack includes a land vehicle and two characters, which are placed on a portal when used in-game. It's a fun experience placing the characters and vehicles on the platform and watching them be instantly recognised on screen, and one that kids will enjoy.
The aim of the game is to fly, drive and dive through the various levels with land, sea and sky-based vehicles. You're able to complete the main storyline using only the land vehicle, but to complete the game in its entirety will require you to purchase additional vehicles. Don't fret - the vehicles and characters can be bought digitally instead of having to go out and find them yourselves, though having the physical models is pretty fun.
As well as getting a hold of the various types of vehicle, you're also able to upgrade and customise each. The various options available have different effects on your vehicle - some will increase top speed, while others will increase control, etc. and while this may seem excessive, you should customise your car based on the mission ahead - you'll find that you have an 'edge'.
Price: £36.49 from Argos
Canabalt: An addictive platformer for Apple TV
Canabalt is a hugely popular iOS game, similar to platformers like Ski Safari and Alto’s Adventure, except with this game you aren’t skiing – you’re running away from the robot apocalypse (of course). The gameplay is simple, lightly tapping the Siri remote touchpad to jump from building to building, avoiding plummeting to your death. It’s essentially the same game as its’ iOS counterpart, but the big screen and loud music means it’s a more intense experience than when played on your iPhone.
Peg Ballet: Simple yet addictive Apple TV game
Peg Ballet is a painfully simple game that’ll take minutes to learn, but hours to master. The aim of the Apple TV original game is to collect pegs in the fastest time possible, by clicking your Apple TV remote to ‘jump’. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can also compete with up to eight friends in real time – and if you’re thinking that you don’t have enough remotes for eight friends to play, you’ll be happy to know that players can download a free iPhone companion app that’ll allow friends to join at a moments notice.
Beach Buggy Racing: A great Mario Kart equivalent
Beach Buggy Racing isn’t a new app per say, but it really comes to life when played on the Apple TV – especially when used with a controller. When used with a controller, you no longer feel like you’re playing an Apple TV game, instead you feel like you’re playing a full-blown console game (with the only giveaway being graphics). Beach Buggy Racing is reminiscent of Mario Kart, with a variety of themed cars and drivers all with special abilities, and power ups available throughout each race to keep things interesting.
Upgrading your car and battling through various collections of races should keep you entertained until your tokens run out, at which point you have to wait, or pay for more – one of the downsides to a completely free app. Although with this being said, for £3.99 you can get rid of the adverts and token system, and play for as long as you desire.
SketchParty TV: Best game to play with friends
SketchParty TV is a great app for the Apple TV, reminiscent of the hugely popular Pictionary, and was recently named one of the “15 greatest party games” by Apple. The game is a fairly standard drawing and guessing game, where one person is given a word and using an iPhone or iPad, has to draw the word for their friends to guess. It’s a great game to play when with a group, as the app allows you to team up and go head-to-head with friends. Fun fact - SketchParty TV was the original Apple TV game, which launched back in 2012, utilising AirPlay functionality via an iPhone or iPad in lieu of an official Apple TV app.
Developer Matt Braun has reassured us that SketchParty TV is a universal app (you buy it once and its available for all platforms) so if you buy it for your iPhone or iPad here, it should appear on your Apple TV.
Lumino City: A great puzzler for Apple TV
The hugely popular puzzler for iOS devices has made its Apple TV debut. Lumino City features hand-crafted levels made from paper, which showcases a unique visual style on the big screen that’s unique to this game. The gameplay itself is rather slow paced so if you’re looking for a game where you run through attacking enemies, this isn’t for you, but with this being said it does become more addictive the more you play.
Sing! Karaoke: A great singing app for Apple TV
The problem is sometimes you find an app you want to play with, and that stops you from writing the article you were supposed to be writing… For us this was Sing! Karaoke. It works with or without the iPhone app, the latter gives you a microphone and allows the creation of playlists. We were slightly put off by the idea that there were other people playing the game that the app seemed to want us to team up with, but we didn’t seem to have any issues there in the end. There’s a nice selection of new and old songs, and we were worried that we’d have to pay for in app purchases, but we’ve not discovered any yet.
Disney Infinity 3.0: Best Apple TV game for kids
Disney Infinity fans, rejoice! The full Disney Infinity 3.0 console experience is now also available on the Apple TV. Although the third installation of the Disney Infinity series is free to download from the app store, gamers have to first buy a special Apple TV starter pack, similar to those offered to console gamers. The set includes Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano figurines, as well as a new MFi controller for the Apple TV and a wireless Disney Infinity 3.0 Bluetooth base – everything you need to sink your teeth into the Disney-themed action-adventure sandbox.
Jetpack Joyride: A great endless scroller for Apple TV
Halfbrick Studio’s hugely popular fly-and-dodge game has made its way to the Apple TV, jetpacks and missiles included. Jetpack Joy is an endless scroller where the player has to avoid oncoming obstacles like missiles and lasers, while collecting coins to upgrade your jetpack and power-ups. Though the concept is simple, the game is hugely addictive and thanks to its upgrade system, you’ll be a jetpack master in no time. Oh, and you're able to fly a DeLorean in its current release too - pretty cool, eh?
Alto’s Adventure is a serene skiing game, with similar mechanics to the hugely popular iOS game, Tiny Wings. Controlled by the Siri remote, the game requires the user to navigate the skier down the mountain while avoiding dangerous obstacles like rocks and cliffs, while trying your best to collect coins and power-ups scattered throughout the course. The graphics are understated yet gorgeous, and thanks to its never-ending nature, you’ll loose hours playing this game. The best part is that if you have the iOS app on your iPhone or iPad, your progress will automatically sync thanks to iCloud support.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved is a hugely popular shooter available not only for iOS devices, but has also made its PS4 and Xbox One debut. The company now adds “Apple TV” to that list as the game is now available for download, bringing its fantastically detailed and vibrant gameplay to the Apple TV. Players fire at the AI-driven enemies while evading them by moving around a spherical board and collecting power-ups. The shape of the board changes often, with each one bringing its own set of challenges to the table, and can be controlled either via the Siri remote or your smartphone.
Oceanhorn: Best action-adventure game for Apple TV
Oceanhorn is, essentially, the closest thing to Legend of Zelda you’ll find without buying a Nintendo system. Though for copyright reasons this is a different game set in a different location to Zelda, you can certainly notice the developers’ hat-tip to Zelda in gameplay. There are many quests to take part in, with a fairly lengthy storyline and although the graphics aren’t quite there, you still get the console feel when playing the game – quite an achievement for an Apple TV app.
This feels to us like the key launch for the Apple TV. Galaxy On Fire has long been one of the most visually impressive games for iPhone and iPad, and Manticore Rising should look fantastic on the Apple TV. This game is a prequel to Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore, which will be released later in the year. Visually it looks spectacular, and should push the A9X and Metal to its limits.
The gameplay is fast paced – which is a downside when using the Siri remote, as its motion-controlled nature doesn’t allow for quick reactions. We imagined that gameplay would be more enjoyable with an MFi controller, but after connecting the controller we found that Manticore Rising doesn’t feature MFi support, much to our disappointment.
Rayman Adventures is one of the best platform games ever created, and it's great to see it on the Apple TV. While it's nothing new for platformer fans, it does show that the Apple TV has first-rate games. (And visually spectacular ones at that.)
Few people are aware that the Siri Remote has Accelerometer and Gyroscopic functionality. While this isn't quite the same as the Nintendo Wii remote, it will be great for playing racing games (already a style suited to iOS devices).
Asphalt 8 is one of the best racing games on iOS, and we're looking forward to it hitting the Apple TV. Turn the Siri Remote on its side and rotate it left to right to simulate a steering wheel.
This highly rated first-person shooter is a popular iPhone and iPad game coming to Apple TV. We think it'll be a great choice for testing out how well an MFi controller and an Apple TV stack up against a more traditional console. The graphics are extremely good, and it's built with 64-bit and Metal in mind.
Crossy Road took centre stage at Apple's September event (where the new Apple TV was revealed). We like this quirky action game for iOS and think it'll work well with the Siri Remote. The multiplayer functionality looked interesting too, and we think it'll be great fun to play.
Disney Infinity is an open sandbox game containing a huge list of Marvel, Disney and Pixar characters. It also includes Star Wars, and the upcoming version for Apple TV could be where it comes into its element.
The idea is to bring kid's toy figures to life in matching video games. So you purchase a Disney Infinity base, and then pop a toy on the device, and that character is unlocked in a video game.
Shadowmatic is a quirky puzzler where you rotate objects to create shadows on a wall. You have to match the shadow to the pattern you are given to progress.
It's a nice use of touch to create the kind of game that doesn't work with a traditional control pad. While it may be a little sedate for some, we think it'll be a great way to wind down.
Thanks to the accelerometer in the Siri Remote, you can use it in a similar fashion to the Wii U controller. One of the best games to make use of this is Beat Sports, a game that mixes cartoon sports with music.
While it's a clear attempt to capture the market that Wii Sports created, that's not exactly a bad thing: this could be the game that the family gets round the TV to play.
This is a sci-fi-themed action RPG from Supergiant Games (the people who made Bastion). You control a red-haired female with a giant sword battling through a futuristic city.
Transistor is a very highly rated game on PC consoles. While it's a hack-and-slash arcade game, there is a story to it, and you do spend a lot of time leveling up and getting new equipment and upgrades. It looks set to be a very addictive game.
On the next page, you'll be able to take a look at our wishlist of Apple TV games prior to its announcement.