Sports games

Best sports games to play on iPhones and iPads with Apple Arcade, feat. NBA 2K21

Apple Arcade is a largely unique game subscription service that seeks to provide an unlimited, ad-free gaming experience on iPhone for a monthly subscription. Its satisfying collection includes many titles in all genres. However, when it comes to sports games, the collection on Arcade is quite limited – compared to others. Interestingly, the sports games offered by Apple Arcade bring an interesting mix of engaging gameplay and flagship quality graphics. On that note, here is our pick of the best sports games to play on iPhone and iPad, via Apple Arcade.

NBA 2K21

In our review of Apple Arcade as a Service in India, we rated NBA 2K21 as one of its best games, and how games like these are exactly what it needs to gain popularity. NBA 2K21 brings a very console gaming experience to iPhones and iPads, producing rich graphics, discernible player faces, and short, fun end-to-end matches – just the way you want sports games to be. All of this makes 2K21 one of the poster titles for Arcade.

The arcade game service can be a major hit if Apple brings in a few other big names like NBA 2K21. (Image: Shouvik Das /

There are a few weird issues in the game, such as players merging with each other while animating on the sidelines, and an audience that obviously looks fake. The controls aren’t exactly the best either, and it takes some getting used to. However, once you do, the gameplay resumes. Matches aren’t particularly easy to play, but that’s a good thing – and the fact that you get the entire game minus the annoying popups, thanks to Arcade, makes the experience even better.

All things considered, NBA 2K21 is hands down the best sports game to play on Arcade, and in fact, is one of the best games on Arcade. It is also one of the best sports games to play on any mobile platform.

Super Stickman Golf 3+

A surprisingly engaging game, Super Stickman Golf 3+ gives you bizarre putting greens. It forces you to think about the physics behind each shot, and soon you’ll find yourself engrossed in how to bounce the ball off the straight edges to get a hole in one shot. As you play, you unlock various abilities such as fire path projection. Make no mistake, each course gets more and more difficult as you level up, which means you’ll need special abilities and better clubs to reach higher levels.

Super Stickman Golf 3+ on Apple Arcade is great fun and surprisingly addicting. (Image: Shouvik Das /

Running games aside, Super Stickman Golf 3+ is our second favorite among sports, and it is also possibly the arcade game we spent the most time playing. It’s fun, simple and very easy to get used to. It doesn’t need you to be too invested in intrigue, rivalry, or anything like that, which makes it a perfect game to play on the go as well.

Skate town

Before I start, I admit that I am not particularly a big fan of skating. Of course, I had my skepticism behind Skate City. What attracted me was probably its graphics and the way it gives a zen feel. This is not a high octane, adrenaline rink title. Instead, it’s an infinite side scroller that you can play for hours on end – aided by the soothing music, muted color scheme, and pleasing, stylish visuals.

Skate City on Apple Arcade offers pleasing visuals and a Zen aesthetic. (Image: Shouvik Das /

What’s great about Skate City is that even without the threat of a competition, you feel drawn to its pleasing playing aesthetic. On your way to your skating glory, you unlock some of the world’s most iconic cities, which see the background color scheme change as you level up. Each city has a distinctive style, and Skate City captures it in a rather calm and collected manner. There is also a “Challenges” mode that you can play to tick off objectives, earn stars, and improve both your character and your board.

In a limited collection of sports on Arcade, Skate City joins SSG3 + and NBA 2K21 by being three of the best games to play through the subscription service – even beyond sports. They also serve as the type of sports games that Apple should have more for Arcade, in order to capture the imagination of a wider audience. Until they do, the above three are must-haves for your iPhone and iPad.

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