Dear Reader

A long time ago I had the crazy idea of trying to write a daily review of every Apple Arcade game. I think I made it about six days before burning myself out. Whilst I don’t think it’s going to be viable to review then all I was keen to highlight some of the real gems, hidden or otherwise, of this great service.

The first game I want to bring to your attention is the game I’ve played the most of across the whole service so far, and it’s my favourite by a long way. I have a widget for it on my Homescreen and play it daily at the moment. It’s a game I’ve never hears anyone talk about, and it’s probably not one you’d see on many ‘best games’ lists but I really recommend you give it a try. After all of the, rather over the top, hyping I should probably let you know which game I’m talking about.

My favourite and most played game on Apple Arcade is Dear Reader.

What is it?

Dear Reader is, in essence, a puzzle game. The novel (pun intended) thing about it is that the puzzles are all made up of classic literature. You ‘play’ a classic book and the puzzles involve rearranging words to complete sentences, spotting spelling errors, identifying incorrect sentences, and filling in missing words. Even reading that now it sounds like it could make for a pretty dull game but there’s something really addicting and charming about it. Generally speaking puzzle games don’t appeal to me, but I’ve been playing this off and on since it came out on Apple Arcade and I’m hooked.

While this premise seems quite simple, there is a ton of stuff to do and collect in the game. You earn ink from completing the various puzzles / challenges which, in turn, can be used to buy new books from the in game store. There’s also a daily challenge that gives you some puzzles from an unknown book to complete, which you get bonus points for if you can guess the book. You can later unlock the ability to do ‘Research’ challenges which see you doing tasks in different books that meet a predefined criteria such as the one I have today which is ‘complete 3 chapters in books published after 1800’. As you progress in the game you unlock more puzzle types, up to a total of 27.

Being an Apple Arcade game, it’s completely devoid of in-app purchases, so the in-game store requires the aforementioned ink to make purchases. Books cycle in and out of the store and feature classics like The Wizard of Oz, The Three Musketeers, Art of War, and so many more. I’ve still got a load to unlock myself, but I’m enjoying dipping in each day for a bit of progress. Each puzzle only takes a few minutes per chapter, so it’s a great pick up and play kind of game.

The design language in the game is also pretty great. As you can imagine, it’s not going to blow your mind graphically, but it’s a visually appealing game. It’s bright, bold, and very clean. I love the look, and even the music. It has a dark mode as well, which is handy, because the game is a perfect way to unwind before going to bed.

Who’s it for?

Dear Reader isn’t going to keep any hardcore Warzone players happy, but it’s a perfect game for any book worms or puzzle lovers. That being said, I’m neither of those really, yet something about this game really resonates with me. As I’ve said above it’s a really relaxing game, and one you can dip into with even a couple of minutes spare and still make progress through it.

If you’re after a slow paced, relaxing game with a rewarding and satisfying progression system this games for you. It’s also an excellent way of reading some classic literature, at least in chunks. I’ve always assumed old classics like Sherlock Holmes and Dorian Gray would be pretty unreadable now, at least in any fun way, but they actually hold up pretty well.

If you’re an Apple Arcade subscriber I definitely recommend just giving the game a try. It certainly won’t be for everyone, but I don’t fit into the target audience for the games genre yet I’ve got hours of enjoyment out of it and it’s by far my favourite and most played Apple Arcade game to date.

Let me know what you think of it if you give it a try.

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