'Grindstone' Is a Perfect Puzzler to Showcase Apple Arcade's Promise

There used to be a time when I’d wake up every morning and excitedly checked Apple’s App Store, to see what surprises games might be waiting. Sure, there was a lot of junk, but there were enough revelations to justify genuine excitement about the platform’s future. Device 6! Spaceteam! Flappy Bird! Like the Wii, the iPhone’s unique interface promised new kinds of games we hadn’t seen before. At some point, a time I cannot exactly pinpoint but definitely a few years back, I basically stopped playing mobile games. My “games” folder is full of stuff from five years ago. I didn’t trust when a game was free, and felt the balance was tilted to spending more money. Then, the Switch came along, giving me console games on the go. I ghosted.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gyzj4q/grindstone-is-a-perfect-puzzler-to-showcase-apple-arcades-promise

Man I almost wish I still had an iPhone. So many of the Apple Arcade games looks sweet. Google announced their version of this with a lot more games, but I get the impression it’s just studios they asked about already existing games. Apple’s looks well curated, and the games all look really fun!

Besides, as a big Gungeon stan I’d love to play their spin-off. And I’ve played Sayonara Wild Hearts on my Switch this past weekend and it fucking rocks. I really hope the developers are getting compensated well.


If Google’s answer to this is any indication, I’m going to say not for many.

Google’s plan, listed here, states that developers will be compensated by how long players have played their game, which is extremely bad for anyone not making games designed for replay or encourage daily log ins.

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Yeah I read about that earlier. I wonder if Apple’s model is any different though?

I assume since the Apple Arcade seemed to be focused on new games (at least from what I understand it was), that the developers were partially funded by Apple to make the games. Google using already made games and apps makes me think that if anything, the games they’re using aren’t getting funded like apple’s were.

I can imagine the developers getting some sort of compensation for being a “launch” title attached to the deal, but also I’m not really sure about that when Google is including so many apps.

Having made it to lvl 26 I can definitely say that Grindstones difficultly ramps into a bit of a wall.

Yes, that’s a huge difference between the two offerings. Google’s subscription service seems pretty half-assed compared to what Apple is doing.

The thing is Apple has done absolutely nothing to endear any trust from anyone. Just go look at what their personal computer branch is up to right now (aka making the software scene implode). Their mobile branch is especially scummy, so indie developers entering into this sort of service need to be aware if their game is going to fit in with whatever mysterious model they actually have (which I’m willing to bet is roughly handled the same way as Google’s).

Apple News+ is a $10/mo subscription where Apple takes half and the rest is distributed among publishers. The publishers have reported making 1/20 of what Apple promised.

I’m skeptical of Arcade.

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I mean, read into this tweet exchange as much as you want but the answer seems to be a definite no.

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Without having finished it yet, I will say that you do kind of get a feel for things eventually. I’m at 38 and have taken to not using any of the powerups that require consumables because I found keeping up with the crafting materials grind kind of daunting (which means I’m still using the arrow and shield you get early on).

A key thing to keep in mind that has helped me is:

Is using that crystal that lets you switch colours worth it? Enemies, chests, barriers, etc. all require long chains so it may be worth it to leave the crystal on the board for when one appears even if there are none on there at the moment or if using it won’t let you reach one. Moreover every crystal on the board is a square that can’t attack you, plus you can only generate one a turn. The crucial chain length is 10 because that gets you a crystal. A longer chain will get you a bigger one but that’s only good for more materials at the end, it doesn’t help you survive.

Also the thief dudes who eat your crystals are assholes and need to be prioritized because with no crystals they stop you from generating a chain long enough to kill anything else.

edit: also non crystal materials that take up a space are also squares that cannot attack you plus while they won’t let you switch colours they’ll chain with anything so worthwhile to consider leaving them on the board unless they are the difference between hitting 10/making a kill or not.


I just beat level 30. There’s so much to unlock mechanically in this game! I had hit a wall and then realized:

  • Bashing those undead skeleton fuckers? Counts as a crystal for purposes of changing colors, so you can chain attacks among them
  • which you can do by using the blade spin plus the attack that deals 1 damage to strong enemies a few times
  • then you bounce from skeleton to critter to skeleton and can take out a whole herd of them.
  • that allows for cleaning a whole bunch of the board!

Realizing that I can strategically chose to not make a long chain was really important, too: Sometimes clearing just a few critters will allow enough clearance to set up a longer chain that gets me a lot more, but it required me to look further “up” the board to see what effects my critter-grinding would have.

Can I also note that the critters are so adorable that I sort of feel bad turning them into pulp? Not bad enough that I’m not doing it, but, you know.

Hard agree about the asshole thief dude. Get bent, buddy.

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Just beat level 60, so surprised with how much I’m enjoying this, I’ve hardly tried any other Arcade games yet

update: may have hit a bit of a wall at 112. not that it feels impossible necessarily but it’s looking very much like I’ll have to start using some of those consumable items I’ve been ignoring up until this point. that or wait until I get some good RNG? been cruising it up to this point more or less (clear each level with chest & crown within 5 tries usually, often grabbing both the first time through) but I’ve wiped 7 times on 112 so far.

edit: did eet! 13 tries total, teleport potion is the way to go this one

Huh. Anyone at 120 yet? I have zero idea what I’m meant to do to beat this boss.

…and done. Not that anyone asked, but the whole thing can be beat with the starter shield & arrow plus the jump potion.