Apple Arcade is here, and you can play some of the subscription service’s many games with select models of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers as well as Mfi (Made for iOS) controllers!
During Apple Arcade’s announcement, though, Apple gave the impression that all Apple Arcade games would work with gamepads (in part because the service will eventually also come to macOS and tvOS), but it turns out that’s not entirely true. Many games have interfaces solely designed for touchscreens. Hopefully that will change by the time the service comes to the Mac and Apple TV.
Apple technically tells you if a game supports controllers or not. If you’re on the game’s landing page, look for the Controller icon under the Get link. (See below.) But there are many, many others that don’t—such as Enter the Gungeon—and I’m still testing them to find the exceptions. In some, such as Tint, you can use the controller on the game’s start menu, but you can’t use it to actually play. In Outlanders, you can use a controller to navigate around the map, but you can’t interact with anything. I’ve chosen not to include those games because they technically don’t count.
In other cases, such as Sonic Racing and Cricket Through the Ages, you apparently play with a controller on the iPad, but not the iPhone.
A note: I tested all these games using a first-generation PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller, but your mileage may vary depending on which controller you use. Old MFi controllers like those from SteelSeries, for instance, don’t always support the “L3” and “R3” buttons that activate when you press down on the thumbsticks and so don’t have the versatility of the Xbox and PS4 models. In many cases, the games recognized that I was using a DualShock 4 and showed PlayStation inputs on the prompts.
I also tested all these on a fifth-generation iPad mini, although I tried some on an iPhone XS Max.
We’ll keep this list updated as we learn about more games with controller support.
Every Apple Arcade game that supports controllers
Note: Games that aren’t marked as having controller support are marked with an asterisk.