Apple Arcade: 10 great games you need to play right now

Mistwalker /
2 of 10

Populus Run

Developed by Fifty-Two

No app store would be complete without a runner. Most of the time it’s the same formula of “take a popular character, turn their world into a long narrow path, and, if possible, come up with a reason why they can’t stop running.” My personal favorite is the Sonic the Hedgehog runner my son plays. Not because it’s good, but because every character runs at the same speed and that fact seems to make Sonic look like he’s just been being humored by everyone.

Populus Run changes the formula in a multitude of interesting ways.

Instead of popular characters, Populus Run goes very remarkably normally looking folks of all sorts of bodily builds. Dad bods, elderly women, little kids, all run together as you find more people and run as a bizarre swarm.

You dodge things like donuts and candy while collecting hidden characters like avocados and onions in a way that FEELS like it’s supposed to be about avoiding sugar but there is no story so I can only guess.

What makes the replay pretty interesting is that, unlike traditional runners like Subway Surfers, Populus Run uses a full-blown physics engine. If a donut is rolling down the stage towards you, there’s a chance it might fall and block you. Even if it’s a stage that you’ve done a million times, you might encounter something new when multiple candies bump into each other and form an almost impossible to dodge pile up. It can be infuriating if you’re taking your score seriously but I thought it made it a lot more fun as it felt like real things were hindering me and I wasn’t just failing to recognize a pattern.