"Nothing like this has ever really been done before" — Game Room's developer reflects on Apple Vision Pro gaming and what could be next for Spatial entertainment

Game Room Pips and Pixels
(Image credit: Future)
Pips and Pixels

Pips and Pixels Boxout

(Image credit: Future)

Pips and Pixels is a new column by James Bentley, iMore's resident gaming expert, covering all things gaming in the Apple ecosystem. Looking at news, accessories, and titles you might have missed out on, Apple is becoming more serious about gaming than ever before. With an eye on the wider games industry, James will guide you through what could be next for Apple gamers. 

After months of build-up and millions of dollars, Apple's first foray into spatial computing has arrived and, when it comes to gaming, it's... interesting. 

Apple has intentionally gone out of its way to state that Vision Pro is not a VR headset, nor an AR one. It is a spatial headset, meaning you have to physically place objects in front of you and they are remembered for later. Where traditional headsets might follow you around with screens, Apple Vision Pro allows you to put virtual screens where you need them. However, despite clarifying this isn't like other headsets and isn’t necessarily designed for games, there's a surprising amount of gaming potential here. 

It's been a busy week for Apple gaming. Read on for the rundown.

This week's Apple gaming news

1. Game Boy games now work on Apple Vision Pro, with intuitive gyro controls for the handheld's weirdest game

GBA4vOS is ready for Apple Vision Pro, allowing users to play Game Boy games on Apple's headset. There are two unique ways to do this, one involves placing a huge life-sized Game Boy in front of the user, where they use their palms to click buttons. If this doesn't appeal to users, they can use pinch controls instead to rotate the screen for gyro games like WarioWare: Twisted. 

2. Death Stranding on iPhone is an impressive achievement, but these 5 things need to change before Death Stranding 2: On the Beach gets a port

Death Stranding finally launched on iPhone and it's an impressive feat, but it still trails behind more typical console experiences. The iPhone 15 Pro Max showed what it can do with the excellent Resident Evil Village port but Death Stranding’s performance woes suggest games could be further optimized on iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

3. Apple Vision Pro just got a huge boost for new games and experiences — Unity now has official support for app development 

Though slightly older news, this will affect Apple Vision Pro users over the next year. Unity has added official support for Apple Vision Pro, specifically mentioning how this will enable developers to port games to the headset. With an M2 and R1 chip, the Apple Vision Pro is sure to be able to handle VR titles. However, it will need support from developers, and companies like Netflix and Spotify not putting apps on it might spell bad things for game development. 

Gaming news from our friends

1. In just 24 hours, Helldivers 2 overtakes God of War to become the biggest PlayStation Studios game launch on Steam from GamesRadar

With Helldivers 2, a PlayStation Studios game, doing so well on PC, this success could suggest more robust platform support for its games. With Parallels, you can currently run Returnal (which launched as a PS5 exclusive before hitting PC) on Mac, so better PC support could mean better Mac support further down the line too. Helldivers 2 has had a huge release month and shows no sign of stopping.

2. Ultros’ composer Oscar Rydelius traveled to ‘the lungs of the world’ just to record audio for the upcoming metroidvania from TechRadar Gaming

Ultros, a new psychedelic metroidvania that launched on Mac devices recently, has some incredible music recordings taken in Peru. Ultros launched on Steam to very positive reviews.  The composer tells TechRadar Gaming ”You couldn’t have been further from the city. I felt like crying and had endless goosebumps being in the lungs of the world.”

Calendar: February's Big Game Releases

Pacific Drive

(Image credit: Pacific Drive)
  • Pacific Drive has just launched — a first-person driving survival game where you have to scavenge for supplies as you face supernatural disasters. Your car serves as both your base and your ticket out of danger. You just have to keep it running. 
  • Ultros is a Metroidvania with with psychedelic visuals that is natively supported on Mac — the only game to get Mac support on our list this week. The game launched to positive reviews. 
  • iMore's resident Tomb Raider expert, Daryl Baxter, would complain if the Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered collection wasn't on our list for this week, and for good reason. This is a fantastic chance to relive three of the most iconic games of the PlayStation 1 era. 
  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth launches this week but reviews have already gone live, with our friends at GamesRadar giving it 4.5 out of 5. It is currently a PS5 exclusive but Final Fantasy 7 Remake did eventually come to Steam so it may run on Mac via Game Porting Toolkit eventually.
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GameRelease DatePlatformsPlayable on Apple?
Banishers: Ghosts of New EdenFebruary 13PC, Xbox, PlayStation 5Not natively
UltrosFebruary 13PC, PlayStation 5, MacYes
Sucker for Love: Date to Die ForFebruary 14PCNot natively
Tomb Raider 1-3 RemasteredFebruary 14PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo SwitchNot natively
Skull and BonesFebruary 16PC, Xbox, PlayStation 5, Amazon LunaNot natively
Pacific DriveFebruary 22PC, PlayStation 5Not Natively
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons RemakeFebruary 28PC, Xbox, PlayStation 5Not natively
Final Fantasy 7 RebirthFebruary 29PS5No

An interview with the team behind Game Room

We recently had the chance to chat with Tommy Palm, the CEO and founder of Resolution Games, who made Game Room, a launch spatial game for Apple Vision Pro.

Game Room is a collection of classic board & card games and is one of the very first spatial games for Apple's headset. It is natively designed for Apple Vision Pro and can also be found on iPhone and iPad. 

The Vision Pro game is the continuation of Resolution Games' relationship with Apple as the team is currently working on a spatial port of Demeo, its excellent D&D-like VR game. In our interview, we wanted to learn a little bit more about this relationship between the company and Apple and why designing games for a spatial headset is different from their previous VR development cycles. 

iMore: Could you tell us a little more about Game Room, how you came across the idea, and how the relationship developed with Apple to launch on Apple Vision Pro?

Tommy Palm for Resolution Games: With Game Room, we set out to create a spatial computing experience where players can come together and play out familiar games - including Chess, Solitaire, Hearts, Yacht and Sea Battle at launch - some with fantastical features (like pieces that animate) that could only exist in a digital space. 

Chess, cards and dice games are friendly social activities that bridge generations. The idea here is that the players will be positively surprised by the effortless re-creation of familiar games in a spatial computing environment.

iM: How has the launch been so far and how has player reception been?

TP: We have been very pleased with the launch of Game Room not only for Apple Vision Pro but on iOS for iPhone and iPad as well. 

iM: Do you have an update on the Demeo release on Apple Vision Pro?

TP: The iPad version of Demeo is currently available for Apple Vision Pro, complete with direct and indirect input gestures as well as full gamepad support – Imagine playing Demeo on the largest screen possible with intuitive gestures for rolling dice and moving minis! 

For more specifics, you can read about it on our blog here and view a quick video here.  We are continuing to work on a fully immersive version of Demeo for Apple Vision Pro, but we need more time. We will update as we have more to share.

iM: Are there any plans to port previous games to Apple Vision Pro?

TP: Several of our games are already compatible through the iOS versions on Apple Vision Pro (such as Demeo!), which is very exciting. In terms of creating visionOS ports, that is something we are open to when it makes sense from a financial standpoint. 

iM: Are there any unique challenges working on projects for Apple Vision Pro and what have you learned from it?

TP: What we’ve created is very ambitious, with multiple users in the same space — and all using controller-free gameplay. Nothing like this has ever really been done before. For the development team, this means plenty of opportunity to invent solutions for never-before-encountered challenges, like developing all-new UI standards for 3D interfaces in a multi-user scenario. 

We created this game from scratch in Apple's native technologies, so it feels right at home on visionOS. The technologies and tools made for this device, such as RealityKit and Reality Composer Pro, were new for us, but their ease-of-use made it simple to start building incredible-looking apps for this platform. 

iM: What is next for Resolution Games?

TP: We have three titles going for Apple Vision Pro, including Game Room, Demeo and an undisclosed project (more on that in the future!). 

We are also working on several other projects in the background as well, including the world’s first officially licensed DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game built exclusively in VR in collaboration with Wizards of the Coast and other updates to our titles, including Racket Club which we launched in December.

Level Up — Gaming accessories on our radar

If you're looking to get the most out of your iPhone, our very own Tammy Rogers has recently tested out the Gamesir G8 Galileo iPhone controller, giving it the much coveted 5 out of 5 review score. If you're looking for something a little cheaper (and with a Lightning connector), the RiotPWR Cloud Gaming controller is currently on sale for $24.99. Being officially partnered with Xbox, it's one of the best ways to play Fortnite on iPhone while you wait for the Epic Games Store launch on iOS. 

Gamesir G8 Galileo | $79.99 at Amazon

Gamesir G8 Galileo | $79.99 at Amazon

The G8 Galileo is an incredibly comfortable controller for iPhone 15 that has excellent buttons and a fantastic USB port that can move to accommodate your iPhone. The Hall effect triggers and sticks also make it impervious to stick drift.

RiotPWR Cloud Gaming controller | $69.99$24.99 at Amazon

RiotPWR Cloud Gaming controller | $69.99 $24.99 at Amazon

The RiotPWR Cloud Gaming controller is perfect for working alongside Xbox Game Pass (and not just because you get a free month with your purchase). It is designed with a clip on top to pop your iPhone which means bigger iPhones don't feel too cumbersome in your hands. It's also super cheap right now. 

Hitting the Arcade — What to play on Apple Arcade

Pips and Pixels Hitting the Arcade

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Arcade is filled with tons of exclusive experiences and fantastic games. However, with so many out there, it can be hard to decide what to play. Here are a few choice cuts I've been playing this week:

I've been playing Sonic Dream Team on Apple Arcade and have somehow found it to be one of the best 3D Sonic games of the last few decades. It's cute, super fast, and incredibly approachable with surprisingly intuitive touch controls. With tens of levels, a handful of central characters with different play styles, and an interesting dreamlike aesthetic, this is well worth checking out. 

Sonic Dream Team

(Image credit: SEGA)

Cypher 007 has just a new level set in Egypt, alongside five new levels from "The Spy Whol Loved Me". This comes with a new gadget and an infamous new Bond look with a Black Tuxedo costume. Though Cypher 007 originally launched last September, there has never been a better time to give it a go.

Ever since it was announced for a port on Apple Vision Pro, I've been testing out stitch. on iPhone, a lovely puzzler about creating embroidered art. It's not only totally endearing but quite engrossing in just how pretty and cozy everything feels. It's a perfect lazy Sunday game to get lost in before work the next day. 

Have you played any great games this week or seen some interesting Apple gaming news we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.