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Stack AR is the first ARKit game to top Apple App Store’s free-to-play category

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Stack launched last year for iOS and Android, but with iOS 11 rolling out to iPhones everywhere, developer Ketchapp Games rereleased the game with augmented reality. Called Stack AR, it reached No. 1 on the Apple App Store in the free-to-play games category over the weekend, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. It’s the first game built with ARKit to do so.

“Stack was actually one of the best game concepts in the Ketchapp portfolio that we could port into AR, since the game is about stacking bricks,” said Ketchapp cofounder and co-director Antoine Morcos in an email. “AR brings a new dimension.”

The conceit is simple: As colorful blocks drift to and fro, you have to tap to stack them into a tower. If you’re not exact, part of the block gets lopped off, leaving you with ever-diminishing blocks that get smaller and harder to land. When viewed through AR, the tower pops up on any flat surface and casts a shadow, lending it a sense of physical presence.

It’s still early days for AR, though a handful of apps and games have started experimenting with it already, including the iOS exclusive The Machines from Directive Games which is a tactical simulation that features 4K effects. Other titles, like Climax Studios’s ARise, aim to take advantage of how AR can enable players to walk around and view the game from different vantage points.

Morcos says that Stack AR’s simplicity is the reason why it appeals to players and reached the top of the chart.

“The first AR games on iPhone must be simple and quickly understandable, otherwise AR will never go mainstream,” said Morcos. “That is what we think. Our goal is to bring people, especially children, to enjoy AR, and the best way is to keep it simple.”

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