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Call it Apple Arcade 2.0, with 32 new games, NBA 2K21, Fantasian and classic reboots

Hits including Monument Valley, Fruit Ninja and Chameleon Run are now part of Apple Arcade as well.

Apple Arcade on an iPad

What new games will you play first?

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Apple Arcade on Friday made its biggest upgrade since it first launched in the fall of 2019, adding 32 new games to its $5-a-month gaming service. That's roughly a third as many games as the subscription service unveiled two years ago, and it also includes some new strategies in the types of games available on Arcade.

The new catalog includes the long-awaited release of Final Fantasy Creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's Fantasian as well as Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker from Aquiris. The giant game drop also includes one of the first hits to come over from consoles: NBA 2K21.

This brings Apple's gaming catalog to over 180 games, with new titles still arriving each week. The service also added two new categories players can peruse -- App Store Greats and Timeless Classics. App Stores Greats include games like Monument Valley, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope and Chameleon Run. Timeless Classics feature versions of games such as Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, Solitaire, Mahjong and Sudoku. Many of these retro titles will not work on Apple TV or Mac hardware, though — they will stick to the traditional iPhone and iPad gameplay. 

Here is the list of all the new games that subscribers can download: 

  • Backgammon  
  • Badland 
  • Bleck 
  • Chameleon Run
  • Checkers Royal
  • Chess: Play and Learn
  • Clap Hanz Golf
  • Cut the Rope Remastered
  • Don't Starve: Pocket Edition
  • Flipflop Solitaire
  • Fruit Ninja Classic
  • Good Sudoku
  • Mahjong Titan
  • Mini Metro
  • Monument Valley
  • NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition
  • Really Bad Chess
  • Reigns Plus
  • Simon's Cat: Story Time
  • Solitaire 
  • SongPop Party
  • SpellTower
  • Star Trek Legends
  • Sudoku Simple
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat
  • The Oregon Trail
  • The Room Two
  • Threes!
  • Tiny Crossword
  • World of Demons

In addition, Apple Arcade listed a few games to expect in the future: 

  • Leo's Fortune
  • Legends of Kingdom Rush
  • Frenzic: Overtime
apple-arcade-launches-more-than-130-award-winning-games-nba2k21-040221

NBA 2K21 gets a special edition exclusive to Apple Arcade. 

2K

This Apple Arcade upgrade is clearly a bit of a pivot for the service, or perhaps a 1.5 or 2.0 launch. Arcade faces fierce competition from Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass, and potential threats from Nintendo Switch Online, Google Stadia, Sony PlayStation Now and others. 

Apple lined up top developers to create games for Arcade, and several of the games have won awards, but no breakout hits or signature titles have emerged to attract a large wave of new users to the platform. With the latest slate of new games, Apple is betting that older hits, porting over a popular franchise, and two long-anticipated titles can make up for that.

Apple Arcade is also now offering a three-month free trial of the service when you buy a new Apple device. Otherwise, if you're signing up for Apple Arcade for the first time, you can still get the one-month free trial. After that, it's $5 (£5, AU$8) a month. In addition, the Apple One subscription launched last year includes Arcade in all three bundles, starting at $15 (£15, AU$20) a month and including four to six Apple subscription services.  To try the service, open the App Store and tap the little joystick icon at the bottom of the screen.

Read moreNBA 2K21 heads to Apple Arcade with new special edition