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11 nostalgic games to play on Apple Arcade if you miss your childhood

These retro-inspired video games might be reason enough to get an Apple Arcade subscription.


You can play Apple Arcade on the iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. Some games are starting to come to Mac.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

If it's not broken, don't fix it, right? Sure, but Apple Arcade was right on point when it decided to bring new adaptations of classic games to its $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) monthly gaming subscription service. The service, which launched in September, has a catalog of more than 100 games in multiple genres, with new games added all the time. The games are available on the iPad, iPhone and Apple TV to start, with content slowly coming to Mac as well.

Since I started using Apple Arcade, I've found that some of the games' aesthetics, soundtracks or tactile nature make them particularly relaxing. Others are great for kids, while more provide the perfect mystery or puzzle experience. Often, all these experiences and more are rolled into one game. 

Here are some of the best games on Apple Arcade so far that will tap into that part of your brain that's still nostalgic for the early days of video gaming -- just on a more updated platform.

Read more: Apple Arcade updated: The full list of games for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and iPod Touch


Versus Evil

In this single-player game, set in the 1990s, you play as Jess, the new kid in school who accidentally gets the popular card game Power Pets (think Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon from back in the day) banned. When the monsters from the game invade the real world and start kidnapping students, you have to defeat them with your cards. The narrative displays like a comic book. I'm excited about this one because the animation reminds me of a children's book I read back in the '90s. I also appreciate the representation of a character in a wheelchair. Ultimately, Cardpocalypse is a coming-of-age puzzle game. 

Pac-Man Party Royale

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This classic arcade game is now on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV. Play up to four friends with Battle Mode and eat pellets to gain speed, but watch out for ghosts and the 265 glitch. Gobble up the Super Pellet and the ghosts will scatter. Game maker Bandai Namco plans to release more game modes and mazes over time. 


Hidden Layer Games

Inmost immediately drops players into a creepy world. The pixel art style and tiny characters hearken back to classic 8-bit games from the 1980s. Inmost is gorgeous and immersive from the start. In the game, you can play as three different characters -- a knight fighting shadow beasts, a regular guy and a lonely young girl. As you progress in this hidden-object platformer, you'll find that the characters' stories are connected as they fight the forces of evil. 

Frogger in Toy Town

Apple Arcade

In this update of the classic Frogger game, you must rescue lost "froglets" from inside a human's house after they're blown away in a storm. You'll navigate a toy-filled terrain -- avoid getting squashed by little cars, climb block buildings, collect jelly beans and save the froglets. When you rescue a froglet, it hops on Frogger's back (which is just as cute as it sounds). Carrying the froglets adds an extra challenge during the obstacle courses because they can fall off. If you liked the old-school Frogger, this might be a remaster you're interested in. 

Lego Brawls


Lego is a toy brand that has stood the test of time, having been manufactured for decades. The franchise has made the jump from plastic blocks to the silver screen to video games since its creation. Lego Brawls is a mobile fighting game available on Apple Arcade, offering countless ways to create your Lego character in a fast-paced 4v4 multiplayer. Every stage of the game brings new challenges, goals and quirky power-ups, like a pie launcher, a cactus suit, a snake car or a hot dog stand. Lego Brawls walks you through the controls, so even those unfamiliar with gaming can play. Jump into a party or a brawl, or keep training.

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

Cornfox & Brothers

Oceanhorn 2 is a prequel to Monster of the Uncharted Sea, which was previously available on iOS, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and other platforms, according to the game's site. So, if you've played that one already, you might see some places you're familiar with but that have been revamped. In terms of storyline, the Warlock Mesmeroth has returned with a Dark Army. You must unite with the Owrus, Gillfolk and others to save the world. The game's design gives a significant nod to the Legend of Zelda game series with a touch of Fable and Kingdom Hearts

Rayman Mini


Rayman Mini is a classic game franchise from the '90s, set in a magical world that you must work to save. The revamped platformer on Apple Arcade doesn't use a timer and lets you try as many times as you need to progress. While you jump, bounce off of flowers and slide down streams of water. You gather lums (little firefly-type bugs), coins and other special prizes along the way. 

Sonic Racing

Apple Arcade

Sonic is another classic '90s game, like Rayman Mini. There's a good chance you know who the speedy little hedgehog is, even if you've never played the games. Apple Arcade's version of the game is fun, and the controls aren't hard to pick up on. You'll race on teams with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. As you level up, you can change your team to other characters like Shadow, Amy and others. Maneuver your car to grab as many rings as possible, avoid traps and win. 

Stranded Sails 

Apple Arcade

In this game, you and your crew are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Since the captain, who is also your father, is injured, you assume the role of leader. Take care of the survivors by farming, building a new ship and searching the island for treasures. Go on new quests, solve the mystery of the island and watch out for dangers. Stranded Sails' design is reminiscent of the original Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda games. 

The Get Out Kids

CNET screenshot

The Get Out Kids mixes mystery with nostalgia, taking players back to 1984. Molly, Salim and Molly's dog Moses sneak out one night to catch a late showing of the Ghostblasters movie at the local drive-in. Along the way, they have to navigate creepy woods and sneak past the surly cemetery worker. When Moses suddenly goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Molly and Salim begin an adventure to find out what happened to their canine friend. This narrative-driven game includes puzzles, hidden object searches and more.