Apple Arcade makes a serious play for your gaming dollar

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Apple Arcade is closing in on 200 games.
Apple Arcade includes 180 titles at a cost lower than what the average American spends on iPhone games.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Hey, iPhone gamer, save yourself some money: Subscribe to Apple Arcade. A recent study showed that the average American spends way more on games every year than the annual cost of Apple’s $4.99-a-month gaming service.

Plus, the deal just got a lot better. Almost a dozen original games debuted on Apple Arcade last Friday, and the service added a bunch of classic ones as well. After launching with just a few dozen games in 2019, Apple Arcade is now closing in on 200 really great titles.

New Star Trek and NBA games lead major Apple Arcade expansion

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Apple Arcade
The 11 original games that just debuted on Apple Arcade cover a wide range of genres.
Graphic : Cult of Mac

Apple made a huge push for its gaming service on Friday, launching 11 original games. These cover a range of genres, from NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition to Star Trek: Legends. And Fantasian from the creator of the Final Fantasy series also launched in Apple Arcade. Plus many, many more.

Travel the roads to solve the mystery of a perplexing Hitchhiker on Apple Arcade

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Versus Evil ’Hitchhiker’ road onto Apple Arcade on Friday
Versus Evil’s Hitchhiker is a mystery story and game in one.
Photo: Versus Evil

Hitchhiker asks players to travel the highways exploring the unknown while also confronting new dangers. It’s sort of a mystery novel in the form of a game. But unlike a book, choices you make when speaking to people you meet affect how it all comes out.

The game launched Friday on Apple Arcade.

How to get Apple Arcade games as soon as they launch

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How to get Apple Arcade games as soon as they launch
Here’s how to make upcoming Apple Arcade games automatically install themselves.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The App Store lists Apple Arcade games that’ll debut soon. If one of these upcoming titles looks interesting, subscribers to Apple’s game service can set it to automatically install as soon as the app becomes available. No waiting… it’ll be on your iPhone or other Apple device as soon as possible.

Here’s how.

Flip through puzzles in Sp!ng on Apple Arcade

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Sp!ng debuted Friday on Apple Arcade
Sp!ng is designed to be challenging but not stressful.
Screenshot: SMG Studios

SMG Studios calls Sp!ng “a stress ball for your brain.” The goal of the new title is to maneuver a ball through a maze while collecting gems, but in a relaxed way. There’s only one control to grab the ball, spin it and release it.

The puzzle game debuted Friday on Apple Arcade.

Play iPhone games with keyboard and mouse with new KeyMander 2 Mobile

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IOGear KeyMander 2 Mobile debuts in mid-March.
Hook your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV to a keyboard and mouse for gaming with the KeyMander 2 Mobile from IOGear.
Photo: IOGear

The IOGear KeyMander 2 Mobile is for iPhone users that prefer gaming with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen or controller. It works with Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and App Store games. Even ones that don’t offer native support for desktop-type input devices.

Beyond iPhone, it also works with iPad and Apple TV.

Final Fantasy creator handcrafts epic Fantasian for Apple Arcade

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‘Fantasian’ is coming soon to Apple Arcade
Fantasian for Apple Arcade
Screencap: Mistwalker/Apple

Fantasian is the next creation by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who also made the classic Final Fantasy series. His latest mixes computer-generated characters with handmade sets for a truly unique look.

The role playing game by Mistwalker is set to debut on Apple Arcade for a variety of platforms.

Blast through zombie hordes in Survival Z on Apple Arcade

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Blast through zombie hordes in ‘Survival Z’ on Apple Arcade
Battle zombies in Survival Z, a new game a bit darker than the usual on Apple Arcade.
Photo: Ember Entertainment

Blast through waves of zombies in Survival Z, an action game that launched Friday on Apple Arcade. You’ll be facing different types of shambling undead and must destroy them with an array of weapons and traps.