Duke it out on the tennis court with your favorite cartoon characters.
If you’re having fun with Disney Melee Mania on Apple Arcade — a CNET Editors’ Choice Award pick for 2021 — get ready for Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis. The new game is headed exclusively to the mobile gaming service’s catalog of over 230 games on Jan. 21.
In Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis, you’ll compete in tennis matches with your favorite Nickelodeon characters like SpongeBob, Rocko, Garfield and the Rugrats — each with unique special moves, rackets and outfits. As a ’90s kid, I was excited to see nostalgic Nickelodeon characters included in the lineup, but the game isn’t just meant for me.
“Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis is meant for fans of all ages,” Adrian Wright, vice president of games at Nickelodeon told me in an email. “We wanted to make sure whether you grew up watching Nickelodeon in the ’90s or are a newer fan that there was something for everyone.”
The game lets you face off in solo or story mode in equally iconic Nickelodeon locations like under the sea in Bikini Bottom, inside Invader Zim’s secret base, or on the rooftops of New York City with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Don’t worry if you’re not a pro at sports games. Practice goes a long way, according to Wright, who says story mode and challenges are the perfect way to master your game and level up characters.
Garfield taking on CatDog? Not out of the realm of possibilities in this game.
The last few titles added to Apple Arcade like Disney Melee Mania, Lego Star Wars Battles and Lego Star Wars: Castaways appear to be driving the service toward more social and multiplayer games, an area that was lacking at launch.
Apple started laying the groundwork for these new games when it overhauled its service in April 2021. Apple Arcade added over 30 new games to its platform in one day, and reorganized its catalog with categories like Arcade Originals, App Store Greats and Timeless Classics. The refresh also opened the door for bigger, more console-like games like NBA 2K21 and NBA 2K22, as well as Fantasian from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, and The Pathless from Annapurna Interactive.
Apple also continues to polish its devices’ capabilities to handle mobile gaming, like the adoption of 5G and the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13. Alongside bigger names arriving on the service, as well as more games with multiplayer and social elements, 2022 could be a big year for Apple Arcade.
You can check out Apple Arcade’s extensive gaming catalog, with more games added almost every week, for $5 per month or $50 annually. If you’re interested in trying Apple Arcade, you can get a three-month free trial with the purchase of a new device, or one month for free if you’re signing up for the first time. Open the App Store and tap the little joystick icon at the bottom of the screen to launch the service.
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