Lat­est Mac games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at the best new re­leases

Macworld - - Contents -

Au­tumn is here, which could mean less fun in the sun, and more fun in front of your Mac. Luck­ily, there’s al­ways some­thing new to play in the world of Mac gam­ing, and we’ve got a fresh batch of re­cent re­leases worth check­ing out.

Thrilling ac­tion-ad­ven­ture game Shadow Com­plex Re­mas­tered and space strat­egy af­fair Master of Orion: Con­quer the Stars are per­haps the big­gest Mac re­leases, but don’t over­look indie gems like Reigns and Pan-Pan in the bunch.

1. Shadow Com­plex Re­mas­tered

We’re ac­cus­tomed to wait­ing for some games to hit the Mac, but re­ally, seven years is a long time. Still, Shadow Com­plex Re­mas­tered (£10.99 from the Mac App Store) was thank­fully worth the wait, as it de­liv­ers the best mod­ern take on Nin­tendo’s clas­sic Su­per Metroid-style 2D ad­ven­ture for­mula – and this brand new edi­tion adds a bit more pol­ish over the 2009 Xbox 360 orig­i­nal.

Shadow Com­plex sees you take con­trol of Ja­son, a man who stum­bles upon a top-se­cret fa­cil­ity while back­pack­ing and uses its ad­vanced tech to try and re­cover his kid­napped girl­friend – and save the United States, as well. As the quest un­folds, you’ll unlock more and more of the fa­cil­ity while also gain­ing ex­cit­ing new suit up­grades and abil­i­ties, em­pow­er­ing you while mak­ing the game even tenser and more fun. It’s a fan­tas­tic game, even sev­eral years later.

2. Master of Orion: Con­quer the Stars

Mi­croProse’s orig­i­nal Master of Orion is one of the old leg­ends in the PC strat­egy game space, as the 1993 clas­sic was con­sid­ered the new gold stan­dard for the 4X genre at the time. A cou­ple of se­quels fol­lowed, but this new en­try – pub­lished by World of Tanks maker Wargam­ing – is the first re­lease in 13 years.

Rather than toss out the old tem­plate, Master of Orion: Con­quer the Stars (£22.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/nr7e5rn) starts with the same 10 clas­sic alien races from the orig­i­nal and goes from there, let­ting you ex­plore dozens of so­lar sys­tems and re­search more than 75 tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments as you bat­tle for the galaxy in turn-based skir­mishes. Crit­i­cal re­views widely con­sider it a sim­pler en­try in the 4X strat­egy genre than some con­tem­po­raries, how­ever, so die-hards might find less sat­is­fac­tion than cu­ri­ous new­com­ers.

3. Su­per Time Force Ul­tra

Look­ing for a new-school take on old-school runand-gun ac­tion? Su­per Time Force (£10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/jen5kqw) de­liv­ers just that, as this ab­so­lutely chaotic side-scrolling shooter finds you nav­i­gat­ing bul­let-drenched, retro-styl­ized land­scapes as a fu­tur­is­tic war­rior. You’ll take down loads of foes across six dif­fer­ent eras in time, and you’ll not only blast through time but also con­trol it.

Thanks to the time trav­el­ling me­chanic, you can rewind time and pop back into the game at any point, only you’ll then have mul­ti­ple ver­sions of you shoot­ing at the same time. It’s wild and also ex­tremely silly and over-the-top, and the con­sole and PC ver­sions were pretty well-re­garded when re­leased back in 2014. It’s over­due on Mac, cer­tainly, but fans of fren­zied 8-bit ac­tion games shouldn’t miss it.

4. Reigns

Reigns (£1.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/ze­jL3fp) has been a re­cent favourite on iPhone, but if you’d rather play on your com­puter, then it’s both the same price and same ex­pe­ri­ence there. In short, Reigns is a monar­chy sim­u­la­tion in which you’re a newly-ap­pointed king who must try to main­tain or­der in the land. How­ever, it’s not a stuffy, drawn-out ex­pe­ri­ence.

In­stead, each de­ci­sion comes up as a card with a yes or no de­ci­sion to make. Should we at­tack the land to the north? Do we build a dam? Should we give the church more power? Each call af­fects all of the dif­fer­ent power struc­tures in the land, and your down­fall will come swiftly if you don’t bal­ance all of those de­mands. It’s su­per funny and re­ally smartly de­signed, too, and games last min­utes rather than hours.

5. Worms W.M.D.

Af­ter more than two decades, Team17’s vaunted ar­tillery com­bat se­ries re­mains one of the rare rea­sons that hear­ing “You’ve got Worms” is ac­tu­ally a pos­i­tive. Well, at least that seems to be the case with this new en­try. The se­ries has bounced be­tween 2D and 3D en­tries over the years, some­times of vary­ing qual­ity, but Worms W.M.D (£19.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/jmax3ot) is be­ing hailed as a re­turn to form.

It cap­tures the game­play de­sign of 1999’s still­cel­e­brated Worms Armageddon, al­beit with mod­ern tweaks and flour­ishes, and the goal is still to use your mil­i­tar­ily-equipped an­nelids to dom­i­nate the en­emy forces – whether play­ing solo or in lo­cal or on­line mul­ti­player modes. So yes, if you love Worms, go ahead and bug out over W.M.D.

6. Met­rico+

Charts and graphs might not seem like the most thrilling things in life, but they pro­vide the ba­sis of this in­ven­tive puz­zle-plat­form game. Met­rico+ (£10.59 from Steam at tinyurl.com/hy­wqugh) is an en­hanced ver­sion of an indie game from the PlaySta­tion Vita hand­held, and it chal­lenges your hero to nav­i­gate chal­leng­ing ter­rain that re­acts to your own move­ments and in­ter­ac­tions.

It’s not just a mat­ter of get­ting from one place to the next, Su­per Mario-style, as the bars, lines, fig­ures, and other geo­met­ric shapes change based on your var­i­ous ac­tions. You’ll not only need to phys­i­cally move through the level but fig­ure out how to do that based on the shift­ing en­vi­ron­ment and your abil­i­ties. Met­rico+ might hurt your brain a lit­tle, but hope­fully only in a very good way.

7. Pan-Pan

Pan-Pan (£9.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/h4­toova) is a beau­ti­ful lit­tle indie ad­ven­ture that drops you into large, open en­vi­ron­ments and chal­lenges you to solve their rid­dles. You’ll need to re­main ob­ser­vant as you look for items and so­lu­tions, and see how some things in the world af­fect oth­ers.

Puz­zle-solv­ing is the pri­mary ob­jec­tive in PanPan, but this seems like a world you’d want to just wan­der around in, soak­ing in the at­trac­tive low­poly­gon sights and meet­ing its myr­iad char­ac­ters. It al­most re­minds me a bit of iOS smash Mon­u­ment Val­ley in tone and look. Pan-Pan is rel­a­tively com­pact, only of­fer­ing about a few hours of chal­lenges to over­come, but you’ll prob­a­bly want to spend ex­tra time ex­plor­ing and en­joy­ing the bright at­mos­phere.

8. Mon­sters and Mon­o­cles

From the mak­ers of early iOS favourite Ve­locispi­der comes Mon­sters and Mon­o­cles (£10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/z65kL32). It’s a chaotic, top-down shooter in which up to four play­ers (lo­cal or on­line) can work to­gether to blast through wild waves of foes – all with a car­toon­ish, Vic­to­rian steam­punk aes­thetic to boot.

It’s sim­i­lar in ap­proach to great games like Nu­clear Throne and En­ter the Gun­geon, and uses pro­ce­du­rally-gen­er­ated lev­els and en­emy batches so there’s al­ways some­thing new to play. Even though Early Ac­cess means it’s not fi­nal and will con­tinue to evolve and ex­pand, Steam user re­views are largely pos­i­tive and say it’s pretty pol­ished for a pre-re­lease ex­pe­ri­ence.

9. The Fi­nal Sta­tion

Haven’t tired of post-apoc­a­lyp­tic games just yet? If so, then check out The Fi­nal Sta­tion (£10.99 from Steam at tinyurl.com/zgne­jtk). Part sim­u­la­tion and part com­bat game, The Fi­nal Sta­tion tasks you with com­mand­ing a train through a world over­run with vi­o­lent, in­fected hu­mans, which means it’s up to you to pro­tect your pas­sen­gers and en­sure ev­ery­one’s trip doesn’t end early… or mess­ily.

As the war­rior-con­duc­tor in ques­tion, you’ll rely on lim­ited re­sources to keep the train safe and mov­ing, and blast through the sickly swarms when you do have to stop. Craft­ing is es­sen­tial, as is scav­eng­ing for sup­plies when pos­si­ble, and you’ll en­counter some big show­downs at sta­tions across the five-chap­ter jour­ney. Hope you can make it to the end in one (healthy) piece.

10. Snow Horse

Stay­ing atop a fast-mov­ing snow­board as a horse would prob­a­bly be both very chal­leng­ing and in­cred­i­bly, de­light­fully silly, so it’s a good thing that Snow Horse (£4.79 from Steam at tinyurl.com/ jLh­fjjt) de­liv­ers on both counts. This od­dball indie game puts you in that ex­act sce­nario, task­ing you with keep­ing the steed up­right on the board as he makes his way through the pow­der-packed ter­rain.

Each at­tempt lasts for as long as you can keep the horse from crash­ing, and as an ex­treme sports game, you can nat­u­rally pull off gnarly flips and tricks, grind on rails, and vault well up into the sky to reach sus­pended plat­forms, so long as the horse doesn’t land on the wrong side. Snow Horse is goofy, of course, but it’s also pretty fun (and also on iOS for just £1.49).

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