Latest Mac games
Andrew Hayward looks at the best new releases
The start of any year is always a great time for Mac games and 2017 is no exception. Over the following pages we round up the most enticing new releases, including top tactical offering Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, while zombie romp Dying Light and platformer N++ both warrant serious attention.
1. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Price: £34.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/hso42qm)
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a tactical stealth experience set in the Edo period in Japan, letting you guide five skilled assassins as you serve the Shogun to defeat resistance fighters across the land. And you’ll command multiple heroes at once in many cases, using their differing abilities to work together to defeat the immense enemy forces.
What makes Shadow Tactics so intriguing is the overhead perspective – unique for a stealth-action experience – and the measured pace, as you’ll need to consider each move to find success in these tense battles. Steam user reviews are absolutely glowing, with players calling it one of the best games of 2016 and a tribute to the old-school Commandos military tactics series, plus there’s a free demo available if you’re curious.
Price: £39.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/oj9o978)
Dying Light is a game worth knowing if the idea of bashing through, or leaping over, loads of zombies excites you. The core game finds you trying to survive in an open city full of disease-packing attackers, with the added ability of parkour skills to vault up walls and across rooftops. Of course, you can also use and craft weapons if you prefer to dispatch them violently instead.
This complete package also comes with The Following expansion, which drops a sequel-sized chunk of bonus content into the game. Personal acrobatics are swapped for fun-filled dirt buggies amidst the massive new setting, and it makes the overall experience impressively vast. All told, it’s a fun and exciting zombie romp.
Price: £10.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/gto8Lct)
The makers of N++ say they’ve spent the past 12 years “perfecting the platformer”, and given the overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam and 90 score on Metacritic, it seems a fair number of people agree with them. N++ doesn’t have the visual punch of Super Mario or Rayman, but it features some of the toughest and most rewarding platform-hopping action you’ve ever seen.
And loads of it: N++ includes 2,360 different handmade levels to conquer, as you’ll use your momentum to thrust a tiny ninja through mazes filled with murderous robots and other hazards. N began life as a Flash game and then became N+ on consoles, but N++ is the grandest realization of the concept to date – and an ‘Ultimate Edition’ update will nearly double the content in early 2017.
Price: £7.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/z36wLbc)
If you don’t have a current smartphone or tablet, or simply prefer not to play games on touch devices, then you probably missed out on Lara Croft Go, one of the best mobile adaptations of a classic game franchise to date. Like Hitman Go before it, this smart puzzler finds the iconic Tomb Raider heroine trying to solve her way through a series of environmental puzzles.
While the play-at-your-own-pace design makes a lot of sense for smaller screens and on-thego attention spans, now you can play it on Mac. It’s a great experience on any platform: this is a challenging, yet approachable puzzle game, not to mention a spin-off that maintains the essence of the action/adventure source material. And it’s a really attractive little game, to boot.
Price: £3.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/z6q4539)
Five Nights at Freddy’s built an effective survival horror experience around cute and cuddly creatures, and now Tattletail is here to follow in its footsteps. This compact creeper is designed around the premise of a fake talking plush toy sensation from the late 1990s, and there’s a rumour about a recalled Mama Tattletail with a protective urge and a thirst for blood.
To keep Mama at bay, you’ll need to satisfy your strange Tattletail toy’s demands to keep him silent, which means feeding and recharging him – as well as keeping yourself quiet as you wander through your dark home. Like FNAF, the silly starting point here gives way to surprise scares, and the handful of early Steam reviews are all pretty positive so far.
Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/h7wLmqa)
Brexit has seemingly been bad news all around in the real world, and in Her Majesty’s SPIFFING, the Queen of England has responded by dissolving Parliament, restoring her rule, and finding a new way to build power: by sending a hero into space to claim a Galactic British Empire. And that hero is you, Captain Frank Lee English, along with your companion, Aled.
This point-and-click adventure about the Special Planetary Investigative Force for Inhabiting New Galaxies (ahem, SPIFFING) finds you solving puzzles in space, interacting with an array of interesting characters, and soaking in plenty of strongly British humour. It’s supposed to be fairly short, only lasting a few hours in total, but it seems to make a strong impact while it lasts.
Price: £10.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/gp8skeo)
It’s a simple request – that is, ‘don’t touch anything’ – but when you see one big, red button on a control panel in front of you, the temptation to press it is very real indeed. And in Please Don’t Touch Anything 3D, you actually do need to touch that button, which then brings up other buttons, knobs, switches, and screens, all of which also need to be used in the correct sequence.
Be careful: pressing the wrong button can lead to a nuclear apocalypse or other grim results, but that’s all part of the trial-and-error, puzzle-solving fun here. It’s a brain-twisting experience, and one that really takes advantage of the 3D environment all around you following the original 2D rendition.
Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/zzntwon)
If you find speedy racing games to be a bit too intense or stressful, then Drive!Drive!Drive! may not be for you. Why? Because it’s three racing games in one: or rather, it tosses you into three simultaneous races that you’ll need to manage by constantly switching from one track to the next. Yes, that is a totally crazy concept.
You’ll only actively control a car in one of the races at a time, with the AI steering your cars in the other, but the AI driving isn’t great, so you’ll want to switch frequently to try and nudge ahead on all three tracks and secure the overall victory. It’s as much of a management game as a racer, although with wild, rollercoaster-esque courses, Drive!Drive!Drive! is never tedious.
Price: £1.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/j9z8aLz)
Snowball! also has an exclamation point in its name, but it’s actually a whole lot more chill than the last game on this list. This is a fairly low-key spin on pinball, but instead of playing within the confines of a traditional table, you’ll smack a rolling, humansized snowball around a cartoonish version of a homemade mountain course.
It’s extremely charming at a glance, looking like the kind of gag that some friends would make at a ski resort, and the Super Nintendo-esque, 16-bit aesthetic only adds to the appeal. Snowball! seems a bit lightweight on the surface, but consider two things here: it’s only £1.99 on Mac, plus there are plenty of secret areas to discover if you play the ‘table’ the right way.
Price: £9.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/jp4js35)
Fans of old-school adventure games will get a kick out of The Little Acre. It starts in Ireland in the 1950s, as Aiden seeks his missing father and ends up in a strange fantasy land, so Aiden’s own daughter Lily goes off in search of him.
You’ll play as both Aiden and Lily in this pointand-click affair, and between the hand-drawn look and voice acting, The Little Acre really does emulate the classic genre experiences in look and feel. Steam user reviews are more positive than critics, the latter of which claim that it’s too short and easy to really explore its characters and premise, but it looks like it could be a solid pick for anyone seeking something warm-hearted.