Lat­est Mac games

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The Mac App Store didn’t get the same kind of pro­mo­tion that brought so many great in­die games to the iOS App Store this month, but that’s okay. At­mo­spheric puz­zler The Wit­ness leads the lat­est stack of re­leases, giv­ing you a vast is­land of co­nun­drums to solve, but there’s plenty more in the mix. For ex­am­ple, Thim­ble­weed Park brings a dash of old-school point-and-click ad­ven­tur­ing to Mac, while Out of the Park Base­ball 18 looks like an­other strate­gic home run, Day of In­famy de­liv­ers tense shootouts and Don’t Drop the Bass is a party game about both fish and in­stru­ments.

1. The Wit­ness

Price: £29.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/nL2k­ftn)

Did you play Braid? Re­leased on Mac in 2009, it was one of the first big sen­sa­tions of the in­die move­ment, de­liv­er­ing a puz­zle-plat­former take on the clas­sic Su­per Mario de­sign that folded in time travel and an emo­tional gut-punch. The Wit­ness is cre­ator Jonathan Blow’s long-awaited fol­low-up, and while it’s a dif­fer­ent kind of ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s like­wise highly im­pres­sive.

Set on a stun­ning, colour­ful is­land, The Wit­ness is a first-per­son puz­zle ad­ven­ture that finds you ex­plor­ing the ter­rain, ob­serv­ing clues from na­ture, and solv­ing puz­zles to over­come the ob­sta­cles in your path. It’s vast and chal­leng­ing, with 650-plus puz­zles and plenty of pa­tience needed along the way, but The Wit­ness has earned rave re­views from crit­ics and buy­ers alike.

2. Thim­ble­weed Park

Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/Lxkg­p3q)

Any­one with an itch for old-school point-and-click ad­ven­tures shouldn’t miss Thim­ble­weed Park. It’s a throw­back quest styled like clas­sic Lu­casArts genre en­tries like The Se­cret of Mon­key Is­land be­cause it’s de­signed by Ron Gil­bert and Gary Win­nick, two of the orig­i­nal cre­ators of that leg­endary game.

In look, feel, and in­ter­ac­tion, Thim­ble­weed Park re­ally seems to nail the homage with its mur­der mys­tery set in the odd­ball, ti­t­u­lar town in 1987. Af­ter a body is dis­cov­ered, you’ll con­trol five dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters as you un­ravel the tale, soak in the plen­ti­ful jokes, and solve what are sure to be some re­ally chal­leng­ing brain­teasers. And as you might imag­ine, you won’t need high-end hard­ware to run it.

3. Out of the Park Base­ball 2018

Price: £29.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/kqek32q)

The long-run­ning base­ball strat­egy se­ries is back for the 2017 sea­son with Out of the Park Base­ball 2018 – yes, 2018. As be­fore, it’s of­fi­cially li­censed by both Ma­jor League Base­ball and the Player’s As­so­ci­a­tion, mean­ing you’ll be able to man­age all of the big league teams and play­ers from ei­ther the gen­eral man­ager’s suite or from the dugout.

This isn’t a hands-on sim­u­la­tion: you’ll never swing the bat or throw or catch the ball. In­stead, you’ll nav­i­gate menus as you build and im­prove your team, as well as dic­tate on-the-field strat­egy. Out of the Park 2018 has up-to-date ros­ters, as well as in­ter­na­tional teams, an en­hanced 3D mode, and a Chal­lenge mode for com­pet­ing against your on­line friends.

4. 88 He­roes

Price: £12.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/krh6gwp)

We’ve all played games with one hero, or maybe a few, but 88 in to­tal? Well, that’s just crazy. And yet that’s ex­actly what you’ll find in 88 He­roes, a retro-styl­ized plat­form game that truly fea­tures that many playable char­ac­ters, spread across 88 dif­fer­ent rooms in enemy Dr. H8’s base, and each stage must be com­pleted within 88 sec­onds. Yes, re­ally.

Luck­ily, the char­ac­ters live up to the ab­surd premise. You’ll play as a ham­ster in a ball, a bomb-lay­ing chicken, a bas­ket­ball star, a snake that winds through the stage like in mo­bile clas­sic Snake, and plenty more ridicu­lous leads. I can’t help but ad­mire 88 He­roes for its ded­i­ca­tion to its shtick, but it also looks like a pretty fun old-school ac­tion game in the process.

5. Day of In­famy

Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/hoemp67)

Once upon a time, well be­fore its mod­ern-to-fu­tur­is­tic fix­a­tion, the first-per­son shooter genre was pri­mar­ily based in World War II. Day of In­famy re­mem­bers these days well: it’s ac­tu­ally an of­fi­cially-sanc­tioned homage to Day of De­feat, a clas­sic, World War II-themed mod for the orig­i­nal Half-Life from way back when.

Luck­ily, you don’t need any other games to play Day of In­famy, which splits its in­tense close-quar­ters ac­tion be­tween com­pet­i­tive and co­op­er­a­tive mul­ti­player sce­nar­ios. It spans 10 maps set across South­ern and Western Europe, and pro­vides an ar­ray of ob­jec­tives to com­plete, not to men­tion var­i­ous player classes to com­mand in bat­tle. Day It isn’t the most pol­ished­look­ing game, but Steam user re­views are pos­i­tive.

6. Cos­mic Ex­press

Price: £6.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/nL2k­ftn)

Draknek must have a knack for in­cred­i­bly adorable, in­cred­i­bly unique puz­zle games, be­cause af­ter mak­ing A Good Snow­man is Hard to Build – a tricky game about rolling up per­fect snow­men – it’s re­turned with Cos­mic Ex­press.

Also avail­able on iOS for half the price, Cos­mic Ex­press chal­lenges you to “plan the train route for the uni­verse’s most awk­ward space colony”. Each level gives you a com­pact area full of aliens and their des­ti­na­tions, and you’ll need to build a track that gets each crea­ture to its stop with­out over­crowd­ing or leav­ing any­one stranded. It seems pretty sim­ple at first, but the chal­lenge builds quickly and re­quires plenty of plan­ning to solve each co­nun­drum.

7. Kona

Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/h7pot7x)

A win­ter bliz­zard might not be the most unique of video game lo­ca­tions, but North­ern Canada in 1970? Yeah, that’s orig­i­nal. Kona uses that set­ting to tell its story, as you take the role of Carl Faubert, a well-known pri­vate de­tec­tive. Your job? Find out who’s been van­dal­iz­ing the wilder­ness manor of the rich W. Hamil­ton.

Stranded in Kona by a snow­storm, you’ll get to know the seem­ingly aban­doned ter­rain as you at­tempt to solve the mys­tery, al­though the game also twists into a bit of a sur­vival ex­pe­ri­ence amidst the quiet out­doors. Kona prom­ises a sur­real and at­mo­spheric quest in this frigid and iso­lat­ing ad­ven­ture.

8. Don’t Drop The Bass

Price: £3.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/n7wepcu)

Kona is soli­tary and un­nerv­ing, but Don’t Drop the Bass is so­cial and sim­ply hi­lar­i­ous. As the name sug­gests, you must avoid the grim fate of hav­ing a live bass – yes, the fish – fall on the ground. You’ll keep that from hap­pen­ing by con­tin­u­ing to bounce the fish up in the air us­ing wooden boards, with up to four lo­cal play­ers able to par­tic­i­pate in this on­go­ing strug­gle.

Ever bounced a bal­loon up in the air with your limbs and tried to keep it from hit­ting the ground? It’s just like that, al­beit now in video game form with cu­ri­ous powerups, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments (yes, that bass too), and vary­ing play modes for same-screen fun. If you like your games de­light­fully weird, then Don’t Drop the Bass should fit the bill per­fectly.

9. For The King

Price: £10.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/m7hahbr)

Blend­ing turn-based role-play­ing bat­tles with strate­gic ac­tion, For the King has a lot of heart and charm. When the ti­t­u­lar leader falls and the king­dom of Fahrul erupts into an­ar­chy, the queen asks the cit­i­zens to help re­store or­der and fight against im­pend­ing threats.

The blend of RPG and strat­egy el­e­ments comes into play in the world, where you may have to de­cide whether to keep your party in­tact or split up to ex­plore more ground – a de­ci­sion that could come back to haunt you. Sur­vival el­e­ments look to add some chal­lenge, plus you can play co­op­er­a­tively with one or two other play­ers. For the King is cur­rently in Early Ac­cess on Steam, which means it’s still un­fin­ished and may lack pol­ish.

10. Cos­sacks 3

Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/n4qkavt)

The orig­i­nal Cos­sacks: Euro­pean Wars might be one of those games that real-time strat­egy fans pined for back when, but the 2000 orig­i­nal and its 2005 se­quel never made it over to Mac. Luck­ily, the new en­try, Cos­sacks 3, has just made the leap to macOS af­ter last year’s PC de­but.

Cos­sacks 3 is ac­tu­ally a re­make of the orig­i­nal game, so you’ll get a fresher take on the orig­i­nal ex­pe­ri­ence… af­ter 17 years of wait­ing. You’ll play as one of 16 na­tions in 17th and 18th cen­tury Europe, with gar­gan­tuan bat­tles fea­tur­ing up­wards of 32,000 sol­diers at once. Through a blend of build­ing, re­search, and com­bat skill, you’ll at­tempt to prove your supremacy across five solo cam­paigns and var­i­ous mul­ti­player maps.

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