Lat­est Mac games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

Macworld - - Contents -

Itch­ing for some­thing new to play on your Mac? Worry not, be­cause we’ve an­other nice stack of new game re­leases. XCOM 2 fans will def­i­nitely want to check out the huge War of the Cho­sen ex­pan­sion, plus new in­die games SteamWorld Dig 2 and Hiveswap: Act 1 are both in­trigu­ing, while di­nosaur-hunt­ing sur­vival hit ARK: Sur­vival Evolved has fi­nally ex­ited Steam Early Ac­cess.

1. XCOM 2: War of the Cho­sen Price: £34.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/y8et8o4o)

Did you fin­ish last year’s epic XCOM 2 and still feel like you wanted even more from the game? Well, now’s you chance to dig back in thanks to the War of the Cho­sen ex­pan­sion, which adds nearly a full game’s worth of fresh con­tent to the ex­pe­ri­ence. You will need XCOM 2 to run it, but you’ll want to start with the main game any­way. War of the Cho­sen in­tro­duces the tit­u­lar new en­emy, The Cho­sen. You’ll also have to fight against the Spec­tre, an alien race that can cre­ate dark copy­cat ver­sions of your XCOM sol­diers. Oth­er­wise, the core tac­ti­cal strat­egy game­play re­mains in­tact, which is a good thing for se­ries fans. Keep fight­ing the good fight against these ex­trater­res­trial in­vaders.

2. SteamWorld Dig 2 Price: £14.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/yakwtv5w)

We had a lot of fun with the XCOM-in­spired SteamWorld Heist, but Im­age and Form’s steam­punk-es­que fran­chise charts a dif­fer­ent path in SteamWorld Dig 2 – and it’s straight down be­low the sur­face. Like the orig­i­nal Dig, this 2D ac­tion game finds you ex­plor­ing un­der­ground as an ad­ven­tur­ous robot, as you mine for min­er­als and bat­tle the threats found be­neath.

SteamWorld Dig 2 takes its cues from clas­sics like Su­per Metroid and Castl­e­va­nia, as you un­lock new abil­i­ties that ex­pand out the world and deepen the ad­ven­ture. Press re­views have been even stronger than the orig­i­nal, con­tin­u­ing this in­die se­ries’ im­pres­sive run over the last few years.

3. ARK: Sur­vival Evolved Price: £49.99 from (tinyurl.com/k4­fuq4s)

Af­ter more than two years of Early Ac­cess avail­abil­ity, ARK: Sur­vival Evolved has fi­nally been re­leased as a full game. How­ever, be­ing a preview ver­sion didn’t stop mil­lions of peo­ple from buy­ing this large-scale sur­vival game, which finds you bat­tling and/or tam­ing more than 100 dif­fer­ent beasts within vast open ar­eas.

The is­land set­ting seems packed with things to do, in­clud­ing craft­ing, build­ing struc­tures, farm­ing, and join­ing tribes, but it also seems like it’s loaded with bugs – and not the fly­ing kind. Steam re­views have been sharply di­vided since the game left Early Ac­cess, and even a player who logged 8,500 hours of game­play doesn’t rec­om­mend buy­ing it.

4. Hiveswap: Act 1 Price: £5.59 from Steam (tinyurl.com/y7x9tt23)

Hiveswap is based on a pop­u­lar web comic (called Homes­tuck) . But if you don’t know about ei­ther of those things, that’s okay: as the Steam list­ing sug­gests, “This game is set in 1994! Homes­tuck hasn’t even been in­vented yet!”

Fans will get the most out of this first episode of the spin-off game, which has rave re­views from play­ers so far, al­though it’s de­signed for any­one who en­joyed 1990s-era point-and-click ad­ven­ture games. As a young girl named Joey Claire, you’ll find your­self kid­napped by aliens and trans­ported to an un­fa­mil­iar world, with slick hand-drawn vi­su­als telling the story all the while. It’s the first of four episodes, with the oth­ers to fol­low at some point.

5. Sun­less Skies Price: £18.99 from (tinyurl.com/yaq66kjo)

Sun­less Sea earned some glow­ing re­views a cou­ple years back for its strong lit­er­ary twist on role-play­ing, as you ex­plored the wa­ters around Vic­to­rian-era Lon­don and soaked in the ex­ten­sive, oft-beau­ti­ful writ­ing. Now, se­quel Sun­less Skies is here, tak­ing the same con­cept up to the stars.

Com­mand­ing a ‘space­far­ing lo­co­mo­tive’, you’ll ex­plore the heav­ens as you carry pas­sen­gers and dis­cover all sorts of sto­ries be­tween far-off ports. How­ever, Sun­less Skies is in Early Ac­cess on Steam right now, and it sounds like the early ver­sion is light on con­tent and still un­re­fined. If you’re a su­per fan, how­ever, you can get started now and help shape its fu­ture with your feed­back.

6. Niche Price: £13.59 from Steam (tinyurl.com/y8g33ax7)

It’s sur­vival of the fittest out in the wild, but what if you’re the one shap­ing the ge­netic code that helps some crea­ture try to tough it out? That’s the premise at play in Niche, an in­trigu­ing game that re­cently left Steam Early Ac­cess. It’s a turn-based strat­egy game with sim­u­la­tion el­e­ments, and it lets you breed your own species. What makes Niche unique is that it’s based in real ge­net­ics, and you can ma­nip­u­late ge­netic code in the game (100+ genes) to help adapt and cus­tom­ize your species. The worlds and an­i­mals are all pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated, so there’s seem­ingly end­less re­playa­bil­ity, and the game sounds like a de­scen­dent of sorts of EA’s mem­o­rable Spore.

7. Tyranny – Bas­tard’s Wound Price: £10.99 from (tinyurl.com/y6vyf2g8)

Tyranny was one of last year’s stand­out role-play­ing games, and now the stu­dio is back with Bas­tard’s Wound, an add-on ex­pan­sion that re­quires the base game. It opens up a new area of the world and still al­lows plenty of player choice along the way, plus this ex­pan­sion has a trio of com­pan­ion quests to flesh out var­i­ous char­ac­ter sto­ries.

Our sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion PCWorld played Bas­tard’s Wound and didn’t find it to be a par­tic­u­larly es­sen­tial ad­di­tion. That’s in part be­cause you can only get the full ex­pe­ri­ence if you’re in Act II of the game, or still have a save from back then – oth­er­wise, if you’ve al­ready fin­ished the main game, you’re left high and dry.

8. Swim Out Price: £4.79 from Steam (tinyurl.com/yaf85qpm)

Es­sen­tially, Swim Out is a turn-based puz­zle game set in a pub­lic swim­ming pool, filled with the kinds of the­mat­i­cally ac­cu­rate an­noy­ances you might ex­pect: leap­ing kids, peo­ple on gi­ant in­flat­able rafts, and other swim­mers.

Your goal is to make it to the exit lad­der with­out cross­ing any­one else’s path, and to do that, you’ll need to be strate­gic with your move­ments – and use some crafty tricks along the way, like toss­ing beach balls to stun fel­low swim­mers. The end re­sult feels weirdly like Lara Croft Go, and don’t worry, you’re no less badass in a one-piece and a swim cap.

9. Dun­geons & Dragons: Lords of Wa­ter­deep Price: £10.99 from (tinyurl.com/ycaazbb7)

Dun­geons & Dragons: Lords of Wa­ter­deep is a much-loved adap­ta­tion of the leg­endary game, and now the dig­i­tal adap­ta­tion of the board game is avail­able on Mac. Play­dek’s com­puter ren­di­tion puts the full board game ex­pe­ri­ence on your screen, let­ting you play on­line with up to four other play­ers in ei­ther real-time or asyn­chro­nous bat­tles. Each player takes the role of one of the tit­u­lar lords, and you’ll aim to amass in­flu­ence in the city by plac­ing agents, col­lect­ing gold, and send­ing your min­ions out on mis­sions. The ear­lier iOS ver­sion was well re­ceived, and it seems like this Mac ver­sion brings ev­ery­thing to larger screens with­out los­ing the spirit of the phys­i­cal ver­sion.

10. Mor­phite Price: £18.99 from Steam (tinyurl.com/ybfg­m77y)

Mor­phite looks like an off-brand ver­sion of No Man’s Sky, a hugely-hyped PC and PlaySta­tion 4 game from last year. The sim­i­lar­i­ties ex­tend from the graph­i­cal look to the loose, open-ended ap­proach, but at least Mor­phite doesn’t seem to have launched with ma­jor is­sues. Po­ten­tial lack of orig­i­nal­ity aside, the game looks plenty en­tic­ing. It’s a space game in which you’ll de­scend upon pro­ce­du­rally-gen­er­ated plan­ets and see what’s what, gath­er­ing re­sources and data all the while and po­ten­tially blast­ing some bad­dies. It’s like a low-key first-per­son shooter, with less em­pha­sis on in­tense ac­tion and more on ex­plor­ing at your own pace.

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