Lat­est Mac games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

The on­go­ing Steam Sum­mer Sale means that it’s the ideal time to stock up on Mac games new and old. But if you’re just on the hunt for some­thing that’s to­tally new on Mac, then that’s what this monthly round-up is for. We scoured the re­lease lists to pick 10 of the most com­pelling Mac game de­buts from the past few weeks, in­clud­ing gun­ship shooter Over­load, in­tense indie ac­tion game Dead Cells, and the mys­te­ri­ous ad­ven­ture tale Un­fore­seen In­ci­dents.

1. Over­load

Price: £23.79 from Steam (fave.co/2LvUou3)

In­ter­play’s De­scent was a for­ma­tive early 3D game, al­beit a po­ten­tially stom­ach-churn­ing one: with six-de­grees-of-free­dom move­ment through tight cor­ri­dors, the gun­ship shooter could be nau­se­at­ing. Still, it has its die-hard sup­port­ers, and Over­load is billed as a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor that comes from some of De­scent’s orig­i­nal cre­ators.

In essence, the game sounds like a mod­ern­ized take on the same for­mula. You’ll zip through the tight, zero-grav­ity en­vi­ron­ments while blast­ing ro­bots and res­cu­ing sur­vivors, al­beit with a nice graph­i­cal up­grade over the mid-90s orig­i­nals.

2. Dead Cells

Price: £21.99 from Steam (fave.co/2LvD1cH)

Got a thing for old-school ac­tion games and don’t mind a huge chal­lenge? If so, then you might get a kick out of Dead Cells. This 2D gem is one part Metroid/Castl­e­va­nia, with sprawl­ing lev­els filled with se­crets and fresh abil­i­ties to un­earth, and one part ‘roguelite’, which means that when you per­ish you start over from scratch. But you’ll grad­u­ally im­prove and un­lock per­ma­nent up­grades to make fu­ture runs eas­ier, and the in­tense com­bat and stun­ning an­i­ma­tion should keep you glued through the frus­tra­tion.

3. Un­fore­seen In­ci­dents

Price: £15.49 from Steam (fave.co/2Lzf­dow)

Pair­ing a gor­geous hand-painted look with tra­di­tional ad­ven­ture game­play and an X-File­sesque mys­tery nar­ra­tive, Un­fore­seen In­ci­dents has picked up some se­ri­ous praise from fans of old-school point-and-click af­fairs. It’s set in a small town where handy­man Harper Pen­drell hears chat­ter of a se­ri­ous ill­ness sweep­ing through town, and then finds it star­ing him in the face when he en­coun­ters a vi­o­lently ill woman in the streets.

From there, the game un­folds a con­spir­acy tale and Harper has to solve his way through puz­zling sce­nar­ios to seek the truth. It’s also a meaty, self­con­tained quest, un­like a lot of the short-form, episodic games we’ve seen in re­cent years.

4. Suzy Cube

Price: £5.79 from Steam (fave.co/2LrDL2r)

We’ll prob­a­bly never see an of­fi­cial Su­per Mario game on Mac (un­less Nin­tendo shock­ingly shifts fo­cus away from its resur­gent con­sole busi­ness), but Suzy Cube looks like a very close ap­prox­i­ma­tion. North­ernBytes’ indie game is a clear trib­ute to Su­per Mario 3D Land from sev­eral years back, as it uses the same kind of in­ter­face and cam­era an­gles for its plat­form-leap­ing ac­tion.

It might be too close to com­fort for some, but Suzy Cube still seems like a lot of fun. You’ll guide the lit­tle hero­ine through more than 40 lev­els filled with en­e­mies, haz­ards, and chal­leng­ing ob­sta­cles, all while try­ing to re­cover Cas­tle Cu­be­ton’s lost trea­sure along the way.

5. Cul­tist Sim­u­la­tor

Price: £14.99 from Steam (fave.co/2L7J5w1)

Now here’s a game that’s un­like any­thing else you’ll find on Steam. Cul­tist Sim­u­la­tor finds you as a ‘seeker of un­holy mys­ter­ies’ in a Love­craftian 1920s set­ting, in which you can start your own re­li­gion, pull in un­wit­ting fol­low­ers, and, well, sum­mon ex­trater­res­trial deities. The game comes from Alexis Kennedy, best known for gems like Fallen Lon­don and Sun­less Sea, and it’s a card-based game with a twist. Rather than wield cards com­pet­i­tively, you’ll use and com­bine them to craft the sto­ry­line around your cult, com­mand dis­ci­ples to do un­speak­able acts, evade au­thor­i­ties, and pre­serve your legacy. It looks fas­ci­nat­ing if you’re will­ing to put in the time to ex­plore its nar­ra­tive depths.

6. Run­ners3

Price: £23.79 from Steam (fave.co/2JA0Tdt)

This se­quel to the pre­vi­ous Bit.Trip Run­ner games ex­pands upon the same theme of sprint­ing through ob­sta­cle-laden cour­ses and at­tempt­ing to sur­vive un­til the end. Each gaunt­let is backed by mu­sic that syncs up well with your leaps and ac­tions, which helps you get into a rhythm as you tackle each ul­tra-chal­leng­ing level.

It looks beau­ti­ful, and Run­ner3 seems to be as de­light­fully off-beat and imag­i­na­tive as past en­tries. Crit­i­cal re­views have been pretty strong, but Steam user re­views are more mixed, with some die-hard se­ries fans claim­ing that it’s too frus­trat­ing and of­fers less con­tent than past en­tries.

7. Ob­jects in Space

Price: £15.49 from Steam (fave.co/2O4Oxxw)

Ob­jects in Space prom­ises a vast open set­ting to ex­plore, but it’s a mostly 2D game played on vir­tual mon­i­tors in­side of your ship. No, it’s not your av­er­age open-world ex­pe­ri­ence, but Ob­jects in Space still looks plenty in­trigu­ing thanks to its mix of retro style and oc­ca­sional bits of back­ground 3D, as well as an em­pha­sis on stealth ex­plo­ration.

As a space­ship cap­tain, you’ll buy and sell cargo and take on bounty-hunt­ing con­tracts to stay afloat, and the de­vel­op­ers liken in­ter­ac­tions to Cold War sub­marines: you’ll have to be silent and stealthy to gain an edge on po­ten­tial foes.

8. Skipchaser

Price: £3.99 from Steam (fave.co/2JxOJlb)

In the world of Skipchaser, the tit­u­lar be­ings are a ge­net­i­cally-en­hanced force of trained as­sas­sins scat­tered through­out the uni­verse, ready to be ac­ti­vated with deadly mis­sions. You’ll con­trol one of them in this strik­ing lit­tle indie game, which pairs blast­ing ac­tion across 50 lev­els with a bit of sci-fi sto­ry­telling as you serve the mys­te­ri­ous M.O.T.H.E.R. cor­po­ra­tion. Along the way, you’ll en­counter heaps of en­e­mies to blast, and they’re pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated to de­liver a unique chal­lenge each time you play a level. You can also trick out your gun with plenty of cus­tom tweaks, plus the com­bat ben­e­fits from el­e­men­tal da­m­age types that can help you counter tough en­e­mies.

9. Pro­to­life

Price: £3.99 from Steam (fave.co/2syURUK)

There are some real tower de­fence gems on Mac, from Pix­elJunk Mon­sters Ul­ti­mate to King­dom Rush and Plants vs. Zom­bies, but Pro­to­life brings a com­pelling twist to the for­mula. Here, you’ll de­fend a space colony on the planet Ga­garin-5 from a sud­den in­fes­ta­tion of a rapidly-grow­ing or­gan­ism, which you’ll do by build­ing up de­fen­sive tow­ers us­ing a sin­gle, small robot. Rather than drop in pre­fab tow­ers, you’ll build them block by block. That of­fers more flex­i­bil­ity and cus­tomiza­tion, but also re­quires more tac­ti­cal thought as you con­tend with the un­com­mon threat. Pro­to­life in­cludes more than 30 lev­els, and the lo-fi pixel aes­thetic seems like a neat way to con­vey this in­trigu­ing space con­flict.

10. Ding Dong XL

Price: 79p from Steam (fave.co/2L7j­naH)

Nick­ervi­sion Stu­dios has re­leased seven Mac games to date, and they’re all 79p apiece and seem in­cred­i­bly sim­ple. Ding Dong XL, the lat­est of the bunch, also looks rather en­ter­tain­ing. It’s a oneb­ut­ton ar­cade-style game that finds you press­ing that but­ton to launch a ball, which bounds from the top to the bot­tom of the screen and then back again. What’s the point? Well, en­e­mies and powerups con­tinue to flow from side to side, and you’ll have to time your but­ton presses per­fectly to dodge de­struc­tion and sur­vive for as long as pos­si­ble.

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