Lat­est Mac games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

Every month brings a new stack of Mac games and this month we found plenty worth check­ing out. Stoic Stu­dio’s long-awaited

The Ban­ner Saga 3 is the big pick this month, al­though you’ll want to play the ear­lier tac­ti­cal role-play­ers be­fore em­bark­ing on this in­tense fi­nale. Else­where, retro-styl­ized 2D ac­tion games La-Mu­lana 2 and Chasm of­fer dif­fer­ing takes on the ‘Metroid­va­nia’ genre, while GNOG and Sausage Sports Club are all about zany, colour­ful fun.

1. The Ban­ner Saga 3

Price: £18.74 from Steam (fave.co/2v2Oqui)

The Nordic-themed quest started four years ago, mix­ing turn-based tac­ti­cal com­bat with tricky de­ci­sion-mak­ing and stun­ning vi­su­als, and it fi­nally comes to a thrilling close in this tril­ogy-cap­per. The Ban­ner Saga 3 con­tin­ues the win­ning for­mula from past games, but con­cludes on a high note de­spite the bru­tal hap­pen­ings along the way. It’s tighter and faster-paced than pre­vi­ous en­tries, which could feel like a slog in mo­ments – ap­pro­pri­ately so, given their gru­elling car­a­van jour­ney. Stoic Stu­dio also eased off on the im­mense chal­lenge of the com­bat here, mak­ing it more en­gag­ing and en­ter­tain­ing, and the choice-driven story re­ally sat­is­fies.

2. La-Mu­lana 2

Price: £19.49 from Steam (fave.co/2AOS6Fl)

If you like your games old-school and es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing, then you might en­joy La-Mu­lana 2. It’s the se­quel to a cult-favourite in­die game from 2005, which de­liv­ered a sprawl­ing Metroid- and Castl­e­va­nia-in­spired ad­ven­ture with a crisp retro pixel aes­thetic. La-Mu­lana 2 doesn’t re­ally break from that ap­proach, but it makes some mod­ern tweaks along the way. You’ll take the role of young ar­chae­ol­o­gist Lu­misa Ko­sugi, who en­ters a dig site filled with enor­mous mon­sters that have started ter­ror­iz­ing the lo­cals. You’ll seek out those beasts while ex­plor­ing the 2D ter­rain, grad­u­ally un­lock­ing the full scale of the lo­ca­tion while solving puz­zles. Just don’t ex­pect an easy ad­ven­ture.

3. Chasm

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

Look­ing for a ‘Metroid­va­nia’ game with a dif­fer­ent kind of twist? If so, check out Chasm. It shares sim­i­lar­i­ties with La-Mu­lana 2 and much of the genre’s re­leases, from a retro 2D aes­thetic to an ex­pan­sive world of cav­erns to ex­plore, but it amps up the re­play value with pro­ce­du­rally-gen­er­ated maps. If you beat the game and want to ex­pe­ri­ence it again, the world won’t be quite the same the next time around. Key el­e­ments will still un­lock in the needed order, but the lay­out and map will change, pro­vid­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of chal­lenge. While that means the world de­sign isn’t as cu­rated as in some other games, it might be worth the trade-off for longevity – and the graph­ics and com­bat look great.

4. Heaven Will Be Mine

Price: £11.39 from Steam (fave.co/2MqyqsV)

Here’s some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent. Heaven Will Be Mine is a ‘queer science fic­tion mecha vis­ual novel’ about three girls in mech suits who refuse to re­turn home af­ter their drawn-out space battle is con­sid­ered a lost cause.

You can ex­pe­ri­ence the story from any of the three per­spec­tives and make de­ci­sions that di­rect the flow of the nar­ra­tive. Or, as the Steam list­ing de­scribes it, the ad­ven­ture is all about “joyrid­ing mecha, kiss­ing your en­e­mies, and fight­ing grav­ity’s pull”. It cer­tainly sounds like a one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence, and while it’s a fairly com­pact game, Steam user re­views have been ‘Very Pos­i­tive’ right out of the gate.

5. GNOG

Price: £7.19 from Steam (fave.co/2Mv5pfK)

You might have al­ready en­coun­tered GNOG on iOS, where the touch me­chan­ics work per­fectly with the tac­tile puz­zler, but this dream­like cu­rio def­i­nitely ben­e­fits from the largest screen you can put it on. GNOG is a puz­zle game, sure, but it’s re­ally more like a se­ries of in­ven­tive digital toys that you can freely tin­ker with. The sur­real con­trap­tions can be prod­ded, shaken, spun around, and un­locked to find new areas and hid­den se­crets. They’re puz­zle boxes, but ones meant to bring a smile to your face rather than fur­row your brow in frus­tra­tion. This one’s great for chil­dren, no doubt, but also for any­one who ap­pre­ci­ates a whim­si­cal and creative ex­pe­ri­ence.

6. Sausage Sports Club

Price: £10.99 from Steam (fave.co/2AKNC2u)

While not the only com­pelling Mac game to fea­ture ‘Sausage’ in the ti­tle, Sausage Sports Club can lay unique claim to be­ing the only one about floppy, tube-like car­toon an­i­mals play­ing var­i­ous sports against each other. It’s prob­a­bly best ex­pe­ri­enced as a lo­cal mul­ti­player game, as it sup­ports up to eight play­ers who wack­ily slam into each other and fum­ble for the ball.

But Sausage Sports Club also in­cludes a sin­gle­player Ad­ven­ture Mode, which fea­tures a sto­ry­line and var­i­ous chal­lenges – and you can play that in lo­cal co-op, too, with up to four play­ers. This loose, fun party game might be worth whip­ping out the next time you have pals over.

7. Clicker Heroes 2

Price: £23.79 from Steam (fave.co/2MuYx1X)

Clicker Heroes 2 is a simple game that car­ries on much of the ac­tion it­self, and han­dles ev­ery­thing with simple clicks of the mouse or touch­pad. That might sound ab­so­lutely dull, but when done well, the con­stant, speedy sense of pro­gres­sion can be weirdly ful­fill­ing and hard to step away from.

The orig­i­nal Clicker Heroes was widely played, but there’s a big difference this time around: Clicker Heroes 2 isn’t free to play. Still, there’s been a big evo­lu­tion in pre­sen­ta­tion, with gor­geous hand­drawn ter­rain and cool crea­tures to slay. That said, it’s also out in Early Ac­cess on Steam, so the game is cur­rently in­com­plete and po­ten­tially buggy.

8. For­saken Re­mas­tered

Price: £15.49 from Steam (fave.co/2Mv1LCc)

We just saw the re­lease of Over­load, a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to clas­sic 1990s gun­ship shooter, De­scent, and For­saken Re­mas­tered brings us some­thing quite sim­i­lar, but not ex­actly. See, the orig­i­nal For­saken was re­leased in 1998, just a cou­ple years af­ter De­scent, and it was built in the mold of that clas­sic. Now you can play For­saken on Mac with some mod­ern tweaks. Not too many, though: For­saken Re­mas­tered still looks like a 20-year-old game. En­hanced ef­fects and crisper graph­ics help though, and For­saken’s speedy 360-de­gree cor­ri­dor ship com­bat still looks pretty fun af­ter all this time. This could be a fun throw­back for online 16-player shoot-outs.

9. This is the Po­lice 2

Price: £13.99 from Steam (fave.co/2APBxsX)

The orig­i­nal This is the Po­lice of­fered a com­pelling premise: as an out­go­ing po­lice chief, could you keep the city from spi­ralling out of the con­trol while keep­ing your own cor­rup­tion un­der wraps? Now This is the Po­lice 2 takes things in a new di­rec­tion: you’re a sher­iff of a small town un­der ad­vise­ment from the afore­men­tioned re­tired chief, who is now a crim­i­nal on the run. The game is a po­lice depart­ment sim­u­la­tor, a tac­ti­cal shooter, and a nar­ra­tive game that’s packed with lots of lit­tle de­tails and com­plex­i­ties along the way.

10. Rifter

Price: £9.29 from Steam (fave.co/2OOofQl)

Games like La-Mu­lana 2 and Chasm em­pha­size ex­plo­ration and may take a mea­sured pace at times, but Rifter doesn’t have time to slow down. In fact, this is one of the fastest 2D plat­form-ac­tion games we’ve ever seen. Rifter finds your lit­tle neon hero fling­ing around big, bright, an­gu­lar stages with a mix of run­ning, smash­ing, and swing­ing from grap­pling hooks to keep you bound­ing ever ahead.

It looks chaotic, and as some re­views sug­gest, maybe too chaotic for its own good, but the daz­zling style might pull you in. For that mat­ter, a newlyadded ac­ces­si­ble mode takes a slight edge off of the ac­tion for a hope­fully smoother ex­pe­ri­ence.

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