Last year, we took a look at some of the best games available on Steam. Since then, we’ve had a fantastic year of releases for the platform, giving us enough reason to take a revised look at gaming on a Mac through Steam.
While some of last year’s entries remain undoubted staple components to any good Steam library, they’ve been joined by a host of fantastic games from both AAA and indie developers. Whether you’re a long time Steam user or planning on making a start with OS X gaming, here’s the must-have collection of games that you may well want to add to your wishlist for this summer’s sale.
Kicking off with a classic, Team Fortress 2 is a game that should be in every Steam user’s library. That’s not an exaggeration either, since the game is free-to-play so you can jump into it without paying a penny. While released all the way back in 2007, the game still has a incredibly strong community of players and continues to receive regular updates.
Team Fortress 2 sees players take on one of several unique classes and affiliate themselves with either the RED or BLU team, working collaboratively to win a round of varying objective in one of several game modes. With a focus shifted from traditional individual statistics like kill/death ratio, Team Fortress 2 creates an entertaining collaborative experience. The fairly-recent addition of a co-op mode now sees players have the option of teaming up against waves of NPC enemies in the hope of completing a Tour of Duty and attaining some unique loot.
The Walking Dead is one of the most critically-acclaimed releases of the last year, and is a fantastic adaptation of the universe laid out by the comic book franchise of the same name.
A primarily point-and-click game, The Walking Dead sees players follow the story of Lee, a convict and former university professor, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Encountering different characters and locations along the way, The Walking Dead tells a thoroughly engaging story where the decisions you make can have an influence on future events.
You can check out our recent review of the game where we awarded the game a full 10/10.
Another entry retaining its title from last year and a personal favourite of mine is Portal 2. Portal 2 sees players assume the role of Chell, a test subject in the abandoned Aperture Science research facility. Following on from the events of the first game (Portal, also available for OS X through Steam), players will navigate through the dilapidated facility in an attempt to escape, only for those plans to be upset by an awakening maniacal AI.
Portal 2 is an excellent game that runs fantastically on OS X, and in fact was the first title released simultaneously on both the Windows and OS X versions of Steam. It’s highly recommended you pick up a copy!
Don’t Starve is a hardcore indie survival game with one goal: don’t starve. Surviving is based on your ability to keep three metrics — hunger, sanity and health — in tact by reaping resources from a procedurally-generated world. You’ll encounter a unique set of beneficial and obstructive resources and mobs in the nearby environment that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to avoid death for another night.
Playable on OS X through both Steam and Chrome, Don’t Starve has garnered consistently positive reviews and it’s easy to see why. The developers are even continuing to update the game with new content and gameplay mechanics, so even after playing for a while, there’s still more to discover.
Half-Life 2 is an iconic game that was brought to the Mac with the initial release of Steam on OS X. In the game, players follow the stories of Gordon Freeman and the resistance, fighting off the invading Combine that have taken control of Earth following the events of the first game (Half-Life, also available on Steam for OS X). Half-LIfe 2 has an engaging storyline that’s built on by an unprecedented ability to simply let you take in the atmosphere of a post-apocolyptic world.
Half-Life 2, alone, is a fantastic experience and it’s continued with Half-Life 2: Episode One and Half-Life 2: Episode Two. As a package, this series should undoubtedly top your Steam library and have you furiously waiting for the next instalment.
Price: $9.99 (for Half-Life 2 only) / $19.99 (for The Orange Box, including Half-Life 2, Episode One and Episode Two with Team-Fortress 2 and Portal)
Borderlands 2 is the follow up to Borderlands, where the game’s new protagonists must kill Jack, the main antagonist of its predecessor, in the hopes of bringing peace back to Pandora. Launching late last year to wide critical acclaim, Steam offers access to everything you need to enjoy Borderlands 2, including the sale of the game’s DLC season and accompanying guide.
Prison Architect is a simulator where players can construct their own maximum security prison and ensure its smooth operation.
Currently in Alpha on Steam, Prison Architect throws players some empty land to build their prison, hopefully evolving from a small cell block into a bustling metropolis capable of handling any prisoner that needs the facility. You can choose to go down an intensive Alcatraz-esque route or throw your inmates a bone and let them enjoy a relaxed rehabilitation.
Widely regarded by fans as the best in series, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the earliest instalment of the Call of Duty franchise available on the Mac.
Call of Duty 4 sees players compete a campaign that kicks off the the Modern Warfare storyline (unfortunately only followed up by Windows-only Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3), and offers access to the incredibly popular multiplayer gameplay that sees players enter combat on a literal virtual battlefield.
Call of Duty: Black Ops is another, yet distinctly different, instalment of Call of Duty on the Mac. Forming a storyline that runs separately from Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Black Ops sports a campaign where players assume the role as an elite special forces member in a variety of conflicts, including part of the Cold War and Vietnam War. As is expected, Black Ops also features a popular multiplayer mode that affords the game its high replayability and is extendable with DLC packages.
A personal favourite game mode of mine in Black Ops is, however, Zombies, which sees players work co-operatively to battle of unlimited waves of the undead across a variety of maps (again extendable with DLC).
Unlike other games in this roundup, Call of Duty: Black Ops is sold separately as individual Mac and Windows editions. Make sure you’re buying the OS X version so you can actually play it on your Mac.
Left 4 Dead 2 is set in the zombie apocalypse and sees players in the role of one of four survivors aiming to take out the undead. Left 4 Dead 2 builds upon Left 4 Dead (also available on OS X through Steam) but with a variety of new infected, survivors and weaponry.
If you’re a fan of zombie/horror games, this one’s for you.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive builds upon the historic Counter-Strike franchise — a series that originated as a Half-Life mod — with new maps, weapons and characters. Fans of classic Counter-Strike will enjoy revamped versions of classic content, available as one package as part of Global Offensive.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sees players join a terrorist or counter-terroist team and then battle it out on a variety of objective-based game mode over a number of maps.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game where players take control of a civilization and lead them from primative beginners right into the space age by conducting diplomacy, entering war and discovering new technologies in the process.
A variety of DLC is available for Civilization V through Steam, including the soon-to-be-released Brave New World expansion which hits virtual shelves on July 12th.
Price: $29.99 (base game only)
Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are all available through Steam, offer an OS X-compatible perspective on the 3D Universe of the highly-popular and equally controversial franchise. With the 3D Universe considered the real breakthrough for the franchise and with Grand Theft Auto V due out later this year, the series available through Steam is a great way of starting out with the franchise.
Price: sold separately from $9.99 to $14.99 each
Who Said Macs Aren’t for Gaming?
Grab these games and you’ll have a fantastic Steam library with many hours of fun ahead. Of course, these are only a selection of the entire OS X catalogue available on Steam. If you’ve got any favourites not featured, be sure to share your recommendations in the comments below!