The Mac App Store provides a great platform for game developers to reach customers that might not be familiar with paying for games frequently. It has a bit of everything – some casual games that would belong better on an iOS device, and some other games that are targeted more towards the “hardcore gamer” Mac crowd.
Whichever camp you fall into, I hope you’ll enjoy today’s roundup of our favourite selections in each category. These fun and addictive games are the perfect way to kill a little time at work, or delve into a full-on weekend gaming session!
Part 1: Time Wasters
Do you have some time to waste in the office? Want to play a quick and simple, yet completely engaging game? These are some of our favourite options:
You might know Angry Birds as the game that blew up last year on the iPhone. It grew quickly and it has remained as the #1 paid app on the iOS App Store for a while now. Now, it has versions of the game for the Mac, the PS3, the PSP, and Android.
The mechanics of the game are simple: you have to slingshot screaming angry birds towards a bunch of green pigs that have stolen your eggs! You only have limited birds, and the pigs are covered with wood bars and all sorts of materials, so it’s not an easy task…
Angry Birds is probably the most addictive game that I’ve played on my iPad, and the Mac version sure seems to be very much like that. In fact, it’s the exact same game that you enjoyed on the iPhone version, so if you have one of those, you might want to give the desktop version a miss. After all, the Mac version is $5 while the iPhone one is $1.
Another port from the iOS, Flight Control was one of the most popular games on the iPhone a few years ago. It is a simple game where you have to guide incoming planes to their landing spot, without having them crash. If two planes collide, it’s game over.
The game is very simple to learn, and fun for a while. It’s a great one to fire up quickly and try to beat your own records for a few minutes. Again, just like Angry Birds, this is very much the same as the iPhone version, so if you already have it there, this might not be worth it for you. This one is also $5.
Pinball HD is yet another port from the iOS platform, but this one actually plays better on the Mac than it does on the iPhone or iPad. It is a very simple Pinball game, but it has 3 maps, 3D graphics, and a pretty cool physics engine.
Remember how fun the Windows XP Pinball game used to be? Well, this one is much better than that — I find it to be the ultimate game to procrastinate to.
It’s a tremendous amount of fun, and one of the cheaper games available on the Mac App Store at $3. The only thing it needs is a high score list, and that is said to be coming in an update.
Super Mega Worm is a super-fun game that has seen moderate commercial success on the iOS platforms recently. You control a worm that has to kill all humans, because, you know, they messed with Mother Earth! It’s retro looking, with pixels and all, and has a great feeling to it.
The complete bizarre concept is what makes it so fun. It’s ridiculous, really. Seeing little pixeled humans run for their lives while you control a giant worm that wants to eat them is somewhat satisfying and it will surely keep you occupied for a while. It’s also a steal at $3.
Part 2: Hardcore Games
Are you looking for something more in-depth and a little more difficult to master? These games are more complete, and suitable for experienced and/or intrepid gamers:
Bioshock is a first person shooter that was released back in 2007 to wide commercial and critical success. It has had a sequel come out recently, too. This game brings you back to an (apparently) empty underwater city, and it is set in an alternate reality in the ’60s.
Most of the game’s success is due to the mystery behind the story, and the feeling that the setting of the game evoques. The world that the developer Irrational Games built in this game is really a piece of art.
I played this game back when it came out for the PS3, and I wasn’t very much into it, but I can understand why a lot of people liked it. You can really get lost in the story, as it is very good and immersive. This one, like most “hardcore games”, comes with a price tag of $40.
Borderlands was released a couple of years ago to great acclaim on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Today, we can play this addictive game on the Mac. It is a first-person shooter, role-playing game with a great leveling system. The maps are huge, the quests are long and plentiful, and there are so many guns that you’ll never tire of finding new ones.
One of the great features of Borderlands is its co-op online functionality. Throughout the game, you can join another 3 friends or random people online to complete the quests together. Each one can get their own level ups and guns and they can keep those once they get done with the online session.
If you haven’t picked this up, I would highly suggest you get it now and play it with friends, since it is infinitely more fun if you do so. You can get the Game of the Year edition, which includes four add-on packs, for $50.
Call of Duty 4 has been called “one of the best games, ever”. When it came out back in 2007, it revolutionized the shooter genre, and most shooters that have come out after it have taken elements from this game. It is a first person shooter, and it has a great multiplayer factor. In fact, the best part about the game is the multiplayer component.
I haven’t played it recently, so it might seem dated if you try to play it now, but back when it came out it was pretty amazing. Since it came out it has had 3 follow-ups (only one of them direct, that being Modern Warfare 2), and each one of them has managed to improve on what the last game has done.
I’d say, if you don’t have a console and have never played any of the newer Call of Duty games, you should get this for your Mac. There will be at least a couple months where you will only think about this game. You can pick it up for $50.
Braid is in-between the hardcore games and the arcade classics. It is complex and it requires a lot of thinking and practice, but it’s also hard to think of it as a full on game. I first heard about it when it came out on the Arcade games of the 360, but I didn’t get to play it until it was released for the Mac. It is a platformer game, but it has a twist to it. You can manipulate time.
Throughout the game you have to get a bunch of puzzle pieces that are spread out over the levels and to do so you have to use ingenius techniques using your ability to go back in time, which brings a sort of trial-and-error aspect to the game. It’s short, but it’s also cheap ($5) and lots of fun.
Gaming on the Mac has always been tough. Recently we’ve seen more games come out for the Mac OS at the same time as the Windows versions, but the gaming scene on the Mac still needs some improvement. As you have seen, most of the games available now on the App Store are old games ported to this system, or iPhone and iPad games brought to the Mac platform with just a few changes.
Then again, the Mac App Store is a platform that helps bring “casual” customers into the app and gaming market, so most of them won’t be familiar with these games or the fact that they came out a few years ago.
Perhaps someday the Mac App Store will fill the spot of a true store for gamers, akin to that of Steam. Right now, I’d say Steam is for hardcore gamers, while the Mac App Store is made for casual gamers, or even people that aren’t gamers, but are getting into that market because of platforms like the iOS and Mac App Store.
What do you think? And which games would you recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!