These games will keep you playing well into March (and beyond)
February might be the shortest month of the year, but new and interesting Mac games haven’t been in short supply. Our latest roundup has massive strategy affairs, scrappy and endearing indie games, and even a couple of Early Access releases aiming to earn your affection (and dollars) before they’re properly released down the line.
Need something new to play? Here are 11 of the most intriguing Mac games that caught our attention over the last month.
Total War: Attila
Sega and Creative Assembly’s long-running strategy series returns with an all-new subject and time period—Attila the Hun, and 395 AD—not to mention a big twist for the franchise: a focus on destruction as much as creation. That’s unique for a 4X strategy affair, which usually focuses on building up a city or civilization (there’s still a fair bit of that here, however).
Many Total War games have arrived very late on Mac, but Total War: Attila ($45) launched day and date with the PC version this month. And if you want a deep-dive assessment of the latest affair, our sister site PCWorld has a full review.
Apotheon ($15) is an absolute stunner, thanks to a one-of-a-kind style that’s inspired by Ancient Greek pottery art. But it also sounds like a pretty great game in its own right, as this side-scrolling action experience takes cues from classics like Metroid and Castlevania, letting you explore large stages as you enhance your skills, solve puzzles, and battle an array of foes.
Not only does it look fantastic, but the art design is also used to create very distinct-feeling worlds, with each area featuring different kinds of terrain and obstacles. It looks to be thoroughly memorable all around.
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build
Do you want to build a snowman? That’s not only an inescapable pop culture phrase, but also the prompt behind this adorable indie game. However, constructing one of the whimsical winter creations isn’t necessarily a breeze, as the title implies. You’ll roll snowballs around a stage to stack them up, but each roll atop snow makes a ball bigger—and they have to stack according to size, of course.
Beyond the fantastic look, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build ($12) also has an amazing promo right now: the day’s temperature in London dictates the game’s price. So if it’s 8-degrees Celsius there, it’s $8 here. Perfect.
Nothing gets me more excited for a gaming session than “discovery, loneliness, and frequent death,” which is exactly what Sunless Sea ($19) promises. But seriously, this roguelike exploration game (think FTL) has been widely praised for its narrative and dialogue, which unfold based on your actions and choices. That means you’ll get a new experience every time you guide your boat into the unknown.
Sunless Sea is quite likely bitterly difficult, as the genre demands, but it also sounds deeply intriguing thanks to its storytelling and alluring art design—no doubt making it worth the struggle for anyone who can tolerate it.
In its original form, Republique was one of the most intriguing iOS games around, putting a touch-friendly spin on console stealth-action games. It just made the move over to Mac a few days ago, and thankfully it looks like Republique Remastered ($25) doesn’t lose a step despite the switch to mouse and keyboard controls.
As a helpful ally who views the action from security cameras, you’ll click to safely guide young Hope around guards and hazards as she tries to escape captivity in a totalitarian school. The game looks a bit slicker on Mac, and the game currently features the first three narrative episodes, with the last two being added (for free) once they’re complete.
From the makers of the acclaimed Frozen Synapse—a game about setting the routes of gunmen and then watching them blast each other to bits—comes a very different kind of experience. Frozen Cortex ($25) puts a turn-based spin on a futuristic sport, which looks like the middle ground between football and cricket, played by hard-hitting robots.
But instead of actively playing a match in real time, you’ll have to strategize your every move and then sit back and watch your plans unfold. Each copy comes with a second code for a friend, so find a pal—and then bash his/her team to pieces.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
One of the great, albeit perpetually under-the-radar console game franchises finally makes its Mac debut with Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty ($20), a refreshed remake of 1997 series starter Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. It’s a side-scrolling platform game in which you’ll evade enemies, sort out puzzles, and use telepathy to control other creatures along the way.
Oddworld, as you might suss out from its title, has a sense of humor about it, plus the distinctive, almost claymation-esque visual style from the original has been given new life with impressive lighting and details.
Launched into Steam Early Access to strong interest this month, Darkest Dungeon ($20) puts a psychological spin on the roguelike genre. Not only will you trade blows in turn-based combat, but you’ll need to mind your heroes’ mental ailments: stress, fear, paranoia, and more.
That gives a bit of extra edge to this grim, gothic-themed affair, and user reviews have been strongly positive thus far. Note that with all Early Access games, you’re paying for an incomplete version now that will be updated steadily until the final form is available, but it sounds like there’s quite a bit of current content included.
Offworld Trading Company
Also available in Early Access this month is Offworld Trading Company ($40), a real-time strategy game that challenges you to build a new civilization for humans on Mars—and ideally, make a profit from it. You’ll expand out a city while buying, selling, and manipulating all manner of resources, trying to play the ever-fluctuating market to your advantage.
Offworld Trading Company is the new venture from Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson, and user reviews on this work-in-progress are quite strong after a couple of weeks on Steam.
Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure
Making the move to Mac not long after its iOS debut, Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure ($5) delivers a graphic adventure about interstellar explorers who land on a new planet—but what they find isn’t quite as uncharted as expected. The game blends ample humor with mystery and sci-fi elements to create an intriguing-looking quest.
Better yet, the retro-stylized graphics are a real treat, packed with plenty of charm and heart, and the soundtrack seems pretty fantastic. Also, it’s from the makers of the excellent The Incident, which is reason enough to give it a shot.
Hand of Fate
Hand of Fate ($25) takes its cues from two very different genres: collectible card-battlers and action role-playing games. You’ll spend a lot of time at a table being shown tarot-inspired cards from a deck, but when an enemy card pops up, you’ll actually take control of a character and battle it out in hack-and-slash combat.
In other words, it has the strong hook that comes with the compulsive fiddling and obsessive collecting of card games, which is paired with visceral action so you don’t spend the entire game staring at digital cardboard. Sounds like a win-win.