March's Mac games
We always aim to bring you a broad selection of games for our monthly Mac game roundup, but our picks from March seem especially diverse in terms of genre, scale, style, and price points. Hyper Light Drifter kicks things off, as the just-released indie adventure seems to be living up to the hype based on early user reviews.
Elsewhere, we’ve got well-known releases like Lego Marvel’s Avengers, Day of the Tentacle Remastered, and World of Tanks Blitz, as well as appealing indies like Bunker Punks and Epistory. And you might be pleased to know that a couple of Blizzard Entertainment’s all-time classics have just been updated to run on modern Macs. Scope out our March picks within, and if you’re looking for even more recent options, be sure to read February’s list as well!
Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter ($20) dazzled with its Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, and now two and a half years later—with an expanded scope thanks to extra funding—it looks even more marvelous. This action role-playing adventure takes its cues from the classic Legend of Zelda games, with active combat and a world full of secrets, but has its own sense of style.
The ultra-detailed pixel look is pretty astounding, as is the beautiful piano music to match, and early user reviews via Steam have been mostly rapturous, praising the game’s dystopian world, challenging combat, and superb presentation. If you love old-school games with modern polish, Hyper Light Drifter looks like a real winner.
Lego Marvel's Avengers
The licensed Lego game formula is well established by now, but 2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes was one of the best pairings to date—and so there’s plenty of reason to be excited for Lego Marvel’s Avengers ($40). As before, it lets you take control of an array of comic heroes and villains as you button-mash your way through familiar showdowns given a colorful and comedic twist.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers actually combines the events of both Avengers films, including last year’s Age of Ultron, and gives you more than 100 characters to unlock and use. And it has local co-op action, too, so you can play together and use special Avengers Team-Up moves to take out your opponents.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Love classic LucasArts adventure games? Double Fine, the studio founded by Tim Schafer when he departed LucasArts in 2000, is bringing the best of them back: Grim Fandango Remastered released last year, and now Day of the Tentacle Remastered ($15) has arrived (Full Throttle is up next). And the reviews have been extremely positive thus far.
The zany adventure about a mutated tentacle gone loose has been given a fresh coat of paint, with the original low-res sprites replaced with new, hand-drawn graphics (although you can switch between the styles), plus there’s an optional commentary track available for die-hard fans. It’s considered an all-time classic, so if you missed it back when or you’re due for a replay, now’s the time.
World of Tanks Blitz
Until recently, the only way to play World of Tanks on Mac was to use a wrapper on the PC version—not ideal, certainly, but passable for devotees. Luckily, Wargaming has an intriguing new compromise: World of Tanks Blitz (free), the slightly scaled down mobile version, has been ported to the Mac App Store.
You’ll find fewer tanks in each team battle, but the seven-on-seven showdowns are still a lot of fun, and Blitz is excellent on iOS. Furthermore, it’s still a pretty generous free game (with paid perks available to speed up the slow progression), and it’s linked up to the PC version of Blitz, so there should be plenty of competition to open fire on.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition ($30) doesn’t break dramatically from the Grand Theft Auto open-world mold, but it’s a different kind of environment: Hong Kong is very unique from other real-world game cities we’ve seen, not only in look but contents. And Sleeping Dogs has its own intriguing stack of activities beyond running criminal missions and roaming the city, including street racing, karaoke, and gambling.
Furthermore, Sleeping Dogs isn’t merely a crime tale, as you actually play an undercover cop (Wei Shen) trying to infiltrate the Triads while maintaining cover. It makes some fun tweaks to the open-world formula, and this Definitive Edition brings in all of the add-on content from other platforms for the game’s Mac debut.
Don't Starve: Shipwrecked
Don’t Starve has been an indie survival smash, thanks to its challenging design and Tim Burton-esque presentation, and fans are going nuts about its new expansion, Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked ($5). You’ll need the base game to run it, but Shipwrecked is a massive add-on, delivering a brand new world to explore along with new play elements.
As the title suggests, Shipwrecked finds hero Wilson stuck in a tropical land, with the ability to craft and command a small boat to traverse the dangerous waters. It’s just now exiting Early Access for its full release, and Steam user reviews suggest the expansion is vastly underpriced for how much great new content it adds to the Don’t Starve single-player experience.
Out of the Park Baseball 17
Looking for an arcade-style baseball game where you can belt homers out of the park? You won’t find it here. Instead, Out of the Park Baseball 17 ($40) is the ultimate simulation for stat geeks and armchair managers, and this season’s version looks to be the most advanced, comprehensive edition to date.
With official MLB and MLBPA licensing, you’ll get the real teams and players—and this time, with realistic faces, too. As ever, the goal is to guide your team to victory by setting lineups, making trades, managing plays, and building your organization by digging deep into menus and statistics. It might look tedious to some, but it’s obsession-worthy stuff for others.
If you still hold a candle for classics like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, then Bunker Punks ($15) might be right up your alley: it’s an old-school twitch shooter with pixel-packed graphics to match. But there’s more here than just a stack of enemy-filled corridors to clear, as each level is randomly generated and it’s a different experience every time you play.
Over time, you’ll gain access to more gear and abilities to power your runs, plus Bunker Punks also has a bunker customization element, which might remind you a bit of the modern XCOM games. Right now, the game is only available in Early Access via Steam, but it’s been in development for two years and the early user reviews are almost all positive.
Epistory – Typing Chronicles
Typing-centric video games are pretty rare, at least in the States—Sega’s The Typing of the Dead is a gold standard of the genre—but Epistory – Typing Chronicles ($15) aims to give it a fresh shot. It’s an adventure game driven by your ability to type the phrases shown on screen, which you’ll do to blast back the enemies that try to pounce.
Epistory has a gorgeous origami-inspired world, and it’s meant to be fully experienced with your keyboard, with precise typing the key (pun intended) to your success. The adaptive difficulty means you should be able to have fun no matter your skill level, but marvelous typists can jump into the Arena mode, which compares your results to those on the online leaderboards.
Diablo II and Warcraft III
Our last pick for March is actually a double, and chances are you’ve heard of both. Diablo II ($10) and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos ($10) are two of Blizzard’s most beloved games of all time, and they’re both around 15 years old—but thanks to updates the developer issued last month, both are now compatible with recent OS X versions and have new launchers to boot.
Diablo II is the classic hack-and-slash role-player, sending you off into dungeons in search of combat and loot, while Warcraft III further refined the series’ original real-time strategy design. Both franchises have since expanded in myriad ways, but these remain wide favorites. And don’t be surprised if the original StarCraft is next to get a similar update.