September's Mac games
While the Mac game release schedule doesn’t always mirror what’s seen on PC and consoles, the advent of fall has boosted the flow of new games of all shapes and sizes. In fact, picking just 10 entries for September’s showcase was more of a challenge than usual, but we feel confident that there’s something great in this batch for you to discover.
The long-awaited Mac release of Rocket League kicks things off, along with the five-star Legion expansion for World of Warcraft and intriguing indies like Clustertruck and Virginia. And actually, one of these picks is a five-pack bundle of inventive games, so you’ve got 14 fresh options to consider here. But if you don’t see something that’s just right for you and your Mac, be sure to loop through August’s top games as well.
We thought we’d be playing this months ago on Mac, but while delays mounted, Rocket League ($20) is more than worth the wait. It’s essentially cars playing soccer, and indeed, that premise is as much fun as it sounds. The rocket-boosted rides aren’t confined to the ground, either, as skilled players can blast into the air to make incredible skyward shots into the opposing goal.
It’s primarily a three-on-three game, although it can range between two and eight players, plus there are great hockey and basketball variants within. Online multiplayer is the biggest draw, along with split-screen play, although a single-player season mode is available to help you hone your skills. Rocket League might provide some of the most fun you’ll have on your Mac all year.
World of Warcraft: Legion
Believe it or not, World of Warcraft is still chugging along a dozen years after its debut—and Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online role-player is seeing some of its best days thanks to Legion ($50), its sixth expansion pack. While subscriber numbers have fallen over time and the last expansion left a mixed impression, Legion is a return to form for the fantasy favorite.
As our full review explains, Legion brings a wealth of fresh content to the game, including storytelling elements and enhanced graphics and audio—it also has a brand new area and character to play. You’ll need an active subscription to play, but any lapsed fans who still crave a Warcraft fix might be lured back in with Legion.
Just to be clear, yes, that’s “truck.” With that all sorted out, Clustertruck ($15) seems like an absolute blast: it’s a game that challenges you to leap between speeding semi trucks, continuing ever ahead until you get to the finish line in each stage. And believe it or not, all of that is done from a dizzying first-person perspective.
It looks utterly chaotic, but in a very good way: the trucks are all terribly driven, which means the action is unpredictable and hilarious throughout. While the basic task seems tough enough, the 90 included stages add loads of hazards before long. Clustertruck also has a level editor and Steam Workshop support, which means there’s sure to be a heap of fan-made content too.
Virginia ($10) isn’t like any other game on this month’s list, but it’s also unique amongst its peers. While it’s a first-person narrative adventure with a mystery to solve, and a game that has drawn comparisons to Twin Peaks and The X-Files, it’s done without a smidge of dialogue. And yet there’s still so much to glean from your interactions and observations in the world.
You’ll play as a new FBI recruit trying to find a missing boy in rural Virginia in 1992, and while the roughly two-hour quest is light on challenge, critics have raved about the surprisingly nuanced storyline and characters. However, Steam users have shown more of a mixed reaction, as players complain about the the limited interaction. There’s a free demo if you want to try before you consider buying.
Mother Russia Bleeds
On the other hand, if you’d rather play something that’s completely insane and ultraviolent, then Mother Russia Bleeds ($15) might do the trick. As the developer’s description perfectly suggests, it’s an old-school beat-‘em-up like Streets of Rage pumped up with the brazen gore and neon glow of the great Hotline Miami.
As part of a crew of drug-addled, muscle-flexing street toughs, you’ll battle wave upon wave of foes to try and take down an alternate-reality U.S.S.R. by any means necessary. It looks absolutely grotesque and certainly isn’t for younger players, but it could be a fun way to blow off steam after a tough day. Speaking of Steam: user reviews are very positive for this one.
Super Stickman Golf 3
Didn’t have a chance to play on iPhone or iPad, or just prefer a larger screen for your 2D golf exploits? Well, now’s your chance: Super Stickman Golf 3 (free) is also available via the Mac App Store, and it’s just as much fun as the awesome iOS version. Like the mobile version and its predecessors, Super Stickman Golf 3 challenges you to put the ball in the hole across an array of loopy, cartoonish courses.
It’s a blast as both a single-player and either speed or turn-based multiplayer game, and the Mac version has the same super-friendly free-to-play model as on iOS, offering 20 courses without play restrictions—and extra content and goodies for just $3 within. It even has an unlockable Flappy Golf mode, based on the awesome iOS game of the same name.
Dog Sled Saga
Ever wanted to command a dogsledding team, but don’t want to deal with the cold or stress of it all? Now you can do just that from the comfort of your Mac (or iOS device) with Dog Sled Saga ($8). This beautiful indie game puts you into the boots of a rookie on the sledding scene, challenging you to raise a championship squad over a stretch of time.
Dog Sled Saga has two main components that play into each other: you’ll need to man the sled in side-scrolling races, tossing food out to your pups and avoiding hazards, but then you must also manage your season between sprints. That means training and caring for your dogs, overseeing the budget, breeding puppies, and other important decisions. A stunning pixel art style gives this fun concept an extra boost of charm.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Some big games never make their way to Mac, while others take their sweet time—and we can thank Feral Interactive for regularly filling some of the bigger gaps. The company’s latest such effort is Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II ($20), the real-time strategy favorite from 2009 that skipped Apple devices until now. And you can grab the expansions, too.
Dawn of War II uses the much-loved sci-fi universe as the basis for intense strategic skirmishes between the Space Marines, Orks, and other races, and features both a single-player campaign and frantic online multiplayer showdowns. The Chaos Rising ($20) and Retribution ($30) add-ons are sold separately, or you can grab the entire Master Collection for $55.
If you loved SimTower back in the day, or like the premise of Tiny Tower but want something much, much deeper, then Project Highrise ($20) should be on your radar. It’s a complex skyscraper simulation that starts with you as the architect sculpting the tower out of metal and glass, but then there’s plenty of work to do once construction is complete.
You’ll need to lure in tenants of all sorts—business, residential, retail, etc.—and keep them happy while also profiting from their occupation. You can customize the floors and spaces, add in varying conditions to spice up the game experience, work on curb appeal and political connections, and so much more. It also has Steam Workshop support for user-created content.
Fantastic Arcade 2016 Bundle
If you’re plugged into the indie games scene or just like unique, one-of-a-kind experiences, then you ought to check out the Fantastic Arcade 2016 Bundle ($15). Named after the great annual, Austin-based games festival that just concluded, it brings together five inventive games that you won’t find anywhere else, and they’re from some very noteworthy creators.
For example, Alphabet from Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy) and Adam Saltsman (Canabalt) is a side-scrolling race for up to 26 players, each of whom controls a cartoonish letter, while NIUM is a post-apocalyptic adventure co-created by the maker of the awesome Downwell. You can find out more about the games here, and paying $15 or more gets you all five at once while supporting Austin’s indie creators.