April's Mac games
April isn’t usually a particularly prime month for video game releases, but this month bucked that trend in the world of Mac games: this is the busiest month we’ve seen for noteworthy debuts in some time! In fact, we had so many intriguing games on our working list that we had to cut a handful from what you’ll see within.
Luckily, we pared it down to the 10 most notable new games of April, including 3D platform-action revival Yooka-Laylee, racing simulator F1 2016, Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy adventure series, and the epic Total War: Warhammer.
Keep reading for the full list of the month’s biggest Mac launches, and if you don’t crave anything here, be sure to loop back on March’s picks. Or check out additional games like Crawl, Mr. Shifty, Beat Cop, and Kimmy that nearly made our April list.
If the only machine you played on in the ‘90s was a Mac, then you probably missed out on the golden age of 3D platform-action games for consoles, when entries like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie changed up the old side-scrolling formula and set a new template for the genre. That’s a shame, if so—but there’s a new game that does a great job of recalling those glory days.
Yooka-Laylee actually hails from key Banjo developers from back when, and it sticks closely to the ‘90s design: you’ll explore colorful worlds as a lizard and his bat companion, using their skills to collect items, solve light puzzles, and leap all around each world. The design can feel a little antiquated in spots, but the game is so joyful and amusing that it’s tough to stay frustrated for long.
F1 2016 ($60)
It’s been a few years since the last F1 game hit Mac, but thanks to Feral Interactive, F1 2016 is ready to immerse Formula 1 racing fans in its extensive, ultra-detailed simulation. Codemasters’ latest entry includes the entire 2016 season of races and real-life circuits, along with the 22 drivers across 11 licensed teams, all presented with dazzling accuracy.
The biggest draw is surely the career mode, which lets you control the action both on and off the track as you build your legacy across 10 seasons. However, if you’re more interested in tense real-life competition, you can hop online for 22-car battles against both Mac and Windows players alike.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series ($25)
Mac hasn’t been a focus for Telltale Games of late, as both The Walking Dead: A New Frontier and Batman: The Telltale Series lack Mac support. Thankfully, that trend stops with the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy episodic adaption, which just launched its first entry ahead of next week’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 film release. (It’s on iOS, too.)
Telltale’s game pulls inspiration from both the movies and the original Marvel comics, spinning a fresh story about this odd bunch of rough-edged galactic antiheroes. In usual Telltale fashion, there’s a lot of conversation to navigate along with some action and exploration, and your choices here will reverberate through the next four incoming episodes (which you’ll prepay for). We’ll have to wait and see whether this initial chunk ultimately yields a gripping tale.
Ever played a game as a tree? How about a slice of pizza? Maybe a church, a wrench, a dragonfly, or a molecule? Everything can satisfy all of those curious demands and so many more, as its title hints at the possibilities: you can seriously inhabit every single thing found in this game, large or small.
It’s weird and definitely wonderful, and even the familiar creatures—elephants, wolves, etc.—flop around unnaturally when you explore each environment, talking to the other animals and objects alike. Everything has a deeply philosophical edge, with dialogue and narration about life and how we interpret it, and might leave you with some serious questions even as you marvel at its strangeness. Seriously, you’ve played nothing like Everything before.
Total War: Warhammer ($60)
We’ve seen a lot of Warhammer-branded games in recent years, especially on iOS, but Total War: Warhammer has a unique flavor among the bunch. This mashup brings together Creative Assembly’s historical Total War strategy gameplay with the setting and creatures of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles franchise, and the result is suitably epic.
You’ll command loads of units in real time across battlefields filled with dragons and giants alike, while the turn-based campaign elements let you try to take over the map as one of five unique races. Each race plays differently, and Total War: Warhammer seems to have a rather vast amount of content to soak in, assuming you’re seeking a new time sink right about now.
Late Shift ($15)
Most full-motion video (FMV) games are pretty terrible, as early ‘90s attempts like Night Trap and Sewer Shark proved, but Late Shift might be the modern attempt that actually nails the premise. It’s a fully original playable live-action film, essentially, in which you’ll make various decisions along the way that can radically change the storyline and events.
You play as Matt, a London university student forced at gunpoint to participate in a heist, and you’ll face this-or-that choices throughout that ultimately lead to seven different endings. With more than 180 decision points, there’s a lot of reason to play Late Shift several times over, and Steam user reviews suggest that it’s better executed than the average FMV game.
X-Plane 11 ($60)
Looking for an amazingly detailed flight experience? Surely X-Plane 11 can do the trick. This long-running simulation packs in a bevy of enhancements for the latest entry, including overhauled real-world aircraft, 3D cockpits for every plane in the fleet, realistic service vehicles at the airports, and new European scenery to better recreate the environments there.
X-Plane sounds like the kind of massive, aficionado-centric simulation that could scare off newcomers, but developer Laminar Research claims that this release has been retooled for beginners, with a revised interface, new tutorials, and improved instrument interactions.
Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition ($20)
Well, this is pretty great timing: back in February, we saw the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera, the spiritual successor to beloved ‘90s role-player, Planescape: Torment. But for anyone who didn’t play the original classic, or who needs a slightly modernized reason to return, then the new Enhanced Edition ought to do the trick.
Beamdog’s upgraded port includes the entire original game refreshed with some slight tweaks and a new high-definition interface, along with remastered music. This Dungeons & Dragons offshoot is still considered a high point of the isometric computer RPG genre, with a dazzling world and compelling narrative, and the Enhanced Edition offers an improved entry point.
Full Throttle Remastered ($15)
Let’s bounce from one throwback to another. Double Fine has already brought back LucasArts’ classic Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, and now 1995’s Full Throttle Remastered is here to make it three. This classic point-and-click adventure follows the leader of a biker gang in a surprisingly fun story, which PCWorld says “[draws] equally on Mad Max and Easy Rider.”
Full Throttle is rather short and sweet and the puzzles aren’t terribly challenging, but it has a lot of personality—and the cleaned-up return trip will surely be appreciated by a lot of fans. PCWorld’s review notes that it has aged poorly in some ways, but as our original 1996 magazine review suggested, the game “hits just the right balance of action, intelligence, and humor.”
Yooka-Laylee is a fun example of a retro 3D platformer, but Flinthook’s inspirations date further back to old-school 2D classics, as this pixel-packed side-scroller challenges you with its precise action and navigation. As the titular character, you’ll zip through spaceships with a grappling hook, the ability to slow down time, and a “blasma pistol.”
The result is frenetic and fast-paced, and each new level is completely unique thanks to procedural generation. Flinthook is designed to be intensely tough, but it’s the kind of roguelike-inspired challenge that should keep you coming back as you gradually learn how to overcome imminent death. At the very least, it’ll look incredibly cool as you perish time and time again.
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