July's Mac games
Summer is a pretty great time to dig into a new game or two, since the oppressive sun might have you eager to curl up on the couch or hunker down in your air-conditioned office with your Mac. If that’s you, and you’re not still enraptured by a stack of games scored from the Steam Summer Sale, then take note: July brought us a bunch of exciting new releases.
Epic Games’ Fortnite is the biggest of this bunch, as this cooperative shooter pairs shooting mutant beasts with building elaborate bases, but there’s plenty more worth considering—such as Serial Cleaner, Sundered, and Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. Give these July debuts a look via the slides ahead, and if you need more fresh-ish options, don’t miss our June picks.
It’s rare that the Mac gets a big, multiplayer shooter at the same time as other platforms—so if Fortnite looks remotely appealing, you might want to jump on it now. Developed by Epic Games, the same studio behind juggernaut shooters like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, this online blaster blends in a bit of tower defense with its gunplay.
You’ll team up with three other players in a quest to survive against incoming hordes of zombie-like beasts, but there’s more than just endless violence on tap: you’ll also have to build and expand your own fort, which helps keep the foes at bay. It’s a little bit Left 4 Dead and a little bit Minecraft, and seems like a really intriguing hybrid.
A note about pricing, though: it’s in Early Access right now with starter packs beginning at $60, but the game will transition to a free-to-play model sometime in 2018. If you do wait, you won’t have to pay anything to get started next year.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator ($15)
As its title suggests, Dream Daddy is a very different kind of dating simulator than most. Here, you’ll play as a single dad who moves into a new town—and finds that all of the residents are other hot, single dads who are ready to mingle. Which one will you romance? The bad boy? The teacher? You’ve got seven distinctive options in the game’s city of Maple Bay.
Dream Daddy launched to a pretty enthusiastic audience, quite likely because it’s cheeky and colorful—but it’s also sweet and sincere, focusing on familiar relationships more than… well, more than just screwing around. Critical reviews are a bit spottier, but the Steam user critiques are mostly positive, and Dream Daddy has a lot of buzz right now.
Serial Cleaner ($15)
There are plenty of games out there filled with indiscriminate killing, but Serial Cleaner is a refreshing change of pace: it’s a game about cleaning up after a bunch of killings. You’re the best in the biz at this very specific, very disturbing job, and when you get the call, you’ll have to spring into action to remove bodies and restore crime scenes to their usual, spotlight form.
Serial Cleaner takes the form of a stealth-action game, in which you’ll zip around each level to vacuum up blood and dispose of evidence, all while evading cops that begin investigating the area. It has a super cool ‘70s movie vibe, and even has an array of unlockable stages inspired by top crime flicks, such as Fargo and Pulp Fiction.
So-called “Metroidvania” games built in the mold of classics like Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night can be truly engrossing adventures, and Sundered is one of the most promising entries we’ve seen in a while. Like those games, it’s a side-scrolling 2D game set in a world filled with secrets and upgrades, and one that rewards backtracking and exploration.
Unlike those games, however, the world here is procedurally generated, which should boost the replay value, and it has something of a roguelike twist in that you’ll die frequently. But it’s part of the process here, as you’ll be reborn and can take advantage of character enhancements before you jump back into the world. It’s gorgeous, too, with a surreal hand-drawn look and some truly freaky-looking monsters in the mix.
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two ($25)
You may know Minecraft as the open-ended, open-world phenomenon that lets you craft and create your own experiences amidst the randomly-generated terrain. But Minecraft: Story Mode is something very different: it’s a narrative adventure that finds you making meaningful decisions as you watch the quest unfold across multiple episodes.
And following last year’s initial chunk of story, now the second season has debuted. The first episode is available now, and it finds the blocky crew adjusting to fame after saving the world… except now there’s a new threat on the horizon. It’s very similar to Telltale’s other episodic games, including The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, albeit with a much lighter tone. And the $25 gets you the full season, with the first episode out now and the others still to come.
Final Fantasy XIV Online: Stormblood ($40)
Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series was built on the back of single-player experiences, but the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn—the totally overhauled version, not the janky original release—maintains a pretty significant following. And now it’s apparently even more enticing thanks to the recent Stormblood expansion.
Stormblood adds a heap of new content to the online role-playing experience, including new player classes, a higher level cap for deeply invested players, stunning new zones to explore, and an array of tweaks. You’ll need the Final Fantasy XIV Online Starter Edition to play, plus it has a subscription fee, but some of the reviews are incredibly glowing.
Behold the Kickmen ($4)
Behold the Kickmen is a game of soccer—or football, if you please—but this isn’t some grand simulation like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer on other platforms. It’s a super-simplified, single-player rendition that’s light on rules and heavy on silly fun. And that’s because Behold the Kickmen is essentially a gag game, inspired initially by a tweet of all things.
Luckily, it’s a pretty funny gag game, as Steam user reviews suggest. You’ll begin at the bottom of the Big Boring British Football Spreadsheet league with garbage players, and then work your way up to proficiency as you unlock funds and abilities. The story mode looks hilarious, plus you can transform the game into a “dystopian future bloodsport” if you’d like.
The Low Road ($20)
If the world of corporate espionage sounds intriguing, then you might want to give The Low Road a look. This stylish adventure game stars a young graduate from the LeCarre Institute for Exceptional Spies (L.I.E.S), who must use tactics like lying and manipulation to succeed at her new automotive industry job and become a brilliant secret agent.
The Low Road looks a bit like a classic point-and-click adventure game, as you explore the charming 2D terrain, which has a hand-painted feel and influences from 1970s TV shows. There are light puzzles in the mix amidst the extensive dialogue, and the six chapters should last you a few solid hours here. It only just came out, but the early Steam user reviews are a bit mixed.
Ticket to Earth ($15)
Can’t decide whether to play an XCOM-like tactical action game or a Bejeweled-esque match-three puzzler? Why not play both at the same time? That’s the alluring premise of Ticket to Earth, an inspired mash-up that tosses you into strategic battles that take place on a grid full of colored tiles. And yes, your pathway across those tiles is important to your success.
It’s all wrapped up in a sci-fi narrative, yet it promises speedy missions—so you don’t have to commit a bunch of time to have some fun. That’s probably because Ticket to Earth began life on iPhone and iPad earlier this year, where it’s only $4 for the same game, but the Mac version brings some visual enhancements and other small perks. Only the first episode is out so far, but the others will be added in time at no additional charge.
Antihero gives you a unique opportunity: to take over a Victorian underworld by any means necessary. And by any means, well, it really runs the gamut: forming gangs, stealing property, blackmailing people, and even ordering assassinations.
That’s just how it goes in this speedy, digital board game, which has a delightfully cartoonish look to offset the rather grim and unsettling acts you’ll carry out along the way. You can play this one in a solo campaign, against the A.I., or in online or offline skirmishes, with both live and asynchronous battles available. If the idea of commanding an army of street urchins and thriving via backstabbing and murder sounds appealing, then Antihero should be right up your alley.