Summer is coming to an end, but the fun doesn’t have to stop: your Mac can keep you entertained well into the fall and winter. That’s especially true right now, since August brought us a rather impressive bounty of new Mac games to check out.
Enhanced racing simulation F1 2017 arrived day-and-date with the well-reviewed PC version, while sci-fi story games Tacoma and Subsurface Circular are both worth a look, and Batman: The Enemy Within and Pyre are likewise compelling. And we have several more intriguing games in the slides ahead, although if you don’t find something that excites you, be sure to loop back on July’s picks as well.
F1 2017 ($60)
The Mac versions of Codemasters’ F1 racing series have typically followed their PC counterparts (via ports from Feral Interactive), but with F1 2017, both platforms got the new release at the very same time. And that’s especially good news this time around, since reviews point to F1 2017 being perhaps the best entry to date in the popular simulation franchise.
As before, F1 2017 lets you sit behind the wheel of a Formula One speedster and zip around the track in realistic competition, with all of the current licensed cars, drivers, and courses included. But this edition offers a deeper career mode than before, including more extensive car management needs, as well as more variety with the new Championships mode.
If you enjoyed Gone Home on Mac, then you’ll probably dig Tacoma as well. Hailing from the same studio, Tacoma drops you into an abandoned space station to to find out what happened and retrieve a powerful A.I. However, unlike most stories that feature decrepit space stations, this one’s a relative calm and quiet one: you’ll restore and view digital recordings of the former crew and try to piece together their last days on the vessel.
Like Gone Home, Tacoma isn’t hugely interactive: you’ll wander around the environment and soak in the storyline bit by bit. But it’s still powerful, and the relationships between the former crewmates feel real—as our reviewer wrote, “I witnessed moments so poignant and personal that I felt I ought to look away.”
Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series ($25)
So this is a bit curious: We enjoyed the episodic Batman: The Telltale Series on iOS, but it was never released on Mac. And now follow-up season Batman: The Enemy Within is out on Mac, but as of this writing, it hasn’t made its way over to iOS (but it’s coming). What gives?
While that’s hardly ideal for Mac players, at least you can jump into Telltale’s take on the the Dark Knight now. The first episode of The Enemy Within is currently available, with the other four rolling out in the coming months, and it begins a new story in which The Riddler toys with Gotham City—and Bruce Wayne faces the darkness within himself. The $25 purchase covers the entire season ahead.
If you played Bastion or Transistor, then you know the impeccable pedigree of Supergiant Games—which means you probably ought to go ahead and grab Pyre, the studio’s latest creation. Pyre is a role-playing game that puts you in control of a group of exiles, who must battle in specialized rituals to try and reclaim their glory.
From there, Pyre seems truly unique. The battles play out like a combat-centric team sport, almost like a tweak on football—and if you lose, there’s no restarting the match, but also no “game over.” Instead, the story branches and their journey continues beyond that disappointment. Pair in the kind of dazzling presentation we expect from the studio, and Pyre looks like another winner.
The Long Dark ($35)
Can you survive in the cold, dark wilderness with only your wits and whatever you can scavenge from your surroundings? That’s the task put in front of you in The Long Dark, which recently emerged from Steam Early Access in a more finished format. And yet it’s still not quite finished: you’ll get the first two episodes now, encompassing about 15 hours of gameplay, with three more installments still coming.
It’s sort of a post-apocalyptic setting, as the game takes place following a geomagnetic disaster, and you’ll have to fend for yourself by hunting, managing your health, finding supplies, and more. As the game’s description makes clear, “There are no zombies—only you, the cold, and all the threats Mother Nature can muster.”
Subsurface Circular ($6)
Pairing up well with Tacoma this month, Bithell Games’ Subsurface Circular is another story-focused experience with a cool, sci-fi aesthetic—but this one’s even more compact, and is designed as a single-sitting game. Here, you’ll ride the underground transit system as a robot detective and talk with the other robotic workers, attempting to sort out a mystery that can affect the entire world up top.
Sound odd? Maybe, but the visual style is delightful, and the dialogue looks entertaining. That’s no surprise, given that Subsurface Circular comes from the same team behind the wonderful Thomas Was Alone. It looks short and sweet, and Steam user reviews are strongly positive thus far.
The Escapists 2 ($20)
The original Escapists game was a rather huge indie smash, and now The Escapists 2 is here to ratchet up the premise to new heights. As before, you’ll take the role of an inmate who isn’t content with serving out his/her time, and devise a plot to break free by crafting items, using disguises, fighting guards, and finding a way out of the heavily-guarded structure.
The Escapists 2 offers up much larger locales to find your way out of, not to mention a more diverse array of them—including a prisoner train, and even a space prison. And this time around, you can rely on actual allies thanks to the addition of online multiplayer support.
Alphabear: Hardcover Edition ($10)
We’re big fans of Alphabear on iOS, but if you ever wanted to play it on Mac—or you just couldn’t come to grips with its freemium design—then the new Alphabear: Hardcover Edition should grab your attention. It’s essentially the same game at its core, albeit now with a fully premium, pay-once model, as well as fresh daily boards and other perks.
Alphabear is one of the most compelling word puzzlers of the last few years, challenging you to create words using the Scrabble-like tiles on the board. As you clear tiles, they turn into cute, increasingly-large bears that award big point bounties—but if you leave tiles unused for too long, they turn to stone and impede progress.
BioShock Remastered ($20)
BioShock is one of the all-time greatest first-person shooters, and this month marked 10 years since its original release. To celebrate the occasion, 2K Games and Feral Interactive have released BioShock Remastered, which spruces up the original game to make it run better than ever on modern hardware.
It’s the same core game as ever, with its dazzling underwater dystopia of Rapture and memorable story and characters, but now with higher-resolution textures, models, and interface elements, as well as 4K resolution support overall. It also has new challenge rooms, commentary, and other perks. Seems like a pretty ideal opportunity to revisit Rapture!
Nidhogg 2 ($15)
The original Nidhogg was beloved for its fast-paced, gruesome sword-fighting duels, albeit with an ultra lo-fi aesthetic that looked Atari-esque in origin. Now Nidhogg 2 is here, keeping the same kind of one-on-one premise while swapping in a grotesque, Claymation-esque look that’s equally unsettling and hilarious at the same time.
Yet the action remains fast and fun. You’ll start at opposite sides of a 2D plain and try to get to the other end by any means possible, whether it’s slashing your opponent with a sword, filling your foe with arrows, or stomping his head in the ground. And you can battle either locally or online, with an eight-player tournament mode added as well.
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