October's Mac games
Right about now is when the release schedule gets pretty crowded for PC and console players, and while Mac doesn’t see quite the same load (maybe someday…), there’s still a nice stack of new releases from over the last month.
Super Mario-esque platform game A Hat in Time is one of this month’s big standouts, along with cyberpunk horror adventure Observer and frantic fighter Brawlhalla, and those are just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve picked out 10 of the most exciting new Mac games from October 2017, so click through the slides ahead to see what’s worth checking out right now. And if you don’t see anything intriguing here, then check out September’s picks for more.
A Hat in Time ($30)
We’ll never see Nintendo’s brilliant new Super Mario Odyssey on Mac, but if you’re in the mood for a classic 3D platform-action experience along the lines of Super Mario 64, give A Hat in Time a strong look. This long-awaited indie game captures the magic of the cartoonish action games from the N64 era as you control Hat Girl, a space-exploring kid with a knack for stitching together magical hats.
Each of the five colorful worlds you explore is bursting with creative challenges, and much like this year’s Yooka-Laylee, it only lightly modernizes this beloved genre. Steam users are largely over the moon about it, awarding it “Overwhelmingly Positive” reviews so far, while critics’ appraisals are nearly as strong.
Looking for something freaky to play right about now with Halloween on the horizon? If so, then give a strong look towards Observer, an atmospheric, cyberpunk-themed horror game that has you hack into the minds of both criminals and their victims. Chances are great that you won’t find sunshine and rainbows in there, especially in this gritty, futuristic world.
Observer has a strong Blade Runner influence running through it, from the visual design of the world to the soundtrack—and even the use of Rutger Hauer as the voice actor behind neural detective Dan Lazarski. Reviews suggest that there’s a bit more style than substance in this first-person exploration game, but boy, the style alone sure seems worth it.
Like A Hat in Time earlier, here’s another game built in the mold of a Nintendo classic that provides a comparable experience you can actually play on Mac. Brawlhalla was clearly built in the mold of the Mario-starring Super Smash Bros, as a 2D, party-friendly fighting game that takes place on a series of platforms. But this one features all original characters, plus it’s free to play.
The game offers up a rotating selection six of its fighters free each week, with others unlocked via in-game gold, or you can spend $20 once to unlock all fighters forever. Otherwise, it lacks any freemium limitations, and all other premium items are purely cosmetic. This fast-paced brawler can be played online with up to eight players or in a local four-player mode—or you can go it solo, if you please.
Road Redemption ($20)
Got an itch for for the classic Road Rash games, or do you just relish the idea of raising a little hell on two wheels? In either case, Road Redemption is probably right up your alley. Like EA’s classic series, this spiritual successor lets you race motorcycles on busy roads and turn to blunt objects, firearms, and grenades to get a violent edge along the way.
It’s fast, gruesome fun, and after an extended Early Access polishing period on Steam, this tribute looks like it’s finally up to speed. There’s both online and multiplayer competition available, while the extensive loot system lets you improve your rider, bike, and weapons as you rise through the racing world.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar ($30)
Battle Chasers: Nightwar’s existence as a released product might surprise fans of the original Battle Chasers comic book, seeing as the last issue came out 16 years ago… and the story arc still isn’t unfinished. But creator Joe Madureira’s pivot from comics to games has finally brought this steampunk-fantasy franchise back to life, and the results seem pretty strong.
Nightwar takes the form of a turn-based role-playing inspired by Japanese classics, and it boasts a vibrant world based on Madureira’s distinctive drawing style, plenty of dungeons to explore, and some exciting combat along the way. Knowing the source material surely helps, but it sounds like this is a plenty intriguing RPG all the same, the likes of which we rarely see on Mac.
Bomber Crew ($15)
Bomber Crew is currently blowing up the Steam charts, and while its little cartoonish pilots and engineers might seem adorable, this game is anything but breezy and lightweight. Sort of like a World War II take on the beloved FTL: Faster Than Light, Bomber Crew challenges you to keep a fighter plane up and running behind enemy lines.
You’ll build and train a persistent crew that works your missions, but when one of them gets gunned down, they’re gone forever—a harsh edge to this silly-looking game. It’s a challenging simulation, and everything is procedurally generated, which means you’ll get a fresh experience every time you take flight.
The Jackbox Party Pack ($25)
Nobody makes party/trivia games quite like Jackbox (best known for You Don’t Know Jack), and lucky for us, now they release them in bulk. The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is the studio’s latest bundle of experiences, bringing together four brand new games and a fresh sequel for multiplayer fun. Fibbage 3 is the returning title in the set, as you try once more to fool your friends with lies.
Survive the Internet leads the pack of newcomers, letting you twist your pals’ faux online comments, while Monster Seeking Monster is a dating game… about super-powered freaks. Bracketeering, meanwhile, has you place “smart bets on stupid arguments,” and Civic Doodle is a competitive drawing game that uses your phone or tablet. It’s five games for between two and 16 players, all for $25. Nice.
High Hell ($10)
Devolver Digital publishes some of the most weirdly wonderful games today, from Hotline Miami to Dropsy, and High Hell seems to continue that traditional well. It’s a first-person shooter, albeit one with a stark neon look, boxy enemies in suits, a pulsing soundtrack, and some odd sights along the way.
You’ll drop into the skyscraper of a criminal organization to destroy nearly everything in sight, whether it’s bad guys or drug money—but you’ll save the goats, of course. You can play tactically or just run headlong into every battle, with run-and-gun blasting seeming like the more thrilling option of the two. It’s pegged as being short but sweet, with the Steam listing claiming a 1-2 hour campaign.
Helicopter combat simulations might seem cool, but it isn’t exactly a bustling game genre these days. Heliborne aims to fill that obvious gap. It offers up more than 40 realistic helicopters to command, ranging from 1950s classics to modern-day options, and you’ll take the stick as you battle through real-world skirmishes in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan.
Beyond single-player and cooperative modes, you can also hop online for 16-player competitive battles in multiple modes, and the game can be controlled via gamepad, keyboard and mouse, or even a flight stick. Games like this are typically pretty niche in appeal, but Heliborne seems to be finding a pretty sizeable audience on Steam so far, with “Very Positive” user reviews overall.
The Signal from Tölva ($20)
If you’re in the mood to explore a big, beautiful planet—and then blast through a bunch of robots along the way—then you might find your destination in The Signal from Tölva. Tölva is the planet in question, and it’s a “hand-crafted, hand-painted world” filled with warring ‘bots on various sides of the battle. And you can reprogram and recruit them for your own needs.
The Signal from Tölva swaps between quiet exploration and tense combat amidst a cool sci-fi universe, but reviews have been a bit mixed, with some claiming that the game can be plodding and sometimes tedious. But it sounds intriguing, at least, plus it’s half-off on Steam through the end of October. Tölva might be worth the trip.