August's Mac games
Some months can be pretty slow for new Mac games, but thankfully, August 2018 wasn’t one of them. Our starter list for this month’s roundup was more than double this size, and by the time it was all said and done, we had a strong list of critically acclaimed indie gems, bigger-budget crowd-pleasers, and other offbeat curios in the mix.
Into the Breach and Dead Cells, two of the year’s best-reviewed games on any platform, lead this month’s list, while other picks like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, Donut County, and Two Point Hospital are sure to find fans. On the hunt for a new Mac game to play? Flip through the slides ahead for some of August’s biggest releases, and check out July’s list if you need additional options.
Into the Breach ($15)
One of the year’s best-reviewed PC games made the move over to Mac this month, which means we can finally savor the game that our sister site PCWorld described as “chess meets Starship Troopers.” Into the Breach is the latest game from FTL: Faster Than Light creator Subset Games, and while that might seem like a tough act to follow, they’ve more than lived up to the challenge.
Into the Breach is a turn-based tactical strategy game that finds you maneuvering massive mechs around a grid to defeat alien invaders, packing in some unique twists along with a sharp 16-bit pixel aesthetic. Tactics games can often feel like laborious time sinks, but as PCWorld points out, Into the Breach maintains complexity while keeping things compact and approachable. You can buy it on Steam or GOG.com.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($40)
The licensed LEGO games are often worth a whirl for a bit of smash-and-bash fun, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 seems to fit that bill once again. At its core, this action game doesn’t deviate much from the formula: You play as beloved characters, enter faux-plastic levels based on classic comics, and pummel foes and objects while collecting loot.
Even so, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 goes beyond the usual Avengers-centric fare, tossing in characters like Spider-Man 2099 (and Spider-Ham, too), the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain Marvel in a quest spanning a wide array of locales. That said, there are bonus add-on packs that bring in movie-themed content from the likes of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War as well. You can buy it on Steam or from Feral Interactive.
Dead Cells ($25)
We highlighted Dead Cells back when the Early Access version hit Mac in June, but given this month’s full v1.0 release and the largely rapturous acclaim surrounding it, we figured it was worth doing so again. Dead Cells takes its cues from classic Metroid and Castlevania side-scrolling quests, but amps up the action with intense, fast-paced combat.
Into the Breach is almost the year’s best-reviewed PC game to date, but Dead Cells actually tops that list—and the full release is on Mac day-and-date with Windows. The “rogue-lite” approach means the game’s randomized nature provides extensive replay value, while the interconnected world provides plenty of incentive to explore. It’s tough but satisfying, and you can buy it on Steam and GOG.com.
Donut County ($13)
With great power comes great responsibility, of course… but when BK the raccoon gained the power to control an ever-growing hole in the ground that swallows up everything in sight, he neglected to consider his duties towards his fellow citizens. Now the entire city and its inhabitants have fallen underground. Welcome to Donut County.
This long-in-the-works indie game has you control the actual hole as you suck down everyday objects, people, animals, cars, homes, and plenty more, all while solving some light puzzles along the way. It has a Katamari Damacy-like appeal with its cartoonish anarchy and goofy humor, and should keep a smile on your face all the while. You can buy it on Steam and GOG.com, plus an iOS version is available for just $5.
Two Point Hospital ($35)
Nobody really wants to spend time at a hospital, but you might change your tune for Two Point Hospital. Sega’s latest simulation is a spiritual successor to 1997’s classic Theme Hospital (available on GOG.com), with some of the same developers behind the scenes, and it puts an updated spin on the concept of creating and maintaining your own medical center, complete with some hilarious twists.
Two Point Hospital charges you with creating your hospital and then getting to work helping the people—even those suffering from “Cubism.” You’ll need to install various elaborate machines to try to cure patients and potentially contend with pandemics as well. All the while, you can expand the facility, train your staff, and make various improvements while trying to keep everything up and running. You can buy it on Steam.
Evergarden hails from Flippfly, the team behind the thrilling Race the Sun, but it’s a decidedly much more chill experience. This grid-based puzzler has a bit of a Threes bent to it in that you’re gradually combining smaller things to create larger ones—but instead of adding up numbers, you’ll merge together similar-sized flowers to create much more elaborate plants.
This ethereal experience quickly builds upon that concept, however, introducing a fox pal with certain demands and bringing in other nuances as you play. And all the while, amidst the dreamy graphics and music, it tells a story as well. It’s also available on iOS at one-third of the price, however, and seems to have drawn more attention there. You can buy the Mac version on Steam.
Airships: Conquer the Skies ($15)
If you ever dreamed of crafting your own steampunk airship, taking to the skies, and blasting rivals back to the earth below, then we have the perfect game for you. Airships: Conquer the Skies delivers on that exact premise, allowing you to assemble various pieces to build your floating fortress and then wage war against other players’ creations.
Conquer the Skies has a pretty simplistic, lo-fi 2D aesthetic, but that allows for vast, complex creations that you’ll also take into battle against a “giant aerial kraken” and “clockwork wasps.” And clearly, the concept has resonated with people: Airships, which just exited Early Access, has a rare “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating from Steam users. You can buy it on both Steam and GOG.com.
Overcooked! 2 ($25)
Working in a restaurant kitchen can be a grueling job, but like the original, Overcooked! 2 opts to make a silly multiplayer game out of the experience. As before, up to four players can work together to fulfil orders and cook up dishes, and the sequel looks to maintain the same kind of chaotic, cartoonish charm that made the first game a buzzed-about cooperative gem.
Overcooked! 2 doesn’t seem to deviate too much from the formula, although the addition of a throw button shakes things up while amplifying the calamity. Add in new locales and a fresh enemy, the zombie-like Unbread, and Overcooked! 2 seems primed to keep the laughs coming whether you’re playing online or in the same room with pals. You can buy it on Steam.
The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game ($8+)
There have been many different Lord of the Rings video games over the years, but Living Card Game is something new for the franchise: a collectable card-battler. That said, a fantasy-themed card game is hardly fresh territory on Mac, with Blizzard’s Hearthstone ruling the roost and Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Legends putting up a strong fight.
What makes Living Card Game distinct, then? Well, the Tolkien license is certainly a good place to start, with hand-drawn artwork from all across the franchise, and hopefully the quests and mechanics build from that foundation. It’s in Early Access now, and while the eventual full version of the game will be free-to-play, you currently have to buy a founder’s pack of cards between $8 and $48 to get started. Also note that early Steam user reviews are sharply mixed, so Living Card Game might still need a fair bit of polish. You can buy it on Steam.
Graveyard Keeper ($20)
It’s undeniable: At a glance, Graveyard Keeper looks nearly identical to indie farming smash Stardew Valley, although as the title suggests, it trades in much different subject matter. Rather than tend to a farm, Graveyard Keeper finds you establishing and running your own medieval cemetery, and it has a sense of humor about what that should entail.
Sure, you can dig holes and drop bodies in them, but where’s the fun in that? Among other things, Graveyard Keeper lets you dump wrapped bodies into the river, grind up bodies for burger meat to sell to the locals, and explore dungeons in search of precious alchemy ingredients. While the game seems to have a lot of players, many of the Steam reviews suggest that the quality is still a bit spotty right now. If you want to give it a shot, though, you can buy it on Steam and GOG.com.
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