World Tour is Activision’s response, ported to the Mac by Aspyr, and in
most respects, it rocks. You can play lead guitar, plus lay down bass
grooves, pound on the drums, or steal all the glory as the lead singer.
Unfortunately, you’ve got to bring your own USB instruments--but we’ll
get to that a little later.
The name might remind you of an unpleasant side effect of drinking the
water in Mexico, but this Zuma’s Revenge won’t make you run for the
bathroom. Instead, you’ll be glued to your chair, clicking away at
ever-harder levels in four fun game modes.
Spore’s first true expansion pack--and we’re not counting the weak Creepy & Cute, an assortment of extra body parts--fundamentally
changes the game. In the original Spore’s final stage, you’re bound to
a spaceship, but Galactic Adventures lets you park on planets and
stretch your legs. These away missions beget a whole new universe of
gameplay, including combat-based action sequences and story-driven
adventures heretofore unseen in Spore. Unfortunately, the quality of
these tweaks is just as open-ended, often resulting in frustration and
Beyond the Sword is the Costco of expansion packs: You’ll get more than
you asked for, and for a really top-notch experience, you’ll have to
suss out pockets of quality rather than stuffing yourself with sheer
quantity. There’s a lot going on in this game--and there’s a lot to
Combining elements from Zuma and Breakout, Luxor has you firing your
own colored balls at advancing chains of other colored balls. You’re
trying to remove balls from the chain by matching three or more of the
same color. The chains move along tracks that twist and turn and double
over each other, so you can’t always get a clear shot. And if you don’t
clear them fast enough, they reach the end of the track--and you lose.
A triumph of game design, Braid mixes 2D platforming gameplay,
ingeniously crafted puzzles, time manipulation, and a melancholy story
open to multiple interpretations, beautifully packaged in stunning
hand-painted artwork. It’s not an incredibly long game, it doesn’t have
a multiplayer mode or online play, but what’s here is more than enough
to suck you in, keep you engrossed, and make you really use your brain.
Taito’s Bust-a-Move, also known in Japan as Puzzle Bobble, resembles
the 1996 Mac puzzle game Snood. You fire colored balls at a puzzle of
colored balls, trying to match three and make them disappear. The balls
gradually move down the screen, and if they reach the bottom before you
clear the board, you lose.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince places you in Harry’s robes as
he progresses through his sixth year at the famous wizardry school,
Hogwarts. At its core, Half-Blood Prince is basically a well-polished
minigame collection with flashy franchise backing. The graphics aren’t
terrible, especially when bumped up to the highest resolution, though
they may seem a tad dated. The terrific music is pulled straight from
Pipe Mania doesn’t refer to a new kind of drug epidemic or burgeoning
fad that has hipsters accessorizing with corncob pipes. It’s a classic
puzzle game, first developed 20 years ago for the Amiga, and recently
released for the Mac and iPhone by Virtual Programming. But even now,
it’s got druglike addictiveness plus retro cool.