This week saw news of two different Apple Watches on the market, but one isn't available yet, and one was released and was all bought up before most of you even had a chance. Intrigued? You should be. This week also saw what might be the final parting of Apple and Google Maps, and Cupertino partnering with, of all companies, IBM. And Mac continues to heat up as a gaming platform. That and more below the fold.
[UPDATED!] The Mac's never built its reputation on being a gaming machine, but the fact is that it's actually home to a lot of awesome games. From cutting-edge shooters to introspective adventures to retro platformers, there's a fantastic selection of games available from sources like Steam and the Mac App Store. We've put together our newly updated list of the top 25 games that you'd want to fire up and play on Mac today.
Vlambeer specializes in twitchy, arcade-style games that get really hairy (while remaining plenty fun) in a hurry—like iOS greats Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing—and its latest Mac entry, Luftrausers, certainly maintains that philosophy. You'll pilot a tiny plane as enemy craft and carriers launch a barrage of gunfire, zipping about and laying waste to foes while trying to maintain a score-boosting combo streak. And much as the combat itself proves entertaining, it's matched well by an awesome customization system that allows you to swap various parts to create the fighter of your dreams.
Compared to most popular collectible card games, Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is relatively straightforward. Simple rules make it incredibly welcoming to new players, but they also allow for elegant strategies and varied tactical possibilities. Unfortunately, as a free-to-play game, Hearthstone runs into the same problems that have long plagued tabletop card games: it's hard to get worthwhile new cards without breaking the bank.
If the goofy portmanteau of a title—plus the sight of a masked wrestler pummeling demonic creatures—didn't make it clear, then let us assure you: Guacamelee! is indeed a very odd, offbeat game. Styled after Metroid and the modern Castlevania games, this side-scrolling adventure finds you accruing various powers and abilities as you explore its interconnected stages. However, it does so with a ton of humor and panache, and the end result is an entertaining and challenging game that succeeds in part by not taking itself too seriously.
The nuances of Formula One racing are mostly imperceptible to the layman. It's all angular momentum and downforces; a system of geometry, physics, and engineering in which minute adjustments have outsized effects. As a result, a game like F1 2013—the latest of Codemasters’ annual racing series, brought to Mac by Feral Interactive—tends to require technical precision and strict execution.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch reconstructs the tried and true gaming tradition of inescapable challenge in a new, orange cephalopod body – and a three-piece suit. It's exactly as endearing as it sounds, occasional irritating objective aside, delivering a pleasantly confounding stumble through mollusk fatherhood.
Becoming a teenager is never easy, but it's even less so when you've spent your life trapped on a spaceship with Fisher-Price décor and an omniscient, obsessively overprotective mom-puter. And don't even get us started on how tough coming of age can be when you've been selected as your village's maiden sacrifice to a giant, mysterious monster. These predicaments couldn't be more different, and yet they're intertwined in Broken Age, which follows space-boy Shay Volta and sacrifice-girl Vella Tartine through goofy parallel quests to subvert their destinies.
The heroes of The Banner Saga, the debut effort from a three-man upstart called Stoic, are rarely heroic: one is dashed against an outcropping of boulders after he falls off a cliff, while another assaults a young girl and takes an arrow through the eye for his trouble. The backdrop of The Banner Saga may be Armageddon — or Ragnarok, in keeping with the game's Norse theme — but its characters are merely, tragically human.
The Stanley Parable defies description or explanation – not because it outpaces our vocabulary or comprehension, but because saying too much would tarnish part of its mystery and charm. Nevertheless, here goes: The Stanley Parable, designed by Galactic Cafe, is a first-person exploration game set in an abandoned office building. Stanley dutifully plucks away in his cubicle, day in and day out, until the day that every single one of his coworkers inexplicably vanishes. A honey-voiced narrator guides Stanley in his search, alternately directing him toward the truth or complaining when he walks through the wrong door.