With the launch of the Mac App Store (s aapl) earlier today, you might be eager to find out what Mac games are available to waste your precious time. While the choices right now are quite limited (and you can find more engrossing games on the Mac Steam store), there are still some gems out there worthy of attention. Remember to check out our screencast walkthrough of the App Store if you’re not sure how to get these games.
1. The Incident ($2.99)
This game cost me many hours on the iPhone and iPad, and I’ve even spent a little time playing it on the big screen. But of all the iOS to Mac ports, this one is the best because of two things. First, it’s only $2.99. And second, it actually works better with keyboard controls than it does on a touchscreen. Use the arrow keys to move back and forth, and the space bar to jump as you avoid a growing mountain of falling debris. The 8-bit graphics and retro soundtrack give the game a great nostalgic feel for original NES fans.
2. Angry Birds ($4.99)
Who didn’t see this one coming? Despite the fact that Angry Birds’ control scheme doesn’t translate to the desktop quite as nicely as The Incident’s, this is still a very worthwhile port, especially if you’ve yet to experience the game on any other platform, and want to see what all the fuss is about. Gameplay and levels are the same as in the iOS original: You flick birds at structures in an attempt to destroy the pigs that stole your eggs. It only sounds ridiculous if you’ve never played it. Birds are launched using the mouse or trackpad instead of via on-screen touch, which takes some getting used to, but turns out to be almost equally satisfying.
3. Precipice of Darkness ($3.99 per episode)
Penny Arcade is great, in case you weren’t aware, and the game Penny Arcade teamed up with Hothead Games to create is also great. If you’re a fan of Sam & Max, Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island, this is in that vein, and equally entertaining, but with added RPG elements. Episode 1 and 2 of the game are both available on the Mac App Store for $3.99 a piece, but that’s special 50-percent-off launch pricing, so presumably each will cost you $8 when the sale ends. No better reason to buy now, in my opinion.
4. And Yet It Moves ($9.99)
The icon of this game might account for its poor sales performance so far on the Mac App Store, but it’s a mistake to judge this book by its cover. And Yet It Moves received widespread critical acclaim and a number of awards from the gaming community, and for good reason. It’s an innovative platformer with a physics-based twist that looks good and plays even better. You control not only your character, but the entire game world, rotating it left and right to move obstacles and change the way in which you can interact with objects. It’s challenging, but there’s no real penalty for dying and checkpoints are frequent, so it’s not terribly frustrating.
5. Zen Bound 2 ($4.99)
Zen Bound is another game that works best with a touch interface, like Angry Birds, but the Mac port has much to recommend it, including an amazing soundtrack and gorgeous visuals. And although getting used to twisting and turning the 3D wooden shapes in this contemplative puzzler with a mouse or trackpad is a little tricky, once you do get the hang of it you won’t miss the touch interface. Play this one full-screen for a genuinely relaxing experience.
There are other games on the Mac App Store worthy of your attention right now, but these are the standout titles at launch in my opinion. I think it’ll be far more difficult to pare down to such a small list not too long from now, if the iOS App Store’s trajectory is any indication. What are your favorites so far?
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