Last year we started covering games, and we’ve seen a lot of great games on every platform we cover here at Macgasm. Though this may have been the year of the freemium, it still seems like gaming is growing on Apple’s platforms. This list is only some of the notable and great games we’ve reviewed, you should make sure that you go back and see all the great games we’ve play and shared with you.
Rogue Legacy- Mac
Rogue Legacy was the sort of game that shows exactly how crazy indie developers can get without the constraints of appealing to a wider audience. Rouge Legacy combines a roguelike with a side scrolling action game. The game’s environments channel Castlevania with a sprawling castle full of beasties. The castle is broken up into five areas each with their own boss. Whereas most roguelikes reset your progress when you die, if you beat one of the bosess in Rouge Legacy, they stay dead. However, once you die the castle rearranges itself.
The most intriguing part of Rouge Legacy is the way your new characters are generated. Each new character is a descendant of the last, with a random choice of classes, spells, and traits. Sometimes these traits come in handy, like extra tall, or can’t be knocked back. Others are just weird, like color blindness, or near sightedness. The game has a unique charm, one that keeps you playing the game. This isn’t going to be the game that you tear through in a long weekend, instead this is a great game to play through in a series of hours here and there.
What’s Good: A great combination of genres, with a good hook to keep you engaged for hours.
What Sucks: Sometimes when the three random characters come up, none are useful. Game can feel pretty overwhelming early on.
Buy it?: If the idea of a really retro, and difficult, gaming experience appeals to you; grab it for $14.99 on Amazon. (As long as you grab the Steam copy, you will get the Mac version as well as the PC version of the game.)
Cookie Clicker – Web
Web games have mostly moved onto Facebook and lost a lot of the weird spark of creativity that fueled the early days of Flash and Java games. Cookie Clicker is demented in a totally unique way. You take the role of a nameless baker who creates cookies by clicking. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but like all industrialists, you seek to automate the process. It begins by enslaving the world’s grandmothers, and it ends when you begin harvesting antimatter to create cookies.
You begin to realize just how horrible the reality you create is as you watch the news scroll by. You’ve exploited the entire universe for the sake of creating more cookies. The game relies on being run in the background for you to really generate cookies, as you use these to purchase your bigger and better means of production. Really the game’s biggest drawback is that the game is limited to the Web on a PC.
What’s Good: The game’s odd mechanics combine with a variety of production methods and upgrades to unlock elevate this time waster to guilty pleasure.
What Sucks: There isn’t a lot of variety, if the base mechanics don’t interest you there isn’t any reason to stick around.
Buy it?: Give Cookie Clicker a try on its website.
Candy Crush – iPhone
Okay so this one may make more than a few people roll their eyes at the idea that King’s freemium juggernaut could be a game of the year contender on any platform. However, this game has managed to capture a cross section of the population in a way that few other games have. Unlike Farmville, which seemed to snag relatives who were not averse to spamming on Facebook, Candy Crush seems to grab hardcore puzzle gamers just as much as it grabbed casual players.
The key to the game’s broad appeal is that it has the freemium trappings of the casual titles: metered playtime unless you pay, and pay to unlock levels and power-ups. On the other hand, the game’s stages take real strategy to complete without power ups. This is likely the draw for more hardcore players. On the iPhone the game still manages to be ridiculously addictive, and though the game came out near the end of 2012, this year was the game’s coming out party. It’s managed to be a sticky game, and sticks around on the iPhone long after a lot of other games have been deleted.
What’s Good: Broad base appeal, a lot of content, and well designed stages.
What Sucks: There are a few places where your only choices are paying up or spamming your friends.
Buy it?: If you like puzzle games or a casual title, grab Candy Crush for free at this website.
X-Com: Enemy Within – iPad
If you complain about the lack of hardcore games on the iPad and balked at X-Com’s twenty dollar price tag, you’re part of the problem. No this isn’t an attempt to make up for the blatant play for the casuals in the last selection, this truly was the best game on the iPad. The game has almost endless replay-ability, and has multiplayer after a recent update. This was almost a straight port of the console and PC version of the game, but with optimized controls. So if you skipped this game earlier this year, there’s even more game waiting for you.
X-Com was the reboot of a classic strategy franchise, where you take the role of a general defending Earth against an alien invasion. You create a team of troops and customize their abilities and equipment, but when they die, they die. This can make a near loss mission just as bad as a failure, and you will find yourself replaying missions over and over trying to get all of your troops out. Later on in the game you can get drones and jetpacks, adding to the variety of strategies you can use.
What’s Good: Excellent port of a console game. Really engaging engine and design, a lot of customization allows for wildly different experiences for each player.
What Sucks: Takes time to load, will chew your battery up and leave it for dead without a lot of effort.
Buy it?: Yes this is twenty dollars, and yes you should buy it. If you want to see something more than freemium casual games from the big publishers, this is the type of game you need to buy. Grab it on the App Store. Did you get it yet? If you prefer a Mac option, grab it here.