Gamers tend to think of the Mac as an under-served platform, and in many ways that perception is justified. While a lot of AAA titles do find their way to the Mac, they’re often long delayed, and delays in an industry like gaming that’s so predicated on zeitgeist hype and what’s hot now can be fatal.
But the Mac continues to thrive despite these difficulties, and independent creators are increasingly finding homes for their projects on the platform gamers for years have thought of as the PC’s little brother. These are some of the best of the best dropping in 2017.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
#PlanescapeTorment is one of the games I remember most fondly from my first days exploring computer role-playing games, so naturally I was quick to jump on the #TormentTidesOfNumenera band wagon. A spiritual successor to the isometric, dimension-hopping Infinity Engine classic, Torment is the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign by #inXileEntertainment and tabletop RPG legend Monte Cook, who created its universe (the eponymous Numenera).
You play a being who is born falling from orbit, the former host for an entity called the Changing God. Not unlike the Planescape setting, Numenera promises to be a surreal, bizarre, and wildly varied setting, populated by strange beasts and powerful magic.
It promises a rich combat experience that combines puzzle elements with typical hack and slashing, and big, spectacular set-pieces to add drama to its deeply personal narrative. With its pedigree and all the creative inspiration of its forebearer, Tides of Numenera is brimming with potential and props up a genre that rarely appears on Mac.
7 Days to Die
One of the best and most fully featured survival crafting games to appear on PC in the last few years, #7DaysToDie will finally make a long overdue appearance on Mac in 2017. Tasking players to survive in a brutal post-apocalypse seething with the living dead, 7 Days to Die makes the most of its fully destructible world with over 400 crafting recipes, from vehicles to tools to clothing and weapons.
The undead are voracious and plentiful, but players have a broad arsenal of traps and tricks to draw from to defend their makeshift fortresses. Spike pits and barbed wire fences can be used to funnel zombies into kill zones, and landmines and TNT can be employed to devastating effect to finish them off.
Of course, rifles, nailguns, chainsaws and all the other diverse weaponry in 7 Days to Die’s arsenal help too, and the variety of construction materials allows for nearly impregnable strongholds.
Featuring a charming cel-shaded art style reminiscent of a number of recent indie games, #Before is a game about guiding a prehistoric tribe to safety and prosperity through the earliest years of its existence.
Part survival game, part social simulator, Before will allow players to customize their tribes with unique attributes, and individual members of the tribe will have traits, both positive or negative, that affect their abilities and how they interact with others.
Harrying your tribe as it struggles to settle are a number of beautiful rendered wild beasts, from raging brown bears to stampeding mammoths. Balancing internal and external needs/conflict while also managing gathering, breeding, and crafting will make up the core loop of Before’s gameplay, and promises to be an interesting juggling act rarely explored in the survival genre.
Tactical mech combat is finally returning to the Mac in the form of returning classic #Battletech. Originally developed as a tabletop property back in the 80s and 90s, creator Jordan Weisman and his studio #HarebrainedSchemes are resurrecting it for digital platforms, promising the turn-based strategic combat and distinctive, gritty mech design that made the original a favorite amongst wargamers and sci-fi fans.
Set in the 31st century, Battletech will pit players against each other in PvP multiplayer or against the AI in a sprawling story-driven campaign. Set amongst the stars in the Inner Sphere universe made famous by the #MechWarrior games, the Battletech campaign tells the story of warring noble houses and fallen empires, all enforcing their will by means of massive bipedal tanks and the giant spacecraft that transport them.