Want to know a secret about gift giving? No one cares when you bought the gift. What matters is that the gift is awesome I mean it’s the thought that counts. What matters is that it’s the thought that counts. These Mac games from 2013 will show you put plenty of thought into your gifts, and through the wonders of digital downloads, it won’t matter if you bought them on Cyber Monday or Christmas Eve.
We present the games below—everything from first-person shooters to real time strategy to point and click adventures—with a quick synopsis from each’s review here at Appletell. Although each of these games is available in the Mac App Store, because you can’t gift games directly from there, we’ll point you to the developers’ website so you can choose your digital download option.
This is the third installment in the Bioshock series, but don’t let that deter you from enjoying this game if you haven’t played the first two; Bioshock Infinite has different characters, a separate timeline and a different story from the other two Bioshock games.
All that being said, here’s my general impression of the game: It’s awesome. Playing this game on my 21.5-inch iMac mades me drool. Everything about the game environment is well rendered in fine detail. The animation is flawless. This is definitely one worth the bucks you have to pay for it.
BioShock Infinite is available from Aspyr for $19.99.
Napoleon: Total War Gold Edition
Napoleon: Total War lives up to its title, giving you three different views of battle. You can plan and plot your campaign against an entire continent, recruiting soldiers, fortifying cities, and enhancing trade routes, moving whole armies about like chess pieces. You can take command of your navy, fighting the wind to fire broadsides into enemy ships, and perhaps capturing them. And you can get your hands dirty in the battlefield, meticulously arranging individual units, then improvising wildly once the chaos of war sets in.
The historical campaigns combine with a well-polished interface to create a war game that’s fun to play even if you don’t have a lot of experience with real-time strategy games. Napoleon: Total War has a great sense of history, but an even better sense of fun.
Napoleon: Total War Gold Edition is available from Feral Interactive for $19.99.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition
The story behind XCOM: Enemy Unknown is nothing new. Aliens are invading, the military can’t stop them, so we rely on our top secret military. The game is split into three separate components. You’ve got your strategy section, which is when you recruit and customize soldiers, as well as expand your headquarters and plan your missions. You’ve got your tactical combat, which is when you order your troops around the battlefield all Worms-style, taking out the enemy and accomplishing your objectives. Then, you’ve got your RPG elements, which basically consist of leveling up your soldiers with advanced weapons and abilities.
By releasing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Feral Interactive has provided Mac gamers with one of the most engrossing and entertaining games we’re going to play this year. It clearly illustrates the beauty of turn-based combat while offering enough to keep even the most hard core of action gamers captivated. The good story and solid graphics don’t hurt, either. Give XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition a go, but be prepared to sacrifice many of your summer nights to the aliens.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition is available from Feral Interactive for $49.99.
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is a role-playing game that runs on the second edition rules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (published in 1989), so already we’re chin-deep in the geek swamp here. Combat, character classes, equipment, and level advancement are all based on the paper-and-pencil system. Very little of the actual game has been changed; the graphics are delightfully retro and the central challenge remains. The “enhancements” of the edition come from the inclusion of a new game set in the realm of the drow (“The Black Pit”), expanded classes, subclasses, races, and an increased level cap, along with new party members.
Despite its retro graphics, Baldur’s Gate: the Enhanced Edition remains a challenging and fun game for the RPG enthusiast. Its sprawling story and rich characters combined with an effective, strategic combat system make for a satisfying experience. You’ll spend time building a party of characters you can care about, while carefully exploring every corner of the map, looking for monsters and treasure. All that’s missing is the graph paper and the two liter bottle of Mountain Dew.
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is available from Overhaul Games for $14.99.
Night of the Rabbit
It’s quite possible I’ve never played an adventure game with such charm. Night of the Rabbit looks like the type of warm, gentle, and intelligent cartoon we just don’t get in today’s CGI world of hyperactivity, celebrity egotism, and fart jokes. It plays as if you’re reading a quality children’s book from the days when adults were always presented as the villains (and, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we really are).
That’s not to say adults are the villains of Night of the Rabbit. Rather, lack of imagination is. Complacency is. There are only two days left until our young hero and aspiring magician, Jeremiah Hazelnut, has to go back to school, and what better way to spend it than to go on an adventure? But not even Jerry could have imagined the adventure on which he embarks, which is all the better for us.
The story by developer Matthias Kempke becomes darker and more mature than one would expect, but it’s nothing my 7 and 9 year old children couldn’t handle. Themes such as loyalty, friendship, courage, and emergence from childhood are expected, but the way the game approaches these subjects is quite touching. Night of the Rabbit is a fun story set in a beautiful world in which adventure gamers will be happy to spend their time, with or without children.
Night of the Rabbit from Daedalic Entertainment is available for $9.99 (normally $19.99).