With the year fast coming to an end, it’s time to reflect on the bests and the worsts of the year, ignoring all the in-betweens that failed to make a dramatic impression one way or other. As new Mac games sometimes slip under the radar, we decided to round up the best Mac games to have come out in 2018, allowing those with the silent squidgy keyboards and the mono-button mice to also enjoy them. (That being said, you should really get a proper mouse if you want to properly enjoy these games.)
The following is our ranked list of the best Mac games of 2018.
Rust feels like it’s been in early access pretty much since the stone age, which is appropriate for a grueling online shooter in which you start off naked with a rock for company and need to scavenge and survive to find your place in the world. The full Mac version only came out in 2018, however, so in the interest of including a shooter in this list, Rust makes the cut.
It’s definitely an acquired taste because it’s demoralising when you spend hours to get to the point of building your first wooden shack, then get shot in the head by a far more experienced player just as you’re about to call it a night on your freshly crafted mattress. It’s the self-organization that makes it really interesting, though, as players can establish settlements, forts, townships, and band together against the more murder-minded folk out there.
It’s a uniquely stark exercise in human cooperation and conflict – a vast lab where anything goes, making it both fascinating and compelling.
From the makers of This War of Mine comes a desperately bleak game that focuses on trying to keep people alive on an Earth that has entered into an unprecedented Ice Age. You build up a city around a solitary heat source in the middle of an ice field, trying to manage food supplies, laws, and morale as the world all around gets colder and colder.
You’ll be forced into making some tough expedient decisions in Frostpunk, such as whether it’s okay to eat the bodies of dead citizens as a food source (sounds practical enough), and just how many people you can afford to sacrifice for the greater good of your society.
FrostPunk receives regular updates, too, and has recently been bolstered with a much-wanted Endless mode.
Incredibly deep and ridiculously satisfying, RimWorld is the latest twist on the Dwarf Fortress formula, where you create a habitat for people, each of whom has a complex hierarchy of needs, desires, and ambitions that you need to carefully manage. If you’ve played Prison Architect, RimWorld feels like a more open iteration of that, set on a distant space colony.
It has a particular focus on emergent storytelling, as your colonists go about their unique lives, working, farming, romancing each other and reproducing. Out of this emerge endless narrative opportunities, such as the option to build a militaristic society where only the toughest survive, build sacrificial altars, and fighting off all kinds of threats from wild animals to robotic invaders.
Rimworld can take a while to get into, but once you’re in it, it feels like the rabbit-hole of possibilities is endless.
2. Dead Cells
Moving away from the aloof matter of people management, Dead Cells is a retro-tinged zoom-in on pitch-perfect action. Part Metroidvania, part rogue-like, Dead Cells sends you on run after run through a vibrant world, combining weapons to vicious effect and becoming more and more proficient with your speed attacks and dodge-rolls. It’s tough, but it’s the kind of tough where you know you’ve only yourself to blame when things go wrong. Maximum concentration is required.
At a glance, Dead Cells may look very much in the style of a lot of 2D indie games, but it’s more than that. The precision in combat, steady exposition of new routes and secrets, and the incredible flow you can establish when you learn the enemies an chop through them with ever-increasing grace, makes this one of the best slashers we’ve played in years.
1. Total War: Warhammer 2
The PC version of Total War: Warhammer 2 made quite a splash when it came out last year, but as usual the Mac version was late to the party and came in through the backdoor. Still, the epic strategy saga is on Mac now, so who are we to complain? Creative Assembly, best known for its historical Total War games, found the perfect combination in marrying its mix of grand strategy and real-time battles with the sprawling grimdark mythos of Warhammer.
This is the kind of game you can sink endless hours into, especially as it stacks with the original Total War: Warhammer, letting you combine all the races and locations of the first game with the second game. Beyond the massive sandbox mode are compelling quests and story-led campaigns for all the Warhammer factions.
It’s a majestic game, but be warned that there’s a lot of paid DLC (and an upcoming third game) that you’ll be compelled to splash out for to have the complete package.
That’s it! Now let the controversy begin. Do you agree with our list? Disagree? Disagree so much that you want to leave a comment to tell us what other games should be in here instead? Go ahead and let us know. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!
Image credit: Concentrated gamer in headphones using computer for playing game by DepositPhotos