Gaming on a Mac is becoming better with time, thanks to Steam and the Mac App Store, but finding the best games is still more of a chore than it should be.
This indie cross-platform RPG takes an irreverent look at the genre. The main character, Deathspank, is your typical brawny action hero infused with a generous dose of irony. Don’t expect much in the way of character development or a story, but do expect lots of witty dialogue.
Even if the comedic value of this game doesn’t tickle your fancy you’ll likely find something to love in the gameplay. It’s typical action-RPG fare, but solidly executed and overlaid with colorful graphics. The light-hearted tone of the game makes this an easy title to jump in and play.
I love this game. It’s essentially an old-school role-playing game that’s been built with modern graphics and production values. The combat replicates the excellent pause-based conflicts found in games old Infinity Engine RPGs like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. Players who enjoy deep, cerebral encounters will find this title to be an excellent break from the fast pace of action-RPG.
This is a Bioware title, so the story is one of the game’s strongest points. It’s not terribly unique – there’s a big threat and you have to save the world – but the details are strong. The non-player characters that can join you on your journey are awesome and the various villages and locations you visit have their own character.
Another title strong on comedic value, Dungeons of Dredmor is an indie rogue-like that pits you against a dungeon of unspeakable horror and danger. Rather than getting all teary-eye about it, the game takes pleasure in your pain, offering humorous encounters that often end with vicious swiftness (and your character’s permanent death).
As with all rogue-likes, Dungeons of Dredmor is not an easy game. Difficulty is part of the genre. There’s a lot to learn and combat is often tilted against you in a way that seems unfair. If this sounds frustrating, this game isn’t for you – but those who enjoy such challenges will find Dungeons of Dredmor to be among the best rogue-likes for the Mac.
Like Dragon Age: Origins, this Eschalon is homage to old-school RPGs. Unlike that title, Eschalon doesn’t try to update the genre to modern standards. Instead it offers a straight reproduction of such titles. This means there are a lot of character options, an epic story and tons of quests to complete.
Because this is an indie labor of love the graphics are not amazing, but the other side of that coin is the fact the game will play well on any modern MacBook. What the title lacks in production value it makes up with in charm. There’s a lot of attention to detail here including gobs of items, nasty dungeons and a day/night cycle that’s important to gameplay.
The Lego series of games have taken the gaming world by storm, and for good reason. They’re pure family-friendly fun and feature mechanics that feel distinctly old-school yet also modern. Some would argue that they’re adventure games more than RPGs. Point taken, but honestly, there’s simply not enough good RPGs for Mac to justify excluding this title.
Lego Star Wars is just the tip of the iceberg. If you like this you can also buy Lego Harry Potter, Lego Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Lego Indiana Jones. They’re all fun games for the same reasons – great puzzles, entertaining (if not difficult) combat and unique graphics.
Neverwinter Nights is the least critically acclaimed series to ever come from Bioware. But a so-so Bioware game is still better than most, so Neverwinter Nights 2 is worth a look.
The gameplay is best described as computerized dungeons-and-dragons lite. The D&D 3.5 rulest is used, but unlike some other games built with the same rules, Neverwinter Nights 2 does not feel strategic. Instead it seems to lean more towards action-RPG, though you still form a party and still have to pay attention to the abilities each NPC brings to your team.
Unlike many RPGS, this game includes multi-player. I’m not sure how robust the community is, however, so don’t buy it for that reason alone.
The Witcher seemed to come out of nowhere when it was released in 2007. The developer was not well known and the franchise was new. Despite this, the game went on to win numerous RPG of the year awards. Its secret to success was a combination of challenging combat, a strong main character and moral choices that had a real impact on the story.
Such a great game deserves to be re-visited. The developers have made that easy to do by giving it another layer of polish. Dialogue has been re-recorded, cut scenes have been improved with new animations and under-the-hood changes have improved load times and squashed a few remaining bugs.
Torchlight is arguably the best action-RPG that doesn’t have “Diablo” in the title. In fact, it’s an even purer distillation of the concept than Blizzard’s titan. The story? Well, there’s a bad guy and you have to go defeat him before something bad happens. The gameplay? Freakin’ awesome.
It’s not just the smooth combat and awesome attack powers that make Torchlight a blast to play. The game also includes excellent character customization and a wide variety of opponents with different powers and abilities. While it starts off easy, the game can be challenging near its end, demanding a combination of fast reflexes and strategy.
Ah, yes – the obligatory World of Warcraft mention. You probably already know about this game and the fact that it runs on Mac, but there’s a chance you haven’t yet given it a shot.
You should. The game’s popularity is not without reason and it’s easier to jump into now than ever before thanks to a brief free trial. While World of Warcraft is no longer the leader in some areas, the sheer volume of content is astounding and the simple-yet-entertaining graphics aren’t overly harsh on the capabilities of your typical MacBook.
You can play the game for free up to level 20. After that you can purchase the Battle Chest, which includes the first expansion, for $19.99.
The selection of RPG games for the Mac is tighter than many other genres. I had to search a fair bit to find 10 games that I thought were worthy of a 10-best list. What do you think? Is there an RPG game you love playing on your MacBook that didn’t appear here? Let us know in the comments.
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