Pixowl’s pixel art game, The Sandbox, has won a bevy of awards from Apple since its introduction in the App Store in May of 2012, and garnered 6.8 million downloads across iOS and Android. Apple has featured the game with three titles, Best of World-Building Games, Best of Games 2012: Hidden Gems, and Top Games – If You Like Minecraft.
The release onto Mac brings this fantastic, engrossing game to the mouse and keyboard set, guaranteeing a good time on a bigger screen. Just like the mobile version, you’ll learn the tools available to you to mix, match, and create all sorts of things. Then you’ll share them with the world via The Sandbox’s own online Gallery, which you can browse for inspiration. It’s amazing what folks can do with this little game.
Here at Cult of Mac, we’re just starting our coverage of iOS and Mac games, as our fearless leader Leander told you in the publisher’s letter for the inaugural edition of our Newsstand magazine.
Since we’re just starting up, it’s pretty easy to get our attention when it comes to promotional emails and review requests. While we can’t review all the games we’re sent, we do read all the promotional emails that you’re sending our way.
Even still, we’d be lucky to review even a minuscule percentage of games we get requests for, so there are a few things that you can do to guarantee that we’ll take a closer look. There are a few more than you can do to make sure we don’t look much closer, too.
Here’s a list of both extremes, to help guide you on your way to getting coverage on Cult of Mac.
In case you’re not from around here, you should know that I’m a huge fan of Scottish game developer Lucky Frame, what with their weird, wonderful visual and musical sensibilities that result in games like Pugs Luv Beats and Gentlemen!, a Victorian-themed Joust-like game.
They’ve just announced that one of their most award-winning games, Bad Hotel, is coming to the Mac and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.
Hidden object games don’t usually catch my fancy, to be honest. I’ve never been a big fan of the mechanics, which typically require you to find objects to then reveal other objects, which can then be combined to become actual useful objects. I’ve also never been too taken by the typical romanticized story lines, either.
Pahelika: Secret Legends by Ironcode Gaming Category: Mac Games Works With: Mac OS X Price: $4.99
Big Fish’s new game, developed by India-based IronCode Games, Pahelika Secret Legends has found a way to convince me otherwise,t hough, and I find myself being drawn back to playing it often. There’s a fairly interesting story, and the puzzles are tough enough to provide a challenge without busting a brain.
If you’re like me and have been ambivalent about trying a game like this out, perhaps this is the one to start with.
The turn-based Space Hulk, set in the Warhammer 40,000 sci-fi universe, is a re-creation of Games Workshop’s original two-player Space Hulk board game, itself released in 1989. The new digital version is similar in many ways to the board game, with two-player tactical claustrophobia as a main focus.
The launch of the digital game was a bit rough, however, with lots of bugs and room for improvement. So the team decided to improve the game, squash the bugs, and–as a big “thank you” for the patience of its fans–has released a new three-mission campaign for free.
Robot Loves Kitty is the husband and wife team that lived in a treehouse to save money while they ran a Kickstarter project for the game that became Legend of Dungeon.
It’s out now on Mac, PC, and Linux, and it’s a brilliant combination of high tech, retro-graphics, and a strong sense of irony, not to mention whimsy. When I chatted with Alix Stolzer (Kitty) at PAX this year, she mentioned that she and Caleb Goble (Robot) liked vastly different types of games, so they decided to make one they could play together.
Legend of Dungeon by Robot Loves Kitty Category: Mac Games Works With: OS X Price: $10 for basic game, $15 with soundtrack
From those humble beginnings, they’ve succeeded, at least, in making a game that allows up to four players to explore procedurally generated dungeons together, to fight various monsters, explore environments, and try to stay alive. The game works with keyboard and mouse or console-style controllers, with a real-time battle system. Also, there are funny hats! If you take some time to give this one a play; you won’t be disappointed.
On the other hand, gaming is a massive cultural phenomenon. PAX’s founders, webcomic writers Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, wanted to create a convention that would focus on gamers, whether they play tabletop games, video games, or card games. That there is a massive interest in this convergence of different kinds of gamers, from D&D nerds to arcade geeks, is an understatement, as evidenced by quickly sold-out tickets months in advance of the conference as well as by the huge herds of human beings of all stripe who I saw traipsing from one booth to another this weekend in the Washington State Convention Center.
SEATTLE, PAX 2013 – Picture this: you pull out that old Dance Dance Revolution pad, connect it to your Mac, and then dance your way through procedurally generated dungeons, tapping your feet and bouncing to the beat as you kill monsters, loot chests, and equip yourself with ever more powerful weapons.
Vancouver-based Brace Yourself Games (aka Ryan Clark) has perhaps stumped even the most open minded among us with this new combination, found in upcoming game, Crypt of the NecroDancer.
SEATTLE, PAX 2013 – Robot Loves Kitty is a husband and wife game development team who used to live in a treehouse to save money. They started a Kickstarter hoping to raise just enough money to buy a decent laptop and a copy of Unity to develop the game. They ultimately raised 650 percent of their initial request, making things easier, yet much more complex, than they’d ever planned.
“I can’t believe it’s so popular,” said Alix Stolzer, the wife half of the Robot Loves Kitty development team. She also does some of the artwork, the story, and does PR for the game. The extra funding enabled the team to rent a tiny apartment and pay for internet, but it also requires them to create more features than they initially planned.
SEATTLE, PAX 2013 – We spoke with Josh Glazer, CTO of Naked Sky Entertainment, about the company’s upcoming turn-based tactical game, Backyard Battles. The game, coming to iOS, Android, and the web later this year, pits two teams of children against each other, wielding cardboard tubes, spell books, and their imaginations.
“It’s what kids raised on video games do when they play outside,” said Glazer.