We continue our list of the best games for Mac. The next category is:
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead
Where to buy: GOG (£7.99/$11.31), Steam (£7.99/$9.99), Green Man Gaming (£7.99/$9.99), Epic Games (£7.99/$9.99), Mac App Store (£9.99/$9.99)
System requirements: macOS 10.9, Mac with dual-core, 64-bit CPU
Bridge Constructor was first released back in 2013, and challenged players to build bridges across various types of landscape and terrain, and then see what happened when the bridges faced the stress of hundreds of trucks and cars passing over them each day. It's not exactly mass-market action game material, but it did well enough to spawn a couple of sequels - and that's when things started to get a bit interesting.
The Medieval sequel put you in charge of a city under siege, building bridges to carry your troops and supplies, and traps to trick the invading enemies. There was a Portal edition that combined bridge-building with multi-dimensional puzzles, and a Playground edition for younger children. And now the developers at ClockStone have produced a bizarre mash-up that has you building bridges in the world of the Walking Dead TV series.
The world has been overrun with zombies, and you have to build bridges, traps and other structures to help keep your small band of human survivors safe, and to complete missions looking for food and other supplies. To be honest, the game could do with a better tutorial, as I had trouble figuring out how to build even simple bridges at first, but once you get the hang of it, the game's puzzles are really challenging, and it's fun watching hordes of zombies hurtling to their doom as your traps spring into action.
There's also an iOS version of the game - the process is probably more intuitive using touch controls - and a demo version of the original game (and some of the later instalments) on the Mac App Store. Unsurprisingly, the full version of the game is cheaper on stores such as Steam, Epic and GOG.
Faerie Solitaire Remastered
There was a time when the most popular computer game in the world was probably Solitaire, included for free with Microsoft Windows. Things have moved on a bit since then, but there are still many people who find the gentle pace of Solitaire quietly addictive, and the small, independent team of developers at Subsoap have produced a number of card games that bring modern features and ideas to the Solitaire format.
As the name suggests, Faerie Solitaire Remastered is an updated version of an older game that Subsoap released a few years ago. The faerie theme is reflected in the cards that you see on your screen, with drawings of dragons, fairies and other mystical creatures. However, there are also fantasy elements in the game itself, such as ice walls that block cards until you locate a fire card. You can also earn bonuses as you complete each game, such as the ability to flip over some hidden cards in the stacks, or even raise a little magical pet.
Faerie Solitaire Remastered follows the same basic rules as conventional solitaire - with the additional of a little bit of magic - but Subsoap also makes another game, called Faerie Solitaire Harvest, which is a match-two game with more extensive sets of skills and abilities that you can learn.
Very much the brainchild of a single man - Jason Roberts, who created the game's hand-drawn artwork over a period of several years - Gorogoa is a unique game that combines dreamlike storytelling with elements of point-and-click adventures, and the spatial illusions and puzzles of Monument Valley.
The game begins with a single panel of animated artwork, as a young boy looks through a window and sees a strange, magical beast wandering through the city below. It's a simple enough beginning, but then things start to go all Inception on you, as you discover that you can click on the window frame and drag it out into a separate panel - like arranging the artwork for a comic book strip - while the view of the city remains in the first panel. The second panel with the window frame now allows you to explore the room around you, and the young boy finds a book that sets him on a quest to help the beast.
Moving the window frame again allows him to 'teleport' down on to the streets, and demonstrates the lateral thinking that you need to solve the game's imaginative puzzles. And, as the story progresses, you can have up to four panels of artwork on the screen at once, giving you great freedom to combine objects, or move from one location to another as you continue your quest.
At £11.39/$14.99, the game's roughly two-hour duration seems fairly expensive, but it's certainly a fascinating challenge for fans of puzzle games - and there's also an iOS version for £4.99/$4.99.
I'm old enough to remember the thrill I got from early 3D games such as Knight Lore and Head Over Heels that were released on the ZX Spectrum back in the 80s. And so, it seems, is Gareth Noyce, the lead designer of indie games developer Triple Eh? In fact, the (at the time) 11-year-old Gareth was even brainy enough to design his own levels for Head Over Heels during his summer holidays.
A few years ago he found himself wondering what would happen if you could design one of those old-school 3D games with the full power of a modern graphics card behind it. The result is Lumo, a game that combines the puzzles and platform action of those old '80s games with modern 3D graphics and lighting effects.
The game's hero - complete with pointy wizard hat - looks like he's been lifted straight from an 80s video game as he runs and jumps through more than 400 rooms full of spiky traps, flame-throwers and platform puzzles. There are also nods towards other classic games, including a level that looks just like the classic Marble Madness, and a sequence where you jump over rolling barrels borrowed from Donkey Kong.
If you're too young to have enjoyed those old classics then you'll be pleased to discover that the game starts gently, with a few rooms that introduce the basics of movement and puzzle-solving to help you pick up the basics. You can also play the game in either Adventure mode, which gives you infinite lives, or stick with the tougher Old-School mode, which has a time limit and a set number of lives for us hardened old-timers.
Machinarium is a charming, old-fashioned point-and-click adventure full of puzzles. You're cast as an adorable little robot who must find his way back home, rescue his girlfriend and stop a gang of robot hoodlums setting off a bomb.
The beautiful, well-realised setting is a steampunk robot world where the inhabitants speak in thought balloons and pantomime. It's an immersive experience and the haunting music and sound effects are wonderful.
It may remind you of Pixar's animated film Wall-E, but Machinarium doesn't suffer from the comparison.
Almost unclassifiable in normal gaming terms - we've put it with the puzzlers, although it's really a bizarre take on the classic worker simulation - Papers, Please sees you taking up the post of border control in an authoritarian regime. Which is certainly a novel idea for a game.
People enter your booth and present their papers; it's your job to figure out if they can be allowed in. If you spot an irregularity in their paperwork, deny them entry. If their sob story touches your heartstrings, let them in. But if you let through too many dodgy types, or work too slowly, the money you earn will take a dip, and your family need to eat.
Papers, Please is a quirky, interesting game set in a truly novel (and utterly bleak) environment. And while the level of profundity is debatable, there's definitely more going on here than in your average worker sim.
Read the full Papers, Please for Mac review
Portal came out of nowhere to dazzle gamers with its mind-bendingly fiendish puzzles back in 2007, and this sequel is even more challenging. You return to the Aperture Science Labs and find yourself once again trapped in a maze of interconnected rooms controlled by the murderous GLaDOS computer system.
The basic formula remains the same, so you have to escape from the lab by using special weapons that create dimension-twisting portals - create a portal in the wall in front of you and you may find yourself stepping through into a room that's actually behind you. There are, however, a number of new elements that make this sequel even more intriguing, such as a co-op mode that allows you to work alongside a friend, and a more developed story line that starts to explain how this situation actually got started.
Company: Superhot Team
Where to buy: Steam (£17.99/$24.99), Green Man Gaming (£17.99/$24.99), Mac App Store (£23.99/$24.99)
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.9, 2.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor, discrete graphics card with 1GB VRAM
The full-blown virtual reality version of Superhot doesn't run on Macs - it's embarrassing, and Apple really needs to get to grips with VR sometime in the next decade or so - but, fortunately, there is a conventional 3D version available as well.
Superhot has a fairly basic story, apparently involving hacking and artificial intelligence, but that's really just a way of linking together a series of otherwise unrelated levels that provide with you a constant flow of bad guys to shoot and puzzles to solve. The puzzle-solving element is a really clever variation on the slow-motion 'bullet time' mechanic from the Matrix films. Bullet-time has been done to death in many games, of course, but Superhot adds another dimension to the time-shifting shooting action, as the speed at which time passes depends on how fast you're moving. If you stand still then time slows to a crawl, allowing you to easily dodge hails of incoming bullets. However, there will be times when you do need to move - to grab another weapon, or simply to escape to the next level - and as soon as you start to move your opponents (and their bullets) also start to pick up speed, forcing you to anticipate where they're going to be in a few seconds time.
It's a clever idea, and the way that each level is designed means that Superhot often has the feel of a logic-bending puzzle game like Portal, with the shoot 'em up action - and frequent, sudden death - adding an extra edge of urgency to the puzzles. Mind you, it does lean very heavily on that one slow-mo trick, and the slim storyline means that Superhot sometimes seems more like a technology demo rather than a fully developed game. Even so, it's one of the smartest shooters we've seen for a while, and who knows - maybe one day we'll be able to play the VR version on the Mac too.
World of Goo
The Mac version of World of Goo is more expensive than the iOS version, so it might be worth checking out that first if you've got an iPhone or iPad. But whatever you play it on, it's a charming and unique game.
You're presented with a series of puzzles that are solved by combining blobs of goo to create various structures such as bridges and towers. Sometimes it's not immediately clear what the puzzle is, so you have to figure that out first and then learn about the properties of different types of goo in order to work out the solution.