Many of us in the United States and Canada get a three-day weekend this weekend, thanks to Labo(u)r Day - the first Monday in September, when we celebrate and recognize the worker. For many of us it's the functional end of summer, as we go back to school or end our summer breaks and get back to work. But the rule of the day - and preferably the weekend, if you can manage it, is to enjoy as much idle time as possible. Here are five newer Mac games to help entertain you this weekend.
Released this week for Mac by Aspyr, BioShock Infinite is the third installment of the BioShock first person shooter franchise. This game pulls you in an entirely different direction from the first two, which took place in an undersea installation in the mid-20th century. BioShock Infinite brings you back to the beginning of the 20th century and introduces you to an alternate world where "quantum levitation" technology has given rise to a floating city called Columbia, once a powerful symbol of American technological prowess, now shunned after a shameful international incident.
You're Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent hired to find a mysterious young woman with strange powers named Elizabeth. You become involved with intrigue between the different factions vying for control of Columbia as you learn more about Elizabeth and how Columbia itself may be affecting the future of the world.
I'm bound to be criticized for including this here, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it. Maxis' SimCity is the long-awaited reboot of the city building strategy game that put designer Will Wright on the map. This game's been completely reinvented for the modern age by thoroughly incorporating online elements - in fact, an online connection is required to play the game (and that has as much to do with trying to stop piracy as it is with the social aspects of the game). (No online subscription fee is incurred for the game, though, just the price of buying it.)
SimCity for the Mac just launched this week after a rough launch on the PC earlier this year and a decision to push back the Mac release from June to August. What's worse, Mac users had a lot of trouble downloading SimCity from EA's servers during the first few hours, but those problems have been corrected as we posted this.
Double Fine Productions finally saw fit to get their Mac version of this game which first appeared for consoles up on the Mac App Store this August, after a debut earlier this year as part of a Humble Bundle deal. Better late than never - Brütal Legend is a hilarious and bombastic action-adventure game that's certainly worth your time and money. If you've avoided it up to now, check it out.
Voiced by actor/musician Jack Black, Eddie Riggs is our protagonist - a rock-loving roadie who finds himself transported into a fantasy world of heavy metal. Armed with his Flying V guitar, named Clementine, and driving a hot rod, Riggs discovers his axe has magical powers in this fantasy kingdom. It's an open world game - you can go where you want, and participate in missions that advance the story or just side missions to entertain you.
The game includes voice cameos from some of the biggest legends in metal, like Lemmy Kilmister, Rob Halford, Lita Ford and others. It also has a metal soundtrack that includes stuff from the 70s on up - 108 songs from 75 bands spanning the entire era.
If solo card games are more your style, GRL Games' Full Deck Solitaire may be more what you're looking for. A free download, Full Deck Solitaire has an in-app purchase that unlocks additional games and features, but it only costs $1.99. This isn't a new release, but it's one of the most popular free-to-download games on the Mac App Store, and it was recently updated with new features.
The game tracks statistics about how many hours you've paid, how many games you've won and your highest score. It incorporate a three-level hint system for when you get stuck, and sport some nifty features like an animated video background of a night view of the ocean under a full moon.
The basic download gets you the classic Klondike, Free Cell, Forty Thieves and many other well known and loved solitaire games; $1.99 gets you "Game Pack One," which adds a number of other solitaire variants and two more animated backgrounds.
Settlers of Catan is a bona fide hit board game. Emerging from Germany in 1995, the game focuses on building settlements across an island nation, using cities and roads to connect them through hexagonal tiles.
Catan is the official game version of the board game, published by United Soft Media and developed in collaboration with the board game's original creator, Klaus Teuber. The game features the original "Settlers of Catan" rule set along with two expansions, "Seafarers" and "Cities & Knights." Also included is an editor that lets you make your own maps and scenarios (you can use others' creations too), and a variety of other features.
One downside, though: it's single player only. The game features ten different AI opponents, Game Center support for achievements, but no online game play. Still, if you're trying to scratch that Settlers of Catan itch, this is worth a try.
How are you planning to spend your Labor Day? Going to fire up your Mac for some games, or just fire up the grill instead? Talk to me in the comments.