When it comes to personal computers, the Mac has never been known as a gaming heavyweight: Apple doesn't focus on building machines that have the hard-core processing and graphics power you might find in, say, a Razor PC laptop.
That said, there are still a number of excellent games available to play on your Mac — especially of the indie variety. Two-person development teams and small studios shine on Apple's laptops and desktops, building stories with smart twists and heart-wrenching endings.
There have been many great indie titles for Mac over the years, especially with the advent of the Steam Store, but here are our all-time favorites.
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I'm not generally the type to get overly invested in a game — I'm more of a book and movie person. But when I picked up Braid in 2009 after an off-hand recommendation from a friend, I found myself completely captivated by its mechanics and story.
On its face, Braid is a simple puzzle platformer: You play a man named Tim searching for a princess across the landscape of a strange world, encountering puzzles as you progress through each level. But the true delight of the game is in its controls: Not only can you run forward, jump, and the like — but you can rewind time at any moment, reversing your decisions and movements. It's a simple but beautiful mechanic and quickly becomes one of the primary ways you can solve the hardest puzzles; all the while, it makes you think about time and movement in a completely different way.
Years after its release, Braid is still considered a masterpiece — and it's not hard to see why. (If you can't — just rewind.)
We've said a lot about the magic of Firewatch on iMore over the last year, but the Campo Santo/Panic collaboration continues to merit praise. The 3D mystery and exploration game, which places you as a firewatch in a national park around the late 1980s, captures the essential beauty of being alone in the U.S. wilderness — and the eerieness factor, too. The voice acting here is also top-tier; this is a game that demands headphones and a wistful spirit.
Another entry in the first-person mystery genre, Gone Home puts you in the shoes of a student recently returned from a lengthy overseas trip to her family house, only to find it empty — with her younger sister apparently vanished. It's a wonderful example of the mystery and exploration genre, providing just enough of a creepy flair to keep you on the edge of your seat with just a few major jump-out scares.
For all of its intrigue, however, the game's core centers around family, ambition, and love — and paints those feelings with wrenching truths.
Modern RPGs are a dime a dozen, but none are painted in quite so stunning a manner as Transistor. Supergiant Games's sci-fi/action game sets you on a path through a futuristic electro-punk city with a mystical weapon and enemies to outwit and defeat. Though shorter than your average Final Fantasy entry, Transistor nevertheless captivates and offers great replay value with its quests and power-ups — though I'd settle for just exploring its beautifully rendered environments.
This was an outlier pick for our indie games list courtesy Mobile Nations video producer Justus Perry, but I have to admit that I quickly fell in love with it myself after a few hours. If you're a fan of simulation games but want a little more quirk and a little less "send your Sim to work for the fortieth time" monotony, Stardew Valley offers you the chance to run your own pixelated farm, interact with the locals, defeat (or join forces with) a possibly evil corporation, explore caverns, and create all sorts of endless weird cooking experiments.
In a month where it's been hard to regularly read Facebook or Twitter, Stardew Valley is an appropriately delightful escape from the real world.
FTL: Faster Than Light
If you've ever dreamed of captaining a starship, it's hard not to love FTL. Subset Games's tactical strategy title puts you in the captain's chair on your way to save the galaxy — if you can make it through any number of insane and sometimes impossible challenges. And those, honestly, end up being the heart of the game: You become attached to your ship and crew — even when you end up accidentally killing them and having to start over.
Your favorite indie games for Mac?
What are your favorite indie games for the Mac? Let us know below!
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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.