Find New Games
July 28, 2012 8:46 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to find modern games that are enjoyable to play on a Mac laptop, using only the keyboard and optionally trackpad. Suggest some for me, ideally something with a demo?

To provide context, I'll list some games that I enjoy or that I already have installed, as well as describe the reasons that some games don't work for me.

First off, solo only. Nothing personal, world, but I game alone.

I have installed and enjoyed many platformers (and generally enjoy platformers on the Mac) such as VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy. Trine had real potential but ran afoul of the mouse button / position problem.

Turn-based RPGs are obviously good choices; I have Eschalon: Book 1 installed, and I've played a few of the Avernum games as well. I'd love a good modern turn-based RPG, frankly.

I love Action/RPG shooters in the vein of System Shock, but those don't work well with a trackpad.

I like puzzle games well enough, but I find that I rarely stick with them. Adventure games are awesome, though.

The trackpad's issue is twofold; one, using it and the keyboard at the same time -- a necessity for action games that depend on the mouse -- is nearly impossible and all-the-way uncomfortable. Two, secondary mouse actions don't work very well on it -- the double-tap-click feature seems to be really sporadic in games, and in an action game doubly so.

So, there's the criteria. I'm happy to be surprised by something, too.
posted by ChrisR to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It'd help to know if your laptop has a fancy video card in it (a high end Macbook Pro) or is limited to integrated graphics like a Macbook Air.

You might want to try Binding of Isaac and Dungeons of Dredmor. Both indie games, on Steam.
posted by Nelson at 9:01 AM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: One, yes; the last model of 17" Macbook Pro, with a Radeon HD 6770M

Two, I've got those as well. I've got pretty much all of the Humble Indie Bundles.
posted by ChrisR at 9:03 AM on July 28, 2012

Check out the demo of Frozen Synapse (it's on Steam). It's a turn-based tactical shooter that doesn't seem especially graphics intensive. You do a lot of pointing and clicking for planning but it doesn't require a lot of elite mouse skills. Gameplay is pretty fun and the story is very William Gibson/cyberpunk.

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is coming out in September. Not modern, but they're doing a lot with it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2012

Uberstrike is a FPS for Mac which I run on my year old MBP.
posted by dmt at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2012

Civ IV/V will run fine. I have a friend who plays Diablo III and Starcraft II with a trackpad, but I think he's crazy.
posted by spanishbombs at 11:48 AM on July 28, 2012

Seconding Dungeons of Dredmor. Great roguelike.
posted by Pendragon at 12:13 PM on July 28, 2012

For trackpad usage on my Mac, I've found that setting a corner as the right click corner (I use the lower right) has helped a lot. I'll still use a mouse for gaming sometimes, but not always.

Civ V runs fine on my mid-2010 MBP, so you shouldn't have any issues. Dungeons of Dredmor is fun and I've been playing a good amount of Macguffin's Curse lately, which is a combination adventure puzzle game. Psychonauts (from a recent Bundle) is a lot of fun, but isn't that great without a mouse. I picked up Botanicula during the Steam Summer Sale and haven't played it a lot, but it's a point-and-click adventure game that you may or may not enjoy. I'm liking it so far, but our tastes in games are pretty different, so you may or may not. A lot of games on Steam have demos for Mac, so it might just be worth looking through the games with demos available and giving them a try.
posted by naturalog at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2012

I quite like Neverwinter Nights I and II.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2012

I am really enjoying The Binding of Isaac. It's cheap, cool art style and lots of fun. Kind of sadistic though...

It's controlled exclusively via wasd and the arrow keys to shoot so it's ideal for my laptop time.

I've also been playing Galactic Civilizations 2 and SimCity 4 which run fine on my eh laptop.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 5:26 PM on July 28, 2012

I play Diablo III on my MacBookPro using the trackpad. I've also played the first 2 episodes of The Walking Dead.
posted by goshling at 6:43 PM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: I'm not so concerned about performance; on that front I'm solid. It's the control stuff that makes laptop gaming a pain.
posted by ChrisR at 8:19 PM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: Does galciv2 run on a Mac now? Because that would be awesome.
posted by ChrisR at 10:27 PM on July 28, 2012

Paradox games run on Mac. Crusader Kings II, Victoria II, Hearts of Iron III, etc.

Minecraft is fine with trackpad.

There is a port of Spelunky on mac. Great stuff that.

Frozen Synapse is a pretty cool turn based shooter
posted by Winnemac at 11:56 PM on July 28, 2012

So I admittedly used to play SC2 on the gold (middle) ladder using a trackpad, but I'm weird. I find that most games follow the convention that command-click (or sometimes control-click) means right-click.

It sounds like what you need are games that are either fully keyboard-controlled or turn-based.

If you like RPGs, have you tried Escape Velocity: Nova? There's lots of action with top-down asteroids-style shooting, and you never have to use the keyboard and mouse at the same time. The two previous games in the EV series are also freely available as plugins.

Apart from that, if you like strategy games, I can very much recommend Armageddon Empires. It has a bit of a steep learning curve, and you need to know that you do most things by control-clicking on stuff and choosing from a menu, but once you have a bit of experience, it has incredible strategic depth and replayability.

Alpha Centauri is another brilliant strategy game that can be made to run on a modern Mac pretty easily. Unfortunately Mac Alpha Centauri CDs now retail for more than they used to when the game was new. But if you're interested feel free to MeMail me and I'll help you find a non-insane solution.
posted by Zarkonnen at 11:07 PM on July 29, 2012

If you liked Super Meat Boy, then N should be right up your alley. It's more minimalist graphics- and story-wise, but the puzzles are devilish and the gameplay extremely tight. Plus, it's got hundreds of built-in and user-created levels all for the low, low price of free.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:38 PM on July 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions; as it happens, both N and N+ have eaten hours of my time, as has Alpha Centauri. Zarkonnen, I'll try those other two.
posted by ChrisR at 9:43 PM on July 31, 2012

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