Mac Game Store - A Dedicated App Store for OS X Games

good
key review info
application features
  • one-stop shop for buying, downloading and playing games
  • (7 more, see all...)

Regardless of what Apple’s marketing materials will tell you, Macs still have a long way to go to become a gamer’s dream machine. But they do run games, and now they have a Mac Game Store that makes it dead easy to install the latest Call of Duty in a click.

The looks

Using the standard App Store system pioneered by Apple (and Valve), Mac Game Store is a digital distribution system focused solely on games. Everything that the Mac supports gets added to the growing list of titles on a daily basis, and the download experience couldn’t be more intuitive.

Mac Game Store features a three-pane window with the individual services on the left, and their expanded features on the right.

The Store tab is the main destination for anyone looking to see what’s new at a glance. Just like Apple’s solution, the Mac Game Store offers a reeling preview banner that displays the latest / most popular additions. Clicking a title takes you straight to the description, screenshots, system requirements and, of course, the download.

You then have My Games, which lists all your purchases, demos, and in-progress downloads, followed by the News tab, which lists the latest game releases, pre-orders, specials, reviews, game updates, and the developers’ blog. Community includes a handy forum, polls, links to social networks, and a very reliable chat system where you can contact the administrators to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during use.

Support offers even more help, including knowledge base articles and a list of frequently asked questions. Finally the Settings tab enables you to manage your account and tweak some preferences, such as the default downloads folder for all your games, toggling the news notifications on and off, and much more.

Those who enjoy a distraction-free experience have the handy Full-Screen toggle right at the top right of the window. Although the system requirements for Mac Game Store go as low as Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), this feature only works on OS X 10.7 Lion and newer versions of the Mac OS.
Review image
The interface is very straightforward and responsive. You can hover with your mouse pointer over any title and it will instantly show a preview of the game, complete with the developer’s asking price, a Demo download button, a thumbnail image, a short description and the Buy button, in case you already know you want it.
Review image
The game rating system is appropriately visible (for those customers who don’t have time to waste), and if you squint hard enough you’ll notice a hyperlink for your game’s genre (at the top left of the window when you’re previewing a game). Click it and you’ll instantly get a list of all the shooters, RPGs, hidden object games etc.

The works

The Mac wasn’t really in desperate need of an app store for games, but it does seem that the Mac Game Store is better thought out even than Apple’s Mac App Store and Valve’s Steam put together. You download games with a single click and they install automatically. Double click the title in your list of downloads and the game launches instantly. It’s really the simplest solution of its kind so far.

It’s got a very useful system requirements checker that either gives you the green light to download a game, or highlights in red what your Mac is missing. As the screenshots below show, I’m short on video RAM for Call of Duty Black Ops.
Review image
Review image
I had a troublesome experience with the downloads. A Mac Game Store representative analyzed my situation and concluded that the issues were most likely location bound. In general, the app works well for everyone, he said. Unfortunately, this is something a regular customer would frown upon. So I’m giving the Mac Game Store less points in this department until they iron out the bugs.
Review image
The platform handles all your updates automatically, so whenever there’s a patch for any of your games, you’ll get a notification. Speaking of which, the News section also pops up notifications, such as when a game goes on sale, or when a highly-anticipated title makes its debut. If they’re too naggy, you can just turn the notifications off in the settings with a click.

Another positive thing I’d like to mention about the Mac Game Store is their incredible customer service. Whatever your problem is, they’ve got someone in front of a computer ready to help you get up and running with your favorite game. That may not sound like much to those who only play games occasionally, but for avid players of online shooters and RPGs, this service is almost as important as the game itself.
Review image
The good
Offering a single-stop solution for OS X games, the Mac Game Store is off to a great start. Thanks to its system specs checker, every gamer will now know for sure whether it’s safe to press the Buy button. The customer service is spot on, and you can also download demos, something which Apple’s Mac App Store, for example, doesn’t offer.

The bad

With a rather small list of good quality titles and constant download-related glitches, the Mac Game Store failed to make a very good impression on this particular reviewer. Had it not been for its impressive architecture, this game platform wouldn’t have been worth my time. I truly hope they mend it soon.

The truth

All in all the Mac Game Store is a promising project. While it may borrow a tad too much from existing solutions out there, as far as the customer is concerned, this new product is well worth looking into. If not for everything else it offers, then at least for that incredibly handy compatibility checker.
user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 2
pricing / value 5


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
NEXT REVIEW: Bowtie

2 Comments