Generally I try not to put games as “App of the Week” posts, primarily because of the separate Games4Mac series. However, I occasionally make exceptions for special reasons like holidays or sudden deals. In my opinion, this could be counted as both.
In 2010, Valve released their Steam gaming client for the Mac. Through Steam, you can download and play games ranging from big titles like Half-Life, Portal, Mass Effect, and more, to smaller titles created by Valve and other developers for various prices. While not many of the games initially were for Mac (though most of Valve’s big name titles were), that number has been growing rapidly. But now, one of their big titles, Team Fortress 2, is now free-to-play for all Steam users.
Team Fortress 2 (abbreviated TF2) is a team based shooter. If you haven’t played it, or heard of it, imagine Call of Duty’s different soldier classes, in a cartoony, ironic fashion. Games range from capturing command points, capture the flag, team deathmatch, and more. I do advise going through training first if you haven’t played it before.
The game runs fairly smoothly, though occasionally you may notice some gameplay lag if your Internet connection slows down. It’s exciting, fun, and easy to pick up. You can play either with bots, or (more likely) with other players online. And it has Valve’s touch of excellence on it, meaning it looks and plays great all around.
There are 2 downsides to the game. First off, it’s not a small file (over 7 gigs), so I recommend starting the download and then leaving your computer for a while (maybe a few hours). You might just let it download overnight, but definitely don’t download the game when there are other people using your Internet (like other people playing online games). The other issue I noticed is that some of the controls are, by default, tailored to desktop users (or at least users with a regular mouse). I had to switch up some of the controls to work better with my Macbook Pro’s layout. But these are both minor problems to an overall great game.
Valve says they’ll be using micro-transactions to make money off of the game. Simply put, the game and its basic functions will be free, but you can pay extra money for better weapons, upgrades, new costumes, etc. The game is free to download for all Steam users (making an account is free) and can be downloaded on Windows XP, Vista, and 7, as well as Macs running OS 10.5.8 (Leopard) or 10.6.3+ (Snow Leopard). You can download the Steam client from http://store.steampowered.com/. Check to make sure your Mac meets the minimum system requirements to play. Most Mac’s in the last few years should play fine, but just check that your video card is capable of handling it.
And remember, if you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions for apps and games to review, you can always let me know. Send me to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @EasyOSX (see the big Twitter button up top?, that works too), or leave a comment below. Thanks again.