Tomb Raider for Mac is an excellent relaunch

Just like James Bond, the Tomb Raider game franchise has been rebooted. And like the 007 reboots (well, except for Quantum of Solace), Tomb Raider for Mac is a top notch relaunch.

The $19.99 reboot tells how Lara Croft became the legendary Tomb Raider adventurer after she's shipwrecked on an uncharted island and begins a struggle for survival. I downloaded the game from the Mac App Store, which has one major drawback: it's single player only. However, if you buy it at the Steam game store, you have access to an online multiplayer mode that supports Mac-to-Mac play only. 

Even in single player mode, Tomb Raider is a thing of beauty and fun. You play as Lara, fighting, climbing, jumping, exploring and solving puzzles on an island setting. The graphics and animations are gorgeous, almost cinematic. The action (and there's LOTS of it) and puzzles fit logically into the gameplay instead of being cobbled on. 

Lara's main weapon is her longbow, but she can also pack handguns, shotgun, and semi-automatic rifles. Your weapons can be upgraded with salvage and parts that you pick up from your excursions around the island. You can also enhance Lara's combat prowess by mastering takedowns to dispatch enemies. 

Like most Feral games, Tomb Raider has gamepad support, one of its strongest points for an ol' schooler like me. The first thing to do if you want to play with a gamepad is find out which gamepads your game supports. Many of the Feral games have a list of supported gamepads in their FAQs. I’m using an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller and it works fine (though you’ll have to have a wireless receiver for this to work; there’s no way to implement — as far as I know — wireless gamepad support via Bluetooth on the Mac.)

However, you’ll need to download and install a device driver, a piece of software that allows your computer to interact with other pieces of hardware. Feral recommends (and I agree wholeheartedly) Tattiebogle’s drivers, which enable you to use both wired and wireless Xbox 360 controllers with Mac games. The drivers are free to download from and licensed under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). (BTW, I found it worked better downloading the driver (disk image) rather than the source (ZIP) file. 

Install the drivers, and you’ll find an Xbox Controllers pane at the bottom of the Mac OS X Systems Preferences app.

Then make sure the gamepad is switched to DirectInput mode. Not all gamepads have this feature, but those that do have a switch with the options “D” (DirectInput) and “X” (XInput) on either side. Make sure the switch is switched to “D”.

Once you’ve done this, plug your gamepad into your Mac and launch the game. In most cases, the game will ask you to choose an input method (i.e. the peripheral you will be using to control the game) at the Main Menu. Simply press any button on the gamepad, and the game will recognize it.

However, you play Tomb Raider it's a great update that lives up to the game franchise's legacy. 

Minimum system requirements call for a 2.0GHz Intel Mac with at least 4GB RAM, 512MB or better graphics card, and Mac OS 10.9.1 or later. The following cards are supported: AMD 4xxx series, Nvidia 6xx, Intel 4xxx series graphics card or greater. Intel HD4000 series cards require an Intel i7 CPU or better.