$50
Apps

Aspyr Media Call of Duty: Black Ops

Originally released two years ago for game consoles and PCs, Call of Duty: Black Ops ($50) has just debuted in the Mac App Store, continuing Activision’s most popular franchise to date. Set in the 1960s and featuring guest appearances by virtual versions of JFK and Fidel Castro, Black Ops is a traditional first-person shooter with atypically excellent intensity, graphics and audio, focusing on the CIA’s covert “black” operations during the Cold War. Helping to justify the price tag in a world of $10 apps: Hollywood-caliber voice work by actors Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, and Ice Cube.

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$10
Apps

Klei Entertainment Shank

Sometimes gamers want to sit down and solve puzzles, and sometimes they just want to blow up lots of baddies. Klei Entertainment’s Shank ($10) falls well inside the latter category. A port of the popular console title, it’s a 2-D side-scroller that’s designed to play somewhat like a graphic novel.

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Parallels - $80, Fusion - $50
Apps

Parallels Desktop 8 + VMware Fusion 5

Not long after the launch of Mountain Lion and just in time for Windows 8’s release, the two most popular Windows visualization apps for Mac computers have been updated to support both new operating systems. Parallels today announced that Parallels Desktop 8 ($80) is available for existing users, with a broad release to new users on September 4, 2012, while VMware’s Fusion 5 ($50) debuted last week. Both apps bring loads of new features to the virtualization game.

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$30
Apps

Boinx Software iStopMotion 3

Stop motion animation—think Wallace & Gromit, Robot Chicken, or the California Raisins—is a labor-intensive process. But with the right tools, you can actually create these videos using your Mac, without any real experience. Boinx Software has just released the third edition of iStopMotion ($30) to the Mac App Store, making it even easier for users to create their own cartoons. Our favorite feature is Remote Camera, which allows you to transmit a live feed from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to your Mac.

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$15
Apps

Valve Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Even more than the Mac App Store, Valve’s Steam platform has been the driving force behind “real” gaming on the Mac since it launched in May 2010. Steam quickly brought a collection of popular titles to OS X from the Windows world, proving that Apple’s computers can indeed be legitimate gaming machines. The most recent big release is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($15), the latest chapter in the popular first-person military shooter franchise, and this isn’t just a port of an old game: Valve is releasing the Mac version on the same day as it premieres on Windows.

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Free-$1
Apps

Fiplab Pin + Pin Pro for Pinterest

Fiplab specializes in developing tiny applications that live in your Menu Bar, providing quick access to social networks—Google+, Facebook, and Gmail in the past. Now it’s developed an app for Pinterest. Pin for Pinterest is the free version, while Pin Pro ($1) gives you the same features but strips the ads away and has upload support.

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$3
Apps

Space Inch Lost Photos

Twitter and Facebook may be the main ways we share photos now, but it wasn’t too long ago that people sent pictures back and forth primarily over email. Back then, images may never have been downloaded or added to your photo library, so they’ve all but disappeared. Space Inch wants to help you find them again with Lost Photos ($3). This straightforward Mac App Store title downloads all the pictures from your e-mail account—both to you and from you—that it can find. Sharing options are built in, too.

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$2
Apps

Xeleh Software Vitrun

There’s a whole backstory behind Vitrun ($2) from Xeleh Software involving space exploration in a post-apocalyptic future, and yeah, a story can add flavor to the game, but it’s not really necessary for a roll-a-ball-through-obstacles title. Vitrun winds up standing tall thanks to really nice graphics, fun gameplay, and hectic pacing, so even if the idea isn’t totally fresh, it’s done really well here.

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$20
July 2012
Apps

Apple OS X Mountain Lion

So much for Lion being the last major release of OS X. All but out of nowhere, Apple dropped a preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion ($20) on us a few months back, along with a promise that the new operating system will be released in late summer. If you thought Lion was bringing the iPad back to the Mac, well, you haven’t seen anything yet: Mountain Lion is even more iOS-influenced, replacing a collection of old Mac apps with renamed and improved editions akin to iPad versions. The 4.34GB download is now available in the Mac App Store. Below is our initial feature list, as well as the updated we posted after this year’s WWDC.

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Free
Apps

Handbrake Project Handbrake

Ask the team behind HandBrake (Free) what their software is all about and they’ll tell you it’s “an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.” In simpler terms, it converts DVDs into videos you can store on your Mac and watch on all of your Apple devices, at no cost. There’s no better way to get videos ready for your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, and the latest version’s freshly released with bug fixes that make this awesome app even better.

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Free
Apps

Intuit Mint QuickView

Even if keeping track of your finances was a pain in the old days, you’re out of excuses today: there are now more than enough services to help you keep on top of your money and credit. Mint is one of the most popular options, and now Intuit has brought data that was previously accessible only via the web or your iOS device to the dedicated Mac app Mint QuickView (Free). This Mac App Store release lets you quickly view your spending, income, account balances, and more. 

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Free
Apps

Tapbots Tweetbot for Mac Public Alpha

The rumblings were true: Tapbots has released a Mac version of its popular robot-themed iOS Twitter client, now named Tweetbot For Mac (Free). Despite the fact that it’s very early “public alpha” software complete with plenty of warnings about its far-from-final state, at least two of our editors have already made the switch and are very happy with its performance. Fans of Tweetbot for iPhones and iPads should take note, as should anyone else simply looking to try out a new Twitter client for their Mac.

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$1
Apps

SquidMelon Live Wallpaper

Though it doesn’t make a fantastic first impression, SquidMelon’s Live Wallpaper ($1) is nonetheless a cool demonstration of how your Mac’s desktop background can evolve into something more interesting. Once it’s painlessly installed from the Mac App Store, Live Wallpaper offers you a single, decidedly Windows-like “Modern” backdrop complete with an ever-visible clock and weather forecast at the top of the screen—nice photography and idea, minus great graphic design and layout. But once you open the Preferences menu and manually download 11 other currently-available themes, a process that really should be automated for the user and displayed on first launch, you’ll see this app’s potential: some of the apps feature persistent animation, while others subtly integrate huge clocks or small special effects into beautiful images.

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$5
Apps

Ayopa Games W.E.L.D.E.R

Not every iOS game leaping to the Mac App Store gets us excited, but when it’s one as good as Ayopa Games’ W.E.L.D.E.R. ($5), we take notice. At only a buck more than the iPad and iPhone universal version, this steampunk-inspired word builder is a smart buy. It’s a lot of fun and you might just learn a thing or two.

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$15
Apps

Disney Interactive Brave: The Video Game

Nearly anyone that followed the career of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also has a soft spot for Pixar and its films, so it should come as no surprise that we’re excited to see its latest film, Brave. Set to coincide with its premiere, Disney Interactive’s Brave: The Video Game ($15) has arrived on the Mac.

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