Game Centre in Mountain Lion features unwrapped

Mountain Lion has brought with it more than 200 changes to OS X. Like a Transformer, there is more to it than meets the eye. In fact, there is so much new to explore that even Optimus Prime would be impressed.

Hidden in the relative treasure trove of updates is Game Centre and along with it, the ability to play a selection of applications on your Mac against friends on  iPads and iPhones. So how do you do it? And what games are compatible?

Get Game Center setup

So you have Mountain Lion downloaded. If you are not sure how, then check out our article on doing so here. Once installed, head to spotlight and type in Game Center. The app will then fire up.

What you will see is an app splash screen with the current big sellers on the Mac App store. Click the games tab at the top and you will likely see an empty box saying no OS X games (unless you have already downloaded some). Click there and the app store will open. Now it’s time to get downloading. Right now there are only a few games that can be played between friends on different Apple devices, see below for a list.

Download some apps

If you plan on playing Mac Apps with friends on different devices then there are only a few you can pick up. Thankfully however they are some of the best. Choose between Osmos, Real Racing 2, Anomaly Warzone Earth, W.E.L.D.E.R., Cut the Rope, Spelltower, Mancala FS5 and Sky Gamblers. 

It is worth noting that these apps all boast cross-platform Game Centre functionality but only a few will actually let you play games against other people. At the moment we know for definite that Sky Gamblers, Mancala and W.E.L.D.E.R work. 

Get playing

We opted for Sky Gamblers to get a bit of Mac vs iPad multiplayer going on. Setting up the game over local Wi-Fi the whole process went along without a hiccup.  In fact Sky Gamblers detected the match we hosted on our iPad instantly and let us join straight away. We also got an iPhone involved, which worked just as smoothly.

Another cool thing you can do when gaming against friends using Mountain Lion is to share the screen straight via AirPlay with your big screen TV and Apple TV. This lets you have a large, multi-device multiplayer match with one large-screen TV for others watching to keep their eyes on. 

Mac to iOS gaming

Sadly we are yet to get to the bottom of exactly which apps allow for cross-platform multiplayer yet and given the rate at which the App Store is growing, they are changing daily. So our advice is this; check in the read more section of the apps you are interested in on the Mac App store and that should let you know if you can game against friends or not. 

Another significant irritation is the need to repurchase applications through the Mac App Store that you already own on other devices. Take Sky Gamblers for example, we can use the app on both our iPad and iPhone but had to dish out £2.99 to play it on our Mac. Real Racing 2 takes it even further, costing a mega £8.99 on the Mac App Store.  This is still less than you might pay for a game with just as many features through something like Steam. In the end it is up to you. 

In terms of the actual Mac to iOS functionality, just create a multiplayer game on any device and then join it using the rest. Very simple indeed. 

Like the new Game Centre gaming? Let us know in the comments below ...