This may seem like a pretty subjective category, and I'd like to preface this list by saying that it most definitely is. That being said, some games are just empirically good — great graphics, fun to play, great story, whatever. And though some folks might have you believe that Macs (both desktops and laptops) aren't meant for gaming, there are actually a ton of impressive titles to choose from. Here are the best Mac games!
Note: Make sure you double-check the system requirements for each game before you make a purchase.
Firewatch, at its core, is a mystery game set in the Wyoming wilderness. You play as Henry, a man who decided to give the simpler life a try by joining a fire lookout team. Set in 1989, you watch for smoke during a sweltering, dry summer, aided via radio by your supervisor, Delilah. However, something draws you out of your tower and into the woods, where you must explore the unknown wild, making choices that could make or break your relationship with Delilah.
This is a gorgeous game with a beautifully crafted open world, true-to-life characters, and a story that changes depending on the choices you make throughout your story. Cissy Jones, from the first season of The Walking Dead, plays Delilah, and Henry is portrayed by Rich Sommer of Mad Men fame.
If you're looking for more than just a game — an experience — then Firewatch should be at the top of your to-play list. What starts as a simple game of watching for forest fires becomes a strange, twisty-turny, mystery-filled rabbit hole with new discoveries at every turn. It's like a book you just can't put down, which is why it's one of the best Mac games.
Set 20 years after XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 continues the turn-based tactics franchise in style, with much of the same gameplay that you love from the first one.
You'll once again play as the Commander, who was in alien stasis following Earth's surrender to the aliens until the beginning of the game. Once rescued by Central Officer Bradford, you'll resurrect XCOM and go to town reclaiming Earth from the aliens, one turn at a time.
If you love a good turn-based tactics game and you also love games like Halo or Mass Effect or even the first XCOM game for Mac, definitely check this one out.
Life is Strange is an episodic mystery game of sorts that has you playing as Max Caulfield, a photography student who randomly discovers that she can rewind time (saving her best friend's life). The pair end up investigating the disappearance of a fellow student, while Max struggles with the realization that altering the past can have consequences in the future.
Essentially, you go through the entire game, making choices, and the choices you make can screw things up for you down the road or make life much easier (think Until Dawn). With well-crafted characters and a moving story, Life is Strange is for the folks who like a cinematic experience fraught with emotion (á la Heavy Rain). It's highly acclaimed, making it one of the best Mac games, so it's definitely one that you want to check out for yourself.
This game may be a little old (like first-generation Xbox old), but it's a classic, and the fact that it's on the Mac is just fantastic. It's 4,000 years before the Galactic Empire, and the Sith are just wiping out Jedi left, right, and central. So, of course, you're the last hope of the Jedi, and you have to lead your brothers and sisters in arms in a last stand of sorts against the ultimate evil.
The cool part is you actually get to ultimately choose which side you want to be on, opting to conquer or save your fellow Jedi, using Force powers and sweet lightsaber moves all the way through. You get to customize your character, and they change as the game goes on, depending on the choices you make and your style of play (kinda like the Fable series).
If you love an action-packed romp around the cosmos and, of course, Star Wars, then definitely download this right now. Keep in mind that it is an older game, but if you grew up with it like I did, this'll be a nostalgia-filled journey.
In Limbo, you play as a nameless boy who's unsure of what happened to his sister, so you enter Limbo looking for her, A.K.A., the "edge of hell." As the boy, you must journey through Limbo, as you encounter only a few other human characters who either attack you, run away, or are dead. You have to puzzle and platform your way to the end, and I'll be honest: It's rather unsettling.
Like, really unsettling.
There isn't much for a soundtrack, aside from nature sounds and physical sounds of running, jumping, hits, and such. If you're like a dark, creepy game with a very open ending that's been hotly debated, then definitely check out Limbo. It's unlike anything you've ever played, and the lack of a real narrative really gives it its atmosphere. (Watch out for that damn spider… BLECH).
Believe it or not, playing a platformer as a faceless rectangle can actually be pretty fun. Of course, the right elements have to be there, like a killer soundtrack and, simply put, absolutely lovely narration by British radio and TV presenter Danny Wallace.
He tells the story of Thomas, a rectangle who is, you guessed it, alone. Thomas has to jump and slide his way through each level, entering a portal each time. Basically, all you can do is move right, left, and jump as you platform along, solving puzzles, and don't forget — the game's called Thomas Was Alone. This gets significantly more interesting than you might think at the beginning. Get ready to feel stuff… for shapes. Not even kidding.
Gone Home is a story exploration game where you examine objects and open drawers and doors to discover clues. You've been away for a year and come home thinking your family will be there to greet you, only to discover that the house is empty and you have no idea why.
Things may seem kind of creepy at first, and you'll uncover your sister's journal, complete with narration, as well as other objects from your childhood and things left behind. You likely won't expect the ending, and you'll definitely feel all the feels throughout your journey, so be prepared for a lot of reading and an almost cinematic experience.
The gameplay is simple and barebones, but you like a good story exploration game, definitely check this one out since it's pretty heavy on story.
Crime never pays. I mean, it does in terms of the money that gangs make from drugs and what have you, but it all comes back to bite them in the ass sooner or later. In Sleeping Dogs, you get to do the biting, playing as Hong Kong cop Wei Shen, who's a streetwise badass martial artist, straddling the law and playing both sides to take down the city's biggest Triad gang.
If you enjoy open-world games and have any love for the badassery of classic Hong Kong action movies, then Sleeping Dogs is right up your alley. You basically just get to go around kicking the crap out of criminals while also playing the bad boy in some heavy undercover activity.
You'll have to live and learn as the game goes on while honing your skills to survive twists and turns that are matters of life and death.
If you're up for an exciting action/adventure full of violence and intrigue, you got it.
Darkest Dungeon is a very involved roguelike dungeon crawl with fantastic art and an exciting twist on the genre, centering on the stress of adventuring. If your characters' stress levels get too high, you're gonna have a bad time.
You'll fight wave after wave of all sorts of ghouls in turn-based combat, simply trying to keep your party alive and calm. This game isn't just about defeating monsters, but about defeating your party's personal demons as well. You'll have to chill out at taverns to keep everyone's stress in check, camp to deliver pep talks, and save the characters you love from all-too meaningful permadeath.
Fans of Lovecraft will adore Darkest Dungeon for its great horror and awesome, hand-drawn art style that gives everything a gritty, visceral feel. If you like scary-ass RPGs, then check it out.
Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA game in teams of five fantasy characters battle against one another for supremacy in a series of different game modes. You'll have to destroy opposing team members, as well as their structures to gain points for your team and ultimately win the match. Many MOBA-style games have the same problem: one person can be a hero and win the game on their own while screwing over the rest of their team. Not the case in Heroes of the Storm, where if one team member isn't up to snuff, the rest of the team feels it.
One team, one dream!
Made by Blizzard, this is one of the best ARTS games around, with awesome characters, solid voice acting, great graphics, and necessary teamwork that doesn't make you want to drive your Magic Mouse through your 5K iMac screen.
HotS is free to play, but you'll be stuck with the playable characters offered to you, which rotate every week. You can earn gold in the game, but to get anything decent will take a looooong time. Therefore, you can buy heroes, skins, and mounts in the game with USD. Otherwise, play for free and just enjoy.
It doesn't matter which platform you're playing on; Portal 2 is hands-down one of the greatest video games of all time and definitely one of the best Mac games ever. It builds on the fun and weirdness of Portal from the Orange Box and throws you into a more fascinating story, with puzzles that never really feel like puzzles since you're out of the testing chambers just trying to escape.
You once again play as Chell (the voiceless captive with the sweet boots and "stubborn will to live") who is once again trying to escape the Facility, which she totally ruined years earlier. Wheatley, a personality core voiced by Stephen Merchant, revives Chell to escape the Facility with him, but all is not as it seems.
This game is incredibly atmospheric, often creepy and weird, as well as gut-bustingly hilarious. You'll learn about the history of the ruined Facility, mainly from GLaDOS (in an unusual form) and voice recordings from Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson, voiced by the legend J.K. Simmons (the funniest part of the game).
Portal 2 also has a sweet multiplayer mode where you play as testing robots Peabody and Atlas, working with a partner to frustratingly solve testing chambers (you might lose friends over some of the more difficult levels).
If you're at all into physics puzzles and hilarious, quirky games, then Portal 2 is not to be missed. Heck, even if you don't like puzzle games, play it. You'll be a better person for it. You can even download the stellar soundtrack for free.
Portal 2 for Mac
When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your D*** lemons. What the h*** am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!
Undertale is for those of you who are just sick and tired of having to murder innocent, repulsive monsters. If you've ever thought, "why can't I just talk to the monster instead," then you should play Undertale.
In this indie RPG, you play as a child who has fallen into the Underground, which is a large, isolated region beneath the Earth's surface, separated by a magical barrier. Along the way, you'll meet monsters and have to face them in mini bullet hell combat, where you can choose to spare them instead of killing them. The choices you make affect the outcome of the game, including the story, dialogue, and the characters you meet, as you try and make your way back to the surface.
Undertale was released to excellent critical praise, garnering Game of the Year nods from multiple gaming publications. If you love a good top-down RPG, with fantasy elements and the ability to be a pacifist, then Undertale is excellent for feeling the feels or kicking some serious hiney.
I have Civ V on this list instead of VI, because it's rated a little higher than VI and is less buggy. Sid Meier's Civilization V has you ruling the world from the dawn of man all the way into the space age, where you will wage wars and conquer nations in the pursuit of progress and total domination.
You'll also discover new technologies, strike treaties, and all that other diplomatic stuff that world leaders do.
There is a multiplayer mode, though it is restricted to a LAN.
If you're into amazing turn-based strategy games and love a good game of Risk, then Civ V is calling to you. Answer it.
Originally released in 1993, Myst was recently revamped for the Mac, so that you can explore the open world of Myst Island and its Ages in a gloriously rebuilt environment. The world is completely interactive, and you'll have to discover and solve puzzles to find books containing access to all of the Ages.
The ending of the game changes depending on the choices you make, and you'll be torn between helping one of two brothers or their father, with your own fate entirely unknown until it's too late. Myst is an absolute classic, and the graphics update puts a modern spin on it, bringing the Myst you grew up with into the 21st Century.
If you love a classic puzzle game, a story filled with intrigue and twists, and open-world exploration games, then totally check out Myst.
Diablo III Eternal Collection
If you're looking for a great dungeon crawler game that's packed full of loot to find, then Diablo 3 should be right up your alley. The Eternal Collection has all of the DLC since the game's release, including the additional character classes: Crusader and Necromancer.
You can enjoy Diablo 3 through the primary story campaign, or you can do the Adventure mode, which is a fast-paced mode that's about leveling up your character quickly to the end game content. As you're slaying demons and other mischievous creatures, you'll gain experience for levels, and there will be a ton of loot to find. The loot will help you tear through enemies easier, and you can customize your character with skills that suit your play style best.
While you can play Diablo 3 solo, it's best played with some friends, and the difficulty scales with the number of players in a game. There is also Seasonal play, where you start fresh each season and compete with others all over the world to see who can climb the leaderboards for the fastest Rift runs.
I've put hundreds of hours into Diablo 3 across multiple platforms, and it's one of my favorite dungeon crawler games. It's hands-down one of the best Mac games you can get.
While Macs aren't really well-known for gaming, there is Apple Arcade. With Apple Arcade, you get access to a huge plethora of exclusive titles available for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, and it starts at just $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. Apple Arcade is also included in all levels of Apple One bundles, so you can even save some money if you use other Apple servicse like Apple Music, iCloud storage, and Apple TV+. You can also share your Apple Arcade subscription with up to six other people through Family Sharing for no additional cost. Here are some of our favorite titles on Apple Arcade.
Grindstone isn't just another match-three puzzle game — it's also a brutal RPG dungeon-crawler. You'll have to connect lines of enemies together for your character to slash his way through them, but things can get tricky with tougher foes! As you make your way to the end of each puzzle, you'll find loot to make you stronger, helpful items to get you out of tight situations, and yes, there will be boss fights. Are you prepared?
Cat Quest II
If you enjoy dungeon crawlers and also love cats (and dogs), then Cat Quest II is right up your alley. It's one of my favorite games because it has a beautiful art style, and yes, it has both cats and dogs, working together in peace! You'll venture out on a quest that's filled with dangerous dungeons and caves, discover epic loot, level up unique skills, and rip through any enemies in your way. There are side quests, a huge world to explore, and it also has co-op gameplay.
What the Golf?
One of the most fun and wacky games out there is What the Golf? This is a golf game for people who hate golf. The levels are filled with ridiculous and outrageous obstacles that are guaranteed to give you a good laugh when you hit them with a golf ball. And yeah, there is a level with a bunch of vehicles, which may or may not explode once your golf ball hits them. What the Golf? also has some fun physics involved too, so make sure to give it a shot!
What do you play?
These are just some of the best Mac games that we've tried out. What are your favorite games to play on the Mac? Any absolute essentials I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Updated December 2020: Added Apple Arcade to the list.
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