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 aren't meant for gaming, there are actually a ton of impressive titles to choose from.
I'll try and leave out games that you can play on iPhone and iPad unless the Mac is the best place to play 'em.
Here are the best games for Mac!
Note: Make sure you double-check the system requirements for each game before you make a purchase.
- XCOM 2
- Life is Strange
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Thomas Was Alone
- Gone Home
- Sleeping Dogs
- Darkest Dungeon
- Heroes of the Storm
- Portal 2
- Civilization V
- Diablo III Eternal Collection
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 an exceptionally hot, 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.
Firewatch is more than a game — it's an experience, one that all Mac owners should check out for themselves.
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, until the beginning of the game, was in alien stasis following Earth's surrender to the aliens. 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.
XCOM 2 is one of the best turn-based tactics games around. Plan ahead and save the Earth from aliens.
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, so it's definitely one that you want to check out for yourself.
Rewind time in this critically acclaimed episodic mystery game.
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.
You're the only hope that the Jedi have left as they try to stop the Sith from wiping out the Galactic Empire. May the Force be with you.
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, and 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).
This eerie puzzle platformer is immersive with the super creepy world, and the puzzles will make you think.
Braid is very similar to one of the most popular games of all time. Get into the actual gameplay, and you'll be like, "THIS IS JUST SUPER MARIO," but then you'll sit back, listen to the AMAZING soundtrack, notice the little detail in Tim's hair while it flows in the wind when he runs, enjoy the beautiful scenery and interesting-looking enemies, and you'll be like, "SUPER WHO?".
In all seriousness, Braid is a lovely little game, and it really emphasizes Tim's motives for rescuing the princess without ever saying exactly what they are or what exactly his "mistake" was. Gameplay is quite simple; it's a Mario-style platformer, and you have to collect puzzle pieces along the way and slowly build a large puzzle in each world.
If you like platformers and love games with out-of-this-world soundtracks, then check out Braid.
This Mario-style platformer will charm and delight you with whimsical puzzles and an amazing soundtrack.
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.
This unique platformer has you playing as a lonely rectangle. But don't worry, the rectangle won't be alone by the end of the game, and you'll definitely have some feels.
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.
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.
This narrative exploration game is all about examining and discovering clues as to why your family is not home to greet you after a year away.
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.
Live a double life as a Wei Shen, a Hong Kong cop and undercover criminal. Why choose sides when you can play as both?
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.
Every move counts in this challenging roguelike, so make it count. You'll have to tackle monsters as well as the inner demons of your party members.
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.
Choose your favorite Blizzard character and help your team gain points to defeat the opposing team.
It doesn't matter which platform you're playing on; Portal 2 is hands-down one of the greatest video games of all time. 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. Hell, 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.
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.
In Undertale, you can talk to the monsters instead of killing them. The choices that you make will affect the outcome of the game.
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.
Build your own civilization from the very beginning all the way to the Space Age, and become the Ruler of the World with your empire.
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.
Myst gives you a fully interactive open world, where you'll have to solve puzzles to find the books that have all of the Ages in them. This is a classic that everyone should enjoy.
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 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.
Slay demons and send them back to hell for loot. Oh, so much loot.
What do you play?
What's your favorite game for the Mac? Any absolute essentials I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Updated August 2020: Added Diablo 3 to the list. These are still great games to play on your Mac!
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