Some folks might have you believe that Macs aren't meant for gaming, and I hate to sound mean, but those folks are wrong. Clearly, a list like this one is going to be very subjective; however, there are some games that are just empirically good — great graphics, fun to play, great story, whatever.
The ten games listed below are games we think go above and beyond to provide a fantastic gaming experience.
- Divinity: Original Sin
- The Witness
- Life is Strange
- Stardew Valley
- GRID: Autosport
- Rocket League
- Portal 2
Divinity: Original Sin
What started as a Kickstarter campaign, Divinity: Original Sin is a classic RPG that has a ton of good things going for it. A ton of character customization, a compelling story, superb voice acting, and an amazing tactical battle system makes Divinity: Original Sin a must have for any gamer.
Divinity: Original Sin takes place in Rivellon, featuring two customizable protagonists and a whole host of optional companions to make up a squad of four. The two main protagonists are "Source Hunters", charged with the eradication of practitioners of forbidden Source magic. The start of the game sees the two hunters investigating a murder, where Source magic is thought to be involved. A routine investigation escalates into a cosmic conspiracy that threatens the very universe, and it's up to you to stop it.
My favorite part of the whole game is how well the light-hearted humor resonates through the rather dramatic storyline. The colorful NPCs that you interact with make the whole world come alive and provide a constants surprises that will delight and horrify you.
- $39.99 - Download on the App Store
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 especially 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. Plus it has some amazing voice acting providing by 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. Even though the story is linear and replayability isn't a huge selling feature of Firewatch, I have personally played this game through about five times. 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.
- $19.99 - Download on the App Store
The Witness came out earlier this year, it's absolutely stunning visuals and exploration gameplay makes it one of those game you can easily get lost in the world it creates.
You wake up on a mysterious island, alone and are a force to explore the world around you. With over 500 different puzzles to solve, the game never gets stale and offers a bunch of challenging moments that keep you on your toes.
You'll need a newer Mac to run The Witness properly, so if you have the proper hardware (listed on the App Store) you should definitely check it out.
- $39.99 - Download on the App Store
Life is Strange
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 has the ability to rewind time (saves 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). The first episode is $5 and you can buy subsequent episodes via in-app purchases.
- $11.99 - Download on the App Store
Stardew Valley is one of those games you can spend your life playing and never really beat. It relies heavily on exploration and "city building" and it seems to have an endless amount of content to go through.
You start the game by inheriting your grandfather's farmland, and with only a few coins to your name, you'll need to build up your farm to new heights it has never seen. The strength of Stardew Valley is really in the ability for the player to play the game the way they want. Feel like spelunking? Explore one of the many caves in the game. Want to spend a relaxing afternoon? Take your rod and go fishing for hours. What you want to do and how you want to play is all up to you!
With over 30 unique characters to interact with and plenty of secrets and treasures only available at special times, Stardew Valley consistently feels refreshing and new.
- $14.99 - Download on Steam
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 in order 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.
- $17.99 - Download now
I don't usually enjoy racing games, but GRID: Autosport brings so much to the table, that I couldn't help but to play it.
It's gosh darn beautiful and that's a fact. The textures of the cars, the racetrack, and all the terrain around you is truly marvellous! Cars get damaged, and glass goes flying; go off-roading, and you're kicking up dirt and grass like nobody's business. GRID Autosport goes above and beyond to put attention into small details that make the game come alive.
Graphics aside, the gameplay is dynamite! It's important to keep in mind that unless you're already an expert at racing games, GRID Autosport will be difficult and comes with a steep learning curve. In fact, the game even reminds you that it considers itself a racing simulator and the game mechanics will be very hard to master. Normally this would discourage me, and I would feel compelled to warn everybody about being frustrated; however, the gameplay is so damn fun that even when you suck, you don't really notice.
- $35.99 - Download on the App Store
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.
- $9.99 - Download now
It's soccer. With cars. There really isn't much more to say except that's it's freakin' awesome. Think of a physics-based FIFA with wild and crazy vehicles and full-frontal multiplayer mayhem. And if those aren't enough hype buzzwords then imagine yourself as a small child, forced to play soccer in order to "build character". Now imagine that you're a child driving a monster truck around a massive enclosed arena, smacking giant balls around and flying and flipping around because physics.
If you're kind of into multiplayer sports games, but prefer them with a side of absolutely wacky, then Rocket League is totally for you.
- $19.99 - Download on Steam
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
- $19.99 - Download on Steam
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.