The Best Mac games of 2016
2016 is shaping up to be a great year for Mac gaming.
Every year, Mac gaming gets better, and 2016 is no exception. First of all, there’s the sheer quantity of new games released (did you know there are over 3,000 games for Mac on Steam?). Then there’s the high quality of the best games for Mac released so far.
The year is far from over, but 2016’s best Mac games are already impressive. Plus, the games planned for the remainder of the year are just as exciting.
These are the 33 games I consider 2016’s highlights. You can use these buttons to navigate them more easily:
I might as well start with Firewatch, the best indie I’ve played in a long time.
Firewatch is a first-person adventure game set in a beautiful forest. You play as Henry, a new ranger looking for some peace and quiet in the woods. And at first it works, as your only contact is through a walkie-talkie with Delilah, your boss.
Both Henry and Delilah are great, interesting characters. Their dialogues are a blast, and they feel like real people—something we don’t see often in video games. But the real highlight here is the story. As you can expect, strange things start to happen, and the whole thing goes south. Firewatch tells a story you do not want to miss.
Plus, the game looks great. Developer Campo Santo killed it. More than once, I just had to stop and look at the beautiful landscapes. That said, good graphics mean you will need a decent Mac to run it:
Next up is XCOM 2, the strategy game that many consider to be the best Mac game of 2016.
XCOM 2 picks up right where XCOM: Enemy Unknown left off. Humans lost, aliens won, hope is lost. Except that humanity has one last chance—YOU. You’ll have to rebuild the Resistance and destroy those aliens once and for all.
Just as in previous XCOM games, XCOM 2 is based on two important things: Turn-based tactical combat missions and resource management back at HQ
Both are lots of fun and complement each other. Combat missions are particularly challenging (and rewarding). You’ll have to use your strengths and the environment to your advantage if you want a shot. Plus, as your soldiers can permanently die, every fight becomes more stressful.
XCOM 2’s Mac version was handled by Feral Interactive, and as always, they’ve delivered a smooth experience. However, just like on Windows, XCOM 2 will need a rather powerful machine to run:
Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game that takes place in Hong Kong.
As an undercover cop, you’ll have to take down the Triad, one of the world’s most dangerous mobs. As you try to infiltrate it, you’ll take part in crimes, shootings, fist fights, and car chases. Hong Kong will be at your disposal, and you’ll be able to explore it by foot, car, or boat.
This may sound a lot like Grand Theft Auto, and that’s because it plays a lot like Grand Theft Auto. But that’s a good thing. Open-world games are rare on Mac, and as Rockstar isn’t porting GTA 5 anytime soon, Sleeping Dogs is the next best thing.
Plus, this is the Definitive Edition, and it features better graphics, audio, and gameplay. By the way, this is a great-looking game, especially with all the settings maxed out. Feral Interactive knows how Mac ports are supposed to work. That said, you’ll still need a recent Mac to run it:
Are you into dark and punishing RPGs? If so, Darkest Dungeon will be perfect for you.
As the heir of a rich family that accidentally opened a dark portal, it’s up to you to close it. Luckily, you can recruit, train, and lead a band of heroes to tag along. And you will need all the help you can get, as your descent will be full of horrors, famine, and disease.
Darkest Dungeon is a punishing game. People will die. It enjoys reminding us that heroes have to suffer too, just like Game of Thrones does every season.
Darkest Dungeon also features an original art style. The 2D-graphics make it feel like a dark comic book. The atmosphere is tense and perfectly matches the story. Plus, the 2D-graphics make the game easy to run—so much so that even an older Mac can get the job done:
Who knew? It’s still possible to create an original first-person shooter. Superhot is unlike anything you’ve ever played. But can it be considered one of the best first-person shooters on Mac?
In Superhot, time only moves when you move. This adds a layer of strategy that you don’t have in most FPS games. You will often be surrounded, and pausing time will be your best weapon. Once you learn how to use it, you will be able to dodge bullets, aim for headshots, and pretty much kick ass.
Superhot doesn’t really have a story, but it does throw tough scenarios your way. There’s a lot of trial and error involved here, so prepare to die. That said, once you master a scenario and watch the replay, you’ll feel like Neo from The Matrix.
Did I mention how much I love the game’s art style? Your enemies are made of glass, and watching them explode is priceless. Plus, the lack of detailed textures gives this game low system requirements. You should be able to play it on most modern Macs:
Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter is one of those games that took me by surprise.
I thought it was yet another indie RPG. Top-down view. Retro graphics. Same old, same old. But it’s so much more than that. Hyper Light Drifter is an homage to the games I grew up with. Some consider it a combination of The Legend of Zelda and Diablo, and I couldn’t agree more. The game doesn’t reinvent the wheel; everything just clicks together. The combat is fun, the sound effects are intense, and the art style looks great. It all creates an atmosphere that is hard to describe.
Speaking of graphics, the retro style they went for looks great and makes this a lightweight game. This means you can play it on your MacBook without having to worry about overheating:
The Banner Saga 2
This is the sequel to the fan-favorite viking RPG. The first Banner Saga was a huge Kickstarter success (raising over $750,000), and this sequel is even better.
The Banner Saga 2 picks up right after the first game. As leader of a caravan, your job is to get it to safety. But that won’t be easy. Along the way, you’ll face hairy situations and have some tough calls to make.
Should you sacrifice lives for the greater good? Should you steal? And every so often, you will have to fight. But that’s ok, as The Banner Saga 2 features deep and satisfying turn-based combat.
Another highlight is the graphics. Everything is beautifully drawn, and the game often feels like a moving painting. This is a great-looking game that also happens to have low system requirements:
Stellaris comes from the team behind Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4. Needless to say, they know how to create a grand strategy game.
Stellaris is their take on space strategy and is set in the year 2200. After choosing your species, you’ll head out to explore the universe, gather resources, research technologies, and create alliances—all in real-time. This makes Stellaris a fluid experience, but you can still pause the action if you need more time to think.
Paradox’s games are known for being hard to get into. I wouldn’t say Stellaris is easy, but the UI and the way it presents information make it much easier than some others.
Stellaris is all about giving you the information you need to manage your empire. The graphics do come second, but at least it has low system requirements:
Stellaris Mac requirements: 2.5Ghz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 6750, NVIDIA GeForce 320 or higher with 1 GB VRAM.
Day of the Tentacle
Day of the Tentacle is Double Fine’s second attempt to revive a beloved cult classic.
First released in 1993, Day of the Tentacle tells the story of the fight against an evil tentacle who wants to conquer the world. Weird stuff indeed, but keep in mind that this is a fun adventure game full of puzzles and time travel.
This remaster includes all the original hand-drawn graphics at high resolutions and remastered audio. Plus, you can switch back and forth between the original version and the new one (in case you’re feeling nostalgic). And if you really want to geek out, the game also includes a commentary track with the game’s original creators.
As an added bonus, you can usually find it for less than $10 (and if you’re looking for completely free games, check this guide).
Day of the Tentacle looks great now, and as you can expect from a remaster, it can be played on most Macs:
Enter the Gungeon
Pixelated dungeon crawlers aren’t that original anymore. Competition is fierce, yet Enter The Gungeon easily stands out.
This top-down shooter follows four adventurers in search of a legendary gun. It feels a lot like a combination of The Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne, both great dungeon crawlers.
Except Enter The Gungeon is particularly hard. Even the monsters in the first room can kill you if you get overwhelmed. And don’t get me started on the bosses. But more importantly, this is a fun game with lots of little details that make it very cool. You can dodge roll, kick barrels at enemies, and flip tables to shield yourself from incoming bullets.
As with most dungeon crawlers, Enter The Gungeon is a lightweight game. An older MacBook can run it without breaking a sweat:
Hearts of Iron 4
Paradox knows how to create a grand strategy game, period, and Hearts of Iron 4 is another fine example.
Hearts of Iron 4 is the most detailed and complex WW2 strategy game ever made. You not only have to command your army, you also have to keep an eye on your industry, resources, and research. This game is no joke. You can zoom in so deep that you can micro-manage an attack in Siberia, or you can zoom out far enough to see the whole continent’s supply routes. Intimidated yet? But worry not, because once you get the hang of it, Hearts of Iron 4 becomes extremely satisfying.
Plus, the game features cross-platform multiplayer and can be enjoyed with your Windows PC friends.
As with most grand strategy games, you won’t need a particularly powerful Mac to run it:
American Truck Simulator
American Truck Simulator is the sequel to the game I couldn’t believe was successful. I mean, who would want to play a game about driving a truck?
Turns out, there’s much more than meets the eye. First of all, this game is both a truck-driving simulator and a business management simulator. When you first start, you’ll get to work as a freelancer and deliver goods to win money and XP. But once you have enough money, you can buy your own truck and start running your own business.
In any case, the actual driving simulation is actually quite good. The handling is precise, the scenery beautiful, and the attention to detail impressive. All this works together to create a relaxing and almost hypnotic driving experience.
American Truck Simulator is a good-looking game too (although that means you will need a modern Mac to run it smoothly):
Life is Strange
Life is Strange is one of the most interesting adventure games out there.
The game follows the story of a photography senior called Max Caufield. Although she looks like your average teenager, she can actually rewind time and affect the past, present, and future. Cool power, right? Throughout the game, she will use it to try to save her friend and figure out what’s happening in her hometown.
If you’re looking for combat and action sequences, move along; you won’t find that here. You will, however, find a great story full of choices and consequences.
For a story-driven game, Life is Strange looks quite good. And at the same time, you can run it on low-specs machines, including my aging MacBook Air. Feral Interactive delivers another smooth port here:
This indie sensation is my most anticipated Mac game this year. No doubt.
Rocket League is a physics-based soccer game where flying cars take on each other in a huge arena. Needless to say, these matches are intense. Really intense. You have to learn to use your rockets to boost yourself in the air and hopefully score amazing goals (or saves). Team play is important, but learning to use your car’s physics is critical.
The game features split-screen and online matches and thrives when playing with friends. And as FIFA isn’t coming anytime soon, Rocket League should scratch that itch (and more).
Developer Psyonix confirmed Rocket League’s Mac version, and it should come any time now.
Rocket League Mac release: TBA 2016
Ark: Survival Evolved
Ever wanted to hunt dinosaurs? What about taming dinosaurs? Well, Ark: Survival Evolved lets you do both and more.
This game is so big and impressive that it already has millions of active players. And it’s still in development! You start the game naked, freezing, and starving in the middle of the jungle. But you’ll learn to hunt, harvest, craft items, grow food, and build shelters to survive. This game gives you so much to do. You can use skills, tame and breed animals, ride them, and fight or become friends with other players!
I started with this one because you can already play it on Steam Early Access. The Mac version runs so much better now than a few months ago, but still, this is an unfinished game. You have been warned.
Ark: Survival Evolved Mac release: TBA 2016 (already in Steam Early Access)
Total War: Warhammer
Total War: Warhammer is the hottest strategy game right now. The Mac version is still missing, but worry not, we have confirmation that it’s coming.
This is a classic Total War game that combines a turn-based campaign with real-time battles. So far, nothing special. Except the game dives into fantasy for the first time and takes place in the Warhammer universe! There are monsters, flying creatures, and heroes, and it all matches perfectly with the Total War formula.
This is a big change from the historical Total War games we’ve been playing for the last 15 years. And from what the reviewers are saying, it was exactly what the franchise needed. Don’t be surprised when this becomes one of the best strategy games available on Mac.
Total War: Warhammer Mac release: Fall 2016
Interstellar Marines is one ambitious indie experiment. Inspired by games such as Half-Life and Rainbow Six, it aims to resurrect the old-school tactical FPS genre.
It’s also one of those games that’s been in Steam Early Access since forever. Most end up being big disappointments (Godus, anyone?), but not Interstellar Marines. This game keeps getting updates and improvements, making it better over time.
The game already offers co-op, role-playing elements, and promises a full campaign on top of all that.
Interstellar Marines Mac release: TBA 2016 (already in Steam Early Access)
Obduction is an upcoming adventure game from the creators of Myst and Riven.
Obduction will take place in a mysterious world and aims to bring back everything that made both Myst and Riven great: stunning landscapes, a deep storyline, engaging characters, and challenging puzzles. Also, Obduction will feature 3D graphics and one of the most advanced game development technologies out there. At least according to Cyan.
The game was a huge Kickstarter success (it raised over $1.3 million) and shows that Myst fans can’t wait for a new adventure.
Obduction Mac release: July 26, 2016
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance was delayed a few times, but it still has everyone excited.
Deliverance is a realistic RPG set in a 15th-century medieval kingdom. The game puts dragons and dwarves aside and focuses on a completely realistic setting. This may sound boring, but it’s what actually makes it interesting and unique. The game will feature stuff I’ve never seen before. For example, your gear will get dirtier and bloodier as you use it. There will be real combat techniques and even real-world castles recreated with the help of architects and historians.
I really hope this game will live up to everything that it has promised, because it just looks so cool.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Mac release: July 12, 2016
We Happy Few
We Happy Few is a roguelike survival game that created a lot of buzz at this year’s E3.
The game takes place in an old English city where all the citizens are addicted to a drug called “Joy.” Except you, of course. You’ll have to get out of the city before it’s too late. But first, you’ll have to learn to hide in plain sight and pretend you’re under the influence too. There will be stealth mechanics and combat, but the game-changer will be your ability to blend in.
This a very creepy game that reminds me of Orwell’s 1984 and A Clockwork Orange. It was a smashing success on Kickstarter, and along with its 7,433 backers, I can’t wait to see more.
We Happy Few Mac release: TBA 2016
Civilization 6 is the next entry in the famous 4X strategy series and will be the first major release since 2010.
Civ 6 won’t be a drastic change from Civ 5, but given how good it is (even by today’s standards), that’s not a bad thing. Plus, Civ 6 promises some key changes like bigger cities. In fact, cities will play a huge role from now on. Cities will also include districts and special buildings that you will have to strategically place.
Firaxis also promises better graphics, a brand new research system, and environments that have an impact on battles. Enough to get me excited.
Civilization 6 Mac release: October 21, 2016
Mafia 3 is an action-adventure game set in New Orleans in 1968.
Just as in Mafia 2, the game will be open-world and is supposed to give you a lot of freedom. You will be able to explore the city and will often have different ways to complete quests. It will be up to you to go in guns blazing or use stealth to sneak unnoticed by your enemies.
From what I’ve seen so far, especially at E3, this game is much faster and more action-packed than previous Mafia games. It looks more like Grand Theft Auto, and I won’t complain about that!
The game is planned for October, but it’s still not clear if the Mac version will be released at the same time.
Mafia 3 Mac release: October 7, 2016
The first Outlast is one of the scariest games you can play on a Mac. I can’t wait to see what developer Red Barrels has in store for us now.
This time, you’re a journalist working with your wife on a creepy murder investigation. The investigation leads you into the Arizona desert, where things go bad. From what I’ve seen, the game is similar to the first Outlast. You will be unarmed and will have to run and hide to survive.
Outlast 2 may lack originality, but if the first one is any indication, this will be one terrifying game.
Outlast 2 Mac release: TBA 2016
Necropolis is an action RPG from the same team behind the Shadowrun series.
In Necropolis, you play as an adventurer as he tries to escape a dungeon. The thing is, this is a living, magical dungeon that changes each time you play. There will be a lot of trial and error involved here, and you will die. A LOT. On the plus side, deaths will be useful, as they will help you improve your skills and get upgrades.
Plus, Necropolis is a dungeon crawler that will support multiplayer with up to three friends.
Necropolis Mac release: July 12, 2016
Tyranny is a new RPG from the masterminds behind Pillars of Eternity.
Tyranny takes place in a world where the bad guys won. This premise is so different from what everybody is doing, I find it fascinating. And Tyranny goes the whole way. You control one of the evil leaders. You fought the war, survived, and helped evil win. Now it’s time to travel the land to restore order. What’s impressive is that people will recognize you and fear you.
Plus, the game runs on a modified version of the engine that was used to create Pillars of Eternity. That should help create an even better looking game.
Tyranny Mac release: TBA 2016
Stardew Valley is the country-life RPG that keeps destroying sales records on Steam.
This pixelated farming simulator is a tribute to the old Harvest Moon games and follows a boy who inherits a farm. Stardew Valley is a retro-inspired game, but compared to Harvest Moon, it’s so much more detailed and complex. This is an open-ended game that gives you more control over everything: the design of your farm, the kinds of animals and crops to raise, etc. It also introduces more interesting NPCs and interactions.
The developer is working with Chucklefish, the team behind Starbound, to bring Stardew Valley to Mac. Last I heard, the game is coming to Mac “very soon,” and I can’t wait.
Stardew Valley Mac release: TBA 2016
Legion is the latest expansion for the world’s most successful MMORPG.
World of Warcraft continues to lose millions of subscribers, but Blizzard is banking hard on Legion and hopes it will help turn the tide. For starters, Legion brings new areas, raises the level cap to 110, and introduces a new demon hunter. The game will also introduce 10 new dungeons and two new raids.
All standard ingredients of a decent expansion. However, Blizzard has more plans to make you want to resubscribe. Legion will introduce new features, such as PVP-only abilities, artifacts, and more. Blizzard aims to deliver what WoW veterans have been requesting for years.
World of Warcraft Legion Mac release: August 30, 2016
Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the sequel to one of the best RPGs released in recent years.
This is a classic turn-based RPG, and if you played the original, you should have a good idea of what to expect. But the game has more ambitious plans than just more of the same. The game will include new mechanics like skill-crafting, a system called love and hate, and more.
I hope Divinity: Original Sin 2 will be worthy of the original game. In any case, the $2 million it raised on Kickstarter shows how much confidence gamers put in Larian Studios.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Mac release: December, 2016
Rollercoaster Tycoon World
Rollercoaster Tycoon World is the fourth installment in the series and will use the same formula that made RCT3 so successful.
RCT World will be all about building and managing your amusement park. It will let you build your own rides, shops, and roller coasters. But you will also have to manage your staff, budgets, and happiness levels. RCT3 was known for its depth, and RCT World has the same ambition. Plus, the game will feature 3D graphics and will let you ride your own creations.
RCT World is already available for Windows on Steam Early Access. But just to be clear, the Mac version is not yet available. And as always, I recommend that you wait for the official Mac release before taking out your wallet.
Rollercoaster Tycoon World Mac release: TBA 2016
Arma 3 is an open-world military tactical shooter. Developed by Bohemia Interactive, this is one painful shooter that requires patience and precision. This is the complete opposite of Call of Duty and would be a great addition to the aging repertoire of Mac first-person shooters.
The game has a working Mac beta, but the developer insists that it’s only experimental (they could abandon support at any time). My advice—don’t buy it until the game is officially supported.
Hitman is the latest stealth assassination game featuring Agent 47. As Agent 47, you’ll have to perform hits on high-profile targets located in exotic places around the world. The game is exactly what you’d expect from a Hitman game, except it has better graphics and mechanics. Hitman could very well be one of the best games on Mac.
Feral Interactive usually brings Hitman games to the Mac, and there is no reason this one should be any different. Plus, a Mac version was leaked on SteamDB not long ago, making it all the more likely.
DiRT Rally is Codemasters’ latest racing game and aims to be the most authentic and thrilling rally game ever made. From what I’ve seen, the game looks amazing, and most reviewers like it. Sounds like a good candidate for the Top Mac racing game spot.
This one is very likely. For starters, a leaked Mac version was spotted on SteamDB. Plus, I bet it’s the secret name called “spacious skies” on Feral’s infamous radar. On the other hand, F1 2015 was cancelled at the last minute, and the same could happen to Dirt Rally.
Mad Max is an action-adventure game based on the Mad Max films and comes from the creators of the Just Cause series. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and features car combat, exploration, and upgrades. Review scores aren’t that great, but this is a genre where the Mac desperately needs more games.
Mad Max creators have never mentioned Mac support, but a Mac version was spotted on SteamDB. This means someone is working on a Mac version (probably Feral), and I hope the release will be official soon.
With so many great games released this year, it’s becoming harder to complain when it comes to computer games for Mac. Plus, the year isn’t over, and there are a couple Game of the Year contenders officially confirmed.
In any case, there is definitely something for everyone here. With brand-new first-person shooters, roguelikes, RPGs, and even simulation games, all the most popular genres are covered.
Did I miss another exciting Mac game planned for 2016? Let me know in the comments section. If it isn’t already here, I will make sure it makes it.