Maybe you just got your first Mac, or maybe you’re simply new to gaming. Either way, this will surprise you:
Most of the best video games are available on Mac.
Some still believe there are no good games to play on Mac, but Mac gaming has come a long way (Can a Mac be a gaming PC? is a great read). Nowadays, 7 out of the 10 most-played games on Steam have a Mac version and all the best indies support it too. This Best Mac games list is nothing but a sample of all the possibilities Mac gaming has to offer.
Before we get started, this table should help you easily navigate the top Mac games:
|Game||Name||Genre||Requirements||PC Metascore||Price range|
|XCOM 2||XCOM 2||Strategy||🔥 High||88||$$$|
|BioShock Infinite||BioShock Infinite||Shooter||⚠ Medium||94||$$|
|Company of Heroes 2||Company of Heroes 2||Strategy||⚠ Medium||80||$$|
|Alien Isolation||Alien: Isolation||Horror||🔥 High||81||$$$|
|Civilization 5||Civilization 5||Strategy||⚠ Medium||90||$$|
|Pillars of Eternity||Pillars of Eternity||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||89||$$$|
|Shadow of Mordor||Shadow of Mordor||Action-Adventure||🔥 High||84||$$$|
|GRID 2||GRID 2||Racing||✅ Low||80||$$$|
|Tomb Raider||Tomb Raider||Action-Adventure||⚠ Medium||86||$|
|League of Legends||League of Legends||MOBA||⚠ Medium||78||Free|
|Boderlands The Pre-Sequel||Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel||Shooter||🔥 High||70||$$$|
|Batman: Arkham City||Batman: Arkham City||Action-Adventure||⚠ Medium||91||$$|
|Deus Ex: Human Revolution||Deus Ex: Human Revolution||Shooter||⚠ Medium||90||$$|
|World of Warcraft||World of Warcraft||MMO||⚠ Medium||93||$$$|
|Divinity: Original Sin Remastered||Divinity: Original Sin Remastered||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||94||$$$|
|Metro: Last Light Redux||Metro: Last Light Redux||First-Person Shooter||🔥 High||82||$$|
|Gone Home||Gone Home||Adventure||⚠ Medium||86||$$|
|Spec Ops: The Line||Spec Ops: The Line||Shooter||✅ Low||76||$|
|Lord of the Rings Online||Lord of the Rings Online||MMO||⚠ Medium||86||Free|
|This War of Mine||This War of Mine||Strategy||⚠ Medium||83||$$|
|XCOM: Enemy Unknown||XCOM: Enemy Unknown||Strategy||⚠ Medium||89||$$$|
|Max Payne 3||Max Payne 3||Action-Adventure||⚠ Medium||87||$$|
|Heroes of the Storm||Heroes of the Storm||MOBA||⚠ Medium||86||Free|
|Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut||Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||87||$$|
|Team Fortress 2||Team Fortress 2||Shooter||⚠ Medium||92||Free|
|The Witcher 2||The Witcher 2||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||88||$$|
|Broken Age||Broken Age||Adventure||⚠ Medium||76||$$|
|Star Wars KOTOR 2||Star Wars: KOTOR 2||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||85||$|
|Hearthstone||Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft||Strategy||✅ Low||88||Free|
|Metro 2033 Redux||Metro 2033 Redux||Shooter||🔥 High||90||$$|
|SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition||SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition||Simulation||✅ Low||84||$$|
|DiRT 3||DiRT 3||Racing||⚠ Medium||86||$$|
|SC 2: Legacy of the Void||StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void||Strategy||⚠ Medium||88||$$$|
|COD: Modern Warfare 3||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3||Shooter||⚠ Medium||78||$$$|
|F1 2013||F1 2013||Racing||⚠ Medium||77||$$|
|The Sims 4||The Sims 4||Simulation||⚠ Medium||70||$$$|
|Rollercoaster Tycoon 3||Rollercoaster Tycoon 3||Simulation||✅ Low||81||$$|
|Portal 2||Portal 2||Puzzle||✅ Low||95||$$|
|Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls||Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||87||$$|
|Rayman: Origins||Rayman: Origins||Platformer||⚠ Medium||86||$$|
|Guild Wars 2||Guild Wars 2||MMO||⚠ Medium||90||Free|
|Super Meat Boy||Super Meat Boy||Platformer||✅ Low||87||$$|
|Left 4 Dead 2||Left 4 Dead 2||Shooter||⚠ Medium||89||$$|
|FTL: Faster than Light||FTL: Faster than Light||Strategy||✅ Low||84||$|
|Mark of the Ninja||Mark of the Ninja||Platformer||⚠ Medium||91||$$|
|Crusader Kings 2||Crusader Kings 2||Strategy||⚠ Medium||82||$$$|
|Football Manager 2016||Football Manager 2016||Sports||✅ Low||81||$$$|
|Rocksmith 2014||Rocksmith 2014||Music||✅ Low||89||$$$|
|AC: Brotherhood||Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood||Action-Adventure||⚠ Medium||88||$$|
|Europa Universalis 4||Europa Universalis 4||Strategy||⚠ Medium||87||$$$|
|Trine 2||Trine 2||Platformer||✅ Low||84||$$|
|CS: Global Offensive||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||Shooter||✅ Low||83||$|
|Shadowrun: Hong Kong||Shadowrun: Hong Kong||Role-Playing||✅ Low||81||$$|
|Dragon Age: Origins||Dragon Age: Origins||Role-Playing||✅ Low||91||$|
|The Elder Scrolls Online||The Elder Scrolls Online||MMO||⚠ Medium||80||$$$|
|Papers, Please||Papers, Please||Simulation||✅ Low||85||$|
|Total War: Shogun 2||Total War: Shogun 2||Strategy||⚠ Medium||90||$$$|
|Civilization: Beyond Earth||Civilization: Beyond Earth||Strategy||⚠ Medium||81||$$$|
|Dota 2||Dota 2||MOBA||⚠ Medium||90||Free|
|Cities: Skylines||Cities: Skylines||Simulation||⚠ Medium||85||$$|
|Hotline Miami||Hotline Miami||Action||✅ Low||85||$|
|Torchlight 2||Torchlight 2||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||88||$$|
|Grim Fandango: Remastered||Grim Fandango: Remastered||Adventure||⚠ Medium||84||$$|
|Kerbal Space Program||Kerbal Space Program||Simulation||⚠ Medium||88||$$$|
|Age of Wonders 3||Age of Wonders 3||Strategy||⚠ Medium||80||$|
|Elite: Dangerous||Elite: Dangerous||Action-Adventure||🔥 High||80||$$|
|Invisible, Inc.||Invisible, Inc.||Strategy||⚠ Medium||82||$|
|Towerfall Ascension||Towerfall Ascension||Action||⚠ Medium||87||$|
|Legend of Grimrock 2||Legend of Grimrock 2||Role-Playing||⚠ Medium||85||$|
|Tales from the Borderlands||Tales from the Borderlands||Adventure||⚠ Medium||85||$|
|Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance||Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance||Action||⚠ Medium||83||$$|
|Shovel Knight||Shovel Knight||Platformer||✅ Low||85||$$|
|Hitman: Absolution||Hitman: Absolution||Action||⚠ Medium||79||$$|
|Don't Starve||Don't Starve||Adventure||✅ Low||79||$|
|The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth||The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth||Platformer||✅ Low||86||$$|
|Homeworld Remastered Collection||Homeworld Remastered Collection||Strategy||⚠ Medium||86||$$$|
|Dwarf Fortress||Dwarf Fortress||Strategy||✅ Low||NA||Free|
|Crypt of the NecroDancer||Crypt of the NecroDancer||Platformer||✅ Low||87||$|
|GTA: The Trilogy||GTA: The Trilogy||Action-Adventure||✅ Low||NA||$|
|Cave Story||Cave Story||Platformer||✅ Low||NA||Free|
|The Walking Dead||The Walking Dead||Adventure||✅ Low||89||$$|
|The Talos Principle||The Talos Principle||Puzzle||⚠ Medium||85||$$$|
|EVE Online||EVE Online||MMO||⚠ Medium||88||$$|
|Total War: Attila||Total War: Attila||Strategy||⚠ Medium||80||$$$|
|Her Story||Her Story||Adventure||✅ Low||86||$|
|Prison Architect||Prison Architect||Simulation||✅ Low||83||$$$|
|The Banner Saga||The Banner Saga||Role-Playing||✅ Low||79||$$|
PS: I know you often wonder if your Mac has the chops to run modern games. To give you an idea, I included my take on what type of Mac you will need to play these games.
Finally—and I shouldn’t have to say this—every game listed here works on Mac. No Windows needed. I’ve seen “Best games for Mac” lists with games that are not even available on Mac. That pisses me off and I promise it will never happen around here. Let’s get started.
The 100 Best Mac Games You Can Play Today:
|Sort by name?||100 Best Mac Games||Sort by genre?||Free games only?||Performance requirements?|
|XCOM 2|| |
As expected, this turn-based strategy game plays and looks much better than its predecessor. The critics love it. In XCOM 2, humans lost the war against the aliens and have to resort to guerilla tactics to fight back. This changes the way the game plays and paves the way for cool features, such as the ability to hide from the aliens.
One word of caution, though—this game looks great but is very demanding. XCOM 2’s Mac version will require powerful Mac to run, and before you go blame Feral Interactive for a poor port, know that the Windows version is the same:
PS: If you don’t have a powerful Mac to run XCOM 2's Mac version, you can always play the very solid XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
System requirements: OS X 10.11.2, 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 45 GB HD space, NVIDIA 650ti (1GB), AMD 5770 (1GB), Intel Iris Pro or better.
|BioShock Infinite|| |
The story is a little weird, especially near the end, but both Elizabeth—the girl you have to rescue—and the flying city of Columbia take the game to a whole new level. Elizabeth is the best NPC I have ever seen. She’s helpful, smart, and lovable. Columbia is simply unique and beautiful. They will both be remembered for a long time. Infinite also offers solid shooting mechanics and lets you combine guns with special powers—enough to give you a well-deserved break from all the “me too” shooters out there.
Aspyr did a great job with BioShock Infinite’s Mac version too. In spite its beautiful graphics, the game can run smoothly on a decent Mac:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 30 GB HD space, Nvidia GeForce 640M, Radeon HD 3870, Intel HD 4000, or better with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Company of Heroes 2|| |
Company of Heroes 2
The game takes place during World War 2, but luckily it moves away from the tired battles we all know too well (Battle of Normandy, anyone?). Instead, it focuses on the infamous battles led by the Red Army on the eastern front. Company of Heroes 2 has improved the formula in other ways too. For example, the weather effects and destructible environments are amazing. This is currently my go-to strategy game, and in my opinion, one of the best Mac strategy games today. And if I ever want to take a break from the campaign, I know the skirmish mode can provide a quick 20 minutes of fun.
For a strategy game, Company of Heroes 2 looks amazing. The downside to that are the steep system requirements. Feral Interactive did a fine job with Company of Heroes 2’s Mac version, but you will still need a decent Mac to play it:
System requirements: OS X 10.10.3, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 35 GB HD space, AMD R9 series graphics card, an Intel Iris Pro graphics card, or an NVIDIA 600 series graphics card or better with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Alien: Isolation|| |
Granted, many Alien games have come and gone, and most were bad. But Isolation is different. For the first time ever, an Alien game finally captured the essence of the original film. This is truly a scary game, and the Alien is to be feared and respected. You can’t kill it. All you can do is run and hide. The game does take place in an abandoned space station, which offers many places to hide. Alien: Isolation is the complete package. The story is interesting, the gameplay is solid, and the graphics are beautiful.
Feral Interactive did a fine job with Alien: Isolation’s Mac version. It runs great and is bug-free. That said, you will still need a powerful Mac to run it:
System requirements: OS X 10.10.4, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 35 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, ATI Radeon HD 5670, or Intel Iris Pro with 1 GB of Video Memory.
Firewatch tells the story of a fire lookout stationed in a forest. After some mysterious occurrences, you set out to explore the forest in search of answers. Your only form of communication is a walkie-talkie, and the way you choose to respond will influence your relationships. This is a great game that feels like an adult game with realistic issues. That drives the story to a level we are no longer used to. Plus, the forest is beautiful and full of breathtaking sights.
I just finished the game and totally understand why it's one of Macworld's top games from February 2016.
Developer Campo Santo took Firewatch's Mac version very seriously. They are working on adding metal support to make it even better. You don’t need to wait, though—the current version works great and is properly optimized. Also, the game is available everywhere, but GOG remains the store I love to support:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, Intel Core i5, 6 GB RAM, 4 GB HD space, Nvidia or ATi GPU with 1GB Memory.
|Sid Meier’s Civilization V|| |
Sid Meier’s Civilization 5
Everyone feared Civ 5 would simply ride Civ 4’s coattails, but thankfully, it didn’t. Developer Firaxis managed to create a game that feels both familiar and fresh at the same time. In Civ 5, you take control of an entire civilization. Although it all starts with a lonely settler in 4000 BC, the game will let you create cities, raise armies, research technologies, build an economy, and expand your empire. Civ 5 may not be the most detailed Mac strategy game on the market (that honor goes to Europa Universalis 4), but it’s probably the most fun.
Civ 5 doesn’t have impressive graphics, but be careful. There are so many different units generated at once that it will require some horsepower to run smoothly:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8800, ATI Radeon HD 2600, Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Pillars of Eternity|| |
Pillars of Eternity
Expectations were high, but Obsidian delivered. Created with the help of over 70,000 Kickstarter backers, this is a satisfying RPG and one of the finest games released in 2015. Pillars of Eternity features real-time gameplay, an elevated camera angle (just like you remember it), detailed party customizations, and tons of dialogue. This game has all the ingredients to do old-school RPGs justice. Pillars of Eternity may look and feel old-school, and that might turn you off. But don’t be fooled by appearances. This is a great game that tells a great story, and if you’re into RPGs, you owe it to yourself to try it.
Also, Obsidian Entertainment did an excellent job on Pillar of Eternity’s Mac version. The port is bug-free and easy on the system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 2.53 Ghz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 14 GB HD space, Radeon HD 6750M or NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor|| |
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Set in the Lord of the Rings universe, Shadow of Mordor combines melee combat, stealth, exploration, and parkour. But what sets it apart is that everything it does, it does well. The combat is as good as Batman: Arkham City’s, and the exploration and parkour are as good as Assassin’s Creed’s.
But it gets better. The game also uses the Nemesis System, which allows your enemies to remember all previous confrontations and react accordingly.
This game packs some serious graphics, and Feral Interactive managed to bring us a solid Mac port. Still, Shadow of Mordor’s Mac requirements remain high, and it does require a powerful Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.10.3, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8 GB RAM, 80 GB HD space, ATI 7xxx, Nvidia 6xx, Intel Iris or Iris Pro with 1 GB of Video Memory.
|GRID 2|| |
GRID 2 is the perfect combination of realism and arcade fun. In fact, you’re always a few settings away from a simulation game, an arcade game, or something in-between. The game includes many real-world locations and a huge car selection. Plus, the physics engine makes every car feel different. This all comes together to guarantee that GRID 2 a joy to play. Granted, even with every assist off, this game won’t match Gran Turismo. But I don’t see that as a bad thing, as GRID 2 can be challenging but remains accessible. For a casual racing fan like me, this is the best Mac racing game.
Also, I have no idea what Feral Interactive did with GRID 2’s Mac port, but the game runs really well. Even my 2013 MacBook Air can run it decently!
System requirements: OS X 10.9.4, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 11 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Tomb Raider|| |
As always, you take control of the charming archaeologist Lara Croft. Except this time, the game tells the story of how a younger Lara Croft became the adventurer we all know. This new Tomb Raider is about exploration, combat, and survival in a more realistic way. Everything stands out here. The combat is fun (be it hand-to-hand or using a weapon), the cutscenes are intense, and the graphics are beautiful.
You will need a powerful Mac to run this game, but Feral Interactive did a great job with Tomb Raider’s Mac port. This is a smooth port with reasonable system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.1, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 14 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|League of Legends|| |
League of Legends
In League of Legends, players form two teams that compete against each other. You take control of a single “champion” that you can improve as you play. The game has over 120 champions to choose from, each with unique abilities, weaknesses, and strengths. This makes it a hard game to learn and master. And that’s a problem, because LoL is an extremely competitive game. Their community is known for being a bit aggressive, so expect some abuse if you mess up!
But do you know what really makes LoL worth a shot anyway? The fact that it’s free to play. What you’ll need to play League of Legends' Mac version:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 5 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600.
|Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel|| |
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Some complained that it felt too much like Borderlands 2, but why fix something that ain’t broken? If you’re looking for the best Borderlands game, this is it. Like previous entries, this game is all about killing enemies and finding strange guns. It combines FPS with RPG elements—if Diablo and Fallout had a baby, it would look something like this. The Pre-Sequel introduced cool new features too, such as low gravity and lasers. By the way, this game supports co-op multiplayer and is definitely more fun with friends.
This FPS/RPG is a great experience that I can't recommend enough. I consider it the best FPS on Mac. Be careful with the specs though, because The Pre-Sequel's Mac version requires:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 13 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8800, ATI Radeon HD 2600, or Intel HD 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
Braid is all about solving puzzles where you have to run, jump, and climb across levels. So far, nothing special—except it gives you a unique power: the ability to manipulate time. You can effectively reverse time and “rewind” actions, even after dying. Time manipulation aside, Braid is full of fun and challenging puzzles. Braid’s creator used this game as a critique of modern game development and wanted to create something different. I’d say he most definitely succeeded!
And even better, Braid is a lightweight game that can run even on older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 1.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 512 MB RAM, 185 MB HD space, ATI Radeon 9500 or better, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 or better, Intel GMA 950 or better with 64 MB of Video Memory.
|Batman: Arkham City|| |
Batman: Arkham City
The first Arkham game surprised us all, showing the world that superhero games could be fun. Arkham City took that same recipe and improved everything. The story is good, the graphics look great, and the environments are bigger than ever. But what makes this game great is the combat. The combat involves dodging, counter-attacking, and building combos.
It sounds simple, but everything is smooth and feels great. Just take on a gang of 11 thugs and you'll see what I mean. As Batman, this game makes you feel powerful and fast.
Feral Interactive did a great job with Arkham City's Mac port. For such a big and beautiful game, the system requirements aren't too high:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.4, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD Graphics 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Deus Ex: Human Revolution|| |
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Human Revolution can be played like an action game, a stealth game, or a combination of both. You can use stealth, sneak up on enemy soldiers, and hide bodies, or you can just run and gun your way to the final boss. Either way, it’s your call.
The game’s top-notch story and beautiful, futuristic graphics are also worth mentioning. Even though the game is a few years old now, it still looks amazing, especially at its highest settings.
If you’re worried about performance, don't. Feral Interactive handled Human Revolution’s Mac port and did a great job optimizing it. You won't need a powerful Mac to enjoy this beauty; a decent machine will do:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.3, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 17 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 3870 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|World of Warcraft|| |
World of Warcraft
WoW defined the genre 10 years ago and continues to evolve and compete with the many MMOs that have come and gone in its wake. In WoW, you create a character, complete quests, and kill baddies to level up and become stronger. Once you’ve reached your maximum level, the real fun begins. You can take part in “raids,” which are basically harder dungeons with tougher bosses and more powerful gear. Word of caution: This game is so good, it can be extremely addictive. I once lost around 6 months of my life playing WoW!
Blizzard did a great job with WoW’s Mac version and the game should run on most modern Macs, specially now that it supports Metal:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 35 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 4850.
|Divinity: Original Sin Remastered|| |
Divinity: Original Sin Remastered
This is a very traditional RPG. However, everything it does, it does well. The game includes turn-based combat, cooperative multiplayer, an interactive world, and even a modding tool. And it goes much deeper than that—it offers freedom and depth. Your choices really matter in such a way that even mundane events become interesting. Original Sin was a big success when it was first released, and now the remastered edition makes it even better. It fixes the awful menus and makes everything simpler. It even includes new content, such as an expanded storyline and new gameplay options.
Original Sin’s Mac version is not demanding in terms of requirements. To run it, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, Intel HD4000 or better.
|Metro: Last Light Redux|| |
Metro: Last Light Redux
It picks up right where Metro 2033 ended and does its best to improve its predecessor’s formula. The story takes place mostly inside the metro system, but some missions will bring you outside. Either way, the post-apocalyptic world 4A Games has created here is impressive (and a little scary). Last Light can sometimes feel restrictive—you can’t always do what you want or go where you please, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because of the scary atmosphere the game creates.
Metro games are beautiful but extremely demanding. And just recently, Redux versions were released; now, both Metro games are even prettier to look at. The downside? You will need a very powerful Mac to run this game at its highest settings:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 3.2 Ghz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 9 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750m or Radeon HD7950 with 1 GB of Video Memory.
|Gone Home|| |
Gone Home is set in a big empty mansion. As you return home from a long trip abroad, you realize your family is missing. The only clue is a note from your sister asking you not to try to find them. That is Gone Home’s premise. The gameplay is limited to you investigating the mansion and inspecting objects. It certainly doesn’t sound like much, but Gone Home manages to create a great story and a memorable connection between you and the missing family.
I still don’t understand how they pulled it off, but Gone Home is a unique and compelling experience you can’t miss. Gone Home’s Mac version is well-polished too and only requires:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, any card with 512 MB of Video Memory.
Minecraft’s buildings have no limitations. I can barely build a fort, but some people have recreated the Death Star, Rohan, and more. Minecraft is also a survival game. Monsters come out at night, so make sure you build a shelter. You will also have to find food, craft weapons, and explore to find useful resources. Minecraft’s graphics are as retro as it gets, but that doesn’t stop it from looking good.
Plus, retro graphics mean that Minecraft can run on most Macs, including my 13-inch Macbook Air:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 1.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 512 MB RAM, 185 MB HD space, ATI Radeon 9500 or better, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 or better, Intel GMA 950 or better with 64 MB of Video Memory.
Bastion takes place in a floating world that constantly changes. But what sets this game apart is the narrator. Throughout the campaign, a voice narrates your every move. This gives impact to even the most mundane fights. Bastion is the complete package. It offers fun combat, a good story, and a beautiful, colorful world. And that narrator makes it even better in ways that are hard to explain.
You do not want to miss this classic, which also happens to be easy on your Mac:
System requirements: OS X 10.5.8, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 1 GB HD space, ATI Radeon 2600, nVidia GeForce 8600 GT, Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
In Limbo, you guide a boy through dangerous places in search of his missing sister. The environments not only look gloomy, they are full of puzzles, traps, and monsters. In fact, people refer to Limbo's gameplay as “trial and death,” which means that you will have to die a lot before solving a puzzle. And those deaths are quite gruesome too, making the experience a little more tense.
Limbo uses simple graphics to create a dark and nightmarish feel. That simplicity provides another benefit—you can play Limbo even on older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 1.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 150 MB HD space, OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Spec Ops: The Line|| |
Spec Ops: The Line
For starters, the game is in third person, and that helps it stand out. But most importantly, it tells a story different than most modern warfare games. This game isn’t about killing hundreds per mission; it’s about proving that war has consequences and will take its toll on everyone.
But don’t worry, this isn’t a hardcore simulator that will make you want to shoot yourself. Spec Ops is a fun game. The missions are varied, the gameplay is easy to grasp, and the graphics are good.
Spec Ops: The Line is a capable shooter that you should try if you want a break from the Call of Duties out there. Spec Ops’ Mac version isn’t that demanding and only requires a decent Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 6 GB HD space, Radeon HD 4670/4850/4870 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|The Lord of the Rings Online|| |
The Lord of the Rings Online
LotRO is a traditional MMO. You control a character that will need to fetch quests and kill monsters to level up and become stronger.
LotRO doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s still a polished game that's also free to play. There are many free-to-play MMOs out there, but LotRO is the best one. Am I saying this because I'm a Lord of the Rings geek? Partly, but it’s also because this is a great game with solid gameplay and graphics. Plus, LotRO offers a ton of content before forcing you to pay for anything.
As with most MMOs, LotRO requires a decent Mac with a reliable internet connection:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 25 GB HD space, Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better.
|This War of Mine|| |
This War of Mine
Most war games put you in the shoes of super soldiers capable of killing a hundred enemies in order to save the world. This War of Mine takes a completely different route and focuses on the faceless victims of war.
In This War of Mine, you take control of a group of civilians stuck in a war-torn city. Food and supplies are limited, and it’s up to you to help them survive for as long as possible. During the day, you can build things (such as weapons) and cook food. At night, you will have to send one of your survivors to scavenge other parts of the city and find more resources.
This is a hard but addictive game I enjoyed on my 2013 MacBook Air. This War of Mine’s Mac version is not demanding and only requires:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 1.5 GB HD space, Geforce 9600 GS, Radeon HD4000 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|XCOM: Enemy Unknown|| |
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Set during an alien invasion, the game gives you command of XCOM, an elite organization in charge of defending the Earth. As XCOM’s commander, you get to battle aliens in a series of turn-based tactical missions. But be careful—if one of your soldiers dies, he will be dead for good. Between missions, you get to research new technologies, expand your base, and more. Both sides of the game complement each other perfectly, making XCOM a damn good game.
For a strategy game, this is a good-looking one. Luckily, Feral Interactive delivered an optimized port. XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Mac port does still require a decent Mac to run, though:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 20 GB HD space, Nvidia GeForce 640M, Radeon HD 3870, NVIDIA GeForce 9400, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
SOMA is a first-person shooter that takes place in an underwater research facility. It’s Rapture meets the Nostromo, and that’s the best part of the game. The horror and tension come from the environments here, not the characters. The game will ask you to go from one end of the facility to the other to discover what happened to all the missing employees along the way. Similar to Outlast, there are no weapons, and you can’t fight back. You can only hide from the monsters or—eventually—run.
Frictional Games did a fine job with SOMA’s Mac version. This is a good-looking game with system requirements that aren’t too high:
System requirements: 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 25 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, AMD Radeon HD 5750, or better with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Max Payne 3|| |
Max Payne 3
This third-person shooter from the creators of Grand Theft Auto is a great game, but the problem is the Mac version itself. Many have reported bugs that can at best detract from the whole experience and at worst break the game. I’ve never had a problem with this game, but you should be aware that some issues do exist. The game itself follows the story of former detective and vigilante Max Payne. Long story short, the game will ask you to kill. A lot. But the best part is the variety of tools at your disposal. You’ll get lots of different guns, but special abilities like slowing time and diving to avoid enemy bullets during gun fights are the real highlight.
If you are worried about potential technical issues, pick up the game on Steam (they can offer refunds). I got it from the Mac App Store, as it’s the easiest way to get a game on your Mac. In any case, Max Payne 3 does require a modern Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 40 GB HD space, NVIDIA 8800GT or AMD Radeon HD 4870 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Heroes of the Storm|| |
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm involves two teams of “heroes” who fight it out with the sole objective of destroying the opposing team’s nexus (read: base). Throughout the game, your team will gain experience and “level up,” giving you more abilities and power. If you happen to enjoy other Blizzard games (like StarCraft or World of Warcraft), the experience is even better. This is your chance to play as James Raynor or Diablo himself. Compared to the reigning champion, League of Legends, this is a more team-oriented and beginner-friendly experience.
Heroes of the Storm is currently my favorite free Mac game, and if you ever wanted to give the MOBA genre a try, this is your best choice. To run it properly, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut|| |
Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
This is a hardcore role-playing game that is both difficult and dark. It offers tactical combat and tons of RPG elements. You’ll get to set up a party of up to seven characters. Four of them are fully customizable, with many skills, stats, and appearances to choose from. The remaining three are NPCs with their own agendas and motivations.
It took 26 years and a $3 million Kickstarter campaign to create a worthy sequel, but Wasteland 2 lives up to its legacy. Wasteland 2 is a great RPG that is not easy to get into, but it’s totally worth it once you’re hooked. To run it properly, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 30 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 300 Series or Radeon equivalent (512 MB).
|Team Fortress 2|| |
Team Fortress 2
What’s funny is that even if it cost $50, I would still recommend it. TF2 is a team-based FPS that lets you choose among nine classes. After choosing a character, you then join a team and battle in a variety of game modes, including capture the flag and king of the hill. But no matter the game mode, nothing beats a good combination of players who know how to use their classes. Because this is a free-to-play game with good graphics, this is the game I recommend if you’re wondering what your Mac is capable of.
Valve did a great job with Team Fortress 2’s Mac port and delivered a game that looks good and runs on modest hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.5.8, 1.7 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 15 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, Intel HD 3000 or higher.
|The Witcher 2|| |
The Witcher 2
The original Witcher was a great game, but The Witcher 2 is even better. The Witcher 2’s world is bigger, the graphics are nicer, and the combat is faster. Windows gamers are already enjoying The Witcher 3, which I hope will come to the Mac later this year. Still, The Witcher 2 is a hell of a game, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
There’s one caveat with The Witcher 2’s Mac version, though. Some gamers have told me that the Mac port is full of bugs. I played this game for a few hours and didn’t notice anything myself, but still, it’s worth mentioning.
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 25 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 512MB, ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB or better with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Broken Age|| |
Released in two separate acts, Broken Age puts you in control of two characters, each living in a different world. You can switch between characters at any time, move around, examine objects, and talk to NPCs to learn more about the world. The gameplay may sound simple, but Broken Age was praised for its great writing and puzzles. This is a game you play for the story it tells.
The game’s second act is a little too long, but overall this is a good point-and-click game that doesn’t require a powerful Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 1.5 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 4850, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Star Wars: KOTOR 2|| |
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic 2
KOTOR 2 is very similar to the original KOTOR. There’s definitely a feeling that the developer wanted to play it safe, but when the original game is so good, you can’t really complain. KOTOR 2 picks up around five years after the events from the original game and features a more complex moral system, a new influence system, better combat, and a great story. KOTOR 2 is certainly old (first released in 2005), but Aspyr remastered it and released it for the first time on Mac last year.
This new version includes Steam Workshop support, achievements, controller support, and native widescreen resolution support. There has never been a better time to experience KOTOR 2 than now:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, NVIDIA Geforce 330M, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft|| |
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Can you really call a collectible card game a gem? You can if the game is this much fun! And if you thought collectible card games weren’t your thing, think again. Based on the popular Warcraft universe, Hearthstone is a simple game to grasp. In every match, you pull three or four cards (depending on who goes first) out of your customized deck of 30 cards. There are different card types, but the aim is simple: kill you opponent. The rules are easy, but the strategy behind the game is complex, challenging, and satisfying.
Hearthstone is an excellent strategy game, and I'd recommend it to anybody.
And if you happen to have a Mac that you think is too old to play games, give Hearthstone’s Mac version a try. It’s one of the best free computer games for Mac out there:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 3 GB HD space, NVIDIA® GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro.
|Metro 2033 Redux|| |
Metro 2033 Redux
Metro: Last Light is the sequel, but developer 4A Games decided to remaster the original Metro 2033 and include all the improvements and goodies from the original. For a long time, Metro 2033 was used as a benchmark to test the latest graphics cards—it looked that good. So why on earth was it remastered? Well, turns out Metro 2033 had a lot to learn from the newer Last Light. This is a true remaster with polishes, improved lighting and weather effects, expanded environments, and even new features, such as weapon customization.
If you missed Metro 2033 the first time, Metro 2033 Redux is the perfect excuse to try one of the best-looking games you can play on Mac. Be careful though, a powerful Mac will be required:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 3.2 Ghz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750m 1GB, or Radeon HD7950 3GB with 1 GB of Video Memory.
|SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition|| |
SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition
SimCity 4 is the city-building game everyone loved. It lets you create your own city and manage it. You’re in charge of zoning, construction, utilities, and even taxes. SimCity 4 was an impressive game at the time and was the perfect balance between difficulty and fun.
Aspyr remastered the game in 2014 to run at higher, native resolutions and to load and render the scenes faster. If you’re still disappointed by the latest SimCity, SimCity 4 will remind you why you loved the series in the first place. As you can expect from an older game, most Macs should be able to run this game just fine:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, NVIDIA Geforce 8800, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|DiRT 3|| |
DiRT 3 is a more grown-up version of its predecessor, DiRT 2. The good old rally stages are back, and the introduction of gymkhana is a welcome one. The EGO engine once again proves to be one of the best racing game engines in the business. But other than offering good looks, the engine delivers tight, responsive handling. Driving through Finland, Kenya, and Monaco feels great all thanks to accurate, tight controls.
Feral Interactive was in charge of this port and delivered a smooth DiRT 3 Mac version. This game is so well optimized that even my MacBook Air can run it (at low settings, of course):
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 15 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void|| |
StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void
Most know StarCraft 2 because it's one of the most competitive and challenging games out there. New units and balance changes make Legacy of the Void faster and even more challenging—perfect for skilled players.
But Legacy of the Void also offers a variety of new elements, especially for casual players (thank god). For starters, it includes the final 20 missions of StarCraft 2’s campaign. It also introduces a fun cooperative mode that involves special characters and missions. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just want to have fun, Legacy of the Void is a great choice. Blizzard did a stellar job with StarCraft 2's Mac version.
This is one of the best-looking strategy games, but it doesn't require too much power to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 30 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, ATI Radeon HD 4670 or better with 256 MB of Video Memory.
Like Bastion, Transistor also has a narrator that keeps you company as you play. Surprisingly, it still works just as well as it did before (and comes from the same voice actor). Transistor includes many RPG elements, but the real highlight is the combat. Combat can take place both in real-time and also in a planning mode where you can pause the action. As you level up, you gain more combat skills, and you will have to plan your attacks carefully.
Transistor’s Mac version is also easy on the system requirements. If you’re looking for a game to play on a MacBook, Transistor is a good candidate:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.6 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 3 GB HD space, OpenGL 3.0+ (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable) with 1 GB of Video Memory.
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3|| |
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Modern Warfare 3 follows the winning Call of Duty formula. You get a campaign full of Hollywood-esque movie moments and a multiplayer mode, where most gamers spend 99% of their time. And to make the Mac version even better, it supports Mac to Windows multiplayer, letting you play against the thousands of active Windows users. Kudos to Mac porting studio Aspyr there.
Modern Warfare 3 also features great graphics, so you’d better have a decent Mac to play this one:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 13 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 640M, ATI Radeon HD 4850, Intel Iris with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|F1 2013|| |
F1 2013 features all 11 teams, 22 drivers, and 19 tracks from the 2013 F1 season. Codemasters did their best to create the ultimate F1 experience, replicating both the vehicle and the feeling of driving an F1 car.
This game is for the committed. It’s difficult to play, but put in the effort and the experience pays you back with interest.
Feral Interactive was in charge of F1 2013’s Mac version and delivered, as always. Want to show off the game’s beautiful graphics? You can if you have a powerful Mac. And if you don’t, this port even runs (on low settings) on my MacBook Air:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.2, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 13 GB HD space, 512 MB of Video Memory.
|The Sims 4|| |
The Sims 4
The Sims 4 lets you build a house, create a Sim character, and dress him. But the game doesn’t stop there. You’re also responsible for your Sim’s social life, including love, friends, and work. The Sims 4 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and keeps the same ideas and goals that made its predecessors so successful. On the plus side, Maxis has learned a lot, and worthwhile additions include the ability to multitask and improved character creation.
The Sims 4’s Mac version works fine, but it has surprisingly high system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 4 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 320M, 9600M, 9400M, ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro or better with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Rollercoaster Tycoon 3|| |
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
RTC3 is a simulation game that gives you full control of an amusement park. The most impressive thing about this game is the total freedom to build a park exactly as you imagine it. You can choose where to place the toilets, what types of trees you want, and even the color your janitors wear. The options are endless and make you really feel like you’re in charge. The game offers two different modes: career mode and sandbox mode. Career mode throws some challenging scenarios your way, while Sandbox mode gives you a white canvas so you can create the park of your dreams.
And you know what other advantage classics like this have? Their system requirements are extremely easy to meet. Even a dusty MacBook or Mac Mini can handle it:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8600, ATI Radeon HD2600, Intel HD 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Portal 2|| |
Portal 2 is all about solving puzzles using your “portal gun.” In a nutshell, this device creates two portals connecting any two places, and with its help, you can solve the unlikeliest of puzzles. Some puzzles are hard, but once you figure them out, you’ll feel like a genius. Portal 2 can also be played cooperatively, and you should. It’s simply way more fun with a friend. It’s not an overstatement to say that Portal 2 is a terrific game. It’s one of those rare gems that scored perfect reviews everywhere, and I can only agree.
For a first-person game, Portal 2's Mac version isn't too demanding and can be played on a relatively modest setup:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.4, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or Intel HD Graphics 3000.
The gameplay mechanics are original (mixing guns with magic powers), and the controls feel tight and reliable. However, the real reason you should play this game, even after all these years, is because the atmosphere and story are amazing. The game takes place in an underwater city gone crazy. The atmosphere is dark and tense, making this one of the best horror games on Mac.
Plus, as the game is slightly old now, it can be played on most Macs. Feral Interactive did a great job on BioShock’s Mac version, and the game only requires:
System requirements: OS X 10.5.8, 1.6 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1.5 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, NVIDIA Geforce 7300, ATI Radeon X1600, or Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 128 MB of Video Memory.
|Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls|| |
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
In Diablo 3, you get to create a character and set out to defeat the Lord of Terror himself. Diablo 3 is by all means a good role-playing game, but it truly excels because it’s fast and action-packed. Diablo 3 is about killing waves of monsters and getting tons of loot. The story is fine, but it’s the loot that will keep you coming back for more. Reaper of Souls is Diablo’s latest expansion. It adds many features and changes Diablo 3 for the better.
The graphics aren't impressive, but with that much action happening at once, you will need a good machine to run Diablo 3. Luckily, Blizzard takes good care of all their Mac ports:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 MB RAM, 25 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Rayman: Origins|| |
This side-scrolling game doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but its execution is flawless. It’s fast, it’s beautiful, and every obstacle and enemy is exactly where it should be. In Origins, you travel through each level, fighting enemies and rescuing Electoons. As you move forward, you gain new abilities like running up walls, gliding in midair, swimming, and shrinking. This game reminds me of the original Sega games except much, much better. You can also play with up to four local players for some good old real-life sessions with friends.
Rayman: Origins’ Mac version was handled by Feral Interactive, who delivered a good port. The game isn’t too demanding, so any decent Mac should be able to handle it:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 1.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 3 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 320M, ATI Radeon HD 3870, Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Guild Wars 2|| |
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is a “traditional” MMO where you need to quest and level up. Nothing special, except it does have unique twists. For example, the story changes according to your actions (like in single-player games), and you’ll notice dynamic events and faster combat. But do you know what’s the best part? Guild Wars 2 is free to play, and it’s very generous too. Guild Wars 2 offers its best features without asking a dime. This change came with the Heart of Thorns expansion, which adds a new class, a new PvP mode, a reworked Fractal system, and “Adventures.” Heart of Thorns is paid, but it doesn’t require a monthly subscription. That makes it the best Mac MMO hands down.
Guild Wars 2’s Mac version works fine for most (myself included), but some report poor performance. You should try the free version first to see how your Mac handles it:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 35 GB HD space, NVIDIA® GeForce 320M, ATI Radeon HD 6630M, Intel HD 3000 or better.
|Homeworld Remastered Collection|| |
Homeworld Remastered Collection
It’s crazy how 15 years later, no strategy game could match the scale and excitement of Homeworld’s space battles. And now thanks to this Remastered Collection’s beautiful graphics, Homeworld looks like any other modern strategy game. The Remastered Collection brings polished graphics, high-res textures, better lighting effects, and a new UI—enough to compete against modern games. This, combined with a great story and atmosphere, makes this collection a must.
For a long time, players debated whether this was the best strategy game of all time, and now that both Homeworld games have been modernized, the debate can continue:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 20 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 640M, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
In Fez, you control Gomez, a character who can see both the 2D and 3D worlds around him. This gives you the ability to actually rotate the world and see all four sides of it. And that makes all the difference. This perspective gives this game a special touch, but it also makes the puzzles all the more difficult. There are no enemies to distract you, but trust me, you will need all your focus to solve those puzzles.
Like many indie platformers, Fez uses a retro look and lots of colors to look good. The graphics won't blow your mind, but on the plus side, it should run on even older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 1.8 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 1 GB HD space, OpenGL 3.0+ support however Intel Integrated Graphics (excluding HD series) will not work.
|Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood|| |
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Brotherhood is an open-world adventure game that focuses on combat, stealth, and parkour. Brotherhood is the third installment in the Assassin’s Creed universe and picks up right where AC 2 left off. The plot is okay, but Brotherhood’s combat, stealth, and assassination mechanics make it one of the best action-adventure games on Mac. Also, did you know that you can climb every building in the game?
Brotherhood is slightly older now, but it still looks great at the highest settings. You will need a decent graphics card to pull it off, though:
System requirements: OS X 10.5 and 10.6 ONLY, 3.06 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 3 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 4870, Nvidia GeForce 330m with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|FTL: Faster than Light|| |
FTL: Faster than Light
The game gives you control of a ship carrying critical information. Problem is, a large enemy fleet is on your tail. You must guide the ship through several planetary systems to escape, and each comes with random events that will put you to the test—an enemy ship, a pirate, or something else. At the same time, you'll have to recruit new crew members and upgrade your ship. Combat takes place in real time and leaves no room for mistakes. Death is permanent, and losing your ship or crew will force you to start all over again.
FTL shares one huge benefit with most of the indie games on this list—it doesn’t require a powerful Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.5.8, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 175 MB HD space, OpenGL 2.0 Support with 128 MB of Video Memory.
|Mark of the Ninja|| |
Mark of the Ninja
As a nameless ninja in the present day, you’ll have to complete many challenging levels. They are all linear, but they offer plenty of different routes and ways to advance. You can hide, kill, or do a combination of both. The choices are limitless, and that is what makes this game special. For example, there are guards, dogs, plants to hide in, shafts, lights that you can turn off, and so much more. Some levels are hard, but the game gives you so many tools that you learn to do things your way.
Mark of the Ninja’s Mac port was perfectly executed too. The game plays well on:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.0, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2.5 GB HD space, 512 MB VRAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 3000+ or better.
|Football Manager 2016|| |
Football Manager 2016
Football Manager puts you in charge of any squad from more than 50 countries across the world. As the team’s manager, you get to decide who plays, how they train, how to manage the stadium, and even how to deal with the media. FM16 introduced Fantasy Draft mode and a Create-A-Club mode, where you can create a team with your own kits, logo, stadium, and so on. FM16 is the most realistic, in-depth football management simulation available. That makes it both overwhelming for new players and amazing once you learn to play it.
Sure, the most recent Fifa games are not available on Mac, but if you truly love the beautiful game, Football Manager 2016 can scratch that itch. Plus, it doesn’t require a powerful machine to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 3 GB HD space, NVidia GeForce 7300 GT, ATI Radeon X1600 Pro Intel GMA X3100, 256MB VRAM, OpenGL 2.0 compliant.
|Crusader Kings 2|| |
Crusader Kings 2
The game takes place in real time and lets you use politics, economics, or warfare to build your empire. The combat is fine, but the social and political mechanics are what make this game shine. There are assassinations, marriages, bribes, and countless other situations that you can make work in your favor. Honestly, some situations are just crazy. Does your mother want to kill your brother? Did you discover your son likes to mutilate animals?
This shows the commitment from the developer to create something unique. Crusader Kings 2’s Mac version was handled with care too. The game is stable and runs fine even on older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 6750, NVIDIA GeForce 320, NVIDIA GeForce 9600 or higher.
|Europa Universalis 4|| |
Europa Universalis 4
Developer Paradox succeeded, creating the finest grand strategy game out there. Don’t get me wrong, though—EU4 may be a more accessible game, but it’s still complex and hard to play. The game puts you in control of a nation’s military, diplomacy, and economy. Because a nation cannot excel everywhere, you will need to make some decisions. Should you strive for a strong economy or a powerful military? EU 4 is a real simulation and puts the world’s history at your fingertips. The entirety of Earth can be owned, conquered, and colonized.
This is another example of Paradox’s commitment to the Mac platform. Europa Universalis 4’s Mac version works great and runs even on modest hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 6750, NVIDIA GeForce 320, NVIDIA GeForce 9600 or higher with 1 GB of Video Memory.
|Trine 2|| |
This side-scroller game lets up to three players use Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight. Each has special skills that will help you solve specific puzzles and progress. If you’re playing alone, you will need to constantly switch between characters until you find the right spell or ability to solve the puzzle. And if you’re playing with friends, you’d better play like a team or you will get stuck. A lot. This game takes place in a beautiful universe too. Trine 2 is a fairytale adventure and it shows, featuring detailed environments that can really make you stop and enjoy the view.
Trine 3 came out not too long ago, but Trine 2 is still a better (and cheaper) game. Also, the slightly older Trine 2 can be player on weaker machines:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 1.6 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 1.5 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 320M, ATI HD 2400, or Intel HD 3000 with 128 MB of Video Memory.
As a freelance journalist investigating a psychiatric hospital lost in the mountains, you soon realize that was a bad idea. Hell breaks loose, and you find yourself in the middle of mutilated corpses, terrified inmates, insane doctors, and disfigured patients. And to make matters worse, you are completely incapable of combat. With no way to fight, you basically have two choices: run or hide. Either way, the game plays beautifully. It offers tons of places to hide, and if you decide to run for it, the gameplay is fluid and fast.
This is a great-looking game too, so you’d better have a decent Mac if you want to run Outlast’s Mac version at its highest settings:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 5 GB HD space, GeForce GT 750M, Intel Iris Pro 5200, or Radeon HD 3xxx.
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|| |
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Like previous entries, Global Offensive is an objective-based multiplayer first-person shooter. Players are either terrorists or counter-terrorists and must complete objectives or kill the opposing team. There is no single-player here, but the multiplayer precision makes up for it. CS games are famous for being ultra-competitive—precise, punishing, and nothing like Call of Duty. Global Offensive does exactly what you would expect from a Counter-Strike game, but it also manages to refresh the experience. The game features classic content such as revamped versions of classic maps, as well as new maps and game modes.
Valve has always done a great job porting their games to the Mac, and Global Offensive is no exception. Global Offensive’s Mac version works great and should run on even modest hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or other with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Shadowrun: Hong Kong|| |
Shadowrun: Hong Kong
I won’t spoil the story for you, but I can tell you that the magic-meets-cyberpunk setting is unique (and crazy). Just like in previous Shadowrun games, Hong Kong includes a solid single-player campaign. However, the real surprise was the addition of a Level Editor. With the Level Editor, you can create your own campaigns and share them with others, opening a whole new world of possibilities.
Hong Kong is indeed the best Shadowrun game to date and the one you should play if you want to give the franchise a try. This isn’t a demanding game either, so you can expect it to run on any decent hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, 256MB of dedicated VRAM or better with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Rocksmith 2014|| |
This game is similar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The screen follows a hot rock song and shows you what buttons to press to “play” the song—except Rocksmith doesn’t use cheap guitar-shaped controllers. It requires a real guitar. As a noob guitar player myself, I can tell you that this game can really teach you the basics. You can start at the lowest difficulty to learn how a guitar works, or you can set the difficulty to 100 and actually learn to play the real song. Rocksmith 2014 takes the teaching part seriously and offers over 85 lessons covering bends, accents, slides, and more.
I love this game, because it can really teach you something in a fun way. Plus, Rocksmith 2014’s Mac version can run on most machines:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 12 GB HD space, NVidia GeForce 8600 GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Left 4 Dead 2|| |
Left 4 Dead 2
The game focuses on four survivors who have to make their way to a safe house. As one of the survivors, you will have to fight hordes of monsters ranging from zombies to larger creatures. The missions are dynamically altered and will adjust the difficulty and quantity of monsters as you go. This will keep things interesting and challenging no matter your skills. Left 4 Dead 2 is a fun game in and of itself, but it's even better with friends. This is one of the best cooperative games out there, and it would be a shame to miss all the added fun.
Left 4 Dead 2 doesn't have particularly impressive graphics, but with so much action happening at once, you will need a recent Mac to run it:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.4, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 13 GB HD space, ATI Radeon 2400, NVIDIA 8600M or Intel HD Graphics 3000.
|Super Meat Boy|| |
Super Meat Boy
This game is hard, and you will have to die a lot. You will die hundreds of times, but the sense of accomplishment is much bigger because of it. Super Meat Boy actually evokes fond memories of times when games were hard. The game offers more than 300 levels, all filled with traps like fans, rockets, lava pits, and other things designed to crush you. And you can only run and jump to survive. This may sound simplistic, but Super Meat Boy has tight controls that will reward skill.
Super Meat Boy's Mac version is lightweight and will run smoothly even on older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.4, 1.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 256 MB RAM, 300 MB HD space, card supporting Pixel Shader 2.0 and Vertex Shader 2.0 with 128 MB of Video Memory.
|Dragon Age: Origins|| |
Dragon Age: Origins
During your quest to save the world from demonic forces, companions will join you and fight alongside you. Each companion will play a major role in the game’s story, using their unique abilities to help you during combat. Origins is mainly played with a third-person view, but you can switch to a top-down view and even pause battles as well. Because you can switch between characters during combat, both features are priceless.
I wasn’t a big RPG fan when I was young, but this game changed my mind. The story and the characters were so good that I couldn’t stop playing. I even upgraded to my first MacBook Pro to properly enjoy this game!
Luckily for you, Dragon Age: Origins’ Mac requirements are not that high anymore, and most Macs should be able to handle it:
|The Elder Scrolls Online|| |
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
It was also the first Elder Scrolls to come to the Mac and the first to attempt multiplayer. This created impossibly high expectations that made the game suffer at launch. But that was in 2014, when the game required an upfront purchase and a monthly subscription. A lot has changed since. Relaunched as Tamriel Unlimited, it introduced lots of new features and changed for the better. The monthly subscription disappeared, and now you only need to buy the game once. At the end of the day, this game is similar to World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2. But if you really want to play an Elder Scrolls on your Mac, Tamriel Unlimited is a good choice.
It looks better than the competition too, so you’d better have a capable Mac to run this game:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 4 GB RAM, 60 GB HD space, Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 6490M or other with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Papers, Please|| |
Paper, Please puts you in the shoes of an immigration officer and focuses on the emotional toll that comes from deciding who comes in and who doesn’t. You get to inspect arrivals’ documents and use several tools to weed out potentially dangerous people, such as terrorists, wanted criminals, or smugglers. You can also interrogate people and request fingerprints or even a full-body scan. The idea behind this sounds simple, but once you start playing, you’ll realize it’s complex and stressful. This is the perfect game if you’re looking for a change from traditional triple-A games.
It’s also a great choice if you own a low-powered Mac, as Papers, Please’s Mac version has minimal system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, 1.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 100 MB HD space, OpenGL 1.4 or better.
|Total War: Shogun 2|| |
Total War: Shogun 2
Like every Total War game, Shogun 2 offers both turn-based and real-time strategy. During your campaign to become ruler of Japan, you get to manage your lands, economy, and armies turn by turn (like Civilization V). But once two armies face each other, the actual battle can be played in real-time, just like Age of Empires—except that the battles here are huge, with hundreds of units at your disposal.
But why do I call this the best Total War experience on Mac? Because Feral Interactive was in charge of Shogun 2’s Mac port. Shogun 2 is better optimized and has better Mac support than, say, Rome 2 or Attila and can work on modest hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.4, 1.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 22 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Civilization: Beyond Earth|| |
Civilization: Beyond Earth
Beyond Earth is the spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri. The game takes place in the future, at a time when a disaster forces mankind to leave Earth and colonize unknown planets. Besides different resources, terrain, and actual aliens, it does feels a lot like Civ 5. That said, Beyond Earth does change how technologies are researched and improves how quests work. Beyond Earth’s Mac support is top-notch. Developer Aspyr enabled cross-platform multiplayer between Mac, Windows, and Linux players (on Steam) and does its best to release expansions and updates at the same time as the Windows version. This is something I hope to see more often.
The Mac version is well-optimized but does require a decent Mac to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.2 Ghz Intel i3, 4 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 640M, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD 4000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|Dota 2|| |
DotA 2 is a MOBA involving two teams and one objective: to destroy the enemy’s “Ancient.” Throughout the game, you control one of 111 playable heroes with unique powers and abilities. As you progress, you collect XP, gold, and better items and gear. If this sounds like Warcraft, it’s simply because DotA 2 is the sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), the infamous fan-made Warcraft 3 mod. Word of caution, though—just like League of Legends, this game is hyper-competitive, and the community won’t hesitate to trash you if you mess up.
DoTA 2 is another risk-free game to test the waters if you’re new to Mac gaming. It's also one of the best Mac games on Steam. DoTA 2’s Mac version is a good port that can run on many machines:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, Nvidia 320M, Radeon HD 2400, or Intel HD 3000.
|Cities: Skylines|| |
Cities: Skylines is a city-building simulation similar to SimCity. The game gives you control of zoning areas (for housing, commerce, or industry), public utilities, taxation, public transportation, and more. The gameplay is so deep, even your choice of civic policies will affect the development of the entire city. Skylines learned from all of EA’s mistakes with SimCity and delivered a better game. There’s no always-online DRM, your cities can be much bigger, and it also supports mods through Steam Workshop (if you’re into riding helicopters and stuff).
This is a fun and addictive game, and I’m glad Skyline’s Mac version was handled with care. This game does demand some horsepower to run, though:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, 3.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 4 GB RAM, 4 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, 512 MB or ATI Radeon HD 5670, 512 MB (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics Cards).
|Hotline Miami|| |
Hotline Miami is an ultra-violent top-down shooter set in 1989. The game tells the story of two characters who have to commit massacres against the Russian Mafia in Miami. But what made this game an indie classic was the way it combined stealth and extreme violence, along with a soundtrack and visuals that perfectly matched that 1980s feeling. The gameplay is simple but precise and solid. You will want to retry levels for the sake of getting a perfect score. Hotline Miami 2 did a lot of the same, but it never managed to be as good as the original.
If in doubt, get the cheaper and better Hotline Miami and thank me later. This is a retro game that can run on even older Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 512 MB RAM, 130 MB HD space.
|Torchlight 2|| |
Torchlight 2 is one of the finest hack-and-slash RPGs available. Like the original Torchlight, it’s all about randomly generated dungeons and tons of monsters to kill for XP and loot. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like Diablo 3, it does. Torchlight 2 isn’t particularly original, but everything it does, it does well. Compared to Diablo, it offers character customization, more flexibility, no mandatory internet connection, and pets! Plus, for an indie game developed with limited resources, it’s impressive how they managed to challenge Blizzard’s efforts.
Torchlight 2’s Mac version is easy on the system requirements too. If you own a Macbook Air, for example, this game should do just fine (my 2013 MacBook Air can run it no problem):
System requirements: OS X 10.8, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 1.7 GB HD space, OpenGL 2.0 compatible video card with at least 256 MB of addressable video RAM.
|Grim Fandango: Remastered|| |
Grim Fandango: Remastered
Enter Grim Fandango: Remastered, an attempt to bring the game back to modernity. The game follows the story of afterlife travel agent Manny Calavera and revolves around engaging other characters, collecting objects, and solving puzzles. Originally released in 1998, Double Fine remastered and brought improved textures, 3D models, modern control schemes, a new soundtrack, and new lighting effects to this updated version. Adventure games age well, but the updated graphics are a welcome addition.
As can be expected from a remastered old classic, the game looks good but is still easy to run on most modern hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 6 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 4650, NVIDIA GeForce GT 220, Intel HD 4000 Graphics, or equivalent with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Kerbal Space Program|| |
Kerbal Space Program
In KSP, you take control of an entire space program. You get to build spacecrafts and launch them. It sounds simple, but this is a hardcore physics simulator where you will fail. A lot. One rocket is too heavy, another doesn’t hold enough fuel, etc. This game is hard, but the beauty is that it’s also fun and rewarding. And the cute characters and sense of humor certainly help too. The bottom line: You don’t have to be into rocket flight simulation to enjoy this game.
Kerbal Space Program is complex, fun, and extremely rewarding. And it also happens to have reasonable system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.6, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 4 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD 5000 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Age of Wonders 3: Eternal Lords|| |
Age of Wonders 3: Eternal Lords
Set in a fantasy world, this game is all about exploring, interacting with other kingdoms, and creating a powerful empire. Compared to Shadow Magic, it has new RPG elements, better graphics, an updated soundtrack, and online and local multiplayer. It even includes a level editor to go along with the single-player campaign. Age of Wonders 3 didn’t originally make it to the Mac, but it was finally ported when expansion Eternal Lords was released. The expansion introduced new races, a new Necromancer class, and new mechanics.
Also, Age of Wonders 3’s Mac version doesn’t require too powerful a machine to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.2, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3 GB RAM, 10 GB HD space, nVidia Geforce GTX 250, ATi Radeon HD 4870 with 512MB or integrated Intel HD 4000 with 3GB system ram.
|Elite: Dangerous|| |
Elite: Dangerous takes place in a realistic 1:1 scale galaxy based on the real Milky Way. In other words, it’s huge. The game gives you a spaceship and some funds to start off. You can go at it legally or illegally, through missions, combat, trading, bounty hunting, or piracy. The choices are endless. Elite: Dangerous is so huge, it can sometimes feel empty. It definitely could use more stuff (stories, events, etc).
But even today, this game can deliver some of the best space-adventure moments ever seen. Do pay attention to the high system requirements, though; you will need:
System requirements: OS X 10.10.3, 2.3 Ghz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 8 GB HD space, Nvidia GT 650M 1GB (or equivalent).
|Invisible, Inc.|| |
In Invisible Inc, you take the role of a secret agent who gets deployed on missions across the globe. Every mission basically follows the same “get in, complete your objective, and get out” routine. But the heists are randomized and can create endless situations that will require some tough tactical decisions. You also get to use different characters with unique abilities and equipment to spice things up even more.
Invisible Inc is light on the system requirements. We tested it on a five-year-old MacBook Pro with integrated graphics and it worked like a charm. To run it properly, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.8.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, nVidia 610M or higher, or Radeon 8400 or higher, or Intel HD 4000 or higher.
|Towerfall: Ascension|| |
In Towerfall, you are one of four archers that battle it out until one player remains. You can only use arrows and head-stomps to kill your opponents. The formula is quite simple, but Towerfall is packed with some exhilarating moments. It definitely reminds me of the fun I had with the first Smash Brothers on the GameCube. Towerfall: Ascension is the perfect game for offline sessions with friends.
With its 2D retro graphics, Towerfall’s Mac version is a lightweight game to play. If you’re looking for a good game to play on an older Mac, look no further:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, Intel Core i3, 2 GB RAM, 400 MB space, OpenGL 3.0+.
|Legend of Grimrock 2|| |
Legend of Grimrock 2
In Legend of Grimrock 2, you lead a team of four prisoners shipwrecked on an island. The game offers a ton of options, and you can either use the default party or build your own. The environments look good, but you still move on a grid, one tap at a time. Legend of Grimrock 2 is full of puzzles and combat, and this is what makes it great—the combination of fighting, puzzles, and exploration.
This is a fun game that purists will love. However, it’s still a complex game that will likely feel inaccessible to new gamers. Give it a go if you’re up for a challenge. To run it properly, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB space, OpenGL 3.2 capable graphics card, Intel HD Graphics 5000 minimum.
|Tales from the Borderlands|| |
Tales from the Borderlands
They’re all good and take place in more famous universes, but Tales from the Borderlands is still better. Based on the Borderlands series, the game follows the same formula as before: some puzzle-solving, lots of dialogue, and huge choices to make. Choices here matter, and the consequences will be felt throughout the game. Tales from the Borderlands also happens to be funnier and more lighthearted than other Telltale games, but that doesn’t stop it from throwing agonizing choices at you.
Tales from the Borderlands’ Mac version was handled with care. And because of the simple graphics, this game can be enjoyed on most Mac hardware:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 2.3 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 3 GB space, Nvidia or ATI with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance|| |
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
This hack-and-slash action game gives you control of a cyborg. The story isn’t that memorable, but the combat is a lot of fun. You can take on enemies using your sword or other weapons and perform combos and counterattacks. The game also features something called Blade Mode, where you can dismember cyborgs in slow-motion. If that’s your thing.
Many have complained because this wasn’t a native port (it’s a wrapper-based port). At the end of the day, what matters is performance, and Revengeance runs smoothly, even on older Macs with integrated graphics. To run it properly, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.2, 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 27 GB HD space, AMD HD4870, NVIDIA 650M, Intel Iris Graphics or better with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Shovel Knight|| |
This game plays a lot like the older Mario Bros games. You have to go through each level until reaching a boss, and there’re coins to be grabbed and baddies you can attack with your shovel. This may sound like a ripoff of Super Mario Bros, but Shovel Knight has a lot of modern twists. For example, all the coins you grab are not for bragging rights only. You can use them to buy upgrades and more.
As can be expected from a retro game such as Shovel Knight, this is a lightweight game with low system requirements—perfect for a MacBook Air or an older MacBook:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 250 MB HD space.
|Hitman: Absolution|| |
Most games today ask you to run through alleys and shoot at everything that moves. Loyal to the Hitman series, Absolution asks you to do the opposite—to be invisible. Unnoticed. This game will ask you to think for a change and figure out the best way to approach the situation at hand. The environments and challenges are varied too, ranging from crowded streets to peaceful parks. This makes Absolution all the more challenging and forces you to adapt to your surroundings.
This fifth installment in the Hitman series brings the graphics to a whole new level. The game looks great, and thanks to Feral Interactive’s work, the Mac version plays smoothly:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.2, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 24 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, ATI Radeon HD 3870, or Intel HD 4000 with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|Don't Starve|| |
Don’t Starve is a roguelike survival game that follows a character lost in the woods. Your only challenge is to survive, but that’s easier said than done. When night comes, monsters will come out from the shadows and try to kill you. During the day, you will have to explore, gather resources, and build tools and weapons to survive. Plus, you’ll have to sleep and eat too! This is a cute yet extremely challenging survival game. Death is inevitable, but the experience is always rewarding.
Also, Don’t Starve’s Mac version has low requirements and holds a permanent spot on my MacBook Air. To run it, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 500 MB HD space, any card with 256 MB of Video Memory.
|The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth|| |
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Because of the endless supply of dungeons, items, monsters, and bosses, this game never feels old. Do keep in mind that this is a challenging game, especially because it features permadeath—if you die, you’ll have to start from scratch. This is often painful (and frustrating), especially when you just found a cool rare item. Rebirth is a remake of The Binding of Isaac built on a newer engine. It features updated art, effects, music, and "hundreds upon hundreds of designs, redesigns, and re-tuned enhancements."
It also happens to be an easy game to run because of its light Mac system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 450 MB HD space.
The game’s world is randomly generated, and no two games will be the same. This makes the exploration side of the game extremely fun. Plus, there are lots of creeps, so crafting a shelter, weapons, and combat play an important role. The crafting system is ridiculously deep and gives you tons of options to create weapons. Terraria is very similar to Minecraft. In fact, many see it as Minecraft in 2D, but once you start playing, you will notice all the things that make it unique. There are many more creeps to kill, tons of weapons to craft, and even bosses.
Like Minecraft, the game uses retro graphics that are cute but also happen to be easy on your Mac. You won’t need a powerful Mac to enjoy this game:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2.5 GB RAM, 200 MB HD space, 128 MB Video Memory, capable of OpenGL 3.0+ support (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable).
|Dwarf Fortress|| |
A typical Dwarf Fortress game involves a randomly generated world in which you control a group of dwarves and attempt to build an underground fortress. Needless to say, without much direction and text-based graphics, this game is hard. But that’s also Dwarf Fortress’ charm. Many consider it the most complex video game ever created, and the game is notorious for being difficult. But once you’ve passed the steep learning curve, there’s a real gem hidden here.
Also, text-based graphics may not sound sexy, but at least you can play this even on the old Mac Mini you found at a garage sale:
|Crypt of the NecroDancer|| |
Crypt of the NecroDancer
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a dungeon crawler with a twist: you can only move to the beat of the music, and that applies to your enemies too. This makes every enemy encounter an elaborate dance. You will be punished if you miss a beat, but once you learn your enemy’s rhythmic patterns, this game becomes a masterpiece. This is a roguelike game too, and every dungeon is randomly generated. Combine that with the fact that you can use your own MP3s and you’ve got a winner.
Being a pixelated retro-adventure, Crypt of the NecroDancer’s Mac port is lightweight and can be easily played on older machines. To run it, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.7, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 1,6 GB HD space, 512 MB Video RAM.
|GTA: The Trilogy|| |
GTA: The Trilogy
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy is a compilation of the three main old-school GTA games: Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. All these games take place in enormous cities full of life. And then they give you the freedom to steal, kill, destroy, and do whatever you want. The stories they tell are usually good too, but nothing beats the freedom GTA games give you.
These are timeless classics that also are easy on the system requirements:
System requirements: OS X 10.6.2, Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB RAM, 9 GB HD space, Intel GMA X3100, NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT or ATI Radeon X1600.
|Cave Story|| |
Cave Story looks and plays like an old NES game, but beneath that pixelated exterior lies a good story with fun gameplay. In Cave Story, you can explore underground caves, upgrade your weapons, and search for secret loot. Enemies drop experience points too, increasing your weapon’s power.
An enhanced version is available on Steam, but you can always try the community-driven free version. This is also an excellent way to test your Mac’s limits for those of you with older machines:
|The Walking Dead|| |
The Walking Dead
As the name implies, the game takes place within the Walking Dead universe. It happens right at the beginning of the zombie outbreak and puts you in the shoes of a survivor named Lee. This is the best example of what makes Telltale games great. The mechanics are simple, but it’s crazy how you play an active role in the game’s story. You will get to make hard choices that will haunt you until the end.
This is a good-looking yet simple game. This means The Walking Dead’s Mac version is not demanding:
System requirements: OS X 10.6, 2.3 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 4 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, NVidia or ATI graphics card with 512 MB of Video Memory.
|The Talos Principle|| |
The Talos Principle
This game is full of clever puzzles and reminds me of Portal, which is a hell of a compliment. There are 120 puzzles in total, and they're all hard enough to make you feel smart once you figure them out. The game provides a lot of tools to succeed too. There are blocks, signal jammers, lasers, motion-recording devices, and even turrets. The game also has a philosophical side, but you can completely ignore it if you prefer. Plus, the puzzles are what truly make this a good game.
The Talos Principle's Mac version isn't particularly demanding, but you will need a recent Mac to enjoy it:
System requirements: OS X 10.5.8, 2.2 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 5 GB HD space, ATI Radeon HD 4670, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT or video card with 512 MB of Video Memory.
As you go about your adventure, you can decide whether you should kill your enemies or befriend them. Undertale is a tricky game to describe, because the less you know about it, the better it works its magic on you. Suffice it to say, this game has a story that constantly changes as you decide whether you want to make friends or increase the body count. This is a funny game too and can easily make you laugh out loud. And don’t let the goofy graphics trick you. There’s a reason why Undertale was chosen as the best game of all time.
The best I can do is advise you to try it yourself. Also, this is a very lightweight game. Think your Mac is too old to play video games? Give Undertale’s Mac version a try:
System requirements: 2 GB RAM, 200 MB HD space.
|EVE Online|| |
In EVE, you can choose from a variety of professions including mining, manufacturing, trading, piracy, and more. Everything happens in real-time, meaning that the universe continues to exist even when you’re not logged in. There’s a real economy going on here, and it doesn’t stop for anyone. EVE also features amazing space battles and an endless supply of ships. There are are small little jumpers but also giant vessels, some larger than entire cities. After ten years of steady growth and 20 free expansions, EVE Online isn’t going anywhere. If you like space combat, you should definitely give it a shot.
As with most MMOs, EVE Online’s Mac version does require some horsepower to run:
System requirements: OS X 10.9, 2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 20 GB HD space, NVIDIA GeForce 320m or Intel HD 3000.
|Total War: Attila|| |
Total War: Attila
I feared this game would feel like a glorified expansion, but Attila is a true refinement compared to Total War: Rome 2. Attila doesn’t break any molds, but it features a great campaign that feels completely different and unique. The game also brings new things to the table, such as better disease and siege systems, a family tree politics concept, and graphical tweaks.
Attila was simultaneously released for both Mac and Windows—something I can’t wait to see more often. That said, Attila’s Mac version isn’t as well optimized as Feral’s Shogun 2:
System requirements: OS X 10.9.4, 1.7 Ghz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 35 GB HD space, 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5670 or Intel HD 4000.
Spelunky has it all—it generates random levels, it’s extremely difficult, and it has permadeath (if you die, you will have to start all over) and cute 2D graphics. In Spelunky, you have to gather as many treasures as possible while avoiding the traps and enemies that fill the tunnels. The gameplay is straightforward—you can whip or jump on enemies, pick up items, or use bombs and ropes to further explore the caves.
Spelunky also happens to be a very lightweight game. It’s so light, in fact, that you can even play it on your browser. That means that Spelunky’s Mac version can be played on even the oldest Macs:
|Her Story|| |
Her Story is an interactive movie game that lets you use police video clips to solve the case of a murder that occurred in 1994. The tapes revolve around the interrogation of a man’s wife, and all of her words are transcribed. The interviews are broken up into hundreds of pieces, but as you watch more and more clips, everything starts to make sense. Your job is to explore and search the huge database until you can eventually piece together her story.
This is a game that doesn’t require fancy graphics, as the narrative drives it home. Everyone can experience Her Story’s Mac port, even those of you with older or low-powered Macs:
System requirements: OS X 10.8, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HD space, 512 MB of video memory.
|Prison Architect|| |
In Prison Architect, you get to manage your very own maximum-security prison. In Sandbox mode, you start off with an empty plot of land that you can transform into the most efficient prison you can craft. You can build cells and kitchens, install cameras, hire guards, and so on. Prison Architect provides a lot of freedom, and you can take whichever direction you prefer. Want to build a monstrous maximum security prison or a comfortable rehabilitation center? The choice is yours.
Be advised: Fail to meet your inmates’ minimum expectations and you will have a riot on your hands.
The graphics are very simplistic, though, but at least an older Mac should be able to run it. To run it, you’ll need:
System requirements: Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, 300 MB HD space.
|The Banner Saga|| |
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga puts you at the helm of a caravan that you have to guide and protect. Along the way, the game will throw moral dilemmas at you and will hit you when you’re down. The world is bleak, and survival doesn’t come easy. The Banner Saga offers many twists. For example, instead of focusing on one hero, it focuses on the caravan as a whole. Throughout the campaign, you will get to use different characters, and every character will have the power to change the story.
In the graphics department, this game won’t impress you, but that also means that The Banner Saga’s Mac version has low system requirements. To run it, you’ll need:
System requirements: OS X 10.7.5, 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 6 GB HD space, 256 MB of video memory.
After 14,000 words and many hours creating the biggest Macintosh games list out there, all I can ask you is to get your first Mac game and bookmark this page (you will need the inspiration later).
Mac gaming can only grow if more gamers give it a shot. Perhaps you’re a casual gamer, or perhaps you are convinced your Mac is too old to play modern games. In any case, start with a few free games and see how it goes. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Keep in mind that as new games are released, this list will continue to evolve. I plan to update it every 3 months and keep track of all the changes just below the list. But don’t worry, only the best games for Mac will be considered (say, The Witcher 3 for example, or any of the other hot Mac gaming rumors).
Do you think I missed a very good Mac game already available? Let me know in the comments section.