20 Best Free games for Mac in 2019

We pick our favorite free Mac games including shooters, strategy games and more

By Kirk Hiner & Ric Molina| Updated Nov 28, 2019

Lately, gamers get suspicious every time they hear about a free game for Mac. This is because “free” doesn’t always mean free.

Microtransactions are increasingly destroying games that would otherwise be great, forcing you to pay for more levels and characters, or worse, for upgrades that actually provide a gameplay advantage.

As such, we decided to focus on games that are either 100% free or are at least free-to-play (F2P) games that can actually be enjoyed for free.

With that in mind, we played through and evaluated a slew of games, and we’ve put together this updated list with the best free games for Mac. 

Of course, if you’re happy to simply buy your games, check out our comprehensive list of the 100 Best Mac games available today. For the freebies, read on.

Game★ Best OverallBest for MacBookBest Value
GenreBattle RoyaleStrategyShooter
Last updated201920172018
Metascore

77

93

83

Our rating★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★☆
Requirements⚠️ Fairly Demanding✅ Not Demanding⚠️ Fairly Demanding
Check Price

Epic Games

Battle.net

Steam

Last updated: November 28, 2019

Last updated more than 6 months ago, this guide was in need of love:

  1. Added Crusader Kings 2 as it is now free-to-play!
  2. Added Dota Underlords, Valve’s latest game.
  3. Removed Paladins as it no longer works on Mac.
  4. Moved SuperTuxKart to the Competitions section.
  5. Added a new Mac Performance table

Bottom line: This guide has been updated to fully reflect the current state of our favorites free Mac games!

A Focus on Mac Performance

Sometimes a great game on Windows can suffer from extremely poor MacOS performance, or even worse, a broken Mac version.

That’s why testing these games on Mac hardware is critical for us.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 2

In this list, you’ll only find games that are both great and have proper MacOS support. You can read all about how we test MacOS performance below.

Our favorite Free Mac games

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 3

Fortnite

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Epic Games

Genre: Online Shooter

Metascore: 81

In Fortnite, you and 99 other players will have to scramble to find weapons, shields, and resources for a chance to be the last man (or squad) standing.

You can’t just hide and hope for the best, however; the longer you survive, the tighter the playing area becomes, forcing you to engage in combat. And as you’d expect from one of the finest competitive games for Mac, the competition can be brutal.

But Fortnite is more than just another Battle Royale game, it also allows you to use its unique building mechanics to better hunt (or escape from) your opponents.

Those willing to pay will be able to unlock more cool skins and other cosmetic items. But other than that, everyone gets access to the full game!

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

Benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

2014 27-inch iMac

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using the Low Quality Preset, 100% 3D Resolution, V-Sync Off and 1280×800 resolution:

Fortnite Mac results (updated)

Can your Mac run it? Fortnite used to be very demanding. Even our 2016 MacBook Pro couldn’t pass the 30 FPS mark (which is the absolute minimum for a fast-paced online shooter). However, the Mac performance of the game has improved a lot and the game is now playable on more machines.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Not exactly a bug, but be aware that performance is terrible as soon as your character jumps from the bus. This is also improving but not entirely gone yet. Be patient and wait until performance improves and FPS stabilize.

Verdict: Medium emoji Somewhat Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.12.6 and a machine that supports Metal, 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3 Processor, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD 4000 or better.

One of the most popular games ever, Fortnite is an excellent shooter and a generous free-to-play game.

Our score: ★★★★☆


Free┊Epic Games

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 4

Starcraft 2

Mac Release date: 2015

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Genre: Strategy

Metascore: 88

Developed by Blizzard, Starcraft 2 is a real-time strategy game that shouldn’t need an introduction.

Sequel to the critically-acclaimed Starcraft, Starcraft 2 features the most intense, fast-paced and well-oiled gameplay you’ll ever see in a real-time strategy game. A good gaming keyboard and mouse are both mandatory!

Starcraft 2 was already a must-buy when it was $59.99, but now that the game offers an extremely generous free-to-play version, you owe it yourself to try it.

The free-to-play version of Starcraft 2 gives you the complete Wings of Liberty campaign, ranked and unranked Multiplayer, and every co-op commander available. And if you ever want more, you can pay to unlock more single-player campaigns, special skins, etc.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

Benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

2014 27-inch iMac

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using Medium Graphics quality, Low Texture quality, V-sync off, and 1280×800 resolution.

StarCraft 2 results

Verdict: Low emoji Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.11, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 4670 or better, 30 GB hard drive space.

What happens when you take one of the most critically-acclaimed strategy games available and make it free? You get Starcraft 2.

Our score: ★★★★★


Free┊Battle.net

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 5

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Mac Release date: 2012

MacOS developer: Valve

Genre: Shooter

Metascore: 83

Counter-Strike practically gave birth to the competitive FPS scene and is responsible for most of the LAN parties that took place in the 90s. That was a long time ago, but Counter-Strike has managed to evolve and remain relevant.

In 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released and it expanded upon the team-based gameplay it pioneered 19 years earlier. With new maps, characters, weapons, and its extremely solid gameplay, CS: GO easily became (and still is) one of the most played games on the planet.

And now that the game is free-to-play and includes Danger Zone, a brand-new battle royale mode, CS: GO is a must for anyone remotely interested in shooters.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

Benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

2014 27-inch iMac

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium Graphics quality, Anti-aliasing and V-sync off, and 1280×800 vs. 1650×1050 resolutions.

Results:

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 6

Demand Level:  Low emoji Low

System Requirements: OS 10.11, 2GHz Intel Core Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 2400, NVidia 8600M graphics or better, 15 GB hard drive space.

CS GO Mac art
83 Metascore
CS: GO is an excellent free-to-play shooter. And after all these years, it's still one of the most played games in the planet.
Free-to-Play

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 7

Grab Thimbleweed Park for free on the Epic Games Store!

Usually $19.99, you can get this excellent adventure game for free:

More great Free games for Mac

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 8

Lord of the Rings Online

Mac Release date: 2008

MacOS developer: Turbine Inc

Genre: MMORPG

Metascore: 86

There are so many good MMOs out there it can be hard to figure out where to start. If you’re in that situation, why not begin your adventure with Lord of the Rings Online?

Developed by Turbine, LotRO follows the story from the books and movies and gives free access to almost everything the game has to offer. The only differences with the paid version are so small, they’re easy to forget considering LotRO is one of the higher-quality MMOs available.

Lord of the Rings Online isn’t just for fans of Tolkien’s work, it’s for anyone who loves the classic MMO formula (such as World of Warcraft’s) but prefers to not have to pay for it. The amount of fun you can have with this game without paying a dime is outrageous, making it one of the finest free online Mac games available.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

Benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

2014 27-inch iMac

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 9

Hearthstone

Mac Release date: 2014

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Genre: Collectible Card Game

Metascore: 84

Few companies can deliver as high-quality free games as Valve, but one that certainly can is Blizzard. Hearthstone is their digital collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. If you’re not usually into card games, don’t skip ahead just yet…this one is widely praised by everyone.

Hearthstone is much simpler than you would imagine. 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 (weapons, spells and minions), but the objective is clear: empty your opponent’s health before he does the same to you.

Hearthstone is a great game. It’s easy for new players to get into but offers enough depth to keep you hooked. It also benefits from frequent, free expansions to refresh the available cards.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

Benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

2014 27-inch iMac

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using Medium quality and 1280×800 resolution.

Hearthstone_export

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 2.4 GHz Intel Core Dual Processor, 2 GB RAM, GeForce 9600/130/Quadro FX 5600, Radeon HD 5870, or Intel HD 4000 with 512 MB of dedicated memory, 15 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 10

Crusader Kings 2

Mac Release date: 2012

MacOS developer: Paradox Development

Genre: Strategy

Metascore: 82

Crusader Kings 2 was already one of our favorite Strategy games on Mac, but now that the game is free, it has become one of our top recommendations.

CK2 is a 4X turn-based strategy game that features immensely challenging, yet rewarding gameplay. This is a game you can sink an insane amount of time into, but it will require a lot of patience and discipline. On the other hand, you will witness a fascinating medieval story worthy of a Game of Thrones remake.

By the way, Crusader Kings 2 is one of those games that are entirely free, including every feature available and even an Expansion. How is this possible? Developer Paradox made it free to celebrate the announcement of the upcoming Crusader Kings 3.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.11, 2.0 GHz Intel Dual Core Processor, 4 GB RAM, 1024 MB Video RAM, 2 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 11

Spelunky: Classic

Mac Release date: 2008

MacOS developer: Derek Yu

Genre: Platformer

Metascore: 90

This indie action-adventure game puts you in control of an unnamed adventurer, known as the Spelunker. Your aim is to explore the underground tunnels and gather as much treasure as possible while avoiding the traps and enemies filling the tunnels.

The gameplay is straightforward: whip or jump on enemies; pick up items; or use bombs and ropes to further explore the caves. Levels are randomly generated, and you only get one life (if you die, you have to start from the beginning). Although this sounds like it’d make the game frustrating, it actually gives each run a unique feeling.

A good match for fans of 2D platformers who want to reminisce and remember the good old days of Castlevania, Spelunky offers plenty of great, free entertainment.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 2.0 GHz Intel Dual Core Processor, 2 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 320M, Intel HD 3000, 20 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 12

0 A.D.

Mac Release date: Still in active development

MacOS developer: Wildfire Games

Genre: Strategy

Here’s another game that’s completely free from start to finish. This open-source real-time strategy game comes from Wildfire Games, a group of volunteer game developers from around the globe who are obviously big fans of Age of Empires 2.

As you’d expect from an RTS game, you’ll spend time gathering resources, developing and advancing technologies, and defending yourself from attacks while launching campaigns on others. The randomly generated battle maps are based upon the real geography of the ancient world, as are the detailed units, buildings, and technologies.

If you’re a developer, you’re invited to contribute to the game’s growth. If you’re not, you can still get creative with the game’s map editor. It’s all free no matter how you get involved with 0 A.D., so dig in and get history started off right. And if you really like it, consider contributing to the game’s development.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.7, 2006 or later Intel-based Mac..

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 13

Heroes of the Storm

Mac Release date: 2015

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Genre: MOBA

Metascore: 86

Considered a League of Legends challenger with a greater focus on team play, Heroes of the Storm is another game from Blizzard.

Fans of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and other Blizzard titles will be particularly excited to soo their favorite heroes take part in 5 vs 5 battles, either against the AI or against human players in ranked and unranked matches. And on top of creating a solid MOBA geared towards more casual players, Blizzard keeps rolling new game modes, events, and new Heroes to keep you coming back for more.

There are around 80 heroes to rotate through, and if you find one you really like you can purchase permanent access to him/her/it through in-game currency or microtransactions. Speaking of that, microtransactions are otherwise relegated to hero customizations and mount purchases. In other words, you won’t need to pay anything to fully enjoy the game.

Verdict: A generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.11, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 4670, 20 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 14

Team Fortress 2

Mac Release date: 2007

MacOS developer: Valve

Genre: Shooter

Metascore: 92

Originally released back in 2008, we still cannot talk about the best free games for Mac without mentioning Team Fortress 2.

TF2 is a team-based FPS developed by Valve. Players choose a character from the multiple classes available, then join one of two teams and battle in a variety of game modes such as capture the flag and king of the hill. Its fan base remains faithful due to its art direction, gameplay, and humor, making Team Fortress 2 one of the top-rated games of all time. Plus, find the right team and Team Fortress 2 becomes an excellent cooperative multiplayer game for Mac.

Fans of online first-person shooters will get into this one quickly, and remain active thanks to the game’s strong sense of community and the high production values typical of Valve. Purchases are relegated to unique weapons, outfits, and such, so they’re certainly not necessary to stay involved.

Verdict: A generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.5.8, 1.7 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM,  NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, Intel HD 3000 or higher, 15 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 15

League of Legends

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Epic Games

Genre: Online Shooter

Metascore: 81

In League of Legends, you have to destroy the opposing team’s nexus which lies at the heart of a guarded base. Battles last around 20 to 60 minutes, with your Champions starting out at a very low level. They gain experience throughout the match and—equally important—they earn gold that can be used to buy in-game items to increase their powers and abilities.

League of Legends remains one of the most popular and successful MOBA games available, but be warned, this is a complex and highly competitive game, and the community is known for being particularly harsh towards newbies.

You have over 100 champions at your disposal, and you can spend money to purchase them (as well as multi-game boosts) straight-away. Beyond that, microtransactions are relegated largely to cosmetic items.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.5.8, 1.7 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM,  NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, Intel HD 3000 or higher, 15 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 16

Cave Story

Mac Release date: 2011

MacOS developer: Pixel Studios

Genre: Platformer

You’ve certainly heard of Cave Story—and you’ve maybe even played one of its console or Steam iterations—but did you know this Metroidvania style 2D platformer started as a “free time” project for developer Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya? It took him five years to develop the game, and it became one of the first Indie gaming successes.

Cave Story quickly gained traction because of its great story and solid gameplay. You start as an amnesiac who wakes up in (you got it) a cave, and as per usual when you find yourself alone and without memories in a cave, you quickly learn you’ll have to fight a crazy doctor who plans to conquer the world.

The enhanced version called Cave Story+ is available pretty much everywhere, but the original Cave Story is still available for free.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.5.8, 1.7 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM,  NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, ATI X1600 or higher, Intel HD 3000 or higher, 15 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 17

Dwarf Fortress

Mac Release date: 2006

MacOS developer: Tarn Adams, Zach Adams

Genre: Strategy

Dwarf Fortress is part construction, part management, part roguelike, and part text-based. Yes, text-based.

A typical Dwarf Fortress game involves a randomly generated world in which you indirectly control a group of dwarves in an attempt to build an underground fortress. Without much direction (the game has no objectives) and text-based graphics, this game is hard. But that’s also Dwarf Fortress’ charm. Once you figure out how everything works, building that fortress becomes an addiction.

Also, part of Dwarf Fortress’s fame comes from the fact it’s a two-member project that survives solely on donations.

Dwarf Fortress is a good option for folks who appreciate a good challenge (it’s famous for its difficulty and complexity) and who don’t need high-end graphics to enjoy a good gaming session. You can also feel good about yourself for supporting the indie movement.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.3, 512 MB  RAM, 100MB of hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 18

Brawlhalla

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Blue Mammoth Games

Genre: Fighting

Here’s another game that promises “No Pay to Win. No Pay to Play. No hidden fees. No monthly costs. No paywalls. And it’s going to stay that way forever.” Sound good?

Brawlhalla is a 2D platformer fighting game along the lines of Super Smash Bros., only with many more gameplay options (you have to have something to compensate for the loss of Ike, I guess). There are online ranked 1v1 and 2v2, online 4 player free-for-all, online 8 player free-for-all, and 4v4. Locally, you’ve got free-for-all, custom teams, and a single-player tournament.

And if the gameplay options don’t keep things fresh, the multitude of weapons and power-ups available during the brawls will certainly keep things moving along. If you do want to pay, you can unlock all of the characters or you can get different outfits for them. But if you decide to keep your money to yourself, it won’t stop you from winning.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.7, 1 GB RAM, 400 MB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 19

Doki Doki Literature Club!

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Team Salvato

Genre: Visual Novel

Metascore: 78

Terrified by the concept of joining a book club? Then this game’s for you. A visual novel by Team Salvato, Doki Doki Literature Club is actually a psychological horror game in disguise.

It starts out innocently enough, with your character joining a high school literary club. There’s a poem writing mechanic you can use to flirt with the various girls in the club, and there’s a lot of dialogue to click through. But things turn dark very quickly and you’ll soon find that Doki Doki Literature Club is not really about finding your one true love through books.

The game breaks the fourth wall quite a bit, creating a wholly meta experience that’s effective even if you’ve never played a dating sim before. Be prepared for the disturbing content…and plenty of restarts. You’ll need to play through the game a few times to get the ending that won’t put you off high school clubs forever.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 1.8 GHz Dual Core Processor, 4 GB RAM, 350 MB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 20

OpenTTD

Mac Release date: 2004

MacOS developer: OpenTTD Team

Genre: Simulation

Remember Transport Tycoon Deluxe? It was a business simulation game released back in 1995, so if you were too young or just missed it, its spirit lives on with this open-source remake.

Like its inspiration, the point of Open TTD is to make money by transporting people and cargo via planes, trains, automobiles, and boats. Each time you successfully move an object from point A to point B you’ll get income that can be used to build better methods of transportation. All this takes place between 1950 and 2050, giving you plenty of different technologies to develop and utilize.

Of course, technology has changed quite a bit since 1995, and Open TTD has taken advantage of that by expanding the game with larger maps, an enhanced UI, multi-language support, custom AI, and plenty more. Even better, Open TTD features online and local multiplayer with up to 255 players! And although updated, the game does retain its original visual charm.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.3.9, 128 MB RAM.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 21

Dota Underlords

Mac Release date: 2019

MacOS developer: Valve

Genre: Auto Battler

Dota Underlords is Valve’s latest game and their take on Auto Chess, a brand-new genre that came to life as a mod for, guess what, Dota 2! That mod still exists but Dota Underlords is Valve’s free-to-play take on the genre, meaning you can safely test it risk-free.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Auto Chess games, the game will pit you against seven opponents in a battle where tactics are everything. You’ll have to carefully choose your units, properly combine them and place them on a board. Then you sit back and watch the game unfold. In other words, you do half the work, the strategizing, while the game handles the rest automatically.

Dota Underlords is still in Early Access, meaning some features are still unavailable. That said, this is still a fun free-to-play game that can be enjoyed without spending a dime.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: MacOS 10.13.6, 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor, , Intel HD 4000 or better (requires Metal), 5 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 22

Fistful of Frags

Mac Release date: 2014

MacOS developer: Fistful of Frags Team

Genre: Shooter

Born as a mod for the Source engine, Fistful of Frags is a deathmatch game set in the Wild West. It has your basic options such as versus and elimination modes, but separates itself with some unique mechanics.

For example, it has a dual wield weapon system with double dynamic crosshairs, and you can even throw your weapons as projectiles when all else fails. And speaking of weapons, the historical guns available to you are slower to use than modern first-person deathmatch games, but they’re still quite powerful. It also forces you to play things a little more realistically than when you’re using tasers, bazookas and flak cannons. The more skilled you become with your guns, the more you’ll be rewarded.

Even better? You won’t have to pay a dime to play Fistful of Frags; no microtransactions exist within the game. Use the money to buy some whiskey, if you’re of age, as the game seems to focus on that quite heavily.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: OS 10.7, 1.7 GHz Processor, 1 GB RAM,  NVIDIA GeForce 8, ATI X1600, Intel HD 3000 or higher, 3 GB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 23

The Battle for Wesnoth

Mac Release date: 2008

MacOS developer: David White

Genre: Strategy

The Battle for Wesnoth is an open-source, turn-based strategy game featuring turn-based battles on a hex grid that will take you back to the ‘90s visually.

The Battle for Wesnoth features 16 single-player campaigns and 46 multiplayer maps (online and hot seat) over which more than 200 units will battle. The game has developed a large, dedicated fanbase due to the quality and quantity of content, the engaging gameplay, and the fact that it’s free (not to mention its Tolkienesque setting).

That community has, in turn, contributed a ton of user-made content ranging from new campaigns and factions to artwork.

Verdict: This is a generous free-to-play game.

System Requirements: OS 10.8, 2 GHz Dual Core Processor, 2 GB RAM, 800 MB hard drive space.

The 20 Best Free Games for Mac in 2019 24

Canabalt

Mac Release date: 2009

MacOS developer: Adam Atomic and Danny B

Genre: Action

Sometimes you want to play a game with just one button. We get that, and that’s why we offer up Canabalt. This endless runner has been released on everything from iOS to the Commodore 64 (wait…what?), and it offers plenty of frenetic fun on Mac.

Basically, you’re a dude running from some sort of threat. We’ve all been there, right? In Canabalt, this involves running/jumping across rooftops as you dodge various obstacles along the way. Unlike in real life, you get faster as you progress, increasing the challenge.

And unlike many endless runners available, the environments in Canabalt are procedurally generated. This means the game is more about skill than memorization, and it greatly increases the replay value. If you’re looking for a free way to kill some time on your Mac, Canabalt is it.

Verdict: This is a truly (100%) free game.

System Requirements: Adobe Flash.

The best games for your Mac

Normally, we test the MacOS performance of all our featured games and share the results with you. This time, as these are all free (and most have low system requirements), we decided to focus on our Top 3.

We performed our tests on these machines:

iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)

3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)

2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016):

2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)

These are the results:
GameRequirements2013 MBP FPS2016 MBP FPS2014 iMac FPS
Fortnite Mac artForniteMedium emoji Medium23.4 FPS

Borderline

47.1 FPS

Playable

96.5 FPS

Smooth

StarCraft 2 Mac artStarcraft 2Low emoji Low33.8 FPS

Playable

70.1 FPS

Smooth

115.9 FPS

Smooth

CS GO Mac artCS: GOLow emoji Low34 FPS

Playable

50.9 FPS

Playable

79.8 FPS

Smooth

Expand to see how to interpret these results

For your reference, this is how we describe the different levels of performance (in frames per second):

Below 20 FPSUnplayableLaggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
20-30 FPSBorderlineCan be Ok in slow paced games. Still, not optimal.
30-45 FPSPlayableAcceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
45-60 FPSSmoothFluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
60+ FPSVery SmoothFor hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.

We usually aim for 30 FPS, because 30 FPS is enough to guarantee a smooth and fluid experience. This YouTube video does a great job at showing the differences between 30 FPS VS 60 FPS.

Why test games at 1280×800 instead of 1080p? Keep in mind that most of us have MacBooks that are not meant to be game machines. We prefer to stick to 12080×800 to give older Macs a chance (that said, our Performance reviews do include tests at 1080p.

In a nutshell:

If you a MacBook, Mac Mini or a somewhat old MacBook Pro, both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Starcraft 2 should work just fine. But if you want to play Fortnite, you’ll need a recent Mac, ideally, one with dedicated graphics, as the game is poorly optimized for Mac…

The Competition: Even more Free Mac games to download

This is a very big list we’ve put together for you, but not big enough to cover everything. As more games are made available for free in an effort to draw gamers into their community, there’s more we have to look at.

As such, here’s a list of games that didn’t quite crack our top 20 but are good enough to get a recommendation from us

GamesGamesOur takeGenre
Guild Wars 2 Mac art

Guild Wars 2

MMORPG
Guild Wars 2Because you can’t have a guild without having wars. If you tend to prefer story-driven games, this MMORPG actually builds a storyline around your actions. It’s a great way to stay involved when you get tired of fighting for fighting’s sake.

Developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT, Guild Wars 2 uses a dynamics event system as opposed to traditional quests to create the story within its persistent world. Select your race choose your profession, pick your skills and join the fight.

74

Metascore
MMORPG
Trove Mac art

Trove

MMORPG
TroveThis sandbox MMORPG allows you to play as a pirate, a dinosaur tamer, a headless knight, and more. Developed and published by Trion Worlds, Trove invites players to build a world, explore others, fight, and go home (it’s the only place you’ll be safe, after all).

The game is visually reminiscent of Minecraft, but offers plenty more dungeons to explore, abilities to master and bosses to defeat. And because everyone’s competing with Fortnite these days, there’s a battle royal mode to keep the kids happy.

NA

Metascore
MMORPG
EVE Online Mac art

EVE Online

MMORPG
EVE OnlineSurprisingly, this is only one of the few MMORPGs set in space as opposed to a fantasy world. EVE Online features over 7,800 star systems to explore and conquer, and its unscripted setup means you can do so at your discretion.

Its persistent world of mining, piracy, manufacturing, trading, exploration, and combat will keep you entertained for a very long time, and there’s now a limited free-to-play to help you get started. EVE Online has even been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, for crying out loud!

NA

Metascore
MMORPG
SMITE Mac art

SMITE

MOBA
SMITEThis free to play third-person MOBA from the developers of Paladins allows players to control a god and get into the thick of the team-based combat with the game’s third-person perspective.

You get five free gods (from the available 80-plus) when you sign up, and new content is released every two weeks. Start off in the newbie-friendly arena mode and build up your skills until you’re ready to become a Grandmaster in the SMITE World Championship (or just have fun with the numerous promotions events).

NA

Metascore
MOBA
Xonotic Mac art

Xonotic

Shooter
XonoticTotally free and totally open-source, this first-person shooter runs on a modified Quake engine and is inspired by Unreal Tournament and Quake (but with enhanced player movement). This means you can play classic modes such as deathmatch and capture the flag, but you can unlock 14 more for a wide variety of intense combat options.

And as you’d expect when hearing the names Quake and Unreal Tournament, Xonotic, is a rare first-person shooter action amongst the other games on our list.

NA

Metascore
Shooter
Elder Scrolls Legends Mac art

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Collectible Cards
The Elder Scrolls: LegendsA collectible card game featuring two-player turn-based combat (against a human or computer opponent). The cards are based on characters and creatures from The Elder Scrolls, pitting the player character against a High Elf named Naarifin who intends to fulfill the Culling with the help of an army of demons.

The game is free-to-play, with expansion sets available for purchase (including one that features elements from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). The latest—Houses of Morrowind—was just released in April of this year.

NA

Metascore
Collectible Cards
Super Crate Box Mac art

Super Crate Box

Action
Super Crate BoxThis is certainly one of the more unique freeware games on our list. Super Crate Box provides old-school arcade action mixed with the intense excitement of modern survival games. The enemies won’t quit coming, and the only thing you have to stop them is one of 14 weapons provided at random by the crate box.

Pick up your weapon, kill as many as you can, then hit up the crate box for a new, different weapon. If you don’t stop the enemies before they reach the firepit they’ll return even faster. May the odds be ever in your favor, or something like that.

NA

Metascore
Action
Supertuxkart Mac art

SuperTuxKart

Racing
SuperTuxKartSuperTuxKart is a kart racer with several racing modes for single and multiplayer action, as well as plenty of characters to obtain and use.

There are 21 to unlock within the game’s story (it involves a kidnapping and a race-to-save-your-friend element if you must know), but with the open source model, there are plenty more to download via add-ons. SuperTuxKart has some pretty impressive, colorful racing environments that are fun to drive through.

NA

Metascore
Racing
IMAGE

Marathon Mac art

Shooter
MarathonOh, Marathon, glorious Marathon. One of the all-time great first-person shooters for the Mac is still available, and it’s available for free. You can’t call yourself a Mac gamer without having played this.

Marathon broke new ground in the first-person shooter genre across all platforms, which is quite an achievement as it was only available for Mac OS. Developed before microtransactions were even a thing, it’s totally free to play from start to finish. Still a blast to play despite its age.

NA

Metascore
Shooter
The Plan Mac art

The Plan

Experimental
The Plan“A fly ascends to the skies, pondering the pointlessness of its brief existence.” They say a fly’s life is only three days, but it’s not like it knows that, right? A fly doesn’t know death from Shinola.

But we do, and that makes this “experiment” from the developers of Among the Sleep a beautiful bit of relaxing freeware. It doesn’t last much more than five minutes, but isn’t that kind of perfect? Gorgeous visuals and simple gameplay to share with others.

NA

Metascore
Experimental
Unturned Mac art

Unturned

Adventure
UnturnedWork with friends to survive a zombie-infested land (because that always turns out so well). This F2P game comes from the creator of the Battlefield and Deadzone games in Roblox, bringing with it similarly blocky graphics that make the proceedings a bit more lighthearted than your usual zombie fare.

You’ll be up against nature and other players—not just zombies—as you attempt to fortify your stronghold in the Yukon, Hawaii, Russia and other official and community created maps. Also, you have access to jet skis and helicopters. As you should.

NA

Metascore
Adventure
The Expendabros Mac art

The Expendabros

Action
The ExpendabrosVideo games have thankfully become quite diverse over the past decade, but every now and again you just want to help some old-school arcade burly men go on an old-school action mission of intense side-scrolling mayhem.

The Expandabros may be nothing more than a short but free way to try out Broforce, but we see nothing wrong with that when you get to control guys like Broney Ross, Bronar Jenson and Toll Borad. Take down a ruthless arms dealer and his army of soldiers, artillery and circular saws exactly as ‘80s action heroes would want you to.

NA

Metascore
Action
Realm Grinder Mac art

Realm Grinder

Role-Playing
Realm GrinderIn this “clicker” from Divine Games you’re a monarch out to expand your realm. You’ll start with nothing more than a meager farm and a strong desire to explore, build, upgrade, and attack. Are you good? Are you evil? Let the other players decide.

Your concern should be solely with clicking to get rich. Whether you get there by dealing with elves, demons or any of the other dozen factions is up to. How much you spend it also up to you; Realm Grinder is free-to-play, but microtransactions are available if you tire of clicking.

NA

Metascore
Role-Playing
Iron Snout Mac art

Iron Snout

Action
Iron SnoutNot content to hide in his house of straw, this little pig would rather defend himself with cleavers, athletic equipment, and whatever else he can find...including the body parts of his enemies. This free brawler is bloody and violent, but its colorfully cartoonish and often humorous presentation help to keep the proceedings light.

The fast-paced action is enhanced by simple controls that helps you get started quickly, but you’re going to need some practice to unlock all of the game’s achievements.

NA

Metascore
Action
OpenRA Mac art

OpenRA

Strategy
OpenRAThis is your chance to play one of the earliest (and finest) real-time strategy games for free, as OpenRA is pretty much just Command and Conquer. The classic real-time strategy game from Westwood Studios has been made available through and maintained by the open-source community, and has been updated to run natively on modern operating systems and screen resolutions.

So, although it retains the visual style of the 1995 original, it plays just fine on your iMac or MacBook. OpenRA offers many “modern features” as well, including dual-button mouse input, fog or war, and streaming support.

NA

Metascore
Strategy
Shadow Warrior Classic Mac art

Shadow Warrior Classic

Shooter
Shadow Warrior ClassicFrom the creators of Duke Nukem 3D comes his Asian counterpart. This throwback first-person shooter is equally juvenile, equally over-the-top, and equally fun...provided your mindset is rooted firmly in the 1990s.

The lead character’s name is Lo Wang, and that should tell you everything you need to know. The bad jokes, gore and stereotypes are almost as prevalent as the repeated environment textures, but that’s just what we played in the ‘90s. It was either this or Mario Teaches Typing. At least now it’s free.

NA

Metascore
Shooter

Our Criteria

We know that game fandom is subjective. We all have our own filters that lead us to a specific genre or title, but there’s a lot of commonality in those filters. Here’s what we used to determine which games should be included here and where they should rank.

Native

You’d be surprised how many Top Games for macOS lists feature Windows-only games. Not here. Each and every one of the games mentioned here is officially supported on macOS and does not require Bootcamp or Wine.

Mac Performance

Having said that, we haven’t specifically tested each game on multiple Mac systems. Because all of these games can be freely downloaded and tested, we didn’t feel the need to benchmark. Check our comments on each game, however, to see which of them are prone to lags or will work well on older Mac systems.

Critical acclaim

We know that our opinions are not the only ones that matter. To keep this guide as relevant as possible, we only considered proven games with positive reviews from both professional reviewers and average gamers.

Pricing: How much are these Mac games REALLY?

As we mentioned before, there’s a distinction between free and free-to-play (F2P). Both are included here, but check our designations to see which are really free and which require microtransactions of various sorts.

Wrapping Up

Great games are available at any cost. And although there are features and options in $60 titles that you’ll rarely find for free, we continue to be amazed by how much entertainment you can get out of a game that won’t cost you a dime to play. We had a lot of fun learning about and playing these games, and we hope you will, too. 

As you check them out, we only have two requests for you. First, be sure to tell us about any great Mac free games we missed. And second, if you can, send some financial love to the developers.

Game development is a hard road to travel, and these people deserve to be rewarded.

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission (this is how we pay the bills). This commission comes at no additional cost to you