Update: Looking for the latest and greatest? Visit our 25 Best Mac games of 2018 so far guide.
This year could go down as the greatest year for Mac gaming since OS X was introduced. And for better or worse, it all comes down to Apple’s new graphics API: Metal.
Introduced as Mac gaming’s savior, Metal clearly lacked important features that caused the delay of several Mac ports. By the end of 2016, it seemed like Metal could become Mac gaming’s doom…
But after steady updates, Metal finally clicked and all the new Mac games started pouring out. 2017 was truly a pivotal moment for Metal, and by extension, for Mac gaming:
|Total War: Warhammer||Total War: Warhammer||Strategy||⚠️️ Medium||86|
|DiRT Rally||DiRT Rally||Racing||⚠️️ Medium||86|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided||Deus Ex: Mankind Divided||Shooter||🔥 High||83|
|Mafia 3||Mafia 3||Action||🔥 High||62|
|The Witness||The Witness||Puzzle||⚠️️ Medium||87|
|XCOM 2: War of the Chosen||XCOM 2: War of the Chosen||Role-Playing||🔥 High||88|
|F1 2017||F1 2017||Racing||⚠️️ Medium||89|
|Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3||Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3||Strategy||⚠️️ Medium||77|
|Torment: Tides of Numenera||Torment: Tides of Numenera||Role-Playing||✅ Low||81|
|ARK: Survival Evolved||ARK: Survival Evolved||Shooter||🔥 High||70|
|Night in the Woods||Night in the Woods||Adventure||✅ Low||88|
|Batman: The Enemy Within||Batman: The Enemy Within||Adventure||✅ Low||76|
|Hollow Knight||Hollow Knight||Adventure||✅ Low||86|
|Nidhogg 2||Nidhogg 2||Fighting||✅ Low||80|
And if you’re looking for the best games overall, visit our 100 Best Mac games.
These are the 20 best Mac games 2017 had to offer
Total War: Warhammer
Total War: Warhammer’s delay, in particular, caused a lot of concern amongst Mac gamers. But things began to turn in April with the release of macOS 10.12.4. Metal finally got the features developers needed to finish not just it, but also F1 2016, The Witness, and others.
Total War: Warhammer is the first Total War game not set in a historical period. That said, it’s still a Total War game, with both turn-based strategy and real-time battle modes. Just this time with a heavy mix of fantasy, including gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and more.
Aside from a few server issues and bugs, Total War: Warhammer is the real deal. Some claim it’s the best-looking strategy game of all time and we tend to agree.
So if you’re a fan of the Total War franchise (I personally own three… so far), the Warhammer universe, or fantasy games, this game is for you.
Because of its use of Metal, Total War: Warhammer requires:
Mac Release Date: April 18, 2017.
After months being held hostage by Metal, DiRT Rally, the acclaimed rally simulation game, is finally available for macOS.
With sophisticated handling and high-risk, high-reward gameplay, some call it the greatest rally game in years. DiRT Rally won high praise for its realism in every aspect, although that also means it’s a challenging and difficult to master game.
Codemasters clearly knows the formula to deliver some of the best Mac games out there. Besides great and realistic gameplay, DiRT Rally is a great racing sim that looks and sounds outstanding. Feral Interactive did an amazing job too, creating an optimized Mac port that isn’t that demanding and still looks great. To enjoy it, you’ll need:
Mac Release Date: November 16, 2017.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The latest in the Deus Ex franchise, Mankind Divided is also the latest game from Feral Interactive and it supports Metal 2.0.
In this latest edition, augmented humans such as yourself have become outcasts, segregated from the rest of society. You’re obviously out to fix that. Just like its predecessor, Mankind Divided is a shooter that offers choice. You can choose how to tackle missions and upgrade your augmentations according to your play style: stealth, barrels blasting, hacking, etc.
The game also has strong RPG elements that let you customize Jensen’s augmentations to suit your play style. With good reviews so far, Mankind Divided is one of the most beautiful games on Mac, but also very demanding. To enjoy it you’ll need:
Mac Release Date: November 22, 2017.
Mafia 3 takes you back to New Orleans, 1968. You’re a soldier just back from Vietnam and as you prepare to escape your criminal past, your surrogate crime family is betrayed and wiped out. You must get your revenge by building a new “family” and battling the Italian crime family & corrupt officials with guns, fists and fast cars.
This open-world game is about giving you the freedom to explore the city at will and tackle quests in different ways. You can go in guns blazing or use stealth to go unnoticed by your enemies.
While winning praise for its story and soundtrack, there have been some complaints about repetitive missions and hit and miss graphics. Mafia 3 was a challenging first ever Metal release for Aspyr, but they delivered a reliable port. Word of caution though, all versions of Mafia 3 are very demanding and the macOS version is not different. To properly run this game, you’ll need:
Mac Release Date: May 11, 2017.
The Witness is another new puzzler for Mac where you find yourself alone on an island and you must solve puzzles to figure out the story.
Created by the developer of Braid and a spiritual successor to Myst, The Witness is a Mac App Store Editor’s Choice which has been praised for its beauty and difficult but solvable puzzles (and lasers!), while some have been frustrated by the emphasis on 2D line puzzles and the minimal story.
Coming to the Mac over a year after its release on Windows, The Witness is another in the growing list of games for Mac requiring Metal, though otherwise, its system requirements are modest.
Requirements are modest and The Witness will run on:
Mac Release Date: March 8, 2017.
One of a growing number of games paying homage to the classic 8/16 bit games of yore, Owlboy is an indie action-platformer featuring colorful graphics that feel modern, and familiar yet unique gameplay. The game looks and sounds great and features more of a story than you might expect from a 2D action platformer.
Nine years in the making, the game succeeds not just on nostalgia, but also on the amount, variety, and difficulty of gameplay, especially against the bosses. The game also distinguishes itself by your character’s dependence on allies to actually kill enemies (you can stun them) and the variety and individuality of both allies and enemies.
And the nice thing about a good old retro-looking game is that to enjoy it you’ll only need:
Mac Release Date: January 27, 2017.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Normally, we would never include an Expansion among the top games of the year, but this one is so big, we had to make an exception.
War of the Chosen is the latest Expansion of the beloved turn-based strategy game XCOM 2. And this isn’t your random DLC with a few new units and scenarios. For a while Firaxis, the team behind the XCOM series thought War of the Chosen was big enough to become XCOM 3. This DLC is packed full of new enemies, factions, missions, environments and more depth.
And more importantly, it introduces The Chosen, the most dangerous enemies XCOM has ever seen. They will kidnap, interrogate, and kill XCOM’s soldiers to complete their objective, but you’ll have access to new Hero classes to fight them off.
Who thought a DLC could become one of the best games for Mac 2017 would deliver… XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is the ultimate XCOM experience, but to experience it, you’ll need a:
Mac Release Date: August 31, 2017.
Just months after releasing F1 2016, Feral Interactive surprised us with F1 2017, and we couldn’t be happier to get it on the same date as Windows users.
Featuring realistic racing and graphics, F1 2017 is one of the top rated and most realistic racing games out there. It includes a huge career mode, a new gameplay mode, invitational events, and more.
Along with stunning locations, these features help recreate the most complete F1 experience to come to macOS, with all the drivers, teams, circuits and cars from the real-world F1 2017 season. And multiplayer rounds things out, allowing you to test your skills against other players.
Another Metal user, F1 2017 likewise requires:
Mac Release Date: August 25, 2017.
Dawn of War 3
Dawn of War 3 was a welcome surprise because the last Dawn of War was almost ten years old. But also because Feral Interactive delivered a Mac version just two months after the Windows version.
In this real-time strategy game, you can play as either the heavy-hitting Space Marines, the savage Orks, or the technologically-sophisticated Eldar. The experience is similar to Company of Heroes 2. You’ll fight in huge battlegrounds and control armies and special elite squads to conquer strategic points and destroy your enemy. The game includes a single-player campaign and a cross-platform multiplayer mode with Linux players.
System requirements are not as demanding as I expected but you’ll still require:
Mac Release Date: June 8, 2017.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Another Kickstarter game promising a return to old-school role-playing, Torment: Tides of Numenera is the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment.
Like the original title, Tides of Numenera focuses on meaningful decisions and interactions with the world to drive the story forward in unique ways. Your actions always have consequences and they can change the world beyond your control. And that’s what makes it stand out. Torment: Tides of Numenera is a beautiful game that isn’t afraid to be challenging and ruthless if your choices ask for it.
While the game was more than two years late, it was a simultaneous release for Windows, Mac, Linux, and consoles. As can be expected from an old-school looking game, Tides of Numenera only requires:
Mac Release Date: February 28, 2017.
If you’re as old as I am you remember how groundbreaking Myst was. Sure, it was made in HyperCard, but it had 3D generated scenes, QuickTime, and an amazing puzzle-based story. It was revolutionary and essentially created a new genre of video games.
Well, Cyan, the team behind Myst, is still around, and their latest game builds on everything they’ve done before, and pushes the envelope even further. Taking place in a mysterious world, Obduction continues their tradition of beautiful scenes, great stories, engaging characters and challenging but fun puzzles.
Originally released for VR systems but later ported to the Mac, Obduction is everything good about the puzzle-adventure genre that Myst pioneered. The game was a huge Kickstarter success too, raising over $1.3 million, and proving that Myst fans were ready for a new adventure.
Obduction requires a Mac that supports Metal and MacOS 10.12.4 (Sierra):
Mac Release Date: March 30, 2017.
ARK: Survival Evolved
ARK: Survival Evolved is an ambitious first-person survival game where you gather resources, craft weapons, and much more.
An open world survival game with dinosaurs, you begin the game stranded, naked and freezing on a mysterious island. If you survive long enough, you’ll work your way up to crafting, farming and, yes, taming dinosaurs and other creatures. This game gives you so much to do. You can use skills, breed animals, ride them, and fight or become friends with other human players on the island.
On Steam Early Access since what feels like forever, ARK finally got a full release packed with updates, a new map, and more (now we are just waiting for that Metal version they promised…). Because of its scope and beautiful graphics, this game feels like an achievement. That said, their Mac version is poorly optimized and to enjoy this game you’ll need:
Mac Release Date: August 29, 2017.
Observer is a cyberpunk horror game developed by Bloober Team, the creators of Layers of Fears, another great horror game on Mac.
In Observer, you are Dan Lazarski, an elite neural detective known as an Observer. You are part of a police unit whose purpose is to hack and invade suspects’ minds. In this future, anything you think, feel, or remember can be used against you in a court of law. The game takes place in a dark dystopia where drugs, VR, and neural implants ravage the remaining survivors.
Developer Bloober Team delivered an accomplished and original horror game with Layers of Fear. I’m not surprised their second horror game has done so well.
Some call it one the top cyberpunk games of all-time, but this is a great looking game with demanding system requirements:
Mac Release Date: October 24, 2017.
Pyre is the latest indie hit from Supergiant Games, a studio that may ring a bell. That’s because they’re the team behind Bastion and Transistor, two world-class indie games.
Expectations surrounding their third game were high, but critics were unanimous: this squad-based RPG is a great game. Pyre is a difficult game to describe but I like how Engadget puts it: Pyre is an awesome sports game masquerading as fantasy heroics.
In Pyre, your character was banished from civilization and the only way to come back is to win competitive matches in sacred courts. The same rule applies to all other outcasts and you’ll have to lead your party of three to victory.
As Supergiant clearly went for original aesthetics instead of super demanding modern graphics, Pyre’s requirements aren’t too high
Mac Release Date: August 3, 2017.
Night in the Woods
Another Kickstarter-funded indie game, Night in the Woods is a story-based adventure game featuring anthropomorphic animals; you play as the cat Mae, returning home after dropping out of college and discovering that things are not as they seem, or as they were, in her hometown.
While you could call it a side-scrolling adventure game, that would give a somewhat wrong impression, as the focus is on story and characters much more than traditional side-scrolling action. You have plenty of opportunities to interact with other characters and there certainly is gameplay involved as you try to solve the mystery at the heart of the story. Beautifully drawn and written, Night in the Woods is one of the finest indie titles of 2017.
With modest system requirements, most Macs from the last several years should do fine:
Mac Release Date: February 28, 2017.
Batman: The Enemy Within
From Back to the Future to Game of Thrones and many places in between, it seems there is nothing Telltale Games can’t make a great story-based game out of. Batman: The Enemy Within Telltale Series is their latest and greatest.
The Enemy Within stays true to the Telltale formula but makes interesting improvements such as a new relationship-focused mechanic, an interesting new backstory, a new big villain, and a new big ally. If you haven’t played one of these games, at times they feel more like watching a show than playing a game, except you can truly guide the story in different directions by making dialogue choices and engage in some combat.
After a several year hiatus without Telltale games on Mac, it’s great to see them fully support the platform once again. I guess it was all another Metal-related problem… This year we’ve got Minecraft Season 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now Batman: The Enemy Within!
The Enemy Within requires Metal and macOS Sierra and:
Mac Release Date: August 8, 2017.
Available in open beta, Fortnite is an incredible tower defense shooter that happens to be the first Mac game to ever support Apple’s Metal engine.
Fortnite is a construct-and-defend sandbox game that combines exploration, building, and action. The game takes place in a fun world and is filled with great third-person shooting and building mechanics. You can feel Epic’s experience throughout the game.
Fortnite still has a long way to go, but seeing how popular it already is and how great it looks, I can’t help being excited.
The idea of paying $39.99 for an unfinished game that will be free once it’s finished can be annoying, but Epic’s support has been exemplary, with new features being added all the time, including a new Battle Royale mode you can play for free.
This is a good looking game that does require some horsepower:
Mac Release Date: July 25, 2017.
Owlboy notwithstanding, Hollow Knight is one of the prettiest games you’ll play this or any year. Using traditional hand-drawn 2D art and animation, Hollow Knight pays homage to the Metroidvania side-scrolling classics you love while providing plenty of modern touches.
Choose your own way through the vast underground insect world of Hallownest, meet quirky friends and powerful enemies, find powerups, everything you’d expect in a side-scrolling action adventure title. But the depth of story, character development, and interesting allies and enemies may surprise you. Add in a great soundtrack (and did I mention this game is gorgeous?) and you’ve got one of the hottest indie titles of 2017.
Just like Owlboy, this is a forgiving yet great looking game that can be enjoyed on:
Mac Release Date: April 11, 2017.
A sequel to the popular 2D, pixel-art fighting game, NIDHOGG 2 delivers more of the same: new moves, new weapons, new arenas, improved graphics and a new beat-heavy soundtrack, but the same style that made the first so popular.
While the original, which featured fencing and melee attacks, was somewhat minimalistic, that’s certainly not the case with Nidhogg 2. The sequel now has things like a bow and arrow, a battle ax, the ability to kick weapons out of your opponents’ hands and beautiful new backdrops. This all adds some nice variety to this throwback title.
Nidhogg 2 can perfectly play the role of a party game with friends and the fact it’s not demanding at all makes it even better.
NIDHOGG 2 Mac Release Date: August 15, 2017.
Stuck for months because of Metal (and the fact developer IO Interactive was dropped by its publisher), HITMAN was struggling. But HITMAN bounced back, and with the help of Feral Interactive, it’s finally available on Mac.
In this stealth action game, you’re back in the shoes of professional assassin Agent 47. You’ll perform contract hits on high-profile targets in exotic locations around the world and use secret passages, weapons, disguises and more to eliminate your targets.
The game was originally released in episodes (something everyone hated), but nowadays you can get a killer HITMAN: Game of the Year Edition that includes the complete first season, the Patient Zero mission arc, and new Escalation mission packs.
As can be expected of a good looking action game, to play it you’ll need:
Hitman Mac Release Date: June 20, 2017.
So which one of these fine macOS games is on your wish list?
Whew, that was exhausting. Not a bad list, eh? Metal finally seems to have come into its own, and developers seem to be quickly taking advantage of it. In addition to the listed, there so many other good games, it’s a shame we can’t feature them all.
Well, that’s our list of the best games for Mac 2017, what’s on your radar that’s either on the list or on your wish list? Let us know in the comments.
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Please understand that I only mention games because I believe they’re interesting, good, and/or fun. Never because I received a free copy or to earn a small commission.