Role-playing games seem to thrive regardless of the latest gaming trends. In fact, the genre has never been stronger, thanks to all the new games, updates of classics, and innovative takes on the genre brought by Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites.
And luckily, MacOS has benefited from all of these new entries.
RPG games for Mac arguably provide the greatest embarrassment of riches. Whether you game on a souped-up iMac Pro or five-year-old MacBook, we’ve got something on this list for you.
And don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the “traditional” medieval, dungeon-crawling RPG. While there are plenty of those, this list will show you there are plenty of other RPGs out there, from sci-fi to rhythm games.
Looking for something different? We also have a list of the current 100 Best Mac games in all the top categories.
Last updated: July 21, 2018
We have tested over 10 new games released since this guide was first created in September 2015 and decided to crown a new all-around champion. We also added a brand-new section with all the games that almost made it.
How We Decide
We purchase all of the games we review with our own funds. We do receive review copies, but they are largely ignored. Sorry!
This is how we proceed: First, we identify the games we believe are the greatest, then we purchase them, and finally we test MacOS performance levels using our three test machines:
The follow-up to our previous winner had a lot to live up to, and by and large Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire delivers.
Picking up after the events of the original, one of the most crowdfunded games of all time, Deadfire takes what’s great about the original and puts it to sea. Literally. In Pillars of Eternity 2, you’re pursuing a rogue god over land and sea through the Deadfire Archipelago, using your ship to travel from place to place. With the same focus on exploration, story, and character as the original, Deadfire is just as engaging and fun to explore. Setting it at sea and adding naval battles (or piracy, if you will) is the icing on the cake.
Upgraded graphics, game mechanics and already announced DLC round out the experience. Pillars of Eternity was designed as a modern take on the classic RPG and it delivered beautifully. The original is a hard act to follow, but PoE 2: Deadfire lives up to it and is our pick for Best RPG for Mac.
Another game going for the classic style with a modern look and play, Divinity: Original Sin, is an open-world RPG that can be best experienced in cooperative multiplayer with friends.
The game features turn-based combat and the ability to interact with and manipulate the world as you desire. A multiple award winner and one of the top reviewed computer games of 2015, Divinity: Original Sin also wins points for its voiceovers, controller support (if you’re into that sort of thing), and, it bears repeating, the ability to do just about anything you can think of in the game, things that maybe even the developers didn’t anticipate. While the game can be challenging at first, it rewards those who stick with it and are willing to explore, experiment and take control of the world they have been given.
A multiplayer alternative to our winner, Divinity: Original Sin is our runner-up for best role-playing games for Mac. At this point, the only question is, when do we get Divinity: Original Sin 2?
Update: Divinity: Original Sin 2 for Mac is coming Early 2019.
Undertale is our first example of RPGs using throwback 8/16 bit graphics. And while the look is classic, the tone is modern.
Undertale takes place in a world where monsters were locked Underground long ago after losing a war with humans. Your character stumbles through the magic barrier that leads to the monster-filled Underground and must find her way back up top. And while you can fight your way to victory, you can also win this game by being kind and sparing your enemies, and the way you play will affect how the game unfolds. Undertale quickly became a fan favorite for its old-fashioned look and unique story and gameplay. And with your interactions having a major effect on how the game plays out, Undertale has excellent replay value.
This all explains why Undertale was a multiple award winner, including Best Game Ever in a GameFAQs poll. Able to run on just about any Mac thanks to its old-school graphics, Undertale is AAA gameplay at a budget. So, if you enjoy retro looking RPGs but with a modern sensibility, Undertale is for you.
If you like your RPGs set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, boy have we got you covered. The sequel to what many consider one of the top computer games of all time, Knights of the Old Republic 2 (KOTOR 2) takes place 4,000 years before the events of Episode I in the movie series.
Also like the original, the sequel was very late coming to the Mac, following the Windows release by a cool ten years. That said, the game was remastered and brought to modern times by Aspyr in 2015. You can now enjoy it with better graphics, sounds and an increased resolution. And despite all those years, it remains, like the original, one of the best sci-fi RPG games you can find.
Featuring a great story, interesting characters and pausable real-time combat, KOTOR 2 allows you to join the dark or the light side as you work to rebuild your connection to the Force and find the remaining Jedi after they have been mostly wiped out by the Sith. Possibly the finest Star Wars experience that can be had on MacOS, KOTOR 2’s age means it’s playable on a wide variety of MacBooks, easily making it our Macbook Pick.
A sci-fi action RPG from Supergiant Games, the makers of Bastion, Transistor is an award-winning blend of action and story. You play as Red, a lounge singer who has had her voice stolen. But you do have a mysterious talking sword that can be outfitted, and re-outfitted, with various abilities as you battle your way through a futuristic city in search of answers.
Featuring the same gorgeous hand-drawn style as Bastion and a superior soundtrack that adjusts to the action, Transistor is as much fun to look at and listen to as it is to play. But play you will, and here again, Transistor offers a unique blend of turn-based tactics and strategy (planning) and fast-paced action (execution). Figuring out the best ways to use and combine your combat skills is one of the keys to Transistor, and while it can be difficult it’s also very rewarding when you get it right.
Beautiful graphics, fantastic soundtrack, complex and rewarding gameplay and a great story, what else do you need? How about system requirements modest enough so that just about anyone with a Mac can play it? With all that, Transistor was a cinch to make this list.
Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike (think permadeath) game with turn-based combat. But Darkest Dungeon is unique thanks to its Affliction System, where the characters in your party, in addition to suffering damage from enemies, will also suffer increasing levels of stress, paranoia and more as your quest continues, which will impact their ability to assist you in combat.
This leads to another fun and different feature, the need to rest and relax in between your battles; go into town, relax and level back up, then head back underground for more battles. Featuring a unique 2D hand-drawn style and a gothic atmosphere, Darkest Dungeon is one of the most unique games on this list. It’s also one of the more difficult games, so if you don’t like having your characters die and need replacing (remember, I did say permadeath) you might want to look elsewhere.
But if you can take it, you’ll be rewarded with hours of gameplay and the satisfaction of defeating a truly difficult game. And thanks to the 2D graphics, you can put yourself through this almost literal torture on just about any machine from the past several years.
Diablo practically defined the classic combat RPG genre. Around since the last millennium (1996 specifically), there still are no more fun ways to hack and slash your way to victory.
Continuing the story told in the first two installments, Diablo 3 is a classic hack n’ slash RPG with all the elements you expect: dungeons, monsters, fierce bosses and a richer story than found in many RPGs. And it’s from Blizzard, which means you can get your RPG fix the same day as Windows users. And though we waited 12 years for the third installment, when it came out there was a unanimous agreement that the wait was worth it.
Last year’s Rise of the Necromancer expansion is keeping the game fresh, and the franchise shows no signs of slowing down. Plus, thanks to Blizzard’s “Starter Game” concept, it’s one of the few RPGs for Mac that you can try before you buy. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the waters, Diablo 3 is as good a place to start as any. And the entire franchise is about to get even better with the upcoming release of Diablo 2: Resurrected.
Perhaps you’re a fan of sci-fi RPG games but not of the Star Wars universe. If that’s the case, Wasteland 2 may just be for you.
Yet another Kickstarter-funded RPG, it followed the original Wasteland by a mere 26 years. An isometric game featuring turn-based combat and set in a post-apocalyptic western United States, Wasteland 2’s strong points include customizability, large parties, decisions that really make a difference, good dialog and obviously improved graphics over the original. Set 15 years after the events of the original game, you again lead a party of Rangers in a post-nuclear world, attempting to provide some law and order to a world gone monster crazy.
Now available as a “Director’s Cut” featuring improved graphics, more dialog and gameplay improvements including more character customizability and precision strikes, Wasteland 2 is post-apocalyptic RPG heaven. Wasteland 2 also features plenty of violence, a Mature rating, and requires a moderately powerful Mac to run.
If you prefer your RPGs futuristic instead of fantasy, Wasteland 2 is, without doubt, one of the best Mac RPG games you can find (and Wasteland 3 is coming to MacOS too).
A unique take on either the dungeon crawler and the rhythm game, Crypt of the NecroDancer somehow manages to meld those two genres into a game that is hard but fair, and undeniably fun.
Think Dance Dance Revolution, but instead of just matching your moves to a beat, you have to match your moves to the beat to attack enemies, explore dungeons, and otherwise make your way through each level. Featuring procedurally generated dungeons, permadeath, and hordes of dancing skeletons, zombies, and dragons (that’s right, your enemies have to follow the beat too), Crypt of the NecroDancer has all your classic RPG elements.
But it’s Crypt of the NecroDancer’s soundtrack that steals the show. With several remixes and the ability to add your own MP3s, the music doesn’t get old. Which is good because you’re going to die, a lot, as you progress deeper into the crypt. If you’re up for a game that’s challenging but fair and ultimately rewarding, Crypt of the NecroDancer is for you. And it should run, or dance, on just about any machine.
A modern update to the classic 1999 game, Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition remains one of the best RPGs of all time. While modern technology can’t cover up all the signs of age, the game’s characters, setting, and story remain top notch.
Set roughly in the Dungeons & Dragons universe (2nd edition), you play as the Nameless One, who has lived several lifetimes but can’t remember any of them, until now. You are sent on a mission where you’ll explore not just the city of Sigil but the other Planes, in search of answers to your existence. And while Planescape often looks, sounds and even plays like a combat RPG, success also comes from what you’ve done up to the point of combat in solving mysteries, making good decisions and interacting with the people around you.
To be clear, there will be combat and you’ll have a party with bizarre powers to help you out. Great story and locations, interesting characters and updated graphics land Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition firmly on our list.
As a bonus, just about anybody with a Mac can enjoy the game with its extremely modest system requirements.
There are so many great Mac RPG games, we couldn’t list just ten. To avoid leaving off too many great choices, we give you the following entries, which didn’t quite make the list but still deserve to be mentioned. These should help you forget abandoned Mac ports, such as Dark Souls’.
Normally, we also include all the good free alternatives, but after much research, we couldn’t find a single free RPG for Mac that’s worth it… That said, there are several excellent MMORPGs for Mac that are free and can be enjoyed solo. Lord of the Rings Online is a good example.
Now onto more awesome RPGs for MacOS, and if we miss any, we hope you’ll let us know in the comments.
Pyre✅ Not demanding
|Pyre||From the creative geniuses behind Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a party-based RPG which has you leading a band of exiles in their quest to win their freedom. To do this you participate in a series of battles, or Rites, 3v3 style; that ressemble more a sporting match than a battle. In fact, some call it the succesor NBA Jam needed.|
Supergiant is known for gorgeous artwork, excellent stories and top notch audio and voice acting, and Pyre doesn’t disappoint. With a unique battle system and beautiful new world to explore, Pyre is also lightweight enough to run on just about any recent Mac.
Banner Saga 2✅ Not demanding
|Banner Saga 2||The second installment in the Banner Saga series, The Banner Saga is a classic RPG, with some unique features. The Banner Saga takes place in a Viking-inspired setting. It uses beautiful, hand-drawn 2D graphics and animations and, as with many of the games on this list, focuses as much on story and character as on combat.|
And while we’re showcasing Banner Saga 2 here, you should know that your choices and their effects carry over from one game to the next, so it’s probably worth starting at the beginning. The Banner Saga 2 is one of the most satisfying turn-based RPGs to be found on the Mac and can run on just about any Mac.
Torchlight 2✅ Not demanding
|Torchlight 2||Another classic-style action RPG Mac gamers can enjoy, Torchlight 2 was a near miss on our last list and has stood the test of time well enough to make it this time. Featuring cooperative multiplayer and a large developer community filling the Steam Workshop with mods, Torchlight 2 also makes a contender for best value at $20. |
With a focus on exploration and combat, Torchlight 2 builds on the original with new classes, more and better loot and the return of randomly generated levels for maximum replayability. A sequel to the original story, Torchlight 2 isn’t the most original game on this list but it is one of the most fun to play.
Pillars of Eternity⚠️ Fairly Demanding
|Pillars of Eternity||Our winner in the traditional RPG category in the previous version of this article, the original Pillars of Eternity is still a great RPG. While a little late to release after its successful Kickstarter, PoE delivered on its promise of a return to old-fashioned RPG gaming. |
Pillars features extreme character customization, a large world to explore, an engaging story, and a real-time with pause combat system, all executed beautifully.
You’ll have multiple options for companions in your party, a deep main quest and eventually your own home/manor/castle to build and furnish. That said, this modern classic still requires a moderately powerful Mac.
Tyranny⚠️ Fairly Demanding
|Tyranny||Between Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2, Obsidian Entertainment brought us Tyranny. Seriously, where do they find the time? The twist in Tyranny is that you start off in a world already conquered by evil; you’re an arbiter of justice in this world, and will literally help shape this world and the story. |
While keeping a familiar look and style from PoE, Tyranny’s story leaves some players daunted while others find the combat system clunky. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a classic RPG with a unique twist, Tyranny is for you.
Torment: Tides of Numenera⚠️ Fairly Demanding
|Torment: Tides of Numenera||Set in the Torment universe, Tides of Numenera is a “spiritual successor” to the original while maintaining that game’s story-driven focus in a world affected by your words and action. In fact this game is so story-driven you can actually avoid much of the combat through your words and actions.|
Much like Tyranny, complaints center around the amount of reading involved, with people comparing it to a book or choose-your-own-adventure game. But if you’re looking to return to the Planescape universe, this provides another chapter in that story.
Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut✅ Not demanding
|Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut||Shadowrun: Dragonfall was originally released as an expansion campaign for Shadowrun Returns but was so darned good the developers decided it deserved its own game release as Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut. |
With loads of new content, new music and a revamped interface and combat system, Dragonfall certainly feels like its own game.
The combination of magic and technology has always been a hallmark of the Shadowrun series, and this entry is no exception. You’ll lead your small team, each with their own unique abilities, on a mission to try and prevent chaos and devastation from destroying your world.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar✅ Not demanding
|Battle Chasers: Nightwar||Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a classic-style JRPG featuring turn-based combat, lots of dungeon crawling, and a beautiful comic-book art style based on the original Battle Chasers comic book series. Clearly, this is an homage to classic 1990s JRPGs.|
Known for its character customization options and complex but learnable battle system, Nightwar also features a lot of grind at certain parts of the game. Randomized dungeons, the excellent battle system and the beautiful surroundings do help alleviate some of the tedium. Able to run on most any Mac, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is perfect for some single-player, retro-RPG fun.
Bastion✅ Not demanding
|Bastion||An action RPG that features hand-painted graphics and a narrator who reacts to everything you do, Bastion has you attempting to discover the secrets of the Calamity, which shattered the world to pieces.|
Unique in that ground only appears as you move around, making movement tricky, Bastion also feels less like an RPG than many on this list. With excellent combat weapons and controls, Bastion flips from many of the games on this list in being known for its combat more than its story; so if that’s what you’re looking for, it could be your ticket.
The Witcher 2⚠️ Fairly Demanding
|The Witcher 2||While we’d rather be telling how fantastic Witcher 3 is, unfortunately, that title hasn’t made it to the Mac (yet?). But the Witcher 2 is still considered one of the best RPGs of modern times and so maintains a place on this list if a bit lower than before.|
While earning its Mature rating for various reasons including nudity, The Witcher 2 also manages to play like a classic fantasy RPG. The game features a solid story continuing from the events of the original, interesting characters, and notably good voice acting and graphics. Plus, it features combat mechanics far better than the original. The Witcher 2 will keep you as gripped as the original, and might even make you forget that the third entry is still not on the Mac.
West of Loathing✅ Not demanding
|West of Loathing||Described by its developers as “a slapstick comedy stick-figure wild west adventure role-playing game,” West of Loathing is definitely a different take on the adventure RPG. While you’ll find the traditional RPG elements, they’re presented in a comedic western setting.|
Looking like an RPG out of the 80s, West of Loathing is worth it for the dialog and comedy alone, but there’s a fun game in there waiting to be explored as well. With a focus on story and dialog, the combat can pale in comparison, but West of Loathing is worth it as a breath of fresh RPG air.
Legend of Grimrock 2✅ Not demanding
|Legend of Grimrock 2||A class dungeon crawler RPG, Legend of Grimrock 2 focuses as much on exploration and puzzle solving as combat. Shipwrecked on the Isle of Nex, your party of four will explore the island and the dungeons beneath it as you attempt to survive and escape.|
Along the way you will uncover magical statues, secret chambers and buried treasure to help you in your battles against a wide variety of monsters. Known for challenging puzzles and great replay value thanks to the Dungeon Editor and Steam Workshop, Legend of Grimrock 2 is just the thing for puzzle-solving, dungeon-crawling fun.
Hyper Light Drifter✅ Not demanding
|Hyper Light Drifter||Hyper Light Drifter pays homage to the 16-bit graphic RPG days with beautiful, hand-drawn graphics and animation. Another Kickstarter-funded RPG, you play as a Drifter with access to long-forgotten technology but you're also suffering from an unspecified disease for which you are seeking a cure. Another twist in the game is that instead of going around finding ammo to resupply your weapons, you gain ammo by hitting opponents with your energy sword.|
With beautiful graphics and sound, and a focus on tactical combat against the increasingly more powerful monsters, Hyper Light Drifter has quickly become a favorite RPG game for those looking for a good looking, retro, combat-focused 2D RPG.
These are Mac games. No Wine, Parallels or Bootcamp will ever be needed. They all install natively on your Mac without the need of Windows or other.
One of the main things we aim to provide that no one else does is a look at how these games perform on Macs. If you want to see how the run on consoles or Windows, go ahead, but we’re pretty sure that’s not why you’re here. Our games are all tested on a variety of different Macs under the exact same conditions, to make sure we can provide a decent idea of how well your Mac may run them.
We’ve had a lot of questions about this, but we test our games on Medium settings because we know Mac users hang onto their computers for a long time, because we can. And for your reference, this is how we interpret the results:
|Below 20 FPS||Unplayable||Laggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.|
|20-30 FPS||Borderline||Can be Ok in slow paced games. Still, not optimal.|
|30-45 FPS||Playable||Acceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).|
|45-60 FPS||Smooth||Fluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.|
|60+ FPS||Very Smooth||For 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.
We all know how subjective reviews can be, and how games can be review-bombed by the public for reasons sometimes having nothing to do with the game itself. But we make sure we pick only games that have been positively received by both professional reviewers and average gamers.
We all want quality, but just like we hold onto our Macs as long as we can, we don’t have unlimited budgets for games. We always keep in mind price tags and production levels to give indies and AAA games equal chances. After all, we’re after games that are fun to play. Looks are important, but fun gameplay is even more so.
If you’re an RPG fan and a Mac user, you’ve always been able to play the latest and greatest. While we might not get every single AAA RPG, we get more than our share compared to other genres. And as this list shows, RPGs are more than just sword and sorcery.
There’s something on this list for everyone, even if you don’t like dragons. Modern to fantasy, hi-res graphics to stick figures, whatever type of RPG is your style, we’ve got you covered here. And we had to leave lots of good ones off.
So, which one is your favorite? Did we miss any you think belong on this list? Let us know in the comments section.