The 20 Best MacBook games

Mac Gamer HQ picks its favorite MacBook games in 2018, including AAA games, indies and cult classics

By Ric Molina & Steve Marx | Updated Nov 13, 2018

No one buys a MacBook expecting to play the latest games at the highest settings. That said, getting one doesn’t mean giving up on gaming either.

That’s because MacBooks are perfectly capable of playing some amazing games.

And in case you find that hard to believe, today we cover the 20 best MacBook games out there, old and new. And unlike most lame MacBook gaming lists out there, we actually tested every single one of the games featured today.

For the record, by “MacBooks” we are not only referring to 12-inch MacBooks but also MacBook Airs (MBA) and 13-inch MacBook Pros (MBP). Basically all models without dedicated graphics.

And if you’re planning to buy a new Mac or would like to see how yours compares with the latest models from Apple, check out our Best Mac for gaming guide.

Game★ Best OverallBest for MacBookBest Value
GenreActionStrategyCollectible Cards
Release date201820182014
Metascore

88

90

84

Our rating★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆
Requirements✅ Not Demanding✅ Not Demanding✅ Not Demanding
Check PriceHumble BundleHumble BundleOfficial Site
Last updated: November 13, 2018

This guide was completely overhauled to include actual test results from all featured games, more in-depth reviews, graphs comparing the performance levels of different MacBook models and even a brand-new Competition section with more games perfectly suited for your MacBook.

Real-world MacOS tests

We purchased and tested all the games listed here on at least two MacBook models.

Why these two specific models? Our purpose is to help as many MacBook owners as possible and these two very different machines will give owners of old and new Mac laptops a good idea of what to expect:

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016):

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

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013):

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

You can find more benchmark results (including results from 12-inch models and MBAs), system requirements and all the details involving our tests in our Performance section.

Note that all of our benchmarks were done using Medium settings and 1280x800 resolution. You can expect better performance if you’re willing to play on Low settings.

So, are MacBooks good for gaming? This overview of all of our results should easily answer that question:

Our absolute favorite MacBook games

9

This year’s most critically-acclaimed Indie

Cuphead

Mac Release date: 2018

MacOS developer: Studio MDHR

Metascore: 88

You expected a bunch of old games no one wants to play anymore, right? Wrong! These are all great games you’d play all day, even if you had a brand-new iMac Pro, and Cuphead is our favorite.

Cuphead became an instant indie classic when it was released for Windows last year. Mashing excellent run and gun gameplay with a beautiful art style (the game looks straight out of a cartoon from the 1930s), Studio MDHR achieved something special. But don’t get fooled by the cute graphics, this is one punishing game. So much so that some compare it with Dark Souls.

And did we mention Cuphead is also a great multiplayer game you can play on co-op with a friend?

One more thing… Cuphead is the perfect choice for MacBook gaming: no compromises are required. This is a modern game with graphics that look great but still run smoothly on older machines.

Cuphead benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using VSync On and 1440×900 resolution:

Cuphead Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why the 2016 MacBook didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older MacBook Air will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.9, Intel Core i5 Processor, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or higher, 20 GB hard drive space.

9
A shooter that still plays and looks great
Borderlands 2

Mac Release date: 2012

MacOS developer: Aspyr Media

Metascore: 89

Our runner-up is Cuphead’s opposite. Borderlands 2 is neither new nor an indie. This is an older AAA game that happens to be a great choice for MacBook gamers.

The Borderlands series is known for its winning combination of FPS gameplay and RPG mechanics, and in our opinion, Borderlands 2 gives you the best of that. What makes it special is that both the role-playing and the shooting are solid. You’ll spend your time finding loot, leveling up and learning new skills while having lots of fun thanks to accurate and satisfying shooting mechanics. And to round things up, Borderlands 2 features some of the best 4-player co-op out there.

One more thing… Because the game uses a cel-shaded art style, it still looks great while keeping the system requirements low enough for our 2013 13-inch MBP.

Borderlands 2 benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using Medium settings, 2X Anisotropic Filtering, FXAA, and 1280×800 resolution:

Borderlands 2 Mac results

Can your Mac run it? You’ll need either a MBP from 2013 onwards or one of the latest MacBooks or MBA.

Any bugs you should be aware of? The game sometimes crashes on the start menu. To avoid that problem, just launch a game as soon as you enter the open menu.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.8.5, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 2600 / NVidia Geforce 8800/ Intel HD 3000, 13 GB hard drive space.

9

One of the most generous free-to-play games available

Hearthstone

Mac Release date: 2014

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Metascore: 84

It’s no surprise Hearthstone easily won our Budget Pick. After all, few free-to-play games are as generous as Blizzard’s collectible card game.

Based on the popular Warcraft universe, Hearthstone nails the essence of card games. It’s much simpler than anything that came before while remaining hard to master. There are different card types (weapons, spells and minions) and creating the “perfect” deck will be nearly impossible, yet the goal is simple: empty your opponent’s health before he empties yours.

And before you complain that you’re not into card games, remember, this is an excellent game that you can play for free.

One more thing… Collectible card games are rarely demanding and Hearthstone is no exception. Because of its simple graphics, virtually all Intel-powered models should be able to play it.

Hearthstone benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

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

Hearthstone Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 30 FPS. That explains why the both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even a potato can run this game.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

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.

9

A great indie that can run on anything

Into the Breach

Mac Release date: 2018

MacOS developer: Subset Games

Metascore: 90

Every game featured here is technically a MacBook pick, so let’s take it one step further and call this one of the finest Macbook Air games.

Into the Breach is a tactical strategy game from the same team that did FTL: Faster than Light. Set in a far future, you’ll take control of huge mechs to fight off hordes of gigantic monsters and save the World.

This may sound a lot like Pacific Rim, but the game comes with a twist: saving cities and civilians is more important than killing the monsters. So prepare to make some tough choices as this game can feel like playing chess, and you’ll often have to cut your losses and accept smaller defeats.

One more thing… Featuring retro graphics, Into the Breach is an extremely easy game to run. And if you happen to have a particularly old machine that can’t run it smoothly, don’t worry, the turn-based gameplay won’t suffer.

Into the Breach benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions: We tested the game using 1440×900 resolution:

Into the Breach Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why the 2016 MacBook didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older MBA will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.7, 1.7 GHz Intel Processor, 1 GB RAM, OpenGL 2.1 support, 400 MB hard drive space.

More of the best games for MacBook

Left 4 Dead 2

Mac Release date: 2009

MacOS developer: Valve

Metascore: 89

Slow turn-based games aren’t your cup of tea? Left 4 Dead 2 is a frantic first-person shooter that will pit you and 3 of your friends against hordes of zombies.

Developed by Valve, Left 4 Dead 2 is an oldie but goodie that may not impress in the graphics department anymore but is still extremely fun to play. The game will force you and your friends to work as a team and go through zombie-infested areas until you reach a safe zone. Left 4 Dead 2 will throw hundreds of hideous easy-to-kill creatures at you, but also tougher boss monsters to keep you on your toes.

One more thing… The more than 11,000 gamers that still play it daily can’t be wrong. After all these years Left 4 Dead 2 remains one of the most fun shooters out there and most machines should be able to handle it just fine.

Left 4 Dead 2 benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Left 4 Dead 2 Mac results

Can your Mac run it? This is an extremely light game to run. Our 2013 MBP did great and I wouldn’t be surprised if much older machines could play it just fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? The experience for us was bug-free.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS, 10.7, 2 GHz Intel Core Processor, 2 GB RAM, ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M / Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics card or better, 13 GB hard drive space.

Starcraft 2

Mac Release date: 2010

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Metascore: 93

The sequel to the legendary StarCraft, Starcraft 2 is a real-time strategy game that continues the war between the Terran, Zerg and Protoss races.

While the game features interesting lore and fascinating characters, StarCraft 2 shines because of its gameplay; like the original, this is a fast and precise game that is easy to get into but insanely hard to master.

And if you don’t feel like getting destroyed in competitive multiplayer, you can give the game’s Human campaign, a co-op mission or the occasional skirmish a try for free. StarCraft 2 used to be a premium paid package, but Blizzard now gives away huge chunks of the game. You no longer have an excuse to not try StarCraft 2.

One more thing… With StarCraft 2, Blizzard once again proved they know how to optimize a game for Mac. The game features nice graphics that stand the test of time, yet most recent machines should be able to run it without breaking a sweat.

StarCraft 2 benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Starcraft 2 Mac results

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older MBP will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ 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.

Dead Cells

Mac Release date: 2018

MacOS developer: Motion Twin

Metascore: 89

Dead Cells is an action-platformer that many have called the best Castlevania game in years.

In Dead Cells, there are no checkpoints and you’ll have to get comfortable with dying… a lot. You’ll get plenty of weapons to help you on your way, and each time you die will be an opportunity to explore more, improve your skills and acquire new abilities.

The 2D retro-inspired world will make fans of classic Castlevania and Metroid feel right at home, but don’t think Dead Cells is just another retro knock-off. This is an indie with tight controls, smooth animations and great art-style that could possibly earn it Best Indie of 2018 title. So prepare to experience both frustration and triumph across 16 to 20 hours of platformer action.

One more thing… Thanks to its retro graphics, Dead Cells manages to look great and play great on low-specced machines.

Dead Cells benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Dead Cells Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 2 GB RAM, OpenGL 3.2, 500 MB hard drive space.

DiRT Rally

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Codemasters

Metascore: 86

For the racing fans out there, allow me to introduce you to DiRT Rally, truly a technical MacOS feat.

The latest Dirt game available on Mac, Dirt Rally has everything a racing fan could ask for. With accurate handling, risky gameplay, and great graphics, some call it the best rally game ever released. And just like Dirt 3 and Grid 2, Dirt Rally is a versatile game. It can be either a challenging and precise simulation or a fun and casual racer; all you need to do is adjust the in-game settings to match your preferences.

Dirt Rally for Mac was handled by Feral Interactive, one of the top porting companies, and it shows. This is a brilliant port that features all the bells and whistles of the Windows version and looks just as good.

One more thing… This game is so well optimized for Mac, we were surprised to see it run smoothly on older machines.

DiRT Rally benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

DiRT Rally Mac results

Can your Mac run it? In this case, you’ll need at least a baseline MBP from 2013 onwards.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.13, 1.8 GHz Intel Core i3 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 GB Nvidia 650M / 2 GB AMD Radeon M290 / Intel HD 4000 graphics card or better, 48 GB hard drive space.

World of Warcraft

Mac Release date: 2018

MacOS developer: Blizzard

Metascore: 79

Does World of Warcraft need an introduction? Developed by Blizzard, World of Warcraft is the most successful MMO ever created. At one point it had over 12 Million subscribers, more than all its competitors combined!

WoW’s subscribers may have decreased some, but the game remains the king of MMOs. Everything in WoW just works, and the new Battle for Azeroth expansion further improves the formula. The quests are engaging, the dungeons are rewarding (yet, accessible) and the raids are as hardcore as ever. The Player versus Player (PvP) is equally good, and of course, there are professions, crafting, and countless other things to do.

One more thing… MMOs have always been infamous for having steep system requirements. WoW used to be like that but it has come a long way. Nowadays you can easily play it on Medium settings even on older machines.

World of Warcraft benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

World of Warcraft Mac results

Can your Mac run it? You’ll need a recent MacBook or a MBP from 2013 onwards.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.12.5, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 1GB AMD 5750, Nvidia 650M, 1.5GB Intel Iris Pro 5200, 78 GB hard drive space.

Rocket League

Mac Release date: 2016

MacOS developer: Psyonix

Metascore: 86

Fifa games won’t be coming to MacOS anytime soon, but thankfully Rocket League is here to scratch that itch.

Rocket League puts you in control of a flying battle-car as you participate in insane rocket-fueled soccer matches. The game is fast and intense but what makes it so popular (especially online) is the impressive physics system it uses and the surprising degree of precision and maneuverability of each car. Race, boost, jump, and fly across the arena to score spectacular goals or make that last second save.

You don’t have to be a fan of sports or cars to have fun with it, you just need to enjoy high-speed action and competition.

Rocket League particularly shines when played online, and as an added bonus, the game is cross-platform compatible between consoles, Mac, Linux, and Windows!

One more thing… Rocket League can run smoothly on recent MacBooks and that’s a good thing because you’ll want a fluid experience when challenging others online!

Rocket League benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Rocket League Mac results

Can your Mac run it? You’ll probably need a 13-inch MBP to confortably run this one though.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.8.5, 2.4 GHz, Intel Core i5 Processor, 8 GB RAM,  OpenGL 4.1 – ATI Radeon HD 5670, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or Iris Pro Graphics, 7 GB hard drive space.

BioShock Remastered

Mac Release date: 2017

MacOS developer: Feral Interactive

Metascore: 96

BioShock is one of the most original and genre-defining shooters in recent history. When it was first released in 2006, it delivered interesting gameplay, accurate controls, a good story and a fascinating setting, the infamous underwater city of Rapture.

The game was great but it was becoming increasingly hard to recommend it after all these years. That’s no longer a problem since the game was recently remastered with improved graphics, 4K resolution support, and all available DLC. If you ever wanted to return to Rapture or experience it for the first time but were put off by the game’s age, BioShock Remastered changes that.

One more thing… BioShock Remastered also supports Apple’s Metal API, which means this game is fully optimized to take advantage of your Mac’s graphics capabilities.

BioShock Remastered benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

BioShock Remastered Mac results

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine (if you’re willing to play on low settings).

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.12.5; 2GHzGhz Intel Core i5; 8 GB RAM; 27 GB HDD space; 2GB NVIDIA 680MX, 2GB AMD R9 M290, 1.5GB Intel Iris Pro 5200.

Civilization 5

Mac Release date: 2010

MacOS developer: Aspyr Media

Metascore: 90

You’re probably wondering two things: Is it worth playing Civ 5 now that Civ 6 is available? Can my MacBook play Civ 6?

Let’s get it out of the way: unless you have a top of the line 15-inch MBP, you won’t be able to run Civilization 6. We tested the latest turn-based strategy game in the series and can tell you it’s extremely demanding. Yeah, we were surprised too.

But what about Civ 5? After all, many fans of the series still consider it the best, and even developer Firaxis admitted Civ 6 was not a big departure from its predecessor. The latest entry obviously adds new features and improved graphics, but the base formula remained the same. Civ 5’s graphics are definitely not as shiny, but 5 minutes in, you get used to the gameplay, which indeed hasn’t changed much.

All the best parts of a Civilization game are there and that makes Civ 5 a great choice for gamers with low-specced machines.

One more thing… The difference in performance between Civ 5 and Civ 6 is not at all in line with the difference in graphics fidelity. Civ 6 looks better but Civ 5 runs 10 times faster! So no matter how old your MacBook is, it will certainly handle Civ 5 just fine.

Civilization 5 benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Civilization 5 Mac results

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.8.5, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, Radeon HD 2600, NVidia Geforce 8600, Intel HD 4000, 8 GB hard drive space.

Minecraft

Mac Release date: 2009

MacOS developer: Mojang

Metascore: 93

No other game has unleashed gamers’ creativity like Minecraft.

Minecraft first became famous for its blocky, Lego-like style and the incredible things people created with it. For the uninitiated, a Minecraft world is made up of 3D blocks of different elements which you can mine, move and craft to create just about anything you can imagine.

After all these years, Minecraft has been ported to nearly every platform imaginable, including mobile, but the formula remains equally successful: combine different elements to create anything you want. Or you can play it like an RPG, by crafting gear and weapons and exploring the world. Minecraft is really about how you want to play it. The sky (and your creativity) is the limit!

One more thing… In spite of huge worlds filled with thousands of blocks and different materials, Minecraft is surprisingly flexible and can run fine on low-specced machines.

Minecraft benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Minecraft Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why the 2016 MacBook didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 Processor, 2 GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or Nvidia GeForce 400 Series or AMD Radeon HD 7000 series with OpenGL 4.4, 1 GB hard drive space.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Mac Release date: 2012

MacOS developer: Turbine

Metascore: 88

If you’re looking for a free-to-play MMO, why not begin your adventure in the amazing universe of Middle-Earth with Lord of the Rings Online?

Developed by Turbine (now called WB Games Boston), LotRO follows the story from the books and movies and gives free access to almost everything the game has to offer. And despite its age, its move to F2P has kept the player based large enough that’s is still some of the most fun you can have for free (online).

Fans of the series will enjoy being able to explore familiar places from the books and movies while meeting and interacting with Gandalf, Strider, and others. But Lord of the Rings Online isn’t just for fans of Tolkien’s work, it’s for anyone who loves the classic MMO formula but prefers not having to pay for it. Plus it looks great and is relatively easy on the system requirements aside from needing 25 GB of hard drive space.

One more thing… While there are a few limitations in the free version, most of the game is there for you without paying a cent.

Lord of the Rings Online benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

The Lord of the Rings Online Mac results

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.7.5, 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor, 2 GB RAM,  Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better, 25 GB Hard Drive space.

RimWorld

Mac Release date: 2018

MacOS developer: Ludeon Studios

Metascore: NA

Finally out of Steam Early Access as of October, RimWorld is a top-down space colony simulation where you play as a team of three shipwreck survivors stuck on a randomly generated world.

You’ll need to find food, make shelter, fight off pirates and wild animals, and eventually create a whole colony and start trading with others. Along the way, you’ll need to treat the sick and wounded, craft the items you need from raw materials, raise animals, cope with the weather, and on and on.

And because RimWorld is driven by an “AI storyteller”, everything comes with stories, making it about more than just micromanagement. Plus, an active modding community means this game should never get old.

One more thing… The simple graphics mean low system requirements making this one of the newest games you can play on just about any MacBook.

RimWorld benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

RimWorld Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.5, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384 MB of RAM, 500 MB hard drive space.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

Mac Release date: 2013

MacOS developer: Feral Interactive

Metascore: 65

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is hands down the most fun you can have on a race track.

In this kart racing game, you get to choose from one of the 20 SEGA characters available, such as Sonic the Hedgehog or Crazy Taxi, and race your way through insane tracks. You’ll collect power-ups along the way, and of course, every character has a special ability. This probably sounds exactly like Mario Kart and that’s because this is pretty much a Mario Kart clone. But look, Mario Kart’s never making it the Mac and what All-Stars Racing lacks in originality, it makes up for in polish, a good AI, and a ton of fun.

The game also features split-screen gameplay, making it a great party game. This is a great game on every front but it’s an absolute must for Macbook-owning racing fans. 

One more thing… In spite of its charming and colorful graphics, this is a forgiving game that runs just fine on integrated graphics.

Sega All-Stars Racing benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions & results:

Sega All Stars Racing Mac results

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.8.3, 1.8 GHz Intel Processor, 4 GB RAM, 2GB AMD R9 M290, 256 MB graphics card or better, 4 GB hard drive space.

Undertale

Mac Release date: 2015

MacOS developer: tobyfox

Metascore: 92

Undertale is an interesting take on the RPG genre.

This throwback, pixelated-graphic RPG takes place in an Underground filled with monsters trapped there after losing a war with humans long ago. Your character 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 is 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. You won’t find lighter system requirements in a game, so if you enjoy retro looking RPGs with a modern sensibility, Undertale is for you no matter which Mac you’re playing on.

One more thing… Undertale is also known for its fantastic soundtrack, so consider the bundle that includes both, it’s still an amazing deal.

Undertale benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions & Results:

Undertale Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 30 FPS. That explains why both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: 2 GB RAM, 200 MB hard drive space.

SUPERHOT

Mac Release date: 2016

MacOS developer: SUPERHOT

Metascore: 82

Two years after its release, there’s still no other FPS that looks or plays like the multi-award winning Superhot.

In the game, you face waves of enemies, but time only moves when you do. This allows you to plan your strategy for staying alive. Think bullet-time from The Matrix with minimalist but still stylish graphics and you’ll have some idea of what you’ll face. There is no story, health regeneration or ammo drops here, only tight gameplay meshed into an original take on the FPS genre.

Lest you think you’ll get bored, Superhot features Endless Mode (just what you’d think it is), Challenge Mode (no guns, just bare hands, and no restarts), swords, and mini-games.

One more thing… If VR ever does make it to the Mac, Superhot is ready for it

SUPERHOT benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions & Results:

SUPERHOT Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why the 2016 MacBook didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? You’ll need a recent MacBook or 13-inch MBP to comfortably run this one.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.8, 2.4 GHz Intel Processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 GB graphics card or better, 5 GB hard drive space.

Darkest Dungeon

Mac Release date: 2016

MacOS developer: Red Hook Studios

Metascore: 84

Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike RPG with turn-based combat. But it’s the game’s Affliction System that makes it unique. In addition to suffering damage from enemies, your party will also suffer increasing levels of stress, paranoia and more as your quest continues.

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 also known for its difficulty, so if you don’t like having your characters die and need replacing (remember, I did say roguelike) 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.

One more thing… Thanks to the 2D graphics, you can put yourself through this almost literal torture on just about any machine from the past several years.

Darkest Dungeon benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions & Results:

Darkest Dungeon Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 2 GB RAM, OpenGL 3.2 Compliant, 2 GB hard drive space.

Stardew Valley

Mac Release date: 2016

MacOS developer: ConcernedApe

Metascore: 89

One of the hottest indie titles ever released, this pixel-graphic farming sim continues to add major updates two years after its initial release, including the addition of cooperative multiplayer this summer.

You start Stardew Valley with a dormant farm and start clearing land, planting crops, raising animals and more. Stardew Valley includes RPG elements such as crafting and the ability to level up your abilities and unlock new areas to explore. You’ll meet other residents and have the chance to help rebuild the decaying town. There’s so much more to Stardew Valley, including the ability to woo and marry NPCs or, now with a multiplayer mode, other players, that you may never discover all the game has to offer.

With cooperative multiplayer, you can invite 1-3 other players to join you online or in LAN play as your farmhands. Whoever’s hosting the game needs to be online for the others to participate, so everyone needs to go to sleep (in the game) at the same time.

One more thing… It’s hard to believe but Stardew Valley was created by only one person, Eric Barone. 

Stardew Valley benchmark results (in FPS):

2013 MacBook Pro

2016 MacBook Pro

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing Conditions & Results:

Stardew Valley Mac results

Notice frames are capped at 60 FPS. That explains why both MacBooks didn’t do better.

Can your Mac run it? Definitely! Even an older model will do fine.

Any bugs you should be aware of? Expect a bug-free experience on Mac.

.

Verdict: ✅ Not Demanding

System Requirements: OS 10.10, 2 GHz Processor, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB Video RAM, 500 MB hard drive space.

The Competition: Free games for MacBook and more

There are so many great games you can play on your MacBook, we couldn’t list just twenty. The following games may not have made the top 20, but they still deserve attention.

Some of these may be a bit older, but they’re still worth playing, and their age makes them perfect for lower-spec Macs. And as a bonus, we’ve added a few free games for MacBook Air too:

GamesGamesOur takeGenreFree games only?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Shooter
Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveCS: GO is an online, tactical, first-person shooter from Valve that is consistently one of the most played games on Steam. The game offers the most competitive online Multiplayer out there, including professionals playing on the eSports circuit.

CS: GO features cross-platform Multiplayer between Windows and macOS, a low price, and specs that are incredibly easy on your MacBook. Your internet connection will be more important than your graphics quality with this hardcore shooter, which boasts a 37 fps score on our 2013 MBP and an 82 on our 2016 model.

83

Metascore
ShooterNo
Team Fortress 2 Mac art

Team Fortress 2

Shooter
Team Fortress 2Another game that makes regular appearances on our Best of lists, Team Fortress 2 is a team-based shooter: choose your character, join a team, and battle in a variety of game modes including capture the flag and king of the hill.

The graphics are cartoonish and the gameplay squad-oriented with a big focus on cooperative multiplayer. You will need a balanced team to succeed. It’s free-to-play, and couldn’t be much easier on your system requirements as long as you have the 15 GB required hard drive space.

92

Metascore
ShooterYes
Portal 2 Mac art

Portal 2

Shooter
Portal 2Valve again anyone? And yes, this one is also on many of our Best of lists, and for good reason. A first-person puzzle game that continues the story of the original, Portal 2 features the return of GLaDOS, everyone’s favorite psychotic AI.

With a new and better story, gorgeous environments and cooperative multiplayer, Portal 2 is a sequel that’s better than the original. As an almost ten-year-old game, the system requirements are now incredibly forgiving, allowing you to find your way through Aperture labs on your laptop.

83

Metascore
ShooterNo
Modern Warfare 3 Mac art

Modern Warfare 3

Shooter
COD: Modern Warfare 3Not the latest but still the best CoD available on Mac, MW3 is one of the best in the series and again, its age means you can get your frag on your Macbook, which is what this article is all about.

Offering cross-platform multiplayer, the expected big budget story and graphics (for the time), and the fast-paced multiplayer you’re looking for in a CoD game, MW3’s modest system requirements mean you can still play a Call of Duty game on your machine as long as you have 13 GB free for installation.

78

Metascore
ShooterNo
Night in the Woods Mac art

Night in the Woods

Adventure
Night in the WoodsAn award-winning adventure game with cartoon graphics and a focus on exploration, Night in the Woods was one of 2017’s most popular indie titles. This game is all about the story, where you play a college dropout returning to their hometown to discover that things aren’t the way you left them.

With dozens of characters to interact with and beautiful environments to explore, including the mysterious woods, Night in the Woods requires a bit more horsepower than some of the others on this list, including an Intel i5 processor.

88

Metascore
AdventureNo
Hollow Knight Mac art

Hollow Knight

Adventure
Hollow KnightA Metroidvania-style, side-scrolling 2D platformer with gorgeous, hand-drawn graphics, a great soundtrack, and difficult gameplay, Hollow Knight was another award-winning indie game from 2017. With beautiful environments and open-ended gameplay, Hollow Knight offers everything you could want in a modern take on classic side-scrolling action: an enormous cast of characters, epic bosses, and plenty of power-ups to name a few.

And while not the lightest game on system requirements in this list, Hollow Knight still goes pretty easy, playable on any newer and many older machines.

87

Metascore
AdventureNo
Celeste Mac art NEW

Celeste

Adventure
CelesteAnother 2D platformer, but cut from a different cloth, Celeste features throwback pixel graphics and a deeper story than you expect from the genre. With over 700 screens to beat as you climb your way up Celeste mountain, you won’t finish this game soon, and respawning is instant from the place you died, no backtracking necessary.

Simple controls belie the difficulty that comes as you progress, but your MacBook will have no such difficulty with system requirements, leaving this game open to anyone running Lion (10.7) or later.

88

Metascore
AdventureNo
Banner Saga 3 Mac art NEW

The Banner Saga 3

RPG
The Banner Saga 3You know about The Banner Saga, right? With the third and final installment released this summer, this turn-based RPG has come to a close, the only bad thing about this series. With gorgeous, hand-drawn artwork, an excellent, Viking-based story, and results that carry over from one game to the next, you should definitely start with the first one and play your way through all three.

And thanks to extremely friendly requirements, you can even play the third installment if you’re running Lion (10.7) or later.

82

Metascore
RPGNo
West of Loathing Mac art

West of Loathing

Adventure
West of LoathingYou were waiting for “a slapstick comedy stick-figure wild west adventure role-playing game,” right? Well, that’s how the developers describe West of Loathing, definitely a different take on the RPG genre. But don’t let the style make you think there isn’t a good game in there as well, because there is.

With a focus on story and dialog, the (optional) combat can pale in comparison, but West of Loathing is worth it as a breath of fresh air. And the simple graphics means any Mac can run it.

86

Metascore
AdventureNo
Thimbleweed Park Mac art

Thimbleweed Park

Adventure
Thimbleweed ParkA point & click adventure game from the creators of Maniac Mansion, the plot of Thimbleweed Park might remind you of Twin Peaks and the pixel graphics might remind you of the games you played back in the 80s … if you’re old enough.

Taking place over one night, unraveling the mystery will require you to solve puzzles, explore the town of Thimbleweed Park, and work together with and/or against all five playable characters. The system requirements keep it playable on any Mac running 10.7 or later.

84

Metascore
AdventureNo
Hotline Miami Mac art

Hotline Miami

Action
Hotline MiamiHotline 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.

What makes this game an indie classic is the way it combines stealth and extreme violence, along with a soundtrack and visuals that perfectly match that 1980s feeling. The gameplay is simple but precise and solid. And thanks to pixel graphics, it can run on virtually anything.

85

Metascore
ActionNo
Papers Please Mac art

Papers, Please

Simulation
Papers, PleaseA multiple award-winning indie classic, Paper, Please has you as an immigration officer deciding who gets in and who doesn’t. You get to inspect immigrants’ 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. It sounds simple, but trust us, this game sucks you in and spits you out. Experience it on any machine that can run MacOS 10.8 or later.

85

Metascore
SimulationNo
Star Wars KOTOR 2 Mac art

Star Wars: KOTOR 2

RPG
Star Wars: KOTOR 2KOTOR 2 to everyone, it’s still considered one of the best RPGs ever made and is our current Macbook pick for best RPG. Remastered by Aspyr in 2015, the game features improved graphics, a great story, interesting characters, and pausable real-time combat.

And you can choose to join the dark side or the light as you search out the few Jedi who survived the Sith. Requiring a slightly more robust setup than some on this list, it’s still playable on a wide variety of machines.

85

Metascore
RPGNo
Devil Daggers Mac art

Devil Daggers

Shooter
Devil DaggersDevil Daggers is a fast-paced game with throwback graphics but modern physics and gameplay. Featuring pixel art graphics and high-end audio, Devil Daggers is an action-packed mix of retro and modern. You’ll face increasingly large and deadly waves of demons with nothing but magic daggers and slick moves to save you.

Known for its difficulty and non-stop action, you’ll also collect demonic crystals so that you can upgrade your magical daggers. A single player game, Devil Daggers does require a dedicated GPU and MacOS 10.9.

83

Metascore
ShooterNo
Owlboy Mac art

Owlboy

Adventure
OwlboyOwlboy is a pixel-art platform adventure game where you’ll face obstacles and enemies with the help of friends. As you progress through the story, you’ll unlock sidekicks, each with special abilities that will help you fight or solve puzzles. You can swap your sidekick at any time, making the game feel fluid and varied.

But what struck me the most were the graphics. Owlboy features some of the most beautiful pixel-art worlds in recent memory and the fact it can be played on modest hardware makes it even better.

88

Metascore
AdventureNo
Terraria Mac art

Terraria

Adventure
TerrariaA sandbox action-adventure-survival game featuring pixel graphics, Terraria is sometimes described as a 2D Minecraft clone. Explore, craft, fight, build, it’s all possible in Terraria’s randomly generated worlds. And with cooperative multiplayer, you can do all this with your friends or find new friends to play with online. In addition to LAN and online co-op, multiplayer games can also become PvP if you choose to not get along.

Thanks to its pixel graphics and being a few years old, Terraria’s system requirements make it playable on any machine running MacOS 10.9 or later.

83

Metascore
AdventureNo
Torchlight 2 Mac art

Torchlight 2

RPG
Torchlight 2An old-style action RPG, Torchlight 2 has stood the test of time and is a great choice for MacBook-using RPG fans. A classic hack’n’slash RPG 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 also includes multiplayer, both online and LAN. It’s easy on the system requirements too, more than playable even on a 2013 MBA.

88

Metascore
RPGNo
Planescape Torment Mac art

Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition

RPG
Planescape: Torment: Enhanced EditionPlanescape: Torment remains one of the best RPGs of all time, and with upgraded graphics, music, and interface, the Enhanced Edition is ready for the modern era.

You play as the Nameless One, who has lived several lifetimes but can’t remember them, until now. You are sent off in search of answers to your existence. And while Planescape has all the classic combat RPG features, its story and characters make it unique. And if you’re running MacOS 10.8 or later, you can play this game.

85

Metascore
RPGNo
Shovel Knight Mac art

Shovel Knight

Adventure
Shovel KnightShovel Knight is another pixel-graphic 2D platformer reminiscent of the old-school 8-bit era. You go through each level until reaching a boss, there are coins to be grabbed and baddies you can attack with your shovel. Shovel Knight also features local co-op play and two additional campaigns added since the original release.

And as can be expected from a retro game such as Shovel Knight, this is a lightweight game with low system requirements—perfect for any MacBook.

85

Metascore
AdventureNo

Our Criteria: Finding the best MacBook for gaming

The one thing we provide that no one else does is a look at how these games perform on actual MacBooks. For this guide, all the games were tested on at least these two MacBook models:

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)

In summary, this is how our Top 20 games run on our MacBook Pros:

Best MacBook games results

All tests were performed on Medium or equivalent settings and a 1280x800 resolution. And in case you’re unfamiliar with Frames per Second (FPS) results, this is how we interpret them:

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. In fact, consoles often run games at 30 FPS.

Those two machines will give you a good idea of what it takes to run each game but we decided to take it one step further and gather results from more machines. Below you can see Tomb Raider and GRID running on several MacBook models:

In this case, the actual games tested are irrelevant. What we’re looking at is how these different models perform compared against each other. These are the detailed specs of each machine:

  • MacBook (12-inch, Mid-2017), 1.4 GHz Intel Core m3, Intel HD Graphics 615, 8 GB RAM
  • MBA (13-inch, 2017), 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 6000, 8 GB RAM
  • MBP (13-inch, Mid-2012), 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 4 GB RAM
  • MBP (13-inch, Late-2016), 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, Iris Graphics 540, 8 GB RAM
  • MBP (13-inch, Touch/Mid-2017), 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650, 8 GB RAM

Clearly, if you’re looking for the best MacBook for gaming, the way to go is a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Now, if your precise model is not listed here, you can go ahead and download the free Heaven benchmark tool, perform the benchmark using the Basic preset, and compare your results with ours:Macbook games Heaven results

If your score is higher (or lower) than one of these, you can expect better (or worse) performance on Tomb Raider and Grid. This should help you see if your model can be truly considered a gaming MacBook or not.

These are the other criteria we follow to ensure that our Top 20 is a worthy selection of games for Mac users:

Native: These are all native Mac games. No Wine, Parallels or Bootcamp will ever be needed.

Critical acclaim: To keep this list as objective and high-quality as possible, we picked only games that have been positively received by both professional reviewers and average gamers.

Pricing: We always keep in mind price tags and production levels to give indies and AAA games equal chances.

Wrapping Up

You might not have been thinking about gaming when you bought your Macbook. Or your Macbook might be so old you just assumed there were no worthwhile games to play on it. Hopefully, this article has shown you that no matter your model, there’s a game not just that you can play, but that you want to play.

From FPS to RPG, the latest releases to older titles, single and multiplayer, MacBooks can game, and this article has shown you how. So close your web browser, shut down Office, and get your game on… on your MacBook.

We think this is a pretty great list, but we know we might have missed your favorite. What do you think belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments section.

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