Love Mac gaming? Here are the 99 best Mac games out there, from strategy titles and sports sims to RPGs, adventures, action games and puzzles, together with reviews and links to buy. Updated, 20 April 2016, to add several games including our Sleeping Dogs for Mac review.
Contrary to popular belief, Mac gamers have plenty of top games titles to choose from these days - indeed, the most difficult part is narrowing down the options from all the high-quality games on offer, and then finding the money to buy and time to play them.
We can't help with the latter, but the first problem is right up our alley. We've collected the 99 best Mac games for your delectation, dividing them for the sake of convenience into seven categories:
- Best role-playing games for Mac
- Best sports and racing games for Mac
- Best strategy games for Mac
- Best action games for Mac
- Best adventure games for Mac
- Best casual games for Mac
- Best puzzle games for Mac
Here, then, are the greatest Mac games out there, together with, where available, links to in-depth Macworld reviews and entries on the Mac App Store or Steam, so you can buy them right away. (Oh, and if you want some help finding good apps on the Mac App Store, try this tutorial: How to find the best apps on the Mac App Store.)
Read next: 10 ways to stop games crashing on Mac
Macworld poll: How much would you pay for a Mac game?
Before we get on to our individual recommendations (which cover a wide range of budgets, and include some quality free games), we'd like to hear your view on games pricing. What's the most you'd be willing to spend? Have your say in our latest poll.
Best role-playing games for Mac
Animal Gods has had mixed reviews following its launch on Steam this month, but that's possibly because the game's developers refer to it as an 'action RPG', which suggests a fast-paced sword-swinging/spell-slinging dungeon crawler like Diablo.
There is some combat in Animal Gods, but the game actually reminds me more of iOS games such as Limbo and Botanicula [both also available on Mac], as the slim storyline and combat elements are very much secondary to the experience of just soaking up the atmosphere created by the distinctive 2D artwork and soothing soundtrack.
The story is wafer-thin. You play a warrior called Thistle - who is apparently female, although her animated figure is unfortunately too small to create any real sense of character. Thistle sets out to rescue three ancient animal gods who have been trapped in a series of temples, so you have to explore each temple and overcome the enemies within, as well as solving some simple puzzles along the way.
If you're looking for a hack-and-slash action game then you'll definitely be disappointed, as neither the combat nor puzzle-solving elements of the game are particularly challenging. However, the gently ambient soundtrack and distinctive design - with artwork that looks rather like primitive cave drawings - do have their charms.
To be honest, Animal Gods would probably work better on handheld iOS devices than on a Mac or PC, but it might be worth checking out if you like games that can help to calm you down after a stressful day at work. Cliff Joseph
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Baldur's Gate was a landmark roleplaying game of the late 90s, and set the standard for every RPG that followed. The graphics may be dated, and the game's interface isn't exactly streamlined, but the complex storyline and eccentric cast of supporting characters are still very enjoyable and can provide many hours of enjoyable monster-bashing. The game is huge, covering dozens of locations around the area known as the Sword Coast, and it often seems like there are people just queuing up in the local tavern to offer you additional quests and rewards in return for your help.
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is a genuine golden oldie (on the iPad as well as on Mac). Younger players, raised on 3D epics such as Dragon Age, may wonder what all the fuss is about, but anyone who can remember the good old days of role-playing games will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to go adventuring on the Sword Coast once more.
Read the full Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition review
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Where to buy: Mac App Store
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.7, dual-core Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 2.5GB hard disk
The original Baldur's Gate II was released way back in 1988 by the role-playing gods at Bioware, and its 2D graphics will look pretty dated to anyone that has played modern role-playing games such as Bioware's Dragon Age series. Even so, it's an essential purchase for anyone that has even the slightest interest in role-playing games, and the sheer size of the game means that it's excellent value for money.
It's a shame that this updated Enhanced Edition couldn't be brought right up to date with more modern 3D graphics, but it does get a cosmetic makeover with high-def versions of the original artwork, so it doesn't look too bad on modern computer screens. Besides, whether in 2D or 3D, Bioware's great strength has always been its story-telling skill, and Baldur's Gate II is as captivating now as it was nearly 30 years ago. It's very much traditional fantasy fare - with you taking on the role of a warrior, wizard, rogue or cleric - but it's done on a truly grand scale. Your character is just one of many mortal offspring spawned by the evil god Bhaal, and the game pits you against several of your own brothers and sisters as they vie to succeed Bhaal and claim his power as their own.
There are hundreds and hundreds of quests along the way - around 300 hours worth if you try to complete them all - including power struggles within the guild of Shadow Thieves, and an epic battle with the wizard Irenicus, played in full scenery-chewing mode by Brit character actor David Warner. Throw in the return of bonkers barbarian Minsc and his giant space-hamster Boo, and BGII is a real retro treat for RPG fans. Cliff Joseph
The Binding of Isaac
Twisted, sacrilegious and utterly unforgiving: The Binding of Isaac's dungeons full of mutant babies and Bible satire isn't a game to show granny. At the same time, it's a brilliant remix of 'roguelike' roleplaying games (where death is as inevitable as loot), fusing monster-slaying with high-speed shoot 'em up values.
Read our full The Binding Of Isaac review.
In many ways, Darkest Dungeon is a throwback to the early days of role-playing games. Its two-dimensional sideways-scrolling graphics are stylishly drawn, but definitely rather retro when compared to most modern 3D games. The turn-based combat is also fairly leisurely and unlikely to win over fans of more action-oriented RPGs such as the Diablo series (below). It does, however, have a few modern twists up its sleeve that will appeal to RPG veterans.
The game starts off in conventional role-playing fashion, sending you and one companion to explore the countryside around your ancestral home. There are a few early skirmishes that act as a kind of tutorial - which you'll need, as there are a lot of stats to absorb as you develop your character's skills - and also allow you to recruit additional members to your team.
You then set off to explore the aforementioned darkest dungeon, which lurks somewhat inconveniently beneath your old family pile. Each character has his or her own special skills to master, and there are some fun character classes that you can experiment with, such as the creepy Plague Doctor and shape-shifting Abomination. And, as well as facing down all sorts of monsters and undead ghouls, your heroes also have to cope with the game's Affliction system, which measures their stress levels during combat. Some characters will rise to the challenge, but others may turn tail and run for the hills at the first sign of trouble.
It's pretty hardcore, too - there's no Quick Save option, so if your team dies you'll just have to return to town and sign up some new raw recruits. Not everyone will have the patience for this sort of slow, thoughtful action, but if you're a hardened role-player then Darkest Dungeon will offer a satisfying challenge, and its novel Affliction system makes a nice change to the clichéd heroics of traditional role-playing games. Cliff Joseph
Company: Blizzard Entertainment
Where to buy: Battle.net
Requirements: OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.x or later; Intel Core 2 Duo; nVidia GeForce 8600M GT or better; ATI Radeon HD 2600 or better; 2GB RAM; 12GB available HD space
Twenty years after the events of the last game, a meteor strikes the much-troubled town of Tristram, opening up a gateway into the depths of the earth and paving the way for the return of the demon lord Diablo. As always, it's up to you to gird your loins and turn back the forces of darkness before they unleash untold nastiness upon the earth.
This time around you can choose from five different character classes - barbarian, demon hunter, monk, witch doctor and wizard - each with its own unique skills and abilities. The graphics have been updated too, and now provide a true 3D view of the action.
There's no denying the addictive grip that Diablo III exerts, even if Blizzard could have been more ambitious in updating from Diablo II. If you have any interest at all in sword and sorcery action games this is simply irresistible.
Read the full Diablo III for Mac review
Divinity: Original Sin
There are a lot of good things to say about Divinity: Original Sin. Epic fantasy-RPG: a rich world to explore, humorous writing and characters, unique co-op mechanics, intriguing story and great combat. What more could you want?
The world of Divinity is a complex one. Practically every object can be interacted with in some way, whether for pure amusement (you can wear pumpkins on your head) or practicality, such as harvesting herbs to craft potions. Almost any NPC can be killed, thus altering quests and progress. Most events have multiple solutions requiring thoughtful decision-making.
The turn-based combat is very satisfying and features a depth you would be hard pressed to find in other games. This largely stems from the way elements interact with each other. Cast a rain spell to create puddles and these can then be turned into ice for enemies to slip on or electrified traps to stun foes. Oil will slow, but also can be set on fire. If your heroes are cold they are more susceptible to be frozen and if they are wet they'll take more damage from lightning spells. Full friendly fire is in effect so watch your spell-casting, especially in co-op mode.
Should your AI or co-op partner disagree on something, you play a game of rock-paper-scissors to determine the winner. This allows players other than the host to decide on story and quest outcomes. Expect to spend a lot of time in Divinity's world, as each play-through will take you 50-100 hours. Jon Carr
Read our colleagues' full review of Divinity: Original Sin for the PC
Read next: Dark Souls 3 for Mac release date rumours
Dragon Age II
Like its predecessor, Dragon Age II is set in the fantasy world of Thedas, but it introduces an entirely new cast of characters and a new storyline as your hero - known only as Hawke - rises from obscurity to become a mighty champion.
The focus on politics and intrigue means that DAII lacks the epic good-versus-evil story of the original, but other aspects of the game are genuinely improved. The graphics are even more spectacular, and the combat is fast and furious, with characters leaping around the screen, waving their swords and firing spells all over the place. There are also two expansion packs that you can download for about £6 each.
Elder Scrolls Online
None of the previous, single-player games in the Elder Scrolls series has ever been released for the Mac, so we were pleasantly surprised when the massively multiplayer Elder Scrolls Online was simultaneously launched on both Mac and PC in April 2014.
In many ways, Elder Scrolls Online - ESO to its friends - is a stereotypical swords-and-sorcery game, with a storyline about the demon prince Molag Bal who is attempting to invade the fantasy world of Tamriel. But that's just background stuff and, like most massively multiplayer RPGs, ESO is all about completing quests, killing monsters and generally hoovering up as much loot as you can.
Like World Of Warcraft and other RPG rivals, ESO lets you play as a warrior, wizard or rogue, but you can also join one of three warring factions known as the Daggerfall Covenant, the Ebonheart Pact and the Aldmeri Dominion. The power struggle between these three groups adds an enjoyable element of player-versus-player combat to the more routine quests and tasks, and the game does a good job of creating the atmosphere of a world at war.
The launch of the game was marred by a horde of bugs, but the game has had a year to settle down now, and ESO has also recently dropped its monthly subscription fees (although there is an optional premium membership plan for the most dedicated players). This means that you just need to buy a copy of the game and you can then play for as long as you want without a subscription.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 was originally launched on the PC only and the Mac version appeared a little while later with very little fanfare, which means that GW2 hasn't attracted that many Mac gamers so far. It's a lot of fun, though, and the Guild Wars games have always been subscription-free, so GW2 is a good way of getting some online role-playing action without having to pay a monthly fee.
It is, admittedly, very routine fantasy fare, with warriors, wizards, and rogues, and lots of quests, monsters and loot. However, GW2 gets all the basics right, including a really flexible skills system that gives you different powers and abilities depending on which weapons you choose. You can even carry different sets of weapons with you and switch between them depending on which weapons seem best for the task at hand.
The storyline that props up the game is instantly forgettable fantasy fare, but the real heart of GW2 is the player-versus-player combat. I spend most of my time in the smaller arenas, where two groups of players fight it out for control of specific landmarks and objectives. However, there are also huge World-versus-World battles in which three armies of players wage war across large battlefields, and in battles for last for days at a time.
There's also an expansion pack on its way, called Heart Of Thorns, which will introduce a new character class and new abilities - including hang-gliding! - as well as a new player-versus-player mode in which you try to protect the Lord of your stronghold from the enemy that is laying siege to your defences.
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
Originally launched in 2003, KOTOR has bounced back since Apple launched the Mac App Store, and is now one of its top 10 highest-grossing games.
The action is set 4,000 years before the Star Wars films, at a time when the Jedi are being hunted down by the armies of the Sith. You play one of the last Jedi Knights, leading an army of freedom fighters on a series of missions across planets such as Tatooine and the Sith home world of Korriban. Your choices affect the outcome of the game, deciding whether you save the galaxy or fall to the dark side of the Force.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
It's more than a decade since the original Knights Of The Old Republic was first released, but that game is still selling well on the App Store even after all these years. So it came as a bit of a surprise when we realized that this sequel - originally released for PC back in 2005 - has only just arrived on the Mac for the first time.
Like its predecessor, KOTOR II is set thousands of years in the past, long before the events of the Star Wars film series. You play one of the last surviving Jedi, who have been almost completely wiped out after a long war with the evil Sith Lords. At the start of the game you wake up injured and with no memory of recent events. Even your trusty light-sabre has gone missing, so your initial challenge is to recover your memory and your Jedi powers, and then set off to try and find any other Jedi that may have survived.
There's a wide range of skills and abilities that you can develop as you progress through the game, and you can focus on either light-sabre combat or spooky Force Powers depending on how you want to develop your character. There's also a strong story and role-playing element, full of political twists and turns, and moral decisions that will affect the final outcome of the game. The 3D graphics look a little dated now, but the intriguing storyline and light-sabre action will soon have you hooked, and at just £7.99 the game's a real bargain for Star Wars fans.
Two Worlds II
Where to buy: Mac App Store (standard edition); Mac App Store (GotY edition); Origin (on sale at £5.99 at time of writing)
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.3, 2GHz Intel processor, graphics card with 512MB VRAM
Price: £7.99 (standard edition on Mac App Store), £10.99 (Game of the Year edition on Mac App Store), £14.99 (on Steam)
The original Two Worlds wasn't released on the Mac, so you're kind of coming in halfway through the story in this sequel. That won't matter too much, though, since the story isn't particularly original. You start the game by breaking out of prison and then setting off on a quest to rescue your sister, who has been enslaved by an evil emperor.
What rescues the Two Worlds II from cliché is the sheer quality and scale of the game. The world you travel across is vast, and depicted with excellent 3D graphics. There are stacks of quests to keep you busy and help you gain in wealth and experience, and the combat and skill system gives you great freedom to develop your character.
Wasteland 2 is the sequel to the 1988 game Wasteland, the original post-apocalyptic RPG, and the inspiration for the beloved Fallout series of games. It also happens to be one of the several successful Kickstarter titles that was made possible with the help of more than 70,000 backers. Impressive!
The post-apocalyptic setting has always been a favorite of ours, and Wasteland 2 delivers in spades with atmosphere, colourful and engaging characters, sharp writing and lots of action. The turn-based combat is well-paced and challenging, and certain encounters will push the limits of your party.
An extensive customisation and upgrade system lets you fine-tune your parties skills and abilities to whatever you want or need. There are always multiple ways to solve a quest or bypass a locked door. Find a key, hack it, blow it up, etc.
But it isn't all bullets and blades. This RPG is also full of great missions to fulfill, side quests to solve, characters to meet and tough choices to make. Consequences are important. Two different towns need help, and both are vital to the world - one providing food, and one providing water. Helping one will doom the other, so what do you choose? This largely freeform approach to the world and story is very appealing and provides high replay value. Wasteland 2 is just darn good fun, and RPG fans shouldn't miss it. Jon Carr
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings
The Witcher 2 is undoubtedly one of the best roleplaying games of recent years and, as the name implies, it's the sequel to the original Witcher game that was originally launched on the PC in 2007. Both games are based on the popular fantasy novels written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that follow the adventures of Geralt of Rivia - a 'witcher' who roams the fantasy kingdom of Temeria, slaying monsters and generally being mean and moody.
RPG fans will quickly find themselves drawn into this rich - and often adult - storyline, but the combat and skill systems are quite complex so you'll need to devote a bit of time to mastering them. Some people may find the lack of different character classes a little restrictive, too; but the vividly drawn world of the The Witcher 2 will appeal to anyone who enjoys old-school role-playing games. It's good value, too.
World Of Warcraft
Buy now: WoW
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8; Intel Core 2 Duo; graphics card with 256MB VRAM
Price: Free (Starter Edition); £8.99-per-month subscription thereafter. Expansions vary in price
Its cutesy graphics aren't to everyone's taste, but World of Warcraft is still the game that rules the massively multiplayer online scene, with around seven million subscribers playing as wizards, priests, warriors and rogues. Part of that success is down to the release of regular expansion packs, such as 2010's Cataclysm, which - quite literally - shook up the landscape, destroying some old areas and introducing new zones for you to explore. The fourth update, Mists of Pandaria, added a newly discovered continent (complete with opinion-dividing panda-esque inhabitants), while the fifth, Warlords of Draenor, came out in November 2014.
This fairly regular release of new material keeps experienced players happy, but to attract new players, Blizzard announced a Starter Edition of the game that allows you to play for free until your character reaches level 20.
Check out the rest of our list of the greatest Mac games:
- Best role-playing games for Mac
- Best sports games for Mac
- Best strategy games for Mac
- Best action games for Mac
- Best adventure games for Mac
- Best casual games for Mac
- Best puzzle games for Mac
You can also use Game Centre on the Mac. Read more here: How to use Game Centre on the Mac, tips