The best Mac games demonstrate that computer gaming is bigger than just Windows. Still, while Windows machines generally get the bulk of the attention and iPhone owners are swimming in games, both from the App Store and Apple Arcade, the Mac’s gaming library isn’t nearly as robust. Many big-budget games never make their way to Macs at all, or if they do, they come later as ports.
There’s no denying that for mouse-and-keyboard players, a decked-out Windows setup is your best bet. However, for those who prefer macOS to Windows and don’t want to buy a separate computer just for gaming, you still have options! We’ve rounded up 25 of the best Mac games available right now.
How can I play the best Mac games?
First things first: How does one buy Mac games?
In many ways, the process is similar to buying PC games. Steam, the most widely known online storefront, has a free-to-download Mac client. So does the Epic Game Store, a newer contender in the digital storefront space. If you can’t find the games you want there, you’ve also got GOG, Humble and individual publisher storefronts, such as EA’s Origin and Activision Blizzard’s Blizzard.net.
Finally, Mac users have the option of downloading games right from the App Store, just like they would on an iPhone or iPad. The App Store has tons of free-to-play apps, and can access Apple Arcade games. But there’s also a healthy selection of more mainstream titles to choose from.
There is a pretty major caveat for Mac owners, however. Ever since the release of macOS Catalina in 2019, modern Macs can no longer run 32-bit games, which is why we sadly left classics such as Portal and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis off the list. There are workarounds, as are there for playing Windows-only games on Mac. But for the purposes of this list, we included only games that you can download and play without any knowledge of Parallels, Bootcamp or similar programs.
Wherever you choose to purchase the best Mac games, make sure that the game is Mac-compatible (check for a little Apple symbol), and will work with the version of macOS your computer is running. The system requirements section on a store page will usually provide this information.
What are the best Mac games?
1. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
If you’re looking for a game to sink hundreds of hours into, you can’t beat Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. The latest entry in the long-running 4X strategy series launched in 2016, with the developers at Firaxis supplying a steady stream of content and updates through 2021. In addition to the core game, which has you battling it out with other historical leaders for world domination, there are also expansion packs and DLC, which added dark ages, climate change, the undead and even a battle royale mode.
Civ VI is so satisfying and addictive that you might find yourself saying, “Just one more turn” over and over again. Think about it: Where else can you drop a nuke on Gandhi while defending against French spies and fending off zombies with a giant death robot?
2. Stardew Valley
There are few things as soothing as a good farming sim, and Stardew Valley set a new standard for the genre when it came out in 2016. Building on the legacy of the farming-themed games that came before (most notably the Harvest Moon series), Stardew Valley adds depth to almost every system: agriculture, animal husbandry, combat, friendship, exploration and more.
Stardew Valley is one of those rare gems that appeals to both experienced gamers and newer players. You’ll play largely at your own pace, and it’s a chill, soothing experience. In fact, it even won mental health non-profit Take This’ inaugural Dr. Mark Award for portraying “mental health issues with empathy." The New York Times also called it a “gay millennial pandemic fantasy” in 2021. If that’s not an effective pitch, I don’t know what is.
When Hades launched for macOS, Windows and Nintendo Switch in 2020, reviewers showered it with critical accolades and a number of Game of the Year nods. In other words, this isn’t just one of the best Mac games — it’s one of the best games of the last few years, period. This roguelite journey through the underworld is as gorgeous as it is punishing. But thanks to combat worthy of Supergiant Games’ esteemed pedigree, death never feels like the end.
Here’s the thing about Hades: You will die. A lot. Rather than being a punishing, frustrating experience, however, every game over screen feels like a fresh opportunity. Even if you’re not typically into roguelikes, this one is definitely worth it.
4. The Sims 4
The Sims 4 didn’t exactly strike a chord with longtime players and reviewers upon its 2014 release, but a lot can change in eight years. Since the latest game in the longtime simulation series launched to middling reviews, developers at EA and Maxis have provided regular updates with countless quality-of-life improvements. They’ve also added a lot of content from previous games that was conspicuously missing, such as the hot tub and the toddler life cycle. It took a while, but The Sims 4 finally feels like a worthy successor to the beloved series.
Although EA has finally made its games library (including TS4 and its many expansions and DLC) available on Steam, you’ll have to use Origin if you want to play this game on Mac. Sul sul!
5. Thimbleweed Park
If you were a fan of the classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure games from the 90s, Thimbleweed Park is a must-play. Created by the game design dream team of Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, also known as the visionary designers of 1987 adventure classic Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park puts you in control of five zany characters working to uncover the town’s deadly secrets.
The vibe is "X-Files meets Twin Peaks," and the gameplay is straight out LucasArts’ heydey. Thimbleweed Park uses classic inventory and verb mechanics for puzzle-solving, but it also feels super modern, thanks to standout voice acting and beautifully detailed environments. Plus, longtime point-and-click fans will find plenty of thoughtful nods to the games that came before. Finally, a use for that chainsaw!
6. Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Speaking of Maniac Mansion (and when are we not?), its 1993 sequel Day of the Tentacle got the remaster treatment in 2016, bringing one of the funniest, most creative games of all time to modern systems. DOTT was widely regarded as a masterpiece throughout the 90s, and unlike many other games from the era, it holds up wonderfully. Time travel? Sentient tentacles? A plan to enslave humans? Making a time capsule with Thomas Edison? Day of the Tentacle has it all.
Bonus: You can even play the original Maniac Mansion on Weird Ed’s computer. Just don’t mess with his hamster.
7. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Honestly, any of the three games in Square Enix’s relaunched Tomb Raider trilogy could go here. But we'll include the one that brings Lara Croft’s new origin story to a satisfying conclusion. The latest three games in this classic action/adventure series leave the clunky gameplay and unrealistic proportions in the past for an experience that’s compelling, and a heck of a lot of fun to play. Shadow of the Tomb Raider takes adventurer Lara Croft through Mexico and Central America, where she must save the world from a potential apocalypse while confronting her own role in the preservation and destruction of hidden societies.
That said, if you haven’t tried any of the new Tomb Raider games on Mac yet, all three are available, and well worth playing. Start at the beginning with 2013’s Tomb Raider, or scoop up the whole trilogy in a bundle on the Mac App Store.
8. Final Fantasy XIV
As far as MMOs go, Final Fantasy XIV checks all the boxes for those looking to disappear into an online adventure. This Square Enix MMORPG, which takes place in the expansive Final Fantasy universe that put the publisher on the map, did what was once considered impossible: knocked World of Warcraft off its throne as the most-played RPG. In fact, FFXIV so popular that Square Enix occasionally has to halt new sales so as to not overwhelm the system.
Final Fantasy XIV didn’t have the most straightforward path to success. Critics despised its initial version, and fans largely ignored it. It wasn’t until the MMO’s 2013 “2.0” patch that things began to improve. Since then FFXIV has become an award-winning behemoth. Get in while the getting’s good; you never know when sales might stop again!
9. Disco Elysium
We know themes of amnesia have been used a lot in gaming, but few titles in recent memory do it as well as Disco Elysium. This grim and gritty murder mystery is technically an RPG, but instead of combat, it uses dialogue and tabletop-esque skill checks to advance the story. This fresh approach to the genre made the game a critical darling, scooping up a handful of awards at the 2019 Game Awards ceremony. It’s a shining example of how indie games are leading the way when it comes to rethinking long-held gameplay standards, and it’s refreshing to know that new ideas are still out there — we just have to be willing to try them out.
If you’re not familiar with Fortnite, we’d like to congratulate you on having successfully lived underneath a rock for the last five years. What started life as a cooperative survival game has evolved into a free-to-play battle royale phenomenon that put the genre on the map. It’s the latter mode that gamers are usually talking about when they mention Fortnite, which has generated billions in revenue for developer Epic Games.
So, what is it about Fortnite that’s so appealing to its millions of players? Maybe it’s the cartoony style, which never takes itself too seriously. Maybe it’s the combination of third-person shooting and base-building. Or maybe it’s because Fortnite is the kind of virtual environment where you can watch the latest Christopher Nolan movie with your friends while you're dressed as a banana. Screw the metaverse; this is the future gamers want.
11. The Flame in the Flood
In a world decimated by a post-apocalyptic flood, a young girl named Scout and her loyal doggo must traverse a lengthy waterway in order to find something resembling hope for the future. If this description feels vague, that’s on purpose. Part of the joy of The Flame in the Flood is discovering new things as you go along. The roguelike nature of this indie darling from The Molasses Flood means that starting over is part of the process, but it only makes reaching the end all the more satisfying.
Exploration, crafting, scavenging and resource management are all part of the process, and keeping Scout alive is no easy task. It’s a grueling-but-delightful journey, and it’s got a killer soundtrack, to boot.
12. Diablo III
Blizzard Entertainment has long been a Mac-friendly developer and publisher (and hopefully its recent acquisition by Windows-maker Microsoft won’t change that!). As such, it came as no surprise when the long-awaited Diablo III launched day-and-date on OS X and Windows in 2012. Nearly a decade later, the hack-and-slash gameplay is still a ton of fun, especially when played cooperatively with a friend or two. Fire up your Mac and turn on voice chat, and you’ve got a great Friday night ahead, running and looting your way through the dungeons of Sanctuary.
Oxenfree is many things: a coming-of-age story, a mystery, a graphic adventure and a weird-as-all-get-out game in general. The indie title from Night School Studio follows a group of teenagers on an overnight island campout, which should alert you to the fact that things are about to go terribly wrong. There are paranormal forces at work on this island, and protagonist Alex needs to uncover its confusing landscape if she wants to have any hope of surviving until morning and making it back to solid land.
Like Stardew Valley, platformer Celeste is the recipient of a Take This Dr. Mark Award for its thoughtful portrayal of mental health issues. Unlike Stardew, however, Celeste could hardly be described as chill or Zen. It’s a brutally challenging platformer, in which many of the obstacles represent mountain-climbing heroine Madeline’s internal struggles. Those who struggle with anxiety and self-doubt will find Madeline’s journey relatable, and the game handles those serious issues with care. And even though you’ll die — a lot — the next chapter never feels impossibly out of reach.
Uber-challenging games aren’t for everyone, so if “Zen” and “chill” are more your speed, you should absolutely take a look at Unpacking, one of the best games of 2021. Unpacking is exactly what it sounds like: You’ll unpack boxes in a series of homes, organizing their contents in cabinets, shelves and closets. With every article of clothing, every poster and every stuffed animal you unpack, you’ll learn more about the person whose contents you’re unpacking, even if you never see them.
Unpacking is a phenomenal achievement in video game storytelling, and shows that there are still new ways to unravel a narrative. We’ll forgive you if you overlooked this gem when it came out last November, but don’t sleep on it any longer.
16. Graveyard Keeper
Imagine Stardew Valley, but instead of a farm, you have to maintain a graveyard. There’s still plenty of crafting and agriculture involved, but your responsibilities also include embalming and burying (or cremating) corpses before they decompose. Oh, and you’ve also been thrust through time after being hit by a car, and find yourself in a vaguely medieval world. The only way to get home is to be the best gravekeeper you can be, while befriending the villagers, leading church sermons and researching new technology.
Despite the grim subject matter, Graveyard Keeper really hits the same soothing sweet spot as other farming sims. Unlike other open-ended simulation games, this one has a story that fully wraps up, although we won’t blame you if you don’t want to go through that portal, and instead remain among the corpses.
17. Gone Home
It’s 1995. It’s late at night, and you’ve just returned from your trip abroad to find your family home empty. Instead of watching My So-Called Life or playing Super Nintendo, you realize that your sister is gone, and your parents are nowhere to be found, either. This first-person exploration game manages to be creepy as heck, despite not having any combat, and with every dark room and secret compartment you explore, you’ll find more pieces of the puzzle.
It’s best to go in knowing as little about Gone Home as possible, and the whole thing takes only about two or three hours to complete. The story, however, will stick with you a whole lot longer.
With visuals inspired by the golden age of American animation, Cuphead is easily one of the most stylish games of the last five years. But just because it’s cartoony doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, Cuphead’s hectic run-and-gun gameplay and epic boss battles have earned it a reputation for being quite difficult in the near half-decade since its original release. With the long-awaited expansion pack The Delicious Last Course dropping later this year, now is the perfect time to catch up — provided you’re looking for a challenge.
19. Cities: Skylines
In the beginning, there was SimCity. Since 2015, however, a different city-building sim has reigned supreme, and that’s Paradox Interactive’s Cities: Skylines. In the process of building up blank plots of land into thriving metropolises, you’ll have to manage budgets, electricity, plumbing, public transportation, housing availability and more. Keeping your citizens happy is key, of course. No one is moving in or opening a business in a place with terrible traffic management or totalitarian taxes.
There are many robust systems at work in Cities: Skylines. The game can feel overwhelming at first, but when it clicks, you’re hooked. Plus, with around a dozen expansion packs available, you’re not likely to run out of things to do anytime soon.
20. Her Story
Created by developer Sam Barlow, who was previously best known for his work on the Silent Hill series, Her Story is an outstanding achievement in interactive storytelling. Using full motion video clips and a search engine-esque interface, the player must piece together testimony and resources in order to learn the truth behind a difficult mystery. The gameplay is unconventional, but it works. You’ll have to pay close attention to each interview clip if you want to learn the whole story, and that’s all we can really say without spoiling anything.
Another entry in the “walking simulator” first-person adventure genre, Firewatch follows a fire lookout in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest as he spends a summer patrolling the forest, and unraveling its mysteries. Along the way, he sparks a friendship with another lookout, though their communication is limited to walkie-talkie exchanges.
Like other games of this nature, Firewatch is extremely narrative-focused, and incorporates themes such as the fear of the unknown, and the loneliness of self-imposed isolation. Its success in storytelling so made it a top pick among critics and players back in 2016, and six years later, its story still resonates.
22. Papers, Please
What if you needed to escape your country to save your family’s lives, but you didn’t have the legal means to do so? Papers, Please is a harrowing look at the realities of immigration, with the fictional dystopian nation of Arstotzka standing in for the hostile border environments found all over the world.
As an immigration officer, you’ll need to carefully examine passports and identification papers of people hoping to cross Arstotzka’s border, with failure resulting in grave consequences. However, these decisions aren’t always black-and-white, so you may have to weigh your fear of getting in trouble with the needs of your fellow citizens. It’s a good reminder that what’s legal isn’t always what’s right, and sometimes, breaking the law is the ethical thing to do.
Limbo makes impressive use of a grayscale color theme to create its expansive environments, but that’s not the only reason this platformer is so haunting. Much of Limbo’s story is open to interpretation, but loss is one of its major themes: both losing those you love, and finding yourself in unknown, dangerous territory.
Now over a decade old, this indie hit remains a sterling example of how minimalism can serve video game design. Not everything has to be over-the-top and explosive. Likewise, not every plot point needs an in-depth explanation. If nothing else, Limbo will make you think, and leave you grasping to understand its hidden meaning.
The first thing you’ll notice about Gris is that it’s absolutely gorgeous. Over the course of this thoughtful indie game published by Devolver Digital, you’ll slowly bring vibrant hues back to the watercolor-style environments that serve as Gris’ backdrop. The more you play, the more you’ll realize that the game's beauty runs more than skin deep. Each puzzle solved is an opportunity to learn more about the title character, and these revelations are at turns heartbreaking and inspiring. Apple even named it the top Mac game of the year for 2019, calling it “a soul-stirring work of digital art.”
25. Donut County
In the colorful, quirky Donut County, you play as a hole. Yes, you read that right: You are a hole, creating chaos and swallowing homes, vehicles, livestock and the animal inhabitants of a town that’s been taken over by raccoons. You know what? We don’t think any further information is necessary.
It wasn’t easy narrowing down our list of the best Mac games, but we tried to encompass a wide range of genres, art styles, and difficulty levels so that there’s something for everyone. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of worthwhile video games to play on Mac, so what are you waiting for? Happy downloading!