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The Best Mac Games In 2020: 100 Awesome Games Tested, Best Mac Games Of 2021

Although Apple products aren’t exactly known for gaming, there’s a long list of excellent Mac games. Countless great strategy games, a good chunk of the best indie games, and a growing list of action titles make up the best Mac games you can play today.

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It doesn’t matter what kind of gamer you are, there’s something for you on MacOS. That includes AAA blockbusters like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, methodical shooters like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and indie darlings like The Banner Saga 3Apple fans may not have access to every computer game, but you’ll still find many of the best PC games below.

If you want to play on the go, we’ve also found the best iPhone games and Apple Arcade games for your phone or iPad.

Disco Elysium

*

Disco Elysium isn’t just one of the best PC games, it’s one of the best games ever made. Thankfully, it’s also available on MacOS. You play as an alcohol- and drug-addicted detective who wakes up in a trashed motel room with no memory of how he got there. The guy hanging from a tree in the back doesn’t make the situation any easier, either. As you play the game, you’ll forge your own path, investigating the murder how you see fit and defining your identity in the process.

Disco Elysium is a game about choice. You can approach each encounter in the way you want. Maybe you want to gun down the sarcastically condescending motel clerk, or sweet talk him into unlocking a door in the back. No matter how you choose to approach each situation, Disco Elysium will warp the game world around the decisions you’ve made, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for each playthrough.

Crusader Kings 3

*

Crusader Kings 2 is considered among the best strategy games ever made, developed by Paradox Interactive, which also released Europa Universalis 4. Crusader Kings 3 only furthers its predecessor. This is grand strategy at the grandest scale. Each game starts with you choosing a noble or royal house, either starting in 867 or 1066. From there, the game plays out in typical grand strategy fashion. You can choose to forge relationships with neighboring regions, spread your religion across the continent, or rush to declare war on anyone who crosses your path.

It’s the depth and freedom of Crusader Kings 3 that sets it apart. As your kingdom progresses, you’ll need to appoint an heir to the throne, and Crusader Kings 3 has a full genetics system to pass on some of your traits to the eventual ruler. Crusader Kings 3 is a dense game, allowing you to do everything from seduce someone from a distant land to gain political influence to demand ransom for prisoners captured in war. If you can get past how much there is to do, Crusader Kings 3 provides a deeply complex and infinitely satisfying grand strategy experience that other titles simply can’t match.

Stardew Valley

*

Following years of disappointment with the Harvest Moon series he had once loved so much, first-time developer Eric Barone, also known as ConcernedApe, took it upon himself to create his own version of the farming simulation game. It arrived complete with gorgeous retro-inspired sprites, charming characters, marriage, combat, and plenty of post-launch support.

Stardew Valley is more than just a farming simulator. It’s also a role-playing game, with characters leveling up in areas such as fishing and mining, customizing their professions, unlocking new areas, and exploring a dangerous cave filled with monsters and artifacts — as in the Animal Crossing games, you can then donate these to the local museum. Should you instead want to focus your attention on your own personal property, though, you can fully customize your home and surrounding farm to create a rural paradise. This also is one of the best Nintendo Switch games if you’d rather play on a console.

Portal 2

*

Portal 2 returns players to Aperture Science in this addictive first-person puzzle game. You play as protagonist Chell as she attempts to break out of the giant Aperture research facility and claim her freedom. Tasked with working through various rooms outfitted with unique puzzles, you’re armed with nothing more than the iconic portal gun. You’ll use various environments and objects alongside time and space to advance through the facility.

Portal 2 expanded on its predecessor’s successful formula and added a deep storyline to boot. Actors Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons voice recurring characters and their work in the game is spot-on. Though the plot deals with a serious conflict, the game is rife with well-timed comedy at every turn. Portal 2 is one of the most unique experiences in gaming and also one of the most comedic.

Read our full Portal 2 review

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

*

After a somewhat lukewarm fan reception to the previous game in the series — Civilization: Beyond Earth — developer Firaxis returned in full force. Civilization VI builds on what made 2010’s Civilization V great, but it adds more robust culture and science trees, more dynamic choices, and more insight into why world leaders are acting in a particular way. It’s the culmination of years of development and experience creating previous Civilization games, and it shows.

Since its launch, Civilization VI has received a substantial amount of civilizations to control, including the Aztecs, Persians, Nubians, and Australians. They’re each led by a famous historical figure, such as Montezuma for the Aztecs, and with new content releasing every few months, former players have plenty of reason to return and start a new game.

Read our full Civilization VI review

Hades

*

Supergiant Games has four titles on MacOS, and they’re all excellent. Although we’d love to talk in detail about Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre, we’re giving this entry to Supergiant’s latest: Hades. Hades is a roguelike, isometric action game set in the titular character’s domain. You play as Zagreus, the “son” of Hades — it’s complicated, but we’ll let the game explain — who’s trying to escape the Underworld. As you die and die again, you can bring Darkness, Gems, and more back to purchase upgrades, making you stronger for future runs.

As for gameplay, Hades is a hack-and-slash, and an excellent one at that. Supergiant’s frantic pace makes each encounter engaging, no matter how many times you defeat the same enemy. Outside of the core gameplay, Hades keeps things interesting with the Boon system. As you progress in your run, you’ll be able to accept Boons from various Greek Gods and Goddesses, granting you increased damage and new perks, among other things. Even better, Hades is available on Nintendo Switch, and the Switch version supports cross-saves.

Gone Home

*

Gone Home is one of those rare games that thrusts the player into an environment and just lets them explore. You’ll play as a college student returning home from a year abroad and upon arriving at your family’s estate, no one is home. It’s up to you to scavenge the house for any and all clues about where their family has gone and what they’ve done.

Gone Home has a slow but incredible story build-up accentuated by its intense atmosphere. It begs players to explore and reveal the mysteries of a big empty home with a dark and sad story to tell. With its unique style of gameplay, Gone Home will have you glued to your computer from beginning to end.

Read our full Gone Home review

Minecraft

*

There’s no denying Minecraft’s immense popularity ever since even the basic version became available in 2009. Armed with nothing more than a pair of hands when starting the game, you’re given absolute freedom over an enormous, randomized map.

You start by foraging for dirt and before you know it, you’re deep underneath the ground level mining for diamond and gold. Watch your back because several enemies such as zombies or creepers are out to wreak havoc on your character and will even blow up your landscapes.

So addictive yet so simple, Minecraft will have you building towering skyscrapers and labyrinth-style mine shafts in minutes. Its pixelated, 8-bit graphics may turn some people away, though the gameplay is enough to please any gamer.

Kerbal Space Program

*

Kerbal Space Program presents an odd combination of elements. Despite the cartoonish graphics and goofy, minion-esque creatures that populate the game, KSP is no joke. Flight simulation has never been so deep, so engaging, or so addicting, and Kerbal provides a playground for both the casual gamer and the serious physicist by balancing serious rocket-building considerations — how many Kerbals must die before you finally reach the moon? — with forgiving gameplay that allows for endless experimentation.

The title also runs smoothly on almost any computer given its simplistic looks and benefits from a gratifying sense of progress. You can spend countless hours learning how to build a rocket capable of reaching the moon, only to realize the lunar frontier is hardly the final one. With incredible replay value, KSP is one of the few games that prove both educational and fun.

Firewatch

*

Video game settings, as a whole, are remarkably similar to each other, tending to focus on battlefields and areas of conflict that pit people against each other. Developer Campo Santo wasn’t content with exploring the same old environments and created a game set in the dense Wyoming wilderness of the late 1980s.

As a new fire lookout, protagonist Henry thinks that his job will be boring and mundane, but things aren’t as they appear. From watching the world burn from his tower to unearthing chilling discoveries in the wilderness, Henry’s new job is anything but dull.

What helps separate Firewatch from other “walk and talk” games is its gorgeous art style, which blends realistic character proportions with slightly chunky features and bright colors. It’s instantly recognizable, and even if Campo Santo chooses to do a drastically different project in the future, we hope the visuals are here to stay.

Read our full Firewatch review

Cuphead

*

There’s no denying it: The art style is what sells Cuphead. A throwback to 1930s cartoons is a natural pairing for a knuckle-busting platformer, and although developer Studio MDHR took a lot of time to get the look right, Cuphead did eventually release. Past the retro animations, though, it’s a hell of a game.

With unique bosses, ultra-tight mechanics, and plenty of content, Cuphead delivers on the gameplay promises its visuals put forward. Now is the perfect time to install Cuphead on your Mac, too. The game’s first DLC pack, The Delicious Last Course, is set to launch this year.

The Witness

*

Jonathan Blow, the mastermind behind acclaimed indie game Braid, took his sweet time developing the follow-up game The Witness, but it was well worth the wait. Pairing a unique, gorgeous world filled with increasingly difficult puzzles and philosophical musings, it’s a game that only someone as imaginative as Blow could ever hope to create, building on the foundation of earlier adventure classics such as Myst and Riven.

In contrast to those games, The Witness’ puzzles rarely feel obtuse, forcing players to rely on previously learned tactics to complete each of the island’s electrical panels. It requires a keen eye and plenty of exploration, but the game never tries to frustrate you solely to make it seem more challenging or difficult.

Read our full The Witness review

The Elder Scrolls Online

*

The Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest games available today, and not in the same way as Fortnite. The breadth of content available, even in the base version, is staggering. It’ll take you hundreds of hours to clear the map of the base game, plus another 30 to 50 hours per expansion. Plus, the recently released Greymoor expansion allows you to visit one of the Elder Scrolls’ most iconic locations: Skyrim.

With The Elder Scrolls Online, everything is about scale. You can spend your time joining dozens of others to take down a dragon, take on assassination contracts from the Dark Brotherhood, or simply hang around marketplaces, trading raw materials with players that have an insanely high crafting skill. The game is usually on sale for less than $10, plus there’s no subscription fee. That leads to a sense of openness, where the only thing holding you back is how long you want to spend in-game.

Read our The Elder Scrolls Online review

Night in the Woods

*

Night in the Woods’ premise is pretty damn depressing — after dropping out of school, protagonist Mae Borowski returns to her hometown to resume her aimless former life. When she arrives, though, she finds the town has changed: Her friends aren’t the same people she remembers, and the town holds a mysterious secret.

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Night in the Woods’ wonderful storybook artwork creates a unique look for its distinctive characters and setting. With a supporting cast that feels like it’s made up of real people — even if they are literally animals — Night in the Woods shows how the most compelling stories need not be told with photorealistic visuals.

Fortnite

*

Fortnite: Battle Royale is the biggest game on the planet right now, and for good reason. The free-to-play shooter mixes tense last-man-standing shootouts with the main game’s building mechanics, creating something that is easy to pick up but incredibly hard to master. With faster fights than competitors like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, it manages to scratch a different itch, and you can easily sink hours into it in a single sitting.

The best part? You aren’t limited to playing with other Mac users. Fortnite is cross-play compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and even iOS devices. Since your account comes with you across platforms, you can even start playing on your phone before coming home and firing up the game on your Mac, instead.

Read our full Fortnite review

Dead Cells

*

As indie games have become increasingly popular across not just Mac but also consoles this generation, we’ve seen a ton of “rogue-lite” games focused on procedurally generated worlds and a difficult, run-based gameplay loop. It’s a testament to Dead Cells’ quality that, despite being released in a sea of similar games, it manages to stand out from the pack. Its gorgeous pixel-based artwork offers a modern take on the design made famous in the late 1980s and ‘90s, and the amount of customization options available to craft your perfect run is enormous.

Despite being a very difficult game, which keeps in line with its genre, Dead Cells doesn’t feel frustrating because the combat is so well-crafted. There are four different bosses to battle against, and the fluid system feels wonderful against even the smallest enemies. Fans of Metroid-style games will also find plenty of options for traversal.

Into the Breach

*

Few games are better for mouse-and-keyboard players than turn-based strategy, and Into the Breach is among the best the genre has ever seen. The small, simple environments you must defend against monsters don’t look like much at first glance, but Subset Games soon reveals the title to be a tense back-and-forth between aggressive enemies and your own mech fighters. You don’t have a chance to kill all of your enemies in most cases, but instead have to think on your feet to protect your buildings before the timer runs out, putting a new wrinkle in the traditional turn-based combat gameplay loop.

Much like Subset’s previous game — the equally excellent and difficult FTL: Faster Than Light — Into the Breach uses a pixel-art style. It avoids feeling like a simple retro nostalgia trip, however, instead offering clean, colorful, and detailed sprites that fit well with the science-fiction story. It’s a game that will look just as good in 50 years as it does right now, provided that giant monsters don’t actually storm from the sea and destroy humanity — or that the later versions of MacOS don’t support it anymore. At only $15 and even less during sales, it’s an absolute steal.

Read our full Into the Breach review

Total War: Three Kingdoms

*

The Total War franchise has long been a leader in turn-based strategy, and the series headed to ancient China for an epic tale of struggle and warfare in Total War: Three Kingdoms. Set in the year 190, the game features 12 different warlords from the classic Chinese epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and its gameplay is built on the back of a relationship system that recognizes the heroes that shaped classic Chinese literature. Your story can change based on your characters’ relationships with each other as well as the allies they gain or lose along the way.

In classic 4X strategy fashion, you’ll be able to achieve victory using a variety of factors, including military might and the economy, and you’ll have to choose every decision carefully if you hope to save your people. Only with a calm head and steady leadership can you unite China.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Critically acclaimed to the point of being widely considered one of the best role-playing games of all time, Larian’s Divinity: Original Sin 2 features a reactive world that will change based on the decision you make, with the ability to interact with any character and even kill them without losing the ability to progress forward. Turn-based combat has been expanded to the point of including more than 200 different skills, and you’ll face off against advanced enemies. If you want to take things online, there is support for four-player multiplayer, as well as a split-screen option. There is even player-versus-player, so you can prove your worth against your friends.

Once you’ve completed the content created by Larian itself, you can do.w.n.lo.ad players’ own campaigns and mods on the Steam Workshop, and there is even a Game Master mode so that you can create stories, as well.

Cities: Skylines

*

Cities: Skylines is the go-to city simulator, and it’s available on MacOS. Released right as EA’s Sim City was failing, Cities: Skylines was the answer that simulation fans had been searching for. And six years after its release, it remains that answer. Cities: Skylines is an expansive city management game, fit with traffic simulation, full day/night and weather cycles, and zoning for different districts. You can dump hundreds of hours in Cities: Skylines, which is great for a game that frequently goes on sale below $10.

Like most games published by Paradox Interactive, there’s a massive list of DLC available, too. Green Cities brings electric vehicles, new green policy options, and more to the game, while After Dark adds a slew of assets to boost your city’s nightlife and attract tourists. Although most of the DLC packs are great and worth their asking price, the base game still has plenty of content — you don’t need any of the DLC to have a good time.

Subnautica

*

Subnautica is an open-world survival game for players who can’t stand them. Instead of dropping you in the world and letting you go wild, Subnautica makes you care immediately. You start the game in a crashed life pod, and you need to find a fire extinguisher right away to deal with a fire inside. From there, you’re forced to explore — not to gather wood or leaves, but to scavenge for food, water, and resources to build survival tools.

Subnautica‘s world is beautiful and teeming with life, and that certainly helps when it comes to exploring. From gathering mushrooms in shallow water to exploring the depths of deep sea caves, Subnautica‘s world always feels like it has more to give. And in a game that’s all about exploring, that’s a good thing.

XCOM 2

Firaxis’ rebooted XCOM series is excellent, and the latest entry, XCOM 2, is available on MacOS (along with its stellar War of the Chosen expansion). Like the classic PC franchise, XCOM 2 is an unforgiving tactics game where death is permanent. Instead of giving you a group of nameless units, XCOM 2 focuses on a roster of soldiers you recruit, control, and upgrade, making a death in the game actually feel like it’s one too many.

Outside of battle, you’ll spend your time aboard the Avenger, a massive ship protecting the Extraterrestrial Combat Force (X-COM) from the aliens who have invaded Earth. You can expand and manage the ship — à la Fallout Shelter — as well as recruit and train new soldiers so they can compete on the battlefield.

Difficulty is part of XCOM’s DNA, but that shouldn’t turn you away from XCOM 2. The game retains permadeath and a high difficulty level, but thanks to a generous saving system, anyone can enjoy the game.

Read our XCOM 2 review

Undertale

*

Undertale is an RPG that never concerns itself with what it’s supposed to do. On one hand, it’s a familiar, top-down RPG in the vein of Earthbound, fit with turn-based battles. On the other, you don’t actually need to fight anyone, using your words instead of a weapon to make it through combat encounters. Undertale is weird and idiosyncratic, and that’s exactly why we love it so much.

Undertale is a game full of surprises, and although it’s a great experience despite them, the surprises are what make the game feel so special on the first playthrough. If you’ve been on the edge, do yourself a favor and pick up Undertale. Just don’t do too much research beforehand.

Read our backlog Undertale review

Rust

*

Survival games are all the rage on PC, but there aren’t a ton of options on Mac. Thankfully, Apple fans only need Rust. Rust is one of the best survival games ever made, with brutal survival mechanics and even more brutal combat. Like other games in the genre, Rust excels because it lets players learn — and fail — on their own. You start your game with literally nothing, and from there, it’s your job to gather, build, and sometimes kill to stay alive.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

*

Shadow of the Tomb Raider finishes the rebooted Lara Croft trilogy that began in 2013. It sees a tattered Lara Croft make her way to Cozumel, Mexico, hot on the trail of a paramilitary organization known as Trinity. Like the games before it, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a blockbuster action game with cinematic set pieces and frantic combat encounters.

Although we’re recommending Shadow of the Tomb Raider here, the entire rebooted trilogy is available on Mac. Tomb Raider provides some much-needed context for an M-rated Lara Croft, and Rise of the Tomb Raider gets back to the titular tomb raiding. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a gem, but the whole trilogy is excellent.

The Banner Saga 3

*

Like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Banner Saga 3 caps The Banner Saga trilogy. It’s an epic strategy RPG set in a world of Viking legend, and you command a caravan of warriors fighting back against the Dredge, a race of creatures that despises humans. The Banner Saga 3 features the same strategic combat of the games that proceeded it and continues the narrative.

You shouldn’t dive straight into The Banner Saga 3, though. It’s a great game, but The Banner Saga trilogy focuses on player choice, with your decisions shaping the world. You can import your saves from the previous two games to continue your unique story, and all three games are available on Mac.

Dota 2

*

Even after eight years, Dota 2 is one of the largest games in e-sports. And for good reason. It’s a free-to-play game with all of the base content included, allowing anyone to jump into a competitive match without a disadvantage. Although the competition is stiff, Dota 2 remains the go-to MOBA for anyone looking to get into the genre.

Bioshock Remastered

*

Bioshock is one of the best FPS games ever, and if you haven’t had the chance to experience 2007 classic, now is a great time to dive in. The game made its way to Mac in 2016 as part of Bioshock: The Collection, which features higher resolution textures and models, improved frame rates, and 4K support. Outside of visual enhancements, the remastered Mac game also includes a director’s commentary with Ken Levine and Shawn Robertson, a museum of orphaned concepts, and a series of new challenge rooms.

Hailed by many as the best shooting game ever made, Bioshock sends you underwater into the failed city of Rapture. There, you discover body-altering plasmids, which give you different abilities like telekinesis, and the odd relationship between Big Daddies and Little Sisters, who roam the halls of Rapture for dead residents lining the floors.

Deep in terms of gameplay and subject matter, Bioshock shows how far an FPS can go with the right oversight.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

*

The Deus Ex franchise has seen peaks and valleys since its debut in 2000. The latest game in the series, Mankind Divided, is one of the peaks. It once again puts you in the shoes of Adam Jensen, a cybernetically augmented super soldier caught in the middle of a tangled plot involving spies, government agencies, and covert operatives.

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Like the games before it, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is focused on player choice. You can approach each encounter in a variety of ways, using the skills you’ve unlocked to open new paths. You can go in guns blazing, but Mankind Divided is at its best during subsequent playthroughs. Finding new ways to approach an objective is a treat, and seeing how the game fragments and mutates based on your choices elevates the experience beyond what’s on the surface.

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