Unfortunately in recent years a number of great games for Mac have declined because many are no longer supported. Every new version of macOS tends to break a few games, but macOS Catalina in 2019 meant that lot of games that used 32-bit code were no longer Mac compatible.
At the same time that Apple went 64-bit only it also introduced Metal for 3D graphics, which left a lot of games developers with a decision: make new Mac versions of their games or stop making them. Unfortunately many chose the latter.
However, despite this and contrary to popular belief, Mac gamers still have plenty of top games titles to choose from – indeed, the most difficult part is narrowing down the options, 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 20 of the best Mac games for your delectation – including five new games for 2023.
Below you will find what we believe are the greatest Mac games out there, together with links to the Mac App Store, Steam and other reputable vendors, so you can buy them right away. These are the very best games for Mac. They are in alphabetical order, not in order of preference.
We also have eleven separate articles covering our favorites in each game genre. So if you want more of the same, select your favorite genre from the list below and jump to that article.
You may also like to take a look at our Best Mac for gaming guide. Plus we have an in-depth look at using a M1 MacBook Pro as a gaming laptop.
Best Mac Games 2023
Before we run through out list of the best games we’ve played on the Mac, here are five new games that we strongly recommend you play on the Mac in 2023.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3 – Best single-player RPG
The original Baldur’s Gate games were classics of the RPG genre when the series was launched almost 25 years ago, but their 2D graphics haven’t aged well, despite an HD update in 2012. However, the forthcoming Baldur’s Gate 3 brings the series well and truly up to date with slick 3D graphics and a vast adventure that looks set to match the epic scale of its predecessors.
It’s actually been available in ‘early access’ on Steam since 2020, but the game finally has a firm release date for August 2023 so you can now dive in and test drive the early chapters of the game to prepare yourself for the arrival of the full game in just a few months time. It’s not a true sequel as the story and the main characters are all new – set more than 100 years after BG2 – although it is still set in the famous Baldur’s Gate region from the popular Dungeons & Dragons table-top games (and – spoiler alert – some familiar faces do make a welcome reappearance).
Rather than the powerful, god-like being that you became in Baldur’s Gate II, the new game lets you start from scratch with an entirely new character, chosen from the traditional D&D selection of races and classes – humans, elves, dwarves, wizards, warriors and rogues – and you then awake to find yourself prisoner on a flying ship controlled by Mindflayers (a familiar villain from D&D lore). The ship is attacked by dragons, but you’re able to escape – only to find that a Mindflayer larva has been implanted inside your brain. So, along with other survivors from the crashed ship, you set out to try to find a cure and then quickly find yourself embroiled in a mysterious war between the Mindflayers and an assortment of enemy races – who won’t be fully revealed until the game’s launch in the summer.
The 3D graphics really bring the game to life as you and your companions wade into combat, but the spectacular visuals do need a fairly fast Mac in order to run properly. The developers says that the game will run on an Intel Mac with a quad-core CPU and an AMD graphics card, or on most Macs with M1 or M2 processors. However, we had to drop the resolution to just 1600×900 on our M1 iMac in order to get a playable 25fps, so an M1 Pro or higher might be better. Fortunately, the game’s turn-based combat doesn’t require lightning reflexes and high-speed action, so you can still get by with an M1 Mac if you need to.
The decision to opt for turn-based combat might worry old-timers – like yours truly – who remember the terrific real-time-with-pause system of the original games. But turn-based is the trend these days, and if my time in the early access game is anything to go by then you’ll find that the old Baldur’s Gate magic will soon tempt you in as you “gather your party before venturing forth” – just like the good old days!
2. The Elder Scrolls Online – Best subscription-free MMO
Along with World Of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls Online – or ESO to its thousands of fans – is one of the few A-List MMO titles that still supports the Mac (sadly, we lost Guild Wars 2 a couple of years ago…). But, unlike WoW, you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription to play the game, which makes it great value for players who want to immerse themselves in hundreds of hours of quests and adventures in the game’s online world of Tamriel. Some people – i.e. me – also prefer its grittier graphical style to the Disney-esque cartoon graphics of WoW.
ESO keeps its fans coming back year after year by releasing regular expansions – which it refers to as Chapters, as each new chapter brings a new story and a new series of quests to the game, as well as opening up new zones for you to explore. The latest chapter is High Isle, which takes you to the homeland of the game’s Breton race, and throws you into a story of political intrigue involving High Isle’s rival factions and a mysterious organization known as the Ascendent Order. Other new features include a new deck-building card game that you can play to while away a few hours, and two new computer-controlled companions for players who prefer to go questing on their own. And, of course, there are plenty of new quests to complete and dungeons waiting to be plundered.
You can buy the base version of the game for $19.99/£15.99, or buy the High Isle Collection, which includes High Isle and all the previous chapters for $49.99/£42.99. Or, if you already own the game, you can just upgrade with High Isle on its own for $29.99/£24.99. Once you’ve bought the game you can play for as long as you want without paying a monthly subscription, and there are enough dungeons and quests already available to keep you busy for years. However, you can pay for an optional subscription if you want ($14.99/£8.99), which provides bonuses such as a larger inventory for storing all your gear and some extra gold coins to spend in the game’s online store.
The Mac version of ESO did have a wobbly patch, around the time of Catalina, but it now runs well on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, and we were able to get a playable 30fps from the game at 1920×1080 resolution even on a basic M1 processor on our 24-inch iMac.
3. Resident Evil: Village – Best horror game
The Resident Evil games are the sort of A-List titles that rarely come to the Mac, so the announcement at 2022’s WWDC that Resident Evil: Village would be released on the Mac at the end of the year was big news for Mac gamers. The game doesn’t disappoint either, providing a series of creepy locations for you to explore, and a variety of supernatural menaces to fight against.
Mac users, of course, will be new to the games, but Village starts off with a brief recap of the previous game to bring us up to date. Three years ago – in Resident Evil 7 – Ethan Winters and his wife, Mia, were trapped by the Baker family in Louisiana, who had been infected – and mutated – by a mysterious black mold. They managed to escape, assisted by para-military operative Chris Redfield, and then three years pass by before things start to get weird all over again. Ethan and Mia are now living peacefully, along with their young daughter, Rose, until Redfield suddenly reappears, gunning Mia down in cold blood and kidnapping Rose. So, playing as Ethan, you now have to pick up the trail and try to figure out what is going on.
It’s a frustrating game to get into at first, as the early stages of the game simply involve stumbling around a dark forest, liberally scattered with dead animals. Eventually, though, you discover the Village of the title, which is under siege by wolf-like Lycans, and find clues that suggest your daughter is being held in the conveniently creepy nearby castle. The pace barely lets up after that, with the game combining atmospheric horror and manic combat in equal measure (not to mention enough gore and bad language to merit a 17 age rating).
Apple used the game at WWDC to demonstrate the graphical performance of its new M2 chips – but the good news is that we found the game runs pretty well even on a 24-inch iMac with the older M1 chip. The bad news is that (a) it doesn’t run on Intel Macs at all, and (b) you’re paying extra for the Mac version, which costs $39.99/£34.99 on the Mac App Store, while the Windows version – released in 2021 – is half that price on Steam. It’s still a great game, though, and hopefully it’s just the first of many A-List titles that we can look forward to on the Mac in the new couple of years.
4. World Of Warcraft: Dragonflight – Best subscription MMO
MSRP: $49.99, plus $12.99/month subscription
World Of Warcraft has dominated the MMO genre for almost two decades now, and is one of the few A-list games to have staunchly supported the Mac throughout its history – in fact, it even provided an update that allowed the game to run on Apple Silicon Macs as early as November 2020. It’s had a few ups and downs in recent years – both in the real-world and in the game’s virtual world of Azeroth – but the release of the Dragonflight expansion at the end of 2022 was a welcome return to form, providing some important new features and also updating some of the more dated aspects of the game.
Dragonflight costs $49.99/£39.99, and is required in order to enjoy new features such as raising your characters to the new maximum of Level 70. It also gives you access to the Dragon Isles, which contain four major new zones for you to explore and go adventuring. The Dragon Isles are also home to a new playable race of ‘draconic humanoids’ called Dracthyrs, who can play as the new Evoker class, which has the ability to choose between either healing or combat abilities.
And, on entering the Dragon Isles, you can also obtain your own ‘drake’ – a flying dragon that allows you to learn a new set of ‘dragonriding’ skills that let you fly further, faster and higher as you explore the new zones. Throw in a more streamlined skill tree and a number of improvements to WoW’s aging interface, and the entire game feels more sprightly than it has done for several years. You don’t have to buy Dragonflight straight away though, as WoW still provides a free trial that takes you up to Level 20 for free, while owners of previous versions of the game can still continue to play – without the new Dragonflight features – by paying for a monthly subscription ($12.99/£9.99 per month, with discounts for three-month or six-month subscriptions).
5. Total War: Warhammer III – Best strategy game
Perhaps the biggest game release of 2022 on the Mac, Total War: Warhammer III provided a truly epic conclusion to this popular series of strategy games. There’s no need to worry if you haven’t played any of the earlier games, though, as this three-quel includes an optional prologue, called The Lost God, that can act as an introduction for people who are new to the world of Warhammer.
This prologue explains that the great Beard God, Ursun, who is worshipped by the human kingdom of Kislev has been imprisoned in the demonic Realms Of Chaos. In Ursun’s absence, a terrible winter has fallen over Kislev, so you start by playing Prince Barkov of Kislev, who leads a small band of warriors to discover the fate of Ursun. This section also acts as a tutorial for people who might be new to strategy games, and when you’re up to speed you can progress to the main campaign in which rival factions compete to reach Ursun and use his godly powers for their own ends.
As well the people of Kislev, you can command another human kingdom called Grand Cathay, or turn to the dark side by playing one of the many demonic princes who all have their own monstrous armies. There’s Nurgle, the Plague Lord, whose somewhat squishy troops spread disease and decay, along with Khorne, the Blood God, the hedonistic Slaanesh, and Tzeentch, the master of Chaos Magic. And, finally, there’s the uber Daemon Price, whose powers – and even body parts – can be customized so that you can create a playing style that’s all your own. You can also buy additional DLC packs that add new factions and races to the game. There’s also a free add-on called Immortal Empires, which brings together campaign maps, factions and battles from all three Warhammer games into one vast and endlessly replayable series of battles.
The good news is that the game will run on any Mac with an M1 or M2 processor – and we found that it ran at a smooth 30-40fps at 1920×1080 resolution even on a 24-inch iMac with a standard M1 processor. But while Intel Macs with AMD graphics may be able to run the game, there are a few technical glitches that can affect these Macs, so the game isn’t ‘officially supported’ on Intel Macs.
The best games you can play on a Mac
Here’s the full list of the best games for Mac.
Alien: Isolation – The Collection: Best Action Game
Company: Feral Interactive
Where to buy: Steam ($49.99/£34.99), Mac App Store ($39.99/£38.99)
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5, 2.0GHz dual-core Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 1GB graphics card
Most of the games based on the Alien films have been pretty awful – in fact, Alien: Colonial Marines even prompted a lawsuit back in 2013 from disgruntled customers who felt they’d been misled by the advertising for the game. Fortunately, as our friends over at GameAgent recently remarked, Alien: Isolation is one of the “good Alien games”.
Originally released for the PC in 2015, Alien: Isolation has arrived on the Mac and does a great job of capturing the tension and atmosphere of that very first Alien film. The game is set 15 years after Alien, following the discovery of the black-box flight-recorder from Ellen Ripley’s ship, The Nostromo. Ripley, of course, is still missing, so her daughter Amanda heads off to recover the black-box from the space station that found it.
No prizes for guessing what Amanda and her team discover when they arrive at the space station: a toothy xenomorph on the loose, and gradually working its way through the terrified crew. Your task as Amanda is not to go in with all guns blazing, but simply to avoid the alien and stay alive – hiding inside a locker, or creating a distraction that will draw the alien away for a few crucial seconds.
The game creates a real sense of tension, and the computer-controlled alien is smart enough to provide a really formidable foe. This ‘collection’ also includes a number of bonus missions, including Crew Expendable, which re-enacts events from the original Alien film. However, the game’s system requirements are pretty high, so you should check that your Mac is up to it before buying the game.
Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition: Best RPG
Where to buy: Steam ($4.99/£3.74), Mac App Store ($19.99/£19.99)
System 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 roleplaying gods at Bioware, and its 2D graphics will look pretty dated to anyone that has played modern roleplaying games such as Bioware’s Dragon Age series. Even so, it’s an essential purchase for anyone that has even the slightest interest in roleplaying 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.
Braid: Best Platform Game
Company: Hothead Games
Where to buy: Mac App Store ($10.99/£10.99), Steam ($14.99/£10.99)
System requirements: OS X 10.6.6 or later
The first time you play Braid, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve just bought a late 90s puzzle platformer. You jump and run like Mario, kill monsters by jumping on their heads and collect puzzle pieces. And then you’re introduced to Braid’s killer feature: you can turn back time.
As you progress, you realise that this is a crucial part of the game’s mechanics. There are sections you can’t complete without winding back the action. Add in some fiendishly designed levels, a lot of old-school gaming and a genuinely great soundtrack, and you realise why Braid won all those awards.
Civilization V: Brave New World – Best Strategy Game
Where to buy: Steam ($29.99/£19.99), Green Man Gaming ($29.99/£19.99), Mac App Store ($29.99/£28.99)
System requirements: OS X 10.6.8 or later
The Civilization strategy games’ basic formula remains the same: you start with a bunch of cavemen and progress through history to create a civilisation that will rule the world. But the Civ series has long since passed the point where all you had to do was build up a big army. Civilization V beefed up the diplomacy elements and the Gods and Kings expansion pack added religion to the mix. Brave New World adds even more depth.
There are nine new civilisations, including Portugal, Morocco, Brazil and the Zulus, but the real substance in Brave New World lies in the new cultural and ideological systems. The ‘Culture Victory’, for instance, is a new way of conquering the world, whereby nations can place musicians, writers and artists in key buildings, such as the Globe Theatre in London.
There’s combat aplenty if that’s how you like your strategy games, but the political, religious and cultural elements that it adds to the mix create a game in which you really can develop an entire civilisation, rather than just building up a big army.
Read our full Civilization V: Brave New World review.
Diablo III: Best Action RPG
Where to buy: Battle.net EU (from £16.99/€19.99) or Battle.net US ($19.99)
System 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
Disco Elysium: Best Detective RPG
Where to buy: Steam ($39.99/£34.99), GOG ($43.59/£34.99), Mac App Store ($39.99/£38.99)
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.13.4 or later, Metal-Compatible graphics card
It’s tough being a Mac gamer sometimes, watching great new games always arriving first on PC – and often never being released on the Mac at all. Last year’s launch of Disco Elysium was particularly galling for RPG fans, as we watched the PC version of the game mop up awards all over the place. However, the Mac version of Disco Elysium has suddenly appeared, with no advance publicity, and is widely available on all the main online game stores.
As mentioned, Disco Elysium is a roleplaying game, but instead of medieval fantasy or futuristic sci-fi, the game casts you in the role of a drunken detective in a sort-of-contemporary setting, in the town of Revachol.
You wake one morning in a sleazy hotel, with a mega-hangover, barely knowing who you are. After locating your trousers, you explore the hotel and encounter your partner, who reminds you that you are a detective investigating a murder case. You then set off to explore the local neighbourhood, interrogating suspects and looking for clues as you try to crack the case.
Despite the contemporary setting many traditional roleplaying features are still in evidence – you can choose an ‘archetype’ for your character, such as the ‘Thinker’ who relies on deductive skills, or take the ‘Physical’ approach and try to intimidate suspects for information. There’s also an extensive set of additional skills, such as empathy or logic, that you can use to help you in your investigation. You don’t need to get too bogged down in stats and details, though, and you’ll soon be able to head off and explore the neighbourhood, which is wonderfully depicted, with grimy graphics and atmospheric music.
Disco Elysium is the sort of absorbing, immersive game that can absorb you for hours on end. However, the system requirements for the 3D graphics are quite steep, so check to make sure your Mac can handle it first. Some of the language is a bit ripe too, so this definitely isn’t a game for younger children.
Divinity: Original Sin 2: Best Multiplayer RPG
Company: Larian Studios
Where to buy: Steam ($26.99/£17.99), Mac App Store ($44.99/£43.99)
System requirements: macOS 10.13.6 or later, MacBook Pro 2016 or later, MacBook Air 2017 or later, iMac with AMD graphics 2013 or later, Mac Mini 2018
At the end of 2018, the developers at Larian Studios announced that they were working with Apple – in itself a bit of a shock as Apple generally shows bugger-all interest in games on the Mac – to develop a Mac version of Original Sin 2 (one of the greatest RPGs of all time) using Apple’s Metal graphics system. There’s nothing half-hearted about the Mac version, either – as well as using Metal for the impressive 3D graphics, the game supports HDR (high dynamic range) on the latest Macs, as well as Mac-specific features such as Apple trackpads and the TouchBar on new MacBook Pro models. And the game’s multiplayer mode even works across both Macs and PCs, so you can play online with your friends (as long as you’ve all got the latest patches and updates). The only drawback here is that the Metal graphics require a fairly powerful Mac, so make sure to check the game’s system requirements before buying.
Don’t worry if you’ve haven’t played the original game, as this sequel remains in the fantasy world of Rivellon, but steps forward in time and allows you to embark on an entirely new adventure. You start the game in a bit of trouble, as you’ve been captured and sentenced to jail for using a dangerous magical force called ‘Source’. Using Source gives you – and other ‘Sourcerors’ – great power, but it also creates a gateway to another dimension called The Void, allowing evil creatures to invade Rivellon. And, yep – you guessed it – your job is to save the world from the invading demons.
The game begins with a helpful tutorial to get new players started, and newcomers can also opt for a ready-made ‘origin’ character that has already been set up for you. More experienced players can delve into character creation, with a wide variety of races on offer – with standard options such as humans, dwarves and elves complemented by more exotic lizards and undead – and the game also offers several difficulty levels and modes to cater for different playing styles and levels of experience.
It might all sound like fairly routine fantasy fare, but Original Sin 2 is tremendously well-made and involving. There are few simple good-versus-evil choices, and sometimes you’ll find yourself wracked with guilt because you simply can’t find a nice, clean solution to a particular problem or a tricky side-quest. The solo game by itself will keep even hardened roleplaying fans absorbed through the dark winter months, and the various online and multiplayer modes will ensure that Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game that you’ll come back to time and time again.
Where to buy: Green Man Gaming ($59.99/£42.49), Steam ($59.99/£49.99). This is for the base game plus the expansion set; both sites also sell the base game, or just the upgrade, for a lower price
System requirements: macOS 10.13, Mac with quad-core CPU, discrete GPU with 1GB VRAM
The Elder Scrolls Online is one of the few A-list MMORPG titles that supports the Mac, and ever since its launch back in 2014 the developers at Zenimax have kept their loyal players coming back by updating the game with a regular series of new ‘chapters’. These are essentially expansion packs that add more content, and occasionally new features too. But every year or so, Zenimax releases an update that makes major changes to the game in order to keep it feeling fresh and exciting – and 2021’s Blackwood expansion is one of the biggest updates for quite some time.
The changes begin as soon as you enter the game. Even if you haven’t bought the Blackwood expansion there’s a new introductory tutorial that sends you to the island of Balfiera, where you can learn the ropes by helping the local townsfolk to fend off an invading army of monsters. Once you’ve completed the tutorial you’re given the option of entering a portal that can send you anywhere in the vast world of ESO.
If you decide to head off to Blackwood, you’ll discover a vast new zone, full of quests and challenging dungeons. Blackwood also introduces a new companion system, which allows solo players to recruit a computer-controlled companion who can fight alongside you. This will be great for players – like me – who tend to play solo most of the time, with the new companion helping you to complete quests and tasks that might previously have been a bit too tough for one player on their own.
Blackwood also introduces a new Gates of Oblivion storyline that will continue developing throughout this year, with a major quest that pits you against the demonic Prince Of Destruction, as he schemes to invade the mortal realm. The good news is that you don’t have to pay the full price for Blackwood right away, as the original base game now costs just £14.99/$19.99 – and no longer requires a monthly subscription to play. That contains enough action and adventure to keep you happy for months, before you decide if you want to visit Blackwood as well.
Final Fantasy XIV Online: Best MMORPG
Company: Square Enix
Where to buy: Square Enix US store (from $19.99, plus $14.99 per month) or Square Enix EU store (from £9.99 + £7.69 monthly subscription); free trial also available
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.14 or later, 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor
As we’ve mentioned in the past, Final Fantasy XIV has had a bit of a chequered history – with the original Mac version in 2015 being so bad that the developers actually offered refunds. However, a series of updates over the past few years have seen FFXIV emerge as one of the top games in the MMORPG genre – despite the fact that, until recently, it was one of the few MMORPGs that still required a subscription to play.
The latest update, which is now called Final Fantasy XIV Online, gives the game another major revamp, reworking the central quest system in order to give players a smoother introduction to the game’s vast online world. It also incorporates the Heavensward expansion pack that was previously sold separately, giving you even more quests and adventures to explore. Most important, though, is the new free trial system, which allows new players to sign up for a free account that provides access to vast areas of the game without paying for a subscription (although, to be honest, the registration process is a bit of a chore).
Players with a trial account can take their characters all the way to level 60 – the maximum level with a subscription is 80 – and explore the main game and all the extra zones and quests in Heavensward for free. If you want to advance beyond L60 and explore new character classes and other new features then you will still need to buy a copy of the game and pay for a continuing subscription. However, you can start for as little as £9.99/$19.99 for the Online Starter Edition, and then decide if you want to continue your subscription, and buy the latest Shadowbringer expansion pack as well.
Where to buy: Steam ($54.99/£39.99), Epic ($54.99/£39.99)
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.13.6 or later, 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor
Who’d want to be a football manager these days, when billionaire owners can hire and fire at the drop of a hat? Fortunately, the Football Manager series doesn’t worry too much about that, and this year’s update very much concentrates on putting armchair managers even more firmly in control of their teams than in previous years.
A key feature of Football Manager 2022 is its new data hub, which provides in-depth analysis of your team’s performance throughout each match. A series of Key Findings provides a quick summary and key data such as successful passes and long shots, but if you’re a real data hound you can drill right down and view graphs that illustrate both team and individual performance.
You have better communication with your support team too, via a new weekly Staff Meeting. This includes reports from your assistant manager, scouts and coaching staff. Your staff can also make suggestions, which you can accept, or delay, or even pass over to the rest of the staff to ask for a second opinion.
There’s a new animation engine that more closely follows the physical ‘skeleton’ of the players on screen, creating the appearance of smoother movement. Even the ball itself benefits from a new ‘dribbling system’ – which sounds a bit gross, but produces more accurate and realistic movements as players try to change the direction of the ball when passing. As well as improving the appearance of the graphics, this opens up new tactical possibilities, allowing the game to now accurately depict a wider range of dribbling movements, such as the famous Cruyff Turn, for the first time.
Hearthstone: Best card game
Where to buy: playhearthstone.com (free to play, with in-game purchases)
System requirements: macOS 10.10, Intel Core Duo, Nvidia GeForce 8600M or AMD Radeon HD 2600 Pro
Hearthstone has been around for a few years now, and Blizzard’s typically slick presentation quickly established it as one of the leading computer card games. Like most card games, the basic version of Hearthstone is free to play, but offers a wide range of card packs that you can either buy with real money – starting from £2.99/€2.99 for two packs of five cards – or earn by collecting gold and treasure within the game itself.
Picking up a trick from the long-running success of World Of Warcraft, Blizzard also releases special ‘expansion packs’ for Hearthstone every now and then, which bring new features to the game, as well as new cards and other goodies.
But Hearthstone is still a fun game to play, even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying all the latest expansions. It’s a good option for newcomers to card games, with a simple tutorial that guides you through the main features of the game, and the basic/free version of Hearthstone still includes several different game modes that you can play in order to win new cards without spending any money at all. The game runs on most types of computer and mobile devices too, so you can switch between Mac, iOS and other devices using the same game account.
Lego Star Wars Saga: Best Lego Game
Company: Feral Interactive
Where to buy: Steam ($19.99/£15.49), Mac App Store ($19.99/£19.99)
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8; 1.5GHz Intel processor; graphics card with 128MB VRAM
No home should be without at least one Lego game, and if you pick up the Saga version you get the six games based on the Star Wars films for an affordable price.
The sheer fun of playing with the Lego versions of Luke, Han, Yoda and Darth Vader will appeal to both adults and children. The six games in this pack offer a variety of different scenarios, including space battles, lightsaber duels, and the famous battle on the ice planet of Hoth. If you’re a Star Wars fan, Feral has also released a new Lego game based on the Clone Wars cartoon series, and there are other Lego games based on the Batman, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones films as well.
Life Is Strange: Best Adventure Game
Company: Feral Interactive
Where to buy: Green Man Gaming ($3.20/£2.56), Steam ($19.99/£15.99, first episode free), Mac App Store ($17.99/£17.99)
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.11 or later, 2.0GHz dual-core Intel processor, 8GB RAM, 512MB VRAM
At first glance, Life Is Strange looks like a fairly conventional adventure game. You play a teenage girl called Max Caulfield who is having a bit of a bad day at school. Max ducks out of class and heads to the bathroom for a time-out, and as you wander the school corridors you can click on objects or people around you to gather information that guides you through the game. That’s routine adventure stuff, but life starts to get strange when Max witnesses the murder of her friend Chloe – and discovers that she has the ability to turn back time.
Saving Chloe reveals a deeper mystery concerning a missing student called Rachel, so Max and Chloe set off to find Rachel and uncover the dark secrets of the sleepy town of Arcadia. That’s straightforward enough, but Chloe’s time-travelling abilities add a whole new dimension to the standard point-and-click adventure format. Sometimes a conversation with another character will reveal some useful information, allowing Chloe to go back and replay recent events so they have a different outcome. However, changing past events can have unexpected consequences, leading to some difficult – and dangerous – decisions.
The story unfolds in five separate episodes, but you can check it out for free by downloading the first episode through Steam and then deciding if you want to explore the mystery further. We enjoyed its haunting, Buffy-esque depiction of the dark side of teenage life, and our only complaint is that the keyboard-and-mouse controls felt a bit clumsy so you’ll progress more smoothly if you have a proper game controller to help you out.
Papers, Please: Best Puzzle Game
Company: 3909 LLC
Where to buy: Steam ($9.99/£6.99), GOG ($9.99/£7.89)
System requirements: 1.5GHz Core2Duo; OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or later; 2 GB RAM; 100MB hard disk space
Almost unclassifiable in normal gaming terms – we’ve put it with the puzzlers, although it’s really a bizarre take on the classic worker simulation – Papers, Please sees you taking up the post of border control in an authoritarian regime. Which is certainly a novel idea for a game.
People enter your booth and present their papers; it’s your job to figure out if they can be allowed in. If you spot an irregularity in their paperwork, deny them entry. If their sob story touches your heartstrings, let them in. But if you let through too many dodgy types, or work too slowly, the money you earn will take a dip, and your family need to eat.
Papers, Please is a quirky, interesting game set in a truly novel (and utterly bleak) environment. And while the level of profundity is debatable, there’s definitely more going on here than in your average worker sim.
Read the full Papers, Please for Mac review
The Sims 4: Best Sims Game
Where to buy: Origin ($4.79/£12.94), Best Buy ($39.99)
System requirements: Mac OS X Lion; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz; nVidia GeForce 320M; 4GB RAM; 10GB available HD space
There’s a lot to take in with the latest addition to The Sims line-up: deeper customisation, more variety with actions, new careers and new places to explore. The Sims 4 had a lot to live up to after the success of The Sims 3, but it fills its predecessor’s shoes beautifully.
You get a deeper level of character customisation than in previous generations. While you can still browse and select preset eyes, mouth, hair, etc, The Sims 4 allows you to fine-tune your character’s looks and build by clicking and dragging the area you want to tweak. Does your Sim’s belly protrude a little too much for your liking? Clicking on the troubled area and dragging it in will make your Sim thinner – it’s as easy as that.
The build & design mode in The Sims was the basis for the game as a whole – it started off as a simulator that architects could use. And it’s fantastic here. It’s a great experience being able to design a home exactly how you want it to be and really gets your creative juices flowing. With more design options (like the ability to build “in the air” with no support below), houses in The Sims 4 looks more breathtaking than ever. You can pick up and move whole rooms whenever you fancy a change, and buy whole rooms of same-style furniture. For those of us without an eye for interior design, it allows us to really appreciate the game and the design process.
Day-to-day life in The Sims 4 is more enjoyable, too. If your Sim is hungry, simply click on the hunger bar and the Sim will automatically feed themselves – the same applies to all their other needs too. It takes the effort out of the more mundane tasks and allows you more time to do the fun things with your Sim.
The Sims 4 is a great game with so many options that you’ll lose yourself for hours at a time. Lewis Painter
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Best RPG
Where to buy: Green Man Gaming ($2.80/£2.01), Steam ($3.49/£2.51), Mac App Store ($9.99/£9.99)
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.9.5, 2.2GHz dual-core Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 256MB graphics card
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 realised 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 roleplaying 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 £9.99 the game’s a real bargain for Star Wars fans.
Total War: Warhammer II: Best Strategy Game
Company: Creative Assembly/ Feral Interactive
Where to buy: Steam ($59.99/£39.99)
System requirements: macOS 10.14, 2GHz Intel Core i5, Radeon R9 M290 or Intel Iris 540 with 2GB video memory
Total War: Warhammer was a match made in Orc-heaven, as it combined the fantasy warfare of the Warhammer series with the large-scale battles of the Total War strategy games. So it’s no surprise that this follow-up offers more of the same, albeit with enough variety to make it worth coughing up the rather hefty £39.99/$59.99 on Steam. But you should check the game’s system requirements first, as the battling armies of elves, lizardmen and rodent-like Skaven need a pretty powerful Mac to handle their demanding 3D graphics.
The story for the main single-player campaign is, to be honest, fairly trite fantasy fodder, with the game’s four rival factions competing to control a great, swirling vortex of magical energy floating up in the sky. That’s little more than an excuse to get the rival armies and heroes charging across the game’s vast landscapes, but the main campaign is well constructed and gives you plenty of different options for getting stuck into endless hours of fantasy fisticuffs.
You can control any of the four rival races, and each race lets you choose between two Legendary Lords, who all have different storylines and starting locations, as well as their own special abilities that can be used to assist their troops in battle (and, if you’re new to the Total War games, one Lord for each race also gives you a handy tutorial to get started). That gives you eight different options for playing and re-playing the game, and if you also own the original Total War: Warhammer then you get a free bonus campaign thrown in as well.
The game also includes a number of Battle modes that you can dip into for a quick fix every now and then, as well as a multiplayer mode.
Wildermyth: Best RPG
Company: Worldwalker Games
Where to buy: Steam ($24.99/£19.49)
System requirements: Mac with OS X v10.13, 64-bit processor
Wildermyth is an unusual and impressive roleplaying game with flexible character development that encourages you to go back and play through it again.
It’s an immediately eye-catching game with ‘papercraft’ graphics that look like a child’s popup book, as your 2D characters use a turn-based combat system to move through hand-painted 3D environments. You start by creating a party with three characters: a warrior, a hunter (rogue) and mystic. These characters are created by the game, with their own personalities and backgrounds, although you can fine-tune each character by modifying their appearance, skills and other abilities.
And, like all good roleplaying games, it allows you to make choices that affect the story and the relationships between the various characters. At various points you’ll be presented with options – drawn like panels from a comic book rather than dull lumps of text – that establish whether your characters are friends, rivals, or even in a romance, and this affects the way that the story develops and how the lives of your characters unfold.
The tutorial could be a little clearer – I had to look up some videos on YouTube to help me get started – but the turn-based combat isn’t too difficult to master, and you can develop your party’s abilities to combine stealth, magic and weapon skills in any way that you like. And, at the end of each game, you can save favourite ‘legacy’ characters in order to bring them back the next time you play.
This is where Wildermyth really stands out, as its story is ‘procedurally generated’ – it’s not entirely random, but is flexible within a framework that is controlled by the game itself. There’s enough variety within that framework to enjoy playing through again, and gives you the luxury of being reunited with your favourite characters to see how their stories and relationships continue to develop throughout their lives.
World Of Warcraft: Best MMORPG
Where to buy: WoW (free for Starter Edition, plus $12.99/£8.99 monthly subscription)
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8; Intel Core 2 Duo; graphics card with 256MB VRAM
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 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.
Company: Feral Interactive
Where to buy: Steam ($14.99/£8.74), Mac App Store ($49.99/£48.99)
System requirements: Mac with OS X 10.11.2, 2.4GHz dual-core processor, discrete graphics card with 1GB VRAM
The good news is that XCOM 2 arrived on the Mac at the same time as the PC version. The bad news is that the aliens won at the end of XCOM: Enemy Unknown back in 2013. So now we jump forward 20 years and the Earth is ruled by Advent – a coalition of alien overlords and their human collaborators (boo, hiss) – so it’s up to you to lead the human resistance movement and recruit a new XCOM team to wage a guerrilla war against the alien oppressors.
Like its predecessor, XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game that provides an overhead isometric view of the battlefield so that you can plan your team’s moves as they approach their target. But the moment you pull the trigger the action switches to a close-up view – similar to a first person shooter – that gives it a more visceral feel than most conventional strategy games.
There are five soldier classes available to help you out, including Sharpshooters with their long-range sniper skills, and Grenadiers who just charge in and blow up everything in sight. There’s also the Psi Operative, who adds a fantasy/sci-fi element with telepathic abilities such as Soulfire and mind-control. Each class also gets its own selection of different skills, giving you plenty of freedom to develop your team in a way that suits your combat style.
There are other resources available too. Your base is a captured alien ship called the Avenger, and between missions you need to give careful thought to developing the engineering, research and armoury facilities on the ship in order to provide new weapons and technology for your team. It’s gripping stuff, and guaranteed to keep strategy fans glued to the screen for hours on end.
That’s it! We’re done. But if you want to read even more about your software options, why don’t you check out our guide to the Best free Mac games? It’s amazing what you can get without paying a penny.
On the hardware side, take a look at our Best Mac for gaming guide. Plus we have an in-depth look at using a M1 MacBook Pro as a gaming laptop.