If you’re a fan of Mac games, stop what you’re doing right now. No, seriously - stop and read this guide - a guide meant for anyone looking for some inspiration in the world of Mac gaming. After careful consideration, testing, and gauging public opinion, we’ve compiled a list of the best Mac games for 2023.
What’s unique about our list is that it contains premium content and free games for Mac. The idea is that you should be able to find some inspiration ahead of your next gaming session, regardless of your budget. In the first part of this article, we answer some newbie FAQs. So, if you're a bit more seasoned, feel free to skip this part and head right over to our top 10 list down below.
If you’re crossing over from the PC gaming world or you own an iOS device (i.e. an iPhone/iPad) and want to play on a Mac computer, you might have the following questions:
In reality, not all games are available on Mac. MacOS is optimized for style and functionality, rather than hardcore gaming. Certain graphics engines aren’t compatible with Macs. For example, standard Mac software doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for Call of Duty.
With some third-party emulator software, you can run Windows through a Mac. This allows you to turn a Mac into a PC (of sorts) and play certain games, such as Call of Duty. There are also games that run on Mac, so don’t assume you’re out of options if you own an Apple computer.
The Mac as a gaming desktop isn't necessarily someone's top choice, but certain Mac computers have integrated graphics processing units (GPUs). The GPU and computer processing unit (CPU) share the same chip. For gaming, it’s best to have a discrete (dedicated) GPU that runs on its own chip.
A discrete GPU means there is more processing power dedicated to graphics which, in turn, means it can run complex games. Some Mac computers have discrete GPUs (such as the MacBook Pro and iMac), while others don’t. Those that don’t (MacBook Air and Mac Mini) aren’t great for running games. If you want to play premium or Mac games free online, it’s best to find a device with a discrete GPU.
OK, those are the basics. You know it’s possible to run premium and free games on Mac if you’ve got the right device. So, now's the time to check our list of the best premium and free games on Mac!
To start our rundown of popular Mac games in 2023, here are five premium (i.e. paid-for) titles that tick all the right boxes:
If you’re a fan of strategy games, 2022 was a good year. Total War: Warhammer III entered the Mac games universe. Ursun, the Beard God, has been imprisoned in the demonic Realms Of Chaos.
You start playing as the human Prince Barkov of Kislev with the aim of freeing Ursun. Your option is to call on other human kingdoms to help or switch to the dark side and play as one of the demonic princes. Regardless of whether you want to play Mac games free online or pay, Total War: Warhammer III is always a good option.
Players wanting premium and free games for Mac have long been bereft of Resident Evil offerings. That changed in 2022 when Resident Evil: Village found its way onto MacOS. The game starts with a recap of the Resident Evil story. Ethan and Mia Winters were trapped by the Baker family who had been infected by a mysterious virus. They escaped with the paramilitary operative Chris Redfield but now he’s back and gunning down innocent people. Your job is to find out.
The original Baldur’s Gate was an RPG sensation but, due to its 2D graphics, it was never considered one of the best Mac games. The latest installment of the franchise finally brings 3D graphics to the fore. Baldur’s Gate 3 has been available for early release on Steam since 2020 and the final version is expected to be released in 2023.
Like its predecessors, Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike those before it, you start with a completely new character. You’ve escaped a ship controlled by Mind Flayers, but Mind Flayer larva has been implanted in your brain. You need to find a cure, ASAP.
We could put The Elder Scrolls Online in five best free Mac games because, once you’ve paid the initial purchase price, it doesn’t cost anything to play online. Because it does have an initial cost and various extras, we’ve put it in the top five premium Mac games.
The Elder Scrolls Online is updated on a regular basis. The 2021 Blackwood expansion introduces more dungeons and a new storyline known as Gates of Oblivion. This story sees you battle with the Prince Of Destruction and his demonic servants in a quest to save the mortal realm from destruction.
Disco Elysium finally came to Mac in 2022 and instantly became one of the platform’s top games. The fundamentals of Disco Elysium are firmly rooted in the RPG realm but, like other popular RPG Mac games, you’re not thrust into a sci-fi or medieval universe. Instead, you’re in a modern-day town called Revachol.
You’re a detective who’s woken up with a hangover and now needs to solve a murder case. Disco Elysium is one of the most immersive Mac games available today but the 3D graphics are really resource-heavy, so make sure your GPU can handle it!
We couldn’t compile a list of the top 10 Mac games for 2023 without including some freebies. We know there are plenty of games to play on Mac free, so sorting through the best ones isn’t easy. The following list contains what many players consider to be the best free Mac games right now.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive isn’t just one of the best free Mac games, it’s one of the best games ever. Despite being released in 2012, this game still has a “very positive” rating on Steam and up to 750,000 concurrent players per month. The premise is simple: work as a team to infiltrate and gun down an opposing team of operatives.
If you want to play Mac games free with the option to pay if the action gets your adrenaline flowing, Final Fantasy XIV Online is a great option. Although early Final Fantasy Mac games were pretty bad, the developers have optimized the software in recent years and, today, the products are solid.
The latest offering has revamped the quest system so it’s easier to slip into the Final Fantasy universe and explore what it has to offer. The free trial account allows you to play up to level 60 in the main game as well as bonus quests, such as Heavensward. If you want to upgrade after that, you can.
Path of Exile was originally released in 2013 and finally made it into the Mac games library in 2020. Seasoned gamers will spot the influence of popular RPGs such as Diablo when they play Path of Exile. You start by choosing your class (Duelist, Marauder, Ranger, Scion, Shadow, Templar, and Witch). From there, you can explore caves, dungeons, and open spaces in search of equipment and experience points. Beware though, because danger lurks at every turn.
Albion Online has been described as the “first truly cross-platform MMO experience.” Available for all devices, this medieval fantasy game has over five million registered users. The aim is to perform activities and progress through the open-map system.
Each decision you make, down to the equipment you choose, affects the way you play. The main reason we’ve put Albion Online in our top five free Mac games is that the content is player-driven. This means weapons and other features are made by players, which gives this game a unique community feel and authenticity.
City Island is one of the biggest sim franchises for Mac. The fifth installment of the series is part of our list of top games to play on Mac free because it features more islands and ways to build a metropolis. The game itself is simple. All you have to do is build cities. With new buildings and features to unlock as you progress, City Island 5 has the power to keep you engaged for hours.