The best MacOS games of 2018

Apple aficionado, huh? Here are the 20 best Mac games

Gaming and Mac computers haven’t always been on the best of terms. Many believe the optimal PC gaming experience comes via a Windows-based machine and won’t waste their time shelling out the dough for a Mac. The argument usually begins and ends with most Macs’ lack of a powerful GPU, and restrictive hardware designs.

While the options for playing games on a Mac are limited compared to Windows PCs, the Mac gaming library has come a long way. Recently, more A-list games have become available for play via Mac, pleasing hoards of Apple-loyal gamers. You can play plenty of big-name games like Life is Strange and Civilization VI without a dedicated gaming PC. We’ve narrowed down a list of the best Mac games — in no particular order — for all you Apple loyalists.

‘Stardew Valley’ ($15)

Following years of disappointment with the Harvest Moon farming series he had once loved so much, first-time developer Eric Barone took it upon himself to create his own version of the game, complete with gorgeous retro-inspired sprites, charming characters, marriage, combat, and plenty of post-launch support. Developer Chucklefish promised online multiplayer when the game was initially pitched to fans, and the feature will soon come to the game in the form of “farmhands”: three of your friends who assist you in operating your farm and can even get married in your game.

But 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, but should you instead want to focus your attention on your own personal property, you can fully customize your home and surrounding farm to create a rural paradise.

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‘Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty’ ($20)

Starcraft became a global phenomenon upon its release in 1998 and the sequel Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty carried on tradition in 2010. It’s even played so much in South Korea many have self-proclaimed it the national sport of the country. That’s high praise for Blizzard’s real-time strategy epic, though they deserve every bit of it. In the game you are able to take control of three separate factions: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. Though Wings of Liberty’s main storyline has you assume command of the Terran, you’re able to play as any of the three factions when playing multi-player.

You’ll want to play Starcraft II if you thrive when micromanaging and juggling many different responsibilities. Keeping a keen eye on your resources, your available units, and your enemies whereabouts are all key to having a fighting chance in any match. If you just blink at the wrong time, thousands of Zerglings will bring your budding home base crashing to the ground. For those who’ve already zerg-rushed their way through Wings, two critically acclaimed expansions — Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void — have been released since. Purchase the complete trilogy set here.

Read our full StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty review

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‘Portal 2’ ($20)

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 objects, environments, and often times yourself to advance through the facility. Portal 2 expanded on it’s 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

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‘Sid Meier’s Civilization VI’ ($60)

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 launch, Civilization VI has also 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

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Blizzard’s multiplayer card game Hearthstone blew up on mobile devices, but it’s also a perfect fit for the larger screen on your Mac. With simple, easy-to-learn gameplay mechanics and a fast playtime, you can easily get through several battles in one sitting, and the game’s excellent matchmaking system helps to pair you with similarly-skilled players, so every match will be close and intense.

It helps that Hearthstone draws from Blizzard’s best known property, Warcraft, with many of its most famous characters and abilities becoming playable cards. If you’ve ever wanted to send a Murloc army at your opponent, wearing them down turn after turn with weak attacks before eventually claiming victory, there is no better game than Hearthstone.

‘Gone Home’ ($20)

Gone Home is one of those rare games which thrusts the player into an environment with no puzzles and no enemies and just lets them explore. There’s an outcome, sure, but how you get there is completely up to you and how much you explore. You’re a college student returning home from a year abroad and upon arriving at your family’s estate, no one is home. The player scavenges the house for any and all clues about where their family has gone and what they’ve done. You have complete control over how you find each of the game’s clues and how to piece them all together.

With its unique style of gameplay, Gone Home will have you glued to your computer from beginning to end. Think Bioshock without the guns or Big Daddies and with more mystery.

Read our full Gone Home review

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Mac App Store Steam

‘Minecraft’ ($27)

There’s no denying Minecraft’s immense popularity ever since even the basic version became available in 2009. Armed with nothing more than a block-person’s hands upon 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, though, 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 and all gamers.

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‘Kerbal Space Program’ ($40)

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, however, only to realize the lunar frontier is hardly the final one. With incredible replay value, KSP is one of the few games that proves both educational and fun.

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‘Firewatch’ ($20)

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 ‘80s. As a new fire lookout, protagonist Henry thinks that his job will be boring and mundane, but things aren’t as they appear.

What helps to 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

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Steam Mac App Store

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