With the introduction of Apple Arcade in 2019, many free games for Mac came under the purview of Apple’s gaming subscription. For a monthly fee, you gain access to over 200 games for your Mac. However, there are many free Mac games worth trying for those who don’t want to pay for an Apple Arcade subscription.
Here, I’ve curated the best free games on Mac you can play today. I’ve divided the list based on the genre so that you can jump to the games that take your fancy!
- First Person Shooters (FPS)
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
- Real-Time Strategy
- Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
- Card games
- Casual games
First Person Shooters (FPS)
1. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Even if you’re not a hardcore gamer, I doubt that you haven’t heard of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It is one of the world’s most popular games. Besides, with the rise of eSports competitions, this game rose to the top in popularity and the prizes associated with it.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive wasn’t a free game for the majority of its existence. In 2018, the game returned to the free-to-play state. Since then, thousands of new players have joined the bandwagon. Additionally, developers have continued to add more features to the game.
You can play either as a Terrorist or a Counter-Terrorist. The objective, regardless of the match type, is to one-up the other team. You can play different matches, such as the Competitive mode, Deathmatch, etc., and create your maps.
This adds plenty of variety, thanks to the game’s huge player base. While the game itself isn’t easy, I’d recommend you start with Ranked Matches and play your way up the ladder. After you’ve become a veteran, you can also create your maps and add them to the game’s database. The learning curve may be steep, but it’s worth the effort.
- MacOS X 10.11 or later
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with 2Ghz
- 2GB RAM
- Nvidia GeForce 8600M
If you’ve always wanted to play Overwatch but couldn’t play it on your Mac, Paladins is a good substitute. It has similar elements to Overwatch and involves first-person shooting with strategy and team play. Like any other competitive multiplayer shooter, it is inspired more by the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
You can choose your champion in the game from a selection of heroes, divided into four different categories – damage, flank, front line, and support. The game features an aesthetic style close to Overwatch but has enough original ideas not to be called its clone.
The game offers a variety of match types. You can play Siege, Onslaught, Team Deathmatch, and Ranked matches. However, if you truly want to understand the essence of Paladins, I’d recommend you to play Siege. This is a game mode where two teams, each with 5 members, compete against each other to capture the center of the map.
While the game sounds simple enough, it involves a significant amount of strategy. The champions that you choose have different playstyles and abilities. So, you will have to experiment with the characters to know what works best for you and the team.
- macOS X 10.10 or newer
- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz processor
- 2GB RAM
- 512MB of video memory.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
3. League of Legends
Loved the new MOBA Pokemon game, Pokemon Unite? You should be aware that the path to the newer MOBAs was laid by a couple of games. One of these games is League of Legends. This game is so huge that every description would fall short of how much it offers.
The game’s objective is simple. You are put into either of two teams, with five members each. You have to destroy the nexus of the opposite team while battling against the opponents’ champions. Choose from over 130 champions with different backstories, abilities, and stats.
Like any other MOBA, you have to strategize as you go against the opponents. When choosing a champion, you have to decide what your character’s role will be. You can be any of the five broad categories – marksman, support, mage, fighter, and tank. Know your role well, and choose a champion that counters that of the opponent.
There’s no going around it – this game has a steep learning curve. It will take you a long time to understand how different strategies and champions work. There are different game modes, such as Classic 3×3 or 5×5, Hexakill, and Dominion, with an insane number of maps.
Further, new champions, maps, and game modes are constantly added as developers frequently update the game. There’s so much to do that I don’t think you’ll ever get bored of it.
- macOS X 10.8.5 or above
- 2Ghz processor
- 2GB RAM
- Nvidia 8600M GT or later.
4. DOTA 2
Defense Of The Ancients (DOTA) was a mod created by the fans of Warcraft III. It became so popular that the developers created a full-fledged sequel to it. Moreover, DOTA 2 is the other major influencer of most MOBAs.
While the basic principles behind DOTA 2 are similar to League of Legends, the game has its nuances. You have to team up with other players to go to the opponents’ section and destroy the Ancient, a structure similar to League of Legends’ Nexus.
You can choose from over 100 different heroes possessing different abilities and playstyles. Moreover, unlike League of Legends, you do not have to grind in-game to unlock different heroes. These characters are available from the beginning. You are given full control over which hero you want to choose.
As you continue playing, you will gain experience points that you can use to acquire items, upgrade and customize your hero. It is a freemium game, so the developers update the game with battle passes and loot boxes that you can purchase. These can give you a headstart on your journey with DOTA 2.
The game itself isn’t beginner-friendly, but the player community is supportive of beginners. So, when you start your first game of DOTA 2, you can be assured that you won’t be left behind.
- macOS X Mavericks 10.9
- A dual-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- An integrated graphics card.
- I’d recommend a bigger screen to enjoy the game in all its glory.
5. StarCraft II
If I talk about real-time strategy games, there is perhaps no bigger influence on the genre than StarCraft II. This game was released in 2010, and despite its age, it’s still fantastic. It was released to rave reviews and became the fastest-selling real-time strategy game in history.
There are multiple modes to play through. From an award-winning campaign to co-op mode and a polished multiplayer mode, there’s a lot to discover. The main storyline is focused on the Terrans, while the two expansion packs are focused more on the Zergs and the Protoss.
However, the entire game isn’t free. Instead, you can play the Wings of Liberty campaign (the main storyline) for free. There’s also multiplayer for you to try – both ranked and unranked. The ranked mode can be unlocked after you’ve gotten 10 wins against the AI or in unranked missions.
StarCraft II has some of the best strategy gameplay you can find, even a decade after it’s been released. Despite its age, the gameplay and story remain sharp and decent, with multiple storyline endings. On top, you’re getting a substantial amount of this game for free. So you should try this out.
I would recommend having a good USB or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set for this game.
- macOS X 10.11
- 4GB RAM
- Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- Nvidia GeForce GT 330M
6. 0 A.D.
If you’re a casual gamer, I’m sure that you’ve heard of Age of Empires II. It was a real-time strategy game that set the bar for many newer games today. 0 A.D. was also influenced by Age of Empires II, except it began as a mod for the game itself.
The mod became extremely popular, and since then, has been converted into a separate game. Of course, since the game is inspired by Age of Empires, it has similarities. You can collect resources and create your empire, focusing on warfare, technology, or research.
How you grow your empire will determine how your rivals see you. For example, if you’re focused on research and trade, your empire will be seen as one that holds valuable resources and believes in diplomacy. You can play around with these categories, especially with 13 different civilizations to choose from.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the game in single-player against the AI, you can also play online with other players worldwide. Each civilization and player have different focus points, armies, and playstyles. You will have to strategize and modify your army and resources to be at the top.
This game is free and has a lot to offer. Considering the number of ways you can approach the game, there’s a tremendous amount of replayability here.
- macOS X 10.8 or newer
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
7. Path of Exile
When Diablo III was released in 2012, it received mixed reviews for trying to change the formula that made Diable II so lovable. Since then, fans have been hankering for a better MMORPG that could embed what made the genre so great. In 2013, Path of Exile was released.
Players immediately flocked to Path of Exile as it provided a premium gaming experience for free while retaining the solemn atmosphere and lore that fantasy RPGs are known for. The game is also constantly updated by the developers, with new characters, maps, and events to keep the players engaged.
The game has an interesting storyline. The player controls an exile who has been sent to the ruined land of Wraeclast, filled with ancient gods and monsters. You can choose any of the seven classes.
The main objective is to grow your exile into one of the strongest warriors as they try to redeem themselves and rejoin their homeland. Path of Exile was never intended for casual players. If you decide to play this game, get ready for some of the most challenging and strategy-intense combat you can find in a dark fantasy game.
When you play the game, you can see inspirations from the Diablo series. I’d argue that Path of Exile has perfected the formula that made Diablo a loved series. If you’re a gaming enthusiast, give this one a try.
- A Quad-Core processor with 2.6Ghz speed
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti or Radeon Pro 555X
- 16GB RAM
8. EVE Online
EVE Online is a representation of our future, with the extreme progress of technology. This might sound like a tall claim, but believe me, the amount of content this game offers is off the charts. It’s been mentioned in various economics research papers for creating an online currency of its own.
The game is massive. Your character can take up such professions in the game as trading and exploration, with a good amount of combat. The game is set in space, and there are 7000+ star systems for you to explore. This is one of the few multiplayer games that are inviting to both casual players and enthusiasts.
EVE Online has a complex system in which you can interact with other players to engage with the economics and politics of the shared game world. Everything that you and your fellow players do in the game is unscripted.
A bit of trivia – the Bloodbath of B-R5RB was an online battle with thousands of players in the game. The entirety of the battle was unscripted, had its own economic, social, and political context. Moreover, the battle lasted for 21 hours. This gives you an idea about the game’s scale.
The game might be complex at first, but it’s worth checking out.
- macOS X 12 or later
- Intel Core i7 processor
- 16GB RAM
- AMD Radeon Pro 5700 with at least 8GB video memory
9. World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment is known for producing some great MMORPGs, and World of Warcraft is another one of its IPs that has continued to grow through the years. The game was released in 2004 and continues to add events, expansions, and content to remain relevant in a rather populated genre.
The main objective involves the players creating their characters and progressing through the world of Azeroth. You can play the game in either first- or third-person view and interact with other players as you progress.
The game expects you to team up with other players and explore its vast world. You can also play against other players for better loot and more experience points. There’s an in-game currency that can be acquired by completing quests, and with this currency, you can buy better equipment to suit your playstyle.
You can join factions, such as the Alliance and the Horde. Joining either of them would mean that you’ll have to complete faction-specific quests and engage in battles with the opposing faction. The first twenty levels are free. This gives you an idea about the game itself and includes a fair amount of content to plow through.
- macOS X 10.12 or later
- Intel Core i5-750M
- 4GB RAM
- Dedicated graphics card with 2GB video memory.
10. Lord of the Rings Online
My last MMORPG on this list is Lord of the Rings Online. If you like gaming and are a fan of the massive world that Tolkien has built, this is a must-try game. While there are other games based on the same, I believe that this game’s online component is worth playing.
Most of the general thoroughfare of the game is similar to other MMORPGs. You can create your character and interact with the massive online world. Go on different quests and gain experience points as well as the in-game currency. You can use these to level up your character and cater them to how you want to play.
There’s one major difference here. The game doesn’t have a health points system. Instead, you have morale. You can raise the morale by joining feasts, resting, partaking in musical festivities, and showing off your fearsome battle cry before mowing down your enemy. If your morale reaches zero, you are “defeated,” not killed.
There are various regions in the game map, and each region has its quests. These quests can be standalone quests or part of a larger storyline. There are lots of stories and missions to uncover. Besides, with so many updates, the stories now come in ‘Volumes.’
For those who aren’t into the franchise, give the game a try. You might learn to love its deep lore and gameplay mechanics.
- macOS x 10.7.5 or later
- Intel Core i5 processor
- 2GB RAM
- Intel HD Graphics 3000
Brogue is an interesting game inspired by another game called Rogue. In the early days, text-based video games were the norm. Brogue aims to bring back the fun of the classic text-based adventure games that were the rage all those years ago.
The game aesthetics will take time to get habituated to, as you don’t find these types of games anymore. All the characters and environments are represented through letters and symbols. The main objective is to make your way to the 26th level of a dungeon, retrieve an artifact, and return to the surface.
If you’re up for it, you can delve deeper into the depths of the dungeon for more rewards. The levels are procedurally generated, meaning that they will not be the same in any game’s playthrough. This makes Brogue a difficult but rewarding game. You’ll also have to face monsters and traps.
Critics have loved Brogue for its simplicity, gameplay, and interface. Even if you’re not a fan of text-based video games, I think you should give this a go. The game is simple, elegant, and challenging enough to keep you interested.
Roguelike games are often meant for a niche demographic of gamers who love difficult gameplay paired with pangs of nostalgia. One of the biggest influencers in the genre, in these later years, has been Spelunky.
Released in 2008, Spelunky involves your character traversing through different caves to find treasure, fight enemies, and rescue damsels in distress. All the caves are procedurally generated, so you’ll never have the same type of gameplay in more than one playthrough.
Spelunky also changed the genre as it combined the roguelike elements with influences from side-scrolling games. Due to this, it has become an influence for more famous roguelike games such as Dead Cells.
This game is worth a shot if you’ve never played a roguelike game before.
13. Dwarf Fortress
Dwarf Fortress puts a spin on the roguelike genre by adding construction and simulation elements. It has been in development since 2002 and continues to be updated by developers to add more content.
The main objective is simple enough. You’ll have to control a group of dwarves indirectly and use them to create a strong fortress. While you’re constructing the fortress, you’ll face difficult situations such as lack of materials, money, and even invasions from the goblin community.
Constructing the fortress will result in the creation of a colony as well. The fortress will hold the wealth, and to keep your game alive, you will have to generate wealth and take care of residents. You will have to take special care of dwarves as only they can construct and repair your fortress.
The game doesn’t have an end goal. Each playthrough can and will be different from the other. Moreover, the game also has text-based aesthetics to pay tribute to older roguelike games.
Dwarf Fortress has been acclaimed by both fans and critics. Furthermore, it was added to the Museum Of Modern Art in 2012, making it a must-try.
14. The Elder Scrolls: Legends
The Elder Scrolls series has been a stalwart in gaming for a long time. While most games have been for consoles and single-player adventures on PCs, The Elder Scrolls: Legends brings the universe to the card-based strategy genre.
You can play the game against another player online. You’ll start with a deck containing 50 to 100 cards. Each card has certain functions and stats, and they are represented by characters, creatures, and other parts of the Elder Scrolls universe and lore.
The game has a trading system and in-game purchases allowing you to get better cards. You can also grind your way to the top. It might take a bit longer but is rewarding. There are different modes to play the game, including Battle and Arena modes. If you’re not up for multiplayer battles, you can play the Story mode.
This is an interesting addition and has fared well with lovers of the card-game strategy genre. If you like either the genre or series, this is a good entry to play.
- macOS X 10.8 or newer
- 2GB RAM
- Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT
Hearthstone is another Blizzard Entertainment’s titles that have seen a huge fanbase over the years. The biggest draw of this game is that it features cross-platform capabilities. This means that you can play the game with any opponent, regardless of whether they have a computer or a smartphone.
The game is turn-based, and you are given 30 cards in your deck. You can also choose a special hero with unique powers as your champion. You can tailor your playstyle based on the chosen hero. The more matches you win, the better rewards you get. These rewards help you get better cards and heroes.
There are 9 classes in the game to choose from, each with its unique stats and gameplay. The game also has many modes, including single-player quests, ranked and casual matches.
The characters are from the universe of World of Warcraft, but this game adds another level of depth to it. If you’re a fan, you should download Hearthstone as well.
- macOS X 10.10 or later
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
- 2GB RAM
- Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphic card.
16. Asphalt 9: Legends
The Asphalt series has always been a huge hit on both iPhone and iPad. With the series’ progress, Gameloft has continued to add new features to each iteration. Now, Asphalt 9: Legends encapsulates the best of the Asphalt series.
You can choose from a massive 142 different cars in the game, each with its unique look and stats. This leaves you with plenty of experimentation as you decide which car works best in certain tracks and conditions. However, you will have to unlock the cars by acquiring their blueprints.
As you continue to play with specific cars, you can unlock their upgrades. As their stats increase, their rating increases from 3 to 6 stars. The control schemes have also been updated with “Touch Drive.” You can make your cargo through select routes and perform stunts by swiping left and right.
You can play through three modes: Career, Multiplayer, and Events. The single-player campaign is well drawn out, with five different chapters. The developers also update the game with “Special Events,” which you can play to unlock unique rewards.
As a racing game with arcade elements, it doesn’t get much better than Asphalt 9: Legends.
- macOS X 10.15 or newer
17. Open TTD
Have you ever thought about running a transport corporation and dealing with various ups and downs that come with it? Well, Open TTD offers you this opportunity with business simulation. You can run a business in the game by transporting passengers and cargo through various means such as rail and water.
The game is a remake of the 1994 video game called Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Many features from the old game are carried over, but the new game adds bigger and more varied maps. Since it’s open-source, you can add artificial intelligence to the game created by other users. Based on this, you can either make the game easier or more challenging.
Open TTD offers true simulation in running a business. You face gains, losses, and accidents. In the beginning, you start by taking care of transportation through roads in a small town. Gradually, you have to build your business and inventory.
As time progresses in-game, technology progresses as well. This leads to better connectivity and transport vehicles. You can play the game until the in-game year of 2050. This is the last year in which technology advances. If you choose to play past this year, you’ll notice no improvements.
- macOS X 10.14 or later
- Intel Pentium 4 processor or later
- 256MB RAM
This is my list of the best free games on the Mac. While the catalog has become smaller, you’ll notice that there are still some great games. Are there any other free games for Mac that you’ve enjoyed thoroughly? Share them in the comments below.
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