Apple fans are used to free gaming for the iPhone and iPad , but tend not to think so much about free games for macOS. This is a shame, because the Mac is a great games platform with plenty of excellent freebies. Indeed, the Mac App store is positively packed with free games, and you can pick up some amazing Mac games elsewhere that are great fun to play without paying a penny. These aren't just casual or hobbyist games, either, but full-blown, high-quality experiences.
Set 'Allow apps downloaded from' to 'Anywhere', launch the app once, confirm you're OK with it, and then revert your System Preferences settings to a higher level of security. For more brilliant Mac gaming options, read our roundup of the best Mac games , and our guide to the best free web browser games for Mac. This cross-country vehicle simulation is actually a great laugh to play.
You drive around the Alps in a variety of pickups and vehicles. The off-road setting makes a change from the usual car games that see you flying round the same track again and again. It's not the most visually amazing game, but Basketmania is a giggle to play. Use the dots to line up the beginning of a trajectory and fling the ball.
It's easy to pick up but soon starts to offer a more challenging experience. Beneath a Steel Sky is a old science-fiction point-and-click adventure game from back in it was originally released on the Amiga. It's been reworked to run on OS X, and while the graphics aren't incredible it does have a real charm.
It's like reading a detective novel set in a cyberpunk future. Brogue is a roguelike adventure game for the Mac based upon the classic adventure game Rogue first developed back in The levels, characters and enemies are all represented using letters and symbols, which may strike you as a bit odd but it's actually a great representation of a world. It's almost like a cross between a text adventure and an early video game. It's incredibly tough to play, but Rogue is a classic and Brogue is the best modern representation.
A retro, pixelly 2D platform shooter along the lines of Ghosts 'n Goblins or Metroid, Cave Story has a cute, unusual look and solid gameplay. As well as the familiar jump and shoot mechanics there are some RPG elements: You have to download the game and the English translation patch separately; we tried it first in Japanese and found the whole thing baffling.
Story, as the name of the game might suggest, is more important than you might expect. This one's like playing an arena shooter in a s disco, controlling a flying space fish with a laser gun strapped to its face. From the off, you're blasting neon robots, bobbing your head to urgent synth-pop, and having your retinas assaulted by dazzling visuals. Soon, you realise every level is a puzzle of sorts, with you having to clock set-ups and behaviours and respond accordingly.
The scoring's smart too: So there's a maximum to aim for - but one hit kills, so be careful out there, fishy dude. The visually nicest version of Hangman we've ever seen. It's free to play and a great way to pass time with friends. There are multiple categories of words to choose from, and it's linked in to reference websites that help you learn more about any words you didn't know. It's incredibly complex, as you explore the world and build your own fortresses. You get an expedition team of dwarfs, and use them to perform tasks like woodworking, farming and craft-making.
You then get to dig up the earth, mine for minerals and begin building your own world. Minecraft owes it a big debt. Legends takes the characters, setting, and artwork of the vast Elder Scrolls role-playing games and transfers them on to digital cards, which you'll collect in the game and use to battle against both computer and online players.
It promises a large amount of single-player content, but the biggest draw is sure to be the real-time online competition, for which you'll build your best deck to prepare for tense battles. At a glance, Eternal looks a lot like Blizzard's wildly popular Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, but reviewers say it's a lot more like Magic: The Gathering with having to play land cards and build mana.
And if that all means nothing to you, know this: If you want a great free first-person shooter then Fistful of Frags is the game to get. It's built upon the Half Life 2 engine, so looks the business and plays incredibly well. It's set in the wild west, and you have old weapons like pistols, rifles and shotguns. Players work in teams, and four teams: Desperados, Vigilantes, Rangers and Banditos compete in each online game. Each game is packed with close-range, tense gunfights.
Imagine your arcade favourites mashed together, but instead of becoming a sticky goo, they somehow transform into something brilliant. That's Forget-Me-Not, where you roam procedurally generated mazes, hoovering up flowers, blasting enemies, grabbing a key and making for the exit.
What sets Forget-Me-Not apart is the varied behaviours of the mazes' denizens, which are equally happy taking chunks out of each other and the maze itself as hunting you down. Note you can go full-screen O opens the options , and there's a two-player mode for head-to-head chaotic madness. Solitaire is a classic card game that's a great way to while away an hour or two. Full Deck Solitaire is a visually gorgeous version that's also easy to pick up and play. Aside from that it's very much the Solitaire we all know and love.
A great free addition to the Mac. Hearthstone is an online game where you collect cards. Sounds boring, but it's got around 40 million players so put your preconceived ideas away. You earn cards by playing daily quests, and then battle your cards in online matches against other gamers where you can win rare cards.
You can't trade cards, you can only win them in battles this is a good thing as it means there are no scams and fewer robots playing. It's easy to pick up, quick to fit into your daily life and has an amazing community of players. There are in-app purchases, but you can get by just playing the free game.
League of Legends is a multiplayer battle arena game MOBA and is one of the most popular games in the world. You control a champion, and compete in matches against other players online. You'll start out at a very low level and gain experience as you play the game.
It's a very easy game to get started with, but is ultra-competitive amongst its fans. It's also far deeper than you first suspect, with a huge range of characters. A great free game to play. You create a character and get to wander around Middle-earth, going through a main quest story. While there is a bit of combat against game monsters or other players , it has a huge amount of crafting where you can build objects and artifacts, and both farm and cook food.
This gives it a charm that Tolkien fans will love. A loving tribute to Matthew Smith's seminal s platform game, Manic Miner finds you leaping through 20 single-screen caverns, on a mission to collect objects and not horribly die. The problem is, this being based on a s game, dying comes frequently. But stick with Manic Miner, gradually mastering its challenges, and you'll find a deviously designed classic platformer, even if it lacks the eye-searing colours and ear-smashing audio of the ZX Spectrum original.
Before Bungie made Halo originally a Mac game it built Marathon, a first-person shooter set in space. Halo fans will recognise much that made it into Halo, although it's recognisably an older game. Marathon has been updated by fans to work on Mac and a free version can be downloaded. It's a little long in the tooth, but a great piece of gaming history. As everyone knows, a gentleman must wear a hat. And so it follows that to 'max' your gentleman status, you must wear all the hats.
Hence in this game you belt along, pilfering other people's hats by having yours magically leap from your head. Swooping birds must be avoided by moving the magic hat up and down the stack and leaping from that point. And one you've maxed out your hats, you head to the pub for one-on-one hat and beer-guzzling battles with a drinking chum.
This fast-paced single-screen wraparound platform game finds you scooting along lazily drifting platforms, trying to paint white ones blue. For reasons unknown, the other inhabitants of this neon realm hate your interior design skills and set out to stop you. Fortunately, you can unsportingly hurl balls you collect their way.
Other than that, it's a case of dodging and running until they clobber you the traditional three times. A game to set IP lawyers twitching, Pacapong finds two bats facing off, a maze of dots and ghosts between then. The ball is fired into a corridor, whereupon it takes on a famous form and starts munching dots. If it ingests an alien bonus, an invader attacks the opposition's bat.
Wait long enough and a celebrity gaming ape starts hurling barrels into the air. And Pacapong is precisely why remix culture should be celebrated rather than curbed - it's mad and brilliant. Preposterously addictive and blessed with some of the catchiest music in gaming, RotMG is a twin-stick shooter and massively multiplayer co-operative RPG that caused massive drops in productivity in the Macworld offices one Christmas.
You can play in the browser or download it on Steam ; either way the game is free. With its many millions of active players, Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft feels like the de facto collectible card game today, but there are alternatives. Shadowverse is the latest, although it appears to have garnered a significant following in Japan before getting translated into English. In fact, many reviewers claim it scratches an itch that Hearthstone simply cannot.
On the surface, however, they seem very similar: It's free-to-play, too, which means pumping in money can bring big advantages, but at least you can try it out and probably play quite a bit without spending.More...