With the recent release of Steam for the Mac, the platform is receiving some great press for becoming a far more usable gaming platform. But what if your Mac isn’t quite powerful enough to run the latest releases? Or maybe you don’t have the money to splash out on the latest blockbuster titles?
Today we’re rounding up over fifty games in a variety of genres, ranging from shooters to strategy. Best of all, they are all completely free. Who said the Mac wasn’t for playing games?
First Person Shooters
Nexuiz is an FPS with 13 weapons, 24 official maps and over 240 community created maps, as well as 15 player models. This fast paced 3D FPS will sure make your heart race and your hands shake as you struggle to stay alive in the chaos that surrounds you. Using a heavily modified Quake engine, the graphics and the physics hold up nicely, and they will make you laugh out loud as your opponents fly across the screen and are blasted into a pulp against the wall.
You are a psychic body guard. Your job is to protect the VIP. In Black Shades you will have to fight your way through hordes of zombies and violent assassins all who just want to kill your client. What the hell did he even do to deserve all this attention? Can’t have been that bad to warrant this much aggression from the undead. You have a variety of guns and grenades at your disposal and you can even slow down time and force push your enemies to briefly put them out of action. The hardcore graphics are sure to put a strain on your machine, so make sure your computer is fast, otherwise you will find yourself lagging under the might of the blocky enemy *wink*.
Warsow is a fast paced fps with a bit of a twist. It places a great emphasis on the players’ movement, giving you more options than just a simple ‘press space to jump’. With a large repertoire of trick jumps at your disposal, you can dazzle and fool your opponents giving you the upper hand. The cel-shaded graphics are crisp and clear, allowing you to focus on killing people and enhancing the competitive nature of the game.
Do retro style aliens running around in a fast-paced shooter sound like your thing? Then this is the game for you! Complete with rich, colourful, arcade-like atmospheres, a variety of space age weapons, powerups, a good selection of maps and plenty of game modes. Alien Arena will give you hours of fun as you blast your way to victory.
AssaultCube is a team oriented game with a similar setting to Counter-Strike. While its more realistic than Alien Arena, all the weapons are fictional yet based on modern weapons. Overall AssaultCube does not have much to add to the fps genre but its still a decent game to play with others if you like team games.
If you’re a fan of Quake 3 then listen up. OpenArena is a fun, fast-paced shooter with competitive and fair gameplay based on Quake 3. Along with the regular features of your stock standard FPS game, you can modify configuration settings and especially those related to Network connection. Modifying command lines can give players big advantages in the Arena over less configured opponents. Meaning you WIN MORE!
Developers: Wouter van Oortmerssen, Lee Salzman, Mike Dysart, Robert Pointon, Quinton Reeves
Cube 2:Sauerbraten is an fps that aims to allow map/geometry editing to be done dynamically in-game, to create fun gameplay and an elegant engine. As a result, it plays beautifully and the maps are unique and exciting. A very fun game with retro graphics.
Developer: Smokin’ Guns Productions and Iron Claw Interactive
The Wild Wild West… that’s where Smokin’ Guns is set. In this fps there are various game modes where you can take part in bank robberies, classical western shoot-outs or just plain old ‘kill everbody else’ mode. The weapons are historically accurate right down to the rate of fire, reload time and damage. On top of this you can play in maps that are based on movie locations.
Tremulous is a fun team-based first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements. The 2 teams, Aliens and Humans, must construct and defend a base, consisting of structures which aid the players in some way. The game will reward teams that achieve a certain amount of kills by allowing the players to purchase ugprades or gain access to new classes. Get into this game if you’re a fan of both the FPS and RTS genre.
Urban Terror developed into a realistic FPS. While there are various elements that keep it tied to reality, the players are nonetheless capable of performing impossible jumps and running (slowly) after taking multiple bullets to the leg which would normally shatter any normal human being. So while it’s a bit more realistic than most games, they won’t punish you too much for being riddled with bullets.
World of Padman is a colourful game with unique modes and is good for people of all skill levels. There is a choice of nine unique guns and multiple power-ups at your disposal. World of Padman also comes with a healthy stock of mayhem which will keep you occupied for years.
In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory the Axis and Allies fight each other in team-based combat. The various classes that you can choose from have different abilites, and each class fills a particular niche in combat to ensure victory. Co-operation is vital amongst team members as some classes need to collaborate with other classes to better fill their role. If you are a crappy team-player then you should probably avoid this, because much raging and flaming will ensue. Most of it will be directed at you. Otherwise its great fun if you like being a part of a team!
A first-person shooter, real time strategy game and role playing game rolled into one? What more could you ask for? In each game someone is elected to be a commander (Mr. Lazy) who will play the match like an RTS, creating upgrade buildings, and spawn points along with various supportive buildings, while the rest of the players will be on the ground doing all the fighting!
Numpty Physics is a neat little game where your success relies on your problem solving skills. You are free to draw lines and create levers and pulleys to complete levels, so there are countless ways of completing the same level. The only thing that will limit you here is your imagination.
Othello or Reversi, whatever you want to call it, is a great board game. For those that don’t know how to play, you just place coloured pieces on a board, one at a time, and try convert their pieces to your colour. Pretty simply concept, but allows for a lot of strategies. I guess it’s similar to chess in that sense.
This game has only been 100% completed by one person. Do you think you can be second? In order to do so, you must guide a marble (or marbles) using only your mouse through approximately 1000 puzzling levels. No easy task. However, it is very addictive.
A simple yet elegant tetromino game for Mac. If you have never played Tetris… well, who hasn’t? It’s a new skin for an old classic with network play!
Whoever likes mirrors and lasers should get into this game. Lumen is all about completing puzzles using only lasers, mirrors and gems. Some puzzles look easy at the start, but end up being a real hassle to solve.
Who likes penguins? Who likes Linux? Well this game is a downhill racer with the Linux penguin. You like? Well, in ETR you have to guide Tux the penguin down various courses with jumps and turns that will test your skills.
In Swarm Racer you control a swarm of bees that can change their formation to navigate through a course while collection gems. If you don’t not like bees then you will enjoy these happy little buzzers buzzing around. Buzz Buzz.
VDrift is still in early development, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play it. It is more centered around drifting than most racers for Mac, as its name suggests. Play it and go have fun driftin’ along the road.
SuperTuxKart is a cart racing game (NO WAY!) with the Linux penguin Tux (YOU’RE JOKING!) and it’s super. You and 3 other friends can play on the same computer if that sort of thing floats your boat or you can play on a network. You might think that cart racing is plain sailing but it isn’t. It’s cart racing. There are also items inside boxes you can use against your foes to make it less like plain sailing and more like cart racing.
TORCS features over 50 cars and over 20 courses to race on. It’s pretty much a stock standard racing simulator that you should try out! When you open it up you’ll be burning as much time as rubber.
N is a great game for burning time. You control a stick like ninja who has great skills when it comes to running and jumping. The aim of the game is to simply unlock, and go through the doors located somewhere in the level. However, there are various hazards present that will not make the job so simple. It has highly addictive gameplay, and some frustrating moments. You have been warned…
Neverball is so fun!! The only control is the mouse, which you use to tilt the whole level to guide the ball through hundreds of courses. The level design is amazing and did I mention that it’s really fun? You must download this game!
In this 2D platformer, you guide a dude on a motorbike through hundreds of levels. This game incorporates heavy use of physics and has more depth and skill involved than the 2D graphics would have you believe. Overall, it’s a top-notch game that’s fun, addictive and will really test your skills as you race to finish the levels.
Wuuhuuu, more Tux. In this game Tux is pretending to be Mario. It’s similar to Mario but the levels are different and so is the protagonist. While it’s not an original idea, SuperTux is still better than playing SuperNothing if you can’t get a hold of Super Mario.
A critically well-recieved game, which plays like a platformer, except it has RPG elements. Your character is a robot who finds himself in a cavern somehow (what a convenient plot point), and decides to set out on an adventure to rescue a girl, save this race of rabbit creatures and get away from the whole place. There are three different endings in the game, which one you get depends on the secret items you have found. Getting the good ending means you’re a loser because you spent more time trying to find secret items. If you get the bad ending then you’re a pretty cool guy.
Here’s one for those of you who want an epic adventure. You control an anthropomorphic rabbit trained in Kung Fu, or some form of hand to hand combat. Anyway, in Lugaru you will traverse different landscapes while fighting those who have wronged you. All in all it’s pretty fun jumping off walls and flipping through the air while you deal out copious amounts of death upon your foes.
WolfQuest is a wildlife simulation for wolves, where you kill elk, roam the fields of Yellowstone National Park and do general wolf stuff. There are single and multiplayer modes with slightly different gameplay elements. When creating a new wolf, you can alter their stats, coat, undercoat, gender and name. After customising your wolf, you can proceed with your wolf adventure and roam free (kill stuff for free).
Released in 1987, NetHack is a great game that has undergone various updates since then. It has state of the art ASCII graphics like most roguelikes along with solid gameplay and replayability. It also exists as another version called Falcon’s Eye, developed by Jaakko Peltonen.
The only difference between them is that Falcon’s Eye has isometric graphics and mouse control along with a few other features. One thing to note is that NetHack is the most popular roguelike. Old school gaming at its finest.
One more thing to note is that since it is never updated since 2003, Slash’EM is kind of its unofficial replacement, which adds new characters, graphics, monsters, items and spells.
The last thing to note (I promise), is that, those who are looking for an easy roguelike to play, to help them ease into this genre, should play Larn. Only problem is, it is not for Macintosh.
Angband is based on the writings of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (yes, thats J.R.R’s full name). However it is more item oriented than the rest of the roguelikes. Once I downloaded this game, I jumped straight into it and promptly died in the village to an old war veteran who I somehow angered.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but luckily the game has an in depth manual to help you get started and info on progressing through the dungeons. On top of this, the levels are randomly generated each time you play through so you have 100% replayability.
Linley’s Dungeon Crawl is based on the likes of Net Hack and Rogue. You basically pick your class just like the others, and go through different dungeons.
If you’re looking for a deeper storyline in your roguelike, then you have found the right game. Compared to other roguelikes, ADOM is more complex and quite difficult for beginners. It has a heap of cool features and quests and it combines a lot of elements from other roguelikes such as NetHack and Angband.
The game is really deep, and there are many character classes to choose from. While it wasn’t created with the casual gamer in mind, its a must, for fans of roguelikes!
Developer: Tarn Adams
Where do I start? I have seen many of my friends at college fall to this game. Each one of them laughed at the first casualty of this incredible game who was berated for playing such a thing. Eventually the best of us were destroyed by this insanely deep (I cannot stress this enough) and awesome game.
There are three modes in Dwarf Fortress, the main one being Dwarf Fortress Mode. You choose a starting location to build your settlement which determines the resources and challenges one may encounter on a given map. As your empire expands you will be faced with many new challenges. While the learning curve is very steep, it is well worth it.
StepMania is a fast paced game where your first three fingers is all you will be using. You press the arrow keys in sync with the arrows moving on the screen that correspond to the song currently playing. It has the same gameplay of Dance Dance Revolution. Warning: This game *will* kill your fingers if played to excess, which is pretty likely considering its so fun!
The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game based on Tolkien’s fictional universe where you have the ability to create a powerful army. There are various races in Wesnoth each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and as a result, the outcome of a match will be decided on how well you exploit the pros and cons of each race. On top of this, leveling your units becomes important as they gain new abilities and become stronger. If you have played on all the maps more times than you have pooped, then you can always create custom maps, units and scenarios for you or your friends to play on. Good times will be had by all.
When given a choice between killing my fellow man or aliens, I will always choose killing my fellow man, unless I’m forced to kill aliens. So when I found out that I control a secret organisation that has to protect planet Earth from aliens, I was all like “Aww man…”. For those that like killing aliens, then play this turn-based game. I will stick to Grand Theft Auto.
In Freeciv, your job is to advance your civilisation to the space age starting from the humble beginnings of a tribe. You will need to bring a bag of tactics to beat destroy your opponents and stay on top of them in terms of advancement. Created in 1996, Freeciv is constantly being updated to this day, so you don’t have to worry about balance issues.
Scorched Earth 3D is based on the classic game Scorched Earth, which was released a year after Tank Wars which is essentially the same game. It keeps the physics, weapons and economic system the same as the original, and as a result, it can be considered an accurate remake of the original. For those that want to keep it 2D, there are various other variants of scorched earth, all of which are just as fun. A personal favourite of mine is Pocket Tanks. While it is shareware, the free version is VERY good, with huge collection of 30 weapons available! You can also find a list of these tank games in the Wikipedia article for Scorched Earth. But don’t bother, Pocket Tanks is all you need.
Bos Wars is a hybrid real-time strategy game set in the future where larger control of the map grants more economic bonuses. There are two resources that can be collected and all players have the same buildings with no upgrades. This means that the game is perfectly balanced and allows you to focus more on battle strategy. Bos Wars also has a silly name. While Bos stands for Battle of Survival, the acronym is inexplicably one of the single most annoying things I’ve seen.
It’s pacman. Duhhh.
They call it a Tron clone in 3D. That’s pretty much all there is to it. You basically control a ‘light cycle’ which creates a barrier behind you everywhere you drive. This barrier stays in place and point of the driving around is to “box” your opponents in or make them crash into your wall in some way. It gets boring quick against the AI, but it’s WAY better played with friends or online. There are also various modes to keep it extra fresh.
Playing Plasma Pong was Pretty Phenomenal. It’s like regular pong but you can left-click to shoot jets of plasma to force the ball back towards your opponent or right-click to hold the ball over your paddle and charge up a power shot! Simply moving the paddle causes plasma to flow around the screen which looks kick-ass. The only thing with the game was that it is sometimes difficult to predict the movements of the ball.
When you want to have a little bit of fun with old vector graphics, open up Bitfighter and start shooting some spaceships. This is a pretty simple game where you control a ship and shoot down your enemies using a few weapons and powerups you have at your command. You cant play against AI so your only option is to go online or go up against your friends.
Mac Bomber is a variation on Bomberman where every player is a cute little Mac computer. There are various items that either help or hinder you. I’ll just say that one of the ‘bad’ items is some weed (no joking), which makes you run in the opposite direction to the key you’re pressing.
BZFlag has mediocre graphics but it makes up for it in awesome fun-ness (Gameplay > Graphics). You kill enemy tanks using weapons and powerups that are obtained by collecting flags placed around the map. The terrain and weather can change as well, and this will have an impact on the gameplay. Servers in BZFlag have the time of day in game synced to the real time, so your tank fights will occur in the dark if you are playing at night time. C’est formidable!
Looking for a first-person space trading and combat simulator? Then stop scrolling, this is one right here. This game is for those that are more spatially and trading inclined than the rest of us. This is quite a deep game with many ships and upgrades that are purchasable with ones money gained via a wide array of mission types. A very fun game to get into.
A worms game based on Liero and Worms… OpenLieroX is real-time as opposed to turn-based like Worms so quicker thinking is needed. I guess you could say that quick thinking worms fans would like this.
I was initially sceptical of Plants vs Zombies, but after hearing that my boss plays it like a nutter, I decided to try it. I found it surprisingly engaging, with a simple concept. All you do is plant plants to fight oncoming waves of zombies. You gradually unlock different types of seeds to unleash new botanical horrors upon the enemy. Download this game, and you will be playing it for longer than you planned…. because you’ll have turned into a zombie.
Share Your Own Games
Is there another game you particularly enjoy playing for free on your Mac? Be sure to share it in the comments, and have fun experimenting with some of the above titles!