Top Free Mac Games
Are you looking for an exciting new game to while away the hours on your iMac or MacBook? Choosing from the thousands of options out there can be difficult. Here's Agent Clayton with his selection of the best Mac games available right now – and the best news is, they won't cost you a penny!
Whoever said Macs don't have games? We've got dozens of fantastic selections for you, and they're all entirely free! Just click the links below to browse the last year's selections month by month.
|June 2017||May 2017||April 2017||March 2017|
|February 2017||January 2017||December 2016||November 2016|
|October 2016||September 2016||August 2016||July 2016|
Stairfall Games (@CharlotteGore)
Weddings can be stressful at the best of times, but when a slug monster crashes the party and clones the bride things get even more stressful! In this game, you're tasked with finding the true bride from among the slug clones by carefully questioning and investigating each one to catch them in a lie.
If you've played games like The Secret of Monkey Island you'll immediately recognise the point 'n' click control scheme of Holy Molluscamony, with an assortment of verbs to choose from. These will let you perform a variety of actions like open, push, talk to, pick up amongst others. As you explore the game, you'll find objects to pick up and people to talk to – and hopefully some clues to help you find your friend!
Holy Molluscamony is packed full of weird humour from the very beginning, which got me hooked into playing right through til the end. I also really enjoy the pixelated art style, which harks back to the days when point and click games were at their most popular. I
f you miss the old days of point 'n' click adventure, install Holy Molluscamony on your Mac today and see how long it takes you to save the bride.
If you've ever felt the frustration of having too many keys on your keyring and having to spend ten minutes trying to find the one for your front door, you might not understand why someone would subject themselves to the same thing in a video game!
In You Have 293 Keys you must search through a pile of keys in order to find the one that unlocks the dungeon door, opening up your escape route. Unfortunately, the pile is quite large and you can only try one key at a time!
You could get lucky and find the key you need straight away, or you could end up wading through a mountain of keys fretting about losing the one you want. It's easy to discard your unwanted keys by throwing them off the side of the map, but be warned – you could end up losing the right key and being stuck in the dungeon forever.
What I like most about You Have 293 Keys is the juxtaposition of something mundane - finding a key – with something adventurous like escaping a dungeon. The colourful design and moody synth music in the background are added benefits, giving you a reason to stick around long enough to find the key of your dreams.
When you get too frustrated to continue, you can also take pleasure in dragging whole piles of keys off the edge of the floor. Give it a go and see how quickly you can make it to the exit!
Like a 2D version of Quake, Tiny Arena spawns you in to a variety of deathmatch arenas against a number of lethal bots. You'll rocket jump your way around the platforms, trying to line up the perfect shot while avoiding enemy fire to get to the score limit first.
There are pickups to top up your remaining health as well as railguns and rocket launchers to give you the edge in a one-on-one conflict. Starting with a machine gun with an infinite supply of ammo, the railgun pickups are able to shoot through platforms and the rocket launchers explode into a large area of damage which can damage multiple opponents.
Each level is part of the game's campaign mode, and each have a different score limit, time limit, number of bots, and difficulty handicap so no two levels are completely alike. There's a freeplay mode too where you can pick your own level options and set your own difficulty level if the campaign mode isn't challenging enough.
In a cyberpunk future of sci-tech, cyberjacking and memes, freelance Police-Detective Jonathan Murphy P.I begins a slow day at the office when a call comes in about the latest murdercide. Murphy is tasked with investigating the crime scene – but must first quit "boogie-boarding the meme waves" and get out of his office.
Like most point-and-click games, the right mouse button examines an object in the scene and the left mouse button performs actions upon said object. This time, however, when Murphy examines an object, his inner voice delivers a descriptive monologue dripping with similies and metaphors, sounding exactly like a veteran, grizzled film-noir character – whereas his normal speaking voice sounds like a morning radio DJ, with all the pep and enthusiasm that comes with it.
The game is a short parody, but it's beautifully drawn and fully voice acted. It's also loaded with puns and jokes that are so bad they're good! Some of the best jokes are hidden in the examination monologues – so you should examine absolutely everything! We even noticed a touch of Alan Partridge – and a final punchline that paid off with a hearty LOL.
Similar to Pictionary, Quick, Draw tasks you with drawing several pictures to help the computer guess what it is you're drawing. You're only given a word or phrase with no prompt on how you should draw it. You could be the next Da Vinci – but it won't make a difference.
Normally a computer would struggle to tell the difference between one person's drawing of a cat and another's – but Google's experimental 'neural network' artificial intelligence means that the more the game is played, the better at guessing it will become.
In fact, Quick Draw uses some of the same machine learning technology that helps Google Translate understand your handwriting. It doesn't just look at your final image to guess your picture – it looks at which strokes you make first, the direction of lines and the smaller details.
But the really impressive thing is just how accurate Quick Draw is. Put it to the test today and see what a start-of-the-art AI can do!
Made for Ludum Dare 38: A Small World, this short adventure game tasks you with exploring shifting catacombs while dodging all kinds of traps.
There's a great use of space, with rooms appearing from beneath the desert every time you step on a new floor switch. Secret doors open, new corridors are formed, and new traps are revealed with every new switch. Some switches open new rooms – while others will reveal hidden traps and safe paths while you're standing on them.
The game will only take a few minutes to complete, but it's a very relaxed adventure with plenty of challenging moments to make the ending feel worthwhile. It's a fairly basic tiny pixel art game, but one full of charm and the music is enjoyable too. It feels like a taster for a much larger game – one that we'd definintely want to play!
Toast Hatter (@Toast_Hatter)
If Hell was a video game, Contrast may just be our version of it. It's a puzzle platformer with a difference – in that you must navigate a series of increasingly difficult environments to reach the end goal, but you've lost all sense of depth perception!
Platforms are coloured in either super-bright white or shadeless black, which become invisible when the background, the walls and the floors all match the same colour! Sometimes, what looks like a solid platform is really just a black or white hole, leading to the similarly coloured floor below.
All 16 levels start the same way, with you walking around the environment and platforms. You'll need to inspect them from different angles to work out the best way to navigate to the end goal: a glowing yellow box.
The only way you can see these platforms is by contrasting them against an object with their opposing colour – so you'll often need to memorise the paths and gaps leading to the end.
This frustrating puzzler is ultimately very rewarding, however, when after countless retries you finally manage to complete a level. Sometimes, all it takes is a leap of faith!
Smokin' Guns (@SmokinGuns)
Fans of the Wild West will be keen to play Smokin' Guns, a rootin' tootin' first-person shooter based on the wonderful Quake 3 Arena engine.
Intended as a semi-realistic simulator of America's Old West, Smokin' Guns gives players a variety of historically accurate weapons and movie-inspired maps to play around in – so no BFGs or railguns to keep you entertained!
The weapons aren't just visually accurate to their real life counterparts, either. Each weapon has its own pros and cons that make them stand out from each other. Will you pick a pistol with low damage but quick reload times? Or maybe opt for a sawed-off shotgun to devastate your opponents at close range, but suffer from having only two rounds to fire before you have to reload again!
There's quite a decent variety of weaponry to choose from, with your standard pistol, rifle and shotgun categories as well as 'special' weapons like throwable knives, dynamite and mountable Gatling guns to stir things up a bit. If you're a fan of Quake 3 Arena you won't recognise much: this is a complete overhaul of the game, with all new maps, weapons and game modes.
If you want a true Wild West experience, why not try the 'Duel Mode' which limits your weapon choices to pistols only, and starts off each round with you and an opponent facing each other. Once you've picked your pistol of choice and the music runs out, the contest begins! Take your shots, and if you're the winner you get to move on to your next opponent almost straight away – while the loser has to wait in a queue until their next turn is up.
Make sure your aiming skills are good, because you'll do varying damage depending on the body part you're shooting at! Head shots are nearly always an insta-kill, but you'll probably survive getting shot in the leg or arm a couple of times.
If you know you're not as skilled as the other players, make sure to grab pick-up items like a boiler plate to use as armour, or money to purchase more powerful weapons. These items can make all the difference in a competitive game – so just hope you reach them before your enemies do!
Single player and online multiplayer
In celebration of the upcoming StarCraft Remastered, Blizzard are giving away the original StarCraft for free! If you love real-time strategy games and haven't played StarCraft yet, now is your chance.
StarCraft is the sci-fi alternative to Warcraft, another RTS game which eventually evolved into the MMORPG World of Warcraft – one of the most popular MMOs ever made. StarCraft never got an MMO facelift, yet is noted as being one of the most important RTS games in history. It also remains one of the biggest eSports in the world – which explains why it's now getting a full-HD remaster decades after it was initially released.
Choose from one of the several available factions to play as, then get stuck into the campaign mode where you'll have to move your troops and build base defenses in order to beat your opposition. Each faction has its own perks, abilities and history for you to learn and exploit – my favourite faction are the biologically engineered Zergs. These don't use much technology, but can regenerate health rapidly – and thanks to their high breeding rates you can spawn small armies of Zerg warriors to swarm your enemies!
For a game that came out almost 20 years ago, it's still very enjoyable to play. It's challenging in all the right places, forcing you to adapt to whichever race of beings you're fighting instead of letting you use the same tactics over and over again!
And if you love playing the base game, you'll also be pleased to hear that the Brood War expansion is also available for free, adding new maps, character units, campaigns and upgrade advancements for you to enjoy.
All told, it's a great slice of gaming history for your Mac – so grab a copy today and begin the Zerg rush!
Jamie Rollo (@Khoklavixche)
Wave Run is the frustratingly taxing, insta-restart game you need to play this month! If you've played Super Meat Boy, you'll be instantly familiar of the mechanics of this title – which has you jumping and jetpacking over spikes through a series of mazes. Press Z to jump, then either tap or hold Z to jet through the air with your water-powered jetpack!
Each section is scored based on how fast you can reach the next checkpoint. Hit a spike trap and you'll instantly respawn at your last checkpoint and your time will reset – but collect water refills every once in a while to keep your tank full, and you might just make it!
The developer has managed to find the sweet spot with the controls, so you just know every mistake is your fault, rather than being blamed on unfair game mechanics!
The decision to hide spike traps in water was a particular highlight that had us shaking our heads knowingly at the developer's tricks – and we didn't even realise you could dash with the X key until we'd already admitted defeat!
Taking us back to the days we used to play NBA Jam on the Sega Mega Drive with our mates, Shut Up and Slam Jam is on very familiar ground with its 2-vs-2 competitive b-ball court carnage! The premise? When a charity basketball match conicides with a kid's karate tournament at the same venue, it's decided that the event will be a combination of the two.
Up to four players can participate in two teams of two, but bots are also available if you want to play by yourself. There's a variety of kicks, jumps and all kinds of weaponry to take down your opponents without fear of giving away a penalty. Deal enough damage and your opponents will hit the deck for a few moments, leaving your free to run down the court!
The sound design is fantastic, especially the roar of the crowd, the squeak of sneakers on the court floor and some genuinely funny commentary from the pundits. The game was put together for Ludum Dare 37 – but has since been polished to perfection with a few recent tweaks.
The Hats (@HatsProductions)
Single player and local multiplayer
You’d be forgiven for thinking Max Gentleman is nothing more than a fancy hat simulator, like Team Fortress 2 or Transformice. Instead, you’ll find a great party game of hat acrobatics as you attempt to stack as many fancy hats on your head as possible, while avoiding the flying mugs of beer and other obstacles that threaten to topple your tower of trendy toppers. Play solo or competitively against a friend, and stack those hats like they’re going out of fashion!
The mechanics are surprisingly simple; move your character left and right to position yourself and use the up and down keys to highlight your hat of choice. When an enemy throws an object at your hats from the edge of the screen, you can ‘jump’ your highlighted hat (and the stack above it) to avoid being hit and keep your score running.
To get the highest scores, you’ll have to time your hat hops to perfection – and the higher your stack of hats, the harder it becomes to avoid the projectiles tossed at you!
If you’re after a good party game you can play from the comfort of your sofa, with plenty of humour and easy-to-understand controls, you can’t go wrong with Max Gentleman.
by Nick Preston (@holyfingers)
Reel is a game that is drenched in atmosphere right from the beginning and that alone was enough to capture our interest. It's an exploration adventure game set in the workplace of an old lady who spends her time tinkering with broken electronics.
The character animation is beautifully done, with slow camera movement through the scene which really brings the environment to life. There's no dialogue or music, but instead all you can hear is the heavy rainfall outside and the hum of electronic signs and lightbulbs.
In terms of gameplay, you control a ghostly cursor that can be moved around the screen looking for points of interaction. Sweeping past objects actually causes them to move, spin or flicker as if the cursor had some physical presence in the environment. Many of the game's puzzle rely on the cursor being able to interact with objects in this way and takes some getting used to. An early puzzle involving knocking over a bicycle to startle a sleepy cat was a really nice touch.
We'd love to see more games in this style. Apparently Reel is part of a series of short stories, named Toryansé so watch this space for more!
Built for the National Museums Scotland Game Jam, this endless arcade-style pixel-art game challenges you to fly Dolly the Sheep (Yes, that Dolly) through the air collecting lost clones. You see, the other clones have been up to mischief by seeing how many of them could fit into an atom smasher. Catastrophe strikes when this results in the creation of a Grossman-manifold vortex - oh no!
Still with us? We hope so, because what follows is a fantastic point-chasing game which has you dodging atom smashers, riding Concorde and even taking rockets into space in the search for missing clones and items from the museum's collection of artifacts.
Collecting an artifact gives you a temporary forcefield allowing you to make a mistake without it ending the game. Hit an atom smasher without a protective shield and the game is over, and your final score calculated. We managed to collect every artifact on our best attempt, can you beat our score?
Total Mayham Games (@WeWereHereGame)
Online multiplayer co-op
We were here is a two player co-op experience where communication is vital. Solving puzzles with your mates is a huge amount of fun which is probably why escape rooms are extremely popular at the moment.
The first person puzzler is set in a castle but you'll each be in two seperate locations, one in a library and the other roaming around the rest of the castle. The clues you'll need to solve the puzzles you face can only be seen by your opposite number. Thankfully you're given walkie-talkies to speak with one another to relay the information.
There's a sense of urgency which adds to the tension. Your goal is to escape but time is limited. The game has full VR support as well so if you're lucky enough to own an Oculus Rift or a HTC Vive, you can jump right in and be fully emersed in the world. For the rest of us, we can play with gamepads so there's no reason to skip this one.
If you yearn for the days of classic platformer adventures with the distinct possibility of sudden and immediate death, Spelunky is right up your cave system!
You play as an underground explorer searching for treasure – bombing your way through walls and whipping bats, spiders and other deadly creatures in the process. There are plenty of traps to keep you on your toes, although spotting them before setting them off can be quite a challenge!
Spelunky falls into the 'roguelike' category of games, which means your character suffers from 'permadeath': once you lose your lives, your progress through the cave system resets and you'll start again with a refreshed character and none of the loot you collected in a previous life.
As the caves are procedurally generated, you won't be able to take the same path twice – and you'll have to find a new way to spelunk your way through the treacherous tunnels and gather the gold you'll need to achieve a high score on the leaderboard.
If you opt for the HD remake which surfaced on PC and games consoles a couple of years ago, you'll get the added benefit of multiplayer gameplay, which lets you compete for gold and glory with a friend – just watch out for stray bombs!
Nathan Wentworth (@nathanwentworth)
Deck Dungeon is a super-simple card game RPG which tasks you with progressing through several levels of a dungeon while clicking on cards to find loot, battle enemies and survive for as long as possible.
There are five types of card, types including money, hearts, weapons, enemies and bosses.
Money is used to buy more powerful weaponry. Weapon cards have an 'ATK' rating, which is how much damage it will cause to enemies with a successful hit. To equip these, you'll need to spend the same amount of money as the ATK rating. Small amounts of money can be collected from cards – but the mega-money can only be collected from slain enemies!
While battling enemies, you'll likely take damage and lose HP. When you lose all of your HP, the game is over – so you're going to want to find heart cards to reclaim lost health. These, of course, also cost money so you're going to need to find a balance between reclaiming lost health and upgrading your weaponry.
A stronger ATK means you can take down an enemy in a fewer number of rounds, and you're less likely to take damage. But the more powerful enemies can devastate your HP in a single blow – so be sure to have spare cash to recover after each battle! Boss battles are normally tougher, but reward you with a maximum HP boost and lots of cash to play around with. Just don't get over confident!
Michael Davis and REPVBLIC (@iammichaeldavis)
Rex is a digital board game that's similar to chess: there are fewer pieces and a smaller board, but tons of scope for scheming and strategy.
Each player has a King, which can move three spaces in any direction; two priests, which can move two spaces in any direction; and two guards, which can move – you guessed it – only one space in any direction.
The aim of the game is to remove all of your opponent's pieces from the board by taking them in a move. Gone are the advanced strategies of check, castling and 'Petrov's defense' – here, it's all about back-to-basics, toe-to-toe scrapping with your opponent.
For new players, a full tutorial showcases each of the piece's available moves – and once you're ready, there are increasing levels of difficulty with AI opponents ranging from Novice to Expert –and there's even a two-player mode where you can battle it out against a friend, or team up to take on an AI.
As well as 'Battle' mode, there's also 'Duel' mode, which has you tasked with taking the enemy king as your main objective. Pieces may still be in play – but as soon as the king falls, it's all over. It's the most powerful piece on the board, and can be deadly in the right hands.
Krin Juangbhanich (@krin_jj)
Flight is a golden oldie that we recently got some time to play through again! The paper plane game was first published by Armor Games in December 2010 and since spawned countless other 'grind'-style games – which have you repeating the same level over and over again while collecting power ups, scoring points, hitting boosters and trying to travel as far as you possibly can.
After an initial fling into the skies with the mouse cursor, you're in control of the aircraft's pitch and booster engine until you burn through your fuel.
After each run of the level is over, you're granted cash to spend on upgrades like a better plane design, a powered engine, better fuel economy and score multipliers. Some upgrades give you some degree of control over the plane – but all of this uses precious fuel.
You'll aim to collect stars to earn cash, with golden shooting stars being worth extra and giving a handy speed boost. Paper cranes can also be collected, which add to your cash pot and can be upgraded to give similar boosts. Finally, windmills are spaced out across the canopy and give an extra boost into the skies if you hit them when coming down for a sudden landing.
All told, the game is well presented, very addictive and just begs you to have just one more go!
Kyle Seeley (@KyleSeeley23)
With recent news that the much-anticipated sequel will be released sometime next year, this month we've taken another look at Kyle's original AOL Instant Messenger simulator game.
Harking back to our younger days of Windows XP, instant-messenger programs and being full of teenage angst, Emily is Away reminds us of the days we'd log on to MSN Messenger after school, waiting patiently for our friends to sign in and then playing it cool (read 'freaking out') when our crush would appear! Rule number one was never to start a new conversation as soon as they came online: you had to give it a minute or so, so as not to look too interested – but inevitably, they'd log off again soon after and you'd miss your chance!
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! Emily is Away plays on these experiences and follows the relationship between your character and best friend Emily over five years of their lives in a branching narrative.
From high school graduation through moving away to college, you'll decide which way the relationship goes with the choices you make – with you having to physically 'hacker-type' each pre-scripted message. It's a wonderful way to make the game feel like you're actually responding to Emily's messages – and even includes moments where your character self-censors to avoid showing his true feelings.
We can't wait to try out Emily is Away Too next year – so if you've got a spare hour, give this one a try and relive those nostalgia-fuelled days of emoticons, cool lime-green fonts and music-inspired away messages.
Jeroen Wimmers (@JeroenWimmers)
An entry in the Ludum Dare 37 game jam under the theme of 'One Room', General Room places you as a high-ranking general tasked with fending off enemy forces in a tabletop map battle.
These enemy forces include light infantry, rocket troops, minigun-wielding juggernauts and a selection of different heavy vehicles, which are all dropped before marching towards your base. You have some troops and tanks of your own that you can pick up and place on the map – but your best defense is a good strong flick to ping the enemy pieces off the table! It might sound like cheating – but all's fair in love and war, as they say.
You'll want to assist your units by getting rid of enemy rocket troops early, as these can be lethal to your infantry and light tanks. You can even pick up and move enemy troops away from the front line, so your troops can mop up a much smaller resistance before moving forward.
Once you've taken out the enemy troops with some Subbuteo-like flicking skills (and a little help from your army), you're able to take down the enemy headquarters and claim victory!
The game has some fantastic artwork and sound design which makes it infinitely charming and replayable. Definitely worth a quick playthrough!
Robin Johnson (@rdouglasjohnson)
Recently, we took a look at Robin Johnson's Draculaland in our Top Free PC Games list, which happily led us to check out his latest work of interactive fiction, Detectiveland, which at the time of writing is being judged as part of 2016's Interactive Fiction Competition.
The game places you in the gumshoes of Lanson Rose, private investigator, as you scrape together a meagre living by solving three unique cases, which you can play in any order.
Like Draculaland, the game is completely mouse-controlled to avoid the kind of annoying word parser troubles seen in most other text adventures. You'll find clues – some useful and some useless – and store them in your bottomless pockets, while interacting with many different characters with unknown motives and exploring a whole town full of streets and avenues to get lost in. Thankfully, you can hail a cab to get you where you need to go faster!
Released just before Halloween last month, Bloodlust is a stylised infinite-wave survival game that places you in the cape of a hungry vampire who must feed to stay alive...? dead...? Undead!
As your health slowly drops, mobsters with machine guns – or "shady vampire hunters", as developer Lung_ calls them – spawn into the game area and try to take you down with a hail of silver bullets.
As the bullets fly, you'll need to dodge them with a dash move – while also taking down the mobsters and feeding on them to regenerate your health. Bigger mobsters earn you more points while also regenerating more health with each feed. While dashing, you're also invulnerable to damage,so you can cut through the bullets while attacking. You can't overuse it, though, as it has a cool down that can leave you vulnerable!
The game is points based – so your aim is to survive for as long as possible while racking up points with each successful feed.
Abraham Stolk (@BramStolk)
The Little Crane That Could is a fun construction simulator for both Mac OS and iOS, putting you in the driving seat of an industrial crane and challenging you with a variety of tasks to complete.
You’ll take control over driving your crane and manipulating the arm and claw to pick up, move and drop all kinds of items – from bridge parts to basketballs! The controls are fairly simple, but the execution isn’t, and you’ll need to drive carefully or you’ll crash your crane and fail the level.
What I like about The Little Crane That Could is that even though it portrays itself as a ‘serious’ game, it’s also a little silly – and that’s a good thing. Instead of going for the realism of having to actually work on a construction site, you’re treated to something much more fun, like dunking basketballs or building a bridge while you’re balanced on it!
If you enjoy playing the free version of the game, you can buy extra levels from the App Store, but there’s so much replay value to be had with the main game that I’ve not felt the need to upgrade yet.
I would recommend this game to anyone with the patience to play it: you’ll need good coordination to not tip your crane over or drop your load in the wrong place, and you’ll end up playing some levels again and again until they’re perfected.
If you’ve played games like Surgeon Simulator, Farming Simulator or Euro Truck Simulator and didn’t quit out of frustration, you’re bound to enjoy The Little Crane That Could!
Sidney de Vries (@Sidney_de_Vries)
Doblons.io takes you to the high seas as you battle other players for naval supremacy. We love the '.io' games – they're basically the games you used to play on graph paper at school brought to life!
Doblons looks deceptively simple, but there's some important decisions to make should you survive long enough to upgrade your ship. More weaponry may sound like the obvious one to go for – but you'll lose precious speed which may leave you unable to flee if you run into a fight you can't handle.
As you sail around, you collect coins that will allow you to purchase upgrades such as a stronger hull, a faster turning speed and greater damage for your cannons. You can even purchase extra ships for your fleet, which follow you around collecting coins and causing a nuisance for the enemy. Each enemy you kill gives you points which brings you further up the leaderboard. Be careful though: once you're sunk, it's all over!
Successfully navigate the waters for long enough and you might even feel ready to tackle the mighty SS Doblons, Dutchman and Black Pearl – AI controlled 'Boss' ships bristling with cannons and armour. Be warned, it takes a lot of firepower to even dent it!
Aurel Bílý (@AurelDev)
We've played some tough titles in our search for the best free Mac games, but we think we may have found the hardest yet!
It's not exactly fair from the beginning, because it joins two pretty challenging games into a single powerhouse of perplexity. If either your Pong or Chess talents are lacking, you're going to have a bad time. You must move your chess pieces to attack the Pong ball that your opponent is firing your way with a paddle. Fail to successfully 'take' the ball with your move and it will sail past your defences and end the game.
You're unlikely to last for more than a few turns, but it does allow for a good amount of strategy if you're up to the task. Move your pawns forward and you can start to move out your back row, including the Queen and Rooks. Move your pawns out to the board edge and you'll spawn an extra high-scoring ball – but obviously, the difficulty spikes through the roof. There are even greater difficulty levels which remove some of your more valuable pieces!
What do you get if you take a pinch of Super Mario Galaxy, a dash of Devil Daggers and squeeze them into a tiny Game Boy-sized package? You get YISAEWYD, that's what.
Made by a single developer for the latest GBJam, the retro-looking game takes place across several small planets and tasks you with surviving for as long as possible while being pursued by malevolent eyeballs. The GBJam has rules that the devs must follow, including only using four colours and the Game Boy's resolution of just 160 x 144 pixels.
You're not completely defenseless, because you'll find objects to pickup and throw at the relentless swarm: sometimes it's a crate which you can lob at the nearest threat, but you'll also find bombs which can take three or four enemies out at the same time. There are also collectables to boost your score, but the longer you survive, the higher your score will climb.
The biggest thrill in the game has to be the way you're able to traverse from planet to planet with the help of low gravity. You jump and double-jump off the surface of a planet, and if you're close enough to another planet when you reach the apogee of your jump, you'll be pulled to the surface with its gravitational pull. You can pull some impressive escapes using this technique when all hope is lost and you're running out of bombs!
The humble text adventure has made somewhat of a heroic comeback thanks to the rise of indie development. For the Ludum Dare 36 game jam, a designer behind the Bafta-winning Alien: Isolation has created one of the most immersive text adventure games we've ever played.
A House Abandon begins, like many other text adventures before it, with your character in front of a foreboding house – but quickly becomes something entirely unique.
Every detail of the game – from the loud tapping of the retro keyboard as you type to the flicker of the CRT television you're playing the game on – oozes a delightful retro 80s feel. The soundtrack is exceptional – and after watching Netflix's Stranger Things recently, we're instantly reminded of why we enjoyed that so much.
The game has a meta twist, which we won't spoil here, that frankly had us desperate to only continue playing this with the lights on and our backs to the wall.
Thomas Boyt (@manygolf)
Taking inspiration from iOS and Android titles Super Stickman Golf and Desert Golfing, this fun browser-based game takes 2D golf gameplay and packs it with frenzied multiplayer action.
The moment you join a game, you'll be assigned a random username, and must battle it out with other players from around the world across multiple courses. The aim, of course, is to sink your ball in the lowest number of strokes – with tie-breaks being decided based on how quickly you're able to score.
Gameplay is straightforward, with your arrow keys and space bar determining direction and power of your shots respectively. There are some quirks with the game's physics that only add to the fun, as you're never quite sure where your ball will end up – which makes sinking a hole-in-one all the sweeter. On one occasion, our ball sailed to an easy hole-in-one, only to catapult into the air as it reached the edge of the hole. The group of players we played with all used the built-in reaction emotes to express their amusement.
While keenly competitive, it's immensely fun – and the reactions of other players certainly add to the game's appeal.
David Strachan (@DavesInHisPants)
Hey Dave, we don't mean to brag or anything, but... we beat your best time!
TwoTap is a deceptively simple two-button reaction-based browser challenge, tasking you with tapping either the left or right arrow key to coincide with a pattern of blocks. The faster you're able to tap out each pattern, the more levels you'll be able to skip, with each subsequent level having a much tighter time limit. What starts as a relatively straightforward game very quickly becomes impossibly difficult!
We had to stop before we burned through the keys on our keyboard, but challenge anyone to beat our score of 9.47 actions per second! It was probably a mixture of fluking it and an easier random pattern but we certainly felt like we'd achieved a decent score with this one! Anything faster than that gets a big hi-five from us – let us know in the comments.
Clayton Chowaniec (@clayzulah)
Built by just one guy for the Big Awful 2016 game jam, the game is a parody of a well-known intellectual property that I'm sure you've heard of before.
It's a light-hearted RPG tale, concering a set-in-his-ways grandpa who must search for his over-excited grandson after he runs off searching for 'Pokeymans'. Fearing a telling off by his daughter, grandpa decides to join in with the search for Pokeymans to help him track down his lost grandson.
The game features charming Pokeymans including 'Peekachorp', 'Charblezorb'", and 'Literally A Ball With A Face On It' – and there are 18 to find in total. Your progress will also be tested along the way by characters including punks, Pokeyman-playing kids and other elders who will stop you in your tracks until you've impressed them by locating elusive rare Pokeymans or leveling up your character.
Personally, I scored 2460/2500 and collected all 18 available Pokeyman species – so let us know in the comments if you manage to beat it!
Jesper the end (@jespertheend)
The latest challenger to the wildly popular Agar.io has the distinct feeling of retro classic Qix and Disney's Tron by bringing together the former's line-drawing, fencing-off gameplay and the latter's battleground game-grid.
The multiplayer game is playable in your browser, and tasks you with scoring points by drawing lines to create rectangular shapes. Each successful shape adds a number of points to your score based on how large an area you were able to capture.
There's an element of risk involved with this, however, as starting a run to capture new territory leaves you vulnerable to other players cutting off your trail – and carving out larger shapes makes you vulnerable for longer.
The map is really large, so at first you'll not notice the other players building their empires – but when you do find them, it gets really tense! It doesn't matter how large your empire is either, you can be taken out of the game by a single mistake.
Sidney de Vries (@SidneydeVries12)
Vertix.io is an isometric 'twin-stick' style online multiplayer shooter with an emphasis on fast-paced, immediate respawn deathmatch gameplay.
There are nine classes to choose from – including Rockateer, Arsonist, Run 'N Gun, Detective and Duck – with each class having its own specific loadout. The available gear includes rocket launchers, miniguns, flamethrowers and hand-cannons – and some classes even come with secondary weapons, which can lead to tactical weapon switching in the heat of battle.
Some of the game modes we were able to play included a standard free-for-all, team deathmatch, an end-zone rush game and even a few games of insane 'rockets-only' battles. You can also create an account to let you record your achievements and earn rewards, in the form of cosmetic upgrades, based on how well you play.
Each battleground, though already slightly different in layout, can also be completely overhauled with texture mods to allow you to switch out all the textures and player characters models with new ones – including Minecraft, Mario and Undertale. There's also a very active subreddit if you're keen to join the community.
Trasevol Dog (@trasevol_dog)
I fondly remember playing games on my Commodore 64 – and Crash!! instantly rekindles those memories thanks to its brilliantly retro asthetic and cool chiptune soundtrack.
The premise is deceptively simple: you must drive your little vehicle to the exit of a maze. Now, the game wouldn't be much of a selection without a special mechanic to shake things up a bit – and Crash!! has just the thing. When you bump into a wall, your vehicle instantly changes direction – and what once turned your vehicle to the right is now flipped, and pulls you to the left!
You steer your vehicle with the arrow keys, but the controls are extremely twitchy and you'll very quickly throw caution to the wind and start smashing your way to victory. Headphone users will find it hard to play with the volume on for very long, as the soundtrack is quickly replaced with the cacophonus din of multiple crashes!
Levels get progressively more difficult, too with the addition of Breakout-like brick walls to smash through, one-way barriers, teleporters and door-opening toggle switches. Crash!! is immensely good fun – and playable immediately in your browser!
Johan Hassel (@SteelRaven7)
Ravenfield is a free, experimental single-player title that aims to give the likes of Battlefield a run for their money!
Just like Battlefield, the aim is to win each round by capturing flags and killing enemies to earn 200 tickets. You fight as as blocky blue soldier against a team of blocky red soldiers, assisted by weapons including a pistol, assault rifle, sniper rifle, rocket launcher and shotgun. There are also jeeps and helicopters for you to pilot, letting you support your allies from the ground and the air.
Though it's only single player, you're supported by scores of AI troops, which flood out of the spawn point and fall about with satisfying ragdoll physics. Each flag you capture and hold earns your team a score multiplier, meaning each successful kill earns more tickets. Be sure to play the objective if you want to win!
For a Unity title, the visuals are fantastic, contrasting a detailed battleground with the low-poly soldiers, vehicles and weaponry. It has an undeniable Battlefield feel – especially when your allies all pile into all the available vehicle at the spawn point and drive off without offering you a lift, leaving you to hike it towards the nearest capture point all by yourself. Yep, that's just about my experience of any Battlefield game.
Blue Line Games (@BlueLineGames)
It's a game that can be traced back nearly 1,500 years, with the earliest predecessor probably originating in India – and now, the classic game is on Steam for Mac owners to download and play.
Simply Chess is exactly what it says it is. Enthusiasts and occasional players alike will find the game extremely accessible, and the feature list is very impressive!
The game can be played locally against the computer or in a hotseat mode with a friend. The game boasts a world-class 'stockfish' AI, with 100 difficulty levels – which is great for new players looking to improve their skill. If you're looking for a real challenge, however, you can take it online to compete against other players and rank in a global leaderboard. The game also offers asynchronous play, meaning you can make your next move even if your opponent is offline.
Naturally, there's mouse and keyboard support, which can be seamlessly switched to gamepad controls if you want to take it to your living room in Steam's 'Big Picture' mode. Thankfully, you can also switch between 3D and 2D rendering to get the full picture of the board at any time. For the collectors among you, there are also plenty of Steam Stats, Trading Cards, Backgrounds, Emoticons and Achievements to unlock as well!
That's our list of the best free Mac games – but if there's anything we've missed out, make sure you let us know in the comments below! And for more great articles straight to your inbox each month, get your name down below for our Geek Squad newsletter.