Just a few short years ago, any list of best OS X games for Mac would have ground to a halt after a half-dozen half-decade old PC game hand-me-downs. Not any more. While Apple doesn't appear to put half the effort into Macs that they do into iOS, their silver computers' continuing rise has seen a true software explosion in great Mac games in the past couple of years.
Many of the Mac games below are available from the built-in Mac App Store, but if they're not there you'll find them in alternative e-store Steam, whose application is an essential download for even casual OS X gamers.
There's an unbelievable amount of choice now: old and new, mainstream and indie, action and puzzle, sequel and original. In alphabetical order, here are just a few of our most recommended OSX games. See also: The 18 best role-playing games for iPhone and iPad.
Most of the four hundred million-part Assassin's Creed stealth/parkour series is available on OSX now, but alas most are also drawn-out and samey exercises in self-indulgence. The one you want is third game Brotherhood, which takes all the best bits of its predecessors, adds a couple of new things and basically turns them into one wild party. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood review.
Don't let the relatively simple 2D graphics fool you - this is deep, detailed and agreeably sadistic space-strategy. Dense but rewarding stuff, ideal for you when you feel like going Full Introvert for a weekend.
Feel something other than lust for that aluminium oblong of yours: feel fear. Amensia might be an indie game, but it out-horrors pretty much anything from the mainstream in recent years. A deeply menacing adventure filled with puzzles, physics and what may or may not be monsters, it's an essential.
The problem with 'classic' roleplaying games is that, though their stories and depth may be impressive, their user interface and compatibility with modern machines often isn't. The Avernum series is a smart throwback to the early 90s golden days of dungeon-exploring - retaining old-school values and presentation, but slick and intuitive where it needs to be.
Opinions are divided as to whether this or its sequel Arkham City is The Best Batman Game Ever, but hey, being spoilt for choice is no bad thing. Our choice is the leaner first game. The Arkham games understand what/who Batman is rather than simply being generic action games starring a guy with funny ears. Stealth, gadgets, scares and dramatic grappling hook-based movement: it might even be the best superhero game ever. Batman: Arkham Asylum review.
You're almost as likely to have played a Bejewelled game by now as you are to have ever drunk a cup of coffee, but that doesn't undermine how expertly-done these match-3 puzzle games are. The glitzy third game is compulsion incarnate. Bejeweled 3 review.
Twisted, sacrilegious and utterly unforgiving: The Binding of Isaac's dungeons full of mutant babies and Bible satire isn't a game to show granny. At the same time, it's a brilliant remix of 'roguelike' roleplaying games (where death is as inevitable as loot), fusing monster- slaying with high-speed shoot 'em up values. The Binding Of Isaac review.
In an age where shooting games dominate the entertainment industry but appear to only be interested in raising the spectacle, anything that adds intelligence to the wanton violence is to be welcomed. Fortunately BioShock does this in style (thanks to the incredible underwater city it's set in) and doesn't shirk on the action. Literate, evocative, weird, menacing and packing one of the all-time great twists, it's one of the most important videogames of the 21st century. BioShock review.
Proving that OSX can now be right up there with the best of them when it comes to recent blockbuster releases, this almost unbelievably big, brash and noisy shooter is as happy on Mac as it is on console. With a near-infinite number of weapons to collect, approximately 1712 jokes per minute and all the levelling-up and looting compulsion of a good roleplaying game, Borderlands 2 is as spectacular as it is knowingly juvenile. Borderlands 2 review.
Call of Duty might rule gaming, but it's a mere bit player on OSX. Recent iterations of the ubiquitous man-shooting series haven't arrived here yet, but frankly it's all been downhill since this one anyway. From back before egos grew out of control, COD 4 offers a moving and shocking singleplayer narrative, backed up by robust and frantic multiplayer first-person shooting. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
The classic, history-spanning turn-based strategy series Civilization series has always been good to Mac, so you're spoilt for choice. Civ V is the glossiest and makes bigger departures from the age-old conquer the world by might, politics or science formula than its predecessors, but (whisper it) the older Civ IV might just be the better game. Civilization V review.
Traditional real-time strategy games - of the sort popularised by Command & Conquer - are very much on the wane now, with the exception of the enormous StarCraft II. As authentic as it is bombastic, this World War II-set game of tanks and soldiers, base-building and (destructible) terrain makes for a pretty fantastic full stop to the genre which once ruled PC gaming. And with Macs no longer quite so averse to right-click buttons on mouse, you can actually play the thing properly now. Company of Heroes review.
The former king of multiplayer shooting games has had a recent revamp. Counter-Strike, a team-based game of terrorists vs counter-terrorists, is fiercely competitive, ruled by players who know every map and every weapon inside-out, and you will suffer horribly if you play it. That's basically the point, though. The ultimate skill-based shooter, if you will. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
NEXT PAGE: more best games for OS X >>