Illustration by Sam Woolley

Hey, look! A sleek computer with a piece of fruit embossed on it. Contrary to popular belief, there’s loads of games to be played on Apple computers.

We’ve made this list with an eye toward matching our list of the best PC games when possible, while keeping in mind that most people’s Macs can’t quite handle the graphical demands of the most cutting-edge PC games. Our twelve recommendations follow.

In the six years since Civilization V came out, we managed to review it not once but twice. That’s how much these games lend themselves to playing and replaying, and Civ VI is no different. The latest entry adds a lot of new ideas to the Firaxis’s tried-and-true formula, and while some new ideas work better than others, the whole is as usual more than the sum of its parts. The mechanical tweaks and refinements are wrapped up in a subtle, board-game-like aesthetic that is as pleasing on your twentieth hour as it was on your tenth. We’ll be playing this game for years.

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A Good Match For: Civ fans, people who have never played a Civ game, basically anyone who doesn’t actively hate Civ.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who actively hates Civ.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Steam | Mac App Store

In Hitman, a simple setup paves the way for an unusually complex game. You enter a level with a target. You can eliminate that target in any way you see fit. Maybe you’re in a Paris fashion show, maybe you’re in the market outside a Moroccan embassy. Maybe you’re in a sprawling Italian villa, maybe a posh Bangkok hotel. Wherever you are, you’ll likely be impressed by Hitman’s painstakingly detailed clockwork communities as they tick along, inviting you to explore and exploit them. The main story assassinations are the tip of the iceberg here, as repeatable escalations, player-made challenges, and miss-and-you-fail elusive targets round out a supremely satisfying collection of sneaking, costumery, and espionage challenges. Yes, Blood Money was great, but this new Hitman represents a pinnacle for the series.

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A Good Match For: Fans of classic spy movies, people who like playing dress-up, meticulous folks who love hatching a plan.

Not A Good Match For: People hoping for a good straight-up action or straight-up stealth game—Hitman has elements of both but is kind of its own thing.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Steam

You’re alone on an island, surrounded by puzzles. That’s The Witness, an extremely complicated game that is really very simple. Some of the puzzles are obvious: They’re on screens right in front of you, stacked in orderly rows. Other puzzles are much less easy to find. All of them will stymie and confound you, but over time you’ll gradually dismantle them until the game’s grand design is laid out in front of you like the workings of a finely crafted watch. Some games make you level up your character to access new areas; this one makes you level up yourself. There are few more satisfying feelings in gaming than when you finally realize the solution to a puzzle in The Witness. With a click, a new door opens.

A Good Match For: Puzzle fiends, people who like a challenge, anyone who likedMyst and wants to see what a modern evolution would be like.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone wanting action, the easily frustrated, people who don’t like puzzles in games and generally just go look up the answers.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Steam | Humble | Mac App Store

You can almost hear the battle cries and smell the gunpowder in what is arguably Creative Assembly’s finest strategy game, which gives players the goal of ascending to supreme military domination against rival feudal lords. Improvements in AI behavior and the introduction of skills allocation let you be a more flexible commander than in previous Total War games.

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A Good Match For: Akira Kurosawa fans. Some of the Japanese director’s best dramas took place in Japan’s feudal period, and this Total War game gives a big-picture view of the kinds of conflicts that daimyo and samurai soldiers experienced. Everything about Shogun 2—from the artwork to the soundtrack to the overarching gameplay goals—puts you inside a living history lesson.

Not a Good Match For: Fans of Creative Assembly’s more ambitious projects. Unlike Empire or Rome, which let you build an empire spanning continents against vastly different foes, Shogun is fairly limited in its scale.

Read our review of the game’s last expansion.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: Amazon | Steam | Mac App Store

When it came out in 2014, Divinity: Original Sin already seemed almost too good to be true. Here we had a PC RPG that combined turn-based tactical combat,Ultima-style world simulation, and pen-and-paper co-op role-playing. It was great. A year later, Original Sin has been re-released in an Enhanced Edition with a number of major improvements. The game now works (well!) with controllers, and it’s now possible to play through the entire game in split-screen co-op. There are a bunch of new items and abilities, the story has been reworked, and the script is now fully voice-acted. One of the best CPRGs in recent memory got a whole lot better.

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A Good Fit For: Fans of old-school RPGs like Ultima VII and Baldur’s Gate; people looking for a meaty RPG to play through with a friend; fans of turn-based tactics RPGs.

Not A Good Fit For: Anyone looking for something relaxed and casual. Original Sin is a difficult, demanding game, and it requires you to manage a bunch of complicated RPG inventory, crafting, and magic systems.

Read our impressions of the base 2014 game.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Steam | GOG

Undertale might look like a retro-style JRPG, but it’s unusually forward-thinking. As a human stuck in a world of monsters, you decide whether you want to win encounters with wanton violence or clever context-based interactions (talking, joking, petting, etc). Undertale keeps track of everything you do; it’s paying very close attention, and will often express that attention in surprising ways. Every life you take ultimately has consequences. Despite those grim trappings, Undertale can be an incredibly warm, fuzzy, and funny game. Whether you slaughter or befriend everyone (or walk a middle path), the writing in this game is top-tier, the soundtrack is second-to-none, and the plot hides a treasure trove of secrets that players still haven’t fully uncovered.

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A Good Match For: Lovers of smart video game stories, fans of games that subvert expectations, people who’ve ever felt even a single pang of loneliness.

Not A Good Match For: People who hate shoot-’em-ups and tough boss battles (Undertale’s combat system has elements of both), those who aren’t fond of reading dialogue, haters of lo-fi pixel art.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Steam | GOG | Developer’s Site

Crusader Kings II began, in 2012, as a very good game. It has become, following a seemingly endless run of expansions and updates, each one adding new challenges, scope and dimensions to an already exhaustive package, one of the most comprehensive and unique strategic experiences in all of video games.

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A Good Match For: History buffs, anyone who knows that kingdoms rise and fall on much more than the strength of their armies.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a simple game; Crusader Kings 2 is notoriously opaque and it’ll take you a while to wrap your head around it.

Watch it in action.

Read our review.

Purchase From: Paradox | Steam | GOG

Just a man and a dog, looking to make a delivery. That’s how it all begins, anyway. But Kentucky Route Zero quickly becomes a mystical adventure through a land left behind by time, an odyssey in magical realism that feels grand and mysterious in a way that very, very few modern video games can muster. It’s not like anything you’ve ever played, and for that alone, you should play it.

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A Good Match For: Anyone looking for something different. Those who still believe there’s magic hidden somewhere off the interstate.

Not A Good Match For: Those looking for a bunch of complex game mechanics—Kentucky Route Zero is a point-and-click adventure game, and a fairly simple one at that. Also, not for those who want closure—the five-act series is not yet complete, and there tends to be a long wait between chapters.

Watch a video about why the game is great.

Purchase From: Amazon | Steam | Humble

Stardew Valley is an already-great game made indispensable by the Switch. The 2016 farming/dating/life sim lets you forget your worries and embrace a soothingly banal life in the countryside. You water your crops in the morning, and think about how you’re going to improve your farm. You head in to town and stop by the general store to get seeds and chat up the cute boy you’ve had your eye on. And if you want, you explore the mysterious mine, gather magical materials, and uncover the deeper secrets of the valley.

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A Good Match For: Fans of games like Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, or Minecraft. Anyone looking for a relaxing but terrifyingly addictive game.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a straightforward game. Stardew Valley is calming and low-key, but it’s also extremely complex and doesn’t alway explain itself that well.

Read our impressions of the Switch version.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Steam.

Call it the Superman 2 or Empire Strikes Back of video games. Valve’s follow-up to a classic improves on the humor, characterization and puzzle-solving of its predecessor to deliver a tight, focused experience full of poignancy and humor. It may be one of the oldest games on this list, but it continues to hold its place by offering peerless puzzles and one of the best split-screen co-op modes of all time.

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A Good Match for: Comedy lovers, puzzle fans, those looking for something to play with a friend on the couch.

Not a Good Match For: Mediocrity fans. People who argue with Portal 2’s greatness are like folks complaining that diamonds came from dirt. Their argument is invalid.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: Amazon | Steam

It’s one of very few video games that can be called a national obsession. Elite players of Blizzard’s real-time strategy sequel can out-earn corporate middlemen in China or Korea, but the sci-fi conflict simulator’s most significant currency is the devotion from millions all over the world.

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A Good Match for: Jugglers. Succeeding in StarCraft II means waging war on multiple fronts as you keep an eye on resources, deployment, defense and offense in skirmishes where you can be overrun in an instant.

Not a Good Match For: Those hoping for a gentle introduction. New participants to the Starcraft multiplayer experience will get chewed up as they learn the strengths and weaknesses of the Zerg, Protoss and Terran factions.

Read our review of the latest expansion.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | GameStop

XCOM 2 refines or overhauls almost every little thing about 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a game that was already good enough to win Kotaku’s 2012 Game of the Year award. The game is meaner and faster than its predecessor; most missions have timers that push you forward and force you to take risks, and the new alien types will break even your most time-tested strategies. You’ll get more attached to your team of customizable soldiers than ever, which makes it all the harder to watch them die horribly in the field. As if the original version of XCOM 2 wasn’t good enough, the brilliant 2017 expansion War of the Chosen makes the game bigger and better in almost every way.

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A Good Match For: Strategy fans, people who liked the first game, anyone who’s ever wanted to understand just how difficult it is to fight off an occupying force from the inside out.

Not A Good Match For: The easily frustrated, those looking for a simple game, anyone who rages at missing point-blank shots due to dice rolls.

Read our review, and our take on the 2017 War of the Chosen expansion.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Purchase From: Steam

How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

Update 11/22/17: Time for another big update. We’ve added Civ VI, Hitman, The Witness, Crusader Kings II and Stardew Valley while taking off 80 Days, Civ V, Hearthstone, Minecraft, and FTL.

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Update 2/29/16: We’ve done another big pass, removing Counter-Strike: GO, Half-Life 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Dota 2 and Xcom: Enemy Unknown while adding Undertale, Divinity: Original Sin, XCOM 2, 80 Days and Hearthstone.

Update 2/29/16: We’ve done another big pass, removing Counter-Strike: GO, Half-Life 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Dota 2 and Xcom: Enemy Unknown while adding Undertale, Divinity: Original Sin, XCOM 2, 80 Days and Hearthstone.

Update 9/11/14: We’ve made a few substitutions to bring this list up to match our PC games list. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Arkham City, Team Fortress 2, Gone Home and Borderlands 2 have cleared room for Total War: Shogun 2, Kentucky Route Zero, Counter Strike: GO, Dragon Age: Origins and Dota 2.

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12/13/13 Update:  With a design overhaul comes an opportunity to add a bunch of great PC games that have made their way over to the Mac. Many of our past and present best PC games now appear on this list: Half-Life 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Civilization V, Gone Home, FTL, Batman: Arkham City, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Borderlands 2 come on board to replace Trine 2, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Bejeweled 3, Braid, Galaxy on Fire Full HD, Limbo, Left 4 Dead and NBA Jam.

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Nintendo Switch GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac GamesThe Best Browser GamesThe Best PC Mods

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Note: If you buy any of these games through the links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.