The best M1 Mac games show what a lot of us have known for a while, and that is that Mac devices are more than capable of holding their own when it comes to gaming.
That hasn't always been the case, with Macs focusing more on creative content production over the years and game developers not seeing enough of an gaming audience on Macs to justify the additional work of building for Mac devices.
With the latest Apple M1 chip – and especially the new Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips – Apple is making a much bigger push into the gaming space and the Mac gaming community is steadily growing as a result.
And even as the Mac's reputation for gaming has some ways to go before it can be rightfully called a gaming platform on par with the best gaming laptops, with the M1 chips, the hardware has finally come around to support more serious PC gaming.
As well as that, Apple has built in its Rosetta 2 software to its new Macs, which translates apps and games to run perfectly on the new architecture. Below we have gathered the best M1 Mac games you can play right now, whether natively or using Rosetta 2.
The long-awaited sequel to 2012’s Borderlands 2 (opens in new tab), this game takes Borderlands’ winning formula of guns, loot, and comedy, then turns everything up to eleven.
With a cast of wacky characters (some new and many returning), an expansive storyline spanning multiple planets and locales, deeply customisable player builds and levelling, and a huge variety of randomised weapons and loot, Borderlands 3 provides a feast of entertaining gameplay and hours of excellent content. Its DLCs and extra content are good fun, too.
Make sure you get the Epic Games Store (opens in new tab) version rather than the Steam edition, as there have been reports of the latter failing to run properly on M1 Macs. Get the Epic version, though, and you will be able to dive headfirst into some of the most enjoyable, hilarious gameplay you have experienced on your Mac.
If you have ever looked around a city – with its dense traffic jams, overflowing litter, and gloomy districts – and thought you could do a much better job at planning a metropolis, you are in luck.
Cities: Skylines (opens in new tab), the hit city builder game, is available on Apple’s latest M1 Macs, allowing you to take control, construct the perfect city, and show those town planners a thing or two along the way.
There is no easy road to your dream city, though. You must take charge of all the nitty-gritty aspects of achieving success, including taxation, public transport, maintenance services, and more.
Can you help your town grow and improve its healthcare, employment levels and pollution management? Every choice you make has an impact – often an unexpected one – which can throw a spanner in the works of your carefully balanced settlement. But that is all part of the fun!
Where Cities: Skylines tackles the minutiae of city building, Civilization VI (opens in new tab) takes a much grander approach.
Who needs to work out the most effective traffic system on a tight budget when you can be dealing with world leaders and turning your nation into a global superpower? If that sounds more up your street, Civilization VI is the game for you.
The beauty of Civilization VI is the breadth of options at your disposal for achieving success.
Should you take over the world by military force or spread your ideas through diplomacy? Is technological superiority the key to victory or is it better to export your ethos until it becomes the prevailing world culture? Or perhaps a mix of all four? The choice is yours, ensuring no two games play out quite the same.
The Desperados series made its name with its patient, tactical gameplay, where hanging back and surveying your options was always a much better choice than charging headfirst into a gunfight where you were outgunned and outmanned.
Desperados III (opens in new tab) continues that legacy superbly, presenting a series of fiendishly tricky levels that require careful planning if they are not to go awry.
The results are deeply rewarding. Planning your moves to a tee is one thing, but seeing them pulled off to perfection is another, and is always deeply satisfying.
Many levels can be completed in multiple different ways, giving you the freedom to experiment with your methods – something encouraged by the frequent quick save reminders.
Your last idea was a dud? Just reload and try again. You learn from your mistakes, emerging a more patient, meticulous player, one much better off for the experience.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
One of the best RPG games ever made is available on your shiny new M1 Mac thanks to Rosetta 2, and it runs great.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 (opens in new tab) sees you take control of a party of misfits and fugitives, escape your imprisonment and persecution, and attempt to become a god. Only one of your group will ascend to godhood, though – so make sure it is you!
With a branching story, deep tactical combat, and a gorgeously crafted, expansive game world, Divinity: Original Sin 2 offers over 100 hours of fantastic gameplay.
Its vast array of quests, from silly side missions to immersive, challenging battles with formidable opponents, keeps you on your toes from start to finish, while its extensive lore and storytelling provides a superb backdrop to the action.
Football Manager 2021
As any fan will tell you, following a sports team is never easy.
For every moment of joy and delight, you get thrown into the depths of despair and frustration, convinced you could do a better job of herding cats than your team’s manager could of getting results out of their players. Well, now you can prove it on the pitch with Football Manager 2021 (opens in new tab).
The game lets you take charge of almost any professional football club across 52 nations. With tens of thousands of players to buy, develop, and shape how you see fit, there is unrivalled depth and an enormous level of customisation available to you.
It does not matter if you want to emulate Barcelona’s fabled tiki-taka system or play it long to a big man up front, you are in control of your team’s success.
Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint pivotal moments in the games industry, where one launch can alter the way people look at – and play – popular games. The release of Fortnite (opens in new tab) in 2017 was one such moment.
Not only did it kickstart the nascent battle royale genre and gain millions upon millions of players, but it made this type of game available to a completely different demographic with its memes, dance moves, and cartoonish graphics.
If you want to enjoy its fun, fast-paced last-man-standing gameplay on your M1 Mac, you have got nothing to worry about.
Apple M1 Macs run Epic’s game superbly, without the heavy-handed compromises required of previous-generation Apple computers. And with no up-front cost, there is no reason not to give it a try on your Mac.
Some games are more than just a way to pass the time or get a few quick kicks. Some games are experiences, offerings that are like nothing you have ever played before, that make you think deeply about yourself and the world you live in. Inside (opens in new tab) is one of those games – it is likely one of the best you will ever play.
You take control of a small, helpless child, a boy hunted by faceless soldiers who round up people and drive them away in trucks in the middle of the night.
As you progress through the bleak, grey-clad world, you slowly work your way inside a huge facility housing bizarre, twisted human experiments.
With its superb, surging audio design, ingenious puzzles, dark storyline, and shocking conclusion, Inside is a game for the ages.
Crafted by a lone developer in his spare time over the course of four years, Stardew Valley (opens in new tab) is the archetypal labour of love in the games industry.
With its slow, relaxed gameplay and focus on exploration, community spirit, and countryside farming, it is the game for people who do not think they like games.
The idea of Stardew Valley is that you inherit your grandfather’s farm in a faraway land, escaping a life of city drudgery to bring the farm back to life and restore it to glory.
You start off small, planting crops and meeting the townspeople, then start to participate in village life, make friends, and explore the surrounding world.
There is no stress, no frantic button bashing, just days spent among idyllic pastures or exploring mines and mountain lakes. It is the ideal way to forget your woes and relax after a long day.
EVE Online is one of the most popular online games in the world, and that's understandable since its one of the best MMOs ever made, even as it approaches two decades of space exploration and intrigue.
More recently, CCP Games, the developers of EVE Online (opens in new tab) went all in building up a new dedicated MacOS client for the game, and in the end optimized it especially for the M1, so M1 Mac players will have an even better experience than ever before.
The game is free-to-play with an Alpha account, with a paid Omega account option for those who want to more fully commit to the game's universe, but nothing in EVE Online is actually closed off to Alpha players.
So you can enjoy everything that EVE Online has to offer right now and with even better graphics and performance on M1-powered Macs at no cost, so it's a win-win all around.
- Check out more of the best Mac games you can play right now