Free-To-Play games have been part of gaming for a while, but they are often seen as low budget and graphically-ugly MMO games. After E3 closed its doors this past June, however, some of the most notable titles that emerged from the event were Free-To-Play. This has shaken up the industry a bit, and from it, we now have a future console in the works like the OUYA (which is aimed at supporting free-to-play games), new free-to-play games coming out left and right, and even some retail games embracing the free-to-play model.
Today, the free-to-play model is being adopted by more and more developers. These games are no longer ugly-looking creations that attract only a certain type of gamers, either. From MMOs to FPS games, there is a free-to-play game for everyone.
Now, most recent free-to-play games are not Mac bound (yet), but there are still plenty of titles to enjoy on your OS X machine. The following is a list of some of the greatest free-to-play games available for the Mac. Keep in mind that some of these games may be rough around the edges if you’re playing on Mountain Lion.
Our first item is one of the coolest free-to-play racing games on the Mac App Store. RC Mini Racers is a racing game that has you control RC cars. I know what you are gonna say, though. The description says it is only free for a few days. True, but the game has been free-to-play since it arrived, and you should get it before it stops being free. (That may have changed depending on when this is published.)
From the coolest racing game, we come to the coolest FPS game in the Mac App Store. Red Crucible 2 is a superb ‘modern combat’ game that puts you face-to-face against others online. You have a few classes to choose from, and sweet vehicles to man, so get out there, soldier!
UberStrike HD is a free-to-play game that uses the model a bit too harshly on players; however, the game doesn’t fall short from sweet. Crazy maps and crazy wars are all waiting for you for free. This also is one of the best looking free-to-play games in the Mac App Store. That ‘HD’ title isn’t there just for looks. Its only downfall is how the micro-transactions are handled.
Blood & Glory is probably not a game you want your children playing, but you on the other hand, you can enjoy all the goriness and the bloodshed for free. The game is said to have HD visuals, and some gesture control, so check it out. It is free after all.
Zen Pinball 2 is one of the coolest pinball games out there. With a high Metacritic score, you are sure to have some fun with it. Odd that a game of this genre is free-to-play, but if you want to add more to it, you can also get the Marvels’ The Avengers table for a small fee.
Radiant Defense is a tower defense game that takes place in a rather… vibrant universe. You will fight hordes of invading enemies, so be ready to defend yourself. We recently reviewed this game, so if you want to check that out before you go downloading anything, you can do that here. We enjoy helping you save money and hard drive space.
Shadow Era, which was also reviewed here, is the trading card game for the Mac. While it may not be as robust as something like Magic: The Gathering, Shadow Era is a phenomenal game for those out there who love this genre. Extra cards can be obtained by playing through the single player, or bought from the store. Shadow Era has a big community behind it, and if you do join, you’ll be welcomed by many great individuals.
Robotek is a cute yet fun time-passing indulgence that can help you kill some time. While it sounds like Robotech, Robotek isn’t about transforming mechs. This game is more of a mix RPG action and strategy game. Check it out, and let us know what you think!
Ever played with those finger skateboards? Anyways, Touchgrind is an awesome game that basically brings finger boarding to your Mac. Be warned though, this game requires multi-touch technology, so that means that some MacBooks won’t be able to play this (unless you have an external peripheral).
World of Warcraft, the oldest of the bunch and yet the most well-known MMORPG, stands the test of time as millions of players keep coming for more. This MMO gives the player many, many hours of playtime.
Ah yes, City of Heroes. This game is a hidden gem that you should download right after reading this roundup. City of Heroes is the first superhero MMO and it came to the Mac soon after. The game itself offers a deep level of customization for your character (which is perhaps the funnest part of it). Once that is taken care of, join the fight against, well, the bad or good guys. Note: City of Heroes is a bit buggy if you have updated to Mountain Lion, but hopefully they will fix this problem soon!
Quake has been in the consoles and PCs of many, and throughout its existence, it has been one fabulously fun game. So what is awesome about this? Quake Live lets you relive those amazing Quake moments. The best part is that this Quake experience is free.
Remember that horrible movie Gamer? Yeah, me either, but Second Life is a huge MMO that lets you have a second life. It basically looks exactly like that scene from that movie you can’t remember. If you love social gaming, this is probably your best bet. Give it a try.
Give me some Steam, you say. Okay, well, here is one of Steam’s biggest free-to-play offerings. You may know this game already, but in case you didn’t know it was free-to-play, now you do! If you commit to it, you will have lots of fun playing Team Fortress 2. Just don’t go camping while you’re cloaked. No one likes that!
Do you like old-school Zelda games? Okay, now add multiplayer to it, and you will get Spiral Knights. So think of it as a Zelda clone that is and MMO. If you like these type of games, you shouldn’t pass this one up.
Perhaps MMOs aren’t your thing. What about another super old-school FPS? Marathon Trilogy is a classic series that arrived to the iPad for free, but has been available for the Mac for many years. It recently went 100% free, but it is still a good choice if you like retro gaming.
Okay, perhaps you don’t like Team Fortress. Maybe you will like the following free-to-play Steam games. First up we have Realm of the Mad God. This game is an MMO game that is as retro as it gets. Featuring a cool 8-bit era feel to it, it is the first ever cooperative MMO bullet shooter. You can fight monsters with up to 85 players. Yeah, 85!
Iron Grip is an indie MMO game that offers sweet tactical combat features. With PvP battles, cool visuals, awesome quests, and ongoing game development, you have a long, long time to enjoy this game.
Do you like pirates? Do you like Pirates of the Caribbean? No? Neither do I; however, for those out there who do, check out Pirates of the Caribbean Online. This game is an interesting MMO spin-off of the movie, so if you really, really liked those movies, treat yourself to this game.
Want to fill that Battlestar Galactica void? Get it, void? Anyways, if you like the series, check out this game! Many people complain about the controls, but if you are able to endure them, then by all means check it out.
Well, if I didn’t include this game in this list, the comments would have exploded with outrage. So, due to that fact, here it is: StarCraft II. Much like WoW, StarCraft really needs no introduction. If you like this genre, you’ll most likely love StarCraft II.
C&C is a popular RTS franchise that has seen many variations of the title. If you like RTS games, you should absolutely check out C&C. EA has proudly made this one a free-to-play title that you can enjoy over your browser. Try this one out as well.
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is a free-to-play multiplayer combat game where players pick a faction and battle it out. This is a game you’ll enjoy if you like war games. Again, remember not to camp.
Back in the day, Counter Strike was an awesome game the everyone played, and many still do. If you want a similar experience on the Mac, have a look at AssaultCube. This game isn’t only free-to-play, but it is also open source, and a very lightweight size weighing in at 40MB. With 26 different maps and fast gameplay, you’ll be hooked!
This game had to be included as it is one of the oldest free-to-play games out there. This fantasy MMORPG has been running for many years and it holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s most popular MMORPG. From casual to hardcore gamers, anyone can get into RuneScape.
Savage 2 is a RTS game that doesn’t only tie you into a top down view. You can actually join the fight in third person, or first person view. This game is a fantasy team-oriented game, so grab a friend, and play this game together. You might just find it to be a great addition to your library.
Regnum Online is another F2P MMORPG that offers a vast land to explore as you undertake many quests. There are nine fully customizable characters to choose from, and 3 realms that you can visit. Also, the game has some good graphics, so you should enjoy your time with it as you walk along the different realms available.
Dofus is a cute little MMORPG that has many comical adventures waiting for you. Dofus visuals look great with their colorful textures and Bastion-like graphics. Give it a try. If the “enchanting” universe doesn’t do it for you, the millions of players in the world may enrich your experience.
Amazon recently rolled out Game Connect. Game Connect allows you to easily download content you buy for free-to-play games all with your Amazon account. This is one of the few titles compatible with Mac (mainly because it is browser based), but expect many more free-to-play games to come soon (both downloadable and browser based). Drakensang is a MMORPG with a big world and an epic story. It offers PvE missions as well as PvP arenas.
So, we’ve already covered the fact that I don’t care about Pirates, but for those out there who like pirates and puzzle games, you should check this game. Puzzle Pirates is a mix of the MMO genre with the Puzzle genre. The game itself can get quite deep, so for those out there who like economy, puzzles, and lots of booty, try this one out!
Fallen Earth is a science fiction MMORPG set in a 3D post-apocalyptic environment. The game can be played as either a first person shooter or a third person shooter. The devastated land is immense, so you will have a vast land to explore. This game seems to have some issues, and it has never been tested in Mountain Lion, so watch out.
Heroes of Newerth is an action RPG similar to DotA (Defense of the Ancients – a Warcraft 3 Mod). According to the description: “two teams of up to five players each take on the role of special Hero units. With the assistance of AI-controlled armies, each team sets out with the sole objective of destroying the other team’s base”, which is pretty similar to DotA indeed.
Okay, so we had a lot of MMO games here, but this one is about Kungfu! It also has some magic, but this artsy medieval game brings you plenty of fun moments. There are many PvP options available as well as simple or complex gameplay. Give it a try. Warning though, you might actually want to buy some things for this game if you get hooked!
These are just a handful of free-to-play games that are scattered throughout the internet, but there are a few more that you can find in order to suit your gaming preferences. If you find a game that you desperately want that isn’t available for OS X, you might want to check if you can install it with WineBottler; albeit, not as good as running it normally, but it should help out a bit.
As always, leave your comments below. Let us know what free-to-play games you are into, what usernames you have on your different games, and what game is missing from our list!
Also, feel free to to join our Steam Group in order to play with or against Mac.AppStorm readers and writers.