The 7 Best Tower Defense Games for Your Mac
When some people think of strategy games, they sometimes believe they’re all dull puzzle games. However, tower defense games challenge this notion, bringing you fun-filled action-packed levels where you’re strategically scrambling to keep your objective secure from hundreds of minions.
Since most of these games aren’t resource-demanding, you can enjoy a good selection of this sub-genre on your Mac. We’ve chosen a handful of our favorites, saving you the effort of digging through the Steam library.
1. Plants vs. Zombies
At the top of our list, we have Plants vs. Zombies, an award-winning game released in 2009. It has become a modern classic, leading the tower defense genre as the best entry, mid, and top-level game in its category. And yes, you can play it on a Mac.
In Plants vs. Zombies, your objective is simply to stop the zombies from reaching the house. As the title suggests, you will use plants as your arsenal against the undead home invaders. As you progress and unlock more plants, you can choose your loadout and approach the levels how you think is best.
Outside of its gameplay, what makes PvZ so wholesome is how humorous the game is. From witty backstories for the plants to its cartoonish art style, the game seems designed to put a smile on your face—and that’s precisely what it does!
Download: Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition ($4.99)
2. Kingdom Rush
Kingdom Rush has been widely acclaimed as another favorite in the tower defense gaming world. It brings a medieval fantasy turn to tower defense alongside a refreshingly unique and humorous cartoon style. Ironhide Game Studio first developed the game as a free flash browser game in 2011 before it made its way to Steam in 2014.
For such a simple-looking game, Kingdom Rush has plenty of strategic depth. How you spend your gold in each level, what heroes you choose, and when and where you build your towers profoundly affect your success. With its different difficulties, the original Kingdom Rush offers rich replayability, giving you an opportunity to beat the game in new ways.
Much like Plants vs. Zombies, Kingdom Rush provides an enjoyable experience for old and new players alike. It is now also on the App Store, and you can get it on an iPad or iPhone.
Download: Kingdom Rush ($9.99)
3. Kingdom Rush Frontiers
Kingdom Rush Frontiers was released as a sequel to Kingdom Rush in June 2013. Just like its predecessor, it was first developed as a web browser game before being released on Steam and other platforms like iOS and Android.
Before you’re tempted to dismiss this as merely the same game as its predecessor, we’d like to point out that there were no giant shaman turtles in the original title. Frontiers expands on the original with new terrains, enemies, and bosses, all with unique abilities that will demand a new approach to the game. It also adds new towers, like the alchemist and mage towers, allowing for more varied and robust defenses.
As for replayability, Kingdom Rush has an Iron Challenge mode on top of its usual difficulty tiers. This mode allows you to beat the game in a hardcore version with minimal resources.
While you can pay $9.99 and get this on Steam, you can also get Kingdom Rush Frontiers on App Store through Apple Arcade.
Download: Kingdom Rush Frontiers ($9.99)
4. Kingdom Rush Vengeance
It probably looks like there’s a Kingdom Rush bias going on here, but this list will be unfairly complete without the latest Kingdom Rush game. Ironhide Game Studio released Kingdom Rush Vengeance in 2019, and it is a refreshingly modern take on the early 2010s classic.
From a storyline perspective, you will not be playing the force of good repelling evil in Kingdom Rush Vengeance. On the contrary, you will play Vez’nan, the main villain of the Kingdom Rush series, as you lead your army of darkness against the people who defeated you.
Of course, Vengeance introduces new enemies, towers, spells, terrains, heroes, etc., but one of our favorite things about it is the ability to slot the towers you prefer. Kingdom Rush Vengeance adds new depth to the pre-game loadouts with a diverse skill tree and broad customization options in your upgrade choices.
Download: Kingdom Rush Vengeance ($19.99)
Mindustry combines factory automation and tower defense in a 2D sandbox environment. You must defend your factory from sporadic waves of enemies while you manage and expand it.
The key to this game is in logistics, as you must efficiently transport the resources while building a system to extract them. The game includes many tools for logistics, including conveyor belts, pipes, and extraction machines. You must also invest in building defense options, like drones, turrets, walls, and more advanced units.
Success is determined by how well you manage your resources and how well you can optimize your factory. While Mindustry has an increasingly difficult campaign mode, it also supports multiplayer. You can create or join a server, play in a co-op made with your friends, and work with others to beat the game.
Download: Mindustry ($9.99)
6. Bloons TD 6
Ninja Kiwi released the most recent and immersive version of Bloons TD in 2018, Bloons TD 6. Like other staples in this sub-genre, you can also get it on iOS and Android devices. Bloons TD is generally built on the premise of monkeys popping balloons or “bloons.” Your towers are monkeys with different abilities that will aid your balloon-popping campaign.
As the sequel to Bloons TD 5, Bloons TD 6 is an improvement that doesn’t water down the character of the older game. In fact, it introduces new towers and a refreshing 3D take that allows you to change the perspective for a better view of the battlefield.
Another bonus Bloons TD 6 has is its co-op mode for those who prefer to play games like this with friends and family. If you’d like to check out other simple co-op games, we have a list of free online games you can play with friends.
Download: Bloons TD 6 ($13.99)
7. Dungeon Warfare
Dungeon Warfare is not for the faint of heart; it’s a challenging video game for hardcore gamers. It takes an interesting twist on the genre, as it doesn’t make the mobs follow a predefined path, making every level a unique experience.
As the name implies, Dungeon Warfare takes place in endless dungeons. But you won’t be playing as an adventurer; instead, you’ll be the evil dungeon lord who must stop nosy adventurers from reaching the end of the dungeon.
The strategy comes in how you place and level up your traps, manage your mana and gold, and where you place blockades.
Download: Dungeon Warfare ($9.99)
Tower Defense Is the Modern Strategy Game Staple
Strategy games are old—like chess and jigsaw puzzles—but tower defense games take a digital, fun, and immersive spin on this category of games, offering a unique blend of strategy and action.
These games can provide entertainment to new gamers and veterans alike—there is a tower defense game for everybody. So, whether you’re looking to test your skills, have fun, or just unwind, there’s nothing like a good tower defense game to scratch that gaming itch.