MUO Games : Top 5 Free Cross-Platform FPS Games

Mark O'Neill 10-09-2008

free fps games I’ll admit it, I don’t have the patience to figure out complicated RPG (Role Playing Games) games. Give me a brain-dead “click and kill” game, and I’m all over it. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I’m a big fan of the ‘First Person Shooter’ (FPS) genre. Even though I’m regularly fragged by 6 year olds across the world, it just goes to show you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.


So here are my top 5 free FPS games that work on multiple operating systems. From the top…


OpenArena is “an open-source content package for Quake III Arena licensed under the GPL, effectively creating a free stand-alone game”. What does that mean to you? It’s free, and you don’t need Quake III Arena to play it. OpenArena supports a slew of different game types, including: Deathmatch, Tournament, Single Player Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Elimination, CTF Elimination, Last Man Standing and Double Domination. The hardware requirements are pretty minimal – with a PII 233MHz processor and at least 96MB of RAM being the suggested minimum system requirements.

Supported Platforms: Linux, OS X and Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista

OpenArena in-game screenshot


Though Nexuiz has slightly higher hardware requirements than most of the games in this list, once you start playing you’ll know why. The graphics really are better. From their information page:


“Nexuiz is a 3d deathmatch game that has been in development since the summer of 2002. The goal of the project is to create a high quality first person shooter that can be played freely across all platforms in one package: PC, Mac, and can be even included in Linux distributions. The game is entirely open source, with the sources of the engine, gamecode, map files, and compiling tools, all included with the download, all under the GPL license.

The gameplay is deathmatch with the most excessive possible speeds and weapons, giving incredibly intense fast paced action. Along with deathmatch, there are multiple gamemodes such as team deathmatch, capture the flag, domination, and many mutators and weapon options like rocket arena and instagib. The user can fight through the single player campaign, going through over 20 levels, or play online with our server browser.”

Nexuiz has a very active and helpful community, and has recently started tournaments in Europe and North America.

Supported Platforms: Linux, OS X and Windows

Nexuiza FPS

Urban Terror

Urban Terror describes itself as a “Hollywood tactical shooter” with an emphasis on “fun over realism”. I’d agree with them on the descriptions. It uses the same engine as OpenArena (ioquake3), but has more of a “counter-strike” feel than OpenArena. Urban Terror comes with a thoroughly detailed manual that explains every aspect of the game. Check out the video below for an idea of gameplay.


Supported Platforms: Linux, OS X and Windows

Cube 2: Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is a single and multiplayer FPS freeware “game project”. Though the aim of Sauerbraten is “to allow map/geometry editing to be done dynamically in-game” – don’t let that fool you – it’s a heck of a lot of fun. There are monthly championship games on the first Sunday of the month (where I regularly get schooled) and a Cube Server Lister app that makes finding games (and your friends) a snap.

Supported Platforms: Linux, OS X and Windows


In-game screenshot of Cube 2: Sauerbratena

Alien Arena

Sci-Fi lovers will enjoy this one. From its initial release in October of 2004, Alien Arena has come a long, long way. Over a million downloads, and dozens (hundreds?) of community created maps, models, and various accessories add to the game experience. It also features a very fun “Team Core Assault” mode, in which players must work together to disable their enemy teams central metal spider. Though OS X isn’t officially supported, yet, you can download the Linux version and then apply this patch to get it working (runs perfectly on my MacBook Pro).

Supported Platforms: Linux and Windows (OS X support is unofficial, see above)

In-game Alien Arena screenshot


You might also want to check out Top 5 Free Online Shooter Games Top Five Free Online Shooter Games - Must Read For Gamers Read More by Simon.

So what about you? What are YOUR favourite free ‘first person shooter’ games? Do you agree with my choices? Let it rip in the comments!

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. RicoSuaveMacDad
    October 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    anybody know how to run combat arms on an IMac

  2. justin2
    August 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    what a bout combat arms its the best it has the best pitcher and detail not like cross fire and war rock

  3. marouan
    July 8, 2009 at 6:46 am

    wolfenstein deserves a spot.

  4. ca rules
    July 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

    yo c a is the best because it has weapon mods.Supressers magazines and scopes too. It is the Most advanced game in fps technology. It NEEDS a mention.

  5. fpsaddict
    May 15, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Too bad these games aren't very popular anymore (except Urban Terror), most people play free MMOFPSes (Combat Arms, Crossfire, Soldier Front etc) that are mostly full of cheaters.
    btw there are more free FPS games at

  6. ChaosLozenge
    May 6, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Quake Live is great, its pretty much Quake 3 for free and in your web browser

  7. mast3rpwns
    February 27, 2009 at 10:39 am

    ok i dont see CROSSFIRE IN HERE! that game isnt that giid although its not a bad game

    soldier front SUCKS but good for beginners

    WARROCK to many hackers lol

    combat arms sucks ass theres way to many hackers NUBS!

    team fortress 2 and the original

    assault cube THE BEST FOR BEGINNERS

    quake online not that good

    battle field heroes good game i guess cartoon styled fps like teamfortress

    i love how i wrote these for no reason and i didnt use any grammer AT ALL i may have even spelled some stuff wrong lol

  8. fffffffffffffffffff
    November 28, 2008 at 12:10 am


  9. gman
    November 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Wicked article!!! I've only played a couple of these, but now going to get on board. Is BF Heroes going to blow these all away?? I have some fps games resources here:

    Thanks again for the great article. Gotta love digg.

  10. Max
    October 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    I'd put it in this order:
    Alien Arena - first place
    Urban Terror - second place
    Nexuiz - third place
    Open Arena - fourth place
    Saurbraten - fifth place

  11. Bulgaria sea
    September 13, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    These games are a great introduction into FPS games - and they're free!

  12. flip
    September 13, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    World of Padman is sick, slick and imho way up there on the fun stakes...Best cross-platform game I've come across and I've tried them all...

  13. bebobebo
    September 12, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Leileilol hasnt posted on this website yet. Hmm, is he sick? Or maybe he's getting old.

  14. ZEROZG
    September 12, 2008 at 2:00 am

    CUBE II = best game for old skooll mind bending fraggage and the FUCKING PWNING map makeer

    btw why the hell is OpenArena even list the game SUCKS ASS its 1:1 Q3A clone with gfx even worse the the real one ....

    it should go

    Alien Arena

  15. Free Playstation 3
    September 11, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Great article. Thanks for the information.

  16. spanky
    September 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Half-Life 2: Deathmatch - best fps ever created and it's free to anyone with an ATI or NVidia graphics card. The learning curve can be a little steep, but well worth it.

    • nexu
      September 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm

      Steep learning curve? First time i was playing it people were already calling me hacks, not that i was so great. But because everyone was so used to their CS camping style that requires no skill at all.

  17. none
    September 11, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Freespace Open blows all of those away.

    September 11, 2008 at 10:33 am


  19. teebird
    September 11, 2008 at 4:59 am

    I'm with you. I love a good shooter I spend so much time recovering from being fragged my screen name should be "Target Practice," but I just laugh it off and go huntin' for dinner.

  20. erichansa
    September 11, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Red Alert: A Path Beyond (Windows only) should be given a look by anyone wanting a free game

    • Aibek
      September 12, 2008 at 7:44 am

      Read Alert? Is it FPS :?

      • Simon
        September 12, 2008 at 9:27 am

        It's a mod on the red alert strategy game, placing it in a FP setting (if I'm not mistaken ^^)

  21. neve
    September 11, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Are all the games in the list based on some kind of Quake engine? It definitely looks like it after seeing some video's. I'm sure I count at least 3. id Software ftw!

  22. eddiep
    September 11, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Also Tremulouse is missing. I would rate America's Army as the No. 1 with Tremulouse 2nd, Nexuiz 3rd ...

  23. gtnconcept
    September 11, 2008 at 2:35 am

    Warsow isn't on this list?
    It's worth checking out.

  24. TheGame
    September 11, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Americas Army is better than most FPS shooters you pay for so Im a bit surprised its not listed.

    • chris
      September 11, 2008 at 10:27 am

      perhaps because it is a recruitment tool for for the united states of shame-i mean america.

      • Aibek
        September 12, 2008 at 7:42 am


  25. mattzw
    September 11, 2008 at 1:43 am

    F.E.A.R is pretty good, not sure if it runs on anything other than windows though.

  26. _lx_
    September 11, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Also nice: Warsow

  27. centipeed
    September 11, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Warsow is the best open source Quake 3 Arena style game available. The developers actually seem to know a little about how to create a good deathmatch game, unlike some other titles on this list.

  28. Doug Woodall
    September 10, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I tried dnloading and installing Alien Arena and could not get it to install. Corrupted file in there it said.
    Hey Wootpeanuts, where can I get Wolf? I didnt know it was free.

    • Wootpeanuts
      September 10, 2008 at 9:41 pm

      The Install and Patch files can be found at [Broken Link Removed]

      • Doug Woodall
        September 11, 2008 at 8:36 am

        Thanks Wootpeanuts.
        I loved playin Wolf way back when.

  29. Karl L. Gechlik
    September 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Lots of new games! These will keep me busy! Thanks Ross!!

  30. Wootpeanuts
    September 10, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is my favourite free FPS. Just discovered that it is also cross-platform.

    • Ross McKillop
      September 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm

      I was seriously tempted to include it in the list, but I've always had issues running it in OS X, and that it's multiplayer only.. (sometimes I like to pretend I'm good at FPS games by playing against the computer, on "Easy" of course).

  31. Doug Woodall
    September 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Ive always been a Half Life fan myself.
    But I'll check out Alien Arena, Im a sci fi geek.

  32. Ram
    September 10, 2008 at 11:45 am

    What about Combat Arms? Surely deserves a mention....

    • Ross McKillop
      September 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm

      Ram - So far as I can tell, Combat Arms is Windows only. I might have to boot into Windows though, cause it does look good :)

      • dillon
        December 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

        dude combat arms is awsome

      • Teh0pwn3r
        February 17, 2009 at 5:47 am

        dude im on Mac and i can run combat arms jus fine i dont lagg i dont find anything bad on it, 35 FPS FTW

        • RicoSuaveMacDad
          October 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm

          Hey I have an IMac, and I wanted to know how to run combat arms. Can you help.

    • FPS gamer
      September 16, 2008 at 1:13 am

      Combat Arms is only available to North America, Korea region. What about the rest of t he world? huh. I uninstalled it in two minutes after getting error PI, 30022.

      • Simon
        September 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

        Yeah, it stinks. I had the same problem here (Europe). Should come to the rest of us in due time, though.

    • bill
      October 30, 2008 at 10:28 pm

      combat arms has too many hackers to be any good...

  33. USBman
    September 10, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    While I've not any real experience with the others you mentioned, I can say that I am a big fan of Nexuiz!

    The gameplay is great, the community is helpful, and heck - you can even run it as a portable application on Windows, meaning you can take it with you wherever you go!

    • Aibek
      September 12, 2008 at 7:41 am

      "...ou can even run it as a portable application on Windows"

      Awesome, thanks for heads up.