The Best Multiplayer iPhone & Android Games10 Dec 2019 6
Today we're talking about multiplayer games, whether they be on iPhone (or iPad), Android or Windows Phone (lolz). There are fairly significant games out there that you can play with your friends locally, and then vast, massively multiplayer experiences that you can play online. Granted, a lot of these venture into Free-to-Play territory but it's come to a point where we can't ignore them.
What are the best multiplayer iPhone & Android games?
- Mucho Party
- Identity V
- Clash of Clans
- Heads Up!
- Hades Star
- Talisman: Digital Edition
- Arena of Valor
- Triple Agent
- Worms 4
- Words With Friends
Presented for the curious, here is a list of multiplayer iphone & android games across MMO-types, as well as local party games to help liven up a gathering. For those of you who've been paying attention, yes this is similar to the 'Best Party Games' feature we had - as an experiment I decided to ask Michael to give it an overhaul with a new focus. Enjoy!
Sample a sumptuous variety of mini-games with inspired and easily-digested twists with goofy facial reactions, and deft touch controls. Your player avatar has an oversized head with a handful of emote options which are customizable: just snap a few photos of your mug with exaggerated expressions and mild hilarity ensues. Yes, the new Mario Party is a classic return to form but Mucho Party is a really nice substitute available for the price of a song. A hidden gem.
Fortnite fever shows no chance of breaking anytime soon; the game continues to generate its own hype through cross-overs and events like Thanos’s brief appearance or the sudden appearance of that black hole. It has crafting and the Battle Royale last-man-standing appeal. This phenomenon came from nowhere and isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Both it and PUGB (Player Unknown Battlegrounds) are still the golden standard for Battle Royale games, and until Apex launches on mobile, I don’t see them being unseated.
One hunter chases four innocents across a gothic manse while the would-be escapees struggle to find and solve puzzles. The asymmetry and creepy-cute aesthetic make for a thrilling and iconic experience. The devs are always experimenting with new play modes (like the 8v2 for starters) and the hunt-or-be-hunted setup is a timely mix of the survival- and battle-royale games so en vogue these days. Add in a splash of progression (skill trees, new and unusual characters, cosmetic unlocks) and you have a winner.
Clash of Clans
Clash of Clans is an august title dating all the way back to 2012. Supercell’s launched a billion other projects since and they all have similar DNA: easy core gameplay loops with short bursts of required activity and an addictive structure. Oh, and they’re all free-to-play with boosts and shortcuts tucked not-so-discreetly away behind a paywall. Clash is the original and still among the greats, though it has some issues with plateaus and top-level play, the ramping up to the endgame is still a delight.
Heads Up! Was a victim of its own success for a time. The game is dead simple: a word appears on screen and is held above the guesser’s head. This same guesser is assailed by clues from teammates until the guesser finds the right word or phrase . Cycling through words quickly to rack up a high score, switching up the guessing role amongst team members. Heads Up! has one simple advantage over every other game on this list: it doesn’t need a surface to work. Works just as great standing or crammed together in a vehicle. Anywhere with good sight lines is fair game for Heads Up! short of a hall of mirrors. It’s so good that it’s cliche, at risk of getting played to death and forgotten. In case you’ve never given it a chance with a bored group, do.
Masquerading as chaos and nonsense, Spaceteam never fails to gin up a riotous good time. Navigating the reaches of space takes technical know-how and precise coordination, and Spaceteam spoofs these facts of spacetime-travel by splitting up instructions from control panels. Someone knows which button to press, and where, but the orders and details are deliberately turned into techno-speak-gibberish. Jabbering, giddy gibbons sharing gibberish...in space. Seriously though, the game works wonders for those improvisational types who thrive on chaos and unprecedented social situations. Oh, and it allows for cross-platform play between Android and iOS.
Hades’ Star has a persistent, dynamic and massive world whose contours are shaped by the collective actions of the players. In this respect, it’s like a bite-sized EVE Online, though a tad simpler. I’ve always found that vast settings make the crawl of real-time games more palatable, like with Subterfuge. Situated in outer space, the 4X stages of explore and expand take a good amount of time, but that deliberation is the best part of Hades Star.
It suffers from a little free-to-play structure in its later stages, I guess, but it isn’t really a game which makes sense to binge, so the premium currency of ‘crystals’ is for those who want to play faster on their own terms. A little-known treat for fans of MMOs, 4X or the outer reaches of the universe.
Talisman: Digital Edition
Talisman is a wild time and a mess, digital or analogue, but it’s markedly tidier and every bit as much of a caper on the good old ‘pad. Collecting magic artefacts, spells and literal pieces of fate and destiny as the hour grows late. It’s a classic and epic game, but also well suited to casual meet-and-greets, too. Because each turn’s decisions are relatively simple and straightforward, players can banter, chow down or otherwise divert themselves without hampering the flow of the gameplay at all.
Arena of Valor
Deliberately as evocative of League of Legends as possible, this one is a good game with a few caveats. First, the monetization is not especially burdensome but hard to ignore. Secondly, the controls work pretty well but since the Switch version came out they feel second fiddle, in terms of responsivity. Still, you can experience a polished and mature MOBA with respectable mechanics, tutorials and matchmaking. It’s not quite as vibrant a scene as it used to be, but Arena of Valor is still a rush to play.
Triple Agent is a mixture of chaos and order, of ineffective backstabs, liars giving useful tips and honest fools botching the naked truth. It’s a find-the-betrayer style party game, just like Mafia and Werewolf, but what sets it apart from its ilk, aside from a whip-smart app and panoply of extra optional win conditions, is the total miniaturisation of the experience. One device is passed around to dole out identities, clues and the final elimination vote. The group at the end of the chaotic play session collectively eliminates one person, and if they were a Good Guy the Bad Guys win and vice versa. Really fresh interface and game design take on an old standard.
Worms are good for the earth, enriching the soil and setting the fields for a rich harvest next season. Worms from Team 17, on the other hand, spend all their lives trading quips and aiming impractical and ultraviolent weapons at each other. Carpet bombs, napalm, the holy hand grenade, anything and everything is an instrument of death in Worms. The terrain is destructible too, and the only ‘loot crate’ drops are just in-game goodies and not a euphemism for scummy monetisation. This is a premier zany 2D shootout, decades old and no worse for wear.
Words With Friends 2
Whoof, Words with Friends is a veritable dinosaur, dating back practically to the first days of the iPhone itself. It is an excellent multiplayer game because it accommodates all kinds of time commitments and skill levels. Yes, it’s a duo affair but so good it bears repeating. A simple word game gets even better with asynchronous play and friends list integration, so that when a moment of creative insight strikes, you can quickly convert it into a witty and devastating turn of phrase. It’s like texting, but with a score attached.
Other Party & Multiplayer Game Recommendations
- Royal Adviser
- Soul Knight
- Legends of Andor
What are your favourite multiplayer games? Let us know in the comments!