If you're quarantining with other people, consider yourself lucky — but it's not always easy. Staying in one space for so long with too many people can be challenging, so you need to find things to do to make the time go by (and to keep everyone sane). Our advice? Try out these seven free multiplayer games that only require one iPhone or Android device to play.
For our list, we're concentrating on games you need to play with the friends and family that are with you right now. These mobile games can come in handy whenever there's only one smartphone or tablet charged, when you want more intimate gameplay, or if you'd like to look the other player right in the eyes when you defeat them like a boss.
If you don't see your favorite multiplayer game on our list, it might be because it isn't "local-only." Trust us; we love our online multiplayer games, too. They're the best way to connect with others no matter where they might be. But the titles below are just great for a little friendly competition in your family room.
1. Out of the Loop
If you've played Jackbox's Fakin' It, you've played Out of the Loop. The gist? Everyone takes turns looking at the game, which will display a keyword. Everyone sees the same keyword except one person, who sees nothing. They're "Out of the Loop" and must pretend to know what the keyword is to avoid suspicion.
That gets pretty tricky since the game makes players ask each other specific questions about the keyword. For example, if you don't know the keyword is "pizza, and someone asks you if the food is Italian, it's going to be pretty awkward if you answer "no." At the end of each round, everyone in the group votes for who they think is "Out of the Loop." Those who guess right win points. If you escape, you win points.
Unfortunately, the only free category is food, so you won't find a ton of variety unless you pay $1.99 in-app for another category pack. Still, two dollars is a lot cheaper than most party games out there, so whatever you decide to do, Out of the Loop is a good value.
2. 2-Player Games
The 2-Player Games app seemingly wants to win the local multiplayer mobile market. The freebie has a whopping 24 two-player games for you to play, including staples like checkers and chess, to more intricate games like pingpong and tanks. Not only that, but these games have an excellent aesthetic. Simple colors, simple designs, but in a way where you can tell the developers took their time to make something fun and unique.
For a whopping zero dollars, 2-Player Games is a fantastic deal. You'll likely spend hours playing all the games with your friends and family — whoever you're stuck at home with.
3. Red Hands
After weeks of quarantine, you and your friends might turn to more intense games like "red hands" to make it through. You don't need to actually hurt each other, though, to get the full experience. Instead, give the Red Hands app a try. The app provides a simple game of red hands; tap to attack before the other player taps to retreat. However, you can customize your hand ahead of time, to be whoever you want to.
Red Hands might have the most ads of any game on our list, but it's still a fun way to get your "slaps" without any real physical damage. It could just be the outlet you need right now.
4. Glow Hockey
Don't have an air hockey table at home? No problem. Glow Hockey might be even better, especially if you're into neon lights and "Tron." Glow Hockey is pure, two-player air hockey with a great look. You can choose one of four paddle colors, then go to town.
If you want to, you can choose to play on a traditional air hockey background with regular air hockey pucks. Then again, you can also play 2-Player Games' air hockey offering. The reason to download Glow Hockey is from its namesake's aesthetic, adding a little extra "oomph" to a classic yet simple game.
5. 2 3 4 Player Games
Can you guess what 2 3 4 Player Games' gimmick is? The app is all about playing with as many people as you have hanging around. Is your household just you and one other person? Two players it is! Do you have six people all quarantining together? There are six-player team games to play.
There are a number of games to choose from; the exact number depending on the number of players you select. There are 11 one-player games, 21 two-to-four-player games, 28 games and "scenes" for 4-player teams, and 21 games and "scenes" for 6-player teams. You've got racers, shooters, tank battles, soccer, and even originals like pinball-pong. You're likely to find something for the whole group, so give it a go!
It might not be the most modern-looking game on our list, but hey, it gets the job done. If you're looking to play some checkers on your phone, then it doesn't get much better than Checkers Free. While you can play by yourself, the main appeal, of course, is the two-player mode. If you don't have a checkers set at home, sitting across a phone contemplating your next move should be the next best thing.
The benefit to Checkers Free vs. the checkers game in, say, 2-Player Games, is the mild customization. You get to choose your own names, what color piece you are, and which color goes first. While 2-Player Games' version might look better, that additional control makes Checkers Free a bit more of a checkers fan's game.
7. Dual (Bonus!)
Okay, so Dual needs more than one device to work, but it's worth it. You see, Dual is a simple space shooter that takes the space around you into account. You don't see the other player on your screen. Instead, you fire at the other phone. The bullets you shoot leave your screen and appear on the other player's display, and their shots find their way onto yours.
You can see in the tutorial view below how it ultimately works. You need to be strategic — your standard bullets only travel so far, so you need to fly closer to the edge to reach your opponent. However, that makes you more vulnerable to attack, as well. You can charge your shots, which will fly further and in more significant numbers, but it requires you to stop firing for an extended time.
Best of all, your two devices can connect by either the local Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth, the latter of which makes connecting easy.
If you get tired of endlessly firing on each other, there are two different game modes to play: Defend, where you team up with a friend to eliminate enemies appearing on both devices, and Deflect, which is basically Pong but across both devices. All three games are based on the same great concept, and we hope to see more games like it. (Note: to play either Defend or Deflect, at least one player will have to unlock the full game for $2.99.)
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