Multiplayer games are usually played over a network connection, one device per player. Socially, this means that even if you’re playing a multiplayer game with a friend who is in the same room as you are, each of you has their head stuck inside their phone. For all intents and purposes, it looks like you’re doing something separately – not like you’re actually playing together.
Well, playing with a friend doesn’t have to be that way. Today I’d like to show you three different multiplayer Android games (two free, one with a free demo) that all let you play with a friend on one device, and actually feel like you’re playing together.
Yes,looks incredibly simple, but that’s a big part of its charm, at least in my opinion. Since the graphics are so bare-bones, I’ve annotated the screenshot above so that it would make a bit more sense. This is a strictly two-person game: There is no single-mode player at all.
At the beginning of the game, each player gets six pucks of varying sizes. You fling the puck from your home area to the other side of the screen, and try to make it slide into the target area of your opponent (shown above). If it lands there, good for you – but you haven’t scored a point just yet. Pucks can bump into each other, and your opponent may be able to push that puck back into your own target area. That won’t cost you a point, but it will disable the puck: Points are counted at the end of the game, and only pucks that are in your opponent’s target area when the game ends, count.
If your puck lands in your opponent’s home area (at the very edge of the screen), they get to use it in the next turn as their own puck. A simple game, but lots of fun to play.
2 Player Reactor
We’ve written about 2 Player Reactor before, in a post about more conventional multiplayer games. If OLO is all about thoughtful, turn by turn action and careful aiming, 2 Player Reactor is about frantic speed and fractions of a second.
The interface is extremely simple: You and your partner each get a pad which you must hit when something happens. The first to hit it, gets a point. That “something,” however, is the core of the game: 2 Player Reactor is composed of multiple challenges, such as the one you see above, where you must hit the pad as soon as the word matches its color (i.e, as soon as the word “yellow” appears in yellow).
Other challenges include quickly spotting when an equation is right or wrong, or hitting the pad right when there are more + signs than – signs in a randomly ordered grid:
As the game emphasizes split-second reaction times, both players should probably be at a comparable level of soberness to play. Then again, it can also make a fun drinking game.
Last, but certainly not least, comes Orbital. It does have a free version, but I feel the paid version is more than worth the money. I’ve played this game countless times at coffee shops, and it never stops being fun. In gameplay, it looks something like this:
The turret at the bottom of the screen is mine. It is constantly rotating, and as soon as I touch the screen, it shoots out a cannonball. The ball bounces around the screen, hitting other objects, and eventually loses momentum and lands in one place. Once it lands, it grows until it hits a wall or another ball (note how the two “3” balls in the middle are close together, while the “1” grew until it hit the right wall).
The numbers on the balls are important. As a ball is hit, the number printed on it decreases (usually from 3). As soon as it hits zero, that ball implodes and disappears. Most importantly, if the ball you shot ricochets back across your starting line, you strike out. The game features three different modes, and each of these can be played either in single-player or dual-player mode. The graphics are retro and Tron-like, and motion is incredibly smooth and fluid. One of my favorite games.
What Do You Play?
When you’re hanging out with friends, do you ever play multiplayer Android games on the same phone or tablet? If so, what do you play?