The Android gaming market is still growing and evolving in many ways, but as an Android user myself, I fully realize that it’s still nowhere near the Apple store in many respects. Specifically, multiplayer games seem to be lagging behind on the Android especially given the rapid pace with which the Android market is growing.
That said, there are actually quite a few free multiplayer games out there for the Android that are nothing short of addictive and amazing – they’re just hard to find.
In preparation for this article I was doing some research online to see if there were any multiplayer apps I hadn’t come across, and I kept seeing Cestos, Gang Wars, and Parallel Kingdom. Not that these aren’t great games, but because I’ve seen them so much in reviews, I’m only going to mention Cestos in this article (because yes, I’m addicted). Keep that in mind while reading – I’m trying to hit on a few of the best Android games that may be new to you.
This is one of the best Android shooter games I’ve seen for Android, so you can imagine my surprise that not many Android users seem to know about it. Project INF is one of the few free multiplayer games that I play on a regular basis that I feel like I should be paying for.
ChickenBrickStudios has done a great job developing Project INF without making it unrealistic to play on a handheld device. So often handheld games have some of the worst, most painful control configurations known to man, but Project INF’s controls are relatively seamless and I found them very intuitive.
Don’t be put off by the seemingly slow pace that the game seems to have – it’s completely different when the game is in your hands. I personally am grateful that it isn’t any more fast paced because otherwise, there would be 3-4 person games rather than 16-20 person deathmatches. Right now, Project INF lets players compete in deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture the flag events.
You can choose to be a Scout, Marine, or Brute, each class with a distinct skill or advantage that gives it an edge in a certain area. There’s also not really a “best class” in Project INF – just pick the one that fits your style, and customize the rest. Every other time that your character levels up (from kills, flag captures, etc) you are able to pick an aspect of the character to upgrade. This means that your level 30 Scout may be specialized for something else than your friend’s level 30 Scout.
In addition, as you progress you will gain money and have the ability to buy class specific items – whether they be shields that affect certain statistics, or different potions to help you out in a pinch, you’ll want to put your money to good use.
I have one last thing to mention about Project INF: it’s relatively well balanced between levels. Don’t feel intimidated if you’re a level 1 on a map full of level 30+ characters – at level 5 I was routinely killing people more than 20 levels above me. Get comfortable with your character and class, and just have some fun. Besides, you gain levels quickly up until around level 15, so you’ll get competitive pretty quickly.
What are you waiting for? Get Project INF, make an awesome screenname, and enjoy one of the best multiplayer Android games you’ve ever played!
Learning this highly addictive game is extremely easy – if it takes you more than 30 seconds to get the hang of things, you’re trying too hard. All players on the map start out with a number of balls, and the object of the game is to knock other people’s balls into pits or hazards – the last man standing wins.
The interesting thing about this game is that turns are done simultaneously; you pick a direction and magnitude for the path of each of your balls, and then double tap to wait for the other player. After both of you have made decisions on where the balls will be headed, they will simultaneously go where you told them to go, leaving mines in their previous locations. ChickenBrickStudios (yeah, the same ones that made Project INF) have a decent set ofthat do a good job of explaining the game.
In addition to just the game, there’s actually a community where you can add friends, chat, view your statistics – all that fun stuff you like to see in games.
The cool thing about this style of play is that it’s based on how well you can predict your opponent’s moves – it keeps things interesting and prevents Cestos from becoming another game where a single strategy dominates. In addition, as you play Cestos you will level up and gain different tweaks and mods for your balls (I’m starting to sound creepy here). Mind you, the perks you get are not quite at the level of a game like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, but hey they don’t hurt!
Since Cestos is free, and everyone takes the occasional bathroom break, I would recommend you get on the Android market and download this game now.
What the Doodle Lite (Also see Sketch Online)
This game is nothing short of addictive. Join a room with several contestants, and take turns drawing the words that you are given. It’s essentially Pictionary for your Android device – without the paper of course. You may also have heard about Sketch Online, which is almost the exact same game.
I figured I would mention WTD because I like it more – the people that play it in general are nicer in my experience. Sketch seemed to have a lot of mouthy kids that didn’t really add to the fun of the game. Even though I like What the Doodle, feel free to try Sketch Online out as well – since they’re both free what have you got to lose? (other than your self esteem, but we won’t go there…)
Get the free version of this addictive arcade style home run derby-style game on your Android from the Android market. Home Run Battle 3D has some of the most impressive (‘Wii-like’) graphics that I’ve ever seen on an Android yet, and even utilized the accelerometer in your Android device to make gameplay more fun and engaging. The game can get repetitive just playing by yourself, so go online and battle other users on other platforms (yes, iPhone users) to see who can knock the most over the fence.
Here’s a quick summary video of HomeRun Battle 3D that sums the game up better than a few sentences will. By the way; graphics like this don’t come cheap–this thing’s filesize is huge for a standard Android game (22MB).
I should warn you – this game isn’t true multiplayer, because it doesn’t play online. Rather, you and a friend share your Android for this one. The concept of the game is extremely simple – the first one to react to whatever’s in the middle of the screen gets a point. The stimuli vary – sometimes you’re waiting for three matching images in the middle, other times you are supposed to react to the first true statement, etc.
As you can see on the product summary, people love this game – there’s no reason why you won’t. I have this one in my arsenal because you never know when you and a friend will be bored – and since he doesn’t have an Android phone you can’t play any of the other games mentioned! Don’t panic, just get 2 player Reactor and see who’s fastest. Although the video is of 4-player reactor, you shouldn’t have any problem envisioning 2 player.
EXTRA: Quake III (Kwaak3)
Quake III on an Android? Hell yeah! When I heard the news that someone had ported Q3 to the Android, I had to check it out. You already know what the game is – Quake helped make FPS’s on the PC what they are today. What you’re PROBABLY wondering is why I mentioned it in an article about multiplayer Android games.
It turns out that the (blessed) developer that ported the game over to Android has actually tried it on his home network and stated that Quake III ran multiplayer with his home PC just fine! This means that (fingers crossed here) you’ll be able to do the same with your Android 1.6+ device! Say hello to Android-powered Quake III LAN parties.
I don’t want to bore you with details – just check out the video. AndroidandMe has a really good summary article of the entire story, so go read that for more information. All you really need to know is that the game runs at a decent speed (around 26fps on the Droid/Milestone), has multiplayer and single player, and cannot be downloaded on the Android marketplace, so don’t bother looking. Rather, check out the developer’s page and scroll down to “installation” for the required file and a short list of easy instructions. That’s it – enjoy Quake on your device! It ran flawlessly on my Droid and multiplayer went without a hitch as well – let me know in the comments section if you get it working too!
What’d you think of the list of best Android games mentioned here? My focus here was on games that are not hampered by their “Lite” status which sifted out a few games that could be extremely fun multiplayer, but don’t really offer the gamer many features in the ‘lite’ edition. Hopefully you hadn’t heard of one or two of the games I mentioned in this article, and found a game that you really enjoyed (and for such a good price, too!).
So, what’d I miss? Let me know which multiplayer games you play the most on your Android phone!