Carter Dotson is a freelance writer from Texas, covering the mobile and gaming industries since 2009. He has written for 148Apps since 2010, and hosts the weekly mobile gaming podcast The Portable Podcast.
When one thinks of multiplayer gaming on the iPhone, turn-based board games like Words With Friends come to mind. They’re extremely convenient, allowing friends near and far to play games together at their own pace and convenience.
However, these games lack action and immediacy. After all, there’s a special kind of satisfaction that comes from beating a friend, and instantly being able to view his reaction. Thankfully, iOS is full of games that can help satisfy that desire through live multiplayer action.
This physics puzzler-meets-golf game has online multiplayer access for up to four people. Players race to the finish, instead of attempting to score by fewest strokes. This means that strategy and shot selection have changed dramatically from the more traditional single-player mode. With little time to set up the perfect aim, getting the quickest and most effective shot is key. Thankfully, a variety of power-ups help make this happen. Ultimately, sinking the ball right before an opponent offers the kind of satisfaction that makes online gaming great.
This modern entry of Capcom's famous fighting game series has an elaborate, near-console quality iOS version. The Volt version enables online play, allowing for battle between two players anywhere in the world. Capcom has also shown a commitment to post-release support by adding new content and addressing technical online play issues. Those who fear that a fighting game won't work on a touch screen as well will be pleasantly surprised to maneuver Street Fighter mobile play.
This strategy game pits two or three players against one other with the goal of last-man-standing. Players spend three different phases of the game placing weapons, firing at opponents, and trying to rebuild defenses by laying down puzzle pieces to form walls. The game really shines when three players compete, because temporary alliances can spring up between players to bring the leading player down; the built-in voice chat helps to facilitate competition.
This online role-playing game allows players to tackle quests with others all over the world. A player can auction items and acquire special equipment, just like the traditional MMORPG games, but now it can be played during the morning commute. The game is free, with no subscription costs, and as a bonus, is a universal app on iOS. Player accounts are cross-compatible with Android, making it possible to play as the same character on both devices.
First-person shooters are typically the standard of console games, but even touchscreen devices can get in on the fun. This fast-paced game drops players in free-for-all, team deathmatch and capture-the-flag modes, each with special variations. The game doesn't suffer for iOS compatibility, and features great control and multiplayer support for up to 10 players.
A surprising rarity on iOS, this dual-stick shooter features competitive online play in both deathmatch and objective modes, alongside standard single-player survival modes. Players hunt down opponents using two virtual joysticks, one for movement, and the other for firing in a given direction. Players can earn experience that goes toward better weapons and equipment.
Firemint's racing title is possibly the best-looking game in the App Store. It features online racing for up to 16 players. Participants can take their speedy vehicles earned in single-player mode into multiplayer, and race around each of the game's tracks. Watch out for a racing field that won't be afraid to run you off the course -- or just win via precision racing.
Sometimes it's just more fun to launch a precision missile at other racers. Kart racers (think Mario Kart) features a variety of Sonic and Sega characters that race around crazy Sega-inspired tracks, deploying weapons and special abilities to get to the front of the pack.
That's right, the endless jumping game that millions have played includes a multiplayer mode as well. The goal is to reach the end before the other player by accessing spring platforms, all the while trying not to fall off the screen or get whacked by an enemy. Sometimes just playing smarter than the other player and outlasting him is enough to win.
While turn-based multiplayer word games are all the rage, this game lets up to four players take each other on simultaneously. The objective of the game is to form words from tiles laid out on a board by drawing a line between adjacent letters – all in a two-minute timeframe. The multiplayer mode gives each player the same board, and the person with the highest score at the end wins.