It seems like every single week a new high-profile multiplayer game comes out, begging us all to abandon whichever one we’re addicted to and give it a chance. It’s difficult keeping up with all of them, but somehow we’ve managed to pull it off. It’s almost like we’re a website dedicated to video games or something.
This year was filled to the brim with excellent multiplayer games, and it’s possible your favorite one didn’t make it onto the list below. If that’s the case, please share it in the comments! That way we can get really good at it, challenge you to a round, and beat you. We’re petty like that.
#5 – Wordox (Facebook)
If you judged Wordox solely by a screenshot, you’d probably write it off as another lazy Scrabble clone. And while elements of the classic word game are certainly there—spelling out words on a grid of tiles, most notably—there’s more to it than that. Rather than focusing on triple-word scores and special tiles, your real goal is to be the first player to place 25 letters on the playing field. There are all sorts of opportunities for your opponents to steal the lead in a given round, which always makes for an excellent multiplayer experience.
#4 – Outwitters (iPhone, iPad)
The name says it all: this is a game about outwitting your opponents. It’s also a game where you assume the role of adorable animals and try to destroy the other players’ bases. As straightforward (and adorable, let’s face it) as that may be, there’s an interesting catch: the fog of war obscures much of the playing field. Basically, you’re only able to see what your team sees, which makes forming any sort of long-term strategies a difficult task. But try you must, and if it’s any consolation, you’ll have a ton of fun in the process.
Who said multiplayer games had to be competitive? Draw Something is the rare game that encourages its player to work in tandem rather than in opposition, and that alone makes it a standout multiplayer experience. That said, the true appeal of this game is the endless opportunities it provides for you to laugh at your friends’ horrible drawing skills.
Song Pop, though just as casual an experience as Draw Something, is a little more competitive. You and an opponent take turns trying to guess which songs are which based on brief audio clips. Victory goes to the person who responds the fastest—and with the most correct answers—in a given round. With an absurd amount of genres and music styles to choose from, it’s the kind of game that just about everyone has a chance to win at.
#2 – Summoner Wars (iPhone, iPad)
It’s always a little scary to see a beloved card game make the transition to digital. The gameplay may not translate well to a touchscreen, or the interface could be a convoluted mess. Not so with Summoner Wars.
If you’re fairly new to card games, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more inviting one – and I say that from experience. You play as a “Summoner” with the ability to cast magic and mobilize warriors in a battle against the opposition, and while there’s a whole lot of strategy and nuance within that framework, it’s nothing that can’t be picked up after a bit of time with the game.
#1 – Hero Academy (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad)
What makes a multiplayer game good? Is it accessibility? Mechanical depth? Dark Elves? If you answered with “all of the above,” chances are you’re already addicted to Hero Academy. It draws you in with its easy-to-understand, Chess-like structure, and then hooks you with its layered, strategic gameplay and endearing presentation. Or, if you’re playing it on Steam, you probably got addicted the second you found out there was a faction featuring Team Fortress 2 characters. Either way!
With another year come and gone, Gamezebo is looking back at the best games that 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will touch on just about every type of game you can imagine – so be sure not to miss any of it! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 articles, and vote for your favorite games in our 2012 Reader’s Choice awards.