With the Angry Birds dictatorship controlling the App Store, many casual players are unaware that the connectivity in their iOS devices can offer hours of fun and replay value in certain games. Without the need of churning new levels every so often, some developers have found the perfect balance to make multiplayer gaming in iPhones and iPads shine. Here are my seven favorites.
The campaign mode is fun, but the online multiplayer could be released as standalone app on its own right. Unlike the single mode, the goal in multiplayer is to hit the ball into the hole before your opponent, taking as many hits as you need. Being able to play against one or three opponents via Game Center, Super Stickman Golf is really fast and will delight even if you hate golf.
Who in their right mind would imagine World of Warcraft running on iOS devices? Only the best developer to bring console-class games to mobile platforms could dare to do it, and sure enough, it was only a matter of time until Gameloft attempted to do it. While most of their games suffer from a cookie cutter syndrome, in Order and Chaos the end justifies the means. Shorter quests are nicely adapted for a better mobile experience and the low entry cost of its subscription model, makes it a great introduction to the serious world of MMOs.
The App Store version of the old-fashioned Tiddlywinks is one of the best examples of asynchronous multiplayer mobile gaming. A turn-based racing game? Launch the app, take your turn and continue with your chores until your opponent makes a move. Flicking discs on these wacky courses is surprisingly addictive and choosing the best shot and power-ups adds a strategic element you can't find in faster paced games.
Up to 10 players in online multiplayer matching? Check. Plenty of maps and hidden weapons? Check. Co-op, Capture the Flag and All against all modes? Double Check. Released a while ago, if you got hooked to the freemium experience in Eliminate, you know all FPS fans are playing Archetype. Removing messy lobbies just makes it for me; I only wish there was a melee knife.
Forget those Scrabble wooden tiles and those endless games at home. Words with Friends has revolutionised commuting since it came out, allowing crossword puzzle fans to challenge strangers in games that can take days. The beauty of it is having several games open at the same time and taking your turns throughout the day when you have some free time like a chess master.
Slicing fruits with a virtual sword still sounds dumb, but millions of iOS players have kept Fruit Ninja up in the Top 10 charts for a while now. In the online multiplayer mode you compete against another ninja and have to chop the fruits of your colour while avoiding theirs. Since the other player is seeing the same as you, it gets crazy when you fight to slice common fruits that appear mixed with some deadly bombs. The smart scoring system that penalises you for failing to chop the good ones does the rest for a very quick and fun online multiplayer game.
Board games are meant to be played with friends and Carcassonne is no exception. Thanks to push notifications, players using the "Internet mode" are alerted when they have to move, strategise, place a tile and let the opponents do the same. Another great example of online asynchronous gameplay.