Amazing hot-seat multiplayer games to play on one smartphone or tablet! (Android and iOS)
With today's new consoles and over-the-top high-quality graphics, developers have shied away from adding hot seat (couch co-op, split screen, etc.) to their games so much that it's nigh impossible to have some good ol' "playing together" with a sibling or a friend. With only a few contemporary games supporting two controllers, you may be getting ready to see split screen slowly tumble away into our past, preparing those tears of nostalgia. But who would've guessed that present-day mobile devices, such as handsets and tablets, would actually come to the rescue?
Well, it's not exactly hot seat game bonanza on the app stores, but you'd be surprised how many good titles there are that can bring back some of that bittersweet sibling rivalry and pin you and your gaming partner from days of old back to a highly competitive, addictive, yet (sometimes) simple-looking game.
So, check out this list of 10 – who knows, maybe they'll do you good in the upcoming holidays.
Heroes of Might & Magic III HD
Let's start this off with a bang – Heroes of Might and Magic 3 is probably the most iconic game not only of the franchise, but for both the turn-based strategy genre and fantasy game genre. This 90's classic has kept gamers pinned to the computers years after its release – in fact, it has its own following still. Perhaps this is the reasons why the game got a facelift and a port to mobile devices.
You can now return to Erathia, raise your army of mythical creatures (goblins, genies, pegassi, unicorns, dragons, elves, cyclopes, and more) and go on a crusade to take over the kingdom. Alternatively, you could just play against friends in hot seat mode – since it's a turn-based strategy, it allows you to alternate between players, passing the device around. Just prepare snacks, patience, and a charger, as a single game of HoMM 3 could take around 4 hours and more – it's generally great to approach it as a “hang out game”, especially now that it's on mobile.
An FPS shooter that just reeks of classic Doom inspiration, with just a twist of Halo (visuals). This game doesn't pretend to be anything fancy, it just delivers a “here's your gun, now go and shoot stuff” experience, and it does it well. You can either play through the single player campaign, or hop online to blast some players in PvP. To top it off – it supports split screen on tablets, for some local co-op or deathmatch action!
Android (free, in-app purhases to unlock levels)
Badland is one of the most popular mobile games nowadays, developed especially for touch. Even though its solely based on tapping (anywhere on the screen), the game manages to entrance players with visual, physics, soundtrack, and shock factor in the traps that are laid around the levels.
Basically, you control a weird little black furball, which can fly. Touching the screen makes it go up, letting go allows fluffy to fall down. Using this simple mechanic, you have to get the little protagonist across some tight spots, with an ever-hostile environment looking to stop you.
The game offers split screen multiplayer of up to 4 players and its basically a race – be the first to finish the level, don't be the first to die. It's definite fun for casuals and devoted gamers alike, so we'd recommend gathering some friends around the tablet (or smartphone, but that's gonna get crampy) and giving it a spin.
Skulls of the Shogun
Skulls of the Shogun is a great fast-paced tactical strategy, which will often have you slapping your forehead as your opponent takes an advantage of a mistake you've made. It is even more unforgiving in online multiplayer, where your turns are timed, which practically guarantees that you will slip up. In hot seat mode, you can turn the timer off for some more laid-back play and have fun with a friend or a sibling. We also suggest playing through the single player campaign, as it is entertaining in itself and its plot isn't bad.
A fast-paced platform-based dueling game, which allows you to flip gravity at will. Dizziness and crazy times will ensue. According to the description, the app requires at least a 7” tablet, though, Google Play had no trouble letting us install it on the 5” Nexus 5. Yet, we recommend you follow the guidelines with this one, as you'd definitely need a bigger screen to keep track on what's going on.
Orbital is a physics-based puzzler, which has a simple premise, yet surprising hook power, as we found it to be strangely addicting. What's even better, it offers a hot seat mode, allowing you to match your trick shot skills against another human player.
In the basic game mode, you control a gun, which shoots out a special kind of shell – you fire it out on to the field and once its inertia stops, the shell becomes a “point orb” of sorts. This orb grows until it hits any type of boundary – be it the level's end or another bubble. From this point onward, your shells will ricochet off this newly created obstacle, as it takes 5 shots to be destroyed. Your mission is to destroy these self-created obstacles without accidentally getting a shot to ricochet back to your cannon. There are two extra modes to keep things fresh, too.
The free version of the app will allow you to play one mode for just a few minutes, but psssst – it will let you freely play all three modes in hot seat multiplayer.
Canabalt is a pure side-scrolling endless runner and probably one of the most famous ones at that. While the game sports simple looks, it does deliver pretty responsive controls and offers a fun time, while you are trying to beat your high score. Or... play with a friend and try to beat their score!
iOS ($0.99); free version
A very simple board game which could get pretty tricky once both players get used to the mechanics. Pi-Pi-Ee pits two players (or player and computer) versus one another, each controlling their own set of microbe-like creatures on a gridded field. Each turn, you can move one of your creatures for either 2 grids, or just 1 grid – the latter will allow the germ to clone itself. Touching down on a square right next to an opponent will instantly transform the opponent's pawns next to your landing pad into your own. The point is to have the most germs on the board by the round's end.
A high-action top-down shooter designed around single device multiplayer, this colorful game has you controlling a warrior in a futuristic arena. Pick up guns, hide behind cover and take down the opponent's warrior before he does the same to you. Twitch reflexes, trick shots, luck, and lots of fun (or rage) will ensue. We have to say, we do take issue with the game's aggressive color scheme, but that aside – it has the potential to deliver $2 worth of fun and more on top.
Little Stars for Little Wars 2
A fast-paced real-time strategy with a simple concept – produce enough ships to take as many star systems and hold them. The tactics are up to you. On a single device, the game allows for a skirmish of up to 3 players for those backstabbing moves you love to do. Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer, but hey – one can hope.