The 10 Best Multiplayer Games on the iPhone

Gaming all by yourself can get lonely. Luckily for us, the iPhone is a capable multiplayer machine that can deliver a social experience, whether you want to frag strangers online or play a board game with your buddies on a road trip. We recently asked readers on Twitter to help us create a list of the best multiplayer games for our GameFinder app. Here are the top picks, in no particular order, selected by us and you.

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

The multiplayer mode in Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is by far the most robust Gameloft has put together yet. First of all, with up to 10 players in a match at once, you’ll never have trouble finding someone to blast away. Also, you play as a persistent character, so every chump you take down gives you experience points, helping you level up and unlock new weapons to equip. For this mode alone, the game is worth the asking price. The single-player campaign is just icing on the cake.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus provides top notch modern warfare on the go, with a lengthy campaign and a deeply addictive multiplayer mode.

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Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja’s multiplayer might be as simple as they come, but it’s surprisingly addictive. You go up against one person at a time and try to chop as much of your fruit as possible while avoiding theirs. Special white-colored fruit can be chopped by anyone, so you’ve gotta have quick fingers to succeed. Fruit Ninja was also the first game to have competitive multiplayer via Game Center.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: As far as simple pick-up-and-play games go, Fruit Ninja is among the best.

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Words With Friends

Who needs Scrabble’s Facebook multiplayer when you have Words With Friends? Once you set up an account, you can challenge strangers online and send push notifications when it’s their turn to move. It’s a great game that’ll lead to lots of jocularity (triple word score!)

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: Words With Friends is a great experience that word game fans will enjoy.

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Archetype

Archetype pioneered five-on-five team deathmatches on the iPhone. Before it came out, we were all stuck with wimpy two-on-two matches. While you don’t get to level up your character in Archetype, the game has near-perfect controls and tons of weapon pick-ups scattered throughout the levels. And we have to say, the battle axe is one of the coolest melee weapons in any FPS on the App Store.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Refined in nearly every way, Archetype is one of the best first-person shooters on the platform.

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Carcassonne

Unlike many of the games on this list, Carcassonne is about building something up instead of tearing someone down. You have to create a medieval landscape, complete with roads, towns, and fields, while fending off point-stealing “meeple” from your opponents. It’s a cerebral board game with excellent online multiplayer.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: This award-winning board game is also an amazing app, loaded with multiplayer features.

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Real Racing

Our Game of the Year for 2009 showed us just what was possible on the iPhone. This amazing racer also introduced us to online racing via Firemint’s Cloud Cell network, and now the company is working on integrating Real Racing with Game Center. If you love realistic driving sims, this is your game.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: One of the most complete games we’ve reviewed, Real Racing drives like a champ and is packed with features.

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N.O.V.A. Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

Prior to N.O.V.A., Gameloft had merely dabbled in multiplayer, with its stumbling attempt in Modern Combat: Sandstorm. While N.O.V.A. only offers two-on-two matches, the maps are properly sized to accommodate the players, and the sci-fi atmosphere allows for some imaginative level designs. Though they’ve upped the multiplayer ante since its release, N.O.V.A. remains one of the top online shooters on any handheld.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Fans of FPSes shouldn’t let this one slip by. Halo ripoff or not, it packs a lot of great content into a tiny, modestly-priced package.

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Homerun Battle 3D

Let’s face it, much of baseball is just boring. Who needs all that fielding and running, when all everyone wants to see is a home-run? Homerun Battle 3D gives players just that, with online gameplay that lets you knock ‘em out of the park over and over again. You can even see your opponent’s progress at the same time, but it’s still best to keep your eye on the ball.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: This game will definitely please Home Run Derby fans, but those looking for a fuller baseball experience will be left wanting.

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Pocket Legends

So far, Pocket Legends is the closest we’ve seen to World of Warcraft on the iPhone or iPad. It’s a free game, and the extra levels will cost you a bit more than that, but it’s still a great game for running around in instances and dumping magic spells on some aggro skeletons.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: Pocket Legends is a fun multiplayer experience that mirrors many of the aspects found in an MMO and, best of all, starts out free.

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Assassin’s Creed II Multiplayer

The developers of Assassin’s Creed II: Multiplayer easily could have gotten away with throwing together some boring old game ideas and calling it a day. But what they delivered was something far more inspired. In this game, your goal is to walk around and blend in with the computer-controlled crowd while other real people try to do the same. If you see someone you suspect to be a real person, you try to make your way over and kill him. But be careful, because then your cover is blown, too. It works because it makes you feel like a stealthy assassin by immersing you in the game world. Isn’t that what gaming is all about?

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: This multiplayer game has a clever concept, but serves more to promote the console game than stand on its own.

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Have a favorite that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments.

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