Playing games socially on mobile is a tricky thing to do. When it comes to local multiplayer, you’re dealing with an extremely small screen that’s been designed for one person to use at a time. With online play, the nature of mobile usage is that you never know when you might have the time available to play a round.
The solution to this conundrum is asynchronous multiplayer, where you can take it in turns with your fellow players whenever you get a moment to spare. Here, then, are six of the best asynchronous multiplayer games on iOS – some of which allow turns to be taken at leisure, others with a time limit. But all are low-pressure fare that involve taking turns.
At heart, The Battle of Polytopia is a classic 4x (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) turn-based strategy game in the vein of PC heavyweights like Civilization. However, developer Midjiwan has successfully streamlined the formula for mobile consumption, with inviting graphics and an intuitive UI. It’s an absolute doddle to set up a multiplayer game with multiple humans, in both online and pass-the-handset variants.
Boggle meets Risk in this strategic word game, which requires you to form words on a 5×5 grid. The only trouble is, so is your online rival, and every letter they use becomes their territory, with tiles that are completely surrounded becoming ‘locked’ to that player. With its bright, crisp design and generous nature (you can get pretty much the whole experience without paying a penny), Letterpress is one of the most inviting asynchronous multiplayer games on the App Store.
Antihero might be a digital board game, but it’s got enough going for it to recommend it to non-board game players. Partly that’s down to its glorious presentation, with gorgeously animated characters stalking around a medieval fantasy diorama. For another, the action is snappy and involving, as your gang of master thieves seeks to loot, bribe, and assassinate their way to victory. It’s pretty great in single-player, too, which is a bonus.
XCOM: Enemy Within is the rare case of a fully-fledged PC game coming directly to iOS. The result is pretty darned good. Besides its fully fleshed-out campaign mode, which includes the Enemy Within expansion pack, this legendary turn-based squad strategy game offers you the chance to outmaneuver other people in extremely sneaky turn-based combat.
One of the biggest mobile hits of recent years, Marvel Snap takes the world-famous comic book universe and applies it to an intuitive, colorful, yet deeply strategic turn-based card battler. Collect superhero cards, build powerful decks out of them, and wage tactical war against real-life players. Just try and put this one down.
Marvel Snap might be getting all the plaudits right now, but Hearthstone is the original online card battler hit. Blizzard’s all-time classic contains unparalleled depth and strategy, as you build a deck of fantasy cards and take them into online battle. Featuring seemingly endless potential for surprise and strategic innovation, Hearthstone still hasn’t played itself out even after almost a decade on the App Store.