Play the best online games like Among Us and Jackbox Party Packs. A minority pastime, gaming has become mainstream with the introduction of smartphones. They can be a fun activity for the whole family or the life of the party. And there are a lot of games out there that can be played without first learning how to use the controller. Actually, you can find ones made with your phone in mind.
There is a wide variety of games available on the web; whether you prefer classics, party games, escape rooms, or thrilling board games, you can find a digital equivalent. If you’re looking for a good time with your pals online, here are some of the best options. Every so often, we’ll revise and update this list.
We consider Jackbox Games to be the pinnacle of casual online gaming because its multiplayer party games are accessible to even the most inexperienced gamers while still providing hours of fun. There is no need for apps or consoles because everyone plays directly in their web browser on their mobile devices. With the help of the TV mirroring feature, you can even connect your iOS or Android device to the big screen.
This is how the Jackbox Party Pack functions: In order to play the Jackbox Party Packs or individual games, a single person must make a purchase on Steam (for PC, Mac and Linux). The packs typically retail for $30 each but can be found for less during sales. Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and other devices support the DLC packs.
After making a purchase, you and your friends can start the game on your laptop and use the screen-share feature so that everyone in the video chat can see what you’re seeing. This works with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and any other service that supports video calls. As previously mentioned, everyone participates on their own mobile device by opening a browser to Jackbox.tv and entering a room code.
You could also use Steam’s Remote Play Together feature, Discord’s screen-sharing functionality, your gaming console’s built-in streaming capabilities, or just a webcam in front of your TV. Jackbox also explains how to stream its games through its website.
The games in each set range from those that test your knowledge to those that encourage you to express yourself creatively through doodling, drawing, or even writing jokes. The games are simple, funny, and come with straightforward instructions, making them accessible to even the most inexperienced players. However, this year’s Jackbox Party Pack 8 includes games that require social deduction and hiding clues for those who enjoy a greater challenge.
For those who enjoy social deduction games like Mafia and Werewolf, InnerSloth has created a multiplayer version of these games called Among Us. In this game, you play the part of a member of the crew aboard a spaceship, sky headquarters, or planet base, and your goal is to safely return to Earth with a group of four to ten other crew members (either those you know IRL or strangers online). But a parasitic, shape-shifting alien has taken the place of one crew member, and it plans to wipe out the rest of the crew before the ship can return home. The imposter, who looks just like the rest of the crew, plans to kill them all by sabotaging the ship, sneaking through vents, fooling other players, and framing others.
Meanwhile, the human crew members are tasked with fixing the ship and are forbidden from communicating unless a death has occurred. The remaining crew can then speculate on who the imposter might be and cast their votes accordingly. The crew wins if they succeed in voting the imposter off. But if someone gets accidentally voted off the ship, everyone goes back to keeping the ship running until another body is found, and then they vote again.
On both iOS and Android, Among Us can be downloaded at no cost (you can download it on the App Store or Google Play Store). Also, PC games cost only $5. (you can download it on Steam or itch.io). The ability to play with people from different platforms is a huge perk.
Be aware that there are advertisements in the free mobile version. When you first install and launch the game on your device, a pop-up will inform you that it uses AdMob and collects data. The ad-free version of the app can be purchased for $2 by tapping Remove Ads and following the on-screen instructions to enter your payment information.
The Escape Game
Try your hand at a virtual escape room and see how well you do with solving puzzles. Like in the real-world version, you have a limited amount of time to solve the puzzles and find the exit before the game ends.
TEG Unlocked: The Heist is an Escape Game option for those 12 and up. A one-to-four player game split into two parts, you play the role of a secret agent trying to stop an art thief. If you purchase all three games together, you save 10% off the total price of $30.
Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania, has made a free, Harry Potter-themed escape room available online in Google Docs for those looking for something more family-friendly.
Tabletopia bills itself as a “online arena” for playing more than 900 board games in the same way you would in a physical location. The platform is available for download from Steam, the App Store, and the Google Play Store, and can also be played in a desktop browser on a Mac or Windows computer.
Games like chess and Texas hold ’em are always a good time, but there are also more complex options like Scythe and Clans of Caledonia available. You can either organize your own game with friends or hop into an existing game with free spots. The virtual versions remove the need for shuffling and the need to interpret some of the rules, allowing you to get right into the action.
The bronze package is free to use and includes some fun games, while the silver package costs $5 per month and the gold package costs $10 per month and grants access to premium games.
Tabletop Simulator is a comparable choice that offers variations on traditional games like chess, poker, dominoes, Mahjong, and jigsaw puzzles. You can use the platform to make your own games and play those made by others.
You might recognize a few games, but keep in mind that the majority of these were made by users like you rather than professional programmers. Tabletop Simulator is a $20 Windows/Mac app available on Steam that allows players to collaborate via screen sharing.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Since its release in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a phenomenon in the gaming industry. There are things you can do on your own island, like planting trees and growing fruit, or you can invite friends to come and explore the island with you, fish, and do room designs. Some recognizable faces from Mario’s canon have even made an appearance.
Nintendo released New Horizons 2.0 in November of last year, which expanded the game’s camera, added new items, and modified how villagers interacted with one another. Players can construct vacation homes in Happy Home Paradise, which is a paid add-on.
You can also play Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on your mobile device if you don’t have a Switch.
You’ve probably heard of some of the best games for mobile devices, which allow you to compete or collaborate with your friends at any time. You can easily stay in touch and fit in a quick game whenever you have a spare moment during the day with games like Fortnite, Words with Friends 2, Scrabble GO, Uno & Friends, and Draw Something.
A mobile gaming subscription service could be worth it if you play mostly by yourself. More than 150 unique games can be found in Apple Arcade, from old classics like Pac-Man Party Royale and Frogger in Toytown to cutting-edge titles like Crossy Road Castle and Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, Pacman 30th Anniversary. You can play on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV each month for only $5.
More than three hundred and fifty games, such as Monument Valley, Risk, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, are available to Android users with the Google Play Pass service for the low, low price of $5 per month.
The Pokemon Company
Like Dota 2 and League of Legends, Pokemon Unite reimagines the classic Pokemon formula as a competitive online multiplayer battle arena. Players assume the role of Pokemon trainers and compete against each other and wild Pokemon in order to level up and gain Unite points. Two lanes, one at the top and one at the bottom of the playing area, feature hoop-like goals into which players can deposit their Unite points in order to score.
In order to make the traditional MOBA elements more accessible to newcomers, Unite is a fantastic game to play with friends. Pokemon fans will be pleased to know that Unite retains many of the series’ staple features, such as the ability to level up, evolve, learn new moves, and use items for strategic advantage. As of December of last year, the game had been downloaded a total of 50 million times.
Unite’s five-on-five battles are the most fun to participate in with a group of friends (or four). Do you have a team of five? Work together as a team and plan your attacks in advance. Do you have a friend or two who would like to join you? You can form a team with Venusaur, Charizard, and Blastoise, the original starters. One single companion? If you and your partner can combine offensive firepower with defensive fortitude, you’ll become unstoppable in your field.
Players can find the Pokemon that best suits them thanks to the variety of Pokemon and the fact that each has its own unique play style, set of strengths, and set of weaknesses. It’s up to you whether you want to build a competitive roster or just play your favorite games for fun.
Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android users can download Pokemon Unite for free.
You can find free online versions of some classics like Battleship if you want to go completely retro with your virtual gaming. The Washington Post also hosts a group crossword puzzle that you can work on with your friends. As previously mentioned, if you and a friend each purchase Tabletop Simulator, you can play a variety of cooperative and competitive games together, such as chess, poker, dominoes, and jigsaw puzzles.