Multiplayer & social games
Bloop - Tabletop Finger Frenzy
One of the simplest multiplayer titles around, Bloop has between two and four players pick a colour and then try to tap the most tiles. After each short round, the size of the tiles decreases, leading to increasingly frantic tapping frenzies and plenty of hand collisions over your iOS device of choice. Once the final round's over, Bloop tots up the score - and that's it.
With its lurid colours, pleasingly retro sound effects, and straightforward challenge, Bloop is a friendly, accessible game that anyone can immediately understand. It's also fun, whether playing on the larger display of an iPad or pecking away at the smaller screen of an iPhone. Just make sure you all agree on any additional rules beforehand: shoving; how many hands to use; that it's totally not OK to abscond with the iPad while yelling BLOOP at an irritatingly loud volume. Craig Grannell
£4.99 | For iPad & iPhone (Universal) | Bloop on the App Store
Draw Something might be flawed, but for a while this Pictionary-style social puzzler threatened to take over the world. After setting up a game with a friend or stranger (you can have several on the go at once), you are presented with three objects. You pick one, and then draw it. Later, your friend will see your drawing process as a video, and try to guess what it is. They'll then draw a picture, and you try to keep the game going as long as possible: it's collaborative, not competitive.
The drawing interface can be a bit clumsy (we advise using a stylus), but the basic idea is economy-threateningly fun. Lex Friedman
King of Opera
We can safely say that King of Opera is the most fun you can have with four people and an iPad.
Like all great party games, it has an amazingly simple concept: there are four opera tenors, and only one spotlight to hog. When someone else has the spotlight, everyone else tries to shove them off the stage to take it for themselves. (Just like in real life.) For its admittedly short lifespan this is a purely joyful experience that anyone can pick up and play. Alan Martin
Pokemon GO has taken the entire world by storm. It first appeared in New Zealand, Australia and the US before it was rolled out to the UK and the rest of Europe, and since then it has been Pokemon GO GO GO. The idea of the game is simple: you're a Pokemon trainer and armed with your smartphone, you must go out into the world to catch Pokemon and battle rival gangs at Pokemon gyms. The difference between Pokemon GO and other games? You have to physically go outside and walk around to find Pokemon, gyms and Pokestops, which are usually points of interest that'll give you a few Pokeballs, maybe a potion or even an egg to hatch.
The type of Pokemon depends on the time of day and the area it's in - you're more likely to find water Pokemon by rivers and the seaside, while grass Pokemon are usually found in grassy areas like Parks. Once you find a Pokemon, the next step is to catch it - and this is where the app gets fun. The app uses Augmented Reality and your smartphone camera to superimpose the Pokemon in front of you in real life, wherever you are. From there, you need to throw Pokeballs to catch it and add it to your growing collection, with 150 Pokemon available to find.
There are gyms that rival teams can battle in for ownership, with the owner of the gym receiving Poke-coins for their achievements. These can be used to purchase bag upgrades, extra items, etc.
Essentially it's a game that promotes exercise, and plays hugely on nostalgia of Pokemon in the 1990s. It's free to download, too, so why wouldn't you give it a go? Lewis Painter
FREE | For iPad & iPhone (Universal) | Pokemon GO on the App Store
Spaceteam is perhaps the ultimate iOS party game. It's certainly the best iOS game if you enjoy shouting nonsensical phrases at your friends.
Each player's screen shows a spaceship's dashboard, peppered with absurd dials and controls, and shows the ship itself at the top. The monitor periodically demands that you adjust one of the controls or dials to a specified setting, and the speed with which you respond dictates how successfully the ship escapes the fiery explosion on its tail.
Except that quite often, the setting you're supposed to adjust isn't on your screen at all - it's on one of your friends'. Which means you have tell them to 'set bat and ball to three' or something like that. While the other players are trying to be heard with their own commands.
All of which adds up to an utterly stupid and totally wonderful experience.
Vainglory is staggeringly well presented, with some of the best visuals seen on the App Store: colourful and lushly detailed environments and well-animated fantasy characters. But this isn't a case of form over function.
The game spotlights three-on-three team-based action with (and against) fellow online players, and each squad must destroy the crystal at their opponents' base. It's not just a matter of overpowering your foes in head-to-head battle - instead, you must work together to take down enemy turrets, use minion creatures as living shields and generally make smart decisions in every phase of the game.
The free-to-play design thankfully puts no limits on gameplay: you can play as much as you want, but only with the certain free characters offered at any given time. If you want to use a non-free warrior, you'll have to pay a one-time fee with in-game currency.
Vainglory has the heart of a full-bodied multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) experience. And like the top PC genre entries, it's a remarkably fair and fun free game that doesn't penalise players who opt not to shell out. Andrew Hayward
Multiplayer & social gamers may also like...
Clearly there are lots more multiplayer games than this, and most of the sections in this roundup contain at least one game that suits more than one player.
But social gamers should particularly focus on the board games section, which is almost entirely multiplayer games; the card & deck-building games section, which includes the mighty Magic: The Gathering and Ascension, both of which are excellent two-player games; and the word games category, where you'll find that most addictive of social games, Words With Friends, among other possibilities.