The best Android multiplayer games

Want to play with (or against) local friends and online foes? These are the games you need.

multiplayer games lead

Why go solo?

Many mobile games today put convenience above active, in-the-moment competition, whether you’re taking turns at your own leisure during the day or battling against computer foes marked with real players’ usernames and avatars. That’s reasonable, sure, but it’s sometimes hard to shake that itch to want to dominate some real-life opponents or play something with local pals.

Luckily, engaging Android multiplayer games are still around: dig around the Play Store a bit and you’ll find great online shooters, racers, and more, as well as an array of fun local experiences. Here are 13 of our favorite Android games for multiplayer action, whether you’re battling or collaborating—and even the turn-based games in the bunch require your alert attention.

multiplayer games moderncombat5

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Like the earlier Modern Combat games, Blackout does a great job of bringing a Call of Duty-like competitive multiplayer experience to your smartphone. Whether working in teams to secure certain spots on the map or eliminate the opposing squad, or simply taking out every other soldier in sight, the gunplay is extremely solid and the competition is strong. Get a hang of the touch controls and Blackout is sharp fun.

Modern Combat 5 has an extensive progression system—again, just like Call of Duty—featuring weapon and player class unlocks the more you play and succeed. However, this entry also uses a freemium system that limits your play time with an energy meter and lets you pay for perks, which is a little bit of a drag.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout (Free)

multiplayer games vainglory

Vainglory

Much like Modern Combat 5 brings the feel of a PC shooter to mobile, Vainglory does a strong job of replicating the fun and team play of a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game like League of Legends for Android. Although expectedly simplified in some respects, the core back-and-forth struggle that fuels the genre remains strongly intact here. 

Vainglory drops you into a live, three-on-three battle in which your fantasy heroes try to topple the turrets and base of the opposing team’s, and vice versa. You’ll work together to push into their territory, utilize strategic resources on the map, and protect your own home in tense battles that can stretch on for 20-30 minutes. It’s a freemium game, but extremely fair: there are no limits on play, plus you always have selected free heroes to choose from.

Vainglory (Free)

multiplayer games minecraft

Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Pocket Edition is a great way to savor the creative building of Minecraft wherever you are, but did you know that it’s also a multiplayer experience as well? If you’ve got a couple nearby pals, you can all easily connect to the same world with no fuss—and it works across Android and iOS versions with ease, too. 

Going online opens up the possibilities even wider, as hardcore players have dedicated servers full of modifications that can totally change the game, adding in multiplayer competition and other wild enhancements. You’ll need to search around for server details, however, and most of the popular ones require you to create an account and login. But if you’re willing to deal with that hassle, it unlocks so much more of the game’s potential.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition ($7)

multiplayer games asphalt8

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Gameloft’s awesome Asphalt 8: Airborne has a huge amount of single-player races to tackle in its extensive campaign, but the free-to-play game also delivers delightfully aggressive online action with up to 12 active players.

It’s streamlined for mobile, naturally: enter the multiplayer menu and you’re quickly placed into a room, where you can vote for a racing type and location. Within moments, the event and track are picked and you’re on the road against international opponents. Although foes tend to drop out with some regularity, the races themselves run well, and the arcade-style showdowns benefit from having real competition rather than A.I. drivers. 

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)

multiplayer games spaceteam

Spaceteam

Need an instant party starter? How about a weird little game about a collapsing spaceship? Spaceteam is much more fun than it might seem based on screenshots, as this cooperative game challenges up to four players to work together to keep a ship together. You’ll do so by flipping switches, tapping buttons, and turning dials at a frenzied pace.

Where’s the fun in that? Well, each player’s control station is different—and the commands needed for yours will probably show up on someone else’s screen instead. Within moments, a game of Spaceteam inevitably turns into everyone yelling demands at each other and frantically trying to find the location of the Ferrous Holospectrum switch or Radioslime button. That’s a good thing! The core game is free, although a $5 in-app purchase unlocks extra features.

Spaceteam (Free)

multiplayer games hearthstone

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

World of Warcraft used to be one of the most popular games in the world, but it’s been handily surpassed by Blizzard’s own Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. And what originally sounded like a strange spinoff—a collectible card game based on the strategy and role-playing franchise—has become a beloved addiction for millions of active players. 

You’ll build up a deck full of creatures and spells and take your digital cards online for tense one-on-one showdowns. It’s approachable enough for newcomers to understand, but the battles require plenty of strategy in both deck-building and in-game use. That said, if you’re coming into it now, expect to spend lots of time or money to put together a potent deck.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Free)

multiplayer games bounden

Bounden

Bounden is an experience completely unlike any other on this list. It’s a two-player game, only you play on the same device—and cooperatively too. Also, you’re dancing while playing.

Bounden uses the gyroscope in your Android phone to help you and a partner perform dance moves simply by moving the on-screen cursor over the icons that appear. You’ll each hold the phone with one thumb on the screen, and then work together to clear all the icons—and naturally, by doing so, you’re dancing. It’s one of those things that you really have to try to believe, but if you’re both willing and open to it, Bounden can deliver a really powerful sensation. 

Bounden ($3)

multiplayer games dual

Dual!

Unlike Bounden, Dual! requires two nearby phones to play—but it’s very different from your average local multiplayer experience. That’s because you’ll use the phones together in close proximity, effectively treating them like a single screen with a big split in between. 

With your phones side by side, you’ll play either with or against each other: the Duel mode finds you blasting each other from opposite sides, while Defend sees you both protecting the shared “middle” between screens by shooting invaders. Meanwhile, the Deflect mode puts a new spin on air hockey with some fresh twists for good measure. The visual design might be minimal, but there’s huge local fun found here.

Dual! (Free)

multiplayer games nova3

N.O.V.A. 3

If Modern Combat 5 is the Call of Duty of the Play Store—acknowledging, of course, the non-traditional Call of Duty games available—then N.O.V.A. 3 is the Halo. Indeed, Gameloft's first-person shooter seems heavily inspired by the Xbox sci-fi favorite, with armored soldiers, a campaign full of aliens to blast, and the ability to command various vehicles on the battlefield.

That's the biggest difference from Modern Combat 5 once you get into the thick of things: the 12-player shootouts take place on much larger, cavernous stages populated by drivable jeeps and giant mech walkers. When you have a nearly full crowd, the matches are a lot of fun, although the massive levels don't play quite as well to smaller groups. The full game is $7, or you can grab the ad-supported Freedom Edition instead. 

N.O.V.A. 3 ($7)

multiplayer games realracing3

Real Racing 3

Compared to Asphalt 8, EA’s Real Racing 3 is rather calm and measured—but there’s fun to be found in simulation, too, and this is the best of its kind on Android. With a dozen real-life tracks, more than 100 cars to unlock, a lengthy career mode, and super sharp graphics, it really feels like you’re playing a robust console or PC racer on your phone. 

While your A.I. opponents feature the names and avatars of other Real Racing 3 players, there’s another more recent perk that was added via update: proper online play for up to eight live players. It adds an extra competitive spark that’s not as strongly felt against computer drivers, and that makes this meaty, well-tuned racer even more impressive.

Real Racing 3 (Free)

multiplayer games carcassonne

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is one of the great modern board games, and the tile-centric, competitive terrain-building affair is also pretty excellent on your phone as well. You don’t have the little squares and tiny “meeple” to strategically place as you build roads, cities, and fields, but you do have the advantage of choosing between local pass-and-play action and online competition.

When playing locally, up to six players can use the same phone or tablet, simply handing it off as turns change, plus you can fill empty spots with smart A.I. foes. And online, you can strike up an active six-player game in moments and have a worldwide turf war. It’s a well designed adaptation throughout, and the multiplayer flexibility makes it essential for board game gurus. 

Carcassonne ($5)

multiplayer games nbajam

NBA Jam

One of the greatest sports games of all time is reborn on Android with the modern NBA Jam, which keeps the raucous spirit of the early entries with refreshed rosters and a visual update. The cartoonish players and two-on-two dunk-fests are still alive, as are silly additions like the big head mode, and it’s all just as fast and fun as you remember. 

With Google Play Games support, you can hop online and take your favorite two-man squad against someone else’s, but local Wi-Fi multiplayer offers an even better option: four-player support, so you and a pal can take down another duo on the hardwood. Granted, you’ll need four devices to make that happen, but it could be well worth it to revisit a classic. 

NBA Jam ($5)

multiplayer games ascension

Ascension

Unlike Hearthstone, card-battler Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer is also sold as a real physical card game—but you don’t have to haul around your decks when playing on Android. What really sets Ascension apart is its focus on in-game deck-building: rather than construct your deck outside of the match, each player begins with the same starter cards and then amasses more through gameplay maneuvers. 

That gives this mystical card game a unique edge, and the local pass-and-play mode makes it easy to knock out a quick game with pals wherever you are. The online mode is a different story, as it uses an asynchronous approach to turn-based competition, but at least you can set time limits to keep opponents from straying for too long. 

Ascension (Free)