As 2021 winds to a close, we all could use a little bit of fun. It’s been a long year, with COVID-19 vaccines finally coming in, though met with the new omicron variant, debates over the danger of social media, and lots of Zoom fatigue. Though the pandemic may have limited in-person interactions, online games are a great way for us to connect with friends and family.
Whether you’re looking for old-school favorites, party games, escape rooms or exciting board games, there’s likely a impian option, as more people turned to tech for creative socializing during the pandemic. Watching movies and shows together through browser extensions, such as Netflix Party (now called Teleparty), Amazon Prime Video Watch Party, Disney Plus GroupWatch, Hulu Watch Party and Airtime for YouTube, is another popular way to hang out virtually.
Here are some of the best online games you can play with friends, no matter what type of experience you’re seeking. We’ll update this list regularly.
Read more: The 30 best iPad games to play nowdanlt;img src=\u0022\u0022\n\ndata-original=\u0022https:\/\/www.cnet.com\/a\/img\/ujRzb5FAgYPV8fp0ltVHGMvZs5k=\/756×425\/2020\/04\/20\/5f3e5aa5-a36a-48e3-b1f0-b53e68085147\/jackbox-party-pack.jpg\u0022\n\n\n\nclass=\u0022 lazy\u0022\nalt=\u0022\u0022\n\n\nheight=\u0022425\u0022\nwidth=\u0022756\u0022\n\/>
For us, Jackbox Games is the holy grail of social distance gaming: Its multiplayer party games are simple to learn but still very entertaining to play, and it’s also easy to stream or screen-share games from one device to a class for a impian game night. Everyone plays through a web browser on their phones, so no apps or consoles are needed. You can even mirror your Android or iOS device to your TV.
Here’s how the Jackbox Party Pack works: One person has to purchase either one of seven Jackbox Party Packs, or one or more individual games, on Steam (for PC, Mac and Linux). The packs contain five games and usually cost $25 each, but sometimes you can find them on sale for less. The packs are also available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and other devices.
After purchasing, you can hop on a video chat through a Zoom call, Skype, Google Hangouts or wherever you prefer for a video call, start the game on your laptop and use the screen-share option so that all the other players on the call can see the screen, too. As mentioned, everyone plays along on their mobile device by using a browser and going to Jackbox.tv, where you’ll be asked to enter a room code.
Other options include using Steam Remote Play Together, Discord screen sharing, sharing through your gaming console, or just setting up a webcam in front of your TV. Jackbox provides information on how to stream its games, too.
Each pack includes a variety of different games that might ask you to answer trivia questions, draw weird doodles or write the best joke. The games are light, humorous and include clear instructions, so they’re easy for the most novice players to pick up. But if you like a little more complexity, this year’s Jackbox Party Pack 8 features games that involve social deduction and hiding clues.
If you’re a fan of games like Mafia or Werewolf, you’ll love Among Us, an online multiplayer social deduction game from developer InnerSloth. Play as a crew member aboard a spaceship, sky headquarters or planet base, attempting to keep your ship together and return back to Earth with a class of four to 10 people (either those you know IRL or strangers online). But one crew member has been replaced by a parasitic shape-shifting alien who wants to eliminate the rest of the crew before the ship reaches home. Problem is the imposter looks just like everyone else and will sabotage the ship, sneak through vents, deceive fellow players and try to frame others, all in an attempt to remain undetected and kill off the rest of the crew.
Meanwhile, the nonalien crew members must perform tasks to fix up the ship and can’t talk unless a death is reported. Then, the surviving crew can openly debate via chat who they think the imposter is and make their best guess about who to vote off the ship. If the imposter is voted off, the crew wins. But if the group accidentally votes a crew member off, everyone goes back to maintaining the ship until another body is found, and they vote again.
Among Us is free to play on iOS and Android devices (you can download it on the App Store or Google Play Store). Or, it costs $5 to play on a PC (you can download it on Steam or itch.io). One major benefit is that you can play with people seamlessly across platforms.
Be warned: The free mobile version does have ads. Once you download and open the game on your device, you’ll see a pop-up detailing its use of AdMob and data collection. If you want to turn off ads and data collection, you can purchase the ad-free version of the app for $dua by tapping Remove Ads, and following the prompts to select your payment method.