10 multiplayer Android games where you share the same phone

These aren't tired pass-and-play games. These are games where you and a friend swipe and tap your phone at the same time.

multiplayer primary
Two thumbs, one phone

Fast and near-ubiquitous mobile internet has given rise to multiplayer games on smartphones and tablets unlike anything we could have dreamt of a few years ago.

Still, what if you just want to play a game with people in real life? There are plenty of tedious pass-and-play games, but a less common (and much cooler) approach is to let both players use the same phone or tablet at the same time.

It can be really awesome when developers get it right, and it's almost as good as having a real conversation. Here are 10 games where both players share a single screen, strategizing, battling, and having a blast together.

multiplayer badland

Badland manages to be both easy to learn and very engaging, which is no small feat. All you have to do is press on the screen to make your shadowy flying creatures flap their wings. Timing your taps correctly lets them maneuver around obstacles, multiply, shrink, grow, get sticky, and more. The multiplayer mode lets up to four players compete, each with their own section of the screen to press and control their flock. It can get hectic, but it’s quite fun.

Badland (Free, $1.99 full version)

multiplayer glow hockey
Glow Hockey 2

This is about as simple as it gets when you’re talking about two people playing a game on the same device. Glow Hockey 2 is air hockey on a tablet. Each player gets a paddle and tries to knock the puck into the opponent’s goal. Sometimes straightforward gameplay is what you need when a game relies on two players in the same room. This one makes more sense on a tablet or at least a very large phone.

Glow Hockey 2 (Free)

multiplayer trionix

Here we have something a bit more leisurely—a puzzler called Trionix. Your goal in this game is to wipe out your opponent’s triangles by moving or duplicating your own game pieces right next to them. It only takes a moment for each player to make a move, so a game can be over in as little as a few minutes. There are a few different game modes based on this formula, as well as single-player play.

Trionix (Free)

multiplayer ice rage
Ice Rage: Hockey

Yes, another hockey game, but this one is a little more involved than the last one. Ice Rage: Hockey is an arcade-style top-down game with a multiplayer mode where the players take up residence on opposite ends of the tablet (or a big phone) and use the virtual joysticks to move around the rink. You have one offense player and one goalie. Simply get the puck, find a clear view of the goal, and charge a shot with the single action button. It’s still hockey, though, so you can use the action button to smack your opponent around too. Beware, the ads in the free version are pretty annoying, so consider the full game if you want to play more than a few rounds.

Ice Rage: Hockey (Free or $1.99 Premium)

multiplayer bounden

For a more artistic take on mobile gaming, there’s Bounden. It’s an accelerometer-based game that forces you to get up and move. Using a phone (or small tablet), you and a friend each hold one end of the phone, then start moving and grooving to get the crosshairs to pass through a series of rings. Before you know it, Bounden tricks you into dancing (no matter how uncoordinated you may be). It’s a unique experience on mobile, and it only works with with two players.

Bounden ($3.99)

multiplayer pathogen

Pathogen is a strategic board game that takes its inspiration from biology. You and your opponent take turns placing new cells on the board, or upgrading your existing ones. Watch as the moves you make send ripples across the sea of cells, potentially wiping out many of your opponent’s forces in one move. They can always employ the dreaded virus to gain the upper hand, though. The rules in Pathogen take some getting used to, but keeping your eyes on the game board as your opponent places his or her cell helps you keep track of what’s going on. If you play on your own, the AI will probably school you a few times before you catch on.

Pathogen ($0.99)

multiplayer omicron

Reaction time and accurate color vision (sorry color blind folks) are essential to earning victory in Omicron. Two people can play this title simultaneously on the same device with a split screen UI. In each level you are presented with a grid of hexagons that switch randomly between colors. Your task is to clear the tiles by tapping on them when the right color is displayed. Whoever clears them the fastest wins.

Omicron ($1)

multiplayer fruit ninja
Fruit Ninja

Yes, Fruit Ninja is still a thing after all these years. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know the basics of this fruit slicing game, but did you know it has split-screen multiplayer? Each player gets half of the screen (split widthwise) to try and slice up more fruit than the other. This works best with a tablet, but you can probably manage on a phone if you don’t get too carried away with exaggerated swipe gestures.

Fruit Ninja (Free with ads)

multiplayer olo

Your goal in OLO is to end the match with as many of your colorful  “OLOs” in the matching target zone as possible. In each turn you get to flick one of your OLO discs across the board. It can be used to knock enemy OLOs off the edge, but ideally it still comes to rest in your target zone. Your OLOs vary in size (and thus the amount of force they can impart to a larger OLO), so you might have to change up your strategy on the fly. OLO is a very simple, but well-designed game. It also has online multiplayer if you don’t have a willing opponent nearby.

OLO ($1.99)

multiplayer gentlemen
Gentlemen Multiplayer

For a more civilized take on 1-on-1 combat, there’s Gentlemen Multiplayer. This title has a Victorian flair with dapper fellows in bowler hats and capes hurling knives and bombs. You and your opponent make use of controls at opposite ends of the screen to leap around the topsy turvy world and try to blow one another up. There are a lot of wacky weapons and multiple game modes as well. This game only works with two players, but it’s quite interesting.

Gentlemen Multiplayer ($4.67)