1. Destiny 2
If Zoom calls started to feel outdated for you, Among Us might be the perfect alternative to catch up with friends and family. That is, if the scenario of up to 10 people being locked in the same airship with one or more hidden imposters doesn’t frighten anyone. This concept sounds fairly simple on paper, but it takes a lot of skill to either survive, or be a great liar when it comes down to deciding who might be the culprit.
Developer Inner Sloth LLC was planning to come up with a brand new sequel, but instead will be focusing on the same version as ever, adding new maps, cosmetics, and refining what has made Among Us one of the most surprising titles of 2020, which will surely follow through in the coming years as well.
2. Among Us
Sail the seven seas in the best pirate sim around. Sea of Thieves(opens in new tab) casts you and your friends as a crew of scallywags, and the open-ended structure leaves you free to roam the ocean. You might take on quests for factions, ferrying goods between ports. You might gather treasure maps and go digging for loot. You might just mess around on deck, each playing a jolly tune on one of many instruments. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you might load up your cannons, climb the mast, and use your spyglass to search for other crews to sink. Just make sure you don’t run into a Kraken. Those things will tear your boat to shreds.
3. Sea of Thieves
Apex Legends was a bombshell of a release; an unannounced sensation that changed the way we thought about battle royals. Teams of threes could communicate seamlessly without a headset, using a ‘ping’ system to flag up items, tag enemies and suggest regrouping locations. It still feels like the best co-operative battle royale, with class abilities that combine to lethal effect – pop Bloodhound’s smoke grenade to obscure your enemy’s vision while Bloodhound tracks them through the fog, for instance. If you haven’t played it in a while, it’s time you jumped back in to see how the maps have changed.
4. Apex Legends
All this death and killing – wouldn’t it be nice if there was a game all about being constructive and creative while fostering a sense of community and cooperation? Well, that’s exactly what Mine craft is. Don’t let the simple graphics fool you: Minecraft is a complex beast of a survival game, where you’ll need to harvest resources in order to tame the wilderness and make a home. Or, just drop into the free build mode and construct whatever you can imagine; players have already made everything from King’s Landing to functioning computers. And yeah, you can do all this alone, but where’s the fun in that?
Grindy? Yes. Confusing? Definitely. But once you’ve got into your stride, Monster Hunter World is one of the most rewarding action games around, and playing with friends makes finding and crafting the best gear all the more satisfying. Combat is the star here. You track monsters through a dense, gorgeous world, before facing them in fights to the death. Enemies are smart, agile, and react realistically to your actions, but if you coordinate as a team, you’ll bring even the nastiest of beasts down. A constant sense of progression, and a flood of new items, stops the grind becoming overwhelming.
6. Monster Hunter World
Fortnight Is. Everywhere. It’s everything. Everyone’s heard of it. With good reason, because it’s just really, really fun. Yes, it’s a battle royale game with all the trimmings: 100 players dropped into a large map, an ever-shrinking safe zone, and one player left standing. But Fortnight is also a crafting game, where the best players aren’t just those who can shoot straight, but those who can build mega-structures and fortresses in a few button presses. Its seasonal structure adds exciting new mechanics every few months, giving players added incentive to come back and check things out. It’s also extremely accessible, being free to play and available on pretty much every device. So yeah, Fortnight is everywhere, including on this list.
It’s impossible to talk about online games without mentioning Fall Guys, one of the most inventive and welcoming battle royal experiences out there. Instead of focusing on combat or reaching specific objectives, developer Media tonic threw all of that away and instead chose a more light breeze route. Dozens of players still compete with each other, sure, but they do so in obstacle-filled courses that can be as funny as frustrating, but never tiring.
Fall Guys works best when you’re gathered with friends in a group, but it’s also engaging when on your own, slowly learning the obstacle courses and trying to reach first place to grab that ever elusive crown. With a friendly aesthetic and a fast learning curve, it’s one of those games we can recommend to anyone.
8. Fall Guys
Is it the best Mario Kart ever? Anyone who grew up on Mario Kart 64 might think not, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe an enhanced edition of the Wii U racing game, is certainly the best online Mario Kart to date. Connecting with up to 11 friends or internet random, you can play the Grand Prix, VS Race, and Battle modes over WiFi. If you thought matching up against the CPU was thrilling, wait until you pip a real-life opponent to pole position (and if you thought losing to AI racers was heartbreaking, wait until you get blue shelled just before the finish line and have to watch a player-controlled Bowser drift pass).
9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
For many players, |Animal Crossing: New Horizons has kept hope and joy alive during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a wholesome, charming life sim about catching butterflies, trading turnips and decorating your home. You can play the entire thing solo, but you’d be missing out. You can visit friends’ islands to browse their shops, fish their ponds and mingle with their visitors, and walking around a new island seeing how your buddies have laid out their new hometown is endlessly relaxing. Make sure you name other players your “best friends” if you want them to get the most out of your island.
10. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Nobody foresaw just how big Rocket League was going to be – after all, RC cars playing football (soccer, if you insist) isn’t the catchiest hook. But as soon as you pick up the controller and launch yourself through the air at a giant ball, while other toy cars zip around you, you’ll immediately realise why so many fans are obsessed. Matches are quick and rewards are doled out generously, making it easy to lose hours as you lie to yourself: “Just one more match.”