Couples that game together, stay together

Every gamer has, at one point in their romantic life, heard “don’t worry sweetheart, I like watching you play.” And consequently, every gamer has been lied to. It’s not fun. Whether you’re the one asking questions or the one explaining, there’s a one-sidedness that occurs in gaming that is far from entertaining.

So, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I’ve whipped up a list of fun multiplayer iOS games for you and your beloved to play together. 

I’m not talking turn-based board games (though EA’s mobile versions of Scrabble, Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, and Life are absolutely fantastic) or any of the many With Friends titles (Words, Scramble, etc) that you can play online. I’m talking same device, head to head, one on one.

So now, let the battle begin.

Fruit Ninja HD ($2.99)

Whether you’re lying in bed or killing time on the SEPTA, the iPad version of Fruit Ninja (in HD!) is the ultimate competitive game for gaming couples either snuggling up on a chilly evening or squished together on the Regional Rail. 

Yes, the premise is ridiculous. Numerous fruits fly through the air as you swipe at them, violently slicing across a hardwood background. There’s no story, no deep character development. Just bright colorful graphics and shockingly addicting game play. And then there is the multiplayer.

The head to head multiplayer in Fruit Ninja HD splits the iPad screen down the middle, giving each player their own dojo. You’ll both try to slice more fruit than the other, whilst attempting to sabotage each other with bombs. It gets intense; make sure your relationship is strong enough to handle it.

Note: You can also get this on the iPhone ($0.99), which supports Game Center multiplayer, and Fruit Ninja: Puss In Boots ($0.99), a tie in to the Dreamworks film that is a lot of fun and has Global Leaderboards.

Mirror’s Edge for iPad ($9.99)

Mirror’s Edge, the celebrated EA title that we all want a sequel for, has a surprisingly great iOS adaptation that leaves behind the first person parkour in favor of a 2D side scrolling action game. And while the first person game is short, the multiplayer is a blast.

Like Fruit Ninja, you’ll get a split screen on which you can race head-to-head in two different multiplayer modes. One challenges you to race each other, while the other pits you against each other to hunt down hidden packages.

The graphics are stunning, the gameplay is simple, and the racing gets intense. Definitely a fun title to play with your significant other… just don’t admit you have a slight crush on Faith.  Rawr.

Note: Yes, $9.99 is ridiculous, but don’t get turned off by the price. EA loves putting their iOS games on sale. Chances are around the holidays, you’ll be able to nab this game for $1.99.  Snag it when it goes on sale.

Worms 2: Armageddon ($2.99):

I remember playing the original Worms on an ancient 486 PC in my parents’ basement. My friends and I were obsessed with these sorts of competitive artillery games, pouring hours into games like Scorched Earth and laughing all the while.

Worms made the genre even more fun with quirky animations and outrageous weapons, like the Holy Hand Grenade from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The idea behind Worms is simple. You have a team of several heavily armed worms, each of which can fire an array of wild weaponry. You’ll take turns moving them around and strategically positioning them while firing madly at each other. The team that loses all their worms, loses the battle.

So go ahead. Name your worms after your mutual friends and battle it out. Your standard game will probably take 20 minutes or so, and you’ll likely spend all those minutes laughing and yelling at each other.

Note: Concerned that you’re missing the highly cerebral storyline if you don’t play the first one? Worried that you’ll have lots of questions? Relax. These are worms shooting at each other with bazookas, not Magnolia.

Flight Control HD ($4.99)

When I first got an iPhone, I polled a number of my tech savvy friends for game recommendations. Forget useful apps that increased productivity. I wanted games. My pal Colin Weir, who many Philadelphians might know as the former editor-in-chief of SEPTA Watch, spoke quite passionately about Flight Control, as if the title was a shiny new Silverline railcar.

The premise behind Flight Control is simple enough. Draw paths for your airplane to travel, gathering points and meeting simple goals. When playing multiplayer together on a single iPad, Flight Control has you working in tandem to pass planes off to one another.

In a relationship with someone that doesn’t dig competition? This might be the game for you. You’re working together, so Flight Control won’t drive a stake (or a joystick) through your relationship.

Note: No iPad, no problem. Download the original Flight Control ($0.99) and play each other using your iPhones via Bluetooth or Wi-fi.

Glow Hockey 2 HD ($1.99)

Two words. Air hockey.

Ideal on the iPad (but also great on the iPhone, see below), Glow Hockey 2 is a visually gorgeous game, full of vibrant colors and a number of customizable options. Different paddles, misc. themes, and realistic physics make this a great head-to-head game on the same device.

Really, not much else to say about this one. It’s air hockey, people. Come on!

Note: Are you playing on a regular iPhone? You can get the original, frequently updated Glow Hockey 2 on the cheap ($0.99), as well as a completely free version with less features.