The best .io games still have a place, even if that place is taken by mobile games that offer more premium experiences on the go. But amid all that flash, the tiny browser-based minigames still provide an intense multiplayer run.
The best .io games remain a viral phenomenon popularized by Twitch streamers and their presence on an episode of House of Cards. The “.io” extension means the British Indian Ocean Territory, but because Agar.io, one of the first super popular multiplayer .io games, used the extension, it has since become a popular choice, giving the name to gender.
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Light and accessible, but capable of intense and sometimes even ruthless gameplay, the best .io games can be played even with a spotty connection and old hardware. With the sheer number of .io games out there, it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth your while, so we’ve put together a list of the best .io games that keep us coming back for more.
The best .io games you can play right now
The great-grandfather of them all, Agar.io is an eat or be eaten cell survival game that is inspired by the behavior of microbes on top of the agar medium of a Petri dish, hence the name.
Players start small, roam the map, and eat food to gain size. Eventually, you grow large enough to gobble up other players’ cells, resulting in a deadly game of cat and mouse as you try to lure other cells within your grasp while avoiding larger swarms of players that can gobble you up. The simple yet tense gameplay made it a viral sensation as it even appeared in a episodio de House of Cards.
Slither.io is inspired by the classic snake game, in which players slide across the map consuming specks of food to grow in size and points. Maneuvering is the name of the game here, as players are knocked out when their snake’s head collides with the body of another snake, causing players to suddenly change direction or roll over to catch and take out the unsuspecting.
Diep.io is another classic game, this time with players controlling tanks, destroying obstacles and enemy tanks to collect points and level up their own machines. A reasonably involved upgrade system allows you to equip your tank to your liking, allowing you to build infernal monstrosities, agile attackers, or powerful snipers.
The varied game modes, from free-for-all to team battles and more, give Diep.io good replay value and reasonable depth, while remaining a fairly accessible browser game.
Gats.io Take the military shooter from top to bottom, as players select weapons and armor and then carefully hunt each other down in a tight maze of barriers and passages. Each weapon brings its own advantages and disadvantages, and players will have to balance the mobility and protection trade-offs of the armor or the lack of it.
Fast and reasonably accessible gameplay, Gats.io offers free-for-all modes, team deathmatch, and checkpoint domination, giving you some variety in the game.
Brutal.io lives up to its name as players pulverize each other with giant spinning death balls. Starting with a small morning star-shaped ball attached to your player, you will race across the map to collect food, slowly increasing the size of your ball of death, which you can then toss at other players, using a combination of spin, planning, and more than a little luck.
If the pitch misses them, then the return could be, as holding down the mouse button brings the ball of death back to the player’s tail, flattening everything in its path.
Tired of the kill or die intensity of other .io games? Gartic.io It’s a much more relaxed affair, as players take turns in a charades-style game, in which one player draws a designated word and the others have to guess what that word is.
Gartic takes care of scoring and accounting, and language-based arcades allow you to play in the language of your choice.
Warbot.io It is a bit atypical among other .io games, as it features 3D graphics, which provides great visual appeal, but also slows down load times, especially for those without high-speed connections.
Warbot is a twin-stick style top-down shooter, with the mouse cursor controlling your aim, while the WASD keys control your movement. Players march across the battlefield, taking on other mecha as they dodge enemy fire, collect power-ups, and climb the leaderboard.
Zombs.io brings the inevitable zombie survival twist to the genre as players slowly build their bases, establish defenses and plug choke points, gather resources during the day and defend hordes at night. From there, it’s a battle of endurance and survival as you upgrade your towers and personal gear to fend off increasingly harsh waves of the undead.
Wings.io Take multiplayer mayhem to the skies, as players engage in massive 2D combat, their fighter jets soar all over the place, collecting power-ups, weapons, and engaging in twisted dogfights as you try to line up the perfect shot while holding the ball. Clear tail of enemy combatants. Look elsewhere for a deep simulation, as it involves a whirlwind of moving planes engaging in dizzying carnage.
Deeep.io makes you evolve into a variety of fish and animal forms as you gather food and explore the depths and shallow waters of the sea. Each animal form comes with its own abilities and is optimized for different biomes, giving players plenty of variety as they sneak around, hunt other deep-sea beasts, and explore what the oceans have to offer.
You can play Deeeep.io aggressively like other PVP-style .io games, or you can evade conflict and simply explore and test the capabilities of each of the forms, giving you a good number of things to play with.
2048.io is a puzzle game, in the same vein as 1024, which itself is more like Threes. You move squares around a board, trying to combine equal numbers to make larger numbers (2 to 2, 4 to 4, etc.). It is a very simple game, but difficult to master.
Eventually your board will be so full that you won’t be able to make any moves. At this point, you will have to start over and be more strategic the next time you play. It is an addictive game and perfect for killing time.
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