Stuck at home with nothing to do? Stay connected with your gang by challenging them to these online games.
Raise your hand if you haven’t left your nest for days (or weeks, even)… Yep, us too. What with the pandemic, along with the crazy cold and rainy weather, working from home – and staying indoors even over the weekends – has become the unpopular norm. But, don’t fret! Whether you’re in lockdown or hotel quarantine, we’ve rounded up a list of (mostly) free online games for you to play with your friends and stay connected. Trust us, these games have actually helped us survive quarantine, and they’re our favourite pastime during lockdown, too!
Best online games to play with your friends during lockdown and quarantine
1. Jackbox Games
If you haven’t tried the games created by Jackbox yet, you’re definitely missing out. This party game-making studio is the mastermind behind popular games such as Quiplash, Fibbage, Drawful, and Trivia Murder Party. Not sure what these games are? Well, they belong to different categories and carry different rules, but they’re guaranteed to make your online hangout quirky, fun, and memorable, because whether you like drawing, trivia, or hidden identity games, you’ll find something you fancy in the mix of Jackbox’s 40 creative offerings.
To play Jackbox with your friends remotely, the game host simply needs to share their screen in a video call or live stream. Then, each player goes to jackbox.tv with their individual devices (mobiles work, too) and log in with the room code and name… And that’s it. We love how we don’t need prior gaming experience to enjoy Jackbox Games – it’s just that simple and accessible!
Who doesn’t like Pictionary? This classic, family-friendly game is taking place online – and for free – at Skribbl. This multiplayer drawing and guessing game can be played with random users who are online around the world. Or, you can host your own game and get your friends to join you with an invitation link. To win points, someone has to draw their chosen word and the others have to guess it; the person with the most points at the end of the game will be the winner. The catch is: the artist only has 80 seconds to visualise and illustrate the chosen word, while the guessers have to answer correctly as quickly as possible. We’d recommend you to use a tablet or an iPad if you have one, because drawing with a trackpad isn’t as easy as you think!
Play Skribbl online.
3. Nintendo Switch
Does the Nintendo Switch need further introduction? Probably not, but then again, not all games are created equal… For instance, some Nintendo Switch games, such as Ring Fit, only allow one person to play at a time, with no option for online rooms and multiplayer modes. That said, there are still a variety of multiplayer online games you can play with your friends on the Nintendo Switch, even if you’re all in different locations.
One of the most popular multiplayer Switch games in Hong Kong is Monster Hunter (aka Mon Hunt), which allows up to four people to play at the same time. Another one of our all-time favourites has to be Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, because it lets us hit the road despite the lockdown! This game offers Grand Prix, VS Race, and Battle modes online for up to 12 players. Just make sure you and your friends all have Nintendo Switch Online memberships in order to connect with each other in the games.
Find out more about Nintendo Switch.
4. Club Penguin (Rewritten)
You won’t believe how exasperated we felt when we heard Club Penguin was closing down back in 2017… Until private servers and fan-made versions of it start popping up. As Club Penguin was the ultimate childhood game for 90s kids, the nostalgic remakes of Club Penguin have been very much in demand. That said, here’s a word of warning: these unofficial CP servers can be unstable, prone to security breaches, and – much like the original Club Penguin – somewhat dangerous for kids due to the prominence of child predators online. However, we’d still include Club Penguin (Rewritten) on our list as a tribute to our childhood favourite and, as long as you’re aware of the risks as an adult, you can definitely sign up, waddle about, and reminisce about the good ol’ days.
Find out more about Club Penguin (Rewritten).
5. Scrabble Go
For those who have a way with words, Scrabble Go is for you. The traditional word game has been reformatted for mobiles as Scrabble Go, a free app offering daily tournaments, Rush mode, and more. You can play solo, or compete with your buddies and players from around the world. And if you win a game, you’ll be rewarded with objects for you to personalise your board with. Feel free to show them off to your friends!
Find out more about Scrabble Go.
6. Virtual mystery games and escape rooms
We love a bit of crime and mystery – when it’s not happening to us in real life, of course. The good news is: you can experience the same kind of thrill when you play virtual mystery games and escape rooms, too. While there are companies that offer online escape rooms, we’ve found a few that are created for fun by individuals around the world. Thanks to these kind and intelligent souls, we can enjoy Pikachu’s Rescue and a Harry Potter digital escape room, which are hosted for free on Google Docs. There’s also the Political Murder Mystery Dinner, made by Kayla Medica. You can play these games solo, or as a group by video calling your friends and going through the challenge together.
7. Classic card games – but now online
Is it just us, or have many people started playing poker lately? If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, you can learn by playing with your mates for free on LiPoker and, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to include any money at all (gambling is bad, kids!) After creating a room, you can set your buy-ins and blinds, or try the more challenging Tournament Mode. You can also go for the God Mode, which is designed for teaching and streaming.
For fans of Texas Hold’em, Blackjack, Solitaire, and other classic card games, you can find your favourites on Cardzmania and PlayingCards.io, the latter even offering mahjong. If you’d like to play a game of Uno with your friends, you can support the official app by downloading it for your iOS and Android devices.
What’s that looong acronym, you ask? MMORPGs stand for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, which allow a large number of players from around the world to connect simultaneously. And though MMORPGs have been on the rise for over a decade, it’s not hard to see why they remain immensely popular nowadays, what with lockdown, travel restrictions, and all. For those who fancy a bit of action, PUBG and Call of Duty are great war games you can have a go at. If you prefer fantasy-themed and more glamorous gameplay, try your hand at League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, or Genshin Impact. Most of these games are available for free (with in-app purchases) on both PC and mobile, so you can play easily and to your heart’s content.