iOS | $0.99
Whether you’re a history junkie or a pop culture fanatic, you’ve probably got a lot of random facts floating around in your brain. What better way to prove it than with one of the best-known trivia games around, especially when you can do so with your buddies using the WiFi multiplayer mode. The rules haven’t changed (although playing in the “Pursuit Mode” offers a new take on things) and the object still remains being able to answer questions on a number of topics ranging from sports and entertainment to historical figures and everything in between. To up the social ante here, the game also comes with a “Pass ën Play” mode, which means you and several other players can throw down on the same device as well. It’s never been easier to prove you’re right.
Android, iOS | Free
Texting with your friends is fine, but if you want to get a little more verbose than LOL and OMG while still keeping in touch, Words With Friends is a good way to challenge your pals to a battle of wordplay wits. Similar to Scrabble in layout and gameplay (you’re given a series of letters with which you’ll form words on a grid, thus scoring points depending on the word’s difficulty), you can create a new game with a friend by opening your contact list at the top of the screen. From there, you’ll send a game request and then take turns forming words between you and your opponent. What makes WWF so attractive is that there’s no time limit on the game – play a marathon session or come back to it every other day or so (once you’ve had a chance to consult your dictionary). And if you still need to text while you play, a drop-down window is there for a little bit of trash-typing along the way.
Android, iOS | $2.90, $0.99
You know the deal: “you take a block from the bottom and you put it on top, you take a block from the middle and you put it on top…”
The upwardly-mobile puzzle-game that was mandatory for anyone growing up in the eighties has been re-imagined as a social smartphone and tablet app. The concept remains the same: carefully take game pieces from the existing structure to build it higher (and subsequently more wobbly), and even though you’re using a touch screen rather than actually handling the game pieces, success still depends on the subtle skill of your fingers. Your device’s gyroscope allows you to precisely change angles just as you would on a tabletop, so the more gentle and careful you are, the more luck you’ll have as you battle it out socially in the online mode against friends. An excellent update to a classic, the Jenga app means hours of delicate tapping without the obligatory cleanup once the tower topples.
Android, iOS | $4.99, $9.99
Since it first came out just over a decade ago, the Carcassonne board game has amassed a legion of fans due to its clever premise and, well, completely addictive qualities. A Medieval strategy game where you create a populated landscape using tiled game pieces (thereby connecting existing roads, cities and rivers with the ones on your tiles), this is basically multiplayer heaven. Thanks to the app’s internet multiplayer function, epic gaming sessions no longer have to be relegated to someone’s living room. Additionally, the game comes with original artwork, a detailed instruction manual and even an online chat function. If you crave some serious online strategy, it doesn’t get much better than Carcassonne.
WP7 | $2.99
If you’re more of a visual person who prefers communicating with images rather than words, Duudle should keep you on your toes. As a multiplayer game (think Pictionary without the frantic guesswork), the object is to simply draw the word you’ve been given on your mobile device. Once you’ve completed that, the same image is sent over to the other player’s device and they have to figure out just what all your crazy doodles are supposed to represent. As with most games, speed is rewarded – the sooner you guess what the object is, the more points you receive. That being said, games don’t have to be lightning rounds, as you can take up to 72 hours to complete a go. Once a turn is completed, a notification is sent to the other person, and the artistic carnage begins anew.
iOS | $4.99
In terms of gaming, few things are as satisfying as going head-to-head against the likes of Ken, Ryu, Guile and the rest of the street-fighting crew in this arcade classic. Fortunately, thanks to the app’s multiplayer capabilities via Bluetooth, you can now battle it out with your friends over your mobile device. The gameplay is still top quality, and all the characters and their signature moves are here. Additionally, you can customize where your controls appear on your screen, take several tutorials in the Boot Camp, and select your preferred level of difficulty. If you need a break from all the trivia, spelling challenges and doodle-deciphering, SF IV still packs a serious punch.
iPad | $1.99
While it may not be the officially sanctioned iPad app for Facebook, there’s a good reason why MyPad+ is as popular as it is. Actually, many, many reasons.
Starting with the interface, the app is fluid and easy to navigate as it keeps all elements of your profile within reach thanks to a side menu. That means everything from news to groups and messages is in view. Once you’re ready to navigate, everything is controlled with swiping motions (photo scrolling is an absolute breeze), including the “pull down to refresh” feature, while engaging in chat or status updates brings up a handy QWERTY keyboard. Additionally, games with friends such as Mob Empire are playable, photo uploading is a piece of cake, and the ability to quickly switch between users is a nice selling point too. As far as Facebook apps for the iPad go, you probably won’t do better than this one.
BlackBerry | Free
Even though BlackBerry’s already got a fantastic communication app with BBM, there are also some quality social apps out there to help users stay in touch however they want. In this case, Twitter fanatics can rely on UberSocial, an app designed with the BlackBerry operating system in mind. Competently covering all the basics, including retweets, direct and @mentions on the home screen timeline, as well as the ability to handle several accounts, users are also able to sync their posts to Facebook simultaneously, personalize the app’s theme, and perform advanced searches. As an added bonus, BB users can expect to see their BBM status updated whenever they tweet as well, which is just another reason why UberSocial is an efficient way to stay social in a world full of tweets.