If you're looking to play a game that pits you in a competition against dozens of other online players at the drop of a hat, there are few options better than .io games.
The best examples of .io games are a fast-paced struggle for survival, as climbing on the leaderboard makes you more powerful -- but also more of a target. These games are able to squeeze a surprising amount of strategic depth out of a simple-seeming concept, and are a blast to play.
But ever since the massive success of games like Slither.io, there's been an explosion of .io games to choose from -- with new ones popping up nearly all the time. Which ones are actually worth your time? We're here to tell you! These four .io games are the best ones for you to play while you stay inside this summer.
One of the more action-packed options, the defining characteristic of Diep.io is tanks. Rather than using your physical body to attack (although it is an option), your main source of offense is a hail of bullets.
The other thing that makes this game stand out is that there are some RPG elements to the upgrade system, in that you can choose different stats to invest in. This element really shines at levels in intervals of 15, when you choose a new major upgrade for your tank, like twin shot or a machine gun.
On the downside, one element this game is missing is the ability to take down much larger opponents. If you're vastly outleveled by an enemy, your only real option is to run and hope they haven't invested heavily in their speed. Or that they decide not to bother with you.
Generally, when it comes to .io games, simpler is better. Slither.io has you playing as a snake, trying to increase your length as much as possible. This is accomplished by picking up glowing dots, the largest of which are created from killing another player's snake.
The ingenuity of Slither.io comes from this interaction -- the only way to kill another snake is to get it to run into your side, and the only tool assisting you is a boost ability you can use at the cost of some length. Pulling off the maneuver is far easier said than done, and getting good at the mind games involved is a large part of the game's appeal.
The best part is that if you luck out, there's nothing stopping you from killing a snake much larger than you are.
A relatively new addition to the .io crowd, Deeeep.io (4 e's) puts you in an ocean environment where you play as one of many animal varieties. Similar to Diep.io, there's an upgrade tree, as gaining enough points allows you to play stronger animals. Different animal types have special abilities that makes each one somewhat unique to play, increasing the game's replay value.
In another interesting move, the small pellets you can collect to increase your EXP are grouped differently in separate parts of the arena -- meaning you can go to an area with larger ones, but doing so risks running into stronger animals who had the same idea.
Check out Deeeep.io on its official website.
Even with so many games trying to follow its success, Agar.io is still the king of .io games. The fact that it inspired so many mimics is a testament to its design.
Gaining size sacrifices speed, allowing weaker blobs to escape from your grasp. This is a fantastic move, adding an element of skill and strategic depth to the pursuit. The split mechanic is another great element, allowing you to temporarily gain great momentum for potentially great reward -- but also at a higher risk of exposing yourself.
Finally, the spiked mines littering the arena ensure that even the mightiest players are not fully safe. A savvy player can launch one to explode a giant blob and reap huge rewards. And the best part? The speed mechanic ensures that the larger the player is, the harder it is for them to avoid it.
What are your favorite .io games to play? Let us know in the comments!