The gaming world is changing. 100% of multiplayer competitions used to occur head-to-head, quite literally. Two-player titles like Pong and Astro Race ruled the 70s, paving the way for four-player games in later decades. Moving beyond the single-screen landscape, the first consumer network connections allowed larger groups of people to compete in the same game at the same time. Some of us are old enough to remember LAN parties. During those all-day and/or all-night events, we’d compete in games such as StarCraft, Quake, and Unreal Tournament.
Everything has changed. Thanks to modern computing innovations and broadband Internet access, people can share rich, detailed gaming experiences across the globe. There are virtually no limits to what can occur in the virtual realm. Graphics improve every day, gameplay becomes more realistic, and the entire experience becomes more immersive. Cutting-edge VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, are making total escapism a reality.
But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Despite all of the latest developments in VR, AR, and 4K gaming, a different type of multiplayer experience is sweeping the Web. The genre is called “.io,” named after the domain at which its many titles reside. The first .io game, Agar.io, came out in 2015. It rapidly rose to fame, hosting international competitions between millions of players. During its first year, Agar.io was the most commonly searched game on Google.
In case you missed its glorious ascension, Agar.io began as a free-for-all multiplayer game. Each person controls a cell under the microscope, and the objective is to grow. Consuming other cells is the only way to do so. Over the past two years, Agar.io has expanded with Teams and Experimental modes, along with skins, gifts, and daily quests.
Just about every ultra-popular web and/or mobile game inspires countless spin-offs. Some are blatant copycats, while others foster ingenious improvements upon the original. Agar.io has seen its fair share of both, and the shameless shall remain nameless. On the other hand, worthy successors include Slither.io, Diep.io, and MooMoo.io. The former is closer to Agar.io’s original concept, while the latter more akin to Age of Empires in the 21st century.
.io games open the multiplayer gaming realm to everyone. The most popular titles are available on PC and Mac in standard web browsers, without the need for any special downloads. Many are also playable on mobile devices, either through portals like Poki or in official mobile apps.
One of the best new .io games is Brutal.io. It’s free, fun, and more challenging than most in its class. Brutal.io puts each player in charge of a flail (i.e. a neon-colored mace). Swing the flail, bash other players, and score. That’s the essence of the game, but there’s a lot more to it. There are AI-controlled energy beings, electric force fields, and profitable safe havens. The .io craze that began in 2015 is stronger than ever. Instead of going back to the beginning, jump into the future with Brutal.io.