I must mention this in every post that has anything to do with single device iPad multiplayer, but two (or more) player games on the iPad are almost always universally awesome. Everything from elaborately crafted ports of board games like Small World [$6.99] to the simplest of games like Omium [99¢] are a ton of fun when played with another person. If for whatever reason you've disregarded my previous encouragement to try out two player gaming on the iPad, you really need to download any or all of VersusPad's free games. They're all fairly simple, but serve as an excellent example of just how well two player gaming works on the device.

Also, to make things a little more interesting, all of these games were developed in PhoneGap, a cross-platform development framework that allows developers to build their games in HTML and Javascript while still being able to take advantage of the core features of the device as a native app. If you're great with Javascript/CSS, but bad with C++, PhoneGap is a free open source way for you to get started building games and apps on the iPhone. Anyway, on to the games-

Ogs, Free [Gameplay Video] In this game, players dispatch creatures called "Ogs" to defend their own island and attack the opponent's island. A bar at the bottom of the screen slowly fills up, allowing you to deploy more advanced Ogs. The game is over when either player's island is destroyed.

The Roswell Game, Free [Gameplay Video] Up to four players at once buzz around the iPad collecting crystals using virtual joysticks situated in each corner of the screen. The game is over when one player collects 75 crystals.

City Bucks, $0.99 [Gameplay Video] My favorite of the three, players place businesses on to an initially empty city grid to lure customers in to buy things. Earning money unlocks more expensive (and attractive) buildings. Monster attacks and disasters like meteor strikes spice gameplay up, and add an element of risk to saving up for one super-expensive business. I'd love to see this game concept fleshed out a little more, as it seems like it is on the verge of something really cool.

  • thewiirocks

    I honestly think the author has done a superb job with these titles. A bit more polish on the interface and they could sell for money. Nice work!

    • Philipp Lenssen

      Thanks thewii! As for selling, I plan to perhaps some day in the future start selling some of the games for $0.99 (that was the initial price for Ogs before I made it free a while ago, too). For now, my main goal is to have people play these though, I enjoy the feedback like yours and enjoy if many people get the games.

  • http://twitter.com/spongefile Tina Aspiala

    Also, don't forget ShotShotShoot, AWESOME multiplayer shooter fun. Seriously addictive. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shot-shot-shoot/id384423051?mt=8

  • http://twitter.com/felixchi Felix Chi

    this is great! are they using canvas?

    • Philipp Lenssen

      Felix, good question, I pondered trying Canvas but no, none of the games use Canvas so far. I should do a speed test but I noticed that one existing Canvas app I had (http://bomomo.com) was running extremely slow on iPad's Safari, so since then I didn't explore this further.

      Right now, for drawing the game's elements, I've settled for changing the class of div elements, which in turn defines a different background image in the CSS... a bit of a workaround to straight img source manipulation but (next to going for Objective C) I noticed it's one of several tricks scraping off some more microseconds.

      • http://twitter.com/felixchi Felix Chi

        Thanks for answering! I was inspired by Bomomo and other canvas experiments and started a platform game with canvas and a simple engine, too bad performance is slow on iDevices :(

        Any chance of a post about the other several performance tricks? ;)

      • Philipp Lenssen

        I'll certainly consider this Felix!