With at least three million magical Apple tablets out there, there’s a good chance you can find a friend, co-op partner or antagonistic opponent to tackle in the many multiplayer iPad games that have hit the App Store thus far.
Whether your pal is across the room from you, in another country, or even in another time zone - which makes simultaneous multiplayer games a chore - there are plenty of great options, in plenty of different genres, for two tablet tappers to tango with.
So here are ten spiffy games designed specifically for more than one player.
This is the next generation of board games: jigsaws and screwball scramble be damned. Turning classic arcade cabinet pong into a four player, multi-ball, power-up filled family game is a stroke of genius.
Lay the iPad on a table, and your whole family hunches around it like it's the new Twilight book and Borders only had one copy. Each person gets a paddle, and you’ve just got to keep the ball(s) in play.
It’s deceptively simple fun that quickly turns into frantic arguments, anger fuelled shoves, bruised knees, tears and eventually, divorce. Fun for all ages, 6 and up.
Words with Friends HD
Scrabble is fun. But the best thing about Words with Friends is that you’re allowed to come up with your strategic word choice in peace. Lay the word “viscous” or “violate” without the fear of your opponent’s judging eyes, or just their general lingering presence in the murky depths of cyberspace.
Thanks to the magic of push notifications, servers, the internet and tubes laid under the sea, you can make your move without your partner being on their iPad, awake or even alive. When they finally awake from their mortal slumber, your next move will be flashing on their iPad’s screen.
You can even play between different Apple gadgets like some kind of salacious cross-device smut between a first generation iPod touch and a 3G iPad. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Fruit Ninja HD
Everyone likes fruit. It’s juicy, it tastes good and it's beneficial to your health too. Raisins are top notch laxatives on top of that, helping you stay regular.
But they also make awesome splat shapes when slashed violently with the razer sharp edge of a samurai’s katana sword, spewing their gooey seed filled insides across the dojo wall like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Things only get better when you invite another player in, where Fruit Ninja HD splits the iPad’s screen in half like a freshly sliced coconut, letting two strawberry samurai duke it out at the same time. Just get your fingers off my half of the screen, dammit.
It might be a tad extreme to recommend the fancy schmancy electronic iPad app of Scrabble over the traditional board game, especially as the exact set up I’ll describe will set you back well over £1,000. But it’s just too cool not to mention.
With party play, the iPad becomes the Scrabble board game while Bluetooth connected iPhones and iPod touches transform into secret, veiled tile racks (with a free app), as you flick tiles onto the board. While this gimmicky party piece isn’t worth signing the deed to your home over to Steve Jobs, if you social circle is already comprised of turtle neck wearing Macolytes, it’s good fun once in a while.
Keep both Scrabble, for crowded table top antics, and Words with Friends, for asynchronous online triple word scores, right there on your homescreen.
Tower Madness HD
The iPad has really re-introduced the world to split screen play. In a world of Xbox Live, effortless online play, next to no lag and headsets to call each other douchebags, the time of sitting next to a pal and getting a little too close to comfort seemed to be over.
Not anymore though, as you rub shoulders, cheeks and sometimes, very awkwardly, hands, over Apple’s 10 inch tablet. Take Tower Madness HD, which splits the screen in two, giving both players their own personal tower defense game.
You’re not just getting unnervingly close for the fun of it, as your gameplay affects your opponent’s screen, letting you send in waves early, increase the speed of nasty aliens and steel those all important sheep from your enemy.
Flight Control HD
More single screen sharing multiplayer love-ins (although Firemint’s also included wireless multi-pad play), where you can team up to land as many planes as possible.
The game intends you to use an airstrip each, and take care of their respective fleet of planes, lest you tangle yourself up in a spaghetti like game of Flight Control meets Twister.
Space Invaders goes multiplayer. What does that mean exactly? One brave soul mans the lonely space ship down below, while an evil adversary chucks endless waves of enemy forces at them from up top.
It’s a neat take on a classic genre, and a type of gameplay that’s pretty much unique to the iPad, and the new social aspects it brings to the market. Check it out, but beware: this beast is strictly multiplayer, so loners needn’t apply.
iPhone and iPad mainstay Illusion Labs gets the visual metaphor that imbues iBooks with a chunk of digital paper and the Notes app with a leathery flap. All of its games, from finger-boarding Touchgrind to steel-ball-maze-em-up Labyrinth 2 feel like their real world equivalents.
Same goes for Foosball HD, which gives the impression of a real table football experience right there on your iPad. Players go for goals by flicking their armless-amputee players, stuck to metal poles for eternity. Scary stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Classic card game Uno might be forever associated with scary men showing their privates over Xbox Live cameras but, if you can disassociate the game with streaming nudity and Gamerpoints, remember it’s still a fun game about cards and shouting words really loudly.
You’ll need to cover up your cards yourself - no free Uno hand app for bluetoothed iPhones here - but as long as your friends understand the concept of a gentleman's agreement, there should be lots of laughs and few bruises at the end of the night.
Worms and Lemmings, two unlikely animals to dominate the shared youth of Amiga obsessed Brits. They’re both pervasive franchises too, especially as Worms hit the iPad just as the atom-thick rectangle launched in Europe.
This new high res version features all the local multiplayer modes you expect too, such as two to four player action across multiple tablets, or pass the mouse... uh iPad mode with the same number of earth-dwelling combatants.