Solitaire is fine once in a while, but usually it's more fun to play games with other people.
Same goes for iPhone games: There's only so much mano-a-Bejeweled a person can take. Fortunately, there are some terrific apps that let you compete in real-time against other real, live humans.
And not just humans in your immediate, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi-enabled area, either: I'm talking about games that support online competition.
These five titles let you kick the butts of players across the globe:
- Galcon An insanely addictive space-based action game, Galcon plays like Risk at warp speed. Conquer other planets while protecting your own. Multiplayer options include not only one-on-one, but also two-on-two and one-on-two. Not sold? Try the free lite version. It doesn't offer multiplayer, but I guarantee it'll get you hooked.
- Mancala: FS5 Faster-moving than chess but no less fun, Mancala is one of my all-time favorite two-player games. This version makes it a snap to find and join an online game. The only downside: jerks who abandon the game when they start losing. (Don't be that guy!) Mancala: FS5 costs $1.99, but even the ad-supported freebie version supports multiplayer.
- Raging Thunder Racing games can get old in a hurry. As any self-respecting Klingon might say, there is no honor in defeating AI-controlled opponents. (No fun, either.) Raging Thunder lets you race against up to three live drivers in arcade-style competition. If you find yourself tiring of Asphalt 4, Real Racing, and the like, you owe it to yourself to try this.
- Robocalypse A real-time strategy game in the tradition of Starcraft, the hilarious and incredibly polished Robocalypse is actually a Nintendo DS port. Online multiplayer--for up to four players--is just icing on this 99-cent cake. (That's a temporary sale price, by the way.) Even the free lite version lets you sample the multiplayer action.
- Uno The classic card game gets a classy iPhone treatment, complete with online multiplayer. It's $4.99--less than you'd pay for a real deck.
OK, game fans, your turn: What multiplayer apps have been sucking up your battery these days? List your favorites in the comments.