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I'm thinking about a 2 player 2D arena game for a mobile phone, but I have the obvious problem of gripping. To avoid this, I think it shouldn't be a problem to play one in front of the other with touchscreen controls. The problem is, of course, the perspective of the sprites in the screen so they look okay to both players.

I'm thinking fully orthogonal perspective, but it hurts visibility a lot, specially if using human sprites viewed from the top of the head. Is there any example of a game that did this right?

Example with spaceships

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Could you make things symmetrical? – stephelton May 12 '13 at 2:13
Can you explain that a little more? The players would be fighting each other in real time, so I cannot make a horizontal mirror. – MLProgrammer-CiM May 12 '13 at 2:20
Make each sprite symmetric such that it is identical whether you view it from the top or the bottom. – stephelton May 12 '13 at 2:25
How do you make a "full body" sprite symmetrical and goodlooking? That's my question. GTA did it and it looked terrible: Also, Hotline Miami… – MLProgrammer-CiM May 12 '13 at 2:29
You didn't specify enough that I might know symmetry was not an option. Perhaps some more info would help. – stephelton May 12 '13 at 3:07

Most any top down perspective will work. 2D games have done this in the past with games like PacMan:

enter image description here

Additionally, any top down perspective where the camera is at the center of the screen. This gives the kind of view you showed in your comment:

enter image description here

Both of these assume the players are sharing a play field. If the players are not sharing a play field, you can split the view symmetrically and draw two views in whatever perspective you want.

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But the GTA view makes for really bad visibility, the sprites have to make very exaggerated movements to show what direction they are facing. – MLProgrammer-CiM May 12 '13 at 13:07
That sounds like a art problem, not a perspective problem. I can tell the direction all the sprites are facing in that image without any movement. With details like headlights/taillights and faces/back of heads, it makes it simple to know the direction. – Byte56 May 12 '13 at 15:20
I was wondering if there was another one that might work instead of rely everything on the artwork, hence the pre-edited "visibility problems" title. Not ingame perspective but art perspective. – MLProgrammer-CiM May 12 '13 at 16:39

One good way is to use split screen. Take the 2D image and render it on a side angle (from the player's view). As long as the player is looking at their side there shouldn't be a problem. You can just add a 2D splitter in the middle of the screen.

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