Disappointed by the decline of local co-op modes in video games, we posted this article listing some good board games to gather your friends round and have a bit of sociable competition. But as much as we love board games and competition (read: winning), we can’t let go of the magic that comes from playing a videogame with your friend, rather than against them, and sitting side by side on the sofa, rather than chatting via headsets.
Sharing a videogame with someone is one of the best social experiences out there, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite games to play with others, because although they’re increasingly rare, thankfully they still exist. These games don’t all have multiplayer built in, some of them are just single player games where you can pass the controller back and forth, but they are all massive fun and they will, at the very least, bring you closer to the person you’re playing with. Probably.
This list also ties in well with our ‘games for non-gamers’ suggestions; often, being able to play a great game with someone who loves games, when you’re less than keen yourself, can be the best way of enjoying the platform, especially when you feel like you’re playing with someone rather than against them.
9) Never Alone
Never Alone is a game that’s definitely better when played together, partly because the AI in the single player mode isn’t great, but mostly because it’s a game that’s a wonderful experience to share. The story revolves around a young Iñupiat girl called Nuna who, when her village is battered by blizzards, sets out with the help of a white fox, to find their source and stop them. The game looks wonderful, and has the added feature of educational videos on the Native Alaskan Iñupiat people, which are interesting to watch and discuss with the person you’re playing with.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS.
8) The Room
The Room is a game that puts your in a room with a locked safe that you must open, and the hours of puzzles that come from that goal truly make this game great, especially to play with another person. The game has a slightly creepy atmosphere, a reasonably good story, and great graphics behind it, but the best part is poring over the puzzles with someone else for a good few hours.
Platforms: iOS, Android, PC, Kindle Fire.
7) Portal 2
Portal 2 is probably the most obvious entry on the list. As well as being one of our favourite games to get non-gamers into gaming, it’s also got one of the best split screen co-op modes ever. Playing Portal 2 with a friend is a hilarious experience you won’t forget.
Platforms: PC, OSX, Linux, PS3, XBox 360
6) Little Big Planet
You can’t talk about great co-op games without talking about the Little Big Planet series. Offering up to four local players the chance to play together, create worlds, explore and solve puzzles with adorable characters to boot, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PSP
5) The Last of Us
Although they don’t have traditional co-op modes, due to their cinematic nature, Naughty Dog games are some of the most watchable on the market, and The Last of Us is one of the best. With watchable cutscenes, engaging characters, and a gripping heartfelt story, The Last of Us is a great game to sit down and have a long play through with someone, taking turns to fight enemies, solve puzzles, and make important character decisions together.
Platforms: PS3, PS4
4) Rayman Legends
Rayman is a series that’s always been fun, and Rayman Legends just makes it all the better when it brings in co-op. Able to host up to four players locally, with a group of Rayman’s friends to play as, Rayman Legends is a game that has everyone play on a single screen. Fast-paced levels can leave you feeling a bit frustrated when untimely deaths and revivals cause a problem, but overall this game is a great local co-op experience that will absolutely leave a smile on your face.
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
3) Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty
Oddworld is a game that has a co-op mode, but it’s essentially just that when player 1 dies, player 2’s controller activates and they get to take a turn. Really you could forego the multiplayer mode and do this with a single controller. It doesn’t sound massively appealing on paper, but it does work and makes a massively enjoyable playing experience. This is largely because Oddworld is just one of the best game remakes around, a puzzle platformer with unparalleled charm and wonderful animation that’s great fun to play with someone else, particularly as some of the more trial-and-error puzzle solutions can feel less annoying when balanced between the abilities of two people.
Platforms: Linux, Windows, OSX, PS3, PS4, XBox One, PS Vita, Wii U.
Guacamelee! is a gorgeously animated 2d platformer inspired by Mexican folklore, taking you between the worlds of the living and the dead. Player 1 takes control of a farmer called Juan Aguacate who fights through undead enemies to stop the villain Calos Calaca from sacrificing the president’s beautiful daughter. After a short tutorial, a female luchador called Tostada can join in as player 2. Combat in Guacamelee can be quite difficult, so it feels comforting to be working with a friend against hordes of enemies. Especially when you can’t get a specialised move quite down, but they can. It’s not just combat, though, as part of the way through the game you begin to move between the worlds of the living and the dead, solving puzzles together to defeat enemies, and find the best route through areas. This can be frustrating, but nothing feels better than when you manage to solve an annoying puzzle together.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Linux, Mac OS
1) Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
The continuing re-boot of the Tomb Raider series is giving us a younger, more serious Lara Croft with a developed character. But there are still games bringing us more of the classic Croft we’re used to. This game is a follow up to 2010 release Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, rather than the 2013 Tomb Raider, with less focus on story, and more on solving puzzles, gunning down enemies, and having a fun co-op experience. Each of the characters in the game are playable, giving you up to a four player co-op. Locally, you cannot have four separate players (this is restricted to online) but four players can join locally in a two-controller combo co-op. The local co-op in this side game is by far one of its best features, as you and your friends spend the game raiding tombs, balancing fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and avoiding deadly traps.
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
There’s no guarantee these games won’t cause arguments (frustration is other people) but at the very least you’ll be fighting towards winning together, right?
Main Image via Game UK