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Online multiplayer games typically see players compete against each other in battles for death and glory, whether it’s the fast-paced warfare found in Call of Duty, or the high-speed action in Gran Turismo 7. However, some of the best (and funniest) multiplayer games see friends and family members team up to achieve a common goal. Overcooked’s frantic kitchen-based shenanigans are as hilarious as they are chaotic, and there’s little better than figuring out one of It Takes Two’s fiendish puzzles before your partner. If you’re looking for some game recommendations to play with friends and family, check out our list of best co-op games below.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands…
Depending on your tastes, you could quite easily replace Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands with any of the Borderlands games on which it’s based. Personally, however, I love the dungeons and dragons adventuring found in Gearbox’s latest release.
A silly, over-the-top and hilarious experience that’s absolutely littered with fantasy references, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a first-person shooter inspired by classic tabletop games. It’s also jam-packed with weaponry and wizardry, mixing shotguns and sniper rifles, with spells such as exploding marshmallows and fire-breathing dragons. That’s on top of the weapons you can swing, such as hulking-great hammers and legendary swords.
While you can play Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands solo, it really is much more fun when enjoying the action with a friend, either in split-screen or online. Not only can your partner revive you after taking a beating from a Goblin army, but they can also explain what all of the references mean.
Overcooked: All You Can Eat…
Forget traditional team-building exercises like building towers or solving ‘fox, chicken and grain’ puzzles, if you really want to strengthen teamwork, simply hand out four controllers and put on Overcooked: All you Can Eat.
At its core, Overcooked tasks players with preparing, cooking and serving food such as hamburgers, sushi, fish and chips, and pizza. Throw in transforming stages, washing up, kitchen fires and even pesky rodents, and the result is one of the most frenzied gaming experiences you’ll ever have. The only way to possibly succeed is to work as a team, so be prepared to shout and scream at your fellow chefs as you bid to fulfil as many orders as physically possible.
Overcooked: All You Can Eat contains the original Overcooked and its sequel, as well as all post-release DLC and expansion packs. If you’re playing on PS5, you’ll also appreciate the new DualSense features, which warn you when food is burning or running too late.
Streets of Rage 4…
If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, then chances are you played your fair share of beat-em-ups, where the aim is to smash the bad guys and defeat the bosses, usually in a bid to save a loved one or stamp out a criminal gang.
Chief among these games was Streets of Rage (SoR 2, in particular), which saw Axel, Blaze and others battle a criminal organisation run by the evil Mr. X. After going out of fashion once 3D graphics became more prominent, beat-em-ups are very much back on the radar, and there really isn’t any better than 2020’s Streets of Rage 4.
The great thing about Streets of Rage 4 is that while it can be difficult to master, the premise itself is basic enough for most people to grasp, regardless of how much gaming experience you have. After a few hours beating gang members black and blue using basic punches, kicks and throws, you’ll quickly learn how to perform complex combos using all of your character’s abilities. Just make sure your rookie teammate knows not to steal the last chicken when you’re low on health.
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It Takes Two…
Arguably the best two-player co-op game on this list, It Takes Two is a rather heartwarming tale that centres around an estranged couple who must work together and mend their relationship after being transformed into a pair of handmade dolls.
Not only is the storytelling and voice acting top notch, but It Takes Two contains some of the best co-op puzzles ever assembled in one video game. It’s essential you talk to your fellow player to solve some of the more taxing brainteasers, and you’ll need to co-ordinate on timings and use your complementary abilities to overcome obstacles that include killer wasps, a moon baboon and giant beetle.
It’s also a pretty straightforward game to get to grips with, meaning you could potentially play with a non-gaming friend or family member. Even better, It Takes Two is available on Xbox Game Pass, which means subscribers can play without shelling out any extra cash.
One of the more relaxing games on the list, Stardew Valley sees players swap big city living with the pleasures of the countryside. You can make progress at your own pace, opting to grow crops, raise cattle and basically earn a ton of money, or kick back, go fishing and meet the locals down the pub.
A second player certainly isn’t essential, but it’s a fine way to make your farm run smoother and pack more into each day. You can send your companion off to the mines to harvest ore to upgrade your tools, while you head down to the forest to grab enough wood to add a stable to the farm.
It may not sound like the most exciting game, but there’s an unmistakable charm to Stardew Valley that makes it hard to put down, especially when you’re playing with a friend.
Sea of Thieves…
If you’ve ever fantasised living the pirate life with the skull and crossbones aloft, then Sea of Thieves is the game for you. With your crew of pirates in tow, Sea of Thieves tasks players with finding buried treasure, fighting huge sea monsters and making sure rival pirates don’t plunder your hard-earned loot.
Despite criticisms about its lack of content at launch, Sea of Thieves has evolved into one of the biggest and best games on the Xbox family of consoles. Whether you simply want to sail the high seas or get stuck into one of the game’s many quests, Sea of Thieves is fantastic fun.
Nintendo Switch Sports…
Much like Wii Sports before it, Nintendo Switch Sports is one of those games that literally anybody can play, regardless of experience. And while it’s better as a competitive game, you can just as easily team up with friends and family members for a game of tennis doubles or volleyball.
It’s highly intuitive, using similar motion controls to the original Wii Sports. You swing your Joy-Con like you would a tennis racket, and spike a volleyball just like real life. With golf coming as a free update in summer, Nintendo Switch Sports is a great party game that should keep you busy for years to come.
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