Video games have a long history of catering to the couch multiplayer experience. Unfortunately, for most AAA games this style of play has gone by the wayside to make room for online multiplayer. Now don’t get me wrong, I would never suggest online multiplayer get dropped entirely, though it is a bit of a bummer to see local play getting more and more ignored over the years.
However, if you look hard enough, you’ll find some great games out there that shine when playing with your buddies in the same room. We asked our readers to let us know their favorite local multiplayer titles and have gathered up the highest voted responses. If you’re itching to get some good couch-play in with you and your friends, any one of these will surely be a good time.
Divinity Original Sin II | $29-$30
The game may not be for everyone but the way they do multiplayer is almost perfect.
For those unfamiliar, this turn-based RPG has an expansive world to explore. When playing local multiplayer, the screen can adapt on the fly to split screen. Both players are treated as player 1 in that they can either join up together for s fight or split off and do their own quests, talk to NPCs, and explore. One of the most flexible co-op experiences I’ve ever had.
It Takes Two | $16-$20
It Takes Two might be the most phenomenally imaginative co-op game I’ve ever played. - M3000P
This cooperative multiplayer platformer explores the story of a couple having to confront their struggling with their marriage head-on through a zany adventure. Having shrunk down and taken the form of wooden and clay dolls made by their daughter, they must learn to work together to return their bodies and repair their relationship along the way.
Towerfall | $20
A true classic couch game that offers both competitive and cooperative modes. It embraces the philosophy of being simple to play, but difficult to master. The only actions are jump, shoot, and dodge, but the ability to string these together fluidly is extremely satisfying and is the basis for the movement in their critically acclaimed follow-up game Celeste.
Tackling the bosses in the coop mode has led to some of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had. Defiant moments where your last surviving teammate makes their final stand, clutch plays where your buddy somehow eludes a horde of enemies to pick up your fallen body. The game also has clever, unexpected ways of ramping up the challenge in higher difficulties. Normally games would just give all the monsters more health and call it quits, but Towerfall instead adds new mechanics for you to puzzle out and solve. - kevin
It reminds me of Super Smash Bros a lot in that it’s super easy for anyone to pick up and play, but the added wrinkles (including a truly impressive amount of optional game modifiers) and high skill ceiling make it rewarding for those that keep coming back for more. The game by default also has a built-in handicap, giving players in last place more arrows and shields to help them stay in the running (which is a subtle yet surprisingly helpful mechanic when it comes to welcoming players of all skill levels, although it can be disabled if you like).
Also like Super Smash Bros, almost every match I’ve played devolves into everyone yelling at the TV and each other lol. Definitely give it a shot if you haven’t played it already, it’s great. - LouisIsGo
Full Metal Furies | $20
Full Metal Furies is a criminally under-discussed game by Cellar Door Games (Rouge Legacy creators). It had a poor release and was kind of forgotten about. But it’s a phenomenal game with 4 characters that play completely differently and synergize off of one another and all have different, plucky personalities. The game has great humor. There is also leveling up and item upgrades to find. Plus gameplay mechanics that force (in a good way) cooperation and communication. Only caveat: if you want to get the real ending make sure that you find a guide. You have to find these secret things and some of them are VERY convoluted. - FattyNorman
A cooperative RPG brawler, you and your friends control a party of adventurers trying to save the world. It’s a generic premise but instantly elevated by the charming dialogue, bright and emotive character design, and deep combat mechanics. There’s quite a bit of creative puzzle solving to do as well, and people who appreciate puzzle scavenger hunts or escape rooms will enjoy the many riddles that abound. - kevin