Online gaming is so widespread these days these days that it’s easy to forget that multiplayer gaming used to only be local. Even Halo, which used to be one of the most popular couch multiplayer games in the world, didn’t have split screen in its latest entry. While online gaming is fun and accessible, sometimes you just want to invite some friends over, order a pizza, and play Mario Party until 3 a.m. Here are some newer indie games that reinvigorate that couch co-op spirit.
1. Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime
The name of this game is hilariously weird, and the game itself is even weirder. The game has you playing as one of many cute space pilots, scouring the universe, fighting hostile aliens, and rescuing helpless animals. Each player has their own character, and you can run around the giant circular ship to the different sections to control different parts. For example, one person could pilot the ship, while another controls the shields, with another on the turrets.
The game supports up to four players, inevitably, leading to a lot of shouting and mayhem. Despite the cutesy art style, the game is actually quite difficult, as every player needs to micromanage their specific role carefully. Amusingly, the end of every level presents a “love meter” that tells you how well you and your partner were in sync.
The game is available for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC/Mac. The trailer can be viewed here:
Overcooked is a frantic cooperative action game in which players try desperately to run a restaurant without everything going haywire. The game is basically Diner Dash cranked up to 11, as players must balance working quickly with getting the orders right to pass the level and get a high score. Each order that comes in must be made to specification, and your customers will tolerate no mistakes.
The game is both easier and harder when you get more people. It’s easier in the sense that you have more hands on deck to handle the various kitchen tasks, but it’s harder because you have so many people running around the kitchen, and then you get an order wrong, and the steak caught on fire, and there are no clean dishes left, and you’re only 10 points away from winning the level…etc. etc. Overcooked is hilariously stressful and we recommend this one to anybody who loves screaming at their friends. Overcooked 2 was recently announced, so keep a look out for that, too.
The game is out for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The trailer can be watched here.
3. Don’t Starve Together
This charmingly creepy Burtonesque game tasks players with surviving a bleak and surreal world starting with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Like the title implies, players need to keep their characters fed, but they also need to worry about managing their characters’ sanity and fighting off an all-powerful but unseen Lovecraftian horror named Charlie. Don’t Starve Together combines the survival and roguelike genres to craft a bleak but endearing adventure. Each death is permanent (barring the use of certain items) so players must work together carefully to avoid the infinite number of things waiting to kill them.
Cuphead is run-and-gunning at its best. The difficulty is hellishly brutal, with the game being only incrementally easier with a friend on your side. Resist the urge to snap your controller in half and you’ll be treated to a gorgeously animated adventure straight out of a 1940’s Max Fleischer cartoon. While the game is incredibly hard, it is never unfair. Enemies telegraph their attacks clearly, and are so unique and well animated that it’s hard to hate them. With that being said, you will likely let out a primal scream when you finally beat that boss that just killed you 500 times in a row.
The game is out for PC and Xbox One. The trailer can be viewed here.
While the other games on this list may be frantic and stressful, Snipperclips is anything but. In this game, players cut each other up into various shapes in order to work together to complete a level. You need to get creative with your snipping, as each level presents a unique problem to solve, such as shooting a ball into a hoop or helping a hamster run across a bridge. The cutesy art style and laid back music make this game feel much more relaxed than other co-op games, and it’s a fine title to wind down and relax with your friends.
The game is available on the Nintendo Switch and the trailer can be viewed here.