One of the best indie multiplayer PC games in recent memory, no top co-op list would be complete without Monaco, What’s Yours is Mine. This endearing indie heist game brilliantly combines arcade-style gameplay with a whimsical story that draws on classic crime movies. Played as a single player game, it holds up as a superb stealth game with an immersive narrative. Played in cooperative mode, however, Monaco transforms into a hilariously frantic multiplayer experience.
Overcooked is a cooperative experience like no other, demanding intense teamwork, coordination, and plenty of tissues to wipe away your tears of laughter. This is the video game version of Hell’s Kitchen, except in Overcooked it’s the absurdly hazardous kitchens that are trying to kill you rather than the head chef. Navigating treacherous lava, slippery ice, and the high seas to name but a few, players must cook up a host of dishes to meet the demand of hungry customers. Quite simply, one of the most entertaining cooperative games ever made.
Gears of War 4
The long-awaited fourth instalment in the Gears franchise didn’t disappoint when it launched on both Xbox One and PC last year. The game’s gritty narrative was brought to life with more interesting characters than we’re used to seeing in a Gears title, and it was married to arguably the best gameplay of the series. Gears of War 4 emerged as one the best games of 2016, and the entire game is playable in co-op. What’s more, there are some super new additions to the horde mode formula, making it the best multiplayer experience in the entire franchise.
Left 4 Dead 2
When you’re faced with a zombie horde, it’s probably a good idea to have a friend around to help out, and thankfully Left 4 Dead 2 boasts split screen co-op. Navigating a post-zombie outbreak southern states of the US, players take control of a host “survivors” with their own unique plot lines. Of course, you’ll be able to take advantage of an arsenal of brutal weaponry along the way, including axes, chainsaws, and even garden appliances.
The seminal puzzle game Portal 2 should be familiar to all gaming enthusiasts. Lauded for its genre-defining gameplay, the Portal franchise has influenced virtually all puzzle platformers since it burst onto the scene ten years ago. The sequel title iterated and improved on what was already the golden standard, and the entire campaign can be enjoyed in co-op. This is a must play title.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime puts two buddies in control of a spaceship that requires seven men to operate as its bombarded by hordes of hostile aliens. Very quickly you’ll discover that effective coordination is they key to mastering this vibrant indie adventure. And despite its name, gambling a relationship on this coop experience is a risky venture. That is, however, only because the addictive gameplay will drive you to the point of exhaustion rather than any frustrations over controls. Indeed, bopping to the awesome score, leveling up your ship with a multitude of upgrades, and enjoying a ton of variety to its gameplay, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a real blast.
Rocket League is a complete phenomenon of indie gaming. The game which pits teams of rocket-powered cars in a soccer match has somehow become one of the most successful competitive multiplayer games of the past few years. Psyonix has continued to add new arenas, modes, skins, and vehicles to a package that is now brimming with content. For an awesome coop experience, play Rocket mode with a pal and let the good times roll.
Human Flat Fall
Human Flat Fall is a physics-based puzzle platform game in a similar vein to titles such as Octodad. Players must navigate several puzzle-filled worlds, each one presenting challenges according to their theme. The game’s genuinely funny writing and melodic piano score tie together stellar gameplay to a produce an experience that certainly sits in the top echelon of the genre. The cooperative mode “Father and Son” adds plenty of replayability to the single-player experience and is well worth checking out.
If roguelikes are your cup of tea, you’ll love the adorable indie title, Lost Castle. Players take control of an adventurer challenged with retaking a castle that has been overrun with demons. The reward? The treasure buried deep within its confines… of course. Not exactly the most innovative of premises, then, but there’s much more to here than a minimal plot. Indeed, the real meat in the sandwich is Lost Castle’s gameplay and progression system, which is a completely addictive grind that is super fun to play. There’s also a host of characters to choose from, made all the more entertaining when joined by a friend in local cooperative mode.
This delightful platformer took the industry by storm when it released back in 2013. Legends is a sequel title that takes Rayman’s gorgeous loony-tune aesthetic and manages to find new ways to surprise with even more stunning level design than the original. Indeed, each of the game’s levels both a visual treat and joy to play, with the climactic boss battles a particular highlight. The Glade of Dreams can be traversed with up to four friends cooperatively, and Legends’ difficulty curve is accessible enough that it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Multiplayer is right at the very core of what makes Dungeon Defenders so brilliant. A scintillating blend of tower defense and action role-playing, Dungeon Defenders is good for countless hours of couch coop fun. The objective is the same each time around: defend the Eternia Crystal from hordes of enemies using a variety of heroes, each with their own unique attributes. But the strategic adoption required to take down the variety of enemy types, as well as effectively coordinating teammates to build or repair defenses in between the action is what keeps things interesting. Sadly, the sequel title removed the feature, but the original game is still one of the best TD games that can be played split screen.
A sweet mashup of battle arena, puzzle solving, and RPG action, FORCED is a smartly designed cooperative action game with lots of depth, great variety in its challenges, and a satisfying combat system that encourages teamwork. Played from an isometric view, players control one of four different characters to battle across combat arenas that are connected by short puzzle segments. Each arena that is beaten rewards players with a crystal, which can be used for character progression. FORCED is another title that is best enjoyed in multiplayer, either cooperatively or online.
Arrowhead Games’ Magicka is an action role-playing game based on Norse mythology. Players assume the role of wizards from a sacred order tasked with the ultimate goal of stopping an evil sorcerer who has thrown the world into chaos. Each wizard can call upon spells spanning eight different elements, mixing them up in different combinations to unleash havoc on sorcerer’s evil minions. Up to four friends can enjoy both the game’s campaign mode and the unlockable survival mode cooperatively.
Salt and Sanctuary
One of 2016’s standout indie games, Salt and Sanctuary is side-scrolling RPG that is heavily inspired by Dark Souls. In fact, it’s pretty much 2D Dark Souls, complete with ruthlessly difficult boss fights and a nearly identical gameplay loop. Instead of harvesting souls, players harvest salt, which can be used in a progression tree or spent on leveling up. There are different classes with different attributes to choose from, but each avatar is essentially a blank slate to build according to player preference. It is possible to play the entire campaign cooperatively.
A 2D brawler with a pretty art style and some thrilling gameplay, Final Exam has players take control of up to two characters who have returned to their old high school for a reunion. There’s more to worry about than the class bully this time around, though, as monsters have overrun the school. Final Exam’s plot is full of cliches and a whimsical blend of horror and comedy that is really well done. Its gameplay has a surprising amount of variety to it, despite being on a 2D plane. The idea is to keep your combos flowing and try to mix in air and ground attacks into the equation. There are mini puzzle challenges in between combat to keep things interesting, too, which require plenty of coordination with your buddy.
Guacamelee certainly borrows elements from a host of legendary source material, but thanks to its own charming art style, a host of memorable characters, and great big wads of endearing silliness, it does more than enough to forge its own legacy. Part metroidvania 2D exploration game, and part action-platformer, Guacamelee is a joy to control. There are health upgrades and new attacks to seek out, but this isn’t an especially deep or demanding game, which works in its favor as a drop-in, drop-out co-op experience.
Avalanche Studios is best known for their work on the popular Just Cause games, a series in which chaotic action is at the forefront of the equation. Renegade Ops is essentially a top-down version of that same design ethos, and though it might not quite match the Just Cause series in scale, it’s no less entertaining to play. The fast-paced vehicular combat is best enjoyed with a controller as a twin stick shooter. Mowing down enemies with an arsenal of weaponry and plowing through the game’s destructible environments often feels like a scene from a Michael Bay movie. And playing in co-op split screen mode doubles the madness.
Developer Housemarque’s latest masterpiece is a culmination of twenty years of working on arcade shoot em ups, and it’s their finest work to date. Nex Machina has players battling an army of droids, saving a few innocent human civilians along the way. The frantic action and jaw-dropping visuals are vintage Housemarque. There are only five stages in the entire game, but given that it’s a score-based game, and mostly because it’s just so damn fun to play, Nex Machina offers plenty of replayability. You can team up with another pal and play the whole campaign cooperatively.
How To Survive
How To Survive strands players on a remote island off the coast of South America, but this is no idyllic paradise. The island is teeming with undead zombies, and you’ll need to work together to forage for essential supplies. The crafting system allows players to build tools and weapons from fishing rods to Molotov cocktails. It’s best enjoyed in multiplayer mode and works well in as a couch co-op experience with one other buddy.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
All of the Lego games are an absolute hoot in co-op mode, but Marvel Super Heroes is definitely one of our favorites. Packed with as much charm and humor as a Disney movie and as accomplished from a gameplay perspective as any AAA title out there, Marvel Super Heroes is not to be overlooked. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you can look forward to visiting loads of iconic locations from recent Marvel movies and play as all of your favorite heroes. In between main missions, the game is essentially a full-scale open world that can be traversed and explored for collectibles. You can swap out and select different characters as you unlock them, too, so there’s loads of variety to gameplay.
Trine 2 is still one of the most gorgeous side-scrolling games ever made. Every level of this fantasy-themed platforming adventure feels something straight out of a Disney fairytale, with gentle harmonies complimenting its beautiful aesthetic. It plays sublimely, too. Following on from the first game, players take control of three unlikely partners, bound together by a mysterious magical Trine. The platform conjuring Wizard, bow-savvy Thief, and sword-wielding knight can be switched between at the press of a button, each possessing unique abilities to help you traverse the game’s puzzle-ridden levels, battling Orcs along the way. The best part? The whole campaign features drop-in, drop-out co-op.
Abyss Odyssey is gloriously designed, wonderfully weird 2D Brawler Roguelike with its own unique style. Each procedurally generated level has its own charm, from ice caves to toxic forests. Gameplay revolves around a fighting system that requires careful timing and understanding of its nuances, rewarding precision and control. A second player can join in at any time for some co-op action. There’s a cool community-oriented purpose for teaming up and killing the game’s final boss multiple times, too, as each defeat the Warlock suffers unlocks more content for the game.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Temple of Osiris takes the action to a top-down isometric perspective, controlling more like a twin-stick shooter than the third-person action gameplay from the main series. But it’s a total blast, with all the same Indiana Jones-style action, puzzle gameplay, and interesting tombs from our favorite Lara adventures. Featuring a four-player co-op story, players must work together to explore the temple, defeat hordes of enemies from the Egyptian underworld.
Nuclear Throne is an intense, adrenaline pumping roguelike that is equally rewarding as it is stressful. Its twin-stick/roguelike mashup feels totally spot on, with controls that are simple and tight. Each procedurally generated level brings players closer to being crowned King of this nuclear wasteland, battling dozens of enemies trying desperately to stop them. Things can get very chaotic, with the screen awash with explosions and gunfire. Each playthrough feels different from the last with lots of items and weaponry, and there’s also a selection of different characters with their own mysterious backstory. Up to 2-players (for now) can work together to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland and become the kings of their domain.
Child of Light
Child of Light probably isn’t a game that immediately springs to mind as a co-op experience, but a second player is actually able to control Igniculus, the firefly. Igniculus’s role is one of support during the game’s turn-based battles, though you’ll likely find a second pair of eyes also helpful in solving the puzzle sections, too. If you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking story-driven coop game with tactical combat and a jaw-droppingly gorgeous aesthetic, look no further.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is a glorious blend of SHMPU, roguelike, and twin-stick shooting. Each randomized dungeon brings new mayhem, flipping tables for cover, rolling around to avoid incoming fire, and shooting enemies as all manner of books, vases, and windows shatter around you. Each chaotic encounter is a careful orchestra of button pressing, timing, and memorizing enemy patterns. It supports two-player co-op.
Dungeon Siege 3
Dungeon Siege 3 is an action-RPG that follows a similar beat to Diablo III. It’s a loot-hunting experience in which players choose a character class and build them with various items and weapons found throughout the game. There are loads of ways to customize character abilities, the skills are fun to use, the loot plentiful, and there are plenty of options for cool skill builds. Three players can join the game for a co-op experience as helpers, choose character classes, collect loot, and assist in battle.
Death Squared is the ultimate cooperative brain teaser. The game’s single player is based on a story about an AI tester progressing through the ranks of a corporate robotic company, but the multiplayer component throws that out the window and instead pits you and a buddy against 40 purpose built levels. Things start easy but quickly get tricky, employing some very clever level design to keep you on your toes. Completing these more difficult stages is super rewarding and a genuinely entertaining experience.
Unlike previous Sacred titles, Sacred 3 is a much more linear affair, replacing action-RPG traits with more hack-and-slash style action. But this doesn’t take away any of its merits as an awesomely entertaining co-op experience. The campaign takes place across over thirty different stages which can be played in any order. Multiplayer places a great emphasis on supporting teammates, with each character given a power meter that fills up as they use their special attacks. Once it’s full, you can give various buffs to your team. Single-player might be a fairly shallow experience, but Sacred 3 is awesome with friends.
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is one of the very best toys-to-life games. Drawing inspiration from the LEGO games, Skylanders offers a co-op action game for a younger audience, though it’s equally enjoyable for older crowds, too. Gameplay revolves around beating up hordes of enemies throughout various castles, forests, and ships. There’s incentive to purchase extra figures but the whole game can be completed with just the starter kit. It’s really a game designed for co-op and certainly feels best when played with a friend.
Gears of War 4
The long-awaited fourth instalment in the Gears franchise didn’t disappoint when it launched on both Xbox One and PC last year. The game’s gritty narrative was brought to life with more interesting characters than we’re used to seeing in a Gears title, and it was married to arguably the best gameplay of the series. Gears of War 4 emerged as one the best games of 2016, and the entire game is playable cooperatively. What’s more, there are some super new additions to the horde mode formula, making it the best multiplayer experience in the entire franchise.