Online multiplayer is a common feature in many video games today, but finding titles suitable for playing on the couch with friends and family can be a challenge. If you’re in search of local co-op fun, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 26 of the best couch co-op games, spanning across the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It’s worth noting that our focus is on genuine co-op experiences, excluding games with local multiplayer that may not truly be cooperative in practice. So, no Mario Kart or Jackbox on this list. Nevertheless, our curated selection includes a diverse range of genres, from platformers and puzzlers to RPGs and arcade shooters.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World distinguishes itself within the broader Super Mario series with its predominantly fixed camera and levels that fall somewhere between semi-3D and the entirely open spaces found in Super Mario Odyssey or Super Mario Galaxy. While maintaining the characteristic charm, speed, and inventiveness of the series, the game presents players with numerous items to collect and secrets to uncover. Notably, everything available at any given moment is visible on the screen, promoting a closer look and movement between foreground and background.
Co-op play in Super Mario 3D World can be chaotic, and the game embraces it. Up to four players share lives but are individually scored, culminating in the leader receiving a crown at the end of each level. This introduces a competitive co-op dynamic, allowing devious teammates to potentially grab and throw each other off cliffs in pursuit of a high score. The level of adventure can be tailored to the preferences of the players, creating an exciting update to the familiar Mario formula.
A mention is also given to Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the latest 2D Mario game, which also supports local multiplayer. However, its camera is slightly zoomed-in, making it challenging for players of varying skill levels to stay on screen simultaneously. While it remains a great platformer and a decent co-op experience, it feels primarily designed for solo play.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Similar to most Donkey Kong Country games, Tropical Freeze is a 2D platformer known for its straightforward structure and stunning aesthetics. In contrast to Mario, Donkey Kong possesses a more immediate sense of gravity, resulting in a weighty feel to his leaps. However, this deliberate platforming style contributes to the game’s unique charm. Tropical Freeze leads players from one visually stunning scene to the next within the same stage, creating a delightful experience.
While Tropical Freeze can present challenges, especially in later boss fights, the Switch version includes a “Funky Mode” that provides a slight easing of difficulty. For those with a Wii or Wii U, the game’s predecessor, Donkey Kong Country Returns, offers a similarly excellent, if not superior, gaming experience.
Rayman Legends offers a different flavor of 2D platforming compared to Nintendo’s iconic properties. If Donkey Kong is Mario’s sturdy animal companion, Rayman is the eccentric French buddy he visits during his overseas adventures. In Rayman Legends, the 2D platformer takes a more outlandish turn. Instead of the pristine environments and perfect geometry typical of Mario or Donkey Kong games, Rayman’s world is more abstract, cartoony, and at times, crass, with the inclusion of unconventional sounds such as fart noises.
The moment-to-moment movement in Rayman Legends may be a bit less precise compared to Nintendo’s platformers, but it still maintains a fast and light gameplay experience. The game features stages filled with optional rooms and collectibles that encourage players’ curiosity. Rayman Legends is an unpretentious and enjoyable side-scrolling platformer that embraces its role as a fun and entertaining experience, particularly when played with friends, adding an extra layer of enjoyment and frenetic energy.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 is an expansive CRPG that emulates a digital Dungeons & Dragons campaign, set in the Forgotten Realms and featuring tricky, turn-based combat based on D&D 5th Edition’s rules. The game’s flexibility and decision-making reflect the spirit of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, allowing players to shape the world and its timeline through their choices. While the narrative becomes more structured as the game progresses, a compelling plot and well-developed characters contribute to its universal acclaim.
While Baldur’s Gate 3 is well-suited for a solo experience, its co-op mode offers a different dynamic. Players can traverse the entire story together, yet they are not bound to follow each other’s lead. The co-op mode introduces an element of unpredictability, with the potential for partners to undermine or alter the quest in unexpected ways, such as by harming important NPCs or pursuing quests with conflicting goals. However, players can also choose to cooperate, traveling together and devising combat strategies in harmony. Similar to Divinity: Original Sin 2, another outstanding couch co-op RPG from Larian Studios, Baldur’s Gate 3 explores the intriguing concept of RPG party members behaving like actual individuals rather than a collective bound to a single path. The result may be chaotic but thrilling. It’s worth noting that a playthrough can extend well beyond 100 hours, so having a committed partner for the long haul is advisable.
Vampire Survivors is a retro-style shoot-em-up with a unique twist: the game handles the shooting for you. Players choose from a variety of characters, each with distinct abilities, and face hordes of monsters in endless stages. As enemies are defeated, players gain experience, allowing them to choose new weapons or passive abilities at each level-up, creating strategic and customizable builds. The goal is simple: survive until a time limit. The game’s focused and naturally replayable loop, combined with the sheer number of enemies defeated, creates a parody of gaming power fantasies.
What sets Vampire Survivors apart is the auto-firing mechanism, removing the need for precise aiming and dexterity and focusing more on movement and spatial awareness within chaotic environments. The co-op mode, supporting up to four players, introduces a new layer of communication. Players can share weapons and trade leveling upgrades, encouraging teamwork to turn the team into an efficient monster-blasting machine. While this cooperative play may initially slow down the game and increase difficulty, it adds an extra layer of tension and excitement to each run.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion 3 takes players on another ghost-hunting adventure with Mario’s timid brother. In this installment, Luigi must confront his fears and use his “Poltergust” vacuum to rescue his friends from a haunted hotel. While the co-op mode becomes available about an hour into the story, it introduces a second player as “Gooigi,” a Luigi clone made of green goo with infinite lives. This setup allows players more freedom to experiment with puzzle and boss fight solutions without the need for repeated restarts.
While Luigi’s Mansion 3 has some frustrating elements, such as imprecise control of the ghost-gobbling vacuum and occasional tedium from backtracking through previously-conquered areas, its creative level designs and Pixar-esque animation give it a distinct personality compared to other Nintendo games. The game offers a silly and generally satisfying experience, making it particularly well-suited for kids.
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics
Clubhouse Games is a compilation featuring 51 classic tabletop games, ranging from familiar titles like Yahtzee and Connect Four to more niche games like shogi and nine men’s morris. While not every game in the collection supports couch co-op, most do, and nearly all are designed to be easily understood.
What sets Clubhouse Games apart is not just its accessibility but also the quality of curation. The included games represent diverse cultures, time periods, and play styles—some based on skill or patience, others on abstraction or chance. Upon starting the game, players are prompted to identify their “heart’s desire,” and there is detailed information about each game’s origins and history. As a whole, the game emphasizes the idea of play as a universal connection. However, even without delving into these details, Clubhouse Games offers a fun and relaxed experience, reminiscent of enjoying a favorite board game.
BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!
BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! may appear simple, but this minimalist puzzler from HAL Laboratory, the creators of Kirby, offers the straightforward pleasure and consistently inventive design characteristic of Nintendo-published games. In its two-player campaign, players control Qbby and Qucy, two walking boxes with the ability to grow additional boxes from their heads. The objective is to navigate from point A to point B, using these boxes to overcome gaps and various obstacles.
The challenge lies in the limitation on the number of boxes that can be created at a time. Players must think creatively to find safe paths, and the levels progressively introduce new ideas. Starting with basic bridges, the bite-sized levels quickly expand with a stream of fresh concepts. Players find themselves using boxes as makeshift grappling hooks, shovels, laser-blocking shields, and more in ways that intuitively make sense. While completing the game isn’t overly difficult, collecting the elusive crowns hidden in each stage adds a greater challenge for those seeking it.
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a 3D platformer and one of the rare full-scale, narrative-driven games designed exclusively for co-op play. Unlike many co-op experiences, the game avoids asking both players to perform the same actions simultaneously, ensuring a balanced distribution of tasks. It consistently introduces new concepts, and while some levels may feel prolonged, the game’s lively movement remains enjoyable throughout.
The story, with its saccharine yet oddly dark tone, may not be as satisfying. Few games portray divorce as a happy ending quite like this one, and players might grow weary of the recurring character “Dr. Hakim.” However, if players can overlook the dialogue, It Takes Two provides more delights than disappointments.
Portal 2, the first-person puzzler released over 12 years ago, has found new life with a Switch re-release. Its sharp writing and cleverly designed puzzles continue to be relevant today. In the co-op mode, players engage in an entirely separate campaign that, while not as story-focused as the solo mode, excels in gradually teaching spatial thinking and fostering communication between players. Although PS4 and PS5 no longer support the game, PC players can enhance their experience by downloading community maps for added challenges.
Streets of Rage 4
Streets of Rage 4 faithfully resurrects the classic series of side-scrolling beat-em-ups from the Sega Genesis, which already offered satisfying co-op playthroughs. The game follows the traditional formula of moving to the right, positioning yourself strategically, and unleashing a variety of attacks on waves of adversaries. With punches, kicks, throws, and special moves, players can pulverize enemies in this hand-drawn animation style game, complemented by a lively soundtrack. Streets of Rage 4 doesn’t aim to be the most ambitious title, focusing instead on hitting high notes from 30 years ago. It delivers the thrill, style, and refinement characteristic of a good beat-em-up.
For a more accessible, though simpler, throwback brawler, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is also worth considering.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga offers a Lego-inspired adventure through the nine mainline Star Wars films. Following the typical Lego game formula, it is easy to play, making it accessible for players of all skill levels. The game’s standout feature is its sense of humor, with abbreviated remakes of each film filled with cute gags and in-jokes. For example, players can explore Cloud City to find the room where Lando Calrissian keeps his collection of capes, along with a heroic portrait of himself.
While the game includes an abundance of side quests and collectibles beyond the narrative, some may find these repetitive. Additionally, the cor systems, though fun, may not provide enough depth to make the optional content truly engaging. Nevertheless, sticking to the main storyline should allow players to appreciate Skywalker Saga as a good-natured love letter to the inherently goofy Star Wars films.
Stardew Valley has experienced a surge in popularity since its release in 2016, and the reasons are apparent. More than just a relaxed farming simulation akin to Harvest Moon, it offers an immersive alternate life where players can leisurely tend to their farm, wander through town, and embrace a slower pace of life, free from the pressures of aggression and competition. In co-op mode, you and a friend can share a farm and divide tasks, but the game is flexible—allowing each player to pursue their interests, whether it’s fishing, exploring the beach, or simply enjoying downtime at home. For those inclined to optimize their land for profits, that option is available as well. Note that building a cabin for your partner is necessary if they are joining an existing farm.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a compilation of remastered versions of the first six mainline Halo games, offering tighter control and pacing compared to many first-person shooters released in the decades since. The original Halo’s campaign, in particular, remains essential, striking a balance between goofiness and badassery. While some of the later narratives may go off the rails, the collection provides an opportunity to revisit the classics, featuring enjoyable moments like driving Warthogs and dual-wielding space guns.
Unfortunately, Halo Infinite has eliminated couch co-op, but the classics still offer good fun. It’s worth noting that local multiplayer is only supported on Xbox, not PC.
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a straightforward puzzle/stealth game that derives plenty of humor from its premise: You play as a mischievous goose whose sole purpose is to annoy the residents of a quaint English village. If the idea of dragging a rake into a lake, yanking a chair out from under an elderly man just as he tries to sit down, and honking at everyone in sight appeals to your sense of humor, the game is likely to provide a good laugh.
The gameplay itself lacks significant variation, as you primarily navigate through a checklist of prankish activities through trial and error. However, the silliness of the game is fitting, and it concludes swiftly enough to avoid overusing its comedic elements.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a heartwarming adventure game set in a world of talking animals, where the protagonist, armed with a magic paintbrush, embarks on a journey to fill the land with color. Playing as a lively dog, you explore the game’s world in a style reminiscent of Zelda, but with a unique twist – the ability to use the paintbrush to color the environment freely with various colors and patterns. Chicory creates an experience akin to a digital coloring book, allowing players to paint the world in their own way without judgment.
In co-op mode, player one retains control over the progression pace, while player two receives another paintbrush with the same abilities. This not only aids in solving puzzles and tackling boss encounters but also enables both players to leave a shared mark on the world, reminiscent of two children sharing crayons on a coloring book. Despite the cutesy art style, Chicory delves into deeper themes such as self-doubt and impostor syndrome, offering an earnest and heartfelt narrative. For those seeking a warm, caring, and whimsical co-op experience, Chicory is a recommended choice.