It’s that time of year again! Time for families to make the trek back home or for people to attend parties, or do none or all of the above. Even with all of the festivities and travel, there is no excuse to stop gaming – in fact, there is every reason TO game. Let’s be real – games are a big part of holiday fun. With technology today, we are no longer limited to only board games – though those are incredibly fun. What better way to spend the holidays than screaming at your siblings over an exciting co-op couch game! Not sure what’s out there exactly? Well, here are my top ten co-op games!
Let’s be clear – these aren’t in any particular order, as they are all great in their own way. These are also COUCH games – online play doesn’t count for this list, though it could add to the fun! Without further ado…
System: Nintendo Wii U
One of first co-op games on our list comes from those geniuses over at Nintendo: Nintendo Land. Players can explore this amusement park-themed game where they can team up to save Hyrule, hunt each other down in Luigi’s Mansion, or a number of other fun “Nintendo-themed” activities. The mini-games aren’t limited to multi-player events; there are some addictive solo games where players can try to beat each other’s high score, like Ninja Castle. What’s better than throwing ninja stars at things? Additionally, Nintendo Land is easy to play, but it has enough challenge for adept players. Overall, this one is good for all ages and gamer levels.
System: Sony PS4
Players: 1-4 (Plus Online Multi-Player)
LittleBigPlanet 3 is an insanely fun co-op platformer following the adventures of Sackboy in his attempt to save Bunkum, the LittleBigPlanet universe. This puzzle game requires a bit of cooperation and all of the players you can get. Players team up to explore and conquer levels, gathering items along the way. While any gamer can attempt this one alone, some puzzles and hidden items require team work! Of course, this is no problem when a player has a few partners. This game is adorable, addicting, but requires a little finesse. In addition to playing the story, gamers can also create their own levels, which adds another layer of fun to the mix. While this game is a blast, it might not be the best for novice players.
System: Nintendo Systems
Players: 1-4 (5 for Mario Party 10)
This one seems like the most obvious of all the co-op games on the list. Party is in the title! Mario Party games start as far back as the N64 and there is no sign of them slowing down. With a number of different boards, players follow a ‘board game’ style system that pits everyone against each other. The objective is to gather as many stars as possible before the final round; the player with the most wins. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Players must move around the board, gather coins, win mini-games, and deal with the treacherous Bowser! In the lastest version, Mario Party 10, a player can even play as Bowser. While the mini-games require a bit a skill, the game is mainly luck based. This one can grate on the nerves after awhile, so be sure to have another game handy.
Super Smash Brothers
System: Nintendo Systems
The best co-op games often involve two or more characters beating each other to a bloody pulp. What better way to deal with holiday frustrations, right? Well, Super Smash Brothers provides a family-friendly beat-um-up game with all of our favorite characters. The fighting mechanics range from easy (for you button-mashers out there!) to difficult, depending on what kind of combos a player plans on pulling out of his or her arsenal. There is a character for everyone, unlockables, and seeing Jigglypuff fly off the stage is so satisfying for some reason. Of course, fighting games aren’t for everyone. If you aren’t a fan, it’s best to try another option on this list.
Super Mario 3D World
System: Nintendo Wii U
Nintendo has it’s fair-share of fun co-op games, and Super Mario 3D World is no exception! This exciting platformer requires skill, cooperation, and puzzle solving – unless you like watching your friends die. In that case, all bets are off. Players team up and navigate the Mushroom Kingdom to save the Sprixie Princesses from Bowser. While it can get frustrating trying to play through the levels when one person is messing around, this game can be a blast for a four-player team. Plus, if anyone has ever played any Mario game before, no training is required!
The Jackbox Party Pack 3
System: PC/Mac/PS4/Amazon Fire Family/ Xbox One
Here’s an utterly awesome and almost effortless party game! Gather everyone around the TV and whip out your cell phones! The Jackbox Party Pack contains 5 crazy fun games that include trivia, terrible drawing skills, and quirky word play. Each game is straightforward and all players really need to know is how to use a cell phone with internet access. Players log into jackbox.tv, enter the code, and join their friends in board game-inspired fun. This game is for anyone and everyone, and actually has a ‘clean’ version – and how ‘clean’ it is can depend on your answers. Easy to set up, fun to play; this is gaming done right.
System: Microsoft/PS4/XBOXONE/OS X/ Linux
If fighting, trivia, or platform games aren’t for you – maybe cars are more your speed! Rocket League is an incredibly addictive competition that combines soccer, basketball, or hockey with demolition derby. It works beautifully. Rev up those engines, design your car, and take to the field to face off against local friends or attempt some group free-for-alls online. While it may take a few minutes for a novice to get the hang of the controls, the excitement and smack-talk that follows will be legendary.
System: Nintendo Wii
An oldie, but a goodie! These simple turn-based sport activities are easy and enjoyable for just about any level of gamer. Things could get incredibly exciting if you turn these into drinking games–ha, but I digress. Though there is a nice dose of competitive play, most of the Wii Sports games are low impact and quick to grasp. So grandma and your kid brother can both try their hand at bowling, baseball, golf, tennis or boxing. Play in teams, or go solo – but most of all, get up and have some fun!
System: Microsoft Windows/ PS4/ Xbox One
There’s a saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth. This is not true when it comes to Overcooked. This game was meant for multi-player! It thrives on culinary chaos as players work as a team to put together as many dishes as they can in a limited amount of time. Play against each other or team up in a simple 3-4 button game that requires a little teamwork and a plan. Either that or just let everyone run wild and burn the kitchen down.
Mario Kart 8
System: Nintendo Systems
This is the ultimate group game. Racing games are always a blast, but Mario Kart 8 is a cut above the rest. Get ready to burn rubber while dodging pesky banana peels, navigating obstacles and winning that coveted trophy. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of or played any Mario Kart game before, but it’s easy enough to play for even the most clueless gamer. Soon enough, Great Grandma will be cackling like Wario as she blasts you with red shells like a boss. It’s classic, and it’s a good time.
When it comes to co-op games, any one of these games is a winner. So what are you waiting for? Gather everyone up, pick a game, and start swearing at each other – and have an amazing gaming experience at the same time.
What do you all think? What are your favorite co-op games? Prefer some old school two player action? Why not hop on the Nostalgia Train and check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, or my personal favorite, Contra.
Have a great holiday!