Which 2-player games are worth enjoying with a friend? We’ve got you covered right here.
Jolly cooperation – the foundation of humanity’s dominance of planet Earth. While it’s easy to look back at history and highlight conflict as a defining characteristic of our species, working together defines it just as much as our differences. Step into the world of video games and you’ll see plenty of conflict and cooperation. We’ve covered the former in our list of the best WW2 games, but what are the best co-op games you can play right now?
While co-op games aren’t quite as common as they once were, there are still plenty to enjoy if you know where to look. So let’s sit on a tandem and pedal together through the best split-screen, couch co-op, and online co-op games around.
Back 4 Blood is built around team play – cooperation is the very heart of the game. With up to three friends, shoot your way through a lengthy campaign and survive against hordes of zombies. It’s a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead and the only way you can recapture that same co-op thrill on modern consoles. No two runs here are the same, thanks to an AI director that throws in waves of enemies when you least expect it.
If you don’t have a squad of four for Back 4 Blood, Aliens: Fireteam Elite offers similar action, but with a three-person team. It’s also third-person instead of first-person and, as the name suggests, you’re battling off xenomorphs as opposed to zombies. It’s a tactical shooter where you and your friends have to defend areas with turrets and mines before hunkering down and firing smart guns and pulse rifles at hordes of aliens crawling all over the walls, ceiling, and floors. On harder difficulties, it perfectly captures the tension and panic of that famous scene from Aliens. Aliens: Fireteam Elite is on Game Pass right now.
Ah, more zombies. If there’s one thing that game developers like us to do as a team, it’s shooting dead people until they get even more dead. Dying Light offers more of that, with friends. Playing in first-person, you’re free to run around an open-world city while battling zombies and doing sick parkour stunts across rooftops. When the night falls, even deadlier beasts come out and you’re forced to retreat into the light until morning comes.
Turn your brain off, stick your tongue out, and invite some pals – Borderlands 3 might not be the most sophisticated shooter on this list, but does that matter when it has five bazillion guns? Exactly. There are pistols that shoot rockets, shotguns that explode when you reload them, and all sorts of other wacky weapons. Just ignore the annoying robot and you’ll have a good time. Comparing your arsenal to your friends’ is almost a game in and of itself. Borderlands 3 is the perfect game for when you want to catch up with pals and shoot some mutants at the same time.
You best turn your brains back on for this one – Payday 2 is all about pulling off perfect heists. Sure, you can still succeed if you just gun down every cop in your path, but a slick robbery will make your crew stand out from the crowd. Grab three friends, four masks, and plenty of gadgets.
You can start this one as if it’s Borderlands 3 – stick out your tongue and mow down some monsters, grab the loot, and watch the numbers go up. But as you and your friends get better and crank up the difficulty, you’re forced to work together even more. Team composition becomes important, as does when you use your special attacks. Make sure you’re all complementing each other’s skills and wade in.
Some people just don’t get on with the overhead, detached view of Diablo games. If that’s you, consider Vermintide 2 instead. Imagine Diablo, but you’re looking through your character’s eyes. Using swords, maces, bows, magic, and more, you fight off waves of enemies while making your way through levels and completing objectives. Lock down choke points, keep your health topped up, and prevent your allies from being dragged away by terrifying rat-men.
If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth, Monster Hunter World is deeper than a magician’s hat. Dozens of monsters to hunt and kill, each with unique behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. Then there’s what you have, too. A whole range of weapons, all of which have a specific use and interact with each other in a distinct way. To learn them all, you’d need hundreds of hours – trim that down by bringing some friends along and having everyone specialize in something different.
From farming monster hides to looking for +10 space pants, Destiny 2 is one of the best-feeling shooters around – it just happens to be co-op. From its complex, lengthy raids to its online PvP, you can squad up with your pals and go wherever your mood takes you. These days, it’s even free to try out. Check out our list of the best Destiny 2 guns if you’re thinking of diving in.
Warframe is basically a third-person take on Destiny, albeit with space ninja who can perform all manner of aerial acrobatics. Start off by slicing everything up with a katana and eventually uncover the depth Warframe has to offer. There’s a complex story full of twists and turns, space exploration, and much more waiting beyond those opening few hours. Oh, and this one is free too.
Rock and stone, brother. Rock and stone. Deep Rock Galactic is a game where you and your dwarf pals dive deep into the caves beneath alien planets to excavate rare materials. Accompanied by a robotic bin, you chip away at ore veins and drill your way through tunnels, fighting off insectoid aliens as you go. Place down turrets, set up escape routes, and hold back the alien threat while hoarding as much wealth as you can for your corporate overlords.
On the surface, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is decidedly old-school. It looks basic in terms of graphical presentation, and it sports that isometric camera angle from ye olde times. But look past that and you’ll find one of the most entertaining, surprising RPGs ever made. In co-op, you’re part of a shaky alliance and it’s up to you how much you want to be in it for yourself or your friends. Take all the loot for yourself, covet power while your friends are still friendly, and oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to set you on fire (I totally did, hehe).
“A co-op game about cooking up and serving food? Well, that sounds relaxing.” If this thought just went through your head, you might possibly be the most incorrect person in the history of people. Overcooked is hell, but it’s great. Serving food under pressure is awful in real life, but imagine serving it up in rooms where the plates move around, your friends keep dropping the ingredients, and you have to cross a busy road to serve it up. In China, players call Overcooked “Divorce Kitchen” – play it with your partner and you’ll see why. It’s a game that made me scream at my child about tagliatelle.
GTA Online is much more than a co-op game, but if you can get a team of four together and take part in its online heists, there’s nothing else quite like this out there. Sure, Payday 2 is also a co-op game about robbing banks, but that’s completely focused on the shooting. In GTA Online, there’s the whole preparation phase, planning the heist out, and everyone working together to pull it off while fulfilling their distinct roles. We recently chatted to Rockstar about GTA Online‘s new update, which adds Dr. Dre and a bunch of new co-op missions.
It starts with a prison escape and ends with one of the most surprising moments a video game has ever attempted. While it might lack the polish of games that focus on a single mechanic, A Way Out is packed full of variety and never once outstays its welcome. Even if you play it online, the action plays out in split-screen so you can always see what your co-op partner is doing. One minute you might be working together to catch a fish, the next you’re having a shootout while riding a motorbike. When you get a moment to relax, why not enjoy a game of Connect 4?
Break the rocks and cut back the weeds, it’s time to grow your own farm in Stardew Valley. One of the most relaxing games around can be played entirely in co-op, and you can even marry your co-op partner if that’s something you fancy. As much a life sim as it is a farming game, it’s up to you how you spend your time here – build up your farm, do some fishing, delve into the monster dungeons, or chat up the locals at the bar. Stardew Valley is a game you can get lost in, and it’s even better when you get lost there with someone you know.
Even when you’re doing nothing together, Sea of Thieves is the perfect co-op game. It’s as much a game about vibes as it is about moments, with you and your crew playing sea shanties and taking in the distant sunset. But when things do kick off – especially if you’re on a galleon – you have to coordinate and act as one. You need someone at the helm, steering the ship; someone on the sails, capturing the wind direction; someone on the cannons; and someone repairing damage and bailing out. When action breaks out here, it’s always barely contained chaos. When a plan comes together, however, you feel like tactical geniuses. Every session in this open seas pirate game will leave you with at least one anecdote that will stay with you forever.
Minecraft can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. Join a friend and take part in a hardcore survival simulation, hunkering down at night so you’re not murdered by skeletons and zombies. Or perhaps you’d rather just get some pals together in Creative Mode and build something majestic – a place to hang out, or something to show off online. When you’re done with those, hop onto custom servers for endless fun. If you’re looking to get started, we’ve collected some of the best Minecraft seeds for you to enjoy.
By the team that brought us A Way Out, It Takes Two is an emotional evolution of that same format. A game built around a co-op experience, you play as a couple who are on the verge of breaking up before their child’s sadness transports them to a magical land and they’re forced to work together to escape. It’s packed with variety, humor, and memorable moments, both cooperative and competitive. There’s a reason It Takes Two took home so many Game Awards.
There’s no beating Portal 2, a cerebral first-person puzzle game where you manipulate portals to solve puzzles. Where most games simply tack on co-op to an existing campaign, Portal 2 has two campaigns – one for single-player and one for two players. It’s co-op done right, rather than an afterthought. Playing as two emotive robots, you have to launch each other over impossible gaps and solve mind-bending problems with perfect timing and razor-sharp wit. You might have to source a PC to play it these days, but it’s worth the hassle.
Sure, Elden Ring isn’t a traditional co-op game, but you can absolutely play through the majority of it with a friend if you both have a little patience. While there’s a unique thrill to finishing FromSoftware games by yourself, there’s a different kind of fun in taking down their bosses with a friend — especially if you both create a different kind of character. One of you hanging back and firing off spells while the other gets in close with a katana? Bliss. If you’re still roaming the Lands Between, check out our full Elden Ring walkthrough.
A lot of PC survival games are built around confrontation — players stealing from each other to survive. In Valheim, it’s all about working together in a hostile world. Build your very own Viking settlements, take on massive bosses, cook, craft, and set sail together in search of new lands.
Whether you’re an established Kirby fan or not, this is an essential Switch adventure. Kirby and the Forgotten Land blends Super Mario Galaxy-tier level design with an approachable and adorable protagonist. Playing through the entire game by yourself is a great experience, but to make it just a bit better you should play with a friend. A local pal can control a Waddle-Dee character. Waddle-Dee can’t absorb copy abilities from foes as Kirby can, but he can throw spears and makes for an excellent assistant. Give the more skilled player of the two of you the Waddle-Dee, and this is an amazing way to play through one of the Switch’s best platformers.
Snipperclips is a simple puzzle game that tests your mind and your relationships. Each player controls a small, sentient piece of paper, and has the ability to cut shapes into their partner. This can include cutting a concave curve into one another, in order to have a “cup” to hold circular objects in. Each stage includes a puzzle for the players to use their wits to overcome, and everything is solvable with good teamwork and some smart snipping. Just don’t shout at your friend when they fail to understand the solution you think is so obvious.
Football just isn’t any fun playing one on one. Rocket League has great online capabilities, but you never know what you’re going to get being matched to random people online. Forming a proper team with your friends and having tactical discussions on the fly can be a real thrill, even though most of the time those plans won’t work.
Celebrating a clutch goal is made all the more fun when a cheer comes from your teammates as well yourself. The nature of Rocket League means that every player on the team can succeed, no matter their skill level. Those with more skill might be able to shoot with more precision, but when things get chaotic near the goal, anyone could swoop in and score.
A game that can only be played in co-op, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is always fun no matter how good you are at it. One player looks at the screen and has a bomb that needs defusing, but all of the modules are stupidly complicated. To help them, they have someone with a manual who can’t see the screen. Both players have to communicate what they’re seeing with each other, but the modules are designed in such a way to make it as difficult as possible.
This leads to one of two scenarios, both of which are equally fun in different ways. The first is that you have a good back-and-forth. You’re able to efficiently communicate with each other and you start diffusing bombs like a well-oiled machine. Alternatively (and much more likely), one of you does a bad job of describing the bomb, the other doesn’t understand the manual properly, and everything devolves into chaos, shouting, and explosions.
Co-op modes in Lego games have been hit and miss over the years, much like the games. Some are designed to allow two players to do their own thing, while others see one person solving all the puzzles and the second player is just along for the ride. Thankfully Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the good kind of co-op, which may be thanks to the significant change in gameplay The Skywalker Saga saw.
You now have a lot more freedom to roam the world and do things as you see fit, which makes it great for a lazy evening in front of the sofa. On top of that, it’s a great way to re-experience Star Wars that isn’t just watching the movies over and over; maybe you could even use it to trick a partner or friend into becoming a Star Wars fan.
Written by Kirk McKeand and Ryan Woodrow on behalf of GLHF.
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Looks like books are leaning Georgia over TCU, and by nearly two touchdowns.
Louisville (+23.5) never a doubt.
If you picked up a video game controller this year, you were probably playing these games.
Which 2-player games are worth enjoying with a friend? We’ve got you covered right here.