One of the many amazing things about games is how they can bring people together. Working together to overcome challenges gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, and makes you believe in the power of friendship and love.
On the other hand, nothing is more hilarious than games that force you to work together while simultaneously providing opportunities for your co-op partner(s) to throw 50 monkey wrenches into the works.
Just imagine: after hours of hard work, you’re about to complete the level. The finish line is within your reach. You look over your shoulder at your trusty co-op companion. You’ve done so much together. You’ve made it so far.
“Oho,” they say. “I’m going to shoot that barrel in front of us to see what it does.”
A short, explosion-y moment later, you are back at the start of the level. These are truly the moments of cooperative gameplay that we will remember to the end of our days.
Would you like to form your own memories of searing treachery and ill-timed communication breakdown? This list will give you some of the best games to start with.
Some co-op games require careful planning and communication, while in others the best approach is to run willy-nilly through the levels shooting wildly and hope that at least one of you makes it to the end alive. This 2D sidescrolling action platformer doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you shouldn’t either. You play as members of Broforce, a team made up of famous bros such as Mr. Anderbro, Ellen Ripbro, and Bronan the Brobarian. With up to four-player local “bro-op” there can be so much happening on the screen that it’s all you can do to yell “bro” and hope that your fellow players don’t blow up the ground you’re standing on.
Broforce is available on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and will be available for PlayStation 4 on Mar. 1.
It doesn’t get much more adorable than little sack creatures working together to save the world. The relative straightforwardness of the platforming and the puzzles makes this a particularly great choice for young gamers looking to play co-op. However, there are still plenty of ways to mess with your fellow players! If your character is off screen for too long, you’ll end up having to pop back to the nearest checkpoint. You won’t appear there until the players that are left get there, though.
Scattered around each level are all kinds of collectible items such as stickers, costumes, and bells. Often there’s one person in the party who feels a strong desire to collect every single one of the items, and will run off in the opposite direction from the objective to do so. This forces everyone else to either run desperately to catch up with them, or face popping back in next time there’s a checkpoint.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
If I ever turn to a life of crime and bank robbing, I know exactly which people I’m not going to invite to my exclusive crew. You, too, can weed out the unsuitable by playing Monaco with them. It’s a heist game, with eight different characters with different abilities to choose from. Each level has objects for you to steal, and different types of security measures and floor layouts. This means that different characters abilities are needed at different points in the levels. If one of you dies, your character turns into a skeleton and lies on the floor where you perished until someone can come revive you. Of course, people tend to die in areas swarming with guards and lasers, which can make revival (which takes time) challenging. Add in the fact that levels can’t be completed unless everyone in your party is alive, and you can start to see why this game is on the list. I can’t even begin to count the number of times my party and I have crept carefully through the whole level, only to be defeated by one player’s decision to “just walk through the security laser because we’re almost to the getaway car.”
Monaco is available on Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Portal 2 (Co-op campaign)
I played this one with my brother while I was away at college, and we had a great time finding all the different ways we could misuse the materials at hand to send each other to our doom. Bouncy paint near an acid pit was his weapon of choice, whereas I preferred to suddenly relocate portals that he was jumping through. The actual puzzles are also enjoyable, of course, and it can be nice to have another brain working away at their solutions. The two robots can also interact with a variety of emotes, which adds a whole level of complexity to crushing your co-op partner with large machinery.
Portal 2 is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
How about a beautiful, charming 2D platformer with adorable characters? Sounds great, right? Now how about the option to play it with three other friends? Fantastic! Well what if you all had the ability to slap each other, all of the time? That is Rayman Origins in a nutshell.
When your character “dies,” they turn into a bubble and float around the screen until one of your party members takes pity on you and slaps you back to life. Those who think that slapping someone about to make a challenging jump is as hilarious the 100th time as it was the first, beware: your party might not be so inclined to bring you back to life next time you die. If you and your friends and family get too slaphappy you may never finish the game.
Rayman Origins is available with co-op on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Windows, and Mac, and without co-op on PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.