As the holiday season approaches, millions of us will inevitably be stuck inside with our family members looking for the right games to play. Multiplayer is a must, but something competitive might not be the way to go – there are only so many games of Mario Party and Monopoly a group of people can play together before they want to rip each others’ heads off.
In this case, co-op is the way to go: specifically, something everyone can play in the same room on the same TV. But with so many games out there, how do you separate a perfect holiday gift from a dastardly holiday grift? Fret not! We’ve compiled a list of some of the best games to turn that seasonal boredom into wintertime wonderment. Here’s a collection of couch co-op games that’ll get you crowned as the coolest cousin of the year.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
A true fusion of modern and retro mechanics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is nostalgia in the making. It’s a side-scrolling beat-em-up that harkens back to classic TMNT arcade games of the 80s and 90s. Not only can you play as all four turtles (each of which is voiced by their classic actors from the ’87 TV series), but you can also play as April O’Neil, Casey Jones, and Master Splinter. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser based on its cross-generational appeal, and with a whopping 6-player local co-op, nobody’s getting left out of the fun. | Our Review
It Takes Two
The latest co-op adventure from Hazelight Studios is one of the most creative platformers in years. When Cody and May are turned into tiny doll-like versions of themselves, they have to work together to traverse a miniature magical land to return to their daughter and save their marriage. The best part about It Takes Two is the variety between worlds – a snow globe has you ice skating and wielding giant magnets, while the inside of a tree equips players with explosive sap guns. With a rating of T for Teen, this game isn’t the best pick for younger kids, but it’s a wonderful time nonetheless. | Our Review
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby’s latest adventure is one of his greatest, and it allows a second player to hop along for the ride. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is one of the Switch’s most charming and gorgeous games to date, which is an impressive feat, considering Kirby has never starred in a 3D game like this before. The biggest downside to the co-op experience is that player two has to be a Waddle Dee, who can’t take advantage of Kirby’s colorful lineup of copy abilities. Still, Waddle Dee is a good choice for a young kid that just wants to press buttons, or for a parent that doesn’t mind letting their kid take the lead. Whether it’s solo or co-op, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a fantastic platformer that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. | Our Review
Untitled Goose Game
It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a pair of terrible geese. In Untitled Goose Game, the indie smash hit from House House, you play as a goose dead-set on ruining someone’s day. Steal from shops, scare kids, and smash pots in this stealth/puzzle game to become the ultimate terrible goose. On top of that, they added two-player co-op in September 2020, allowing two people to cause goose-based havoc together. The levels are the same, just with two geese, making it an easier and goofier experience. On top of that, it’s consistently funny enough that it’s enjoyable to watch even if you aren’t playing, so it’s a great game to boot up if you’ve got an audience. | Our Review
What is there to say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been said? One of the most popular games of all time, Minecraft is an iconic blocky survival game where players explore a procedurally generated world to gather resources, craft tools, and build houses. It’s not only a great game but a great first game, if you wanted to introduce someone younger in your life to the world of video games. Whether you’re playing for an hour, a week, or a month, booting up a Minecraft world with a familiar group of people is a great way to pass the time. If it’s been a while since one or more of you last played, it’s constantly getting updated, so it can feel like a fresh experience even if you played hundreds of hours several years ago. | Our Review
This chaotic cooperative cooking simulator is already a staple in many homes, but if you haven’t sampled Overcooked 2 yet, you’re missing out. Up to four chefs work chopping, frying, and plating together to prepare enough dishes before the timer runs out. Your kitchen could be on a pirate ship, a wizard’s tower, or a haunted graveyard, but the real obstacle is coordinating with your teammates without succumbing to the stress of the timer. A great pick for all ages, Overcooked 2 will have you laughing, crying, and going back for seconds. | Our Review
Super Mario 3D World Deluxe + Bowser’s Fury
Originally a Wii U-exclusive, Nintendo brought Super Mario 3D world to the Switch in February 2021, and the console has been better ever since. Play as Mario, Toad, Luigi, Peach, and Rosalina to explore eight worlds of goombas, mushrooms, and super bells. While it can be played solo, it’s a much better experience with friends and family you can accidentally (or purposely – you do you) bump off the stage to their dooms. It’s surprising the Mario series went decades without multiplayer because it feels so natural here. The Switch version of this game also added Bowser’s Fury – a semi-open world spin-off adventure – but this mode only allows two players instead of four. Still, it’s a fun, quick experience to run through if you finish the rest of the game and are itching for more. | Our Review
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
While it’s not quite as well-known as Mario or Minecraft, don’t be fooled; Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is one of the best co-op experiences there is. up to four players are tasked with piloting a spaceship, and each of you can only man one of the terminals. As a result, one player controls the shield, one controls the boosters, and the rest control weapons. I have great memories of playing this game with my brother and cousin, yelling out at each other to switch to a different terminal or rotate the ship, or activate the Yamato cannon, a powerful, limited-use weapon. It’s available on last-gen consoles (and new-gen, thanks to backwards compatibility), but if you’ve been an Xbox Live subscriber for a while you might already have it, since it was a Games with Gold title in 2017. | Our Review
While its since been overshadowed by other great titles, Snipperclips was one of the best games on the Switch at launch. Two to four players work together to solve puzzles by cutting their teammates into different shapes. A round cut can allow someone to carry a ball, while a hook shape might be used to pull a lever. The funniest part of this game is the collection of ridiculous things you’ll find yourself yelling to the other people on the couch, like “cut off my bottom!” or “if you’re not under me, I can’t slice you in half.” If you breeze through the main game, there’s also an expansion that adds 30 more levels. | Our Review
Castle Crashers Remastered
Castle Crashers has been a classic since it first released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, and the remastered version continues that legacy to the modern day. It’s a 2D beat-em-up where you play as knights on a magical, violent adventure. Over time, you unlock new weapons, upgrade your spells, and even equip tiny pets that give you bonuses or items. Its T-rated humor is a little crude for some (an early level has a lot of poop jokes) but helps it stand out as one of the most memorable co-op experiences out there.
What do you think of our list? Surprised some games made the cut? Think we left off something important? Let us know in the comments.