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The 10 best co-op games to play with friends

Little Big Planet, starring the lovable Sackboy, is one of the best co-op games to make our list
Little Big Planet, starring the lovable Sackboy/girl, is one of the best co-op games to make our list

Because sometimes two really is better than one…

If you’ve ever felt like there was something missing from your gaming experience it’s maybe because there is – a whole other person in fact! That’s where co-op games come in, where you can team up with others to play together.

Feeling ready to dip your toe in the co-op world? These are the games you should be looking to try out…

1Starbound

While this PC game is still in Alpha it is still a lot of fun to play and well worth a look.

Gameplay is reminiscent of Minecraft meets Terraria and thanks to the option to create your own web server you can have your very own private game and invite as many friends as you like.

Build and customise your spaceship as you visit a vast galaxy of planets and undertake numerous missions. Starbound is adorable, immersive and at times frustratingly challenging.

The only downside is that since it is in Alpha it isn’t nearly long enough in terms of missions but there are hours of gameplay if you’re content to just explore the vast universe on offer.

Its Alpha status also means that the game is set to expand so it’s worth revisiting from time to time, just to see what’s changed.

2Heavy Rain

Many people will be quick to point out that this isn’t your typical two-player game. And they’d be right.

But there are four characters you control within Heavy Rain so for maximum fun during a play through of the in depth story why not have different people control different characters?

It definitely helps to ramp up the tension and the shock of the twist is all the more deliciously dramatic if you’ve got someone there to share it with you.

3Rayman Origins/Rayman Legends

These two additions to the Rayman series are delightfully vibrant to look at and also thrillingly challenging for the more seasoned gamer.

With responsive controls and a vast array of levels both the games will keep you entertained for hours.

And unlike other co-op games, the main storyline can be played as one or two players so you don’t feel as though you are missing out when you opt for the co-op mode.

4Little Big Planet

What could be better than running around as a dressed-up little sackboy (or girl)? Running around with your friends of course!

Little Big Planet is all about community but the original game does supply some challenging, quirky levels of its own and a satisfying story arc.

The game’s sequel was frustratingly short as the developers relied a little too heavily on the community’s creation of levels to add to gameplay.

That said, the Little Big Planet games are always a lot of fun and definitely not to be missed.

5Orcs Must Die 2

This has to be one of the most impressive co-op games to come out in recent years. Slick game play, challenging, unique levels and a very satisfying set-up where you have to destroy hordes of orcs.

Pick your poison, be it fire or acid and watch them burn up before your eyes. The rating system (you earn skulls for performance) means that the game has a lot of replay value.

It leaves other tower-defense games with a lot to live up to. Dungeon Defenders we’re looking at you…

6Borderlands 1 and 2

Think Mad Max meets Uncharted and you get an idea about what makes both the Borderlands games so special.

With split-screen co-op you play through the main storyline with a partner in crime. As a single player game, it’s impressive. As a co-op it’s outstanding.

Fun, fast-paced and lovingly crazy, Borderlands has something for the shoot-em-up enthusiast in all of us.

7Lego Star Wars III The Clone Wars

Arguably the strongest of the Lego games, Clone Wars offers a uniquely in-depth look at some of the lesser known stories within the Star Wars universe.

The levels are varied, gameplay reassuringly difficult in places and unlike other Lego games, the re-play element feels rewarding rather than frustrating.

Combing the charm of both Lego and Star Wars, this is a game not to be missed.

8Portal 2

What began as a mini game within a game finally got the chance to expand and gain recognition within its own right.

Portal has a charmingly simple premise (two robots that create portals) but weave a story in and create numerous, difficult levels and you’ve got a fantastic game.

Stephen Merchant delivers one of the most memorable celebrity voiceovers in the form of Wheatley.

In many ways Portal 2 can feel basic, but then it pushes the boundaries of gameplay in such an impressive, challenging way that it’s a game you can’t help but fall in love with and want to play time and again.

9World of Warcraft

WOW is perhaps more MMO than co-op, but that doesn’t mean it should be discounted. If you’re more online than couch co-op something like WOW could be the perfect game for you.

But prepare to be utterly immersed. WOW lives up to its name. It’s a world. A world you have to explore, daily, to reap all the rewards.

It has a stunning open-world platform which is constantly evolving meaning it’s the neverending story of games. Only approach this one if you intend to be playing for quite some time.

10PixelJunk Monsters

PixelJunk are great for creating quirky, fun games and Monsters is perhaps their best offering to date.

It’s tower defense in a quaint forest setting and as the game progresses so do the challenges.

With the addition of an expansion this game now offers more hours of gameplay but it’s definitely one where two heads are much better than one.

To complete the game on co-op is reassuringly tough but to do it alone would be nothing short of madness.

This is a game that was designed to be played and enjoyed together.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your other half/friend/neighbour/person closest to you and get gaming together!

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
Julian Cheatle


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