The Best Co-Op Games To Play With Friends

Four times the fun

When you’re looking to socialise with friends, few things beat a good gaming session in these current times. They can be great for meeting new people, but with more established friendships, it’s hard to beat co-operative adventures. From balancing a party of four in Diablo III to committing archery shenanigans in Towerfall Ascension, the best co-op games come in many forms. It’s brought players closer together across the decades, especially with the rise of online gaming. 

The Best Co-Op Games

From traditional couch co-op to connecting across the world, these games allow players to share a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s that wonder from exploring new worlds to sharing frustrations at a tricky puzzle, there’s a rewarding aspect to co-op play that single-player titles can’t compete with. So if you’re looking for that new venture with friends, here are five of the best co-op games that indie titles have to offer. 

Risk of Rain 1 & 2

Risk Of Rain 2 had much to live up to when it first released. Developed by Hopoo Games, it first started life as a student project, releasing in 2013. Incorporating roguelike mechanics into a 2D Metroidvania title, Rain 1 sees you survive a freighter crash on a mysterious planet. You could proceed alone or work in a four-player team and became a huge success, selling over three million copies. 

It’s no surprise then that Risk of Rain 2 eventually released last year, but unlike its predecessor, 2’s gameplay transitioned to 3D, becoming more of a third-person shooter but successfully retained the original’s core gameplay. Faced with a near-endless swarm of increasingly difficult enemies, made worse by permadeath but it’s packed with numerous objectives and a range of unique characters. 

Each level requires you to locate a randomly placed teleporter but once activated, a countdown begins, putting you up against an alien onslaught. It’s still in early access release, but it’s still getting regular updates and makes for an excellent time with friends. There are many reasons to play 2, but both games come strongly recommended.

Override: Mech City Brawl

There’s been a lack of Kaiju/Mecha themed 3D brawlers in recent years. Previous generations saw great titles such as War of the Monsters and Godzilla: Save the Earth but more recent games like Godzilla (2015) and Gundam Versus failed to hit the mark. Seeing this gap in the market, The Balance Inc brought us Override: Mech City Brawl in 2018, taking inspiration from retro titles with a colourful flair.

Set within a 3D arena, battles took place across a variety of destructible locations from Japan to Norway and Override features a mission-based campaign mode, placing you against swarms of monsters known as “Xenotypes”. You’ve got 12 different mechs to choose from, each catering to different playstyles that vary between strength or agility. Undeniably though, Override’s biggest strength lied within multiplayer, providing local and online options.

One of its more interesting aspects let players control a singular mech, each controlling a different area and you could do this within the campaign. If you’re after a more traditional multiplayer experience though, there’s also a free-for-all mode between four players and two vs two team battles. It holds a couple of performance issues, but ultimately, it’s an enjoyable experience worth checking out. 

Assault Android Cactus+

Twin-stick shoot ’em ups aren’t as common in modern times, but back in 2015, Assault Android Cactus made for an enjoyable title. Developed by Witch Beam, you played as junior constable Cactus, responding to a distress call from an abandoned space freighter. Upon arrival though, you soon discover its crew has rebelled against their captain, and it’s down to Cactus to restore order.

Attempting to save the passengers and finding new robots to help you out, AAC throws you into a bullet hell setting. Alongside a health system, Cactus is powered by a battery that’s constantly depleting, so you need to find energy cells to keep her charged. This is all whilst taking down the rogue workers, and there are 25 levels in total, across five sections.  

Like most games here, you could experience AAC’s campaign solo, but it’s better experienced in a team, allowing four players to join via local co-op. Sadly there’s no online option sadly for, but PC users can attempt it through Steam’s Remote Play Together feature. Bringing frantic action that’s worth looking into, it’s a highly entertaining experience.

Overcooked! 2

Overcooked was quite the sensation when it first dropped in 2016. Developed by Ghost Town Games with Team17 Digital, you played as a loyal chef to the Onion Kingdom, embarking on a quest to save it from an ancient called the Ever-Peckish. Travelling to kitchens of questionable practicality, it became a smash hit, proving easy to learn but difficult to master. 

Back in 2018, Overcooked 2 soon followed and your Kingdom is once again in peril. Carelessly reading from the Necronomnomicon, the Onion King accidentally summons a new threat known as The Unbread. It’s intense, often infuriating and in the heat of the stove, can become extremely confusing, but communication is key to ensuring successful service.

We’ve heard the saying about too many chefs, but you’ll need every player you can get. At its core, Overcooked is a game best experienced in multiplayer, allowing up to 4 players across local and online play. Cooking up various new recipes in increasingly impractical kitchens, it’s a very silly experience but when it all comes together, proves highly rewarding. 

Cuphead

It’s been six years since we were introduced to Cuphead. Taking visual inspiration from 1930’s cartoons, reminiscent of Walt Disney and Fleischer Studios and became an enormous success upon release, Launched in 2017, this run-and-gun title was developed by Studio MDHR Entertainment Inc, releasing across PC, Xbox One and Switch, featuring a large focus.

Taking place across the Inkwell Isles, we find the brothers Cuphead and Mugman sneaking away to the Devil’s Casino in search of fun. Making a bet with the Devil himself, it’s a rigged game which finds their souls forfeit but, begging for mercy, agree to fulfil a set of “soul contracts”, targeting others in debt to the Devil. 

Eventually taking down the Devil himself, most levels are centred around boss fights and became widely acclaimed, praised for unique aesthetic and high difficulty. It’s limited to local multiplayer, but the entire campaign could be played in co-op, letting player two control Mugman. If you’re after a more old-school challenge, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Cuphead.