Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us

Ready Player Two

Co-op games to test your relationship with loved ones (or friends) this Valentine's

By Kara Santos Published Feb 09, 2022 3:25 pm

Who else misses the good old days of cooperative two-player video games like Contra, Twin Bee and Battle City?

While it's fun to play single-player action-adventure games or watch others play on their own, sometimes you want to jump right in and share the whole gaming experience together without having to take turns at the controller. 

How about celebrating your love (or more likely testing your relationship) with family or friends with a fun co-op game night weekend this Love Month?

Grab your preferred second player (whether it's your sibling, partner, best friend, parent, kid, etc.) and settle in for a night of virtual adventures with these modern co-op and multiplayer games you can play together on the couch or online.

It Takes Two

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

At the top of our list is It Takes Two, the critically-acclaimed 2021 hit designed purely with co-op play in mind.

The story follows Cody and May, an estranged couple who magically transformed into living dolls who must work together to return to their human bodies.

The situation forces them to cooperate and save their relationship with the help of Book of Love Dr. Hakim, a self-proclaimed relationship expert.

Every new level brings unexpected obstacles that can only be overcome if you’re in sync with your partner, playing in split-screen cooperative multiplayer mode.

After winning Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2021 and selling over five million copies, the game by Hazelight Studios has been snapped up for a TV or movie adaptation, so you might want to check it out for yourself with your significant other or gaming buddy.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Platforms: Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a frantic action space shooter by indie studio Asteroid Base that was first released back in September 2015.

While you can technically play this game by yourself with the help of an A.I. pet, as the title suggests, it’s much better with two (or up to four) players in local coop. 

Don’t let the colorful neon style and cutesy characters fool you, this game can be pretty challenging and offer great fun for couples or friends.

The mission seems simple. You and your partner must pilot a spaceship with multiple stations inside, and you must move around to control the various stations Among Us-style while defending your ship against aliens.

However, this is easier said than done, as you can see from the trailer above.

Unravel Two

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Unravel Two, released in 2018 as a sequel to 2016's single player Unravel, is a puzzle platforming adventure game seen from a unique perspective, or two.

While you can play as both characters in single player mode, it’s best to do local co-op to take on the role of a pair of Yarnys—small beings made of yarn and connected by a single thread.

Working together, you must run, jump and swing through platforming puzzles, foster friendship, and shed light on a world covered in shadow.

The atmospheric puzzle game, developed by Swedish company Coldwood Interactive, has settings inspired by mossy, Scandinavian locations.

This game is said to be especially forgiving for duos who may not necessarily have equal gaming experience, as one Yarny can pick up the slack for the other. Just like in real life.

Never Alone

Platforms: Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One, iOS, Android TV

Never Alone is an atmospheric indie puzzle platformer adventure game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people, drawn from a traditional story that has been shared across generations.

You can play in single player or local co-op to swap between an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion to completes puzzles.

While playing side by side, you have to rely on the unique skills of each character to succeed in your quest and progress in the story that spans eight chapters.

Nuna can climb ladders and ropes, move heavy obstacles, and throw her bola at targets to solve puzzles, while the Fox can fit through small areas that Nuna can't reach, scramble up walls, and jump to great heights.

Overcooked: All You Can Eat

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

When it comes to co-op games, the Overcooked series is one of those games that will either make or break your relationship. This chaotic cooperative cooking simulation game can be played with up to three of your friends in either co-op or competitive mode.

Overcooked: All You Can Eat, which was released as a launch title for both the Xbox Series X and PS5 in 2020, compiles both 2016's Overcooked and 2018's Overcooked 2, in a new bundle with online multiplayer enabled for the first time, with cross-platform multiplayer.

If you've found yourself multi-tasking to prepare meals in a tiny kitchen in real life, this game will be right up your alley.

In the game, you each control a chef in a restaurant kitchen to complete orders under time pressure. You must prep, cook, serve food and wash dishes before customers lose their patience. 

This requires both players to complete tasks through various challenges, from rotating stations, to moving trucks, earthquakes, and more in over 300 levels of culinary chaos.

Expect a lot of yelling and possible fights to ensue. At any rate, it's sure to give you a crash course on coordination and communication skills and test just how much you love your partner.

Tools Up!

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

A lot of people believe that IKEA and DIY home renovations can put relationships to the test. Well, you don't have to mess up your house in real life when you play Tools Up!

This video game all about renovation offers a fun couch co-op game for couples—or up to four players if you want to bring in the whole family or play with friends.

If you're sick of doing chores and fixing up the house in real life, this game that involves just dealing with virtual mess could offer a fun night indoors.

Try playing Tools Up! and build your own forever home online.

A Way Out

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

While many games have co-op modes as an additional feature to single player mode, A Way Out is only playable as a pair.  And what could be more fun than playing two guys working together to break out of prison, right?

Before Hazelight Studios released It Takes Two, they started out with this cinematic exclusively co-op adventure released in 2018 where each player controls one of two convicts who must cooperate to make the thrilling breakout.

You must work together in split-screen mode to fight and puzzle your way out in a cinematic game of dual perspectives. 

The game is available in both local and online multiplayer, so you don't need to be in the same room with your partner to play, as long as you both have consoles.

Aside from the main story, A Way Out also includes plenty of minigames you can play solo or together within the game, including an arcade video game titled Grenade Brothers, arm wrestling, piano duet, basketbeall, Connect Four, darts, as well as exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and bench presses. 

A Way Out has been ranked as one of the best modern co-operative experiences around.

Portal 2

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

While Portal 2 (2011) is more than a decade old, it's still one of the most incredibly fun cooperative puzzle platform games out there.

The game's graphics still hold up to a modern audience and are a delight to play.

In the "Cooperative Testing Mode," players must solve puzzles together as robots Atlas and P-Body to complete tests and get out of a series of rooms. 

Like the original Portal (2007), players must solve puzzles by placing portals and teleporting between them.

Portal 2 adds features including tractor beams, lasers, light bridges, and paint-like gels that alter player movement or allow portals to be placed on any surface.

The downside is that Portal 2 hasn't been ported to the PS4 and newer consoles, but there's still a digital PC version being distributed online by Valve's Steam service.

Portal 2 received critical acclaim for its gameplay, balanced learning curve, pacing, dark humor, writing, and acting, and is definitely one of those fun games you won't mind playing again and again with different gaming buddies.