Game

The Best Co – The Best Local Co

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Take your pick of the best co-op games on offer for PC and console. They’re proof that there are few gaming experiences quite as exciting as playing alongside a friend. 

Whether you want to team up with some horror fans to take down hordes of zombies, pull your brain power together to solve puzzles or square up to another team of real-life gamers, playing together pulls the game out of the screen and brings it into reality as you laugh, scream and bicker together.

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The great thing about co-op games these days is that you can frequently choose between local and online play. That means if you have a partner or friends gathered around your one TV at your place, then great. But if that’s not possible for whatever reason, it’s easy to round up friends – or strangers – online. 

Whether you’ve got a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PC, there should be something for you here in our list of best co-op games.

Unravel Two

(Image credit: EA)

Unravel Two is a wonderful and extremely pretty puzzle platformer which is only improved by playing with a good friend. 

The game features two Yarnys (adorable creatures made of yarn), one red and one blue, who team up and use their special bond in order to solve puzzles and navigate a beautiful but scary world. 

Like the original Unravel game, Unravel Two can be played single-player but the great thing about the sequel is that it really feels like it’s made for two, thanks to its plot and its puzzles which emphasise communication and teamwork. It’s also the kind of game you can play with pretty much anyone, whether it’s your kids, your regular gaming friend, or your parents.

There is a limitation to note for co-op with Unravel Two, though: it’s local only. So, your gaming buddy will need to be sitting in the room with you if you’re going to be Yarnys in crime.

Platforms available: PC, Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Couch co-op

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Don”t Starve Together

(Image credit: Klei Entertainment)

Desperately trying to survive in the wilderness is fun, yeah, but it’s even more fun when you can do it with a group of friends. That’s why Don’t Starve Together, the multiplayer-focused sequel to Don’t Starve, is such a gem. 

Taking you into a strange, creepy world with a fantastic visual style, Don’t Starve Together has you work with friends or strangers to explore and survive in any way you can. 

This is a great one for larger groups, too, as it can be played local or online with multiple people. It’s up to you if you’re playing on a private server with friends or putting your (virtual) life into the hands of strangers on a public server.

Platforms available: PS4, PC and Xbox One

Online or couch co-op? Both

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Moving Out

(Image credit: Team 17)

Moving is stressful, but Moving Out takes it to a whole new level. This hilarious (and ridiculous) physics-based co-op game sees you taking on moving jobs all over the town of Packmore with a team of up to four players.

But, it”s not quite as simple as that. You”ll find yourself slapping ghosts in the face while moving TVs out of haunted mansions, throwing valuables over swimming pools and couches out of windows – you”ll even take on some shady jobs. 

The key to Moving Out is co-operation and you”ll need to work with your co-movers to manoeuvre the environment and fill the van as quickly as possible. It”s a true test of friendship and don”t be surprised if at least one person shouts “Pivot!”

Platforms available: PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Couch co-op

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(Image credit: Psyonix, Panic Button Games)

The mass hysteria and weekly highlight reels on gaming sites may have died down, but the incomparable physics-based rocket-car footy game remains one of the most popular online games – not to mention among the best co-op games right now.

Matches range from 1-v-1 to 4-v-4, so there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to gathering your friends for co-op play. It’s a game that requires ceaseless communication, as you try to coordinate your team into a speeding carousel of goalkeeping, defending and attacking. There’s a league-based system online, so you get a nice sense of progression as your team grows from a fumbling mess into a well-oiled machine.

Platforms available: PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Both

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Sea of Thieves

(Image credit: Rare)

A stirring example of a game that hit the ground stumbling but really caught the wind in its sails over the last two years. Sea of Thieves tasks up to four players with manning a ship, and sailing around a vibrant, cartoon Caribbean-style set of islands in search of plunder, adventure and notoriety.

Where the game used to feel loose and a little purposeless, it’s filled out to become an ever-evolving world of possibilities. You follow maps to skeleton-infested coves, fight mythical sea creatures, and take on other player-controlled ships and crews. There”s even a story mode to get stuck into in the form of Tall Tales. 

Sea of Thieves is the ultimate freewheeling pirate fantasy, designed purposely to be played alongside a motley crew of scurvy-infested sea rats you call your friends. 

Platforms available: Xbox One and PC

Online or couch co-op? Online

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Diablo 3

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Diablo 3 is an action-packed role-playing game (RPG), allowing players to choose from six different classes – the Witch Doctor, the Barbarian, the Wizard, the Monk, the Demon Hunter and the newly-added Crusader – and embark on an adventure spanning five Acts to defeat both Diablo (Acts I to IV) and Malthael (Act V), the Angel of Death.

The game includes an adventure mode outside the main campaign that allows players to roam through every available region in the game to collect loot. On consoles, Diablo III is playable with friends both online and offline, whereas the PC version is online only (a sore spot with many PC gamers).

Oh, and you can kill armed, sentient cows in the game – “nuff said.

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Platforms available: PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Both, but local co-op is only available on console

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A Way Out

(Image credit: Hazelight Studios)

The high-risk decision to make this prison-break adventure an exclusively co-op game paid off for developer Hazelight. And as soon as you start playing, you’ll see that this was really the only way this game would ever have worked.

You can play this theatrical adventure split-screen or online, with you and a friend controlling two prisoners who slowly form a bond and plot their freedom. 

From playing Connect-4 to working out, all the way through to covering each other in life-and-death skirmishes, A Way Out is one of the weirdest, most endearing co-op games out there.

Platforms available: PS4, PC and Xbox One

Online or couch co-op? Both

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Overcooked 2

(Image credit: Ghost Town Games)

Overcooked is back, with all new challenges, recipes, and characters. In a bid to defeat the “Un-bread” (zombie baked goods), you and up to three other players must prepare a variety of recipes including sushi, pizza, and burgers while working in increasingly chaotic restaurants. To add to the frantic fun, you must battle obstacles including random fires, collapsing floors, and interfering passers by, all while getting your orders out to the pass in time. 

Things get complicated incredibly quickly, and relationships, friendships, and family bonds will be tested as you work together to complete your recipes on time, making it a fun and challenging couch co-op game that will make you truly understand the meaning of “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Platforms available: PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Both

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GTA Online

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

What began as a barebones online mode some seven years ago has grown into one of the best co-op games of 2021 or any year. While playing with strangers tends to be shambolic, gather a crew of friends and you’ll have all the madness of San Andreas at your fingertips.

You can run around the world freely causing general mayhem or take on competing crews in dedicated missions. The best co-op experiences, however, are in the game”s multi-part heists. There’s nothing like robbing a bank and running out to an alley where your driver screeches up right on cue, then fleeing for the hills with police klaxons in your rear-view mirror.

Platforms available: PS4, PC and Xbox One

Online or couch co-op? Online

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Whether you”re fighting off Brutes with a shotgun or cruising around in a Warthog running over Grunts, the Halo series is undeniably leagues more enjoyable with friends. 

You can experience co-op both locally and over internet in the Halo archives, lovingly packaged as The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. It compiles Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, along with all of their respective DLC on a single disc or download. Now PC players are getting in on the fun, but sadly without local co-op. They can still play online, though. 

Platforms available: Xbox One and PC

Online or couch co-op? Both on Xbox, online-only on PC

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Divinity: Original Sin 2

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Everyone who’s invested hundreds of hours into RPGs has at some point fantasized about playing through an entire campaign with a friend. Divinity: Original Sin 2 goes one better, and makes co-op arguably the best way to play the campaign.

Up to four players (two in split-screen) can freely roam around Divinity’s rich, story-filled game world. You can stick together as a unit, maximizing your chances during the deep turn-based combat, or split up to try to find your own ways of solving a given quest. In addition, there are in-game conversations between player-characters that shape their personality and ultimately how you play through the game.

Original Sin 2 isn’t just a well-crafted co-op RPG, but downright one of the deepest RPGs ever made.

Platforms available: PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Online or couch co-op? Both

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Monster Hunter: World

(Image credit: Capcom)

The long-running oddball series finally grabbed the attention of the whole world with its latest instalment, refining many of the more awkward bits while doubling-down on making its primordial Jurassic world a hostile joy to explore and one of the best co-op games in 2021.

Although perhaps a little fiddlier to set up than would be ideal, you can group up with your friends and hunt scaled-up versions of formidable dinosaur-like beasts together. The sheer variety of weapons offers many tactical opportunities; for instance, assign someone to buff the squad while one player shoots from afar and the others get stuck into the melee with their swords and spears.

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Monster Hunter: World”s dynamic world means that the unexpected can always happen; another monster may join the fray or the ground may collapse beneath your feet. It means that even with friends, it’s a world that never stops feeling wild and dangerous.

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