Most of us have fond memories of playing a game with a significant other in the same room. It could be your brother, sister, mother, father, or even Paul from school. Almost everyone who plays games will have experienced a couch co-op game at some point. With the shift to online multiplayer, developers have been focusing more on the online aspects of their games. However, there are a few titles still out there that cater to our dying breed, a lot of them found on Microsoft’s revolutionary new subscription service. Here are some of the best couch co-op games on Xbox Game Pass!
We’ll start off with some bigger titles on the service. Gears 5 is the latest game in the franchise, but you could substitute this entry with any other Gears game. The series has always committed to couch co-op by having the story revolve around a group rather than an individual. Renowned for its impressive set pieces and oppressive world, the Gears games are widely considered as some of the best third-person shooters ever made. It’s a series that was so influential that other developers would use mechanics found in Gears in games for years.
Whilst I think things have gone downhill since The Coalition took over, they’re still amazing games. You can even gun down swarms of Locust with a friend in every single game in the franchise. That’s six games worth of content to play through with that lucky someone. You and a pal get to play through a huge story spanning over 14 years of development. Take it from someone who’s been there and done it. Playing through these games in co-op is one of the best multiplayer experiences out there.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
This next entry on this list needs no introduction. Master Chief is one of the most iconic video game characters out there and is undoubtedly Xbox’s mascot. Just the sight of his helmet is enough to whip fans into a frenzy. With the delay of Halo Infinite, I can think of no better way to pass the time by reliving 117’s journey all over again. Better yet, why not grab a buddy and play through it together with Halo: The Master Chief Collection? Whilst Halo 5: Guardians decided to ditch couch co-op, every game before it let you pair up with someone and fight the Covenant together.
With six intense, action packed campaigns for you to play through, it’s a game that is an incredible value for money. There’s also Halo 3’s legendary Forge mode that allows you to create your own levels and download ones that other people have made. The creativity and ingenuity on display is genuinely astonishing. I have very fond memories of spending hours on Halo 3 with my friends solely playing these fan-made levels. There’re hundreds of hours of enjoyment to be had with The Master Chief Collection, and it’s even better with friends.
What can I say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been said? It’s an absolute behemoth of a game, with only Tetris beating it in terms of sales. It’s a game that gives the player complete creative freedom and has been steadily updated ever since its launch in 2009. Since Xbox acquired Mojang back in 2014, Minecraft is now on Xbox Game Pass for you to unleash your inner creativity.
However, you rarely see people online playing the game all by themselves. Minecraft is very much a game that vastly improves if you play the game with someone else, and its split-screen functionality makes multiplayer easily accessible. Minecraft on your own is a somewhat tranquil experience, yet playing with a friend makes it much more chaotic. Yes, you have limitless space to make what you want, but so does your partner. You can take on the Ender Dragon together or lead creepers to your friend’s house. Anything is possible in Minecraft!
But if complete creative control doesn’t tickle your fancy, then why not try out Minecraft Dungeons? Set in the Minecraft universe, Minecraft Dungeons is a dungeon crawler along the likes of Diablo. Just like the main game, this spin-off also has local co-op functionality, allowing you to hack and slash your way through zombies and skeletons with a friend. It’s a little simplistic for a dungeon crawler, but it’s perfect if you’re playing with a younger relative or somebody new to gaming.
Fable II & III
Fable II was one of Microsoft’s greatest exclusive of the previous generation, and it’s available on Xbox Game Pass. If there’s one thing I admire about Xbox, it’s their commitment to backwards compatibility. Unlike on PS4, so many great games from previous generations are available for people who may have originally missed out on them. Fable has always been overlooked by people, yet it was one of the best multiplayer experiences on the Xbox 360. Me and a friend running around Albion causing chaos and beating bandits is a memory I always look back on fondly.
Plus, the game has a pretty fantastic story. For those unaware, the Fable series experiments with morality, having you make decisions that are good or evil. These choices then reflect on your character’s appearance and your relationships with the population of Albion. At your absolute worst, you’ll grow horns out of your forehead, and at your best you can run around with a cute halo. Fable III is also on Xbox Game Pass, but it’s vastly inferior to its predecessor. I’d only recommend it if you’re desperate for more.
Rocket League blew up in 2015 for bringing something completely new to the table. Sports games were focusing on realism over everything else. In came Psyonix who gave us a game that had you driving rocket-powered cars into oversized footballs to score goals. Fast forward five years and Rocket League is one of the biggest games out there with a dedicated e-sports league and millions of fans. The game has only gone from strength to strength since release, and with the news that it’s going free to play, it’s likely to attract thousands of new players.
Even though the game is heavily geared towards online multiplayer, there’s also split screen if you’re looking to play with a friend in the same room. You can either play against each other, or team up and take it online. If you have two accounts with Xbox Live Gold, then you and a friend can show your dominance online on the same screen. Rocket League is a must play for anyone looking for a sports game with a twist. Check it out and see why it’s one of the biggest online games out there at the moment.
Mortal Kombat X
Fancy a fight anyone? I’ve put Mortal Kombat X on this list, but there’s a number of quality fighters on Xbox Game Pass. Fighting games have been a staple of split-screen gaming ever since their inception. Two fighters punch it out until one rips the other’s spine; it’s a match made in heaven. They’re games that pretty much anybody can pick up to play casually and have a good time. I’m horrendous at fighters, yet I play Soul Caliber VI with my brother all the time just to use the character creator to pit two horribly malformed fighters against each other.
As previously mentioned, Mortal Kombat X is just one of the fighting games available. There’s the aforementioned Soul Caliber VI as well as Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Even if you’re not a fan of fighters, they’re a lot of fun to play with someone just as useless as you. I mean, where else are you going to be able to see Iron Man absolutely lay into Ryu without writing fan fiction?
This may surprise you, but a lot of the best couch co-op games on Xbox Game Pass are indie games. One such title is Overcooked 2, a game that has destroyed so many relationships it’s nicknamed “Divorce Kitchen” in China. You and up to three friends have to cook specific meals under a time limit. Sounds easy, but try cooking when the floors below you move and disappear. Ingredients go missing, fires break out, and your surroundings will descend into chaos. Only with great teamwork can you beat the time pressure and deliver five star service.
There’s a bunch of similar games out there, but Overcooked 2 is the best at what it does. There’re tonnes of levels with varying environments and loads of different meals to make. It’s a massive game, and there’s a significant amount of DLC to have a go at too. If you’ve already played Overcooked 2, then I suggest trying Moving Out. It’s basically the same game, but this one revolves around a moving company rather than a kitchen. Both Overcooked 2 and Moving Out are on Xbox Game Pass, so why not give them both a go?
Children of Morta
There’s plenty of indie roguelikes, but few are better than 2019’s Children of Morta. The moody atmosphere created by the game’s narrator makes it one of the more story-driven roguelikes out there. Following each member of the Bergson household as they grow and develop as a character makes you care about their world and goals. Children of Morta is a classic underdog story, a family of warriors against a constant approaching darkness. This focus on story sets Children of Morta apart from other games in the genre.
It’s also a great game to play with someone else. Each member of the Bergson family plays completely differently and you can make some lethal combinations if you team up certain family members. Enter the Gungeon is another roguelike that you might want to try out if Children of Morta isn’t clicking with you. Both games are fantastic, although Enter the Gungeon gives preferential treatment to player one. They’re both on Xbox Game Pass, so make sure you try them both while you can.
Human: Fall Flat
One of the more niche entries on this list is Human: Fall Flat. It’s a very basic puzzle-platformer, but the twist is that you play as faceless blob men that struggle to stand up properly. It’s a game very similar to other physics based games like Octodad, yet nowhere near as frustrating. That’s partly because the game is very lenient with its checkpoints, plopping you right back to where you were when you fall. You’ll stumble and fumble your way through a series of level in different locations, falling over a lot in the process.
However, Human: Fall Flat shines when you play it with a friend. Just testing out the physics of the game is fun in itself. Trying to breach a castle wall with a catapult by using your friend as ammunition will bring you ceaseless amounts of entertainment. It’s just a lot of stupid fun, but I accept it won’t be for everyone. That’s why Xbox Game Pass is such a great thing. You can try it out for almost nothing and uninstall it if it’s not your thing.
Untitled Goose Game
It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a pair of horrible geese. You’ll have to bear with me on this one, because Untitled Goose Game isn’t multiplayer yet. On September 23rd, you and a friend will be able to terrorise a quaint little village as two mischievous little geese. You’ll steal people’s keys, scare folks half to to death, and make yourself a general nuisance to society. Untitled Goose Game gives you every opportunity to unleash your inner demon by making the lives of some unsuspecting village people utter misery.
And with that, there’s my list of the best couch co-op games on Xbox Game Pass. I tried to include a wide variety of titles so there was something for everyone, meaning that there’re loads more couch co-op games on the service, which I didn’t mention. Xbox Game Pass is a service that continues to prove it’s the best value for money out there at the minute. All the games on this list are fantastic, and I recommend that people buy them, never mind play them all for one monthly payment. Let us know down in the comments what games you thought should have been on this list, and have fun!