Adventures are exciting, hazardous and full of unusual obstacles to spice things up. Above all else though, they bring people together. Nowhere is this experience more easily accessible than with couch co-op gaming. Many people find themselves longing for the weekends of yore, when you would sit down with a friend and smash buttons until you had an excuse to high-five one another with dazzling gusto. This collection of games promises not only to give you and a friend that exact experience, but also the chance to create some heart-warming stories along the way. Here are some of the best local multiplayer adventure experiences.
Haven – Great for Couples
This game is the most love-centric, so it’s probably best played with your partner. That is, unless, you’re confident enough to be cool with smooching your homie (in-game). There may be some segments that get a little steamy, but don’t worry… nothing ever crosses the line and the focus is on working together to solve problems and win combat encounters.
Haven is styled after a JRPG adventure, so it’s complete with the genre-standard style of dialogue delivery and turn-based combat. You play a god-like, futuristic couple looking to find a habitable planet to settle on. In spite of this, they are very human in their appetites, and so a lot of the story ends up being pretty relatable. The graphics are bright, pleasant and engaging. Whereas the maps are a little sparsely populated, it’s still a joy to glide along with their surfing-inspired traversal mechanic. As far as gameplay is concerned, the controls tend to favour having one person lead in the open world segments in order to make things easier. The combat requires you to be comfortable with reading your partners moves and timing attacks together.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who enjoy JRPGs and want to share a more grounded relationship.
Divinity Original Sin II – Great for an Old School Local Multiplayer Adventure
When it comes to sharing an adventure, Dungeons & Dragons is an amazing place to start. However many people can’t quite find the right group of people to make that happen IRL. If you want a virtual substitute that does an impressive job of bringing that style of fantasy world to life, Divinity Original Sin II is your best bet.
This game draws heavily on D&D mechanics, but thanks to computer-assistance it is both hugely streamlined and visually impressive. The campaign is long and lovingly detailed, you have great freedom to build your character and it’s an adventure you play a big part in creating yourself. It is turn-based, which means that you don’t need to worry about the pressure of performing complicated sequences of button presses. It also features some absolutely quality writing by some of the best in the gaming business. Treat yourself to some quirky stories, sweet voice acting and challenging combat puzzles. It has a rich, detailed world that makes sense and easily scratches that fantasy itch. You won’t believe how well they have thought things out!
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a lengthy, complex and traditional RPG experience.
Unravel 2 – A Design Masterpiece
Unravel 2 is not just a great co-op game, it is a masterpiece of design. It is one of the first games people will recommend playing with your partner because of its accessibility, beauty and strong sense of reward. Every element presents the fine touch of an artist and it is something you are almost guaranteed to look back on fondly.
The premise is weird, but simple. You play as two magical, little creatures that are made of yarn. You are permanently connected to one another by said yarn, and you use it as the mechanical basis for solving puzzles that are appropriate to your diminutive stature. Simple enough? Don’t be fooled. There are a host of different ways you can interact with your partner and with obstacles in the world to help navigate its challenges. For example you may need to tie yourself to something and then have your partner swing off of you with the right timing to land on a moving target.
That’s just the tip of the ice-berg. You’ll find yourself truly appreciating the clever ways they take those ideas to the extreme. The highlight of the experience is how well they have nailed the feeling of being tiny, and the many ways that would affect your movement and your relationship to the world around you. It really makes you feel like you’re on a magical adventure, à la Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a feeling of child-like wonder again without stressing out too much.
Spiritfarer – A Peaceful Local Multiplayer Adventure
Take a host of charming anthropomorphised characters, a wistful art style and some super-light puzzling and you get Spiritfarer. It is a game that has surprising emotional depth if you stick with it and read between the lines. Take to the high seas on your ship and build a floating settlement as quaint and cutesy as you can get without losing the feeling of reward that comes with functional progression.
As you may have inferred from the title, this game takes place in the afterlife, specifically some kind of limbo. It is, however, an extremely painterly and cutesy version of limbo. You travel around with the mission of helping spirits actualise their last wishes before guiding them to the mysterious beyond. It allows you to play host to a number of delightful characters. They may seem simple and cartoony at first, but often leave you on the verge of tears when you truly understand their stories.
The puzzles are there to be fun rather than challenging. For example, the base-building aspect centres more on aesthetics than straining your resource or space management capabilities. This never takes away from the feeling of progress though. Once you help your first spirit tackle their intriguingly human problems and send them on their way, you get a real sense of meaning from your work. It is a truly unique and inspiring experience that will leave you meditating on things you may not have meditated on for a long time.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a long, easy-going and emotional journey.
Don’t Starve Together – A Fierce Battle for Survival
This title is actually a stand-alone multiplayer expansion to the original survival game Don’t Starve. It has graphics that appear specifically designed to give you a bad case of the willies… The faint of heart better watch out when the tension inevitably ratchets up. Essentially this game throws you and your gaming buddy into the wilderness and expects you to find a way to brave the elements and whatever else might be out there to get you.
You’ll find a fairly interesting host of challenges on your adventure if you decide to pick this up. The best way to tap into the exploratory side of it is not to let yourself get too tied down by setting up camp early. The map can be massive and full of interesting things to collect and kill. There are day-night cycles and even seasonal cycles that have a big impact on what happens in the game world. This lends a whole lot of variety to the experience. Finally, keep in mind that whereas this is a survival game, it doesn’t mean that aren’t additional goals you can set for yourself along the way. You won’t find an excuse to set those goals if you’re too busy running around one tiny segment of the map.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a tense challenge and who aren’t afraid to fail a few times to make real progress.
Never Alone – An Insightful Cultural Jaunt
If folklore interests you at all, this game is a must. It explores the fascinating Inupiaq culture and gives you an unparalleled tour of the beauty and diversity of arctic environments. It’s a pretty focused and cinematic experience. Many reviewers hail it as an excellent demonstration of what platforming can be.
Never Alone follows the story of Nuna and her little arctic fox companion. They try to bring an end to a long-lasting blizzard that has been plaguing her people. Both natural and supernatural elements present a series of obstacles for the pair to traverse, and they come with a lot of variety. The designs incorporate Inuit artwork at key stages, which adds a very unique feeling to the visuals. It isn’t a long game, so it’s a good starting point if you have a gaming buddy who wants a focused game with a lot of closure. Warning: You will hurt your own feelings EVERY TIME you let the little arctic fox die.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a short, thoughtful and cinematic journey together.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale – For Creative Power-Houses
Don’t sleep on this game until you’ve dived into it a little. Its creative genius begins to show the more you discover the different ways in which its core mechanics develop. The graphics may seem a little bland, but they will grow on you when you realise you are (to a certain degree) in control of them. That’s right, this game lets you colour and texture it yourself!… But with more interesting consequences than you might imagine.
Chicory: A Colourful Tale is whimsical if nothing else. Everything from the art style to the dialogue are playful, but that doesn’t mean the story stays away from darker themes… It actually does a pretty good job of tackling them. The creatively inclined may resonate quite deeply with them.
The game works by giving you control of a character with an enchanted paintbrush. You can paint colour into the environment around you, with some of the effects manipulating the properties of surfaces. It ends up being a kind of puzzle adventure game, not unlike old-school Zelda titles. You will get to the point where you have textures and other cosmetic items too. The game is very clever, very cute and incredibly well balanced. Having a friend play along allows them to paint the solutions to puzzles alongside you. This speeds up the process and makes it hard for your gaming buddy to hold you back if they aren’t really a gamer.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want to share a fresh, mind-bending puzzle adventure with a cute twist.
It Takes Two – Top Pick for Local Multiplayer Adventure
Like others on this list, It Takes Two wants you to play with couch co-op play in mind. In keeping with the spirit of that idea, the art-style is very accessible and stimulating. Whereas the game features an engaging collection of well-designed activities to complete, it is still a platformer across many segments. That means it won’t take long for most people to get to grips with what they should be doing.
Much like Unravel 2, the story follows some pretty small main characters. And in the same way, being miniature helps completely change what is possible and what kinds of things present challenges. Unlike Unravel 2 though, they take this idea to its logical extreme within the context of a video game. What that means is that they have used it as an excuse to let you play around with many different video game genres. Each main activity is like a miniature version of what feels like an entirely different game. Anything from beat-em-ups to vehicle-based shooters are permitted. It’s like a miniature tour of video games as a whole, with a focus on how they can be fun to do with someone as your player 2.
This local multiplayer adventure is fantastic for those who want a taster of everything couch co-op has to offer.
There are always new games coming out that attempt to push the limits of what is possible with co-op gaming. This list represents the best adventure-based experiences available. Even so you’ll find plenty of other games out there that can offer you just as much fun. (Think Overcooked)