Do you miss those Saturday mornings playing Super Mario Kart on the floor, frantically chucking red shells at the player sat right beside you? Do you remember playing Sonic 2 and wishing the 2-player mode was a bit more substantial or Tails could keep up with Sonic in the main game? Nothing beats hanging out and playing games with friends and so couch co-op is the answer, and if you’ve got a Nintendo Switch – I’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at the cream of the crop, and some other games worth playing when those ones have been exhausted. I won’t put the list in a specific order as these games span various genres and the experience you’re looking for can change based on who you’re playing with and what kind of mood you’re in.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It’s likely you already own Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s sold over 28 million copies, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a mention here. You can play competitively or assist each other – the rule in my house is anything goes, unless you have a blue shell and the person you’re playing with is in first then you’re not allowed to throw it at them (a rule I’m all too happy to ‘accidently’ break).
Originally released in 2014 for the ill-fated Wii U this game’s found a much needed lease of life on the Nintendo Switch – it’s a perfect game to play together on the couch against up to 10 other people online or to go through the various championships together from 50cc to the (too fast for some) 200cc speed levels.
PRO: 48 courses in the base game with new content still being released; take a look at Wave 2 of the Booster Course Pass.
CON: Playing online yields too many players playing as Waluigi in the Wiggler car (apparently the best combination to play as) which is kind of annoying.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
This is a highly intuitive and hilarious title from Steel Crate Games. You have a bomb, you have a bomb defusal manual and you have a timer – that’s the basic gist of the game. One player has the manual and the other holds the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode; with no player allowed to look at what the other is doing. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes keeps upping the ante by randomly turning the lights off, having an alarm go off for no reason or punishing mistakes by making the timer tick down quicker.
This is a game I highly recommend playing for yourself; trying to explain to a player what your bomb module looks like while the other player frantically flicks through the digital (or physically printed) guide to give you the correct instructions is such a unique and fun experience.
PRO: Many stages with multiple different bomb modules keeps the game feeling fresh and increases the difficulty gradually.
CON: There’s a couple of bomb modules that I just don’t enjoy defusing – the Morse code one and the Venn diagram based wire puzzle. That’s purely my personal preference, though.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat
There are 3 Overcooked! games; this is the one to buy. Overcooked! All You Can Eat is an enhanced remake that includes both original titles and all of the DLC they had. This is a particular favourite in my household – you work together to prepare an endless stream of meals while a timer ticks down. One level may have you frying burgers while an earthquake splits the level in half, another may be on a hot air balloon with you tackling a blazing fire while also trying to make pasta.
The inventiveness is really impressive and the selection of meals you have to prepare constantly grows as you progress, this, alongside the new stage mechanics that are designed to hinder your progress serve only to increase the wacky fun.
PRO: Incredible amount of varied levels and a Star based rating system that keeps you replaying until you earn them all
CON: Some of the DLC levels can be so difficult that they’re not particularly fun.
Snipperclips Plus: Cut it out Together
I first saw Snipperclips when I attended the Nintendo Switch launch event, and alongside 1-2-Switch (which I actually got to play there), I thought it looked like a load of garbage. I was right about 1-2-Switch, which even Nintendo doesn’t seem to have much faith in, but I was completely mistaken when it comes to Snipperclips. The aim of the game is to solve puzzles by using your character’s physical shape to cut a shape out of the person you’re playing with, and vice versa.
An example of a stage would be snipping a circle into the other player character so they can carry a basketball into a net. You can rotate 360 degrees to get the perfect cut – my favourite levels tended to involve fitting both characters into a cut out shape by snipping each other perfectly and rotating into position. A unique little title that has a concept that would probably be difficult to meaningfully expand on in a sequel.
PRO: Some really inventive puzzles that really force you to think outside the box on how to solve them.
CON: Can be frustrating when your cut is barely even a millimetre off and you have to regrow your character and restart again.
As a certified Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technician (F.A.R.T.) you’re tasked with clearing out a house as the owner is Moving Out. This is a game, like Octodad, where the controls are janky on purpose. Part of the fun is bumping into your teammate and timing the pendulum swing of throwing a sofa. You have to manoeuvre large items like a fridge, with each player holding a side, around corners or throw a TV out of a window to save the time it takes to carry it through the house and downstairs.
The level variety is brilliant with such levels as one referencing Frogger, with having to move household items over logs on a river, and another set in a haunted house where you have to avoid ghosts as you clear it out. I strongly recommend this game, even if the later stages may be frustratingly difficult to get through while retaining the friendship of the people you’re playing with.
PRO: Genuinely funny (puerile) humour paired with genuinely fun gameplay.
CON: Too difficult in later stages where you wish the controls weren’t so purposely janky and the time limits weren’t so short.
Tools Up! is a good game, it’s just not great. I would reserve playing this for when you’ve exhausted the games I’ve mentioned previously, like Moving Out and Overcooked! All You Can Eat. The core gameplay involves finding a blueprint and following its instructions. You strip walls and paint/wallpaper them and replace carpets while cleaning up all the mess you have made along the way.
It’s very fun for the first few levels but is hampered by fiddly controls and the sense of de ja vu creeping in as you realise how samey it all starts to feel. I wanted to like this more than I did. Perhaps the DLC increases the variety and challenge, but unfortunately the base game did not grip me enough to give it a go.
PRO: Uses tried and tested time management game staples of doing what you can, before other materials are available, pretty well.
CON: Levels can be very trial and error based – certain levels don’t even have blueprints at all so you literally have to guess how to decorate where.
Nintendo Switch Couch Co-Op – Honourable Mentions
Now that I’ve listed a lot of titles that I have invested a lot of time in, I’d like to highlight a few others in closing. I personally prefer gaming in short bursts, and my choices reflect this. There are some incredible games on the Nintendo Switch that have couch co-op that I favour playing alone such as Cuphead, Stardew Valley, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, Streets of Rage 4 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
However you choose to collaboratively play, the Nintendo Switch has a wide and varied library and there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes – you might even be that one person that finds 1-2-Switch fun.