Co-op games are going to be perfect for this Christmas period when you have all your friends and family gathered together – either right there on the sofa next to you, or across the globe connected via the power of the internet. It’s time to spend some quality family time with some of these amazing games you can have fun together. Here are some of our Christmas Family time Gaming List:
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is the latest game from the team that brought you A Way Out, and has won the Game of the Year Award 2021. This time around you’re playing as a husband and wife duo, who have been turned into a pair of dolls by their daughter unhappy about their news that they’re divorcing. Cue gameplay that’s part Pixar, part Honey I Shrunk the Kids, add in a sprinkle of marriage counseling courtesy of an anthropomorphic self-help book and you’ve got a glimpse into what to expect with It Takes Two. But, it’s also much more than that, a little slice of magic and literally the best co-op game around.
And, only one of you has to own it if you want to play online with a friend thanks to the game’s Friend Pass system. Bonus!
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
Race a real-world Mario Kart through your home! Use the Nintendo Switch system to control your kart and watch as it reacts to what’s happening in the game as you boost and drift to victory. Your in-home course comes to life on-screen with a view from right behind the driver’s seat. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is available in a Mario or Luigi set. Perfect for some entertainment after a nice Christmas dinner.
If it were playable on current-gen consoles, Portal 2 would likely top this list. Right now, you can only play Portal 2 on PC, but don’t hold that against it. If you have a desktop or laptop that can run it (and most can), and a friend that can do the same, then you’re in for one of the best co-op experiences of your life. The co-op campaign is a noticeable jump in difficulty from the already fiendish original. Not only will you and a friend, who each control a loveable robot, have to put your heads together to figure out how to finish a test chamber, but you’ll often have to time your movements and actions just right. If one player jumps a split second early, or activates a button too late, the whole plan falls apart.
It makes communication vital, and each puzzle all-the-more rewarding to solve. On top of those puzzles is a layer of Valve’s unmistakable humour, and GLaDOS (remember her?) is once again the star. You can high-five your friend, play rock paper scissors or, if you’re feeling evil, dunk them into deadly goo by pulling a bridge up from under their feet.
Overcooked 2 sounds simple – prepare a bunch of meals as chefs within a certain time limit. Easy. Well, not so much. While there are up to four of you playing, it starts to get tricky to keep track of the game’s various commands and stipulations, as well as avoiding various hazards and pitfalls in the kitchen itself. This can lead to some frantic play, and only the most cohesive of teams will get those dishes out on time.
The levels are insane, the menus increasingly complex, and overall this is a mad, mad existence of a game. But, hilarious fun too. Warning: may cause bickering among even the closest friends, partners and family members.
A Way Out
It’s rare that a game is only playable in co-op, but that’s exactly what A Way Out does. Whether you’re splashing the water to usher fish to each other; going back to back to shimmy up a wall gap; passing a chisel between cells to find an exit route; or even just playing Connect Four or a game of basketball, the co-op never feels like an added extra, it’s all built for you to enjoy together in a way that’s satisfying and worthwhile regardless of the scale of the interaction.
You’re two criminals trying to find a way out of prison and a step closer to redemption, but more importantly this is one story that you must experience together. And it’s the best co-op game we’ve ever played.
Don’t Starve Together
The threat of permadeath is somehow softened when it’s shared. I mean, you’ll all still die but at least there’s comfort, and blame, when you’re playing co-op. Don’t Starve’s resource gathering, base-building challenge was already great fun, but it’s even more so with a friend. Especially as you can split the workload and responsibilities as you tend to your home or farm, and explore the world to find more of whatever you need to make it through another day.
Who doesn’t want to be a tiny kiwi bird who just got hired to work a post office? No-one, that’s who. KeyWe sees you working as kiwi birds Jeff and Debra to get all sorts of mail delivered. Make sure packages have the right stamps and address labels, decode messages, send letters of your own. It’s a big job and it’s going to take two of you to do it. Did we mention there are unlockable outfits?
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The newest entry in one of the most wholesome series ever made feels like the perfect game to play in self-isolation. It’s just you, an island in the middle of nowhere, and a long checklist of meditative tasks. Pick up sticks. Shake trees for fruit. Decorate your home. The co-op experience is suitably gentle – you can’t live on a friend’s island, but you can visit, share resources, shop in their stores and complete projects together. Then, when you go off home, you can send them a thank-you postcard. Isn’t that sweet?
The process for inviting friends is slightly convoluted – head to the island airport to get started – but it keeps unwanted randoms from joining your game. Any visitors are limited in what they can do on your island until you name them a “best friend”, which frees them up for much more social interaction, including a chat system. Friendly messages only, please.
Steam Wallet Codes
PlayStation Network Card
Xbox Live Gift Card
Nintendo eShop Card