5 Games to Play With Your Partner – Co-op is great. You can blame someone else when you lose.

I’m in the rather fortunate position to be married to someone who not only tolerates my hobby, but also participates in it from time to time.  She blogs about family and teaching things too over here if you’d like to take a look!  Whilst competitive multiplayer is something we don’t really go in for all that often (P.E. teachers tend to be very competitive ;-)), co-op games are a choice that makes it to our systems of choice.

Big Bang Theory Co-Op
Something like this! But also nothing like this.

Now, my wife much prefers short form games that can be picked up and played in short bursts, so don’t expect any long form co-op games.  Instead, you’re going to find 5 games that can be enjoyed with a partner when you have a spare 30-60 minutes.  As ever, these are only games that I/we have played.  These all have local co-op, meaning you don’t need multiple copies of the same game or system.  On with the games!

Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 (2011)

Specifically the third game in the series, yes.  There was a lot of co-op content here (even more if you went online) thanks to rather good campaign and Horde mode, and we made use of a lot of that content.  We completed the campaign (enlisting some online help from a friend of mine for the final boss on Hardcore mode), we finished Horde mode (on casual, because that got pretty crazy), we even ventured into the wildlands of online multiplayer briefly.  As a couple we got a lot of hours of gameplay out of this one.

Gears of War 3
You can just smell the steroids and testosterone.

The game’s fairly simple mechanics that can be manipulated to allow co-op partners to play and support each other in a variety of ways is excellent, and has been for the majority of the series (regardless of my opinions on Gears of War 4).  My wife’s desire to hang back and snipe was often a viable option whilst I got stuck in and inevitably did something silly meaning she would have to leave cover to rescue me.  Regardless of the mode you were playing in, you really have to watch out for each other.  Working together in the same room makes it all the more entertaining too as you shout at each other about where to run to when you can see what they’re doing on the same screen.  Local shooters like this are a dying breed.

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage (1991)

From a game about watching each others back, to one in which you should probably stay the hell away from each other.  Friendly damage was a real danger here.  Streets of Rage is from an era in which playing together in the same room (or on the same arcade cabinet) was par for the course.  This may surprise you, but this game was released before I met my wife.  In fact it was released before I met my teenage years, but thanks to re-releases we have been able to play this one together (I actually prefer the second game, but don’t tell her that!)

Streets of Rage
It’s literally war on the streets apparently. Axel’s special move involves his police buddy launching missiles at enemies, which seems somewhat extreme.

This is a side on brawler, with you beating up a bunch of street thugs using fists, feet, weapons and special moves (such as police officers firing rockets at enemies for you) for justice!  Playing with a partner is great in this, as the two of you fight of waves of enemies.  My better half is pretty good at this one, getting into a good rhythm and never stealing my street turkey!  Just make sure you keep a safe distance from each other, as stray feet and carelessly thrown enemies will floor your partner!  Games Revisited has some great thoughts on how this game has aged here.


Overcooked (2016)

Overcooked is a co-op game about cooking food quickly and accurately.  No, don’t leave!  It’s brilliant!  It’s bonkers and really rather difficult too.  As between 2 and 4 chefs (you can play single player controlling 2 chefs at once) you need to chop, cook, prep, serve and clean in a kitchen to earn the most money in a short time limit.  And it’s very, very hard.  There are more tasks than can be completed by the chefs you have, meaning you’ll have to leave that pot cooking whilst you wash the plates.  Best get back to that pot quick though, otherwise the kitchen will burst into flames.  Oh, and there’s a dedicated “swear” button.

Overcooked Rat
This is fairly easy looking one. Until you realise there are rats that will steal any food you leave unattended.

If that wasn’t difficult enough, sometimes the kitchen will change shape, preventing you from reaching the cooker.  Or maybe there are conveyor belts blocking parts of the kitchen forcing you to send food around to your partner.  Then there are the levels set on ice over water.  Finishing the levels as a pair is quite manageable, but getting 3 stars on each is tortuously challenging.  The local co-op is great and results in shouting of the best kind as your cat chef desperately needs your partner’s racoon to get the plates washed in time for you to serve that damn burger!  Plus the menu music is just gorgeous…

Splinter Cell: Conviction

Splinter Cell: Conviction
Splinter Cell: Conviction (2010)

Ok, I know this is not the most popular game in the series for many reasons, but the local co-op was actually rather fun.  The co-op campaign was pretty good fun, allowing you and your partner to set up traps for your enemies and culminating in (SPOILERS for a 7 year old game!) a confrontation between you and your partner.  I couldn’t tell you what the story was, but the stealth-lite gameplay with the use of various gadgets was good fun when sharing a sofa.

Splinter Cell: Conviction
Co-ordinating take downs in the story was great fun. But famous strategist Helmuth von Moltke once said “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. Which in this case means you’re gonna screw up.

Add to this a rather fun survival mode in which you needed to protect an EMP device from enemy waves whilst stealthing around the map and using your gadgets effectively and you have a fair amount of content for local players.  Oh, an enemies can grab you and hold you hostage, giving your partner mere moments to take the shot that will either kill your assailant or you.  Tension!

Rock Band/Guitar Hero

Rock Band
Rock Band (2007)

My wife played the drums when she was younger.  Apparently she had a little stage set up at home with her drum kit on it which is either cute or annoying depending on how close to the drums you were I would imagine.  So obviously Rock Band and its ilk would be a perfect game to play together.  Whilst I had a huge love for the Guitar Hero games, Rock Band had a tremendous track list that allowed her to play the drums and me to play the guitar.  I can’t play in real life, but I could demolish songs in the game, and playing it with my wife (and others during get-togethers) was great fun.  Although our neighbours of the time weren’t always fans.

Beatles Rock Band
One of the problems of the series was the sheer number of different versions released.  Whilst each game was good, flooding the market was probably not the best move.

I have complained in the past about DLC, but this game is one that claimed a lot of money from me.  I would always want more songs to play together and would spend more than I perhaps should have done!  On the plus side, the songs could be played across different versions of the games, including the Rock Band Blitz spin off.  In spite of that though, this is a great game to play together, especially if you both enjoy the music.

Some honourable mentions as ever!  Borderlands and Diablo 3 work well in split screen, but the level and equipment management slow the pace down a bit too much at times.  Left 4 Dead and its follow up work really well in split screen, but you do end up having to rely on the AI a little too much on harder difficulties.  And of course Halo is well known for its local co-op features, but has sadly had them removed in its most recent FPS iteration.  Quite the loss if you ask me.  Thankfully the Master Chief Collection allows all of those co-op campaigns to be played again.

Halo 4
Why would you take such an integral feature out?

And now for some cheating!  These ones don’t follow the rules but are worth a mention. Section 8: Prejudice had a fun co-op survival mode involving diving onto the battlefield from orbit, calling in vehicles and holding off waves of enemies.  We bought 2 copies of this on PC to play together online.  The Jackbox games, and Dance Central (I know, Kinect is evil) are fun to play together but have the competitive side rather than co-op.

What co-op games do you enjoy sharing with your loved ones?  Let me know!  I’d love to give them a try too.


32 thoughts on “5 Games to Play With Your Partner – Co-op is great. You can blame someone else when you lose.

  1. Love Rock Band, but I’ve never found somebody on a par with me. Might have been guitar hero, but Dave is stupidly good, and thrn the rest of us are average or terrible, so we suck at high scores.

    Scrambles had the Keyboard for rockband which was awesome though.

    We never let ANYBODY sing.

    i have the drums for RB, which don’t work properly on GH

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never got on with Diablo 3 co-op, but me and a mate spent 2 years absolutely abusing 2 and the expansion.

      Left 4 Dead was the last game i truly got into. Got all acheivements apart from the No Damage run.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s pretty impressive! Some of those achievements were difficult enough, so no surprise you missed the no damage one. I don’t even know how anyone would have a hope of getting it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There was an early bug where you could all sit in a cupboard and spam melee. That is how you did it, but it falls apart if you don’t do the tank right.

        Once they patched infinite melee out it became impossible

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, GH had a different set up for the drums so I can see they wouldn’t work well together. No one ever wanted to sing when we played, so it came down to last person to arrive was stuck with the microphone!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like a lot of people today, I value couch co-op so much more than online. Gears and Halo were in my past as well and man they were fun to play with my friends. I’ve been meaning to get Overcooked for a while now, just might buy it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Overcooked is so much fun. Played it with a few of us last weekend and it descended into a combination of shouting and hysterics. Couch co-op is slowly disappearing (especially with shooters) which will be a huge loss in the long run. I skipped Halo 5 mainly because it lacked local co-op.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My wife and I play together regularly. Local co op games are becoming hard to find, but I can name a few I highly recommend checking out on PC/console.

    Salt and Sanctuary is right at the top of the list.This game blends the old school Castlevania with Dark Souls and it can be played sitting right next to each other. The cool thing is that if you don’t have much time to sit down and game you can play in short burst and still feel like you’re getting somewhere.

    Civilization V – I put part 5 instead of part 6 because Civilization V has team mode while part 6 only has competitive play. My wife and I put way too many hours into this game, but it’s so much fun to micromanage our civilizations together. If you’re worried about sitting in front of a PC with a mouse and keyboard don’t worry because you can play this game quite easily with a Steam controller.

    Any Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors game is a good time sink. Beating the crap out of mobs of enemies is always fun and whenever my wife and I don’t have a lot of time to play something like Civilization we’ll play this instead and have just as much fun.

    And finally, Borderlands 2. This game is amazing to play and the remastered Handsome Jack Collection is well worth buying if you’re into split screen games. Borderlands comes last because I prefer having my own screen when I play this game with my wife :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do play a good chunk of Borderlands from time to time. Civ would be a bit heavy for my other half, but I didn’t realise it had a co-op mode at all! I hadn’t considered playing the Warriors games together. It would be pretty light and fun to play in short bursts so I may well download one of the recent ones and give it a try!


  4. My wife and I tend to play competitive games more often than co-op games. We’ve recently been playing Snipperclips on the Switch, which is co-op has a fun and quirky sense of humor, but the puzzles can get aggravating when the solution isn’t super apparent. Our game for a long time was Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. Our mains were Good Cole (me) and Evil Cole (her) and we were equal in skill, so our matches would last forever and always end neck-and-neck. Spent plenty a night in college pummeling the snot out of each other in that game.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So happy to see Rock Band. I’ve played it a few times and was usually the singer. So much fun. It was like Guitar Hero+ which I love, too. Definitely one of the times I’ll break my rule and play well with others.

    Nice guy husband plugs wife’s page and gets The Shameful Narcissist to follow (and speak in the third person). I couldn’t resist the alliteration!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. New Super Mario Bros on Wii has been a couch co-op staple in our house for years – super fun, especially with the ever looming possibility of your partner betraying you by chucking you off the map.

    It’s nice to see Gears 3 getting some love, I had bags of fun on all three of the ‘360 Gears games with my BFF.

    I’m gutted by the direction that Halo went in regards to co-op play, they killed off any possibility of me getting an Xbox One by sacking it off.

    I recently had a blast playing Helldivers 4 player locally with some mates, it’s simple and a little cheesy but it’s fun, would definitely recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Can’t wait for Overcooked! For some reason that game resonated with me the most during the Switch Nindies presentation. Maybe it’s my recent obsession with Cooking Mama?

    Either way it looks like a blast and for some terrific couch co-op – the best kind!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is a bit old, but i loved to play the original River City for the NES with my sister! It is such a fun game for two players!Also, i freaking love Splinter Cell coop, i played most of the games with a friend, it is such a nice experience in two players

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I recently had a blast playing Helldivers 4 player locally with some mates, it’s simple and a little cheesy but it’s fun, would definitely recommend. Also, have u saw the new River City Ransom Underground?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really enjoy Helldivers online (it’s not one my wife enjoys). It’s a hell of game, just hard as nails a lot of the time.
      I had heard about RCR having a follow up, although I’d heard mixed reviews of it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s