Hey Harvey!

Posted on Dec 16th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under coop, couch, futon, side of the bed, loveseat, lawn chair, kitchen chair, floor, bean bag, hot tub

Another year closing, another chance to get in on some cooperative fun with friends and family!  In between grandma kisses and overloading on sugar cookies, hopefully you can convince some folks to sit down and have some game-time.  For some of us, this is one of the only times of year we can actually get some decent couch co-op going, so hopefully my own crews' countless hours of "testing" these titles can prove useful.  As is generally the case, I tossed together a selection of lesser-knowns along with some popular games that have overlooked multiplayer options.  *Mario Voice:* Here we go!

88 Heroes (PS4/XB1/NS/PC)
One of the few on this list that will require you to pass the controller, this one is practically built for tossing a couple of friends together and taking turns after each character death.  The heroes and abilities are bizarre and amusing, the whole game is weird and funny, and it is almost as much fun to watch as it is to play. 

Aqua Kitty UDX (XB1)
The "ultimate" edition with an exclusive "Dreadnought" mode, this two player shmup started as a great defender clone and has grown into a formidable shooter on its own.

Atari Flashback Classics Vol.1 (PS4/XB1)

Yes, these have been released countless times, but there are good reasons.  Four Player Warlords!

Caveman Warriors (PS4, XB1, NS, PC)
Not quite the four player Joe and Mac sequel I'd hoped for, but still fun with a few friends.

Crawl (PS4, XB1, NS, PC)

This one really surprised us and we were hooked for several weekends.  It's an action-adventure dungeon crawl, where one player is the hero and the other three players are trying to kill the hero off so they switch places and become the hero!  Lots of co-op/versus dynamics with a great art style and a haunting mood through the whole experience.  Extremely well done and a real treat with four players.

Curses and Chaos (PS4, PSV, PC)

Nothing like a good-ol' single screen co-op survival gauntlet, ala Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros., Joust, etc.  Simple to pick up, tough as nails to progress, and polished much more than many of its game-grandparents.

Gear.Club Unlimited (NS)
Yes, of course you should get Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, especially with the extra content and superior battle mode.  But what we have with Gear.Club is something I've missed since the name Need for Speed had the words Road & Track Presents in front of it.  Those early Need for Speed PlayStation games were something special to me, and Gear.Club is the first time I played a racing game that took me back to that arcade feel and theme.  The single player mode is great for a portable, but the four player split screen racing (with a steady frame rate and nice graphics) makes this an easy recommendation if, like me, you've wanted to return to the feel of that earlier era of arcade racers.  Only now the cars don't look like cardboard boxes with painted-on wheels.

Hidden Agenda(PS4)
From the makers of Until Dawn, this one is a gritty crime drama in the vein of Seven.  Similarly, make sure the kiddos are in bed first because the language and subject matter are pretty adult-themed.  Anyone with a smartphone can play together, and more players things much more interesting with the voting mechanics the game uses.  Instead of directly controlling the action, the gameplay mainly consists of searching the screen for clues with a cursor, single-button QTEs, and voting during conversations.  Hidden Agenda features not only multiple endings, but completely different paths for the story to take depending on the players.  Although the overall plot doesn't change, there is still different revelations to be had.  For $20 and the normal run-time of an average movie, it's worth checking out.

NeuroVoider(PS4, BX1, NS, PC)

This ticks off a lot of boxes; rogue-like, twin-stick, four player, loot, tons of character parts and interesting weapons, and nice techno music.  Great chaotic fun, it kept us up many nights when we intended to use it as a quick play and couldn't stop!

Night Trap (PS4, XB1, PC, and true to their words to the US Senate, no Nintendo Platforms)

Needs no introduction, really.  The fun comes in MST3K-ing the FMV, and having friends to help keep track of the timer, security code switches, and remembering where to be during crucial moments.  We still have a notepad listing timer and room locations, in storage somewhere... from 25 years ago.  Ouch.  Moving on!

Overcooked!(PS4, XB1, NS, PC)

When the same gamers at our house go from a few rounds of Killing Floor 2 to shouting at the top of their lungs, "I NEED those Onions!  Who is on dishes?  I don't care if you ARE a raccoon in a wheelchair, I NEED ONIONS CHOPPED NOW!!!"  you know you have an excellent party game. 

Puyo Puyo Tetris (PS4, XB1, NS)

Not quite the replacement for Tetris & Dr. Mario, but with four players it is a worthy edition.

Raiden V: Director's Cut (PS4)
Sadly, the XB1 version doesn't look to be getting the necessary 2p update included with the PS4 version.  I still think Raiden IV is a better game overall, but this one is definitely a great shmup with some interesting twists to the traditional mechanics (narrated story, cheer system, life gauge) to try something new.  Two player seals the deal.

River City Melee: Battle Royal Special(PS4, PC)
OK, so this is a  more personal suggestion from a Kunio-kun fan.  It's not really worth full price, but if you can find it on the cheap this is a really fun four player arena brawler.  There are only a few maps, but a ton of characters, and the action is fast and fluid but never reaches that Smash Bros level of chaos that keeps beginners away.  In fact, it is a great suggestion for friends and family members who are far more casual in their gaming but would like to jump in and have fun.

Rocket League (PS4, XB1, NS, PC, irl w/ RC Cars and a soccer ball)

Yes, we all know what this is.  But what is often forgotten is the excellent four player split screen mode!  Another great addition that is easy for almost everyone to pick up and have fun.

Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4, XB1, PC)

Look, forget about the sequel for a moment.  Even though there were several missed opportunities in this one, there are also LOTS of fun split-screen co-op modes.  My family has really enjoyed this game, particularly the survival modes, but there is a ton of couch-co-op in here.  We are still trying for three stars on some missions and continue to pop it in from time-to-time.

Super Hydorah (PS4, XB1, PC)
It's a new Gradius.  Really, it is a remake of the original PC freeware Hydorah, but if you never played that, then it is a new Gradius.  With co-op.  YAY!

Tiny Barbarian (NS, PC)
A simple side-scrolling hack-n-slash for one or two players.  Sometimes you don't want to reinvent the wheel, you just want a smooth, polished, wonderful ride.  Perfect fit for the Switch, don't overlook it!

Trivia Murder Party (Jackbox Party Pack 3) (pretty much everything)
Yeah, most of the brilliant Jack Box party games could go here, including the original trivia versions.  But something about the simultaneously morbid and goofy Trivia Murder Party makes it the one everyone asks to play.  Still having lots of fun!

WipEout: Omega Collection (PS4)

The higher learning curve does make this a less likely candidate, but I've been pleasantly surprised how many two player split-screen matches we play over a given weekend.  Everything about it is fantastic, and highly recommended.  The upcoming VR patch means I'll have one more way to lose my lunch.

And there you have it, some recent co-op goodness suggestions from our gaming family to yours!  Hope you have a great time.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Pleasant Atheist Vacation Day, mostly safe New Year, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

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That's a lot of games.  I don't have any of the new consoles (though I do own Rare Replay) though that will change after my son opens his Switch on Christmas.  I'm looking forward to Rocket League on that console.  Four player Warlords would be perfect this holiday, and I now play on dropping by my local game store to pick that up.  In fact, that my my biggest beef with the Atari Flashback consoles: no four player Warlord!  Anyway, I'm hoping SW Battlefront gets a Switch port at some point, and since it has already surpassed ten million units it could happen.  Also going to check out NeuroVoider.
That's a cool article!

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