Slackur's Obscure Gaming Theatre

Posted on Jan 17th 2022 at 01:00:00 PM by (slackur)
Posted under coop

Now that we are a couple of weeks into '22, and since co-op is kinda my jam, I figured I'd do a quick recap on some co-op games you may have missed last year.  This quick list excludes some better known titles such as It Takes Two, The Ascent, and Back 4 Blood, and instead focuses on some that may have slipped through the cracks.  Oh, and I won't mention how much I enjoyed Aliens: Fireteam Elite because I've already mentioned it in a few articles, so I won't bring up how much fun I had with Aliens: Fireteam Elite again in this article and how you should find two friends and play through Aliens: Fireteam Elite.  Also, I didn't get around to KeyWe or Very Very Valet, both of which I intend to pick up but have yet to do so.

Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix

The classic shmup reborn on Switch with a rockin' new soundtrack, all of the dlc, modes, and ships/characters, and naturally retaining the co-op.  If you have a partner interested in these types of games, this is about as good as it gets.  Seems to have had a very limited release, so if you want the physical it may be worth tracking down before it starts going up in price like the original 360 version.

Tetris Effect: Connected

OK, you will notice I cheat a little on this list with release dates.  Technically, Tetris Effect released on the PS4/PSVR a few years ago, and even the Connected update debuted on Xbox One in 2020 but didn't hit the PS4 and Switch until 2021, which is when I played it.  If you are unaware, the Connected update included a slew of multiplayer modes including the title mode that cooperatively pits a three-person human team against a series of AI bosses.  It is a truly unique setup that includes sending junk pieces against the opponent until the players can briefly unite their playfields into a gigantic well, not unlike the unlicensed Tengen Tetris on NES (but much more successfully implemented.)  It is very fun and very, very addictive.


I knew this one would be up my alley, but I was genuinely surprised at how great it is!  2D Run-and-gun action with great graphics and animation, a perfect soundtrack, amazing detail, and a ton of fun!  This is definitely scratching the Door Kickers: Action Squad itch I still had after completing that game.  The physical has a limited release, so this is another one to get sooner than later if you want a hard copy.

World War Z: Aftermath

I spent a good chunk of time with the original World War Z, and, while I found it imperfect, it was surprisingly good and especially fun with friends.  This expansion/rebuild doesn't quite fix everything wrong (progression is still too slow for my taste, and last I played the new first-person mode didn't allow for using scopes on the guns), but all of the improvements, new characters, and new locations went a long way to refreshing the experience.  If you skipped the first go-round or didn't give the initial release much of a chance, it is definitely worth revisiting now as there is a lot of co-op goodness here.  (Incidentally, I'm personally a bigger fan of this than Back 4 Blood.)

Operation Tango

This was a pleasant surprise.  It was a PS Plus monthly free game and is exclusively co-op with a required online partner (much like It Takes Two.)  Basically a set of various minigames where one player is a hacker and the other a field agent spy.  Each mission had some interesting setups and occasionally fun, occasionally annoying, but always interesting gameplay.  Some genuine ingenuity went into this one, and while it doesn't always work as well as hoped, it is definitely worth playing.

Deep Rock Galactic

Another cheat in terms of release date, this one was out on PC and Xbox last year and before that in early access.  And technically it didn't hit PS4/5 until January of 2022 as the PS Plus freebie which is when I started playing it.  But I'm playing both ends against the middle and talking about it now just because it is worth highlighting!  Warhammer 40K doesn't have exclusivity on space dwarves; here you and up to three friends play a dwarven mining crew out in deep space.  A brilliant amalgamation of first-person shooting, terrain deformation, co-op specialty roles, exploration and platforming, and in-depth character progression.  The game has a great sense of humor, a nifty art style, and a great gameplay loop.  Solo is do-able, but it really shines as a team game.

Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries

Well, of course my 2021 GOTY would be here since it has co-op.  While it is disappointing that only the host makes campaign progress, the game is so much fun with friends that it is still worth it!  I've enjoyed giving and receiving help between friends in order to tackle particularly tough missions, and the customization options are so robust that it is easy to lose hours to this game.  It ended up as a Christmas gift to many of my gaming friends just to maximize our chance to play together.  Be forewarned, it isn't really a casual 'pick up and play' type of game as it does have a decent learning curve, but that's part of what makes co-op so great; I've been able to show the ropes by inviting my buddies into my game and letting them experiment while I teach them what I've learned, and vice-versa.  This one is definitely one of my perennial co-op favorites, and I see it coming around every now and then until (hopefully) Mechwarrior 6.

Well, you know I can't go too long without writing another co-op article.  What were some of your favorite co-op experiences of 2021?  And what are you looking forward to playing with friends in 2022?


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