Updated: Jun 19, 2022
Modern gaming is pretty good, isn’t it? New consoles with massively improved storage space (once you buy the hard drives yourself *ahem* PS5 *ahem*), games that push the limit of what people consider to be a real game and more player choice than there has been since before the great video game crash of 1983.
While there’s a lot to be said about all the good stuff that modern gaming has to offer players, like playing with friends across the world, there’s still something special about being able to sit next to your mates and experience games with them.
Yes, gaming just isn’t as fun when you can’t gloat over every victory and deliver justice (read as enact bloody violence) when they cheat.
Here are some of the couch co-op party games I enjoy the most.
Mario Kart/Mario Party/Smash Bros.
Let’s get these ones out of the way first up. Yes, I’ve done a couple of articles for Couch Soup about my favourite moments playing Mario Kart and Mario Party so, of course, I enjoy playing these games with my mates.
The games are just a bunch of fun while still pitting players against each other to fuel that competitive fire in everyone.
I haven’t done an article on Smash Brothers yet, mainly because of all the fans that would have been absolutely livid that I referred to their holy lord and saviour Smash Brothers as a party game.
Because some of the super smash fans are such reasonable and measured people, they might want to skip this next bit…
Super Smash Brothers is a great party game to play with your mates if you come at it with 36.5 standard drinks split between you all because at that point it’s just a bunch of pretty lights, colours and guys beating the shit out of everyone else.
By the way, the PlayStation version was better.
Moving away from the strictly competitive co-op games for now and moving onto a more competitive/cooperative hybrid game we have the sequel to the 2016 smash hit cooking game that isn’t Cooking Mama.
Overcooked 2 is your standard cooking game. You get ingredients from these wooden crates that make me question their integrity after they’ve been sitting on a ship or in the arctic for however long they were before we got there and attempt to create dishes.
I say attempt because after a while it just devolves into shouting, thrown controllers and tears especially if I’m playing with my brother. And here’s the thing about this game…
I still loved playing it regardless because I enjoy the challenging mix of time management and team coordination needed to succeed at this game. In fact, I loved the original game so much that I managed to platinum it with my bro (he didn’t get the platinum for some reason so that’s a win for me).
Now onto the dark souls of 2D platformers, we’ve got the ode to early pre-Disney animation Cuphead. Don’t assume that just because the game has a cartoon aesthetic that it’s family-friendly.
This was back when cartoons were a lot less worried about keeping childhood innocence intact and as a result, they were a lot darker thematically.
This game really is the epitome of a problem shared is a problem halved because while the game is still like being forced to crawl across glass shards and rusty nails, with co-op mode at least you get another person to lay on top of.
Now with the difficulty curve being more like a difficulty cliff, a lot of people would ask why I enjoy it so much when I can’t get into the Dark Souls games to save my life. Well, to put it bluntly, the art style and sound design kick fucking ass!
The design replicates the old hand-drawn animation from back in the day of cell animation and all the big brass band sounds that give every level and boss fight its own distinct and unique ambience.
This is one of the few video games where I’ve listened to the soundtrack well after I’ve finished playing the game and I’m sure it’ll continue to be stuck in my head for ages to come.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Okay, so now maybe you’re not looking for something likened to torture when you game because you know you just want to play games to relax and have fun because there’s so little of it in everyday life.
If that’s the case for you and if you can’t get enough Star Wars stuff after the expanded universe was trashed then Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is for you!
It’s the culmination of everything the Lego games have been working towards prior to the release of this game. From the mechanics to the game design to the cinematics is top-notch and it’s a very fun relaxing way to play with a mate or someone that isn’t super into video games.
Plus, the fact you can kill Jar Jar Binks over and over again until the screams are satiated with no penalty is always a positive for me.
The Streets of Rage Series
Play Streets of Rage 4. Play Streets of Rage 4. Play Streets of Rage 4. In case you missed that incredibly subtle messaging, I really like Streets of Rage 4. The series as a whole has always been such a fun time for me.
It’s like the logical upgrade to Double Dragon that packs in a whole lot of charm and style in the soundtrack and the art.
This is the great dream of being able to walk down a dark and dingy street beating vagabonds to a pulp while great music blares from some unknown speakers with impunity and it’s just so much fun.
The combat, while only containing simple button presses and basic combos, feels heavy and impactful which is a breath of fresh air compared to other games where it’s bullet sponge enemies as far as the eye can see that’s like chipping away at a mountain with a bent spork.
What couch co-op party games do you find most enjoyable to play? Let me know down below!
Enjoyed the blog post? Make sure to subscribe so you know as soon as each new one drops. You also get monthly newsletters from yours truly.
If you're looking for something else to read in the downtime, check out my short stories!
You can also check out my Couch Soup and Retro Replay content here.