8 Best Co-Op Games For Families

Highlights

  • Game nights are a great way for families to spend time together, and local co-op video games provide a new way to connect.
  • Hand-picked titles like Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Portal 2, and Super Mario 3D World offer wholesome and fun experiences for kids and parents to play together.
  • These games encourage cooperation, problem-solving, and creativity, while providing entertaining and visually appealing gameplay.

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The modern rush of day-to-day life can make it difficult for families to spend time together. Everyone is busy with work, school, sports, band practice, and other responsibilities. But parents, kids, and siblings need to set aside time to spend with their loved ones.

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One idea is to schedule a family game night. Traditionally, a game night would revolve around tabletop games. But, with so many local co-op video games available now, you can connect with family in a new way. While some games contain violence and adult themes, none of those are listed below. Instead, these hand-picked titles are wholesome and perfect for kids and parents to play together.

8 Racket & Clank: All 4 One

all four playable characters Racket & Clank All 4 One

The Racket & Clank series has always been a fun, action-platform game. The main characters are likable, have good back-and-forth banter, and must save the universe. Before this spin-off of the series, you would play as Racket in a single-player adventure. But, developers Insomniac created a way for up to four people to play simultaneously with All 4 One.

You can choose from Racket, Clank, Captain Quark, and Dr. Nefarious. Enemies are plentiful and require players to cooperate to succeed. There are some light puzzles and game mechanics that have everyone working together. The colorful and cartoony visuals are top-notch, with slick cutscenes and professional voice-overs.

7 Portal 2

Atlas and P-Body Going Through a Portal

Portal 2

Platform(s)
PS3, Xbox 360, Switch, PC

Released
April 18, 2011

Developer(s)
Valve

Publisher(s)
Valve

The Portal series offers a creative mixture of puzzle-solving and platforming. The game gives you a portal gun to fire an entrance and exit portal. You navigate rooms filled with robotic turrets, toxic sludge, and seemingly impossible pathways. The sequel, Portal 2, takes this concept and adds co-op.

You play as one of two androids trying to escape the treacherous Aperture Science Labs. You must lift, move, and throw objects, create momentum with portals, and use colorful gel. When applied to surfaces, this gel grants abilities like bouncing. The writing is clever and funny, with GlaDos, the villainous robot, commenting throughout.

6 Super Mario 3D World

Cat Toad, Cat Luigi, Cat Peach, and Cat Mario jump after clearing a level

Super Mario 3D World

Platform(s)
Switch, Wii U

Released
November 22, 2013

Developer(s)
Nintendo EAD

Publisher(s)
Nintendo

The Super Mario series has been popular for decades, thanks partly to Nintendo’s continued innovation. With Super Mario 3D World, you can play up to 4 players simultaneously. Bowser is at it again, and you must rescue several Sprixie princesses. You can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad.

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The isometric top-down view makes it easy for all the characters to be visible on screen. Don the famous catsuit and use your claws to climb tall ledges and dispatch enemies. The themed levels and new gameplay mechanics offer variety and keep things interesting.

5 Unravel Two

Unravel Two - Promotional Image of Yarnies

Unravel Two features characters made from yarn called Yarneys. The wonderfully animated and imaginative side-scroller has you working cooperatively with another player. The colorful Yarneys attached by thread must overcome obstacles using their bond to their advantage. For example, you can help each other with your yarn when climbing up or down.

Use your thread to swing, bounce, and more as you explore the changing environments. The symbolism behind the game is about creating essential bonds along your journey. The characters physically attached by yarn are a literal interpretation of bonding. The story about friendship and adventure includes a lot of heart and problem-solving.

4 Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sackboy runs down a path surrounded by enemies

The LittleBigPlanet series has been a Sony staple since it was first released in 2008. The game puts you in control of the cute and expressive Sackboy, a hand-knitted adventurer. Both side-scrolling and 3D levels combine with colorful storybook visuals and problem-solving. The best part is that you can play with up to four players via split-screen.

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It’s challenging, but all players must work together to overcome the environments and enemies. The game oozes positivity with crafted graphics that make you feel like you’re back in art class. Nearly every element in the game looks made from craft supplies and stimulates creativity.

3 Party Animals

four animal characters party animals

A party game featuring cute animal characters, Party Animals is an excellent choice for a co-op game. Although some may object to the brawling aspect of the game, it offers 20 maps and three different play modes. You can wrestle and fight family members in a physics-based environment where the goals vary. Imagine a virtual game of King of the Hill but with stuffed animals.

You can form teams together or compete against loved ones with various objectives. The environments and character movements make the game fun and more challenging than you think. Choose from 12 characters, including cats, dogs, pigs, and even a dinosaur.

2 Overcooked! 2

Overcooked 2 four players preparing food and running in Rail Track Stage

Overcooked 2

Platform(s)
Switch, PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Stadia, Amazon Luna

Released
August 7, 2018

Developer(s)
Team17, Ghost Town Games

Publisher(s)
Team17

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a chef in the most overwhelming kitchen imaginable? In Overcooked! 2, work with up to four other players and cook, add items to plates, and wash dishes as quickly as possible. Space is limited in the kitchen, so you’ll want to avoid bumping into other players in ridiculous situations.

The game ramps up the pressure with elements like moving floors, hot air balloons, and portals. With fun visuals, inspired outfits, and silly restaurants, it’ll make you smile. Journey to the Onion kingdom, throw ingredients across the room, and stop the Unbread (Zombie toast). Remember, when this game gets hectic, tempers can rise, so be sure to take a break occasionally.

1 Unrailed!

A train and station

Imagine a world with obstacles galore, and you must construct tracks before a train derails. In Unrailed!, you and up to three other players must clear the area, craft resources to make tracks, and lay them. Meanwhile, if you’re not quick enough, a train slowly inches along and will go off the tracks.

Cooperation is critical, and the varied terrain keeps things interesting. The visuals are reminiscent of Minecraft, with a blocky and colorful look. You’ll also run into strange characters along the way to shake things up. The unique biomes, day/night cycle, and weather effects increase the challenge.

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