The holidays are a time for food, drink, cheer, meeting up with folks and then soundly beating them into a festive paste at your favourite game. So with that in mind and in the spirit of festive, yet competitive, holiday cheer, here are the best local co-op games and best split screen games that you can play during the holidays.
A Way Out
One of the most entertaining co-op and split screen games you can play, A Way Out has players taking on the role of one of two imprisoned convicts who must make a daring escape together in order to leave their past lives behind. A well designed mixture of third-person combat, exploration and collaborative puzzle solving that evokes influences from both Prison Break and the Kane & Lynch games, A Way Out is quite simply an essential co-op game to play during the holidays.
A vast first-person looter shooter adventure that combines classic face shooting action with RPG style levelling mechanics, a wicked sense of humour and enough guns and loot to cover the Earth, Borderlands 3 is the sort of meaty, hundreds of hours long offering that will take you and your mates through the holiday period and far beyond. Want to blast various aliens and robots on a far off planet with a friend, while earning a ton of loot and maybe saving the universe in the process? Then Borderlands 3 is absolutely your huckleberry. Just note that on PC there’s no local coop, but console players can team up in the same place with no problem.
Escape Academy takes the concept of co-operative escape rooms and absolutely runs through the nearest wall with it. Taking place under the auspices of the titular Escape Academy, players must work together to solve all manner of logical and tricky conundrums as they attempt to graduate from the academy with honours. Whimsical, deeply clever and a whole heap of fun, Escape Academy is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to tax the old grey matter over the festive period.
One of the most popular games ever, the free to play phenomenon that is Fortnite combines frantic construction mechanics and superlative third-person shooting action to grand effect, while the frequent heavyweight Hollywood and gaming crossovers that it often showcases help to secure its mainstream appeal yet further still. An ultimately well constructed battle royale shooter that is easy for all ages to play, Fortnite also boasts split screen support, making it a great choice for players both old and young to hop into the action together over the holidays without dropping a penny.
It Takes Two
The next title from Hazelight, the same studio that brought us the rather excellent jailbreak co-op yarn A Way Out, It Takes Two is a simply delightful co-operative odyssey that casts players as two quarrelling parents that have been turned into diminutive toy dolls thanks to a wayward magic spell. Forced to find their way back into the house and to the embrace of their worried children, It Takes Two expertly melds platforming and collaborative puzzle solving all the while masterfully blending in comic relief, tenderness and melancholy to create an unforgettable experience. A beautifully wholesome and thoroughly enjoyable effort that challenges and entertains in equal measure, It Takes Two will have players grinning from ear to ear all through the holidays as they attempt to consolidate their platforming and problem solving skills to make their way through its incredible journey. It Takes Two is one of the best co-op games ever made. It’s as simple as that.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The various LEGO licensed titles that have emerged over the years have proven to be reliably enjoyable local co-op experiences and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is no exception. Encompassing all of the key events and characters from all nine mainline Star Wars movies, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a third-person action adventure that not only blends platforming and shooter genres with aplomb, but also allows players to play out various legendary events from the Star Wars saga in all new ways. Stuffed with cheeky humour and boasting somewhere in the region of 300 playable characters, over 100 vehicles, and 23 planets for players to explore, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is value stuffed and often chuckle worthy co-operative adventure that everybody can enjoy.
Moving out is one of the most stressful things you can do in real life and for good reason. All that ordering folks about, making sure everything is packed in the right boxes and ensuring the furniture is slotted in precisely the right place can be super draining. Moving Out not only takes the sting out of the whole enterprise with its whimsical presentation and characters, but it also distils everything down to a series of digestible micro activities, tasking players to work together in order to shift various bits of furniture into different properties against increasingly challenging time limits. Moving Out is a simple, yet toweringly fun local co-op game that is perfectly suited for repeat play over the holiday season.
Overcooked! All You Can Eat
Similar to Moving Out, Overcooked! All You Can Eat takes a seemingly mundane vocation and spins it into an essential local co-op multiplayer offering. Overcooked! All You Can Eat tasks players with running around and serving meals to customers across a number of increasingly troublesome environments, from on top of two moving vehicles to a tilting iceberg, the tip of a volcano and more besides. It’s in the nitty gritty of Overcooked! All You Can Eat that the game really shines however, as players must work together to compose a rapidly changing menu of meal requests all the while ensuring that the ingredients are chopped, the food isn’t burnt and other hazards, such as rats, kitchen fires and more, are effectively dealt with. A fast and furious compilation of both Overcooked! games, Overcooked! All You Can Eat is essentially a fast-paced micromanagement simulator in disguise that requires all players to have near perfect timing and coordination. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that you get from nailing a perfect three star rating in a particularly difficult stage and for that alone, Overcooked! All You Can Eat confidently stakes its place as a thoroughly excellent local co-op game to play with your nearest and dearest.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
A bewitching platforming adventure, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince takes players on a fairy tale adventure as they attempt to release a mystical land from the nightmares of the titular regent. Supporting local co-op play for up to four players, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince provides three very different characters, a ranger, warrior and wizard, for wannabe heroes to take control of. Much more than cosmetically different, each of the three characters has their own unique abilities which must be used in synergy with the abilities of the other heroes in order to win the day. With its painterly visuals, in-depth skill trees and innovative conundrums, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a must-have local co-op title for everyone over the holidays looking to take a trip into a mystical fairy tale realm.
Adding a co-operative dimension to the superb platformer Unravel, Unravel Two puts players in the wolly shoes of two Yarnys, effigies made of twine and wool as they traverse across a seemingly abandoned household and relive the memories of the family that dwelled there. Unravel Two not only brings back the platforming puzzle solving shenanigans of the first game, but the added element of cooperative play now means that the various puzzles demand a team working approach that the first game sorely lacked. Clever, visually attractive and deeply melancholic, Unravel Two isn’t the cheeriest local co-op game that you’ll play this holiday season, but is among the most highly recommended.