Back in the day, gaming with your friends meant meeting up at one friend’s house, bringing a controller or two, and pulling an all-nighter while trying to beat an entire campaign at the highest difficulty setting.
If you were lucky, or creative, you may have played local games with your friends across consoles, also known as a LAN party.
Most games today don’t offer local co-op, opting for online gaming instead, with matches that hold anywhere from 1v1 duels, all the way to massive battle royal campaigns with up to 100 players.
However, local co-op games with IRL (in real life) friends, still brings a massive amount of fun that cannot be replaced with online games.
Most local co-op games need controllers to play. As you can imagine, jamming four friends together on the same keyboard and mouse isn’t an ideal way to play. Many of the titles we're writing about work best with a controller, so prepare for that.
We put together a list of our favorite 20 local co-op games we play on Shadow. Some of these local games you may have heard before and others will certainly be hidden gems you can share with your friends.
Co-op games Glossary:
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Rocket League
- Pummel Party
- Overcooked 2
- Sven Co-op
- Tabletop Simulator
- The Binding of Issac: Rebirth
- Dynasty Warriors 8: Extreme Legends
- Portal 2
- Divinity: Original Sin 2
- Enter The Gungeon
- Human Fall Flat
- The Escapists 2
- BattleBlock Theater
- Crypt of the NecroDancer
- A Hat in Time
- N++ (N Plus Plus)
- Blue Estate
20 Local Co-Op Games to Play on PC
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody explodes is a local co-op game that requires friends to work together in order to defuse a bomb. One player, the defuser, finds himself trapped in a room with a bomb, while the rest of the players, the bomb defuser experts, must shout instructions to defuse the bomb from a bomb defusal manual the defuser cannot see.
Every bomb is randomly generated, so you’ll never defuse the same bomb twice. And, if you’re feeling daring, you can also play Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes in VR. If you want to test the strength of your friendships, ears, and patience, this is the game for you.
If you’re a gamer, chances are you have driven a tiny racecar around a field for the purpose of scoring goals using your car. Vehicular football. Or Soccer, depending on what Shadow office you're at. But, did you know you can also play Rocket League with a friend?
The concept of Rocket League is simple; use your car to score points on the other team. The nice thing about Rocket League is the low barrier to entry for new players and the high skill ceiling for veterans. You can jump in and play Rocket League with friends who have never played before in local co-op and have a great time.
The physics of Rocket League will have you jumping up and down on your couch with your friends, whether you’re on the winning side, or the losing side
Pummel Party is similar to Mario Party, except with more blood and guns. Think of Pummel Party as a party game for those who enjoy FPS games.
When you start a new local co-op game of Pummel Party, you and your three friends will select a game mode and your character's appearance.
The game spawns you into a post-apocalyptic board game, where each player rolls a dice to determine how many spaces they move.
Each space a player lands on has a different effect and each map places the players into a different universe. After each player rolls the dice and takes a turn, you’ll play a minigame to unlock keys. The player with the most keys wins.
Pummel Party is a great game to play locally with friends, if you’re the type of person who gets endless enjoyment from board games, or Mario-party style games that are rare to find outside of the Nintendo universe.
Overcooked 2 is, as you might have guessed, is the sequel to overcooked, where friends team up and work together to defeat legions of undead loaves of bread.
The Overcooked brand has a consistent cooking theme. Levels usually involve preparing, making and serving food to win, while each player has to juggle multiple simple tasks at once.
Each task has time limits attached to them, so if you don’t take the stew off the oven in time, you have to start all over again.
Just like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Overcooked 2 is a game that involves quite a bit of yelling and hectic energy to complete levels and even more chaos develops as you progress through the game.
Overcooked 2 is a great party game to play locally with your friends. The simple control scheme allows anyone to learn how to play in a short time.
Sven Co-op takes Half-Life and puts a co-op spin on it, allowing you to play challenges similar to the original game with your friends and difficulty scaled up to match the number of players in your squad.
Not only will you kill monsters and bosses, you’ll also solve puzzles with your team across different maps spanning different enemy types, many of which you’ll remember from the original Half-Life game.
You can play Sven Co-Op locally with multiple controllers while one user gets the responsibility of carrying the team while playing on PC. Sorry console gamers.
Cuphead is the game from this list most likely to make you throw your controller.
Cuphead is a game about repaying your debt to the devil. Player one takes on the role of Cuphead, while player two gets to play as Mugman, Cupheads' brother.
Cuphead is a notoriously difficult game that places an emphasis on boss battles in a run and gun style of gameplay.
All of the artwork in Cuphead was handpainted using watercolor in the style of old, 1930’s cartoons - what you would expect from Looney Toons in the early days of animation.
Cuphead should be played with a friend who is an experienced gamer and is ready to tread through hours of replaying the same mission while keeping a calm demeanor.
Even though Cuphead and Mugman are on the same team, the Cuphead universe is full of adversity.
If you haven’t played Cuphead yet, you’re missing out. The artwork is too beautiful to pass up on and Cuphead is a wonderful gaming experience unlike any other game available today.
Tabletop Simulator is a sandbox for table games. You can play classic games like Chess, poker, Majong, puzzles, Solitaire and more.
Tabletop Simulator is a must-own for any gamer who enjoys tabletop games. Not only can you play classic games like the ones listed above, you can also import games like cards against humanity, or dungeons and dragons.
The possibilities for Tabletop Simulator are unlimited and it is a great co-op game; you get to play any game you can imagine and even make your games.
One aspect that shines in Tabletop Simulator is the physics engine the game runs on. Everything you do just feels good. The game allows you to play with up to ten players in co-op, with the option for VR, and the best part is, if you’re losing a game you can simply flip the table to prevent a loss.
The Binding of Issac: Rebirth
The Binding of Issac is a top-down perspective RPG shooter game and each level is procedurally generated so you never play the same game twice.
That’s why the game is so much fun with a friend playing over co-op; you’ll never repeat the same experience.
The Binding of Issac follows the biblical story of the Binding Of Issac. Issac runs to the basement of his mother’s home to escape death. However, the basement is full of monsters Issac must face to escape a permanent fate, with the final boss being Issac’s mother.
The Binding of Issac is one of the best-rated games on Steam. It’s creepy, fun, and a good game for playing local co-op on the couch with a friend.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Extreme Legends
Ah, Dynasty Warriors. The mass-mob fighting game based on the Chinese historical novel called, The Romance of The Three Kingdoms.
Dynasty Warriors has been around for a long time, first debuting on the original PlayStation console back in 1997.
More than ten years later, the format of Dynasty Warriors remains the same. You pick a warrior from one of the multiple Chinese dynasties to wage war against the other dynasties.
Once you pick your warrior, you fight through hordes of lower level enemies without names: privates, sergeants, base guards, archers, etc; generals are distinguishable by individual names and over-the-top costumes with big hair.
With co-op, Dynasty Warriors becomes even better. You and a friend each pick a warrior and fight through a campaign for your dynasty, all while upgrading skills, weapons, armor, and even your mount along the way. You can even ride an elephant.
Portal 2 is one of the last games made by Valve, creator of steam.
Steam has since focused more on being a game provider than making games, to the dissatisfaction of many who are waiting for Half-Life 3, Portal 3, or Left for Dead 3.
Portal 2 is a puzzle game that, you might have guessed, relies heavily on portals that teleport you to different places within a map.
The portals you make can do more than make passages for you. You will use your ‘portal gun’ to help solve puzzles, like creating a portal for objects to travel through to unlock passages.
Accompanying you throughout the game is GLaDOS, the AI that guides you, the test subject, through a variety of challenges while you prepare to escape.
Portal 2 is one of the best, most creative puzzle games you can play. The single-player campaign is a ton of fun and even more fun with a friend.
You can play Portal 2 co-op with controllers on the couch and experience a completely different campaign containing puzzles which require two players to solve.
When you’re playing portal, you need to stay off the internet and figure out puzzles yourself. The beauty of playing Portal 2 on co-op with a friend, is the collaborative struggle to complete puzzles and move to the next mission.
Portal 2 came out in 2007 and still holds up visually and gameplay wise ten years later. The game won dozens of awards, all of them greatly deserved.
If you haven't played Portal 2 yet, you should. At least once.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a role-playing game, similar to what you would expect from Skyrim, Lord of the Rings, or other Fantasy worlds. You begin the game selecting a race, gender, stats, and a back story. You can play the game alone, but it is much better to experience the story playing co-op with a friend.
You can play Divinity: Original Sin 2 on a couch with your friends, you can also play in a party online, both via co-op or PVP matches in an arena style. Rare for a game of its kind.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a top-perspective turn-based combat game, which isn’t for everyone. If you enjoy Dungeons & Dragons style games, JRPGS, or other turn-based combat games, Divinity may be for you, or a new genre of game to explore.
Enter The Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is an old-school, pixel, top-perspective dungeon crawling game that brings a level of chaos most games cannot fathom.
The plot of Enter the Gungeon involves “Gungineers”, fighting in a dungeon environment seeking to acquire a gun that allows someone to change their past. Every character, class--almost every aspect of the game has “gun” in the name or the character device.
Similar to The Binding of Issac, Enter the Gungeon has procedurally generated levels so no play through is like the other. Enter the Gungeon takes inspiration from other games and includes many unique features that build on the chaos. In a way, enter the Gungeon feels like a Borderlands loot-shooter mixed with a classic pixel game, and movement abilities like rolling out of trouble, inspired by dark souls.
You can play Enter the Gungeon with a friend on the same screen, removing the headache of split-screen and sharing a TV with a friend. A good feature, since the game can be difficult for less skilled players at times.
Enter the Gungeon is one of few games where flipping tables is a good thing. Hint: Use tables for cover.
Human Fall Flat
Human Fall Flat is a quirky physics game where you solve puzzles as a blob named Bob to break out of a falling dream. You’ll work together with other blobs to beat levels, using Bob to grab, pull, and manipulate simple objects in each level.
Human Fall Flat feels like playing LittleBigPlanet in a 3d environment with faceless characters.
To succeed in Human Fall Flat, you need to work with other blobs. The game becomes a great team-building exercise since you actually have to work together to win. Being independent in Human Fall Flat simply isn’t an option. You can play online co-op, but it is much more fun to play with friends, sitting in the same room.
When you first start playing, the controls feel a little awkward, as you bip and bob throughout the surreal styled levels. Once you master the controls, the game becomes a lot more fun, and there are so many levels to entertain yourself and many different ways to win.
The Escapists 2
The Escapists 2 is a top-down pixel game, sequel to The Escapists. The game revolves around being incarcerated with a team of escape artists while trying to escape out of 11 different prisons.
Throughout the game, you’ll need to fit into prison life, going to the yard, the cafeteria, all while gathering supplies to plan your escape out of prison.
There are many ways to escape from prison. If you’re caught, all of your progress will be lost, including all of the gear you managed to find or make.
You’ll need to have patience in The Escapists since any mistake usually ends up in solitary confinement. And the dogs. You’ll learn to despise the dogs.
There is also a competitive mode in The Escapists 2, based on who can escape prison the fastest, although we haven’t tried it ourselves.
The Escapists 2 is a challenging game meant to be played with friends while working together to break out of prison. This is a great game to test your friendships and feel like you’re in a real prison escape with pixels as an added benefit.
BattleBlock Theater is a game by Behemoth, the same studio that created Castle Crashers also featured on this list. Battleblock features the same art style of Castle Crashers and plays in close to the same way with the classic side/vertical scrolling aquarium view, complete with goofy hijinks and even comes with a level designer.
BattleBlock is a relatively old game, first coming out back in 2013 on PC and on Xbox 360 arcade. You can play the game alone, but it is much better to play with a friend or two while beating levels in adventure mode.
Like Castle Crashers, BattleBlock Theater has customization options for each character, like different weapons and accessories across over 80 different levels and more options for competitive, arena PVP modes. Although, the bulk of the fun you and your friends will have is in adventure mode, working together.
The most epic of game trailers.
Broforce is what you would imagine a video game collaboration would be like in the ’80s, featuring Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and the rest of the bicep-bulging crew from yesterday.
Even though Broforce is completely silly, the game is a blast to play and can support four-player co-op on the same device. You can also play different competitive modes, but the joy of Broforce comes from teaming up with your bro’s for some pixelated, side-scrolling adventures.
Broforce feels like an updated, better playing, modern Metal Slug game with the added feature of destroying every environment in the game if you choose. Broforce has some other quirks, like spawning as a different bro when you die, which gives you a different ability to complete your current mission with.
It’s a good take on keeping the game fun and fresh without adding too much repetition.
Broforce adds a number of cool features to the classic story mode, including deathmatch, a level editor, and an Exploding Run mode--a footrace with your bro for time while avoiding explosions, which you’ll see plenty of in Broforce.
Broforce is difficult, chaotic, and a great game to play co-op with your friends.
Crypt of the NecroDancer
Watch the trailer with the sound on. NecroDancer is a music game with a brilliant soundtrack and voice over.
Crypt of the NecroDancer is self-described as a rhythm dungeon crawler, where you can even play with your own MP3 song files or the standard in-game soundtrack that is quite well done.
Not to be confused with a Necromancers crypt, this Crypt belongs to the Necro-Dancer. The game feels sort of like an old-school Zelda game based on Music, and you can even play with a USB dance pad; although we haven’t tried it.
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a hard game and we don’t recommend it for gamers who want a casual, relaxing experience. You’ll be dying in Crypt of the NecroDancer all the time, but it is part of the fun.
You’ll need to learn the rhythm patterns of enemies and bosses while moving your character to the sound of the beat; so you won’t be able to enjoy the full game if you like playing with the sound off.
If you like dance battles, exploring dungeons, and playing difficult games with your friends, give Crypt of the NecroDancer a try.
A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time is a 3d style platform game that feels like a combination of Spyro the Dragon, Nintendo 64 era Zelda games and Mario. In the game you play as Hat Kid, a little girl with a big hat and the ability to make different hats, all the while trying to get back home.
Each hat gives you a special ability which makes the game a lot more fun. A Hat in Time is definitely a weird game that feels like a mashup of multiple different genres of games while maintaining the classic platformer feel.
And, you can even play with a friend. How about that?
N++ (N Plus Plus)
N++ is the third installment in the N series by developer Metanet software. The game began as a Flash game and has since evolved to live on multiple platforms including popular consoles and of course, PC.
N++ is a simple, addictive, best described as a geometric platformer. You’ll need to use your momentum in order to beat levels, that, are not procedurally generated but are created by the developers to maximize the challenge and the fun N++ provides.
The amount of levels is insane, listed at over 4,000 based on the description of the game on Steam.
N++ is fun, difficult, and a great co-op game with similar difficulty to that of Cuphead, so choose your Co-op friend wisely.
Blue Estate is a rail shooter released in 2015 for PlayStation, Xbox, and of course, PC. If you aren’t familiar with the Railshooter genre, think Time Crisis or House of the Dead from your local arcade; games with guns that walk you through levels while you fire at waves of enemies and the occasional boss.
Blue Estate is a black-comedy game, featuring crude jokes, a unique art style, and a screechy, mid-90’s mob movie narrator. Part of the appeal of Blue Estate is the wide variety of controllers you can use to play the game, which includes Xbox controllers, keyboard/mouse, Playstation controllers, and the leap motion controller; an attempt at augmented reality with hand-tracking technology.
Blue Estate is short and not for everyone, but if you enjoy the feeling of shooting games in an arcade, Blue Estate is for you. The game takes around three hours to beat and contains eight different stages to play. This game might best be for a night of co-op action with a friend who agrees to beat the game in one go.
These are some of our favorite Co-op games to play on PC. Did we miss any of your favorites? Make sure to join us on our official Discord server and let us know what your favorite PC co-op games are.