Even though there are countless single-player experiences out there, some games work best with a player two. If you want to team up with your significant other for puzzles, platforming, and more, this one’s for you. We’ve rounded up the best video games for couples to play together. Although all of our picks work well with two players, we tried to add as much variety to the lineup as possible. Those looking for a more intense experience will be better off with something like Ghost Recon: Wildlands, while those looking to take a load off may prefer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Portal 2‘s dedicated cooperative mode is the perfect choice for couples in the mood to use their noodles. You’ll find that completing stages with the help of your loved one is far trickier than expected, and though you might want to throw your controller in frustration, eventually the two of you will get in sync and take down Aperture’s obstacles with ease.
Playing the campaign mode with a second player helping out is also a lot of fun. Solving — and failing — puzzles with a friend makes for even more fun than you can get in most games’ dedicated multiplayer modes, and user-made levels will keep you hooked long after you’ve finished the content included with the game at launch. If one player is struggling, their partner can always grab the controller and show them how it’s done, too.
Read our Portal 2 review
Rayman Legends is a tremendous test of platforming prowess, but its cooperative mode makes it the perfect choice for players of different skill levels. Losing all of your health isn’t the end of the road, as your partner can “pop” you like a balloon to get you back in the action. It is a feature exclusive to cooperative play, and it makes approaching each level strategic but low-stress.
The puzzle-like Murfy sections are also playable cooperatively, but only if you have one of the older versions of the game, such as the original Wii U release. Here, one player can control the Murfy character as he solves puzzles, while the other player can stick to traditional platforming. It’s the musical stages that will have you and your partner glued to your console, though, as they perfectly capture the series’ whimsy and optimism. With the two of you jumping and running along to a kazoo version of Eye of the Tiger, you’ll feel like you’re ready to conquer the world.
Read our Rayman Legends review
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The Mario Kart series has always been a great choice for couples, as its somewhat random item system means that even if one player has a significant skill advantage over the other, they’re still going to lose at least a few races. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is no different, and it mixes in gravity-defying racing with classic courses dating back to the SNES era.
On the Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is perfect for two players, as they can play it docked in the television or in “tabletop” mode with two Joy-Con controllers turned sideways. No matter where you go — dinner, the park, the back of a car, even the airport — you two will be eating each other’s dust. If you still own a Wii U, Mario Kart 8 is a great choice, too, making our list of the best Wii U games.
Read our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review
Life is Strange
Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange doesn’t feature a cooperative or competitive mode, but, like many dialogue-heavy adventure games, it’s a great choice for playing as a pair. You and your partner can make dialogue decisions together and experience Max and Chloe’s journey as it happens, and when it comes time to make a choice that will drastically affect the story, you’ll have to give it some extra thought. You can also pass the controller back and forth, allowing whoever currently holds it complete control over the story until they give it back.
As it’s split into several short episodes, Life is Strange (and its prequel, Before the Storm) are perfect for quick play sessions with your significant other, so you can play it for a few hours before going to bed and let your minds wander with theories about its story. It isn’t the only adventure game best played with two people, but it is one of the most emotional.
Read our Life is Strange recap to get up to speed
You might think of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as an “every man for himself” game, but it actually has a game mode made for two. Instead of going solo or as part of a squad, maybe try some “duos” matches with your partner.
In PUBG, you and one other player are team up against 50 other two-person teams, scavenging and shooting to become the last pair standing on a constantly shrinking map. Playing with a partner opens up the door for new strategies. You can “bait” other players, pretending to frantically search in an open field, to lure them into your partner’s waiting crosshairs. A chicken dinner for one is great, but chicken dinner for two is as romantic as it gets.
Read our interview with PlayerUnknown
Splinter Cell Blacklist
Sam Fisher is usually a lone wolf, but he’s still able to work with a partner when the need arises. The latest of Ubisoft’s quasi-dormant stealth-action Splinter Cell franchise, Blacklist features a series of short cooperative missions that require two partners to work in perfect harmony, and certain areas are only accessible using cooperative boost abilities.
Unlike other stealth games, getting spotted or even captured isn’t an automatic “game over” in Splinter Cell Blacklist. If one player is grabbed and taken hostage by an enemy, they can be rescued by their partner and a carefully-placed headshot. It makes for extremely tense encounters, and when the two of you make full use of your special “mark and execute” ability, you can easily take down a room of combatants in a matter of seconds. Though the game is available on the Wii U, that version does not support split-screen cooperative play, so it’s best enjoyed on other platforms.
Read our Splinter Cell Blacklist review
Ghost Recon Wildlands
If Splinter Cell Blacklist is about precision and efficiency, then squad-based sandbox shooter Ghost Recon Wildlands is about all-out chaos and experimentation. Set in an enormous rendition of Bolivia, the game is fully playable in cooperative mode. A.I. soldiers fill out your four-person squad if you play along with your partner. You can order your computer-controlled teammates to perform unique “sync shots” and a few other abilities. Still, having a real player by your side makes the experience of taking down troops as a team feel much more special.
One option is to complete each mission stealthily alongside your squadmate, with precise plans and a few bullets. Building your strategy together might be the most bonding you’ve experienced in a while. But you can also just jump into the fray and cause chaos with mortar strikes, missiles, and helicopter gunships.
Read our Ghost Recon Wildlands review
Cuphead is one of the hardest games of the generation so far. When you play in a single-player run-and-gun, it can be almost impossible. The bosses are brutal, and you can only take a few hits before being defeated. Beyond that, the amount of projectiles on the screen at any one time is comical. If you add another player into the mix, the odds are better. You can aim a constant stream of fire at enemies while the other player keeps the two of you safe from attacks. Plus, in co-op, you and your partner can save each other from the brink of death. Just rush to your partner’s side when they run out of health, and you get the ultimate teamwork reward: Renewed vitality.
Read our Cuphead review
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