There?s nothing like gaming with the person you love. But sometimes Player 1 and Player 2 have different tastes and varying degrees of experience. So, when it comes to playing with your significant other, what are the best games to play together?
With this list, I?ll provide both variety and insight into some of the best co-op and competitive experiences that will have you playing with your partner until the sun comes up. The list goes 10-deep and includes titles ranging from the 16-bit era to today.
Worms is a turn-based game where you play as teams of anthropomorphized worms trying to annihilate each other. You choose wacky character names for each worm, customize their voices, and you even get to pick what their tombstones will look like when they inevitably get blasted to smithereens.
The reason it?s fun to play with your partner is due to the level of strategy involved, but at the same time, you?re playing with a bunch of cartoon worms, so it never feels overly intense. It?s lighthearted, easy to learn, and challenging to master. Rounds can be as quick or as long as you like. You can choose from tons of crazy weapons and be creative in your quest to take out the other team.
When I played with my partner, the most fun part was assembling our teams with worm-versions of our family members and friends. So it was like going toe-to-toe, guerrilla warfare-style, with the weirdest combinations of worm-human caricatures that we could come up with.
9. LittleBigPlanet 2
LittleBigPlanet 2 is a side-scrolling platformer. It?s pretty adorable and accessible for beginners and veterans alike. It has local and online co-op, with up to four players. And you can also play mini-games and create your own levels.
It?s perfect for couples because you can just hop on the couch together, play a level or two, and feel like you?re making joint progress in a game that?s both fun and challenging. Some elements of the game actually work better if you have that second player, so there?s an incentive to hand over the controller to your sweetheart even if they aren?t that into video games. You?ll end up playing for hours and completely lose track of time.
For my girlfriend and me, the most fun part was playing all the quirky mini-games. I remember this one called Hungry Caterpillars. It had really catchy music, and we couldn?t stop playing it. We found ourselves humming the tune out loud and laughing about it even years later.
Overcooked is a frantic co-op cooking sim. You work in pairs to make meals. Each player rotates along different stations to complete as many iterations of a specified meal before the time runs out.
Made by the same development team that created Worms, this two-player game can get a little hectic and might cause some arguments, but it?s all in good fun. When you beat a level, it?s because you and your partner conquered the learning curve together. It requires patience and coordination, and it?s one of the few two-player games that forces you to talk out loud collaboratively. You?ll find yourself shouting out directions to each other the entire time.
I hesitated to play this game with my girlfriend who was a waitress. I wondered if it would feel like work because after all, her job also involved remembering orders and delivering plates in a hurry. But she ended up loving it?the game turned out to be cathartic, especially playing it together.
Golden Axe cover art. Source: AmitDabydeen on YouTube.
7. Golden Axe
Golden Axe is a side-scrolling, fantasy beat ?em up. You pick one of three characters?a dwarf with an ax, a warrior with a sword, or an Amazonian mage. Your team is set loose in a world of monsters, skeletons, dragons, and sorcerers. The first few levels are easy for everyone, but the difficulty ramps up real quick.
Golden Axe was frustrating when I played it as a kid. Part of the reason was that I was stuck playing it with my younger brother, and both of us pretty much sucked at video games. This game is probably best for couples who are both seasoned gamers. It can get pretty discouraging if you don?t manage your magic and play strategically. As such, it?s not a game for the faint of heart.
My girlfriend and I will periodically return to it and while we?ve gotten better at it over the years, Golden Axe still causes some frustration. It?s a gamer couples? trial by fire for sure. The last time we tried it, we made it to the very last level and died near the end. One of these days, though?one of these days we?ll go all the way.
6. Dragon?s Crown
Dragon?s Crown is another 2D side-scrolling action RPG. It?s set in a fantasy world with all the requisite high-fantasy tropes. If you?ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons, you?ll feel right at home. There?s a nice variety of character classes to choose from and a pretty interesting narrative campaign.
What makes this a good game for couples is that it demands teamwork. Pairing complementary roles is the way to go. Similar to D&D, a combination of a magic-user and a warrior works well, for instance. The fun comes from finding that right balance of characters to match you and your mate?s play style. Supplement that with well-chosen AI companions, and you?ll vanquish your foes seamlessly.
My partner and I are fond of tabletop RPGs, so as soon as we discovered there was a game that captured that same feeling in a convenient way, we were in. Tabletop games take hours and often require groups of people. So if you want that same experience without the hassle, then Dragon?s Crown is the perfect fit.
PlayStation 2 cover art. Source: mandmgamestore.
5. Family Feud
You all know Family Feud. It?s that game show where you guess the top answers to survey questions. It?s been released on multiple consoles in various iterations over the last fifteen years. There?s no Steve Harvey or anything, but it?s still pretty fun.
Video game versions of game shows are always entertaining. Whether it?s Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, or whatever?the casual competition is great for couples. What makes this particular game interesting is that it?s kind of a bad game?technically speaking. The character models are generic, the response interface is wonky, and the distractor answers are absurd. The categories are so random that you never know what ridiculous topics will pop up.
I remember playing one time with my girlfriend and she buzzed in by accident before the host finished the question. She had no idea what the answer was, so she just randomly typed in letters and chose the first option that appeared. It turned out to be correct. She ended up winning the game, and we could not stop laughing about it. It just perfectly captured how awesome games like this can be.
Super Mario Party. Source: Nintendo.
4. Mario Party
If you?ve played video games even a little over the past two decades, then you undoubtedly know what Mario Party is. While there?s nothing quite like the charm of the original Mario Party on the N64, the more recent ones are great too.
I?m not a huge fan of party games, but somehow I always get roped into playing this one. Usually it happens when my girlfriend and I are itching to play something, but we can?t really decide on anything specific. It?s a reliable go-to. If you only have a half hour or so, you?ll enjoy the mini-games. If you have more time, you can go all out with it and end up filling the night with insanity.
Some of the most memorable moments for me in Mario Party come from some specific old-school mini-games that never get old, such as Bumper Balls, Mushroom Mix-up, and Face Lift.
Source: Find Your Inner Geek.
3. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
Playgrounds is an arcade-style basketball game. It?s like NBA 2k for people who don?t know basketball. It?s silly in the best ways. It adopts the classic 90?s NBA JAM style of 2-on-2 ball, with cartoonish players flying across the court, dunking from the three-point line, and generally wreaking havoc on the hardwood.
The reason this is on the list is that sometimes only one-half of a couple will be into a particular sport. And if you?re not into that sport, you usually won?t like the video game equivalent. But this isn?t true with Playgrounds. The game is so accessible to beginners that you can enjoy it even if you?ve never watched a game of basketball in your life.
On a whim, my girlfriend decided to pick up the game because she was trying to lure me into playing her Switch. She knew I was a fan of NBA 2k on PS4, and she thought I would like this. Of course, she ended up playing with me, and it was nuts. Because the game caters to novices, she totally obliterated me. She then basked in the hilarity of beating me in a sport that I was supposed to be the expert in.
Super Mario World cover art. Source: Nintendo.
2. Super Mario World
If you?re a child of the ?90s and grew up on video games, then you?ve probably already played Super Mario World on the SNES. It?s one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time and just a masterpiece of a game.
Super Mario World is great for taking turns, and it delivers a perfect experience playing as an adult with your significant other. Just try not to argue too much over who gets to be Mario and who gets to be Luigi.
Every now and then (usually when we?re a little drunk and feeling overly ambitious) my girlfriend and I will try to do a deep run in this game, but we rarely get that far. What can I say?modern games have spoiled us. Turns out the best platformers of our childhood were really freakin? hard.
1. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Lovers is a co-op space-shooter where you work together with your partner to explore galactic environments, escape enemies, and rescue furry creatures. Your goal is to conquer the force of anti-love and defeat bosses that are trying to take over the universe by, for some reason, stealing cute bunnies (there are also cats and turtles and other cute animals as well). During each level, you must locate all the bunnies while balancing the various compartments of your space ship without accidentally hurling into destruction.
This game is amazing for couples because it requires joint, on-the-fly problem-solving and requires you to balance different tasks of a spaceship in a way that?s not only collaborative but also complementary. For instance, one person has to shoot the turret, while the other is in charge of the shield, and because there are always more tasks than pilots, you?re constantly shifting roles. It?s a perpetual balancing act of coordination and teamwork. When you succeed, it?s really satisfying. You?ll jump for joy and want to hug your partner over and over.
Lovers gets the top spot for me because I played it with my partner at a time when we were both stressed out and struggling to get through school. We often didn?t have time for each other. But one day, she suggested this game. I hesitated at first. It looked almost baby-ish. However, she insisted and it turned out to be the greatest gaming experience I?ve ever had with another person. Lovers more than lives up to its name. To this day I look back fondly on those few special days that it took to complete Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.
Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash