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Best Split Screen And Couch Co-op Action Games

Split-screen, couch co-op and offline multiplayer in general is becoming rarer and rarer these days. Whether this because major developers want to encourage players to buy more copies of the game, because the couch co-op finds itself naturally dying out with the advent of ubiquitous, high-speed internet and online pay, or confluence of the two, we aren’t to say.

There is, however, a case to be made for the glories of couch co-op. Friendships have been forged on the mere ownership of a certain game alone, and few things are more gratifying, even in this digital age, than gaming with everybody in the same room. To that end, and in anticipation of a time when we can more freely go back over to each other’s houses, we’ve rounded up an extensive list of some of the most awesome split-screen and other couch co-op games available across platforms for you to order now.

Halo: Reach

  • Released: September 2010
  • Developer: Bungee
  • Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
  • Price: $9.99 – $19.99

Everybody can argue about what the best Halo game is, but nobody can deny that Reach is certainly in the conversation. The franchise has long been a signal-bearer for some of the best couch co-op money can buy, and has produced more broken promises about not looking at your friends’ screen than just about any other game.

The iconic sci-fi FPS is available dirt cheap in all its original glory with split-screen, as well as part of the recently remastered Masterchief Collection that refreshes six installments with 4K graphics and sews each part together into one linear experience.

Download Halo: Reach: Steam | Xbox 360

Download Halo: The Masterchief Collection: Xbox One

Ark: Survival Evolved

  • Released: June 2015
  • Developer: Studio Wildcard
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $49.99

Ark: Survival Evolved is a gritty and unforgiving survivalcraft that pits you (and a friend, if you have one) against an open-world full of dinosaurs as despairingly vicious as they are potentially useful, and does its best to remind you of just how fragile your puny human body is every step of the way.

The best thing about Ark is that you don’t have to wade into the merciless world alone. Surprisingly, in an era where most AAA developers are shying away from couch co-op, Ark: Survival Evolved sports split-screen mode for you and a friend to play both offline and online on unofficial servers.

Download Ark: Survival Evolved: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

  • Released: July 2015
  • Developer: Steel Crate Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
  • Price: $9.99 – $19.99

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a fun, sometimes harrowing offline game that requires real, physical friends to play with — though, we suppose you could do it over a distance too. Sigh. The setup is simple: one of you is a bomb defusal non-expert, and the rest of you have a bomb defusal manual.

Manual people can’t look at the bomb, and bomb-person can’t look at the manual. Yeah. So you have a couple minutes to use your poor communication skills and work out how to defuse the bomb before it goes off and everybody dies. It’s fast-paced, hilarious fun, and some of the most offline multiplayer money can buy.

Download Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | Android | iOS

Don’t Starve Together

  • Released: April 2016
  • Developer: Klei Entertainment
  • Platform:  PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Price: $14.99

Don’t Starve is something like Minecraft or Ark if it was drawn by an emo kid on the back of a ruled notebook, and Don’t Starve Together is the sequel that brings the gothic survivalcraft goodness online. Players can expect all the traditional hallmarks of the genre, alongside a few other surprises.

The console versions support up to four players in local co-op, and there are a couple mods that restore the couch co-op goodness to the PC should you have a couple of gamepads/Xbox controllers handy.

Download Don’t Starve Together: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One

Brawlhalla

  • Released: April 2014
  • Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Windows, macOS
  • Price: Free-to-play

If you miss crowding around the TV with your friends to play Super Smash Bros back when the Gamecube was still a thing, look no further than Brawlhalla. It’s a side-scrolling, platform brawler that relies on the same knockout mechanic as Super Smash Bros, and sports the exact same shared screen couch co-op that the original friend-smasher did.

Not to say that it’s a ripoff. Certainly not. Brawlhalla is extremely popular on its own merits, with a wide array of champions to choose from and its own, unique 2D aesthetic.

Download Brawlhalla: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Diablo 3

  • Released: May 2012
  • Developer: Blizzard
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Classic Mac OS, Microsoft Windows
  • Price: $19.99

Diablo 3 might’ve come out to an initially mixed reception among longtime Blizzard fans, but the game nonetheless remains at the top of the heat when it comes to badass dungeon crawling for the mainstream gaming audience.

The franchise truly is the gold standard of hack n slash gameplay, and it has numerous offline co-op options, supporting up to four players on a shared screen or LAN/Network link, and even allows you to intermix parties with online/local friends.

Download Diablo 3: Diablo3.com | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Magicka 2

  • Released: May 2015
  • Developer: Pieces Interactive
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS
  • Price: $14.99

Magicka 2 is an extra special dungeon crawler where players are tasked with casting spells using the game’s 10 magical elements in specific sequences. There are no basic attacks — everything is cast in real-time, with each element like an ingredient in a recipe or musical note in a song.

This can make what, in other games, quickly becomes rote combat as complex as it is gratifying and it only gets better with other players. The game supports up to four players with any mixture of online or offline. Be warned: friendly fire is real.

Download Magicka 2: Steam | PS4 | Paradox

Serious Sam 3: BFE

  • Released: November 2011
  • Developer: Croteam
  • Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Linux, Xbox 360, macOS
  • Price: $39.99

Serious Sam 3: BFE is like a bloodthirsty, all-you-can-eat buffet of twisted alien monsters for you to smash, riddled with bullet holes, or friggin’ sledgehammer without any regard for your own personal safety.

The game intentionally shies away from the realistic, cover-oriented combat in games like Gears of War or PUBG and opts for the full-blow one-man army vibe. And is great at it. The game not only supports four-player split-screen, but a whopping sixteen-person LAN party.

Download Serious Sam 3: BFE: Steam | PS4 | Xbox 360

TowerFall Ascension

  • Released: June 2013
  • Developer: Matt Makes Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $14.99

TowerFall Ascension is a 2D, pixelated arena game that sticks four players into a tiny, platformer arena, hands them bows, a limited number of arrows, and tells them to handle their business. This simple, arcade-style gameplay is super addictive, and apart from the deathmatch game mode features a couple of co-op modes — one for duos, and another for up to four players to team up against a litany of hideous bosses.

Download TowerFall Ascension: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Duck Game

  • Released: May 2014
  • Developer: Landon Podbielski
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $12.99

Flamethrowers, pump-action shotguns, mind control rays, saxophones… and ducks. A whole lot of ducks. In Duck Game, players play as homicidal, anthropomorphic, semi-aquatic birds sequestered in a tiny arena with an “irresponsible” number of weapons at their disposal. It gets chaotic pretty quickly.

Anybody looking for addictive, arcade-style deathmatches with the humorous, sardonic tone only Adult Swim can provide should look no further than Duck Game. It supports up to four players with split-screen co-op and even features a nifty replay feature that shows highlights of the match once everything is said and done.

Download Duck Game: Steam | PS4 | Switch

Castle Crashers

  • Released: August 2008
  • Developer: The Behemoth
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS
  • Price: $14.99

Don’t be fooled by the release date. The latest iteration of Castle Crashers is a recreation of the original flash game from way back in the day that features some of the best 2D hack and slash action anywhere on the internet. Players can join up to three friends to traverse a kingdom beset by hordes of unique monsters and take part in sick boss battles on the way to saving the princess.

The game has tons and tons of content in the way of characters, weapons, builds, and playstyles and its fast-paced nature lends itself perfectly to the sort of local multiplayer that hearkens back to the golden days of couch co-op.

Download Castle Crashers: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Portal 2

  • Released: April 2011
  • Developer: Valve
  • Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Price: $9.99

Download Portal 2: Steam | PS3 | Xbox 360

Portal 2 is… Portal 2. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re doing yourself a terrible disservice. With a star-studded voice cast and some of the most memorable non-human characters ever created, Portal 2 is still considered one of the greatest games of all time. Players must do their best to traverse the challenging test chambers of the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using their trusty wormhole opening portal gun.

One of the best parts of Portal 2, however, is the two-player split-screen co-op that not only lets your friend mooch off of your ancient copy of Portal 2, but “accidentally” open up portals underneath their feet to send them into the endless void for no objective reason.

Jackbox Party Pack 6

  • Released: October 2019
  • Developer: Jackbox Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
  • Price: $29.99

If you’re looking for offline fun with actual, tangible in-person people friends, the Jackbox Party Pack series is a great place to start. Each pack contains a handful of hilarious party games ranging from the semi-familiar to the downright bizarre, and are guaranteed fun for up to ten friends.

The latest release, Jackbox Party Pack 6, comes with five new mini-games for players to joke around with and have a ton of fun completely offline — or for you to play streaming with your friends at a distance. Probably go with the latter, for now.

Download Jackbox Party Pack 6: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

A Way Out

  • Released: March 2018
  • Developer: Hazelight
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • Price: $29.99

Unlike some of the more casual games on this list, A Way Out is a narrative-heavy, emotionally impactful game built from the ground up with co-op in mind. Indeed, to even play the entirety of the campaign, you quite literally need another player for the game itself is centered on the intertwined lives of the main characters and their quest to escape prison and navigate life beyond.

The game has a divisive ending that’s worth playing just to get to and see for yourself, and only requires one copy of the game to play through. Highly, highly recommended for any duo in it for the long-haul.

Download A Way Out: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One

Cuphead

  • Released: September 207
  • Developer: Studio MDHR
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $19.99

Cuphead is an animator’s delight. It looks and feels exactly like the cartoons your grandparents would’ve grown up watching, and that’s because it essentially is one. All of the art, sound, and animation was done using traditional pen and paper techniques from the 1930s, mixed into modern game development to create something spectacularly original.

Cuphead is an incredibly challenging, platformer bullet-hell that has some of the craziest boss battles on the market and we highly, highly recommend it for singleplayer co-ops

Download Cuphead: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime

  • Released: September 2015
  • Developer: Asteroid Base
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4
  • Price: $14.99

Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime is a beautiful, creative ode to space invaders-esque gamers that has up to four players doing their best to stave off a relentless alien horde. Teamwork is the name of the game as players dart about their spaceship, working turrets and shields, making repairs, and operating thrusters in order to keep the vessel intact and with it, their bodies.

The game is frantic, heart-pounding fun that can have everyone cheering, high-fiving in joy as easily as it can them wagging accusatory fingers.

Download Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One

Rocket League

  • Released: July 2015
  • Developer: Psyonix, Panic Button Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $19.99

Something like Demolition Derby meets Fifa (that’s not a typo), Rocket League is high octane insanity for up to four players. The game follows the same mechanics of your Madden or your Fifa — you’ve got a goal, you’ve got a ball, and it’s your job to get said ball into your enemy’s goal and away from yours.

Except this ball is the size of an ice cream truck and you are inside a very dangerous car with an exceptionally dangerous booster rig. The game takes everything you just read and inserts it into a detailed physics engine for some of the most awesome, explosive fun you can play offline and can host up to four-player split-screen.

Download Rocket League: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Minecraft (Xbox, Playstation, Switch)

  • Released: May 2009
  • Developer: Mojang
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
  • Price: $19.99

Minecraft is Minecraft. We probably don’t have to refresh your memory on the voxel-based survivalcraft that you might have already sunk a few thousand hours into yourself. That said, you might’ve gone every one of those hours without realizing that the console versions of Minecraft actually support four-player split-screen, provided you have the controllers.

So if you want to skimp out on that Minecraft Realms subscription and your equally cheap friends don’t want to shell out for a copy of Bedrock, just bring ’em over (when we can do that again) and plug the controllers in. The game will do the rest.

Download Minecraft: PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Overcooked 2

  • Released: August 2018
  • Developer: Team 17, Ghost Town Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $24.99

Overcooked and Overcooked 2 are the kind of games that, on paper, you might not think much of. What? I’m gonna play a cooking game when we’ve got games like Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed, God of War, etc? No way. But once you’ve gotten a taste of the games’ frantic, zany and high-pressure gameplay, it’s hard to put it down.

Seriously, there’s a reason the game sits at the top of the charts on Steam. It’s awesomeness well-done, and the experience is optimal when you have a couple of chefs alongside you to sweat in the kitchen — in this case, to save the world from zombie bread. Yes, yes: The Unbread.

Download Overcooked 2: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Hellpoint

  • Released: July 2020
  • Developer: Cradle Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (upcoming)
  • Price: $34.99

Hellpoint is a sci-fi soulsborne game that boasts the genre’s hallmark level design, realistic real-time combat, and exceptional artwork and mixes with a lesser-seen sci-fi setting. The game takes place on a space station overrun by hellish creatures, where you, creation of The Author, have been sent to unravel the mystery of their origin.

One of the coolest features of the game besides its litany of weapons and an insane amount of secret and hidden content is the event timer mechanic; the station is constantly revolving around a black hole, regularly triggering random, dynamic events that keep the game interesting and novel while roving the interconnected levels. The game supports two-player, drop-in and drop-out co-op both online and offline.

Download Hellpoint: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

  • Released: March 2015
  • Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One
  • Price: $59.80

Borderlands is one of the most iconic looter-shooters of all time, firmly cementing the open-world FPS RPG as a viable genre of its own and spawning a lineup of consistently beloved titles and spin-offs.

The Handsome Collection gives you both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with all of the DLC that ever came with the game at a staggering discount, letting you sink your teeth into hundreds of hours of solid gameplay that is only improved by the split-screen two-player co-op or up to four players online.

Download Borderlands: The Handsome Collection: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch

Totally Reliable Delivery Service

  • Released: April 2020
  • Developer: We’re Five Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
  • Price: $14.99

Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a wacky, totally sarcastic sandbox game with ragdoll physics as likely to make you laugh as wince. The object of the game is simply: deliver a package to the target destination. Getting said package to the location in the ragdoll world of bizarre machinery and unexpected surprises is anything but.

The gameplay is kooky and success is only an occasional side effect of the spectacular hijinks always likely to ensue. Up to four players can join in on the ridiculous fun via four-player split-screen or online co-op, with a PC version currently in beta on Steam.

Download Totally Reliable Delivery Service – Beta: Steam

Download Totally Reliable Delivery Service: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | iOS | Android

Moon Hunters

  • Released: March 2016
  • Developer: Kitfox Games
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Price: $14.99

A consequential, open-world RPG with a branching narrative, Moon Hunters is the game for a couch co-op all-nighter. The game has all the staples of your top-down, low poly RPG in way of real-time combat, distinct playstyles, and a deep class system, but takes it one step further with heavily important decision-making.

As you progress, your character accrues a reputation that impacts their relationship with NPCS and how they are eventually remembered. The kick? Each playthrough is one hour, and the world’s randomly generated.

This means you and up to three friends can go through multiple life cycles of several heroes in a single night, sometimes resurrecting your fallen legends to try them against the new worlds. It’s a deeply engrossing and utterly addictive game that provides for stupendous local multiplayer.

Download Moon Hunters: Steam

Human: Fall Flat

  • Released: July 2016
  • Developer: No Brakes Games
  • Platform: WIndows, macOS, Linux,PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
  • Price: $14.99

Human: Fall Flat is a beloved 3D platformer game with an incredibly active community and a regular stream of new, free content from the developers. The structure of the game is like any other platformer: just reach the end!

But with multiple routes, an unwieldy physics system, and up to 8 players bobbing around at once, doing so is easier said than done. Luckily, the game supports both two-player split-screen and 8-player online play, so you’re never alone.

Download Human: Fall Flat: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One | Switch | iOS | Android

Outward

  • Released: March 2019
  • Developer: Nine Dots Studio
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • Price: $39.99

Outward is an open-world survivalcraft mixed with a medieval fantasy RPG and a mixture of random mythology that does its very best to challenge players and subvert expectations of the genre. Combat is almost always the last answer, considering the numerous risks it poses. Aside from the imminent threat of, well, being murdered, players must also contend with infection, curses, and bleeding while juggling basic survival necessities like thirst and hunger.

The game uses rogue-like permadeath and continuous auto-save to ensure you pay for the consequences of every, single action. It is a game that not only supports split-screen co-op, but seriously encourages it. Outward is extremely difficult and having a partner to share the burden with massively enhances the experience.

Download Outward: Steam | PS4 | Xbox One


What’s your favorite couch co-op game? Let us know. We want to remember what it was like to… you know, go to a friend’s house. Because we totally have friends. Honest, we do. Sigh.