2016 has been an absolutely amazing year for indie games on the PlayStation 4. The list of indies that have made their way to the console this year alone is a long one, and anyone looking for easily accessible couch co-op these days need look no further than the PlayStation Store's indie section.
From high-tension pseudo-shoot 'em ups and roguelites to survival and platformers, the PlayStation 4's got some good variety in the co-op department that makes it easy to sit down for a few hours with a friend or loved one and just gnaw on the ol' gaming bone.
This list will touch on six of the console's most gripping co-op indie games that are a lot harder on your fingers than they are on your wallet. They may be ports from the PC or other platforms, but they're well-worth your money on PS4 if you specifically are looking for games to play with other people in real life, the old-fashioned and superior way.
The only strictly "party" game on the list, Overcooked has gotten a fair amount of attention since its release on both consoles and PC in August for its unique premise and frantic cooking gameplay.
Up to four local players must cooperate to run a kitchen within a time limit, and let me tell you, cooperation is hard when you have to manually do every task from grabbing and chopping ingredients, putting together food orders, serving them and washing the dishes -- and that's not even going into the variety of stages that test your personal and team coordination and timing.
Overcooked is by far the most stressful game on this list, but it is also the most full-on party gaming experience. You won't laugh as you play, but you will cry, scream and wonder why your fellow players can't just get on the efficiency ball. Should you and your fellow players be able to cooperate and coordinate properly, you'll run like a well-oiled machine all the way to the "this is immensely satisfying" bank.
You can pick this baby up for $16.99 on the PlayStation Store when it's at its standard price, and there are two other editions with some extra content for the true gaming gourmet.
Enter the Gungeon
Another popular indie title this year, Enter the Gungeon is a far cry from the four-player frantic struggle of Overcooked but not all that far off from the other games on this list.
Enter the Gungeon allows up to two local players to cooperate as they shoot and dodge-roll their way through the perilous Gungeon, a dungeon both made of and filled with guns of unimaginable types. Well, unimaginable as a player. The devs certainly thought of them. But anyway ...
Despite its labeling as a bullet hell, the game is much more accessible than actual shoot'em ups and hardcore bullet hells. Bullet speed is generally on the slower side, and enemies have patterns for you and your gameplay partner to learn and eventually overcome completely. It may seem impossible the first couple hours, but in time you'll be a dodging and shooting machine.
Enter the Gungeon's crazy tight gameplay is paired with a whole buffet of charm, from the enemies and music down to the gun and equipment descriptions. You'll stay alive longer in this than you will in the similar Nuclear Throne, and pushing to new depths and unlocking new guns is extremely satisfying.
This bad boy can be picked up on the PlayStation Store for a mere $14.99 at regular price, and it makes for an excellent entry point into this intimidating genre.
The Bug Butcher
This one may be a hard sell if you're not inclined toward shoot'em ups, but between The Bug Butcher's manageable difficulty, bangin' soundtrack and satisfying pew-pewing, it's really difficult not to recommend this game to someone looking for a quick pick up and play co-op game on PS4.
The Bug Butcher is a vertical shoot'em up... kind of. While you certainly shoot upward and clear out waves of enemies while dodging their attacks and bouncing bodies, it's a different sort of animal from what one traditionally expects from the genre. And that animal is good.
The game allows up to two local players to cooperate and shoot their way through countless enemies as the clock ticks down. You can stave off the timer and stave off your enemies, but if one of you has died enough and can't be resurrected by the other play fast enough, it's game over.
The Bug Butcher is great to play with other people in short bursts. You pick it up, push as far as you can until one of you dies for good, and either go at it again on the same or different map or put it down. It's very easy to play a (hopefully not too) quick round and accidentally turn that into five or more in a casual play sitting.
The game's singleplayer Mission mode has progression, but multiplayer Panic mode is where it's at for quick and totally fun gameplay sessions with a friend.
Unlike the other games on the list, no one has paid much attention to The Bug Butcher, despite it being both fun and affordable. If a more arcade-style co-op game sounds down your alley, you may want to grab this up on the PlayStation Store for its standard price of $9.99.
Risk of Rain
I'm going to recommend this game any chance I get and there's nothing GameSkinny can do to stop me.
Risk of Rain is one of the better-known indies on PC due to all the media coverage when it came out in 2013 -- and it's still one of the best. It's pretty much just as good on PlayStation 4 as it is on PC, and is probably the second least forgiving game on this list.
Boy, is it worth it.
The game launched on PS4 in 2016, complete with the whole PC experience, as well as online matchmaking. But the focus here is local co-op, and it's got that, too. Up to two local players can play locally on console.
Risk of Rain is a frantic action platformer that is absolutely brutal, and even (especially?) when playing with another person in local co-op on console, it becomes an even more trying effort as you must portion out items and share the same screen.
This game takes dozens of hours to get good at, and there are a good number of unlocks, but even the best player can get murdered in a split second with a misplay. It takes both skill and luck to push forward, and a run can either be a few minutes or well over an hour, depending on both factors.
Risk of Rain can be grabbed up on the PlayStation Store for a paltry $9.99, which is a tiny sum considering how easy it is to rack up hours both solo and in multiplayer.
Super Mutant Alien Assault
So many games on this list are going to kill you a million times, what am I even thinking? I'm thinking, "Dealing with a bunch of bull with friends is way better than on your own," and that's very much the case with Super Mutant Alien Assault.
An arcade-style meatgrinder roguelite that allows for up to two local players, Super Mutant Alien Assault's gameplay is just as blood-pumping as its music. Each stage you push through is a trial thanks to the random weaponry you're given and the variety of goals the game may throw your way, and it's absolutely packed to the brim with unlocks.
Some may overlook this game because of its generic title, but it's definitely up there among the best local co-op roguelites on the PlayStation 4. A run generally won't last as long as one would in the previously listed Enter the Gungeon or Risk of Rain. The ship's radiation mutating your enemies should they be alive too long will make sure of that.
It's fast, it's fun and it's only $9.99 at its standard price on the PlayStation Store. There isn't much else to say -- in this case, if this game looks like a good time to you, it definitely will be.
Don't Starve Together
Is this one of the biggest indies on PC? Yeah, probably. Is it also one of the biggest indies on PlayStation 4? Also probable!
Don't Starve Together is a survival adventure, where up to two local players can ruin each other's good time while trying to stick it out in the unforgiving wilderness. You both must stay alive and try your best to retain your sanity and health, and of course not starve.
There is so much to this game that there is not enough room for me to even begin here. This is a very different game from the rest mentioned in this list, and it's packed with so many hours of content its $14.99 PlayStation Store price tag is a total steal if you and your local bud(s) get addicted just like so many have on PC.
There are many secrets in Don't Starve Together, but it's going to take dying over a dozen times to even begin to scratch the surface. With another player in co-op you have to share food and other resources, making this a true cooperative local co-op game... provided the person you're playing with isn't being a jerk.
Don't Starve Together is flexible and allows for long play sessions should you get lucky -- just don't get mauled, don't go insane, don't freeze to death, don't starve, and don't let your co-op partner hoard resources.
As mentioned at the start of this article, 2016 has been a fantastic year for indies on the PlayStation 4. Both single and multiplayer indie games are more abundant than ever and 2017 is bound to be even better -- but if not, at least there are plenty of amazing couch co-op run-offs from 2015 and 2016 to sink your teeth into on the console.