Best Local Co-op Games Released in 2018 (So Far)

Grab a friend, a controller, and a couch: We've rounded up some of the best local / couch co-op games released so far in 2018!

Remember when "playing a game together" meant plopping down on a couch together, grabbing some controllers, and just having fun? In the same room? Crazy, right?

Believe it or not, local co-op is still very much a thing, much to this writer's delight. And 2018 has some excellent couch co-op offerings, with promises of more as the year continues.

We've rounded up the best local co-op games, which you'll find below, loosely organized from "most awesome" to "not as awesome, but still worth playing." Below each game, you'll find the platforms it's available for.

Now, grab a friend, buy an extra controller (and a couch), and enjoy!

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Lego the Incredibles

Developed by: TT Fusion
Published by: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Play through the events of the two The Incredibles movies (in backward order) in this sandbox LEGO game and help the Parr family save the town from odd and quirky villains.

True to its name, the game is full of LEGO fun like building, puzzles, tons of subquests and collectibles, and some awesome action scenes. Fans of the Incredibles franchise will also not be disappointed, as the game includes over 100 characters from both the Incredibles series and other Disney Pixar films.

This game is best played with a younger co-op partner, as it's intended to be family-friendly and is as such a little too simple for a seasoned gamer.

You can read our review here.

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A Way Out

Developed by: Hazelight Studios
Published by: EA
Available for: PC, PS4, Xbox One

From the makers of A Tale of Two Sons comes this cooperative game that is specifically meant to be played by two people. Players each control Leo or Vincent as you work together to break out of prison and continue on beyond in a 1970s world. As is to be expected, the storytelling and teamwork are the focus and the game quickly becomes an emotional ride.

The game's strengths are in its freedom of choice, as each character has different personality quirks which allow players to choose different methods to resolve puzzles and continue the story. Players are also tasked with working together, taking on different roles to get a task done, and sometimes the game even pits the two against each other in friendly competitions.

A game that forces you to play together with someone may seem like a gimmick, but Hazelight Studios makes it work — and it's sure to leave local co-op fans happy from getting this game specifically made for them.

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The Swords of Ditto

Developed by: onebitbeyond
Published by: Devolver Digital
Available for: PC, PS4

Awaken, heroes, and heed the call of the magical dung beetle. The evil witch Mormo has brought a curse on the land of Ditto and it's up to a ragtag group of kids to become the Swords of Ditto and stop her once and for all.

Full of charm and eccentricities, this game hides some surprising complexities. It's technically a rogue-lite: if all players die, it's game over for good and you have to start again, with the map shuffled. You might look like kids (or robots, or frogs, or any number of things ) but documents you uncover reveal a depth to the world you might not expect from the happy-go-lucky exterior.

Use weapons, ridiculous toys (literally called that) and the help of a mystical space whale to hack and slash through this fun game, which features the only kazoo-centric soundtrack we've ever known.

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Pit People

Developed by: The Behemoth
Published by: The Behemoth
Available for: PC, Xbox One

This turn-based adventure game pits teams of heroes against teams of baddies in the never-ending quest for loot and survival. Each player controls a group of up to five fighters, put together from a selection of ragtag good guys and strange creatures.

Fights and questing are truly cooperative and take place on the same map, allowing each player to upgrade their own team individually then work together as support or fellow fighters. A unique and very quirky world acts as a backdrop for the action, full of robots, vampires, and cupcake people. In other words, not your usual group of bad guys!

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Tesla vs. Lovecraft

Developed by: 10tons Ltd.
Published by: 10tons Ltd.
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Can Tesla save the world from invading Eldtitch horrors? Grab a friend, hop into a mech, and fight against Lovecraftian monsters in this top-down twin-stick shooter. Created by the developers behind Crimsonland and Neon Chrome, this intense game is the perfect mix of beloved characters, real and imagined.

Fight together against creatures from the Lovecraft universe, like Shaggoth and Spawns of Dagon. But don't worry — Tesla has his own goodies for fighting back, like quantum teleportation and a death ray gun (of course).

Expect nonstop action, ridiculous scenarios, and lots of chaotic fun.

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The Escapists 2

Developed by: Team 17 Digital Limited, Mouldy Toof Studios
Published by: Team 17 Digital Limited
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Take prison break to the extreme with up to four-player split-screen (except in the Switch, which only has up to two). This sequel has all the fun of the first game and more: follow routines while garnering favors, hiding away illicit goodies, and plotting your escape.

The game is bigger and better, featuring bigger prisons to escape from, more hidden passageways to help in your prison break, and several new locations. And now, you can work together to pull off more exciting escapes — or play in versus mode and compete to see who can break out first.

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Trailblazers

Developed by: Supergonk
Published by: Rising Star Games
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch

Paint the town! Or just the track, at least. Trailblazers is a cooperative racing game where players work together to get their color painted on as much of the track to get a boost to the finish line.

Choose from eight racers, each with its own strengths and specific power-ups. Four players team up to splash paint all over the 10 different tracks in three worlds. A pumping soundtrack and some pretty awesome visuals make this a fun, fast-paced party game.

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I Hate Running Backwards

Developed by: Croteam, Binx Interactive
Published by: Devolver Digital
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Here's a string of words for you: Shmup, rogue-lite, endless runner. This game is all that, and more. Grab one of many weapons and shoot at oncoming enemies as you run ahead of them. Destroy monsters, destroy the environment, destroy the very concept of time itself!

It's as fun as it ridiculous, and allows players to choose from a range of previous Devolver games, including Serious Sam, Rambro, the Bullet from Enter the Gungeon, and more.

Whatever your views on running backwards are, this is a can't-miss couch co-op game. Sure, you can play this ridiculousness alone, but it's so much fun with a friend!  

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Just Shapes and Beats

Developed by: Berzerk Studio
Published by: Berzerk Studio
Available for: PC, Switch

Team up with up to three other players for a musical bullet-hell experience. Dodge shapes to the beat, enjoy the music, and see how long you can survive in this ridiculously chaotic game.

The soundtrack boasts an impressive 35 music tracks from 20 chiptune artists, combined with hand-made super-challenging levels and brutal boss battles.

However you enjoy this one, be ready for a challenge! 

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Pixeljunk Monsters 2

Developed by: Q-Games
Published by: Spike Chunsoft
Available for: PC, PS4, Switch

It's been 10 long years, but Pixeljunk Monsters is back with another installment of real-time tower-defense gameplay that's every bit as engaging as the original. The updates visuals are a real treat to look at, featuring charming claymation animation.

Existing fans beware: The game received some mixed reviews from those who loved the first game, as some design choices (zoomed-in camera angle, shared coins, inability for players to be too far apart) detract from its enjoyment.

Still, drop-in single-screen local co-op makes this a good buy if you and a friend want to play a cooperative tower-defense game together.

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Carly and the Reaperman: Escape from the Underworld

Developed by: Odd Raven Studios
Published by: Odd Raven Studios
Available for: PC. Supports HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows VR headsets via SteamVR

Carly and the Reaperman is a two-player VR game in which players work together to build, platform, and puzzle their way out of the underworld.

You read that right: A local co-op VR game! One player wears the VR headset and controls the Reaperman while the other controls Carly on the main display.

By all accounts, this game plays like a co-op version of recent favorite Moss, and it's definitely a unique cooperative experience worth a try if you have a VR headset hooked up to Steam.

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Black Paradox

Developed by: Fantastico Studio
Published by: Fantastico Studio
Available for: PC, coming to Switch later this year

Try not to die in this 80s-inspired bullet-hell Shmup rogue-lite with a Synthwave soundtrack and plenty of weapons and enemies to keep you fighting for your life. Local co-op supports two players (though imagine the fun and chaos with more!).

The game is still in Early Access at the moment but it's already receiving rave reviews from players who praise its good balance, challenging gameplay, and just overall fun experience.

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Fhtagn - Tales of the Creeping Madness

Developed by: Design Imps
Published by: Design Imps
Available for: PC

Like your Lovecraftian lore with a touch of humor? This four-player local co-op minigame might be perfect for you. Work together to summon the dark lord, or secretly conspire against your friends and betray them.

The game uses a great style to present dark humor, and H.P. Lovecraft fans will surely get a kick out of it.

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39 Days to Mars

Developed by: It's Anecdotal
Published by: It's Anecdotal
Available for: PC

It's the 19th century, and Sir Albert Wickes and The Right Honourable Clarence Baxter and their trusty HMS Fearful embark on a journey the likes of which has never been tried before: to Mars! They have 39 days to make it there, and the journey is fraught with obstacles both from outside… and within.

A whimsical Victorian tale with a wonderful piano soundtrack, "39 Days to Mars" was created with local co-op in mind. Players control the two characters and work together to solve puzzles and get the pair closer to their destination, in this fairly short (but highly replayable) choose-your-own-adventure style game.

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Scribblenauts Showdown

Developed by: Shiver Entertainment
Published by: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Available for: PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Everyone's favorite word-comes-to-life game has turned into a party game, turning wordplay into a fun showdown between friends. The game has abandoned its former playstyle in favor of a board-game like structure. Players are dealt cards, which are used to trigger minigames and progress around a play board.

Of course, the word-based play is still intact (after all, it wouldn't be a Scribblenauts game without it), with mini-games challenging players to come up with words that fit categories or that follow certain rules.

The game's simplicity might make it less appealing for gamers, as the 27 minigames get tired fast. However, it's a fun game for the younger gamers in your life, and makes a great way to have fun together and encourage some outside-the-box creative thinking. Family game night, anyone?

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Don't Bite Me Bro!

Developed by: MUIFWEGO
Available for: PC, PS4

Defeat zombies, build a shelter, and recruit fellow survivors to help you fight off ever-growing hordes of zombies. This single-screen couch co-op game is part tower defense, part exploration, part hack n slash. It's a bit glitchy in places and is not a very long game, but it's definitely fun to pick up with a friend and play through in a sitting or two.

Released for PC last year, the fun little game has made its way to the PS4 this year. Best of all, Don't Bite Me Bro is only $0.99 on Steam (free if you get it from the dev's itch.io's page) and completely free for PS4. Grab it today for some quick fun!

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Eat All the Things

Developed by: Eat All the Games
Published by: Eat All the Games
Available for: PC, Switch

This simple but adorable Kickstarted 3D-platformer mixes stealth with good old-school platforming. Play with a friend and enjoy mini-games, puzzles, and collectibles, and try to beat the clock!

 

The year is still young, and we're expecting some more awesome local co-op games to come out before the year ends. We'll update this article as more couch co-op games are released, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for all the latest!

Published Aug. 7th 2018

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