The best co-op games are the ones that you'll absolutely have to experience with friends and family. We've hand-picked the games on this list based on the quality of the co-op experience on offer, to ensure that you can skip that part where you argue over what's worth downloading or try three or four terrible games before finding a winner.
Oh, and if you need a spare pad, check out our guide on how to buy an extra PS4 controller cheap or Xbox One controller cheap. And, if you're feeling frugal there's always the best free PS4 games help spread the cost.
Check out our video for the best co-op games below:
30. Rainbow Six Siege
Co-op style: Online
Rainbow Six Siege is known for its tense, tactical PvP fights, but its co-op Terrorist Hunt mode, a staple of the series, is deserving of an evening or two of your time. Just like in previous instalments, your job is to clear your chosen level of terrorists as quickly as you can. Don’t expect to go in all guns blazing: you’ll have to clear traps, use your abilities and coordinate timings with up to four squadmates if you want to down all your foes.
Our advice is to dial up the difficulty as high as you can bear it. The greater the challenge, the more you’ll have to rely on teamwork, and this mode is at its best when you’re forced to create detailed plans and execute them flawlessly. Round by round, you’ll feel yourself improving, until eventually, you’re able to sweep through a map like a real-life SWAT team.
Play it on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X
29. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Co-op type: Local
Unless you've invested in a VR headset, you probably haven't even heard of this one. However, it's a uniquely brilliant take on co-op play, and demands your attention. One person wears the VR headset, while a number of other people sit - in the real world - and look at a booklet of bomb-defusal documents.
The person inside the VR headset sees a briefcase with a bomb in it, and various devices to disarm, which he/she describes to the people in the real world. The idea is to use the bomb disposal docs to defuse the device by... actually talking to each other and cooperating. It's all set to a time limit to add tension, and bombs get increasingly tricky to dismantle as you play. It's brilliant fun, and a perfect party game.
Plus, it's now on Switch, so one of you will have the console in your hands, the other the instruction manual. It's a great piece of teamwork, and a word of warning, may ruin families.
Play it on: PC, PS4, PS VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
28. Don't Starve Together
Co-op type: Local and online
The threat of permadeath is somehow softened when it’s shared. I mean, you’ll all still die but at least there’s comfort, and blame, when you’re playing co-op. Don’t Starve’s resource gathering, base-building challenge was already great fun, but it’s even more so with a friend. Especially as you can split the workload and responsibilities as you tend to your home or farm, and explore the world to find more of whatever you need to make it through another day.
Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X, PS5
27. Far Cry 5
Co-op type: Online
You might want to call your dad. You're in a cult. Or, at least fighting one. As you explore the violent-rocked landscape of Montana in Far Cry 5 , it might be safest to rope in a friend. With drug-fuelled cultists ready to kill you with a baseball bat, others setting anyone who doesn't believe on fire and eating them, or even just willing die for Eden's Gate leader Joseph Seed, turns out this place is a dangerous one.
Fight bears, fly planes, soar across the treetops in a wingsuit... whatever you do is only better - and safer - with a friend in toe. And what fun you'll have.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
26. Deep Rock Galactic
Co-op style: Online
Think Left 4 Dead with space dwarves and you won’t be far off. Deep Rock Galactic is a team-based shooter where you and up to three stout friends rocket into a procedurally-generated planet in search of minerals. To find what you want, you’ll each have to use your class-specific abilities, slinging grappling hooks, creating platforms, lighting up dark caves and blowing holes in the scenery to create new paths. Every so often, a swarm of alien spiders will jump on you, and you’ll be forced back to back, pulling your trigger for dear life. Its varied, colourful environs never seem to repeat, and when the lights dim and smoke rises, it’s properly atmospheric.
Play it on: PC, Xbox One
Co-op type: Online
Tens of millions of people play Warframe so it must be doing something right. It’s an online four player co-op shooter where you explore and fight your way through space in ultra futuristic suits, gaining powers, abilities and new weapons along the way. That’s basically the main draw here - battle things to get more gear to battle more things. Like the Destinys and Monster Hunters of the world this is all about chasing better shotguns and space boots.
Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
24. Human Fall Flat
Co-op style: Online or Local
There’s more depth to Human: Fall Flat than you might suspect by glancing at its goofy physics and non-descript characters. Yes, its deliberately complicated controls make for lots of wacky fails, and trying to do something as simple as climb up a wall makes you look like a flopping fish out of water. But there’s some serious puzzling here, and you’ll need a fair amount of brainpower and coordination, not to mention luck, to pull off the toughest tasks.
The muted visuals belie the variety of the challenges ahead: you’ll pull the levers of a crane to send a wrecking ball through a wall, pilot a giant freighter ship into port, and switch conveyor belts on and off to move blocks around in a power plant. While the singleplayer can be frustrating at times, having a friend makes everything funnier. A missed jump (and don’t worry, they’ll be plenty), is cause for celebration rather than despair. When playing solo, hanging on for dear life while failing to reach a ledge is frustrating – in co-op, your partner can reach down, grab you by the head and fling you over their shoulder. Job done.
Play it on: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
23. We Were Here
Co-op style: Online and local
The We Were Here trilogy is all about clear communication. Two adventurers are split up and put through a series of escape rooms. While one person tries to solve the puzzle, the other feeds them clues from their own room. By describing your environment and observing how it changes, you’ll be able to puzzle your way out together, often by matching symbols between rooms (which is harder than it sounds when you’re trying to describe a bunch of squiggly lines that all look the same).
The first game is the shortest, but it’s also completely free, so it’s where you should start. Here, one player takes the role of explorer while another is a librarian. The librarian is the one with all the clues, but in We Were Here Too and We Were Here Together, the roles are more equally split.
Play it now: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS5
22. Payday 2
Co-op type: Online
Sometimes you just feel like robbing a bank. Payday 2 might only do one thing but it does it well as you and four friends case joints, play with alarms, and try to rob a bank as much as possible before the police get involved. It’s a much more focused experience than some co-op games but that clear direction makes for some some great tension as you rely on your friends to stick to the plan and not shoot the first customer that looks at them funny.
Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
21. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Co-op type: Local
If you fancy something a little lighter, that you can take your time with, then Mario XCOM’s turn-based battles are perfect for an afternoon of strategising with a friend. If you’ve not played it before then don’t be fooled by the happy plumber and the fat rabbits in costume. This is a challenge that starts off simple and slowly ramps up to seriously involving multistage battles and boss fights. Before long you’ll be pacing the floor to discuss tactics and planing your attack before grabbing the Joy-Cons and (hopefully) making the winning move.
Play it on: Switch
Turn to page 2 for more of our best co-op games...