If you've got friends and family coming over, you'll need to figure out what the best local multiplayer Switch games are. While many games on the platform support multiplayer, not all will let you share a joy-con to play in the same room.
From some of the best Switch exclusives like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to some hidden gems that are an absolute riot, below you'll find our pick of the best local multiplayer Switch games no matter your preferred genre or number of players. There's something for everyone here, so be sure to check the full selection. And if you're after something you can take online when everybody goes home, be sure to look at our list of the best multiplayer Switch games.
The library of local co-op titles is always growing with upcoming Switch games releasing all the time, so be sure to keep checking back in to see if there's something new for you and your pals to enjoy.
15. Moving Out
Here's a game that will put your relationships to the test. Moving Out tasks you and up to three friends with operating a moving truck. Sounds simple enough, no? Well, it actually is pretty straightforward, but the catch is that you're scored based on how fast you can clear everything out. Big items like sofas require two players to move, while sheep will need to be herded into the truck.
There are also plenty of obstacles in between the items and the truck, and inevitably disagreements about how to proceed and blaming-throwing. Basically, it would take a miraculously agreeable group to avoid a calamitous end result full of running, throwing, and slapping your way to the finish line. Couch co-op in the most literal sense, Moving Out will bend your friendships to their breaking points, and then charm you with its lighthearted wit and leave you laughing off your frustrations in exhausted satisfaction.
RELATED: Moving Out review: "An exciting and genuinely funny co-op experience"
14. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Given that Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is, similar to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a branded musou title it should likely come as no surprise that it features a couple dozen characters from Fire Emblem: Three Houses plus a couple extras. It follows an entirely distinct plot, however, with the all-new protagonist and mercenary Shez at the helm.
While the bits in between missions are for a single player only, after a couple of chapters of playing on your lonesome a second player can actually hop into the battlefields to mow down the opponents of your chosen faction alongside you. There are plenty of different characters to choose from, and each of them have unique abilities in addition to those granted by specific classes. It's easy to get lost in just how much there is to do – and how many enemies there are to slay.
RELATED: Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review – "A solid new venture for the Fire Emblem series at large"
13. Diablo 3
Hacking through hordes of demons and gradually progressing with new skills and gear (read: grinding) in Diablo 3 is one of the best multiplayer games, and it's even better with a friend. Plus, the experience translates beautifully to the mobile Switch, ideally paired with a Pro controller. Here's one you can almost mindlessly grind through while having a conversation with some music on in the background, although it can also demand your attention during tough boss fights.
12. Super Mario Maker 2
The follow-up to the excellent Super Mario Maker is an absolute riot with friends. There's something mutually satisfying about playing a course your friend painstakingly labored over, falling for their traps, and eventually triumphing while they proudly examine your every move and associated facial expression. If you have sadistic friends, Super Mario Maker 2 can be a uniquely entertaining multiplayer experience when you're playing through their stages, simultaneously enraged by the ruthlessness of their level design and astonished by their ingenuity. Of course, the more traditional multiplayer option is to play through and create levels together, which is also great fun, but there's a special attraction to the back-and-forth torture of swapping stages with friends.
RELATED: Super Mario Maker 2 review: "The complete package of play, create and discover"
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
Do you have any fond memories of playing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game with mates but can't quite remember the name? The good news is that it's almost certainly included in the compilation title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, which has 13 different classic TMNT video games and 9 that allow for local co-op of at least two players.
There's something to be said for quantity over quality here. Not all of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games hold up all these years later, though they are certainly fascinating for their time. The fact that 9 can be played with co-op players locally on the Nintendo Switch goes a long way given that the majority of them could safely be described as "pretty OK, actually," which makes the whole package an easy recommendation.
10. Overcooked 2
Overcooked 2 is the most hectic, chaotic multiplayer game I've ever played. I repeat: do not turn to Overcooked 2 if you're looking for a cool, collected cooperative experience. You and a teammate are put backstage at a busy restaurant, tasked with dishing out as many dishes as possible in order to save the Onion Kingdom from The Undead or something. Forget the story, Overcooked 2 is all about screaming over your teammate as you frantically assemble dishes against a fast-tracking clock. There's a competitive and single-player mode, but trust me when I say Overcooked 2 truly shines as a breathless co-op experience.
RELATED: Overcooked 2 review: "Mad, manic and utterly hilarious"
Cuphead is a notoriously difficult platformer, whether in single-player or co-op mode. For that reason, it's better with a partner so that you have someone to restrain you from chucking your controller at the screen. For reals though, Cuphead is an extremely challenging game, but it's also one of the best platformers on the Switch and elsewhere. Just don't go thinking you've found an easy mode in recruiting an ally - Cuphead's bosses are twice as tough in co-op mode, and the chaos can be a little overwhelming. This is one to play if you're looking for a creative, charming, genuinely challenging experience to tackle with an equally determined friend.
RELATED: Cuphead review: "Stands tall among the best 2D shooters of all time"
Snipperclips is an exceedingly inventive and engaging multiplayer experience on Switch, and like many of the titles on this list, you can switch between competitive and co-op modes. Working together, you take control of pastel-colored shapes and snip clippings off each other to make new shapes needed to fit into spaces and solve puzzles. Solving these puzzles is engaging as hell and is guaranteed to prompt enthusiastic high-fives between teammates. Party mode is basically a four-player version with more intricate puzzles and solutions, while Blitz mode is a competitive mode that's decidedly more hectic than the co-op modes. Snipperclips is a great co-op experience with a refreshing, if not so deep, competitive mode.
7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If your ideal couch co-op experience is of the relaxed, non-competitive flavor, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is for you. Here you can visit each others' islands, pick fruit you might not have on your own island (with your friend's permission, of course), and sit around a late-night bonfire and fish for sharks. Without any obstacles or threats, Animal Crossing is a great place to kill a few hours while having a chat on the side. Alternatively, you can compare islands, trade items, check for turnip deals, meet each other's neighbors, and capture memories with New Horizons' photo mode. In a time where the stresses of competition aren't always ideal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons shines in local multiplayer.
RELATED: Animal Crossing: New Horizons review: "The ultimate getaway from reality"
6. Among Us
Among Us was one of the most talked-about multiplayer games in recent memory, and it's easy to see why. Developer InnerSloth brilliantly layers a party-style formula with palpable tension and the suspicion that your friends are out to get you. The concept is simple: players are completing menial tasks to repair a badly damaged space ship, but one or more players are secret imposter aliens sent to kill the crew. If the imposters, who will try to blend in as much as possible by pretending to complete tasks, manage to kill everyone else, they win, whereas the crew wins by completing every task on the list.
Basically, if you're the imposter, your success will depend on how well you can lie to trick your friends, whereas crew members will need to win by throwing trust out the window and adopting a 'me vs. the world' mentality early on. It's the perfect recipe for good-natured chaos, as loud accusations, nervous denials, and "I knew it was you!"s will fill the room as you play.
5. Luigi's Mansion 3
The latest ghastly adventure from Mario's put-upon brother is tailor made for couch co-op and multiplayer. In the main campaign, Luigi's Mansion 3 has one player run through levels as the jumpy protagonist and the other use the malleable Gooigi use his unique strengths to slip through gutters and slide through pipes to explore new areas. The formula allows both players to feel like they're contributing something different, and it's fun as hell shooting plumbers into each other.
Then there's the online multiplayer ScareScraper mode, where you can gather a team of 8 players (2 per console) and progress through increasingly difficult tower floors. Finally, ScreamPark allows up to 8 players on a single console to face off in Mario Party-like mini-games. Needless to say, Luigi's Mansion 3 is a couch co-op dream.
RELATED: Luigi's Mansion 3 review: "Proves the green plumber can be the star of the show"
4. Mario Party Superstars
Mario Party is back, baby. The latest entry in the venerable party series offers a heaping dose of well-polished nostalgia for Mario Partyers across several generations. There are characters, mini-games, and whole maps pulled from some of the best games in the series, resulting in a beefy, time-tested couch co-op experience sure to turn any otherwise well-mannered group of self-respecting humans into a chaotic storm of jeering, accusing, and conspiring competitors with an unquenchable thirst for those precious yellow stars.
Arms is an extraordinarily approachable multiplayer experience where you flail around with a Joy-Con in each hand until your opponent dies - that is, until you both learn how to better control the game's fairly simple mechanics. Whether you're a skilled boxer or you're content with the real-life equivalent to button-mashing, Arms is a wonderful local competitive experience.
You'll combine accurate throws and projectiles to drain your foe's life bar before you take one too many spring-powered gloves to the face. As mentioned earlier, there isn't much of a learning curve, although there are mechanics in place to balance out matches between skilled and unskilled players, making this one of the more family-friendly competitive entries on this list.
RELATED: Arms review: "An invigorating blend of graceful movement and slapstick violence"
2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ah, Smash Bros., the ultimate catalyst to a doomed friendship since 1999. Whether wistfully lobbing bombs at your friends and laughing as they backfire, or taking out bottled-up aggression on your family, Smash Bros. is the best fighting experience on a Nintendo console and one of the most iconic multiplayer brawlers of all time.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best game in the series and an essential multiplayer experience on Switch. The roster is the largest ever, featuring every character from past titles as well as a bunch more, and there's an excessive number of unique stages to play. This is the Smash Bros. we've always known and loved, but more ambitious and successful.
RELATED: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review: “Makes a 20-year-old franchise feel brand new”
1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart is the quintessential multiplayer Nintendo experience, making its debut on the Super Nintendo in 1992. Nearly three decades later, it's as prevalent as ever in today's local multiplayer circuit. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of one of the series' finest titles, adding new characters, tracks, and a Battle mode that's vastly improved from the Wii U version. The Switch port takes the already-great Grand Prix mode and adds polish and new content, and makes the competitive Battle mode something you'll actually want to turn to once you've seen enough of standard races. And with more tracks still to come thanks to the Mario Kart Booster Course Pass, there's plenty to get stuck into with pals.
RELATED: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review: "The definitive version of the most complete Mario Kart to date"