Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while some people will be planning out dream dates and buying gifts, for some of us it’s just a great excuse to curl up on the couch with someone and get stuck into some serious couples gaming.
With that said, we’ve picked out a list of 10 perfect games for pairs to play together – from titles that demand ultimate teamwork, to some less challenging options to accommodate a more casual better half. Platformers, shooters and tricky puzzles are all accounted for, with some of the best co-op classics of the past decade on the list.
To all the gaming couples out there this week (and those of us solo-queing our way through), happy Valentine’s Day!
Overcooked & Overcooked 2
Planning to cook a romantic meal for Valentine’s day? Why not team up as a duo of master chefs out to save the world from doom at the hands of a particularly angry (and hungry) spaghetti and meatball monster.
Overcooked and its sequel task you and up to three others (double-date, perhaps?) with working together to madly dash around a kitchen as you prepare meals together. It starts out simple, but with increasingly complicated dishes to make, and themed kitchens that throw up new hazards at every turn, things quickly get heated.
You’ll need supreme teamwork and communication to get through some of these challenges, and the game will either bring you closer together as you work as a well-oiled machine, or threaten to tear you apart completely if you start blaming one another for burning that critical burrito.
Where to get it: You’ll find these on consoles and PC, and they feel right at home on the Nintendo Switch, with the simple controls working perfectly on its tiny Joycons.
Trine & Trine 2
At first seeming to be a simple side-scrolling action-platformer, the Trine series tasks you with manipulating physics to traverse its beautifully-rendered fantasy world, solving puzzles along the way.
You and your teammate can switch between a roster of three characters based on your play style, including a sturdy knight, an agile archer, and a wizard who can conjure platforms and move objects with telekinesis.
There are plenty of opportunities to discover your own organic solutions to the puzzles together and give each other a leg-up to reach hidden secrets, with upgrades allowing you to try more complex solutions and fight off enemies in unique ways.
Where to get it: The first two titles are available cheaply on Steam, and the remastered version of the first game is also on PS4 and Switch. Don’t be tempted by Trine 3 – its 3D nature robs the game of much of what made the first two so great.
Want an excuse to cuddle up in fear? Look no further than open-world zombie apocalypse simulator Dying Light. Armed with makeshift weapons, a variety of enemy types and some amazing parkour abilities, you’ll traverse a zombie-filled landscape together saving lives and completing missions – until it gets dark.
Once the sun sets, the true terror sets in, as a stronger breed of zombie predator emerges to hunt you mercilessly until you can scramble back to a safe house. This lets you set your own difficulty, sleeping through each night in a secure area if you don’t feel like fighting the impossible odds after dark.
You and up to three others will have plenty of fun watching each other’s backs as you parkour and zip-lines through city streets, but there’s also an expansion that focuses more on hailing arse cross-country in your own personal dune buggy if your partner is a bit of a gearhead.
Where to get it: It’s often on sale on Steam for PC users, but you can also get it on PS4 and XB1. You’ll need multiple copies of the game to play this one online or over LAN, and will have to get through the 45-minute tutorial section before anyone can join your section – but the experience is worth the hassle.
Who’s Your Daddy?
For couples who definitely aren’t thinking about having kids any time soon, this game casts one of you as a parent trying to keep their baby safe in a household full of dangerous items like knives and cleaning chemicals until the timer runs out (ie. the other parent gets home).
All normal so far, except that player two takes the role of the baby, with the goal of getting their hands on these deadly items. And, well, you can probably guess the rest. Manage to find a fork and elude the dad on your way to the electrical outlet, and you win!
It sounds morbid, and it definitely is, but in practice it’s a silly game that will have you both feeling a little guilty as you double over in laughter at a baby hiding in an oven.
Where to get it: It’s on Steam, and it’s cheap as chips.
Rayman Origins & Rayman Legends
One of the greatest 2D platformers of the past decade, Rayman Origins was perhaps surpassed by its sequel, but both are great options for two-player co-operative gaming.
Silken controls, a gorgeous art style, and plenty of variety in level design make this a joy from start to finish. Casual players can just aim to get through each level, whereas more devoted gaming couples can work together to find every secret and hit 100%.
If you have to choose between the two, Rayman Legends might be the place to start, as you can eventually unlock a stack of levels from Origins anyway, and it introduces some different co-op mechanics to give your teamwork a proper test.
Where to get it: You can grab Legends especially on PC or pretty much any console by now, so take your pick.
One of the most acclaimed games in recent memory, Portal allows players to play around with a physics-bending ‘portal gun’ to navigate otherwise impossible levels and escape from a creepy, sterile test facility run by a maniacal AI overseer.
Its sequel kicks things up a notch by letting two players join forces to throw twice as many portals around – or just mess with each other by coaxing your partner into stepping through your portal, and into a bottomless pit.
Death isn’t a huge setback, though, and you’ll have plenty of co-op fun cracking the mind-bending puzzles as a team. There’s no better chance to show off your brainpower to your partner.
Where to get it: PC is the best spot to pick this one up, and you can buy it standalone or bundled with its excellent single-player prequel.
An oldie, but definitely a goodie, Castle Crashers takes the old-school side-scrolling beat ’em up formula and adds a coat of cartoonish humour to create one of the definitive co-op games of its generation.
Taking on the role of a colourful posse of knights, you’ll slash and shoot your way through an epic journey through a tonne of environments, each with fun little details to make the world feel lived-in. And while the basic gameplay stays much the same throughout, there’s enough variety in the enemies and set-pieces to keep you and your companions engaged.
For animal lovers, there are dozens of helpful companion creatures to find hidden throughout the levels, too – from a bat that drains health from enemies, to a ram that periodically bowls them over. Add in a stack of weapons and characters to unlock and upgrade, and this one could easily become your new couples addiction.
Where to get it: Find it on Steam or Xbox One. It might be ten years old, but it’s a classic for a reason, and you can pick it up for a song.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Another platformer, but also one of the most polished two-player experiences you’ll find, with controls that even non-gaming partners should be able to get their heads around pretty easily.
Difficulty can ramp up in parts, but you can always throw your partner on your shoulders and take control of both characters at once to help get through the tough parts, before setting them back down to tackle easier sections on their own.
There are four characters to try out, with some of them having more forgiving movement options to allow newer players to plot the perfect landing on each platform, and even a ‘Funky Mode’ that offers additional health points for a more relaxed playthrough.
Where to get it: This one is a Nintendo exclusive, so pick it up if you have a Switch.
Dream of running a business with your partner? Stardew Valley is the perfect dry run, as you join forces to build a thriving farm in a country town full of secrets to discover.
Spend a day planting crops, fishing and mining together, or split up for a bit to run errands separately and cover twice as much ground. However you choose to run your farm, you can do it as a team.
This is a great one to play together even if you’re on different schedules, as you can play solo sessions and still contribute to your farm’s success through a shared pool of money and resources. Surprise your partner by baking them an in-game cake while they’re gone, or planting a grove of trees in the shape of their name!
Where to get it: Right now, the multiplayer mode is available on PS4, XB1, Switch and PC. A single player version is out on iOS and in the works for Android, but multiplayer for mobile versions is only planned for a later date at this stage.
It’s only just been released, but this new ‘battle royale’ style shooter is already taking the fight to the hugely-popular Fortnite with millions of players battling it out at once online in this free-to-play title.
You and you partner can join a queue online together, and you’ll be matched with another player online to fill out your squad of three – but hey, they don’t need to know they’re the third wheel. Once you’re in, you’ll be watching each others’ backs as you flank and outfox the other 19 trios and try to become the last squad standing.
Things can get a little complicated for anyone not used to first-person-shooters as you juggle new guns, attachments and abilities, but the game tries to make it all as straightforward as possible, and doesn’t require the resource-management and complicated fort-building of Fortnite to survive.
Where to get it: You’ll each need a PC to play this on, but it’s available free on Steam or EA’s Origin storefront, so you won’t be out of pocket if it’s not the couples game for you.