So, as many of you may not know as I have literally never mentioned this on anything, Derek and I like to play video games together. We both grew up playing, and it’s something different from the normal TV show/movie night in. If you are looking at ways to expand your hobbies with your SO, want to get your non-gaming SO interested in something you love, or just want some good game suggestions, this is the list for you!
These are in no particular order. As with anything, you’ll have to read through the description, maybe watch a bit of gameplay and then decided for yourself what would be best. I split the list up into two types of games: those that are one-couch multiplayer (split-screen), and those that are single-player but are very easy to play as two-player (interesting enough to watch the other person play and take turns/short enough levels to switch off). Here are some of our favorites from over the years starting with one-couch multiplayer games.
1. Little Big Planet 1-3
Platforms: PlayStation 3 & 4
We loved this game so much, that we played all three over the course of spring break one year. This game has a cute/animated design and easy to learn controls. I think the second one is the best of all three because it is longer than the third but more refined than the first. Honestly, this game is just really good, so whichever one you can find will be great.
The game is sort of like an obstacle course in which you will have to jump/fling/fly your character through obstacles to get to the end of a level or use specialized tools to solve puzzles. The game has a storyline and doesn’t just repeat the same gameplay over and over.
We also love this game because if one of us is having difficulty, the other one can complete it and portal the other in (so you don’t have to get mad at the other person for sucking or having to try the same thing over and over because only one person is getting it). This is a great beginner game and would be great to introduce to a non-gamer.
2. Overcooked 1 & 2
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
This game doesn’t have as much of a storyline as others. It is kind of like an app in that you complete the same set of goals over and over but new challenges are introduced to increase difficulty slowly. This is a great game to jump on for a quick gaming session or for having people over. The game-play is simple in that you are working as a team to get orders made and out. One person will have access to different ingredients and utensils, meaning you’ll have to switch food around and work together to get orders out. It can get pretty crazy rather quickly with the various obstacles and challenges thrown your way. Since this isn’t traditional game-play, this is a great game to introduce to a non-gamer.
3. Diablo 3
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
This game is a little darker. It isn’t as cartoonish and cheery as the previous suggestions, but it is still a great game to play. It is a little harder and may not be best for a new gamer right away.
The game has hellish themes and is an action role-playing game. At the beginning of the game, you get to choose a character class (monk, wizard, etc.) for different advantages and preferences. Then, the gameplay follows a story that is about slaying monsters, upgrading the character, and boss fights. It’s a really fun co-op game that you can play over a few weeks to work toward the end of the game.
4. Don’t Starve Together
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Don’t Starve is single player, Don’t Starve Together is multiplayer.
This game is the only game that has ended in fights but has been wonderfully entertaining (and pretty relationship building). It is a stressful game that has a lot more to it than what meets the eye on the first play. You could play this game endlessly as there really is no end goal besides surviving.
In the game, you choose a character based on pros and cons and then you are thrown into a world in which the only goal is to survive. At first, you’ll need to find food, set up a base camp, and try not to die. However, just as you think you’ve gotten the gameplay down, the seasons begin to change. This game is all about adapting and making sure you keep your character full, sane, healthy, and at a good temperature (you’ll see). However, once you have really gotten a hang of it all, you can start to create crazy bases, take on surrounding monsters, and start exploring the world around you. This game is all about strategic survival.
We love this game as it has really made us start communicating better and understanding that sometimes people make mistakes and accidentally starve and you can’t just yell at them because you did it five minutes ago…
5. Left 4 Dead 1 & 2
Platforms: Xbox 360, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows
This game is more in the vein of Call of Duty (COD) than others on this list, but I think it’s different enough for non-gamers and anti-COD lovers to enjoy. The premise of the game is that you are a survivor of a zombie apocalypse and need to make it to a certain destination stopping by safehouses (checkpoints) on the way. There are different zombies that have special powers that make it trickier to get to the end destination. There are also small challenges needed to complete at certain stages where instead of trying to travel and find the next safehouse you’ll need to stay put and stand your ground as waves of zombies come. This game is a lot more strategy, combat, and action-heavy compared to other suggestions, but I’ve always loved playing it with Derek/Friends.
6. Portal 2
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux
The gameplay isn’t too hard to pick up and the game is very much focused on puzzles. Basically, you’ll be in a room that you need to get to the exit of and you’ll use the physics of the game to figure a way out. In co-op, you’ll each have to do your part to get out. This game can be a ton of fun for someone that likes to critically think and figure things out but wants nothing to do with action or combat.
This game is co-op and has a single player story that is a ton of fun, so if you enjoy the co-op and want to switch off while playing, then I also recommend the single-player story. Portal 1 is also just a single player story, but if you like 2, then I also would recommend 1.
7. Borderlands 2
Platforms: Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (for one couch split screen, there are more for online multiplayer)
This game is the most gamer-game on this list (besides Diablo 3, which it is very similar to in play-style). Basically, you choose a character class and then work together to get through the game’s main missions and you can do side-quests. It is a first-person shooter, so it is not for everyone.
8. Guacamalee 2
Platforms: Playstation 4 and PC
To get to the local co-op, the first player will have to play something like 5 minutes of a tutorial before the second player can join. It was a confusing aspect of the game that I wanted to pass on.
In my opinion, this game is a Mexican version of Little Big Planet meets Street Fighter. You need to work together to get through the level and will fight off enemies as you go. There is a storyline that you will follow, but it’s pretty simple gameplay.
9. Ibb and Obb
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
This game is kind of like a multiplayer app, which means it’s very simple in both controls and gameplay making it great for beginners/non-gamers. The goal of the game is that you must work together through the puzzling level to get to the end goal, rinse and repeat.
10. Lover’s in a Dangerous Spacetime
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Linux, Mac OS
This game is again like a multiplayer app, but a bit more complicated than that. You and your partner must work together to steer a ship around to collect things and save prisoners, however, the ship can be a bit difficult to navigate and you must also defend yourself against various enemies. It’s a very simple game comparatively, but can be a ton of fun as you work through levels and get upgrades.
11. Hidden Agenda
Platforms: Playstation 4
This is one of those games where you play on the console but each player gets to contribute through their phones. Like JackBox Games (didn’t make the list but also strongly recommend).
Hidden Agenda is a crime-thriller game where everyone in the room must work together to solve the case at hand. The game follows the butterfly effect in that the decisions you make will shape the game going forward and ultimately change your ending. This game is a ton of fun for non-gamers because it is more like controlling a movie than playing a game.
Single Player Games to Play Together
12. Silent Hill
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
This game is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough. I actually recommend all of them (I think they all have a place in the series and are worth checking out). But, if you just want to try it and see if you like it I recommend Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill 3, and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, in that order. Also, the games don’t have to be played in sequential order to understand what’s happening.
This game is a classic single-player horror game. I grew up playing this game with the entire family and loved it. I never even really got to have the controller, and that was completely fine with me. It’s a game that has a great story, good puzzles everyone can contribute to, and you’ll die often enough that handing off the controller to your partner will make game time fair. I really like this game and can’t recommend it enough for partners.
There are two movies based off the first two games if you’re interested.
13. L.A. Noire
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
This again is another single-player game. However, it’s mostly about interviewing suspects as you play a detective in Hollywood’s Golden Age. There are some chases, driving around, and snooping that can make some parts boring for two players, but I really liked playing and unraveling the story with Derek.
As a detective, you have a choice in how the interrogations go, and sometimes your whole case can fall apart quickly. We like to collaborate on how to deal with the interrogation since this part of the game is just watching and selecting a button that corresponds with how you would like to proceed. This game is a slower pace than other recommendations here, but we still like working together on it.
14. Beautiful Katamari
Platform: Xbox 360
Okay, this game is not for everyone. It is a game made in Japan and can be a little weird to some (I love it). Essentially, you are rolling around a ball that will stick to anything it is bigger than. You have to get the ball to a certain size in the time allotted (usually 3-10 minutes). As you pick up small items your ball grows and you can soon pick up bigger items, growing rapidly. The levels get harder and harder and you can easily switch off playing. There are also a few multiplayer games that pin you against each other, but I find the single-player story mode more entertaining to tackle together by taking turns. If you really like this one, there are more games in the series.
15. The Sims
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
I know this game is really popular and well-known, but I feel like it is looked over a lot on these types of lists. Derek had never heard of The Sims and I grew up playing it, so when we ran out of games to play this was a fun one to show to him. This is a single-player game that you can switch off easily. The console versions can be a bit hard to navigate compared to PC.
In The Sims, you can completely customize your characters and then you start living out everyday life. You can choose to start with a place you can afford, get jobs, and slowly build up your money until you have fully customized your home, or you can use a cheat code and start building the home of your dreams right away. You can work jobs, have kids, go on dates, explore the city, and so much more.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
This game is single player, but since there is such a focus on the story it is really entertaining for anyone that wants to watch the story unravel. This game focuses on the supernatural and is a thriller/mystery adventure game. There’s not much else to say without giving too much away.
17. Life is Strange
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
This game and the one beneath it are very story based. The whole premise of the game is that the decisions you make dictate the entire game. This one, in particular, has a pretty slow start in episode one (there are five in total), but it picks up after that. You play as an 18-year-old photography student that just realized she can rewind time. She also sees a horrific disaster approaching in the near future and must prevent it from destroying the whole town. Since she can rewind time, this game has an interesting take on the butterfly effect and how your decisions shape the game going forward.
The game as a whole is very picturesque, and a bit indie in themes.
Life is Strange 2 also just came out, but I haven’t played it yet.
18. Heavy Rain
Platform: Playstation 3 & 4
This is another great single-player game that is less focused on combat and action than previous ones. This game is all about the story. I don’t know the official name of games like this, but essentially you are watching a movie and making decisions on how it will go and ultimately creating an ending based on those choices. The story is great and it’s really fun to have to decide together what the next step is and how you should tackle the problem at hand. Similar to the game above.
The story follows a father whose son has gone missing and he tries to desperately find him.
19. The Last of Us
Platforms: Playstation 3 &4
This game was very popular when it came out, but it’s not two-player (as far as I can tell, there are some questionable split-screen cheats). This game is about a smuggler that is tasked with escorting a girl across the zombie-ridden US. It is more for semi-experienced gamers since there’s a lot of combat, but it’s really a great game to play together.
20. Beyond two souls
Platforms: Playstation 3 & 4
This is made by the same creators as Heavy Rain and follows a similar theme. This game again is very story based, but actually has some combat and action shuffled in. You play as a girl that has an entity attached to her that allows you to perform certain actions a human normally couldn’t. You can play as the girl and the entity, which could be considered two players, but in reality, it is a single-player game because you can’t play as the girl and the entity at the same time. There is also an app version explained here, that was made specifically for non-gamers.
The story is good, and unlike Heavy Rain the mix of story and combat/adventure makes the game a bit more than a choose-your-own-adventure game/movie.
That’s it! Let me know below what are some of your favorite multiplayer or single-player games. Have a wonderful week!
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