Lets face it, as great as online play is, it isn’t perfect. My recent issues with the Ghost Recon: Wildlands Beta and trying to connect with 3 other friends are enough to prove that. Sometimes you have friends over and they didn’t remember or feel like bringing their whole rig: tower, mouse and keyboard, headset, etc. or maybe you feel nostalgic and want everyone to sit on the couch like we did it in 1997. If you fall into any of these categories, here are 8 local multiplayer games for your next party.
The ultimate couch party game in my mind was the N64’s 007 Goldeneye. So many current FPS games were influenced by the groundbreaking title for the Nintendo 64. The basic formula hasn’t changed much since then, but the glaring flaw with local multiplayer FPS is screen peeking, or looking at the other player’s portion of the screen to get an advantage.
ScreenCheat takes this flaw and makes it the primary gameplay mechanic. Player characters do not show up on your screen, rather you have to infer where they are based on their field of view by looking at their screen.Map design is themed by colors so you can get a general idea of someone’s location without focusing on their screen too much. There is also a good mix of spread weapons vs melee vs repeating weapons, but a miss can be dangerous due to subtle clues like smoke coming off a just fired blunderbuss or flames from swinging the candelabra.
Screencheat supports up to 8 players and is available on Steam for $14.99.
What if QWOP was actually a brawler? That is Gangbeasts in a nutshell. While the controls aren’t quite as terrible as the online flash sensation, it’s still quite difficult to control your character while trying to kick, punch and throw your opponents off of the stage. The diverse stages keep things interesting and the character models are sure to get a laugh.
Gangbeasts supports up to 8 players and is available on Steam Early Access for $19.99.
Crewsaders has two teams control giant battle robots to defeat the other team’s robot. Teams of up to three will man the five stations of a robot: missiles, sword, shield, laser, and movement. Strategy quickly goes out the window as you begin to scramble when the timer runs out and the saws at either end of the arena begin moving.
Crewsaders supports up to 6 players and is available on Steam for $2.99.
2014’s Gauntlet brings the classic arcade dungeon crawler’s best aspects to the modern era. Four player “co-op” which degrades to backstabbing each other to steal their loot. At the end of each stage the loot gathered by each player is tallied up as well as other stats. The top down ¾ view is easy on the eyes without being overly taxing on your computer. Grab four friends and give Gauntlet a try!
Gauntlet supports up to 4 players locally or online and is available on Steam for $19.99.
Move or Die
Move or Die is a party collection of minigames where you must literally move or die. A meter drains as you stay still and if it empties you are dead. Add in mutators and you can play the different game modes for hours on end. Even if you lose everyone will be having a great time.
Move or Die supports 4 player local or online play and is available on Steam for $14.99.
Is Gauntlet a little too polished for you? Are you feeling a little more nostalgic and want something with some 16 bit graphics? Hammerwatch will scratch that itch.
Hammerwatch supports 4 player online, LAN, and local play and is available on Steam for $9.99.
Battleblock Theatre was recently reviewed by Doodles, who did a great job. Suffice it to say that with it’s quirky offbeat humor and great platforming, Battleblock Theatre is well worth checking out.
Battleblock Theatre supports 2 player co-op locally and online and is available on Steam for 14.99.
Keep talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a little different than the other titles on this list. Only one player will be playing the game per se. The others will be trying to keep them from exploding as they try to figure out how to defuse the bomb.
With modules such as Morse Code or Symbols you’ll have a hard time communicating exactly what you’re seeing. Others such as Who’s on First will intentionally use homophones to trip up those who aren’t communicating precisely. After you master the base game’s challenges use the Steam Workshop for some seriously devious puzzles.
With both Vive and Oculus controller support you can play Keep Talking however you want, as well as on Gear VR, Google Daydream, and PS VR. Keep Talking supports as many players as you like as defusal experts and is available on Steam for $14.99.
Have I missed any great local multiplayer games? Let us know in the comments.