While there are plenty of video games I enjoy playing alone, couch co-op is my favorite way to play. My husband and I have spent much of our relationship playing video games together, so we’re always on the hunt for something new.
This year, we found three that sit on both ends of the spectrum.
Yoshi’s Wooly World
It looked like it had great potential. Nintendo tends to have good co-op games in general, but this game had two major flaws.
- It was really hard.
Platforming isn’t my forte, but some of the platformers we’ve played over the years are forgiving or have ways of allowing that slightly inept second player to make it through the hard parts with some help. This one was the epitome of unforgiving. I spent most of the time dead.
- Players could push each other around.
Literally. Other games allow you to occupy the same space or walk past each other without consequence. This one didn’t allow that at all, which meant I spent half of my time pushing my husband into pits and enemies. I’ll let you guess how well that went over.
It wasn’t long before I gave up and he continued alone.
Gears of War 4
Yes, it’s violent and over-the-top, but the couch co-op is great. Overall, the split screen works well, and the fact that the other player (and the computer player posse) can save you if you go down is helpful too.
Another bonus is the ability to change the difficulty setting individually. This does, however, have some unintentional consequences. One night, I spent several levels feeling like a total failure in the game. Everything seemed to kill me. It was only as we wrapped up for the night that I realized I had been playing on hardcore. All things considered, I didn’t do that bad.
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
This one is fantastic. Originally created for the Wii and impossible to find, it’s recently made an appearance in the e-store which means we can finally play it. Since it was a Christmas present, we’ve only played the first world so far, but it’s just as fun as the other Kirby games have been.
While there are challenges, none of the Kirby games are excessively hard. That means I spend more time having fun and less time feeling frustrated and inept. There are puzzles to solve, power-ups to try, and bosses to beat.
Not only can you pass the other player, but you can also jump on top of them, like a piggy back ride. This comes in handy since you can attack together too. Or it can just be done for fun.
You can also share health when you pick it up. If I pick up some health (in the ironic form of a donut, for instance), I can share some of it with him. Though, most of the time, it goes the other way around. After all, I like to play as Meta Knight and plunge straight into danger… which doesn’t always end well.
So though couch co-op doesn’t seem to be as popular as it used to be, there are still plenty of great games out there taking advantage of it. Here’s hoping there will be more out there in 2017.