This article was first published in 2018 and has been regularly updated since.
There’s nothing finer than enjoying a good game with your friends and family by your side, and if you own an Nintendo Switch, it couldn’t be any easier.
Thanks to the revolutionary Joy-Con controllers, you can enjoy playing plenty of Switch games in local co-op without even needing to buy an additional controller. Nifty, eh? If you plan to play your Switch with friends quite often though, we would recommend picking up another controller at some point. Unless you’ve got child-sized hands, the Joy-Cons aren’t very comfortable for long stretches of time.
But that’s neither here nor there. However you decide to play, Nintendo Switch is the perfect console to indulge in a bit of couch co-op fun. Even better, thanks to the large library of games available on Switch, there are simply tonnes of local co-operative games to play. But which ones are the best couch co-op games on Switch? Hopefully we can help.
We’ve rounded up a selection of the best multiplayer games on Switch, all which can be played locally and all co-operative. You won’t find any competitive games here (unless you choose to make it competitive, that is!). So keep on reading to find out some of the best couch co-op games on Nintendo Switch. Grab a friend, and you’ll have hours of fun with each and every one of these, we assure you.
Want to support GameSpew? If you decide to try any of the games on this list, please consider buying them through our Amazon links, included below each entry. It won’t cost you anything extra, but we’ll get a small slice of the purchase.
1. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos
Remember A Link to the Past? Sure you do – one of the best Zelda games ever made. Well, Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos reeks of A Link to the Past – in the best way possible. But it has one nifty trick up its sleeve: it’s a co-op multiplayer game. Just like A Link to the Past, you set out on a journey to save the world. But here, you can be accompanied by up to three friends. It’s rare we see this type of game in co-op form, but it really works.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos fuses old-school adventuring with Rogue-like elements. In a dungeon, if you die, you’ll be sent back to the beginning again. But the currency you’ve collected can be spent on upgrades. So each time you try, even if you fail, you’ll be strengthening your character. Outside of dungeons, you can explore the world, uncover secrets and build new facilities in town. It’s a delightful game alone, but with friends, it’s even more charming. Not only is it one of the best co-op games on Switch, it’s also one of the most unusual, and we can’t get enough of it.
2. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Is there anything better than co-op Mario? The latest Mario game to land on Nintendo Switch is Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Originally released on Wii U back in 2013, it’s been improved upon, with a whole new game – Bowser’s Fury – tacked onto it. Both games can be played in co-op, but it’s the main part, Super Mario 3D World, which makes for one of the best co-op games on Switch. If you want to play something with your friends, you’d be mad to skip over this one.
Super Mario 3D World is packed with colourful levels, all of which are perfectly playable by yourself. But each one can also be played with up to four players on one device. You’ll each take control of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad, and you’ll have to work together to reach the end of each level. Be careful though – with so many players on screen it can get chaotic! There’s also a bit of healthy competition involved, as the player who racks up the most points in a level will be awarded a crown.
3. Streets of Rage 4
After 26 years, the Streets of Rage series is back.
Streets of Rage 4 features sumptuous graphics, a killer soundtrack and addictive brawler gameplay. It’s got plenty of content, too, with 12 stages in which to pummel enemies and a whopping 17 playable characters if you include the 12 unlockable retro fighters. You can even play along to music from the original Streets of Rage and its sequel if you remember them fondly.
Immensely enjoyable in single-player, Streets of Rage 4 is somehow even better in co-op. Up for four players can work together locally, though watch out if friendly fire is turned on as you’ll no doubt end up hurting each other. It’s a good job there’s a versus battle mode to settle any grudges. In any case, if you’re after the best couch-co-op games on Switch, this is definitely one of them.
4. LEGO City Undercover
The GTA of the LEGO game world if you will, Lego City Undercover is much more open world than most other games of its ilk, and because of that, is one of the best.
There are so many side quests, races and collectables to find, and being able to play the entire game in local co-op makes everything much more fun. Grab a friend and run around like lunatics smashing everything in sight. What else would you do in a LEGO game after all? There’s of course a full campaign to work through too, telling the story of police officer Chase McCain as he tracks down the baddies of LEGO City. You can play through each level in order if you want, but it’s just as fun to wander around the city, engaging in fun side quests, races, and other types of activities.
If you’re after the best couch co-op games on Switch and love LEGO, make sure you pick this up.
5. Overcooked 2
Bigger and better than its predecessor, Overcooked 2 is undoubtedly one of the best couch co-op games available on Switch right now.
Working as a team, you’ll need to cook dishes on demand as efficiently as you possibly can. It’s not always easy when the kitchens you’re working in appear to have lives of their own though. Have you ever thought how difficult it would be to chop up vegetables while your kitchen splits in two? You’ll find out by playing Overcooked 2. You’ll have to work together with your co-op partner, planning out who tackles what activity. Fail to communicate, and you’re setting yourself up for failure, full stop.
Bright, colourful, and so much fun, if you like couch co-op games you simply must own Overcooked 2. Really, it’s so good.
6. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Aside from being one of the best games available on Nintendo Switch, and looking sublime to boot, Luigi’s Mansion 3 also allows for local co-op play. It’s the complete package.
Once players have a progressed a little into Luigi’s Mansion 3 they are introduced to Gooigi, and from that point on a second player can grab a Joy-Con and join in on the fun. The person playing as Gooigi will find that they have all the same abilities as Luigi has, but can also access new areas thanks to being impervious to certain traps. That’s the benefit of being goo!
If you love couch co-op gaming then you really should pick up Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Switch. It’s such a great game, and its co-op features simply make it better. It truly is one of the best couch co-op games on Switch.
7. Minecraft Dungeons
Adore Minecraft? Love dungeon crawlers? Minecraft Dungeons is the game for you. It’s definitely one of the best couch-co-op games on Switch.
Tasking you with taking down the nefarious Arch-Illager, Minecraft Dungeons has you making your way through numerous dungeons. There are monsters to defeat, switches to pull, and mountains of loot to be discovered. It’s basically My First Diablo.
Up to four players can play in local co-op, and more players means more fun. Also, while Minecraft Dungeons‘ campaign is quite short, multiple difficulty options means there’s plenty reason to go back time and time again. In fact, you’re going to have to play on harder difficulties to get the best loot.
8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
What’s better than playing a good old-fashioned 2D Mario game? Playing one with friends of course!
A remaster of New Super Mario Bros. U which was released on Wii U, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has little in the way of new content. While that’s undoubtedly disappointing, it’s still a great game nonetheless. And it does look quite a bit nicer.
Local co-op play is supported for up to four players, though each one has to play as a different character. Try not to get into a heated argument when deciding who gets to play as Mario, okay?
9. Moving Out
Moving house in real-life is stressful, but Moving Out tries to make light of the whole affair and succeeds.
Designed to be played in co-op, Moving Out asks you and up to three others to take items out of various properties and load them up into a van, ready to move out. Though there are, of course, various complications. Some items require multiple people to carry, for example, and some properties are haunted. You’ll need to act fast, too, if you want to get the best ratings. And you can return to jobs to complete bonus objectives.
The best thing about Moving Out is how reckless you can be. Why carefully carry a bed through a house when you can just lob it out of a window? It’s simply silly, stupid, fun. Needless to say, it’s quickly become one of our favourite couch co-op games on Switch.
10. Darksiders Genesis
It may look like Diablo, but Darksiders Genesis is actually a Darksiders game through and through, albeit one you can play in local or online co-op.
Mission-based, you can set up a local co-op game via the game’s hub, in which you can also chat with series stalwart Vulgrim and purchase upgrades. When playing in local co-op, one player takes control of War and the other Strife – you can argue who takes control of who. In any case, you’ll have to work together, making efficient use of each character’s unique skills if you wish to proceed.
With its enjoyable combat and plenty of replayability, Darksiders Genesis is definitely one of the best couch co-op games available on Switch.
11. Knights and Bikes
If you want a couch co-op experience like no other, you really ought to check out Knights and Bikes.
In Knights and Bikes players take control of Demelza and Nessa, two girls each possessing unique abilities. They’re out to save the island of Penzfury from a terrible curse, although there’s a twist; their adventure is powered by their imaginations. That probably explains why you’re also accompanied by a goose called Honkers and the head of an undead knight.
With its mix of gameplay styles, Knights and Bikes stands out from the crowd. There’s action, there’s adventure, there are puzzles; working together, you’ll need to overcome them all. And with a friend in tow, Knights and Bikes is elevated into being a pretty special experience. Do yourself a favour and get it bought if you’re after a couch co-op game to play.
12. Heave Ho
Heave Ho is very simple in its premise, but absolutely hilarious to play – especially with a friend or two playing with you. Essentially, the goal is to move from one side of the screen to another. But being nothing but a head with arms, that’s easier said than done.
Your arms and hands are controlled independently with their own buttons on your controller, allowing you to flail them around and grab on to stuff. When playing in co-op, you’ll need to grab onto your partner’s character and fling each other around accordingly. Communication is absolutely key in Heave Ho if you want to be successful. But even if you aren’t successful, you will have a hell of a lot of fun playing.
13. Diablo III: Eternal Collection
Without a doubt, Diablo III is the ultimate couch co-op experience.
The core of the game is exactly the same whether you play it in single player or multiplayer, and it’s seamless, meaning players can join or drop out at any point without interrupting anyone else’s game. Up to four people can play on the same screen for some serious monster-hunting madness.
The difficulty of Diablo III scales depending how many people are playing, so with a full roster of four, your enemies are going to be much tougher than if you were fighting them alone. The only downside to sharing a screen is that when one player opens their inventory, everyone else is left twiddling their thumbs until they’re done. Even with this, it’s still our all-time favourite co-op game, so grab a pal and set off on an intrepid journey to the depths of hell…
14. Borderlands Legendary Collection
Bundling up an enhanced version of the original Borderlands with Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Borderlands Legendary Collection is a must-have for anyone looking for a serious couch co-op session. We daren’t even count how many hours we’ve lost to split-screen shooty mayhem in the Borderlands series, but we know it’s a lot.
All three games are jam-packed with explosive action and hilarious dialogue. Even if you’re not a massive FPS fan, the comedy value means it’s a great introduction to the genre – and the endless loot and RPG elements add plenty of value for money. You’ll still be busy exploring the wastelands after a good 100 hours, we promise you. Supporting two players in split-screen, you’ll definitely want play docked though – sharing a single Switch screen makes it very hard to play!
15. Cadence of Hyrule
For fans of The Legend of Zelda series, Cadence of Hyrule offers something a little bit different.
Playing as Link or Princess Zelda, Cadence of Hyrule allows you to explore a randomly generated world on a quest to save Hyrule. Anyone that has played Crypt of the Necrodancer will find the gameplay familiar, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as it’s by the same developer. Needless to say, you’ll need to learn to move, attack and defend to the beat if you’re going to succeed.
While brilliantly remixed The Legend of Zelda tracks are a good enough reason to buy Cadence of Hyrule, there’s also the fact that its campaign is playable in couch co-op. So, if you have a friend or family member that would also like to play it, be sure to pick it up.
16. Yoshi’s Crafted World
There’s one thing better than enjoying the cuteness of Yoshi’s Crafted World, and that’s enjoying it with someone else by your side.
Yoshi’s Crafted World‘s campaign can be completed from start to finish in local co-op. The second player can even drop in and out at will. It takes a bit of getting used to though, as it’s easy to find yourself forcing the other player to give you a piggyback if you jump near them. Since you infinitely spawn eggs while taking a piggyback, however, you might just decide to stay that way.
If you love cute platforming adventures, you should definitely consider buying Yoshi’s Crafted World. The fact that it also offers one of the best couch co-op experiences available on Switch is simply a bonus.
17. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
On Wii U, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was good. On Switch, it’s brilliant.
The additions and enhancements found in the Switch version of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze make playing it in couch co-op even more enticing, and it’s something you really should do.
Its worlds are bright and colourful, its controls are crisp and responsive, and there are so many collectables and secrets to be found. Playing Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze alone is a blast, but playing it with a friend? Well, that makes it explosive. This is a game you really need add to your Nintendo Switch library if you like couch co-op experiences. But be careful; you share your pool of lives in co-op, which means a particular tough section can see them disappear. Fast.