The Switch is the perfect console for local co-op gaming. For one, it’s portable: you can easily take it to a friend’s house and you’re immediately good to go. And two, it comes with two controllers by default, each Joy-Con doubling as a solo controller when necessary. But the question is: just what are the best couch co-op games on Switch?
We’ve played a lot of co-op games here at GameSpew. A lot. And for one reason or another, they’re not all created equally. We’ve been through and sorted the wheat from the chaff, and so here you’ll only find the very best Switch couch co-op games. Whether you’re wanting to play with friends, your partner, your kids or your parents, you’ll find something to suit here. So: read on to see our picks of the best local co-op games you can currently play.
This article was first published in 2018 and has been regularly updated since.
1. Super Mario Wonder
The newest Super Mario game might be one of our favourites of all time. And while it’s a joy in single-player, it’s even better in co-op. Grab a few friends and a few controllers, and you can all choose a character and jump straight into the action. This side-scrolling platform game feels like a traditional Mario game, but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your feet.
Things do get a little tricky at times, and if there are more than two of you playing, the on-screen action can be a little hectic: you’ll need to keep up with each other or risk getting caught off the edge of the screen. Don’t worry, though: if you die or fall behind, you’ll simply re-appear inside a bubble. If another player pops it, you’re straight back into the action.
2. Disney Illusion Island
Disney Illusion Island might be one of the prettiest-looking side-scrolling platformers you’ll ever play. This super-colourful game features Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy in their classic cartoon style, with up to four players taking control of one of the characters. You’ll need to work together the get past enemies, solve puzzles and use a variety of skills to progress through the game.
There’s a lot to love here, and just because it features Disney characters doesn’t mean this is a game for kids. It’s something the whole family can – and will! – enjoy together, and so don’t pass it up: it’s one of the best couch co-op games currently available on Switch.
3. It Takes Two
We’ve been recommending It Takes Two as one of the best couch co-op games since it released in March 2021, and now it’s on Switch we get to recommend it yet again. There’s a reason we wax lyrical about it: this gorgeous, engaging adventure has been designed from the ground-up to be played as a two-player game. In fact, it’s the only way to play. Every puzzle, every environment, every obstacle in It Takes Two has been designed to be tackled by co-op players, meaning you’ll have to work together like never before.
And so not only is the gameplay here stellar, but it also tells a fantastic story and introduces some wonderful characters. You’ll play as married couple May and Cody: after learning they’re about to get divorced, their young daughter accidentally casts a spell, turning them into tiny dolls. And so, in their doll form, they need to work together to get their human bodies back. It’s delightful, hilarious, moving and heartwarming in equal measure.
4. 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 roguelike 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.
5. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Is there anything better than co-op Mario? Barely, and that’s why we’ve got another Mario game for you already. Originally released on Wii U back in 2013, Super Mario 3D World has 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.
6. 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.
7. Lego City Undercover
The Grand Theft Auto of the Lego game world if you will, Lego City Undercover might not be the newest Lego game available, but it is one of our favourites. It’s much more open than most other Lego games from Traveller’s Tales, putting players in the shoes of police officer Chase McCain and a wealth of other characters. You can play alone, sure, but it’s much more fun with another yellow minifig running amuck by your side.
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 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, but if you ask us, the real fun is in wandering around the city, causing chaos as you go.
8. Moving Out 2
Moving house in real-life is stressful, but Moving Out 2 tries to make light of the whole affair and succeeds. Designed to be played in co-op, Moving Out 2 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 doors only let you pass through them one way. 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 2 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
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. 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.
15. 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.