Monday 17 May 2021


Okay, I know this isn't the usual topic I'd write about, but I've always tried to blog about the kind of things that I want to read online, and I cannot tell you how many hours of my life have been spent trying to find the perfect couch co-op video game! 

I've been playing video games my whole life - I grew up attempting to play The Lion King on my friend's Nintendo before I got a Playstation of my own, and most of my life's been spent navigating one RPG or another. Luckily my boyfriend is a massive video game nerd too, so we love playing co-op games together.

Remember events? Photo from the National Museum of Scotland's super cool video game party

The problem is that I have a pretty narrow set of parameters that games have to meet, before I can get into them. I cannot COPE with games where we don't have equal control (it is torturous if Player 2 has no control or agency), I have limited interest in platformers, I can't be bothered with twin-stick shooters, I want a story, not just a party game, and I want a game with good artwork - nothing that feels too kiddy, or feels like ridiculous animation pitched at teenage boys! 

So, on the off chance you ALSO want these things, here's my favourite couch co-op video games. We played these games on Nintendo Switch or Playstation, but I'm sure a few are on Xbox too.

Eternal Sonata

I'm going to start with my favourite - WHAT A GAME. Eternal Sonata is a fantasy RPG centered on the life of composer and pianist, Frederic Chopin. The story is set in a fictional world that Chopin is dreaming of in his dying hours, influenced by his life and music, where you can play as Frederic (with appropriately music-themed attacks and moves) through a tale of magic, corruption, political espionage, rebellion and escapism. Throughout the game there's Chopin's music, and cutscenes featuring real paintings and photographs, so you travel through Chopin's life as you play and learn about the real man and his life.

I mean... that's bonkers, right? But AMAZING The gameplay is great, the characters are fun and cute, it takes you to all sorts of fantastical lands and interesting levels, and the co-op battles are challenging and fun as you can link your attacks and take part in fast-paced strategic battles! When you are navigating the world you can only have one character moving, so we took turns to be the person walking about, but otherwise the co-op is fairly balanced. We loved it so much, we ended up doing a little pilgrimage to visit the town Chopin lived in and felt emotional, because honestly it was like we knew him. Wild.

Dragon's Crown 

It's fair to say that some of the character's outfits/attributes are questionable due to the stylised illustration, but we had a lot of fun with this game! It's a beat 'em up action RPG, where you can pick your character and head off on some dungeon adventures, getting treasure, fighting dragons, chasing thieves and going on quests. It's a lot of fun to play as a co-op as you get to blast through dungeons together, the fighting is satisfying, it feels like a really nostalgic old-school RPG game, so it's a good Sunday afternoon choice. You can also team up with random online players, and we had a happy couple of months playing with some random French person who often was online the same time as us. 

But the thing that makes it stand out for me? The surprisingly brilliant cooking minigame! Some dungeons trigger a little campfire scene where you can cook little meals that increase your character's statistics and it is SO weirdly satisfying and fun to play, we used to cheer when the sizzle of the campfire started. Worth it just for that.

Divinity Original Sin 2

You'll notice a theme with these games, I like an RPG! This game is hyped up, but it deserves it - it's a beautiful, complex, challenging game with a great story, interesting characters, a massive world to explore, and satisfying turn-based battles. Each character has a unique story, meaning you'll experience a different journey than your co-op partner, and throughout the game you are faced with choices which all have consequences and lead to different endings, so you have to think hard about who you want to be in this world! The whole world feels alive - you can pretty much go anywhere and interact with anyone (even animals), there's so much thought and detail put into it. 

Kingdom: Two Crowns

We played through Kingdom: Two Crowns in 2019 on the Switch, and we loved it so much we've started again on the Playstation. This is a side-scrolling strategy game where you build your kingdom, recruit subjects, and protect your town from the monsters that attack each night! It's a super cute game with pixel artwork, which is nicely atmospheric - and pretty scary if you get caught in the woods after nightfall! 

For us, this works so well as a co-op game as we both will pick a side of the town to look after - so I'll have one side to explore, build farms, build defensives and look after people, and my boyfriend will have the other. We'll team up to take on baddies and share resources and building costs, but it totally fulfills my need for independent gameplay in a co-op! It's hugely addictive, and even though it's pretty brutal if it all goes wrong (and it can! This game can throw pretty tricky things at you), we keep coming back to it. 

For the King

This is a super fun tabletop adventure game where you have to navigate around a map to battle enemies, go on quests, find cool new weapons and armour, and save the kingdom! It's a turn-based game which works great for co-op, we pick complementing character types and we can team up to take on challenging enemies, or go off and explore on our own. The game is cute, but it is hard, and you constantly have the clock ticking towards something bad happening so you have to be super strategic about how you spend your time. It's got a good sense of humour, and is a lot of fun to play.


If you're looking for a very gentle co-op, this is it. Based on classical Greek mythology, this is a game about dying, but it's sweet, poignant and surprisingly soothing. You play as Stella, a ferrymaster who has to guide spirits across the seas to release them into the afterlife, but as you journey you can build a boat, go fishing, cook and care for your new spirit friends, explore islands to collect resources and even hunt jellyfish. There are a couple of things that annoy me - as Player 2 I play as the cat (which is great), but the cat can't talk to spirits (which is annoying), meaning I have to wait while my partner does some of the important parts. But it's beautifully animated, with lovely music and good vibes.

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