It’s a sad truth, but summer is over. The good news is that we have cozy fall nights in to look forward to — time to dust off the old console.
As fun as replaying that single-player campaign for the seventh time sounds, consider kicking off prime gaming season in co-op mode. Everything is better with a buddy. So, grab your boo, plop down on the couch and dive into these date night worthy co-op video games.
1. Unravel 2
A fun, lighthearted choice among co-op video games, “Unravel 2” is great if your date isn’t an avid gamer, but still offers an entertaining challenge to the seasoned player. Using strategy and a great deal of teamwork, you and your partner must navigate through various terrains in a classic side-scrolling fashion.
The best part? You’re both adorable yarn creatures tethered at one end; use your tether to go over, under and through obstacles. Most of the challenges require a collaborative effort, so one person, unlike your last school group project, doesn’t get stuck doing all the work.
2. Man of Medan
Supermassive Games’ newest horror title, “Man of Medan,” revolutionizes co-op video games. The makers of “Until Dawn” employ the same art and gameplay style as their first title, which if you haven’t played it, blends choose-your-fate strategy and quick-time events, weaving it all into an epic cinematic experience.
However, for “Man of Medan,” the game developers turned it up a notch with the addition of movie night mode. This is the first multiplayer feature of its kind, in which players each choose their desired characters at the beginning of the game, and gameplay switches off every chapter. When it’s your turn to play, the choices you make affect the fates of your own characters, as well as your partner’s.
In all honesty, the storyline could be better, and some of the jump scares feel cheap. But, overall, it’ll make for a great exercise in trust, as well as a few controllers thrown at the head if you get your date’s character killed (whoops!).
3. Don’t Starve Together
Survival is the goal in Klei Entertainment’s multiplayer release of “Don’t Starve.”
You and your partner (and up to four other friends) set off on a randomly generated open-world map in search of provisions and a way to survive. Interact with the environment to gather resources, craft tools and take out enemies while discovering the secrets of the world set out before you.
4. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Is your relationship due for a fight? Load up this title.
Just kidding, although, your patience with one another will be strained. As a puzzle game without a strong narrative quality, “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” requires a minimum of two players and at least one level head. One player faces the TV and is tasked with defusing the bomb in front of them, while the other partner must read the bomb-defusing manual. The catch? You cannot look at each other’s work.
Thus, your proficiency in communication is tested, as the defuser describes the bomb to the person reading the manual, while the manual reader discerns the method of defusing the explosive. It’s fun, a bit stressful and an innovative twist on the classic co-op video game.
5. Black Ops 4
While it’s true that even the “Black Ops” franchise has succumbed to the trend of including a Battle Royale, one redeeming feature that should not be overlooked is their “Zombies” mode.
In the 2008 release of “Call of Duty: World at War,” Treyarch implemented an arcade-style minigame (originally titled “Nazi Zombies”) that would consume the whole franchise. Players have long enjoyed the thrill and pure terror of being chased around by the flesh-eating undead.
Treyarch’s fifth title takes Zombies mode to a whole new level. Featuring new characters, storylines and gameplay elements, players are provided with plenty of familiar and fresh things to adore. You can now customize perks at the start of the round — such as the ability to summon a wolf companion — and drink elixirs that allow you to teleport or kill enemies with one shot.
“Black Ops 4” also introduces a crafting element. Throughout the course of the game, collect pieces and assemble them at a workbench to create a new item, like a ballistic shield, which aids significantly in fending off foes.
6. Overcooked! 2
Teamwork makes the dream work. For those who haven’t endured the prequel, “Overcooked!” stacks a team of players against a ticking clock and recipes to complete. Each player takes on a task, such as using the stove or running ingredients. Working together is essential to get all the recipes completed.
The second edition features more of the same, save for a few amusing additions. First, the gameplay is no longer limited to local multiplayer; players can cook with their friends online. Second, there are new levels and recipes to conquer, many of which involve constantly changing kitchens in wacky environments (i.e. a hot air balloon).
7. A Way Out
If you’re looking for a developed storyline, “A Way Out” is undoubtedly the route to take. Designed exclusively as a co-op video game, you and your partner play as Leo and Vincent, two convicts who must work together to escape prison.
Teamwork is essential for this title considering that success is not possible without both parties contributing. Notably, the game makes excellent use of split-screen to allow partners to complete two separate tasks simultaneously. For example, during one challenge, one player must distract a guard while his/her partner obtains a key.
Aside from the action-adventure aspects of the game, “A Way Out” is ideal for partners in search of a well-defined narrative. Leo and Vincent develop a touching bond throughout the game, and the dialogue interactions offer compelling thematic insights.
Players are sometimes given choices as to how to accomplish a task, though the narrative is decidedly linear. Interestingly, the majority of “A Way Out” exists in the form of cut scenes, which offers an especially cinematic feel to the experience. Overall, the game is challenging but packs a lot of heart.