Studio MDHR, Nintendo, The Behemoth
Couch co-op play will never really go away – playing games with your teammates literally by your side is just too much fun. Combine that with the satisfying and just plain fun gameplay of a good action game, and you are sure to be in for a treat.
“Action” is an extremely broad genre, so when selecting games for this list, we looked for titles that provide consistent feel as you play. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking on groups of enemies or intimidating boss fights, we just care that it’s a thrilling, action-packed experience.
Hand-Drawn Boss Encounters: Cuphead (PC / Xbox One / Switch / PS4)
From its revelation in 2014 to its release in 2017, Cuphead has turned heads with its unique hand-drawn art style. Not only does this game feature tight controls and some of the toughest bosses in the game, it also makes you feel like you’re in control of a living cartoon thanks to the excellent animation. And you can enjoy this creative adventure with all with a friend playing as Cuphead and Mugman.
You are both going to die a lot to the bosses, but luckily you can keep each other in combat by continually resurrecting each other. And when you finally beat this tough boss, the sense of satisfaction you both feel will be second to none.
Four-player Chivarly: Castle Crashers (PC / Xbox One / Switch / PS4)
Castle Crashers is an iconic couch co-op game for its simple yet fun gameplay, comedic tone, and four-player co-op support. There are jokes around every corner as you and your teammates work together to defeat bosses and enemies in a bid to save the princesses kidnapped by “The Wizard”. There are multiple characters to unlock and different weapons to use, so every part of the game will feel fresh as you experiment with the different combinations.
Spell Slingers: Wizard of Legend (PC / Xbox One / Switch / PS4)
Casting spells has never been more fun and satisfying than Legendary magician. In this top-down roguelike (a kind of game where you have to restart your character after every death), you will learn how to use various magic spells and abilities to progress through stages and fight enemies. There’s two-player co-op and a wide variety of spells to use, so you and your friend can each create your own loadouts and become the perfect duo.
Lunging Luchadors: Guacamelee 1 and 2 (PC / Xbox One / Switch / PS4)
The bright and living world of Guacamelée The series is filled to the brim with enemies to fight. At their core, these games are 2D platformers, but you don’t just jump on enemies to defeat them. You play as powerful Luchadors, so you can expect to use a variety of wrestling moves to keep combos going for massive damage. The two games are quite similar in terms of gameplay and support two-player co-op, so you can’t go wrong with either one. But, as a sequel, Guacamelee 2 naturally develops the concepts introduced in the first game.
Flashy Moves: River City Girls (PC / Xbox One / Switch / PS4)
Classic arcade-era beat em ‘ups like Golden Ax are a good time in two-player co-op, and River City Girls aims to find this gameplay with a modern touch. You’re not just limited to normal punches and kicks here, there’s a huge selection of super-flashy moves between the two selectable characters. Whether you hit people with a backpack or stun enemies with your phone flash, the River City Girls fight never ceases to be interesting as you battle your way through the stages.
Sprawling RPG: Outward (PC / Xbox One / PS4)
“Open world RPG” probably isn’t a genre that comes to mind when it comes to couch co-op, but Outwards aims to change that. Outward has all the makings of a great RPG, including a fantasy world to explore. Best of all, it supports two-player co-op throughout the game. You can each create a character, choose your weapons and items, and then explore this world together.
Hordes of Foes: Hyrule Warriors (Switch)
It’s hard to think of a franchise that more embodies the ‘action’ moniker than the Dynasty Warriors series, and this Nintendo-sanctioned spin-off is perfect for co-op fun on the Switch. Taking place in the Zelda universe, Hyrule Warriors features massive hordes of enemies that you can cut down with the different characters. And there are plenty of characters to choose from (31 to be exact), including more obscure choices that fans will certainly love to play.
Even if you’re not a fan of the Zelda series, the action-packed gameplay that the Warriors series is known for is fully operational here. The characters use massive, sweeping attacks that take out enemies quickly and dramatically. It’s not particularly in-depth, but the sheer joy of tearing up hordes of enemies and racking up points keeps you playing for many hours. A full story mode is present, as well as additional game modes, such as “adventure mode”, where you complete missions with special requirements on a map inspired by the original game Legend of Zelda. All game modes fully support two-player co-op, so there’s a lot of content to use here.
For fans of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Warriors does pretty much the same as Hyrule Warriors, except in the Fire Emblem universe. It’s also fully playable in two-player co-op, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want more of the gameplay seen in Hyrule Warriors.