Co-op games can reward you like no other genre. Games offer up magic in lots of different guises, but working with a friend to achieve a goal is, arguably, where they really shine. So what are the titles that will really pull friends together and offer the best co-operative group-based thrills?
The great thing about the best PC games involving co-op play is that you’re not restricted to a genre – as long as there’s room for two controllers on a split screen or some perfectly coordinated play over a headset, co-op games can be found among the best sandbox games, relaxing games, or even horror games. These are some of the very best co-op games for you to share with your favourite people.
The best co-op games in 2023 are:
It Takes Two
This glorious co-op platformer takes the concept of Honey I Shrunk the Kids and instead shrinks two bickering parents down to the size of small dolls. On the verge of a divorce, and arguing in front of their daughter, Cody and May must work together to get back to their bodies after they’re mysteriously turned into tiny, walking toys.
Each area offers something different from every little nook and cranny of the tool shed, to the boughs and alcoves of garden trees. You’ll meet quirky characters along the way, including an army of squirrels, talking tools, and menacing bossies which embody old arguments between the couple.
The Book of Love is the irritating guide who pops up on your quest, providing tools for each player like a hammer and nails or a grapple, forcing you to work together to reach new places as you swoop, swing, and climb to solve puzzles in this charming and twee tale of love and hope.
Valve’s hugely clever, genuinely funny puzzler is frequently cited as the king of co-op. And with good reason. Success in Portal 2 requires genuine teamwork to solve conundrums, preventing that frequent co-op problem of one player running off and impatiently doing everything before the other has a chance to even move the mouse. A microphone and a good friend are recommended, but Portal 2 has a neat voiceless chat system that uses emotes and pointing to make co-op with strangers easier.
While the original Portal is rightly heralded as one of the best games of all time, there’s no denying this sequel’s dedicated co-op campaign is also a work of genius. And Portal 2 is rarely more clever than when it throws up puzzles that require both players to work together simultaneously. More than the amazing noodle-scratchers though, it’s the addition of Steam Workshop features that makes Portal 2’s co-op a must-play. The range of user-created puzzle chambers is vast, with phenomenally well-designed challenges that can make Valve’s work seem like preschool logic toys.
Don’t Starve Together
A game that lets you share moments you’ll never want to speak of again. Example? In Don’t Starve Together, you can kill and eat your pigmen slaves while your chums watch.
Klei’s Burton-esque open-world game remains open, and your pockets just as empty – but this time you’re joined by another player or three in an identical predicament. The standalone game currently features two modes. You can either spawn next to your fellow survivors and enjoy infinite lives or be scattered randomly across the map and be subject to permadeath.
In the first, dead players can float about as ghosts and drive the rest of the gang mad. That’s not a figure of speech – a good haunting will lower their sanity and put their lives in even greater danger. Resurrection is easy, for a price: a piece of your max health. Weird and unique, Don’t Starve Together isn’t just a great co-op game, it’s also one of the best survival games on PC. While the isolation of the brilliant original was one of its strengths, fending off starvation together is simply a better way to live.
This devilishly difficult co-op game becomes a little easier when you add a Mugman to the mix. Well, that’s not entirely true, but at least it gives you someone to blame when you die repeatedly to a 1930s style wibbly carnation, as beautifully animated as it is unsettling.
Playing as the eponymous Cuphead and his crockery-in-crime Mugman, you make your way through a top-down overworld, unlocking new areas by beating levels that usually consist of boss fights with multiple evolving stages. Learning the enemy’s various attack patterns and coordinating parries and attacks is key to victory, but if – no, let’s face it, when – one of you messes up and takes a projectile too many, you’re able to parry their immortal soul back to the land of the living – if you can reach them in time before they slip off screen into the afterlife.
While Cuphead is famed for its difficulty, don’t let that put you off – failing over and over again is all part of the appeal, and it means you forge real animosity towards the grinning cartoon villains you’re up against.
LEGO Star Wars – The Skywalker Saga
Any LEGO game is a great choice for Steam Remote Play Together, but we recommend the LEGO Stars Wars games as the marriage of studs and (light) sabers works so perfectly together. The glorious The Complete Sage gave us the the first six Star Wars films, with an extra helping of humour and charm thanks to the endearingly slapstick yet reverent approach of the LEGO games. Then came along the Skywalker Saga, not only adding the three final prequel film plots, but also elevating the first six games with updated gameplay, mechanics, and graphics. Nine games in one? We hope your and your padawan have plenty of time to spare.
The gameplay and puzzles are pretty straightforward, meaning you won’t encounter a significant challenge – it’s more of a fun-filled romp through the set of Star Wars, blasting away and swinging your glow sticks at enemies that crumble satisfyingly into bricks. This also makes it a fantastic game to play with your family or friends, but be warned – friendly fire is enabled, so expect them to laugh uproariously as they thwack you to death… repeatedly.
After a hefty hiatus you may have expected more change in Gearbox Software’s looter shooter FPS. Borderlands 3 does boast plenty of new content, but the core gameplay loop of slaying, looting new guns, and slaying again is untouched, and that’s a good thing. Of course, this time around there are a ridiculous one billion guns to get hold of, and even more shiny gold Borderlands 3 legendary weapons to farm.
But the best changes to Borderlands 3 can be found in its refined co-op gameplay. The four new Borderlands 3 classes each play a much more distinct role on the battlefield, and the synergies between Borderlands 3 builds in co-op are a sight to behold, with Fl4k’s pets marauding around, Zane juking foes with clones, and Amara phaseshifting enemies into the air for Moze to pummel in her giant mech.
Welcome additions to the Borderlands 3 endgame, like the Proving Grounds game mode, Mayhem Mode, and Guardian ranks, provide you and your friends with plenty to do after the credits have rolled. And perhaps best of all, there’s now an option to instance loot so if you’re playing co-op with random players online then you won’t have to race to hoover up all of that loot.
The Division 2
Good co-op action has been woven into the fabric of The Division from the word go. In fact, as you can read from our The Divison 2 review, everything was pretty good from the word go, but it makes sense for it to excel in multiplayer, as any military-influenced game worth its salt delivers on themes of friendship and teamwork – alongside some chuffin’ good loot. While some bounced off Ubisoft’s post-apocalyptic shooter due to a lack of endgame content, Ubisoft gradually expanded on the game, taking it from strength to strength with a slew of updates. All of that work is present in The Division 2’s Washington setting, which is why it’s one of the best co-op games on PC.
Much like the original, you can take to the battlefield with three pals to take down gangs of looters and pyromaniacs. Aside from the story, you can also take your squad into the Dark Zone, where you’ll go shoulder-to-shoulder with other players to duke it out for more loot. There’s a wonderful hint of roleplay to it, too. If you’d like to play the good guy and protect others from getting picked on, that’s fine. Want to be the big baddie dishing out the hurt? That’s doable, too – if not slightly mean.
Once you’re geared to your ears with The Division 2 Exotics, you and your buds will have plenty of upcoming content to jump into, as well. The Division 2 is packed with PvE activities like The Division 2 Raids, Strongholds, and more snippets of story. For the PvP fans among us, Skirmish and the Dark Zone provide a welcome spot to hone your aim. There’s also a huge expansion, Warlords of New York, which lets you boost to level 30 to enjoy blasting your way around the Big Apple.
If the PC launch of Destiny 2 has been your first introduction to Bungie’s colossal console game, then you may have initially been a bit confused. As you can read in our original Destiny 2 PC review, its paper-thin plot fails to tell an interesting yarn, there aren’t a huge amount of activities to do, and you will have seen pretty much everything it has to offer in around 30 hours. Bear with us though, because if you think of the game as a social space for your buddies instead – the online games equivalent of a bar where you can shoot aliens – and it all comes together as one of PC’s best co-op games.
Be it speeding across a planet surface on a Sparrow hoverbike, spelunking into a cave in search of powerful loot, or taking on PvE strikes for new Destiny 2 Nightfall weapons each week, all of the free MMO’s activities are tuned to work at their best when played with friends. Combining class skills, mastering Destiny 2’s best PvP weapons, and achieving victory over a powerful boss provides a genuine sense of achievement for your fireteam that few other games can match. With server resets every Tuesday offering new loot and challenges, Destiny 2 makes sense as your weekly virtual meet-up with the gang, and there’s always something new to drop into.
Ditching the unbearably brown colour scheme Epic has loved so much in the past, Fortnite instead favours a lurid and vibrant style that’s now brought to life by Unreal Engine 5. Though its battle royale mode may have taken over the world, becoming one of the most popular free PC games around, Fortnite’s initial Save the World horde-style offering shouldn’t be forgotten, and remains a brilliant shooter/builder hybrid.
Banding together with up to three other people, you’ll combine your efforts to build an impenetrable fortress around a pal in desperate need of protection. Once you’ve checked out our Fortnite: Save the World guide, you’ll be ready to build defences and a variety of eccentric traps, before triggering the ‘go’ button to start a series of relentless waves of deadly-but-oddly-cute zombies. With an arsenal of weapons amassed from your never-ending drip-feed of loot boxes (which can be used to obtain Fortnite skins) you’ll hold the undead at bay and claim victory. Its progression systems are over-engineered, but the core components of Fortnite are incredibly polished and, importantly, fun to play.
If the building and tower defence-style gameplay don’t do it for you, the all-conquering last man standing battle royale mode can be played in duos, trios, or squads of four players. Okay, so that’s a team-based competitive multiplayer game if we’re being picky, but it’s popular for a reason and you can play it with your friends. Read our Fortnite tips to get the jump on your fellow survivors in the latest season where Fortnite animals can be tamed and you can use Fortnite crafting to make weapons better.
Finally, the increasingly popular creative mode has also given players a new way to play with friends with endless terrain at their disposal. Jump into player-created maps with your buddies to take out other teams, complete puzzles or death runs together, or just hang out and practise your skills consequence-free. You can even build a map yourself, and if you’re proud of your work, you can share your Fortnite Creative codes online to let others have a peep.
Without a doubt, Overcooked 2 is the most insane, stressful, and joyful game on this list. Tasking four players with making food may sound simple, but as anyone who’s ever worked in catering will tell you, a kitchen is the devil’s own workhouse. As timers tick down, you’ll need to coordinate on veg chopping, burger frying, soup stirring, and dishwashing. Each subsequent level introduces a more varied menu and increasingly complex dishes.
A set of incredibly designed levels only add to the challenge; sometimes your restaurant will be broken in two by an earthquake, meaning you’ll have to not only cooperate in separate halves, but time things so you can pass them to the right side of the kitchen when the opportunity arises. It’s this chaos that creates Overcooked’s best moments. Like the best strategy games on PC, this charming cook ’em up demands constant thought and communication. Shield your ear as screams cross the living room as you gleefully panic your way to victory.
Left 4 Dead 2
One of Valve’s true classics, Left 4 Dead 2 puts the focus on tight teamwork against the backdrop of an exceptionally gruesome zombie outbreak. Thanks to the sheer number of undead, it’s vital to stick together and assess threats at each turn of the campaign’s sprawling maps. You’ll need to make sure there’s always someone ready to save you from a surprise special infected attack, or to help thin the horde so you can make your escape.
It’s best played with friends equipped with headsets as the frantic pace means you need to be able to re-plan and alert your friends within seconds of things happening. But playing with strangers isn’t impossible, especially if they’re willing to teach you a few tricks. Try to keep away from filling spaces up with bots though: they’re barely capable with a gun, and won’t help you respawn should you die. Spiritual successor Back 4 Blood doesn’t quite reach the same lofty heights, so even though it’s getting on a bit, Left 4 Dead is still one of the best co-op games around.
Minecraft is one of the most popular single-player games of the last decade, but it’s also an incredibly fun co-op game. You might not be able to play couch co-op in Minecraft, but if you know how to host a Minecraft server or Realm, you and a friend can easily jump into the same world. Then it’s up to you whether you work together and share resources or create your own neighbouring Minecraft builds, before halving the fear of entering the Nether and the difficulty of defeating the Ender Dragon.
There are also some fantastic and creative co-op Minecraft maps at your disposal too, a lot of which play out like Portal 2, requiring both players to work together – but there’s also plenty that pit you against one another if that’s more your style.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Unlike many co-op games that sacrifice depth to speed up conversation and inventory management, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a full-fat RPG adventure. The game chucks both players into a well of mechanics, then waits patiently for them to get their bearings. This Ultima-indebted adventure is more tactical, wordy, and comprehensively interactive than any other modern RPG you’d care to name, cooperative or single-player, and ranks as one of the best RPGs on PC. Then, somehow, it was made even better with the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition, with Larian expanding and enhancing its already-wonderful yarn.
The plot revolves around outlawed magic and the impending end of everything, which you’ll attempt to avert with the aid of a friend or three. You’ll each take control of either a pre-made character complete with their own goals and backstory, or a blank slate on which you can project all your fantasy… fantasies. As you explore doom fortresses, trap-filled mazes, and ethereal realms, you’ll soon discover that there’s a unique and fun logic at play in everything you do. Work within those laws, and as our Divinity: Original Sin 2 PC review points out, you’ll be treated to one of PC’s most satisfying co-op games.
Though combat is turn-based, it requires close communication if you’re to have any hope of besting enemies. The best strategies lie in experimenting with Divinity: Original Sin 2 builds; combining the elements to explosive or paralysing effect; having your mage open the clouds so that your comrade can zap the resulting puddle with lightning, or breaking open a barrel of oil for a friend to light on fire. It’ll leave you glowing.
Vermintide 2 is a sequel that addresses pretty much every qualm you had with the original splat the rat-simulator. Not enough enemy variation? Here are several new boss types and heaps of Chaos grunts to hack, slash, shoot, and burn your way through. Wanted more class-based progression? Now every Hero has three specialisations for you to level through, effectively tripling the number of classes for the sequel. Vermintide 1 too dank and dreary? Vermintide 2 maps are plentiful, varied, and absolutely gorgeous.
All of this builds on the already perfect chassis of one of the best co-op games of all time, Left 4 Dead 2. Swapping zombies out for rat men and rotting Chaos troops is the easy part, though: what Vermintide 2 really nails is making you feel every decapitation, bludgeoning, and incineration. Combat might be a simple case of clicking until all the vermin have been turned to gore, but you won’t notice that as every weapon feels as good as Unreal Tournament Flak Cannon. Pop three of your best mates alongside you and there are few better ways to whittle away the hours.
It finally happened; you and three of your gaming pals have been imprisoned. Now your gaming squad is tasked with exploring a terrifying underground complex to obtain loot on behalf of your captors, in one of the most challenging horror games we’ve played. To escape safely – aka GTFO – you must carefully sneak or shoot your way past horrifying monsters, gather resources, and communicate effectively with your team.
GTFO isn’t a mindless run-and-gun; bulldozing your way through the eerie, atmospheric levels won’t work. Instead, your team will need to work together to complete objectives and navigate the level without falling victim to the dangers within. The game is intensely difficult – you and your friends may find yourself attempting the same level over and over again for hours before the relief of finally completing it. A squad of four is required; the game doesn’t adjust its difficulty if you’re missing players, and you will absolutely need to be in voice comms together, if only to enjoy your teammates’ screams, because that’s what friendship is all about.
If you love viking games and survival games, then Valheim is the perfect co-op game for you and your pals. You’re dropped into Viking purgatory to explore different biomes and fight Valheim bosses, but it’s a lot more relaxing than it sounds. Valheim slows down the pace of progression as you forage for materials and slowly build up your base and earn better gear, fighting enemies along the way.
You can set up a dedicated Valheim server, too, so you can play online with up to nine other people in PvE. From defending your base against trolls to taming boars and brewing beer – Valheim is a beautiful journey, and still receives updates with a planned Valheim roadmap and plans to add new bosses, biomes, and items.
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak
Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak is a huge expansion for the latest Monster Hunter game, where players team up to fight formidable wildlife. Compared to the previous game in the series, Monster Hunter Rise and its Sunbreak expansion emphasise fun above all else, leading to our glowing Monster Hunter Rise review, with otherwise slower weapons becoming practically viable thanks to the Wirebugs.
Few games match the silliness of Rise, and the emphasis on using field items make it more fun than Monster Hunter World, as you’re always contributing to the hunt. You can lure another monster to fight your target with Stinkminks or use Marionette Spiders to slam your quarry into walls and knock them down. Provided you can get a hunting party together, you’re in for a treat.
Diablo 2 Resurrected
This remastered version of the original game – which was released over 20 years ago – is a faithful adaptation of Diablo 2, and something to keep Diablo fans busy until the release of Diablo 4.
With seven Diablo 2 Resurrected classes to choose from, you and your friends can grace hell to fight its many denizens as you pursue the Dark Wanderer in one of the best RPG games on PC. If you’re just starting out, be sure to read our Diablo 2 Resurrected beginner’s guide for handy tips on what not to do, as well as separate builds for each class. Also take a look at our Diablo 2 Resurrected review, in which we give it a solid score while still being honest about its flaws, because at it’s heart it’s a great experience for fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Tetris Effect Connected
One of our favourite relaxing games, Tetris Effect Connected is undoubtedly one of the best co-op games too, since the chilled version of the classic block-dropping game lets you compete with pals for the win or work together for the best score – with even the competitive mode somehow still retaining the relaxing feel of the game thanks to its gorgeous wallpapers and soothing soundtrack. Forget a tense atmosphere and fierce arguments, Tetris Effect Connected is perfect for a little friendly competition.
Those are our picks of the best co-op games. 2023 is going to be graced by some of the best upcoming PC games in recent memory, so to make the wait a little easier, embrace camaraderie, and pair together with a pal for the co-op treats above. Remember this, though: when it comes to solving complex robotic puzzles or shooting swarms of rat men, there truly is no ‘I’ in team. If you’ve had enough teamwork for the time being, why not try one of the best social deduction games like Among Us – where you only have to pretend to co-operate.