Christmas 2020 is going to be a largely stay-at-home affair. And whether you're taking time off with your immediate family only, friends within an established bubble, or welcoming relatives into your home thanks to some decidedly dodgy government-approved limited-time-only household mixing (please, keep your distance, and definitely no open-mouth kissing under the mistletoe), you're going to want some entertainment.
And, really, what better way to initially have a great time with others, before hopelessly falling out with them and not talking for the rest of the day, than taking on a split-screen multiplayer video game. Here's 10 new recommendations that came out this year, to suit a variety of tastes; but of course, there are many more couch co-op delights to be had from years past, and this video on the best (older) games to play with your family is likely to feature some winners, too.
All You Can Eat is a compilation of Overcooked! and Overcooked 2!, plus all of the additional content for those two (fantastic in their own right) games, and supports four-player split-screen play. It also stars all-new chefs, adds extra levels, and includes accessibility options to make it playable by even more people. If you're familiar with Overcooked, you know what to expect here. If not, it's all about frantic orders-clearing fun where your workplace absolutely will be on fire before long. Expect to laugh, to cry, and to never, ever want to work in a restaurant.
This dungeon-crawler spin-off of Mojang's famous sandbox title allows up to four players to simultaneously take on randomly generated monsters and navigate their way through isometric levels full of traps and puzzles. It's a pretty simple game to get to grips with - walk, smash, loot, repeat - so even people who claim they don't play games will be able to join in effortlessly. More information can be yours, in our review.
Another game that supports four players on the same screen, Moving Out takes the madcap energy of Overcooked and mixes it into the intense IRL stress of moving house. Rather than preparing meals, you'll be lifting fridges and sofas and trying to get them from home to van before the clock's finished. Our review has more details on this one, and it's worth noting that if Moving Out is too hard for some, there are difficulty modifiers to play around with.
This one's for a pair of players, as it puts you and a pal in charge of a two-headed dog. The game's all about overcoming some humorous obstacles, spread across several bright levels set in themed worlds. Phogs! is a joyous-looking creation indeed, and while it's definitely more challenging (but not frustratingly so!) than some of the games on this little list, even non-playing observers will get a kick out of it.
The chronological prequel to the all-time classic that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, in terms of its storyline, this all-action take on Nintendo's famous adventure series allows two players to take on Ganon's hordes at the same time. Age of Calamity can be set up so there's no real risk of defeat, but you'll still need to be handy with the shoulder buttons, and combos, to get the most out of it. And you'll need to communicate effectively, too, as you take the battle to several groups of monsters across large maps. Our review has more details.
From Christmas 2019: More Games To Play With Your Family
If you grew up loving racers like SEGA's Virtua Racing and Daytona USA, then Hotshot Racing is an absolute must. And its low-poly presentation makes four-player split-screen races just as fantastically fast as bigger-budget alternatives, like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. A classic arcade-styled racer, this is perfect for blasting through in 10- or 15-minute bursts while the spouts are boiling away into nothing. Our review has more details.
If punching people in their big dumb faces is more your speed than putting pedal to the metal, Streets of Rage 4 is a brilliant option. The new entry in SEGA's classic brawler series is almost as brilliant as the untouchable second entry, and supports up to four players for some blistering beat 'em up action. It's full of loving nods to its predecessors, but stands up as a phenomenal new game too - which is why we raved about it so much in our review.
The sequel to one of the best local multiplayer games of all time is, wholly predictably, also really rather special. Spelunky 2 is tricky, testing, hilarious and lightning quick, and can be played cooperatively or competitively, if a little versus action is what you're after to help that pudding go down. One of the most acclaimed multiplayer games of 2020, this one will challenge anyone, so newcomers to fast-paced platforming might want to take a backseat.
Five very different games in one, Jackbox's seventh Party Pack includes Quiplash 3, all about quick-thinking wordplay; Talking Points, a game of making sure you don't pause when giving a speech; Blather 'Round, where you need to find the wrong words for the right things; Champ'd Up, which sees player-created characters duke it out to be the Champion of Cowards; and The Devil and the Details, which brings a hellish twist to modern life's very real trials and tribulations. Jackbox bundles always guarantee laughs, phones in hands, and if what Party Pack 7 has doesn't immediately appeal, check out previous entries in the series.
Yes, Untitled Goose Game came out in 2019, and was one of our games of the year (number four, with a honk). But in 2020, developers House House added a two-player mode - and tearing through a small village, terrorising the residents and causing havoc wherever you waddle, is way more fun with a feathery buddy beside you. The two-player update was free, so if you've got Untitled Goose Game downloaded somewhere, untouched from last year, fire it up and enjoy the twin-beaked hijinks.
Featured Image Credit: Team17, House House/Panic, Xbox Game Studios/Mojang/Double Eleven
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