If you’re heading home for Christmas, or expecting lots of family and friends to be descending in the coming weeks, chances are you’ll be scrambling for something to keep them entertained beyond cheesy festive TV re-runs and endless streams of alcohol. Luckily, we have a healthier, more wholesome solution in the form of video games!
Trusted Reviews has compiled a list of some of the finest co-operative games to play at Christmas, whether it’s a spot of friendly competition, a heartfelt narrative adventure or something completely different altogether.
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If you’re after unbridled chaos alongside a handful of ruined relationships, you don’t need to look much further than Overcooked 2. Team 17’s co-operative venture requires you and a group to assemble a selection of dishes against the clock in a range of increasingly random levels.
Sometimes, you’ll be clumsily moving across a glacier, while at others you’ll be desperately jumping between two trucks housing essential kitchen appliances. You’ll need to chop, fry, carry and throw ingredients between different players, serving them to customers in the fastest manner possible. It’s fun, frustrating, and unlike anything else out there.
If you’re not a fan of FIFA 20, Rocket League is a sports outing that takes the traditional game of football and transforms it into something utterly fantastical. You play as fast-moving futuristic vehicles, either solo or as part of a team, in a sport where only one objective matters: driving a giant ball into the goal across the field. It’s a simple yet fiendishly addictive premise that works wonderfully in local multi-player.
Since its original launch a few years ago, Rocket League has been updated with a barrage of new cosmetics, modes, and clever spins on the act of cars driving around a pitch, pelting a football into a set of giant neon goalposts. Such variants take inspiration from the likes of basketball and ice hockey, and they’re all a blast in their own way, especially with friends.
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Previously exclusive to Xbox One, Studio MDHR’s gorgeous platformer has now arrived on Nintendo Switch, offering an even more compelling method to engage with its excellent co-operative mode. Cuphead isn’t for the faint-hearted, boasting some of the hardest boss battles of a generation who fill the screen with all manner of deadly attacks and projectiles.
Things are made a little easier with a friend by your side, as you’re capable of dealing double the damage and reviving one another when the going gets tough – although such a feat requires razor-sharp reflexes. If you’re both skilled enough then its luscious animation and nail-biting encounters make Cuphead a triumph.
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Xbox Game Pass is a miracle for gamers focused on getting as much value as possible out of their subscription services. At the time of writing, you can download hundreds of games and play them to your heart’s content for a cheap monthly price. Microsoft is leading the charge on this front, with Gears 5 being one of the biggest games on its service right now.
The Coalition’s latest entry in the long-running shooter series contains a thrilling solo campaign alongside a bunch of different multi-player modes – all of which can be played co-operatively with a friend. Horde mode is our personal highlight, pitting you and a team of players against an endless onslaught of different enemies. You’ll need to use the layout of each map alongside a bunch of different weapons and equipment to your advantage to stand a chance at survival.
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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Playable in both virtual reality and through traditional means, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a wonderfully tense party game, where one player must provide instructions while others try desperately to disarm a bomb counting down to oblivion. It will either go down a treat with your family and friends, or create a void that can never be filled again. Either way, you’re bound to have a blast (pun very much intended).
Virtual reality adds an extra layer of tension to proceedings – you’re cast even further away from your allies, taking instructions from inside the headset, which causes both literal and mental bouts of sweating. While a number of rounds will end in failure, finally triumphing over layers of intricate puzzles to disarm the ticking timebomb is a moment of satisfaction we really can’t describe.
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While it isn’t entirely festive, Gearbox Software’s Borderlands 3 is one of the finest co-op shooters out there right now, especially if you’re keen to play on the sofa alongside a couple of your siblings on Christmas day. It performs well on every platform, with enhanced hardware offering the definitive experience for visual and frame rates fans.
Boasting a number of different classes to choose from and a shared loot system, you won’t be arguing over who gets the shiny drops from each mission. Borderlands 3 has a massive campaign and lots of additional content in the works, so chances are you’ll be sinking into this superb loot-shooter long after Christmas is over – and it’s easy to take your family and friends along for the ride.