The Switch is a marvellous little thing, isn’t it? As well as bridging the gap between handheld and console remarkably smoothly, it is pretty much the perfect console to introduce to those who don’t call themselves gamers, which is evidenced by the best Switch co-op games, whether that’s online or from the comfort of your couch.
Arguably one of the best platforms to play co-op games on, the Switch’s detachable Joy-Cons means that it doesn’t even have to be from your couch where you fight back the hordes, build a giant monument to Waluigi, or cook a lot of bad food with a friend. It could be anywhere.
Whether it’s in bed or your local park, you can play co-op on the Switch fairly seamlessly. Just flip out the Switch’s tiny kickstand and you could be hunting ghosts together on the bus. Better yet, a lot of Switch co-op games allow you to mix and match your controllers, so one person could be using the Pro Controller while another can have a Joy-Con.
If you’re searching for the ultimate co-op games on the Switch, here’s our picks for what will either bring you and your partner together or tear you irrevocably apart.
The Best Switch Co-Op Games
15. Death Squared
Developer: SMG Studio Publisher: SMG Studio Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
If trying to solve a giant puzzle-board sounds like too much fiddling and too many lost pieces, Death Squared is a cute yet brain-taxing puzzler for all ages that feels right at home on the Switch.
Death Squared is a game that asks you to pull levers until something works, all while trying to communicate with your co-op partner what the next step should be. As nice touch, the cutesy robots will squabble with each other just as you will your co-op partner.
Packed with a tonne of increasingly fiendish levels and offbeat laughs, Death Squared may be the least recognised Switch co-op game on this list, but it’s worth just as much of your time.
14. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Going from an underrated game on the Wii U to an underrated game on the Switch, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker really is just a lovely platformer, a simple game to pick up and play for people of all ages.
Following Toad as he looks to save Toadette from the clutches of Wingo, you can enlist a second player to help you solve the game’s straightforward perspective-shifting puzzles. Unfortunately, progress is only tied to the profile of player 1, though that not matter to younger players who just want a distraction.
Curiously, the Switch port of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has received more support than the Wii U version ever did, so the one to get is pretty obvious. As if anyone would buy a Wii U game these days, though.
13. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
Developer: Edmund McMillen Publisher: Merge Games Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Right, so here’s a Switch co-op game that you don’t want to play with any priests that happen to be in your family. You will be probably be the subject of an impromptu baptism after playing this with them.
You play as Isaac, a young child who escapes to his sordid basement after his demented mother believes God has demanded she kills him to prove her faith. Yeah, this is definitely no Captain Toad.
This massively influential roguelike allows players on multiple Joy-Cons to control one of the many unlockable babies in Isaac’s deformed world with each baby then taking a heart away from the main character. It’s not exactly cheerful fun for the whole family, but it’s a dark challenge worth taking on.
12. Unravel Two
Developer: Coldwood Interactive Publisher: EA Originals Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Unravel Two is the woefully underrated sequel to the original adventures of Yarny, who this time has a friend in tow across his photorealistic journey.
By streamlining the annoyances of the original game while also adding co-op that demands teamwork, Unravel Two really is one of the better platformers out there that deserves a much bigger audience.
The puzzles, while not exactly challenging, ask enough of your combined brainpower to make it a great bonding experience, all with an uplifting story to boot. Plus, it looks absolutely stunning.
It’s a genuine step-up from its predecessor with smoother controls and more gameplay styles while also retaining the irrefutable charm that won the first game so many fans. With any luck, Unravel Two will win many more.
11. Super Mario Party
Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
After a couple of just plain not good entries, Super Mario Party really brought the divorce-inducing franchise back on track with a wealth of new ideas and its infectious personality.
Players can now team up to take on boards together with each team sharing coins and stars, though as this is a Mario Party game, don’t get too precious about holding onto either.
Where Super Mario Party really shines for co-op, however, is in its River Survival mode, which tasks players with paddling in unison to beat the clock while also beating minigames.
The only issue with Super Mario Party is that you can only use Joy-Cons to play with people, and they certainly aren’t cheap, so you’re looking at an extra investment if you want more than two people playing.
Super Mario Party offers old school board game action with action-packed mini-games that make full use of the Joy-Cons’ motion capabilities while delivering new party tricks for all.
10. Diablo III
Developer: Blizzard Publisher: Blizzard Couch/Online Co-op: Both
Despite being so simple, the Diablo series is devilishly (heh) addictive. This is all there is to it: drop in, slash away, get the loot, drop out, repeat the process until you are the strongest Monk in the land. Give them your money.
You’d be hard pressed to say it has much more depth than that, but Blizzard have made such a simple loop so satisfying that it’s hard to resist, especially when you have friends in tow for all the hacking plus slashing.
Whether from the comfort of your couch or online, co-op in Diablo III allows players to choose from seven different classes as they take on this dark fantasy dungeon crawler. That said, it’s not exactly a cheap game considering its age, so maybe wait for a sale.
Diablo III on the Switch is an obvious buy for anyone who likes dungeon crawlers or just wants to enjoy some best in class couch co-op.
9. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Developer: Next Level Games Publisher: Nintendo Couch/Online Co-op: Both
Luigi’s Mansion 3 surprised plenty of people when it came out, even more so when they revealed that Nintendo didn’t actually develop it. It has every pixel of Nintendo quality that you would come to expect.
Following Luigi’s escapades in a creepy hotel after his nearest and dearest are captured and kept in paintings, a second player can take the form of Gooigi. As well as boasting a great name, Gooigi can get into places that the fully solid Luigi cannot. Loser.
On top of that, up to 8 players can combine forces to take on the ScareScraper Mode, which is basically the game’s version of Bloody Palace without half as much swordplay. Shame, we’d love to see Luigi rocking the Rebellion one day.
8. Enter the Gungeon
Developer: Dodge Roll Games Publisher: Devolver Digital Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Something of an indie favourite, Enter the Gungeon isn’t a Switch co-op game that’s going to be easy going even with an additional player. Notoriously difficult, Enter the Gungeon asks you to shoot your way through dozens of dastardly sprites as you look for a legendary gun that can kill the past.
If that sounds a bit irreverent, that’s Enter the Gungeon in a nutshell, though its silliness does belie just how difficult it can be — the deaths will really tot up in this dungeon crawler. Let’s not talk about those bosses. They really can undo a good run in seconds, like a serial killer going after joggers in a park.
Enlist the help of a pal as you descend the game’s daft, ever-changing depths and share the pain together.
7. Overcooked 2
Developer: Team17, Ghost Town Games Publisher: Team17 Couch/Online Co-op: Both
Here’s one of those games that could make even the strongest of couples split, or ruin Christmas for the whole family.
Overcooked 2 is designed to be a game that makes its players screech and wail in frustration, it tasking you with cooking food in ever more ridiculous situations. If you thought the original Overcooked was silly, you haven’t seen anything yet. Expect to be plummeting from the sky in a hot air balloon before you know what’s happening.
Whether online or locally, prepare to resent your loved ones when they mess up the order for the fifth time in a row.
6. Rayman Legends
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
It’s also great for some co-op action on your Switch, the entirety of the game’s wonderful campaign playable with up to three friends. Packed with tonnes of things to collect and adorable critters to marvel at, Rayman Legends may be the definitive Switch game for younger players.
But seriously, though: where’s the next Rayman game?
Developer: SFB Games Publisher: Nintendo Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Poor Snipperclips. Releasing as an unknown new IP at the Switch’s launch when everyone was too busy battling through Breath of the Wild, it’s a joyful game that few people seem to talk about these days.
But they really should: Snipperclips is a wonderfully creative game that asks you to cut paths into levels to help you and your co-op partner progress. Imagine Tearaway but for the Switch and you kind of have the right idea.
It’s a fantastically fun game for all ages that even asks you to cut shapes out of each other to open up new routes by creating shapes, or maybe just for fun. Don’t sleep on Snipperclips. You can leave 1-2-Switch where it is, though.
4. The Adventure Pals
Developer: Massive Monster Publisher: Armor Games Studios Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
You might take one look at Adventure Pals’ beautiful artstyle and wonder why more people don’t talk about it as one of the best platformers around. Well, it’s quite short, easily beatable in a lazy afternoon.
Still, if it’s a light distraction you want to enjoy with a co-op partner who maybe doesn’t play too many games, The Adventure Pals is basically a classic Saturday morning cartoon that you can play through in the same amount of time, all with a big smile on your face.
As if you needed any more reason to check out The Adventure Pals on your Switch, you can ride a giraffe. Can The Last of Us do that?
3. Heave Ho
Developer: Le Cartel Studio Publisher: Devolver Digital Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Farcical limbs-based party games are all the rage these days, and Heave Ho is perhaps the most farcical (in a good way) of them all. It has that same level of nonsense you’d come to expect from a Devolver game, as well as having just plain fun gameplay to match.
By controlling the arms of your strange ball-goblin while working together with friends, you can make your way across some increasingly bizarre levels with gimmicks aplenty. You can even latch onto friends and use them as jumping off points to make the biggest jumps.
Sounds easy? It’s not. Whether your co-op partner is getting in your way and sending you plummeting to your death or you miss a ledge by a single pixel, Heave Ho is one of the most challenging yet hilarious games you can find on the Switch.
Developer: Mojang Publisher: Mojang AB Couch/Online Co-op: Both
At this point in its illustrious life, there’s a high chance you’ve already played Minecraft, long decided whether or not it’s really a game for you. Not everyone loves it, but those who do love it are borderline obsessed with it.
The freedom of creativity and exploration is one of the main reasons why Minecraft has so many fans, as well as its accessibility to players of all ages. If you want to build a monument to Reggie, why not enlist the help of a friend? Whether you just want to drop in and freely create or crawl through it survival aspect, Minecraft on Switch is a brilliant co-op experience.
Better yet, thanks to the game’s crossplay support (one of the most robust in all of gaming), you can play with all of your friends over different platforms.
Developer: StudioMDHR Publisher: StudioMDHR Couch/Online Co-op: Couch only
Let’s finish things off with a Switch co-op game that will make even a professional gamer family (imagine such a thing existed) question their skill. Cuphead is one of the most difficult yet immensely rewarding games of the last ten years, and it’s right at home on the Switch.
This side-scrolling bullet hell allows two players to take the reins of the eponymous Cuphead and Mugman as they look to pay off a debt to the devil himself. If anything, the game is even harder with two players, the game balancing to punish you for daring to look for the easier way out.
If you can wipe away the frustration sweats and get past the notoriously impossible tutorial, Cuphead offers one of the most gorgeous artstyles out there with the simple yet maddeningly addictive gameplay to match.
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