Top 10 Games to Play with Friends
Whether it’s online or local, multiplayer with friends can be exceptionally fun. I’ve probably spent more total time on single-player games than multiplayer ones, but there are still several games that I’ve had a blast playing with friends over the years.
Here are my top 10 favorites!
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
This game is a fun local-coop game where you and your friends man several bizarre kitchens with the goal of filling as many orders as possible during the time limit. The time limit is just a few minutes, so this is one you could pick up and play quickly. During those few minutes, things can get really hectic though! As you get further into the game, the hazards in the kitchen become more and more difficult, and it’ll really test your communication skills when things get tough!
9. Deep Rock Galactic
Also available on: Xbox One
It’s only recently that I’ve started playing Deep Rock Galactic, but wow is a fun time with friends. Its online cooperative gameplay supports up to 4 players as you take on missions with several different types of objectives and explore procedurally generated caves. You play as dwarves, so the mining is a significant focus during the missions, and the terrain is fully destructible. You can mine wherever you want on the hunt for resources, all while keeping an eye out for the alien life native to the caves. Swarms of insects will happen though, and the music that plays when they do is pretty great!
Mining and shooting swarms of alien insects with friends is a feeling like no other!
8. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
I put Definitive Edition here, but any version of this real-time strategy classic is a safe bet for a fun game with friends. This game was my first experience with a LAN party, where my group of friends rounded up laptops and plugged into a network switch to play 8-player, 4v4 conquest games. That was with the original release on CD, but I’ve since played the HD version on Steam and most recently the Definitive Edition, and all of them offered great multiplayer fun!
7. Mario Party 5
The iconic, mini-game-filled, Mario-themed board game series: Mario Party. If you haven’t played a Mario Party game before, I’d definitely recommend checking out one of the GameCube entries in the series! They hold up well, and offer a wildly entertaining experience for up to 4-players.
This entry could be replaced with any Mario Party of your choice. I almost picked Mario Party 6, but 5 has a lot of nostalgia for me. I really liked that it has the Star Spirits from Paper Mario in it on the main menu, and the collection of mini-games is solid.
6. Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure
Stikbold is a game about dodgeball. It’s packed full of light-hearted charm, bright colors, and there’s both an extremely fun co-op campaign and a free battle mode for up to 4 players. I didn’t realize until now, but it’s very fitting that Stikbold released on April Fool’s Day. It’s a perfect release date for a zany game like this!
5. Halo: Reach
Also available on: Xbox One, PC
Local Halo matches are extremely fun for a group of four friends (or more if you’re using System Link) regardless of which game in the series you’re playing. The reason Halo: Reach gets my pick is simple: Forge World. Playing Forge mode and building stages together was something my friends and I spent hours doing after the release of Reach. Were any of the stages good? Probably not, but building them and messing around playtesting them was a ton of fun! If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there’s also the campaign, which can be played through entirely in co-op, or the wave defense Firefight mode.
With the release of Halo: Reach on Steam, I’ve been playing it again lately with friends, and it’s still a lot of fun! Unfortunately, Forge isn’t yet available on PC, and multiplayer is online or LAN only, without any split-screen multiplayer options.
Also available on: Android, iOS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Switch, and more
I was thinking of the original Java Edition for PC when I wrote this, but you can have a lot of fun with split-screen co-op on many of the console editions of Minecraft too! This is exactly what my friends and I used to do in the Xbox 360 version, and we had a blast building worlds together in split-screen. Whether you’re playing on a Minecraft server online or enjoying some local co-op, Minecraft is an excellent experience with friends.
3. Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart 64 makes my list over the other entries in the series for one reason: battle mode. I always enjoyed the balloon battle mode, where up to 4 players face off in one of 4 small arena, and the goal is to be the last one standing. Using items you’ll pick up around the stage, you aim to eliminate your competition. My siblings and I played battle mode as kids, and recently I played it again with friends and it was every bit as fun as I remembered!
If you’re looking for a good kart racing experience with friends, I think the later Mario Kart games are better. But 4 player battle mode in Mario Kart 64 is a great time!
2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Any of the Super Smash Bros. games are great to play with friends, but I’ve picked Ultimate since it has the most content. There are more characters and stages than any game in the series before it, and that allows for tons of options. Fighting against your friends as beloved video game characters never gets old!
4 player battles are what I’m most used to, but in more recent Smash Bros. games you can have up to 8 player battles if you have enough controllers and/or consoles!
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Crawl is best when you have 4 players, and that’s actually the only way I’ve played it but you can have bots fill in the empty player slots as well. If you can get a group of 4 people together to play it though, it’s fantastic. The gameplay consists of 1 human hero and 3 spirits, and the human’s goal is to make it down through several floors of randomly generated dungeons and defeat a boss at the end. The human is controlled by one player, and each spirit is controlled by another. The twist is that the spirits can possess various traps in the dungeon and summon and control monsters, and if one of them kills the human then they become the human, and the player who was human becomes a spirit. So gameplay cycles between temporarily cooperating with a few of your friends to take down the human, but if you become the human then the tables turn on you and the ones you were just cooperating with are now trying to take you down.
It’s a really fun concept, and I’ve spent a few evenings with friends playing several rounds of Crawl, and each of them has been an incredibly fun success, probably the most fun I’ve had with a local co-op game!