Everyone has gone online. Or not all?
The other day I thought that for quite a long time I had not skated in a split-screen or, in principle, a cooperative game together with one screen. Football simulators and arcades do not count: this is their basic feature, without which many players will not buy them.
With other genres, everything is more difficult. The industry is increasingly moving online, where everyone sits at their own computer or console. People seem to play together, but rather apart: they are only united by Discord or the capabilities of modern consoles for voice transmission.
It really upsets me, because in the company of good friends you often want to turn on a cool game and play together, but there seems to be no local co-op games — and few are heard. First of all, the projects of Hazelight Studios come to mind (without them, everything would be completely sad!), the Overcooked series and Cuphead. Nevertheless, Cuphead is more suitable for sophisticated gamers, and Overcooked, although fun, is also more of an amateur.
Therefore, when they ask me what top game can be played behind one sofa, all that remains is to shrug. Sports simulators of various stripes still attract a lot of attention, because there is enough content there. From football, basketball and hockey to mixed martial arts and WWE. Oh, and the awesome games of Yousef Fares, the only top developer in the modern industry who is interested in a co-op experience. It’s great that his work is appreciated by colleagues, and It Takes Two won the last The Game Awards — a rather unexpected and pleasant result.
When it comes to multi-player projects, my company appreciated Knight Squad the most – an arcade action game for up to eight players where you have to stab each other with swords, incinerate each other with lasers, and even use magic weapons. The game is pure fun, it is extremely simple and quickly engages, and due to the dynamic process, after 40-50 minutes you want to postpone it — and don’t play that day anymore, it saturates you so much.
And this is a rare example of a cool co-op. I’m missing a top race where you can ride two / four. It is arcades: torturing a simulator in a cheerful company is a rare form of perversion. And it’s extremely disappointing that the beloved Forza Horizon racing series has been relying on single and multiplayer races for many years. Sitting at the same sofa and competing with friends in the best race of our time is a dream that has yet to come true.
So nostalgia overcomes: before, much more top studios worked on a co-op. Ubisoft has been very happy with the Rayman series, and while I haven’t seen the trilogy, I’ve had very enjoyable hours playing Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends. Platformers from the French studio delighted with rich colors and level design. And what was the dynamics there: everything depended on the players, but when you both understood the gameplay principles, you just flew towards adventure!
The co-op in Portal 2, which I adore, completely blew the roof at the time! After a great solo campaign, I went with a friend to the co-op mode, where the puzzles were even more difficult. But it was easier to solve difficulties together — the game then gave an unforgettable experience that can be repeated, it seems, only in Portal 3. It remains to wait for it.
Can you recommend what pop games to play among modern local co-ops?
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