8 Co-op Games To Play With the Non-Gamer in Your Life

Our favorite games to play with a non-gamer partner

Co-op games typically put two or more people on the same team working together. These teamwork games makes them perfect for newcomers, as more experienced gamers can more readily help guide them through the game.

In fact, gamers cite these kinds of games as a great way to get non-gamers to share in one's gaming passion. While getting people into a new hobby can often be difficult, gaming presents its own unique barriers to entry. People whose most recent gaming experience was with Mario on the Super Nintendo are sure to feel out of their element picking up the latest Call of Duty.

Here are a few of the best easy entry co-op games for newbies that are fun, rewarding, and just might strike up a love of gaming.

Rocket League
Car soccer at its finest. Psyonix

Flying cars and giant soccer balls - what more could you want? Rocket League is a great, low-investment game that just about anyone can play. Not unlike the wide appeal of Mario Kart, Rocket League's quirky gameplay and delightful design make it a favorite even among non-gamers.

Players control a car on teams ranging from 1-4 people in a 3D soccer pitch featuring a giant bouncy soccer ball. Cars can jump, use a rocket booster, and through a combination of the two fly for a limited time. Players use their cars to smash the ball into the goal, often with hilarious results.

Rocket League is perfect for newcomers and skilled gamers alike - matchmaking adjusts based on skill level, so if you're a newbie you'll likely be matched with other newbies. Either way, games are only five minutes long, so if you're having a bad game, you'll be in another one in no time.

You can play Rocket League with friends online or on your couch using split screen.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Windows
  • macOS

You can buy it on Amazon here. More »

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Fighting off aliens. Asteroid Base

A colorful romp through two dimensions of space and time, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime lets players take control of a ship equipped with various stations that control guns, shields, and a rocket booster. The rub? You can only control one station at a time and must run around the ship to switch between stations.

You and up to three other players can take command of the ship, working together to navigate puzzles, enemies, and boss battles. As a 2D platformer, the game will feel familiar to anyone who has ever played a Mario game, and the basic controls make it accessible to just about everyone.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Windows
  • macOS
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Castle Crashers
Don't worry if you can't tell what's going on. The Behemoth

Sometimes the new gamer in your life just wants to mash buttons. And with Castle Crashers, that's okay.

A side-scrolling beat-em-up, Castle Crashers lets up to four players take control of cartoon knights in order to fight as a team across the land, freeing princesses and slaying monsters. It's silly and endlessly entertaining.

The controls are simple and the game is pretty straightforward - hack and slash all the enemies on the screen to death, then keep moving to the right. Characters can pick up leveled up weapons and even pets that assist them in battle. It's simple enough that just about anyone can pick it up and play, yet later levels add a significant level of challenge that will be welcome for more seasoned gamers.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • Windows
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Lego Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Lego. Traveller's Tales

Over the past decade, Traveller's Tales has developed games across a slew of properties, from Star Wars to Batman. Oh and all of the characters and worlds have been transformed into Legos. Here are just a few of the properties that have received the Lego game treatment:

And the best part is that you can play all of them with a friend at your side, climbing Mt. Doom together as Lego Sam and Frodo or making your way out of the Batcave as Batman and Robin.

While the concept may seem outlandish, it's a formula that works and the games almost always receive positive critical reviews. Traveller's Tales tongue-in-cheek approach to each property makes the games funny and enjoyable for any age and the puzzle-style gameplay is challenging for any skill level.

Each game is a 3D platformer in which one or two players take control of a variety of Lego-fied characters working to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. The games typically strike a nice balance between the two, resulting in a relaxing yet slightly challenging experience.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Wii U
  • Wii
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Fortnite
Defending against the zombie horde. Epic Games

Nothing says friendship like holding off the zombie horde and Fortnite lets you do just that. With teams of up to four, players work together to loot resources and build defenses in preparation for an inevitable onslaught of zombies. 

Fortnite is perfect for co-op players that like a little more challenge, but it allows players to work together by sharing resources and healing each other.

A much zanier and cartoony approach to the zombie genre, Fortnite lets players choose between four different classes of characters that all enjoy various special abilities from healing to building.

Most games consist of breaking down everything from trees to cars with a giant board and converting them into resources like wood and metal. These resources are used to build walls, traps, and other means of keeping zombies at bay while you defend an objective for a set amount of time (usually less than 15 minutes).

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation 4
  • Windows
  • macOS
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Back to the Future
Doc and Marty. Telltale Games

Telltale Games' creations could be more aptly described as interactive comic books. Each game is a point-and-click adventure game in which players direct characters around an environment, interacting with certain objects, and most importantly, other characters. Following speech trees (think choose-your-own-adventure novel) players direct characters decisions, which have consequences later on in the episode.

Here are just a few of the properties Telltale has created titles from:

  • Game of Thrones
  • The Walking Dead
  • Jurassic Park
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Back to the Future

While these games are not technically co-op, they're great to play with friends, as you can all weigh in on speech options and decisions. It's like binging a Netflix series where you control the outcome.

What's more, Telltale is committed to bringing their games to as many platforms as possible, so it doesn't matter if you game on an Xbox or a Kindle Fire.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • iOS
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Portal 2
Thinking with portals. Valve Corporation

An instant classic, Portal 2 was the much-anticipated follow-up to 2007's sleeper hit Portal. And while the continuation of Portal's story was incredible, it didn't overshadow the co-operative aspect of the game.

For the uninitiated, Portal is a game based around the mind bending Portal Gun that allows you to place each ends of a portal on various surfaces like walls and ceilings. This video should help explain the physics of the game. 

Portal 2 is a first-person shooter, however, the Portal Gun is your only weapon and it doesn't exactly kill people. Which is fine, considering your only enemies are slow-moving machines and turrets. 

While it's probably the most difficult game on this list, it's also the most rewarding. Portal 2's puzzles grow increasingly difficult but the Aha! moments are that much sweeter.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • Windows
  • macOS

Buy it on Amazon here. More »

BattleBlock Theater
Don't try to understand it. The Behemoth

If the artwork in the above screenshot looks familiar, it's because BattleBlock Theater was developed by the same team that made Castle Crashers.

The game is set on an island you crashed on along with the passengers and crew of the S.S. Friendship. Taken captive by the island's cats, you and friends are forced to carry out dangerous tasks for their amusement.

Obviously the game has a strong focus on humor.

A side-scrolling platformer, players control various members of the S.S. Friendship as they navigate puzzles and obstacles, often with each other's help. If you want to have a good hearty laugh while introducing a friend to video games, BattleBlock Theater is a great place to start.

Available on the following platforms:

  • Xbox 360
  • Windows
  • macOS
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