7 Co-op Games to Play With the Non-Gamer in Your Life

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

 Asteroid Base

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

Gamers cite these kinds of games as a great way to get non-gamers to share in their 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.

01
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Rocket League

Rocket League
Psyonix

What We Like

  • Extensive over-the-top customization for battle cars.

  • Short, high-powered games don't require a lengthy time commitment.

  • The game is approachable for new players and challenging for skilled ones.

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to be precise when playing on a small screen or split screen.

  • Game length of five minutes can't be changed.

  • Some in-game lag depending on device and connection.

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 one to four 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 a split screen.

Available on the following platforms:

You can buy it on Amazon.

02
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Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime screenshot
Asteroid Base

What We Like

  • Core emphasis is on coordinating with another player or an AI partner.

  • Lots of fun power-ups.

  • The game is more difficult than its style and premise suggest.

What We Don't Like

  • The game is more difficult for a single player than for a team.

  • A few difficult spots may discourage newbie gamers.

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 platform, 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
03
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Castle Crashers

Castle Crashers screenshot
The Behemoth

What We Like

  • Exciting visuals and soundtrack.

  • Easy enough for novice gamers.

  • Includes some combo moves to challenge experienced players.

  • Clever humor.

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the art it so busy, it disguises the enemies.

  • Single players have a difficult time in the game, which was designed to be cooperative.

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

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 straightforward: Hack and slash all the enemies on the screen to death and then keep moving to the right. Characters can pick up leveled-up weapons and 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 are welcomed by more seasoned gamers.

Available on the following platforms:

04
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Traveller's Tales' Lego series

Lego Lord of the Rings screenshot
Traveller's Tales

What We Like

  • Familiar Lego characters make this game series especially welcoming to novice gamers.

  • Every game in the series is comic action-figure or movie themed.

  • Designed to be played cooperatively.

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the games in the series are not particularly challenging.

  • Some of the games are more interesting and exciting than others.

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

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. Traveler'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 balance between the two, resulting in a relaxing yet slightly challenging experience.

Available on the following platforms:

05
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Fortnite

Fortnite screenshot
Epic Games

What We Like

  • Regular updates keep the game fresh.

  • Cartoonish characters and lack of blood and gore.

  • Amazing structure-building action.

  • Casual appearance for an incredibly competitive game.

What We Don't Like

  • Resource-gathering becomes boring.

  • Guns and weapons dominate the action.

  • Not suitable for young kids due to violence.

  • Needs a tutorial on building.

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 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
06
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Portal 2

Portal 2 screenshot
Valve Corporation

What We Like

  • Co-op mode makes this innovative game great.

  • Excellent writing and character development.

  • Lots of replay value.

What We Don't Like

  • Portal concept can be difficult to grasp.

  • Gameplay is difficult and may discourage novice gamers.

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

For the uninitiated, Portal is a game based around the mind-bending Portal Gun that allows you to place each end of a portal on various surfaces like walls and ceilings. This video helps 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.

07
of 07

BattleBlock Theater

BattleBlock Theater
The Behemoth

What We Like

  • Can be played in solo mode or co-op mode with another local or online player.

  • Energetic, cartoonish characters.

  • Hilarious dialogue.

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the humor is crude.

  • Over-the-top storyline may annoy some players.

If the artwork in the 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 your 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 one another's help. If you want to have a 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