The 9 Best PS4 Party Games of 2021

Take your next party up a notch

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The Rundown
Only the host needs to own the game, with up to eight participants able to join by entering a room code on a web browser.
The game includes a number of popular rule variations, but you'll still recognize all the familiar locations and game pieces.
You and your buddies play as two to four cartoony chefs working together against the clock.
It's tense and incredibly frantic, but also a lot of fun, providing you all take it in a good-natured manner.
Four players on a single-screen 2D map duke it out in an archery-based platform-jumping deathmatch adventure.
The creator tools are far more powerful than before, supporting up to 16 playable layers so you can let your imagination run riot.
Fuser's online multiplayer lets you take part in head-to-head DJ battles or opt to collaborate onstage with up to three other DJs.
It's a blast to grab some friends and follow the energetic and entertaining moves of the on-screen characters.
It's a retro beat 'em up with modern-day appeal, as groups hack and slash their way through a cartoony fantasy world.

The best PlayStation 4 (PS4) party games help you feel like you're having a party at home with your loved ones, whether you're playing next to each other on the sofa or are divided by geography. The PS4 has a broad lineup of fantastic games including plenty of single-player titles and more serious, immersive fare. Here though, we're focusing on the console's treasure trove of lighter and more casual options—the kind of games you can play for shorter sessions with players of different ability levels. 

The PS4 is well equipped for such a genre thanks to its strong set of social features. These include Share Play, which lets people watch a stream of your game, join local multiplayer, or opt to take control of your game remotely, even if they don't own a copy of the game themselves. Bear in mind, though, that there are some limitations with only two players able to use Share Play for a 1-hour session with certain features also requiring a PlayStation Plus subscription. 

The PS4 is no longer the newest console, but it still has plenty to offer, especially when it comes to party games. If you're taking a break from seeking out a hard-to-find PlayStation 5, rediscovering some great party games is an ideal way to remind yourself of why the PS4 will do just fine for a while to come. Here's a look at the best and most enjoyable PS4 party games out there.

Best Overall: Jackbox Party Pack 7 (PS4)

Jackbox Party Pack 7
What We Like
  • Tailor-made for in-person or remote parties

  • Funny game collections

  • Improves on older games

What We Don't Like
  • Enjoyment is heavily dependent on your group

  • Some games don't work as well remotely

As the number denotes, there are plenty of Jackbox Party Packs, but number seven is the best so far. Each has been specifically designed to get groups laughing and chatting, even if your loved ones aren't physically close. Only the host needs to own the game, with up to eight participants able to join by entering a room code on any mobile device or web browser. All they need to do is see the game screen. More people can even jump in and participate as audience members.

The five games in Party Pack 7 include Quiplash 3, a classic where players write responses to prompts and everyone votes on their favorite answers. New to this edition is a "Thriplash" final round which requires three-part responses and the option of using user-generated prompts. 

Others include Champ'd Up, a drawing-based game where you sketch zany characters who are pitted blindly against each other. There's also The Devils and the Details, putting you into a devil family needing to co-operate on household chores, all while tempting you with selfish tasks that boost only your own score. Then there's the speech game, Talking Points, and the mad-libs-style guessing game Blather 'Round. There isn't really a weak game in the pack, so this is a fine way for everyone to enjoy themselves.

ESRB: T (Teen) | Install Size: 1.87GB

“Some games were more fun than others to play on a big-group Zoom call, but it was definitely a hilarious way to hang out with friends from a distance.”Anton Galang, Product Tester

Best Board Game: Ubisoft Entertainment Monopoly Plus (PS4)

Monopoly Plus
What We Like
  • Monopoly at heart with optional rule variations

  • Customizable visuals

  • Online mode

What We Don't Like
  • Only one controller locally

  • Can be glitchy

If you can't gather physically for a fun (and competitive) game of Monopoly, there's always Monopoly Plus on the PS4 instead. It's a faithful recreation of the property-buying, rent-collection capitalist clash that's been responsible for so many family arguments over the years.

The game includes a number of popular rule variations, but you'll still recognize all the familiar locations and game pieces, spruced up with some shiny new animations and a three-dimensional quality. You can even customize the board to your liking by changing the property names and icons. 

Players in the same room can play only using a single PS4 controller, which is both useful and a little irritating. You can, at least, play on a smartphone or tablet through the PlayStation mobile app. However, it's online multiplayer where Monopoly is at its best, enabling you to play with others anywhere in the world. It's a fun and familiar take all round.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Install Size: 1GB

Best Family Game: Team 17 Overcooked! 2 (PS4)

Overcooked 2
What We Like
  • Innovative twists to each level

  • Exciting co-operative gameplay

  • Free DLC regularly added

What We Don't Like
  • Tricky for young players

  • Loading between screens

Cooking can be a fun activity for the whole family but it can also be stressful and involve a lot of planning. That's the angle that Overcooked! 2 has pursued, spicing things up so that your teamwork skills are truly tested. You and your buddies play as two to four cartoony chefs working together against the clock to grab the right ingredients, chop, and cook them up, before serving them based on specific food orders.

Sounds simple? Not exactly. Each kitchen has its own culinary theme as well as its own zany challenges such as conveyor belts, river rafts, and swamp creatures to contend with. Some levels can get overwhelming, especially for younger players (or those who struggle to work well as a team), but it's always satisfying when you pull off a victory. 

There's no need to be experienced with the first version to get to grips with things here. Instead, Overcooked! 2 takes the core formula and adds plenty of fresh levels and challenges to lure you in. New content is regularly added to celebrate changing seasons or the holidays, and you can always buy new extras too.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Install Size: 2.79GB

“The game has plenty it can teach about teamwork and communication, so it has potential to be a bonding tool for all ages.”Anton Galang, Product Tester

Overcooked! 2

Anton Galang / Lifewire

Best Puzzle: Steel Crate Games Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (PS4)

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
What We Like
  •  Funny and hectic group activity

  • All but one player can communicate remotely

  • VR facility

What We Don't Like
  • Can be very difficult

Ever wanted to defuse a bomb like your life depends upon it? Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes offers a safe taste of that experience. Only one player, the Diffuser, is allowed to see and manipulate the bomb, while other players (the Experts) must listen to their description before interpreting the downloadable/printable bomb-refusal manual in a bid to figure out how to defuse it.

Each bomb is convoluted and procedurally generated so there's endless challenges here. It's tense and incredibly frantic, but also a lot of fun, providing you all take it in a good-natured manner.

Because the Experts never get to see the bomb, they can call in their commands through any type of voice chat, so the game lends itself well to remote playing. Even better, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was originally designed with VR in mind so if you have a PlayStation VR headset, the Diffuser can isolate themselves in a virtual world for an even more stressful yet immersive experience.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Install Size: 704MB

Best Action: Matt Makes Games Towerfall Ascension (PS4)

Towerfall Ascension
What We Like
  • Designed for local multiplayer

  • Responsive and fun archery-based combat

What We Don't Like
  • No online multiplayer

  • Limited solo/co-op campaign

On the surface, TowerFall Ascension may not immediately bear any resemblance to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros but actually, it owes a lot to it. TowerFall Ascension offers head-to-head couch multiplayer mayhem with a pixel-art indie game style twist. Four players on a single-screen 2D map duke it out in an archery-based platform-jumping deathmatch adventure.

You begin with only three arrows but you can collect more by catching them in mid-air or finding them stuck among the environment. There's a surprising amount of strategy involved here with the need for some shrewd jumping and melee skills. It's intense but highly accessible. 

This updated edition now comes with a campaign mode where one or two players can fight against waves of foes. It's not as strong as the deathmatch mode, but it does add a bit more value for money. Frustratingly, it's a local-only multiplayer experience but if you can gather some friends, it's a blast to play.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Install Size: 397MB

Best Platformer: Sony Interactive Entertainment LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4)

LittleBigPlanet 3
What We Like
  • Wholesome platforming

  • Tons of campaign and user-generated content

  • Rich creation and customization features

What We Don't Like
  • New characters are underused

  • Level creation tools can be overwhelming

A smash hit on the PlayStation 3, LittleBigPlanet makes its way to the PS4 with some fresh twists on its charmingly creative co-op platforming gameplay. As before, you're traversing imaginative lands via a delightful Stephen Fry-narrated campaign, but this time around, main character Sackboy has new tools and power-ups at his disposal. He's also joined by three new playable friends, each offering a different take in terms of their mechanics and how they move about the screen.

The game doesn't quite take advantage of those new characters like it possibly should, but there's still oodles of creativity going on here. You can tweak Sackboy's appearance, skills, gadgets, and friends, for instance. You can also create and share your own levels, as well as play your way through the millions made by other members of the online community. These include levels from the previous two games, too. The creator tools are far more powerful than before, supporting up to 16 playable layers so you can truly let your imagination run riot, providing you put the time in.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Install Size: 15.68GB

“My LittleBigPlanet journey started with the original on PS3, and I appreciate seeing how far the series has come while maintaining the creative and cooperative elements that sucked me in for hours.”Anton Galang, Product Tester

Best Music: Fuser (PS4)

Harmonix Fuser (PS4)
What We Like
  • Can create cool mashups at any skill level

  • Diverse collection of available songs

  • Online competitive and co-op multiplayer

What We Don't Like
  • No local multiplayer

  • Virtual audience requests don’t always make sense

Harmonix has long been a leader in music gaming thanks to titles such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central. That trend has continued with Fuser, a DJ simulator where you mash up tracks as part of a virtual music festival.

Fuser's online multiplayer lets you take part in head-to-head DJ battles or opt to collaborate onstage with up to three other DJs, with eight spectators who can rotate in to celebrate with you. A freestyle mode also makes it possible to create mashups on your own before sharing them with the wider community, plus there are periodic challenges that ask players to vote on their favorites.

When it comes to music-making itself, Fuser's intuitive system means even novices can create something special if sometimes a little strange. You begin by picking songs from your catalog, which includes hits from pretty much any era or genre you can think of with new options available for purchase. From there, you can isolate music into drum, bass, lead instrument, and vocal tracks, before dropping them into any combination you feel like.

More advanced DJs can develop their technical skills by dropping tracks right on the beat to adjusting the key or adding audio filters. Even without sophisticated techniques, though, you and your friends will have a blast messing around with what's achievable here.

ESRB: T (Teen) | Install Size: 11.67GB

“As a casual musician and someone who bops to basically any type of popular music, I love throwing together a hot mess of jams, like ‘Call Me Maybe’ with ‘Jolene’ and ‘Push It’ and, obviously, ‘All Star.’”Anton Galang, Product Tester

Best Rhythm: Ubisoft Just Dance 2021 (PS4)

What We Like
  • Fun tracklist and choreography

  • Can use smartphone as controller

  • Online World Dance Floor mode

What We Don't Like
  • Similar compared to previous games

Dance games are a tried-and-tested way to get a party going, and that's exactly what Just Dance does best. The 2021 version has a strong song list, ranging from current hits like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande's "Rain on Me" to modern classics like Eminem's "Without Me."

It's a blast to grab some friends and follow the energetic and entertaining moves of the on-screen characters who dance in front of vibrant backdrops. It's hard not to smile even if you can't dance well. A dedicated Kids Mode can be useful when participating with a mixed age range, which makes it one of the best PS4 games for kids, too. 

Just Dance 2021 is also far more accessible now that specific motion accessories aren't required. Up to six players can jump in simply by downloading the free controller app to their smartphone and holding it in their hands. There's also the online, cross-platform World Dance Floor mode that pits you against dancers around the globe. Adding to the fun is a qualifying round that sorts you into one of three "rooms" based on your skill level.

Finally, there's a free one-month subscription to the Just Dance Unlimited streaming service, which provides you with access to over 600 songs from previous Just Dance games, as well as exclusive content and new tracks.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Install Size: 19.61GB

Best Brawler: The Behemoth Castle Crashers Remastered (PS4)

Castle Crashers
What We Like
  • Four-player hack-and-slash combat

  • Comical art and animation

  • New minigame

What We Don't Like
  • Limited changes from the original

  • Quite shallow

If you and your buddies enjoy old-school gaming, you'll love Castle Crashers Remastered. It's a retro beat 'em up with modern-day appeal, as groups hack and slash their way through a cartoony fantasy world with more than a dash of oddball humor.

Players can opt to gather around the TV together or play online with a choice of different-colored knights and each character starting with a varying set of abilities. That offers a little depth to an otherwise shallow experience, with each player ending up with a unique build depending on how they develop their knight. 

The "Remastered" part of the game comes from the higher resolution and frame rate that the PS4 offers, meaning a smoother visual experience than previous editions. There's also a new minigame, Back Off Barbarian, where you follow arrows around a field of tiles. For the most part though, if you've played Castle Crashers before, this is more of the same. But tearing through hordes of enemies with your friends is a great experience and you'll laugh a lot.

ESRB: T (Teen) | Install Size: 258MB

Final Verdict

Jackbox Party Pack 7 (view at PlayStation) is the ultimate way to liven up a party thanks to its wealth of social games and some neat ways of being able to remotely play. However, if you want something a little more sedate, there's always the traditional pleasures of Monopoly Plus (view at PlayStation), which is sure to lead to a few lighthearted arguments. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Jennifer Allen has been writing about technology and gaming since 2010. She specializes in video game, iOS and Apple technology, wearable technology, and smart home devices. She's been a regular tech columnist for Paste Magazine, written for Wareable, TechRadar, Mashable, and PC World, as well as more diverse outlets including Playboy and ​Eurogamer.

Anton Galang is a writer and editor with a background in magazine journalism and more than a decade of experience. He has reviewed a number of products and video games for Lifewire, including Overcooked! 2, which has become one of his family’s favorite party games.

FAQs

How many players can play at the same time on a PS4?
It usually depends on the number of players supported by the game. In terms of local couch multiplayer, you can connect up to four wireless PS4 controllers to the system, which is the maximum that most games allow for. Many party games, though, include more creative ways to account for a large group of players, such as smartphone controls, sharing controllers, and the unique non-screen Expert roles in Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. And with online play, some games support modes that involve much more than four players.


How do you play PS4 games online?

Almost any online multiplayer mode on a PS4 game requires a PlayStation Plus membership to play. There are often free one-month trials available, but after that, you will need to sign up for a monthly ($9.99), quarterly (24.99), or yearly ($59.99) subscription. The exception is with certain free-to-play games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone that can be played without a PlayStation Plus subscription.


Can PS4 games be played on the PS5?

If you’re a lucky owner of a PS5, you will be able to play almost any PS4 game on your new system. There are only a limited number of titles that are not backwards compatible with the PS5, so just double-check that list for the game in question. PS4 games may also see a performance boost on the powerful next-gen console. PS3, PS2, and PS1 games, unfortunately, are not compatible with the PS5 (unless they have been remastered for the PS4).

What to Look For in a PS4 Party Game

Genre

It's important to pick a party game genre that suits your entire group of friends or family. A hack and slashing game might be ideal for those who regularly play games, but something more traditional like a board game might be better for relatives who have never played a video game before. 

Difficulty Curve

No one wants to be challenged too much when playing a party game, especially if there's alcohol involved. Pick a game that's simple to learn without being too basic. Alternatively, a game where skill is denoted by something like dance ability or simply experimentation means that everyone stands a good chance of success.

Accessibility

Are you looking for a game that can be played solely on the sofa, or do you need to be able to play it remotely with friends around the country or even the world? Check which multiplayer options are available for your game before you buy it, in case you're limited with how you can all play along. 

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