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Best Overall: Cuphead at Steam
"A co-op, shoot-'em-up inspired by classic Disney-style animation."
Best Puzzle Game: Portal 2 at Amazon
"Encourages two players to work together, creating portals using their portal guns to solve a collection of different puzzles."
Best Sports Game: Rocket League at Steam
"It's soccer with cars. Or basketball with cars. Or ice hockey with cars."
Best Indie: Castle Crashers at Steam
"Raid castles and fight to your last breath with up to four friends."
Best Action Game: Gears of War 4 at Microsoft
"An action-packed thrill ride that mixes frights and gore with unique weapons and enemy types."
Best Shooter Game: Borderlands - The Handsome Collection at Amazon
"Get Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel in one handsome collection."
Best Racing Game: Blur at Amazon
"Allows up to four players to go head-to-head for the virtual gold."
Independent darling StudioMDHR broke out in 2017 with the stellar, smash hit Cuphead. This side-scrolling, shoot-'em-up jaunt has picked up countless awards for its nail-biting gameplay, retro hand-drawn graphics, Disney-era inspired characters and backgrounds, jazzy music, and unmatched style. If there is a game you want to sit next to your best friend and plow through over a weekend like the good old days, Cuphead is the perfect game for that. And since it's Saturday morning eye candy, you can play this with your kids or younger players.
You play as either Cuphead or Mugman, two cartoons who make a deal with the devil and must collect the contracts of others who sold their souls. Prepare to do battle through film-reel animation, 1930s era references, zany and wacky bosses, and much more in this critically and commercially successful gem. Cuphead is also available on the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch if you prefer to sit next to your co-op partner on the couch. But any way you choose to play, just be ready for a lot of laughs and a lot of broken controllers (this game is hard as nails).
It's hard to believe that any PC gamer would be unfamiliar with Valve's Portal series of video games, but whether it had merely skipped over your head or you are just now learning that it has a split-screen multiplayer mode, you are in for a special treat. Released in 2011 as a sequel to the original Portal game, you take on the role of Chell, a protagonist once again attempting to escape the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. While everyone should give the single-player mode a run, you're here for the cooperative split-screen action, and that leads us to two adorable, and completely self-aware, robots — ATLAS and P-body.
The split-screen cooperative mode encourages both robots to work together, creating portals using their portal guns to solve a collection of different puzzles. Portal 2 requires both you and your friend to act quickly on your feet and have a mind that enjoys puzzle solving. Portal 2 is currently available on PC, in addition to macOS, Linx, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, for your enjoyment.
Courtesy of Steam
For our top pick under the sports category you might be expecting something in the range of FIFA or the latest NBA game, but we've got something even better — vehicular soccer. Originally developed and released by Psyonix in 2015, Rocket League has gained a massive following for its unique gameplay and appealing graphics. Buckle up and take a seat in one of many rocket-powered vehicles to play a high-octane game of soccer. Don't believe that a game based around cars and soccer could be so great? Rocket League was added as an official eSport in both Major League Gaming and the Electronic Sports League.
With most matches lasting around five minutes, drive around in rocket controlled cars to hit a super-sized ball and score goals at the ends of the field. It's like soccer but better in every single way. In additional to playing online, you can invite a friend over for some split-screen action. If you behind to get bored with the soccer mode, you can also jump into ice hockey and basketball, as well as grab superhero powers or low gravity. Rocket League can be found on PC, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch, and is one of the best online games if you have kids who want to join you as well.
Courtesy of Amazon.com
Castle Crashers is an oldie but goodie when it comes to indie games; originally released back in 2008 for the Xbox 360's Live Arcade, this game still stands the test of time as fas as we're concerned. You and up to three friends get to do exactly what you expect...crash some castles. Hack, slash, bash, destroy, and jump around until everything in your path is clear. Upgrade your stats, gear, look, and animal companions as you work your way to rescuing some princesses kidnapped by evildoers.
Luckily enough, the developers of the game, The Behemoth, released a remastered version of the game for Xbox One and PC, with a PS4 and Switch release planned soon. The remastered version features higher quality textures, uncapped frame-rate, performance improvements, and an additional mini-game. So now is the best time to play through again or for the first time. And if those weren't enough platforms to play this game on, it's also available for Mac, PS3, and Xbox 360.
The Gears of War series sends a wave of nostalgia over some, but for others, it conveys a feeling of fright and fear, and for us, it's pure adrenaline. Arguably one of the bloodiest and most action-packed series available to play on any platform, the fourth entry, Gears of War 4, made its return in 2016 after being on hiatus for a few years, thanks to new studio The Coalition.
The game returns to its horror roots and introduces new weather effects and creepy monsters to intimidate you. Out of all the games on our list, this is one that you might be happy you won't have to play alone.
Throughout the single-player campaign, you fight your way past a post-apocalyptic alien landscape, and are aided by an AI controlled character; however, in local or online multiplayer, a second player may take control of the secondary character. You can also hop into multiplayer and chainsaw some enemies or try and blow them up (either way works). Shoot, snipe, explode, tear through, or spear as many foes as you can in Gears of War 4, which is also available on Xbox One.
Borderlands is a long-running first-person shooter franchise that mixes loot collecting and RPG elements into a co-op action adventure experience sprinkled with raunchy humor and juvenile characters. Each game in the series is cel-shaded to make it look and feel like a cartoon and the over-the-top violence suits that style well.
Borderlands 2 is an all-time bestseller and a co-op favorite with several downloadable content releases under its belt. The Pre-Sequel is both a prequel and a sequel to Borderlands 2, and it's set on the moon, tasking you to find oxygen tanks so you don't suffocate to death. Both games are bundled into one and feature the villain Handsome Jack in both titles. You and your friends are bound to spend upwards of 200+ hours going through both, and you can buy both games for PC, PS4, or Xbox One.
Courtesy of Amazon
Blur is an arcade-style racing game released back in 2010 by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision. A game that might first appear to be getting a bit long in the tooth continues to stand as a fun and exciting local multiplayer experience for when you're looking to burn some rubber. Blur's split-screen gaming doesn't just allow two to compete in their favorite vehicles but instead allows up to four to go head-to-head for the virtual gold. Including a career mode where you can take on everything from exotic cars to old-school Ford cargo vans, Blur keeps the action exciting.
When jumping into split-screen multiplayer with a friend, you have the option to kick off a World Tour for a quick racing experience or do a Team Race where teams can compete against each other. In addition to the PC, Blur is also available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Well praised when it was initially released, Blur was Bizarre Creation's farewell before the company was shut down a year later — and an excellent title to end on for racing fans.