The Nintendo Switch is a weird little console; it can alternate between docked and handheld forms, the controller can be split in half and used as two smaller controllers, and the games can be downloaded online or inserted as small cartridges, the first major system to use a cartridge in quite some time.
All of this leads to the console having two massive advantages compared to its competitors. First, it’s more portable, and secondly, it’s better for multiplayer games. While PvP games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. are extremely popular, so are the console’s numerous games that offer co-op options.
Updated on July 2nd, 2021 by Tanner Fox: Nintendo had a solid showing at 2021’s E3 conference; from the announcement of the long-rumored Metroid Dread to more information regarding the forthcoming Breath of the Wild sequel, there was plenty for fans of the publisher to be excited about. That said, while single-player games may have been the focus of the show, the Switch remains a haven for co-op games. With titles like Worms Rumble and Mario Golf Super Rush recently debuting on the system, it’s never been a better time to explore the console’s library with a friend!
15 Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Metascore: 85)
Originally introduced as a GameCube title, Pikmin worked as something of an iteration on the gameplay seen in the Lemmings games from the mid-’90s. Players are tasked with protecting the titular Pikmin and using them to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles.
A bit of a cult hit on Nintendo platforms, Pikmin 3 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch innovated by introducing drop-in co-op to the campaign experience. Allowing two players to guide Pikmin greatly changes the dynamic of every level, puzzle, and enemy encounter, and, for veterans of the series, it could provide a fresh way to play the title.
14 Huntdown (Metascore: 86)
Switch games that deliberately evoke the bygone pixel art style of the SNES are a dime-a-dozen on the Switch, but Huntdown is simply too well done to ignore. Reminiscent of popular run-and-gun games like Metal Slug or the oft-forgotten Blackthorne, there’s something about the pulse-pounding action provided by these sorts of games that simply never gets old.
Two is better than one, as they say, and that’s very much the case when it comes to Huntdown. Blasting baddies and bringing criminals to justice has never been as much fun as it is when playing alongside a friend in this indie gem on Switch.
13 Cuphead (Metascore: 87)
Originally an Xbox exclusive, Cuphead has since found its way to PC, the PlayStation 4, and, of course, the Nintendo Switch. A tough-as-nails run and gun platformer with a major emphasis on boss fights, it’s an excellent title that will test the mettle of any gamer.
Its vibrant visuals, deliberately evocative of the pioneering days of animation, set it apart from other similar titles. Though it’s a notoriously difficult game, the addition of a second co-op layer can make things much easier, elevating the experience for otherwise frustrated players.
12 Guacamelee! 2 (Metascore: 87)
Another stylish 2D platformer with a reputation for being difficult, the Switch port of Guacamelee! 2 has been heralded as one of the best 2D games available on the console—and that’s really saying something!
While the single-player experience can be as fun as it is infuriating, getting a buddy to join via local co-op can help to subvert the frustration a bit. There’s no shortage of two-player games available on Nintendo’s newest system, but Guacamelee! 2 shouldn’t go under the radar of any multiplayer-minded Switch gamer.
11 Enter The Gungeon (Metascore: 87)
Roguelite games exploded in popularity following the debut of The Binding of Isaac in the early 2010s, and few have been more popular on the Switch than Enter the Gungeon. An everchanging experience loaded with all kinds of wacky weaponry, it’ll push gamers to their limits while always offering a reason to return to the titular gungeon after each death.
While it’s hard no matter how many gamers join in, Enter the Gungeon players differently in co-op. Gamers need to decide which items and weapons go to which player, and conquering some of Gungeon‘s most difficult bosses will require dedicated teamwork.
10 Ikaruga (Metascore: 88)
In Ikaruga, gamers play as Shinra, the pilot of the spaceship Ikaruga. The game is a classic shoot-em-up originally released in Japanese arcades with a retro, vertical camera view. It’s as if a classic arcade game was modernized and released for a new generation.
In co-op mode, two players work together to complete each level, both piloting their own spaceship. It’s a fun, fast-paced game that isn’t heavy on story, making it perfect for friends to play together in their spare time, even if that’s only for a short period.
9 Diablo III (Metascore: 88)
A continuation of the Diablo franchise, Diablo III was initially released in 2012 but was ported to Switch in 2018. The Switch version has been hailed by critics and gamers alike, and it comes stocked with tons of DLC. The game takes place in the dark world of Sanctuary, and players investigate a strange falling star that has begun reanimating the dead.
Diablo is a mix of memorable action-adventure, RPG, and looter shoot titles from the previous two gaming generations, with many of these games having been recently ported to the Switch. Best of all, the game has both couch co-op and online play, where up to four gamers can work together as a team.
8 Super Mario Maker 2 (Metascore: 88)
Many of the best Mario games of all time can already be found on the Switch, but Super Mario Maker 2 works as an excellent iteration on Nintendo’s classic platforming formula. Players can team up with friends to create their own Super Mario levels, as well as play their levels or levels made by others.
It’s a 2D sidescrolling adventure that will have gamers nostalgic for their old NES and SNES consoles, and, because the game lets players use their creativity and problem-solving skills to create their own levels and maps, it’s a rare deviation from Nintendo’s tried-and-true Mario format.
7 Hyper Light Drifter (Metascore: 88)
This unique indie game is an homage to classic eight and sixteen-bit games and was heavily inspired by SNES’ The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In the game, a mysterious illness has spread around a mystical world, and only one person, the titular Drifter, has the power to figure out how to stop it.
Hyper Light Drifter started out as a Kickstarter campaign and went on to be nominated for 17 awards, winning three, including the Audience Award at the Independent Games Festival. In co-op mode, two players can embark on the journey together.
6 Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Metascore: 90)
Super Mario 3D World was the second best-selling game for the Wii U, behind only Mario Kart 8. The game has recently been re-released for Switch with a brand new side campaign, Bowser’s Fury, added in.
Like other Mario games, 3D World is a fun, colorful adventure. Added to that, the game also introduced the adorable catsuits that help give Mario, Peach, and others catlike powers. The game also introduces a very unique co-op mode where one player plays as Mario and the other plays as Bowser Jr.
5 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Metascore: 91)
In a similar spirit to Castle Crashers and Broforce—two games that help to prove how relevant indie gaming still is—Shovel Knight is, as one might expect given the on-the-nose title—a playful 2D game about a heroic knight wielding a giant shovel. It’s a tongue-in-cheek adventure inspired by the retro games of yesteryear, but it is also a surprisingly addictive and engrossing game.
Best of all, two players can join forces in the Shovel of Hope campaign. Or, if they’re in a competitive mood, up to four players can duke it out in versus mode. The Switch version comes with four play modes in total, providing endless ways to play the night away.
4 Sonic Mania Plus (Metascore: 91)
While Nintendo had classics like Mario and Donkey Kong Country, SEGA had Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Mania Plus is a celebration of the franchise, allowing gamers to experience an all-new retro-style Sonic title while also replaying some of the classic titles’ best levels.
Gamers can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, or as one of the two newly-introduced characters. Players will also notice more immersive backgrounds, a great soundtrack, and challenging levels which all add up to an all-around excellent addition to the Sonic franchise.
3 Bayonetta 2 (Metascore: 92)
Bayonetta 2 is one of the many Switch games that was ported over from the Wii U. Originally released in 2014, Bayonetta 2 was met with rave reviews and follows the titular character as she travels to the Gates of Hell to save her friend. A mix of all sorts of gameplay styles, this hack-and-slash RPG is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience on the Switch.
The sequel also added a co-op option to the game which has become a fan-favorite element.. To get the most out of the story, players should complete the first game prior to playing, as the plot of Bayonetta 2 picks up soon after the finale of the original.
2 Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition (Metascore: 93)
In the same vein as other RPG adventures like Diablo and World of Warcraft, Divinity: Original Sin 2 sends a group of players on an epic quest. Their challenge is to defeat evil and to become a god. Up to four players can work together to save the world and can choose from a plethora of different characters of varying races and origins.
The game has been hailed by critics everywhere and has received numerous awards, including a BAFTA. It’s the perfect game for players who like to discover unique, intricate, and immersive new worlds.
1 Super Mario Odyssey (Metascore: 97)
Holding an astonishing 97 rating on Metacritic and boasting all sorts of awesome kingdoms to explore, Super Mario Odyssey has been praised as one of the best Switch games to be released in the console’s history. Despite being the 21st entry in the Super Mario franchise, the game feels surprisingly fresh, transporting Mario to a brand new 3D world.
Even more interesting is the game’s co-op mode. One player controls Mario, and the other controls his magical hat. While that concept may sound strange, it’s actually extremely enjoyable, and it’s one of the most interesting co-op experiences in any Mario title.
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