The Top 10 Video Games for Couples

Valentine’s Day is here again which is a great time for couples do something together and since 50 Shades of Grey will tragically only take 125 minutes of your time, we here at the Dojo have instead been brainstorming our favorite video games for couples for this Valentine’s Day weekend.

To qualify for this list, these are games must be fun, accessible to the more novice of gamers among us, and, most importantly, offer couch coop for you and that special someone to do something together. 

Here now are our Top 10 Video Games for Couples just in time for Valentine’s Day.

10. Super Smash Bros. Wii U

The Smash Bros. series has always impressed us at being a game that’s easy to pick up but impossible to master.  The game offers tremendous depth in the character abilities and mechanics that massive worldwide Smash Bros. competitions take place every year.

But for couples out there, the Smash Bros. series offers cooperative battles of up to 8 players that are always entertaining.  Curious to see how Sonic and Princess Peach would fare against Star Fox and Donkey Kong?  Team up and find out.  Once you find your favorite characters and understand the basic mechanics of smash everything, you’ll be hooked for hours.

9. Guacamelee!

Guacamelee is a fascintating experience.  The 2013 Metroid-vania inspired platformer stars Juan, a Mexican farmer turned superhero luchador post resurrection, on a quest to rescue El President’s Daughter from an evil skeleton named Carlos Calaca.  We thoroughly enjoyed the campaign mode last year and understand why there are so many iterations of the Guacamelee! game across multiple consoles and platforms.

What we didn’t know at the time is the game features a full cooperative mode for two players wherein the second player controls Tostada, Juan’s female wrestling counterpart.  To be fair there are some challenging platforming segments later in the game that are easier to traverse solo but for the compelling story experience and the always satisfying Metroid-vania genre, this is a great game for couples of play through.

8. LittleBigPlanet 3

Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario franchise has been the family friendly platformer, LittleBigPlanet.  The floaty controls and forgettable storyline (created solely to introduce the game’s design principles) have prevented this franchise from ever being a critical darling, but the invitation for user generated content is extremely rare on consoles and we have, on occasion, played some truly stunning user created levels.

LittleBigPlanet 3 on the PS3 and PS4 once again offers full cooperative gameplay through its whimsical campaign.  The game’s later levels can be frustratingly difficult for novice gamers, but fortunately there are always online community levels to explore together instead.

7. Castle Crashers

Yeah, we’re reaching back a bit to talk about a 7 year old game (we were blown away too), but Castle Crashes is one of the few good games to revisit the cooperative brawler adventure genre that River City Ransom started way back when.  The game has a tremendous sense of humor, memorable music, and offers dozens of hours of gameplay for those eager to see the conclusion.  It’s hard to think of another cooperative franchise more in desperate need for a sequel than Castle Crashers – are you listening The Behemoth?

6. Minecraft

Minecraft is a gaming behemoth.  The franchise originally launched in late 2011 and as of 2014 has sold over 60 million copies and last year Microsoft bought the rights to the series for $2.5 billion.  The game has a tremendous presence on YouTube and Reddit and has started careers of many gaming commentators that focus solely on Minecraft.

Minecraft’s relaxed and open-ended gameplay is perfect for couples as well.  You could spend days building fortresses to withstand the nightly monster mobs, mining for resources, tackling the Nether, or even hunting the game-ending dragon.  We are only including 2 first person games on this list since that can be unwieldy for non-gamers, but the rich, unscripted, hours of gaming available in Minecraft make it worth learning how to play.

5. Rayman Legends

To us, the Rayman series continues to be one of greatest franchises no one is playing.  The latest entry, Rayman Legends, sold around 3MM copies across all consoles – by comparison New Super Mario Bros. Wii U which is, as its name suggests, only available on one console sold 4.65MM copies.  We’d argue most gamers are missing out on this one.

Modern Rayman games offer some of the tightest, most interesting, and ridiculously fun platforming we’ve seen. These games intelligently drop the idea of lives allowing you to replay segments as many times as you need.  For completionists, the game rewards you with you with hilarious musical levels that do not disappoint 

4. Mario Kart 8

Ok, this is a bit of a cheat because there is no “cooperative” mode in the Mario Kart series but you can certainly team up together to dominate the races against the CPU controlled competitors.  Mario Kart 8 in particular is a great addition to the series for fans since it marks the first time Nintendo has fully committed to HD graphics that creates smooth animations during chaotic races and hilarious slow-mo recaps between events.

Mario Kart 8 is another great example from Nintendo of a game that’s very easy for novice gamers to pick up but tons of challenge still in store for the experts to take on if they’re interested.

3. Borderlands 2

That’s right, we’re recommending 2012’s Borderlands 2 over 2014’s Borderlands: The Pre Sequel.  The Borderlands series is a fantastic FPS franchise that you should be playing if not already.  Gearbox’s flagship series is most notable for its dynamic loot system that incentivizes gamers to replay segments and boss raids over and over until they get that special item.

Borderlands 2 and its DLC campaigns represent the best of the bunch with some truly hilarious and moving stories to see.  One of the newer characters available in the DLC campaigns is “Gaige the Mecromancer” who has the ability to summon a killer robot to assist her on command.  Lead Gearbox developer, Josh Hemingway, infamously dubbed one of the skill trees for Gaige the “girlfriend mode” as it is certainly aimed at gamers who don’t play games much.  Sexist or not, playing with that character class does seem to help newbie gamers get acclimated to FPS controls quickly.

Finally, we would have loved to recommend the latest Borderlands game, but Borderlands: The Pre Sequel introduces a lot more verticality in the levels due to the limited gravity of the moon which will likely frustrate novice gamers.  If you’re eager to get your partner into gaming, go with Borderlands 2 with the Gaige DLC installed.  Gaige is reportedly making her way to the new game when it’s released on the next gen consoles in March though – just something to consider.

2. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

The Lego corporation has been on a tear lately with the hilarious animated film last year and a series of TT Games developed video games.  All of the games are incredibly easy to pick up and remarkably compelling to beat due to some fairly hilarious tongue-in-cheek storytelling and the remarkably satisfying feeling of building things in-game.  Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is simply the latest installment in the franchise but you really can’t go wrong with any of the Lego titles.  We’d easily recommend the Harry Potter Lego games too if that’s more to your coop partner’s interests.

1. Monaco

Simply put, Monaco is a fantastic game and criminally overlooked by the masses.  You play as one of up to four criminals who first mount an escape from prison, then mount a series of escalating heists, and finally escape to freedom to live out their life of luxury.  The game features a serviceable minimalistic top down presentation and a truly outstanding piano-based dynamic score that reflects the amount of chaos happening on screen.  We still find ourselves humming the main theme song in our head from time to time.

For couch coop, each player picks their criminal of choice with their own unique skill set - the mole can dig through walls, the hacker can activate electronics through wall outlets, etc.  Early on you and your partner can run and gun most levels without much aversion, but by the latter half of the game you’ll quickly find teamwork matters and you’ll brainstorm strategies for a while before taking on a level. 

This is perhaps one of the best pick-up-and-play experiences to be found for couch coop today.  It’s extremely easy to for new gamers (at first) and due to the ability to revive dead teammates and the non-existent load times you or your partner aren’t likely to rage quit anytime soon.

For couples looking for something to play together easily, it doesn't get much better than Monaco.

What great game for couples did we miss?  Let us know in the comments below.