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Best PS4 split screen games to make - or break - friendships

TechRadar logo TechRadar 22/01/2020 Jordan Oloman
Best PS4 split screen games - Rayman Legends © Provided by TechRadar Best PS4 split screen games - Rayman Legends

As a society, it feels like we’ve somewhat moved on from the glory days of couch co-op, so that’s why we’ve put together a list of the 25 best PS4 split screen games so you can recapture some of the magic. As great as it is that online play has taken over and we can now make friends all over the globe, there’s really nothing quite like jumping on the sofa with some snacks and getting stuck into some co-op. Let’s not let bygones be bygones! Drop your mates a message and dig into one of these couch co-op classics on PS4.

Related: The 8 most important details we already know about the PlayStation 5 (Business Insider) 

25. Unravel 2

Yarny! You remember little red Yarny, don’t you? The surprise turn from EA that became the underdog star of E3 2015? If not, you may not know that its success warranted a sequel, the imaginatively named Unravel Two, an adorable companion platformer that launched during E3 2018. And by that, I mean immediately during the conference, which is why few people took notice. A crying shame, as it’s a lot like playing Inside or Limbo with a partner in tow. The environments are inspired, the puzzles are charming and it's nice and accessible. Give it a go! 

24. Knack 2

Nobody could believe it when the Knack came back for second servings in 2017. A walking, talking particle prototype, the internet has an eerie reverence for Mark Cerny’s mascot platformer, which happened to be one of the PS4’s original launch titles! It provides quite the tactile experience in couch co-op as you solve puzzles, hop platforms and wallop goons together. Even if you’re playing it through a thick veneer of irony, Knack 2 is well worth the effort if you’re a fan of old school couch co-op. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore (and there may be a reason for that…)

23. Dragon Ball FighterZ

For the anime fans out there, you can’t get much better service than Dragon Ball FighterZ, a sprawling fighting game that drafts in most of the conceivable characters from the iconic Akari Toriyama franchise. If you’ve ever wanted to go Super Saiyan on your friends for spilling the salsa on your parent’s new rug, you can indeed batter them into space with a spirit bomb from Goku whilst you’re sitting side by side, munching nachos on the couch. FighterZ supports local play and has a dynamic battle system with a high skill ceiling, meaning you get out what you put in if you turn it into a regular occurrence and become a master Frieza or Majin Buu.

22. Guacamelee 1 and 2

A wonderfully inspired brawler that pulls from the rich well of Mexican mythology, Drinkbox Studios’ Metroidvania series is a deeply underrated couch co-op experience. Jumping into the strapped shoes of a powerful set of luchadores, Guacamelee 1 and 2 will take players on a rip-roaring adventure through Mexican mythos, as you punch kick and platform your way through a variety of inspired environments. Guacamelee demands a good bit of coordination and isn’t as simple as holding right and steamrolling through the enemies, with scaling difficulty and combos made necessary for defeating the rogue’s gallery of foes you find in its eye-popping world. 

21. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection

A dungeon crawler that needs little introduction, Blizzard’s Diablo 3 has had something of a comeback story since its rocky launch on PC in 2012. You can now pick up the Eternal Collection on PS4 which features the base game and its bumper expansion Reaper of Souls, as well as the Rise of the Necromancer character pack. The definitive experience of the game, you can’t go wrong with jumping into four-player local co-op in Diablo III, where you’ll all share the same screen (but still fight over the loot). Adventure through dank dungeons and petrified forest glades as you level up and craft your ultimate character builds to eventually take on the game’s legion of boss battles that reward coordination and communication. 

20. Towerfall Ascension

Matt Thorson’s precursor to the excellent 2018 smash hit Celeste, Towerfall Ascension is a contained battle royale where players pelt each other with arrows in a tiny arena. If you’ve ever played Nidhogg you’ll be pleased with the pace of this lightning-quick skill shot-focused platformer which can be enjoyed with four friends on a couch. Towerfall is best played in good company - it doesn’t demand so much of its players and can be picked up and put down with relative ease. You can even modify the rules of the game to fit your specific group’s tastes or just mix them up to usher in a little chaos. 

19. Nex Machina

For the twin-stick shooter fans out there, Housemarque’s Nex Machina is one of the finest ever created and works a treat in local co-op. If you’re no stranger to bullet hell and a veteran of the arcades, you’ll delight in this resurgent, nostalgic experience with a friend in tow. Nex Machina offers gorgeous detail and a tantalizing score system that will have you racing again and again through its Daedalian worlds. Just try to keep a lid on the chaos before swathes of future robot overlords overwhelm you and your co-op companion. Good luck!

18. Gran Turismo Sport

If you prefer the realism factor in your racing games then PlayStation’s best option by far is the finely tuned panache of Gran Turismo Sport. If you’re the kind of person who has the patience to tweak transmission and other finicky systems in order to create the perfect lap, Gran Turismo Sport’s eye-popping realism will delight you and whoever you plop next to you on your comfy couch of choice. Even if you aren’t into realistic racing games it’s still well worth a test drive - by offering order instead of chaos it demands a different style of approach when racing, one that is weirdly satisfying and addictive.

17. Lego Marvel Collection

Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games have been delighting us for 15 years now, providing reliable, hilarious takes on popular properties ever since the first Lego Star Wars in 2005. They’ve also been championing drop-in drop-out couch co-op for the same amount of time, meaning all of the family can get in on the action with the tap of the button. The Lego Marvel Collection is no slouch in the library, offering three full games for the price of one: Lego Marvel Avengers, Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. If you’re into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is easily one of the best adaptations of the franchise (at least until we get Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game in September.)

19. Star Wars Battlefront 2

Video: Star Wars Battlefront II trailer (Newsweek) 

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Controversy aside, Star Wars Battlefront 2 has enjoyed a resurgence of players thanks to a constant flow of free content to the game to coincide with the new sequel movies. This means it’s well worth booting up to check out the Arcade Mode, where couch co-op players can work together or against each other, tweaking situations to recreate some of the most exciting moments in Star Wars cinematic history. If you’ve got a friend who is also a fan of the films, this is an easy win if you pick it up to flesh out your PS4 couch co-op library. 

15. Metal Slug 3

A stone-cold classic and perhaps even a hidden gem if you’ve yet to hear of SNK’s magnificent pixel shooter series, Metal Slug 3 is an incredibly fun co-op game that holds up tremendously despite the shift to modern consoles. With a ludicrous alien invasion premise, unbeatably detailed animations and satisfying arcade shooting, its difficult to get bored with Metal Slug 3 even after multiple play sessions and death-defying dances with the game’s absurd bosses. The retro score and exaggerated sound effects will no doubt be stuck in your head after a few playthroughs, as will the nightmare-inducing pixel art baddies.

14. Sonic Mania

One of the best Sonic games to arrive in recent years, Sonic Mania was created by fans, for fans and lovingly recreates the classic side-scrolling gameplay first championed on the Sega Megadrive. As well as a series of remixed levels from the original games like the iconic Green Hill and Chemical Plant Zones, you’ll enjoy brand new concoctions in couch co-op that graft in new gameplay tweaks and systems that demand a different platforming approach to what you may be used to. As well as the excellent boss battles, there are a series of exciting minigames to unlock (no spoilers here) as well as a competitive mode if you fancy yourself as a supersonic speedrunner.

13. Resident Evil 5

Everybody loves to hate on Resident Evil 5 for not being a “true Resident Evil title” but gatekeeping aside, it’s a deeply underrated co-op game. The stoic delayed shooting style that the series is known for creates constant palpable tension as you clamber through markets and shantytowns in order to discover the nexus of the infectious zombie virus. With demanding boss battles and cleverly separated sections, Resident Evil 5 is full of ludicrous surprises and despite its initial appearance, the game goes to some absurd places that you absolutely will not expect. Give it a shot!

12. Crash Team Racing

An oldie but a goodie, Crash Team Racing is unlike most kart racers in that it is abrasive to the disciples of Mario Kart due to its crushing difficulty. If you think yourself an expert in the world of cartoon racing games, make the atypical choice and try to drift to your heart’s content with Crash Bandicoot, Coco and the gang. When you’ve got a few players of relatively similar ability on the couch, Crash Team Racing is easily one of the most adrenaline-pumping and satisfying racing games around - as long as you can stay on the track...

11. Don't Starve Together

Next to titans like Minecraft, Don’t Starve Together stands tall as a unique spin on the formula, offering a top-down camera and a spooky setting that will delight pairs of players who dare venture into its untapped, grimdark world. With focus given to attributes like sanity as well as hunger, you’ll have to constantly beat against the current of evil creatures to find precious resources and construct a safe haven in the middle of a nightmare. With a deep focus on co-operation and plenty of jobs to split between partners, this co-op experience is by far one of the best on PS4.

10. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

Combining two of the best Borderlands games into one souped-up modern package, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection offers hundreds of hours of couch co-op gameplay with genuine depth and millions of guns to play with. Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel are aloof and rib-tickling yet offer some seriously satisfying shooting and a cast of characters that are well worth getting to know (before you fill them full of bullet holes). The games are designed to be played with friends so this one is a no-brainer if you’ve got a flatmate with a hunger for Rakk guts and a penchant for shiny loot. 

9. Rayman Legends

Video: Rayman Legends trailer (Vix) 

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Harking back to the glory days of 2D Rayman albeit with a welcome coat of modern finesse, Rayman Legends is one of the best platformers of the past decade and a perfect co-op game to be enjoyed by young kids and adults, with a breadth of difficulty available that can be forgiving and unforgiving where necessary. If you’re a fan of games like Donkey Kong Country and the Super Mario Bros. series, you’ll no doubt feel right at home with Legends. The standout feature has to be the insanely cool music levels where you platform along to songs like Eye of the Tiger and Black Betty in time with the beat. Pure genius!

8. The Jackbox Party Pack Collection

Jackbox is a name known around the globe for helping coax out comedic genius as well as dark secrets from its players, offering small microgames that tease out evil quips, manic ad-libs and ridiculous artistic creations. The joy of Jackbox is that you don’t need any controllers, everyone can just use their phones to join in on the action. With a six-game strong franchise, there’s plenty to choose from depending on your tastes, from the absurd robot MC battles of Mad Verse City to the inane inventions of Patently Stupid, it’s difficult to get bored of Jackbox, a guaranteed hit when applied to a low-key party.

7. A Way Out

Easily one of the most unique games on this list, A Way Out is the only game here that you cannot play single-player. You need a friend to enjoy its cinematic set-pieces, designed specifically to be played with a companion. Another effort from the mind of Josef Fares (who previously spearheaded the equally worthwhile co-op experience Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons) you’ll take a wholly different approach and break out of prison, leading to a chaotic adventure on the lam, performing unique tasks spread between players that constantly keeps the pace high and the tension spreadable.

6. Divinity: Original Sin 2

If you’re in a tabletop group with your friends, a perfect companion piece to a game like Dungeons and Dragons is Divinity: Original Sin II, Larian’s incredibly detailed role-playing sim where you can craft and tune characters to your own particular design and throw them into a bustling narrative full of consequential choices, crunchy combat and high-level tactics, depending on the difficulty you choose. The experience is even more fun with a friend next to you to deliberate with and brew potions and spells to outwit the varied enemies in this fantastic fantasy world.

5. Minecraft

Unless you’ve been living under a layer of cobblestone for the past decade, you’ve most likely heard of Minecraft, which since its launch has slowly crept onto every available platform with relative ease, including the PS4. A procedurally generated open world buzzing with potential, even if you’ve not played it in years it’s well worth hopping back into Mojang’s blocky world, especially given that the game has received a series of updates since. The magic of getting lost in a dungeon and carving out a makeshift home with your friends in tow is still difficult to match, even in 2020.

4. Fortnite

We can skip the pleasantries here, I’m sure we’re all very well accustomed with Fortnite, Epic Games’ smash hit battle royale that was originally conceived as a lukewarm wave defence game. In December of last year, they finally added co-op for PS4, which is perfect if you want to split the screens and build laps around your online opponents as a dynamic duo. Fortnite is at its core a lot of fun, regardless of its hegemonic status. If you’ve been looking down your nose at it so far, give it a go with a friend, you may be surprised at how much you get into it!

3. FIFA 20

How could we talk about couch co-op and not mention FIFA. EA’s football series is synonymous with the concept of having friends over for an evening of fun. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry… you might even shout if the beautiful game doesn’t go your way, but there’s nothing akin to the chesslike unravelling you can concoct when you break down an opponent’s defence and score an absolute screamer. Red faces all round and prideful tension in the air, FIFA is one of the best couch co-op games on the market, nevermind PS4. Even if you could care less about football, it’s well worth learning its systems like you would any self-respecting fighting game - you’ll be surprised when you unravel the tactile game hiding underneath. With the inclusion of Volta, there are even more fun ways to play in FIFA 20 specifically!

2. Rocket League

If you quite like sports games but can’t rifle with the realism of FIFA, Rocket League is the perfect compromise. It’s pretty much space football with remote control cars. The game’s controls are the key to its legendary status in the pantheon of couch co-op - they’re easy to pick up but incredibly difficult to master. The ground game is simple enough but floating and heading the ball is fine-tuned to feel curiously difficult, which creates this perfect layer of unexpected chaos in every match. There are never two games that play out the same in Rocket League, so if you’ve got friends who only play FIFA, convince them to give its nearest neighbour a shot.

1. Overcooked 2 / Overcooked

Video: Overcooked trailer (Engadget) 

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A game series that could signal grounds for divorce if you’re not careful, the Overcooked series is well-known for its ability to turn cosy couch co-op into shouting matches where you’ll guffaw until your hands turn limp. There’s nothing more hilarious than the miscommunication created when one player goes on auto-pilot and starts drowning the sous chef in lettuce. An absolute foregone conclusion for couch co-op, if you don’t already own an Overcooked game on PS4 and you sought out this article, you best do so, and quickly!

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