Local multiplayer games are inherently cooperative experiences. Even the competitive ones! I like saying that everything’s better with friends, but that just isn’t universally true. A lot of it depends on just who those friends are and how much they’re on board with having a good time over all else. I happen to have some particularly great ones, and I’m thankful. Now I’d like to tell you why.
I’ve been playing the just-released Wii Party U this week. It’s home to some objectively-atrocious game design at times, and it features arguably the most obnoxious character in the history of games. Still, Wii Party U can be very fun, when it knows to be a party game first and foremost. READ MORE
This year has already been a bountiful one for fans of local multiplayer games. From heavy hitters like Diablo III and Rayman Legends to scrappy indies like Legend of Dungeon and BombSquad, there’s been a lot to enjoy. But the year’s not over yet! Here are the titles that should be on your radar for party play this holiday season. READ MORE
The Xbox’s local multiplayer lineup was anchored by Halo, which took much of the spotlight and generally crowded out most other contenders. That said, it had the horsepower advantage over its peers and a very PC-like architecture, so it thrived by hosting the best version of most of the era’s multiplatform games. READ MORE
Most multiplayer games are designed to be played in a single evening. This makes a lot of sense, as it can be a huge headache to organize multiple play gatherings, especially with the exact same configuration of players, and an experience that’s easier to get into generally has a much better chance of success.
If you go through the effort, though, longer multiplayer experiences can be truly memorable and magical in ways that one-off party play just can’t. READ MORE
For the first popular system with four controller ports, the Nintendo 64 has a surprisingly shallow bench when it comes to multiplayer titles. It was an era of behemoths, of a handful of games that simply dominated the landscape. So yes, we’re recommending those, but we also went off the beaten path a bit to bring you some other great experiences on the system. READ MORE
In these early pre-launch days, it’s tough to say how much success the Ouya will manage. What is clear, though, is the obvious tendency the system has toward fun local multiplayer experiences. It doesn’t have any unified matchmaking, sure, which probably helps. Mostly, though, it appeals to indies developing for PC and mobile, and the advantage it has over both of those is its TV-native comfort in supporting split-screen or same-screen play. READ MORE
The Wii, more than any system before it, was designed to be a party system. With its easy-to-pick-up style and focus on local play over online capabilities, it became the home for a whole host of new and experimental multiplayer titles. (Of course, it had some normal ones too, and those are also good!) Let’s take a look at the best local multiplayer games the system has to offer. READ MORE
PC games have historically been a bit less willing to feature local multiplayer, and for good reason: until the last few years, you were stuck around a desk, and that’s just not ideal. That doesn’t mean those games wouldn’t be fun that way, though, and developers know it. So when these titles get ported to consoles, they’re often retrofitted with some couch play. READ MORE
The PlayStation 2, despite its wild success, garnered a fairly weak local multiplayer lineup. There are two main reasons for that. First? Controller ports. Its two competitors didn’t need a multitap for party play, so developers could find a full audience on Xbox or GameCube, and only a fraction of the PS2 audience. Second? While the three consoles were comparable, the PS2 lagged behind just a bit. The horsepower discrepancy meant that PS2 games were optimized for two-player split-screen only, and the same engine could run with four on the Xbox. Still, it managed to be home to some games worth checking out. READ MORE