Couch co-op games can help get the party started or keep it going into the early morning hours. They can turn strangers into friends and friends into, well, whatever you call two people arguing over who’s responsible for losing. High fives, bitter accusations, and everything in between—party games can generate a wide spectrum of reactions.
Options for a good party game have expanded dramatically in recent years. It’s a niche that has grown thanks to the breakthrough success of several titles along with the expansion of gaming into the lives of millions. So whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, these are the games you should check out the next time you happen to be at a party.
Let’s jump into our list of great party games. Ready Player 1! And Player 2, and Player 3, and…
Mario Kart 8
Arguably the King of Party Games, Mario Kart 8 has managed to unlock the secret to happiness for anyone who owns a Nintendo console. Trying not to slide off the edge of Rainbow Road has become the true test of greatness for millions. When someone says, “Ok, let’s play Mario Kart”, you know the party just got real.
But don’t let the signature visuals based on various Nintendo worlds fool you into thinking this is not a legit racing game. While it’s certainly no driving simulator, the driving mechanics behind Mario Kart 8 are solid and the sense of movement and speed is well done. Avoiding turtle shells and banana peels while driving has never been so much fun!
We’re including both the original and its sequel here. Another classic, Overcooked puts you in various kitchens with the job of filling orders as they come in. Sounds easy but…it isn’t. From tilting maps that send your ingredients flying to rats that steal everything to the inevitable fires that will break out everywhere, Overcooked will have you dealing with some new emergency about every five seconds.
They say teamwork makes the dream work but it will only take a few minutes in Overcooked to realize that it’s easier said than done. If you don’t have a plan with specific duties delegated to everyone, chaos will take over before you’ve chopped your first head of lettuce.
Painting walls, moving furniture and completing various home improvement projects—pretty straightforward, right? Well, maybe. In Tools Up!, you’re part of a renovation crew with a special talent for spilling paint, getting confused over building blueprints and trying to walk through the same doorway all at the same time.
The fun, and the shouting, starts when the clock starts ticking and everyone runs in different directions to do the same job. As soon as you figure out a way to work together as a team, another challenge will come along to test your team spirit. With tons of levels to work through, Tools Up! will keep your party going until it’s time to go to your real job.
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What kind of reaction do you think you would get if you could go back in time and try to convince people that using cars to push a ball into a net would be a MASSIVE thing in the near future? Too bad you didn’t think of it first, huh?
Rocket League is a blast no matter how many people are playing but when you get the four-player local multiplayer going, it’s amazing. It’s fast, it’s fun, and games don’t last for too long so it’s easy to let everyone have a rotating turn on the controller. The difficulty is just right and half the goals are scored by accident so nobody will feel left out. Plus, the ability to smash into your opponents releases a little stress when things get intense. Then again, you’re just as likely to smash into your own team…
Speaking of smash, it doesn’t get any better than Smash Bros. Nintendo’s classic fighter has unmatched cinematic presentation, over-the-top fighting moves, and a massive stable of fighters ready to get out and smash their opponents silly.
It’s hard to think of a game better suited to a party atmosphere where everyone wants to get in on the action. Will you play the classic winner-stays-on way or let two new players in for every match? Either way, be ready for Smash Bros. to become the center of attention at your party.
When a game keeps getting ported and remade and renewed for each successive wave of console generations, that tells you something about its enduring popularity. That’s the case with Castle Crashers. Originally released in 2008, it’s still going strong as a new generation of gamers and party-goers discover just how much fun being a tiny knight can be.
Put a little hack-and-slash into your party with this 2-D side-scrolling adventure with a great art style and a really cute aesthetic. Wait, was that blood all over the map? Ok, maybe it’s not so cute all the time but variety, especially in boss fights, will keep you and up to three friends laughing all the way through this twisted medieval world.
Super Mario Party
Ok, Nintendo, we see you. Now, can you give someone else a chance? Your favorite Italian working man and his familiar friends are back in the latest installment of the game that was made for parties. It’s right there in the name. And, wow, does this game deliver serious party fun.
Sometimes competing against each other, sometimes working on the same team and always laughing together, Super Mario Party packs tons of minigames and a couple of extra modes into a must-have for get togethers. As you may have noticed from this list, Nintendo definitely knows the recipe for the secret sauce that turns “party” into “PARTY!”, so you really can’t go wrong with them.
The JackBox Party Pack
We would say “time to get your phones out” but you probably had yours out already. JackBox Party has its origins in the classic You Don’t Know Jack trivia games and keeps the same witty and creative approach to testing your knowledge. Each content pack, there are seven now, has five games and believe us when we say there isn’t a weak one to be found.
JackBox has developed a cult following among those who prefer to show off their brain skills instead of engaging in random button mashing (not that there’s anything wrong with button mashing). This is not a rapid-fire, frantic kind of game but instead offers a deliberate pace with plenty of time for debate, discussion and…drawing. Yes, be prepared to show off your (lack of) expert drawing skills, among many other opportunities to put the creative part of your personality to the test.
Sure, they’re your friends, but sometimes beating up other people at a party feels good. That’s where Gang Beasts comes in. It’s not exactly a fighter, more like a “just beat each other up” game with crazy physics and silly objectives that will get you hooked immediately.
Nothing says “You’re my BFF” like throwing someone off a rooftop or moving vehicle. Gang Beasts will take you through a crazy number of levels as you make your way through various locations in “Beef City”, each of which provides unique opportunities for extreme cartoon violence. Have fun and avoid the fire pits!
Comparisons to Tetris are inevitable here, but Tricky Towers manages to take a classic idea and give a fun twist. Whereas Tetris is about clearing levels, Tricky Towers is about building, well, towers. But it goes much deeper than that. Challenges come from building with bricks that suddenly become oversized or slippery or just start falling at a crazy rate.
The competitive drive comes alive when you go head-to-head with up to three friends to see who can build the tallest tower fastest. Use a range of spells to help yourself or hold everyone else back (always a tough choice). Tricky Towers is just straight-up fun, with a short learning curve and easy controls. Start stacking and party on!
Do you have your favorite party games? What do you play on social events? Let us know on our Discord.
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