Giving in to the temptation of letting my partner buy our first PlayStation together has been one of the best decisions I made in 2023. No more squabbling over chores and no more quibbling about whose interests should be deferred to during the weekends. With this new console, not only have we got a bit of our childhood back, we have also been trying out some great collaborative games to keep the gaming spark afresh! So, if you have a friend or a family member you love spending time with — or even better, can’t seem to get along with — better believe that these games will have you cooperating and making merry progress together in no time!

It Takes Two

Could there be a simpler name for a co-op game? The story begins with a couple who have decided to get a divorce, and are breaking the news to their young daughter over dinner. Before they know it, the daughter’s desperate wish for them to be together magically transforms them into pindolls who get thrown into the basement of their own house. To get back to being human again, they need to fight through stuff they’ve locked away over the years in the deep recesses of their homes — and their hearts. From vengeful vacuum cleaners to squirrel soldiers patrolling the basement, the couple need to find a way out together. In each stage, after figuring out the new controls, movements and actions, you have to make progress to get to the boss level of each stage. The boss level demands the most efficient coordination over and over till the enemy is defeated. Apart from the main storyline, there are mini games that get unlocked along the way which make for fun little breaks. The dialogue ranges from appropriately scathing to hesitatingly congratulatory at times, much in line with how a couple who have made up their mind to part ways would sound. Remember, there is absolutely no solo-mode in this. So if you ever want to play this alone, it simply won’t let you.

Genre - Adventure (multiplayer)

Developer - Hazelight Studios

Available on - PlayStation 4 onwards, Windows, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

Overcooked! 2

I’ve always loved management games since the epic Tycoons series hit our PCs. Give me a hotel, restaurant, cafe or amusement park to manage and I’ll do a better job than I do managing my own life. I level up much quicker too, than I do “irl”!

This co-op cooking and time management game is in its second edition owing to how popular the original version was. While cooking together in real life can be a calm, bonding activity that brings people together, the experience in the game is constantly chaotic. Donning the role of two chefs, you and a co-player get to manage a kitchen and dish out enough orders before the clock runs out. Thank God for the practice mode because as we level up, the stress of getting the recipes right and to send the plated dishes out in time is insane! Once you’ve mastered the unique dishes of each level, you can switch over to story-mode where you can make actual progress. Unlike ‘It Takes Two’, Overcooked 2 does let you play the game solo in certain modes, although it doesn’t tone down the chaos. The soundtrack matches the frenzied energy of the game, which also includes acing your cooking skills while crash landing on a parachute!  While not the most relaxing game you could turn to on a Sunday, this one definitely gets you to enjoy the process of frustration, joy and co-operation quite well with company. 

Genre - Casual, cooking simulation

Developer - Ghost Town Games

Available on - Linux, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 onwards, Windows and Xbox One