Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Tuesday 10s - Co-Op Multiplayer Games

After coming off one of the most satisfying co-op gaming experiences in recent years with It Takes Two (you can read more about the fun times that were had with the game with the SPC review), it only makes sense to follow that up with a special edition of The Tuesday 10s that focuses on ten of the better co-op games around. We'll be diving and delving into a lot of modern games, for sure, but there will be a couple classics tossed into this list as well. So, sit back, get comfortable, perhaps even get a buddy to read this article with you (as that would be rather fitting), and get ready for this latest installment of The Tuesday 10s!

It Takes Two (Multi)

What better way to start this edition of The Tuesday 10s than with the game that inspired it? It Takes Two is a 3D platformer with a whole heck of a lot of variety. So many of the ideas--and there are an immense number of them--could be crafted into their own game, but instead, the folks at Hazelight Studios took each idea, used them sparingly, and moved onto the next to keep the experience really fresh. The kicker here is that each idea and mechanic is lovingly and fully realized, so there's nothing that feels off, despite the myriad mechanics introduced throughout this 10-15 hour co-operative adventure full of puzzles, platforming, and other peril.

Monster Hunter Rise (NSW)

Really, any Monster Hunter with online could be included in this list of fantastic co-operative games, but seeing as Monster Hunter Rise is not only the most recent release in the franchise, but also the most accessible, it seemed like a smart pick. Battling behemoth beasts and colossal creatures with friends and other players online is seldom a bad time, and considering the wide amount of added mobility and ways to take down these titular monsters within Rise, it's pretty much always an exciting and excellent time! Team up with a pack of hunters to tackle the most ferocious monsters seen in a Monster Hunter game, work together to take them down, and to the victor goes the spoils of carved monster pieces to craft even better equipment. It's a gameplay loop that has worked for a decade now, and it's made even better and more fun with friends.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW)

If taking down hulking monstrosities isn't your cup of tea and you'd prefer a more laidback gameplay experience with your pals, then may I suggest Animal Crossing: New Horizons? It was pretty much THE game that helped many of us get through the jerk of a year that was 2020, and it continues to give players around the world pleasure and joy. Meet up with friends and explore your island homes-away-from-home together, interact with one another, chat with the locals, fish and catch bugs together, and perform all sorts of other enjoyable activities together. Animal Crossing: New Horizons brought with it hundreds of hours of entertainment all yearlong for this particular writer, and no doubt my total playtime is on the low end compared to the more... let's say... dedicated player base out there!

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (NSW)

Get ready for a whole mess of Mario with FOUR games featuring the mustachioed mascot of Nintendo! We begin with the most recent game to release starring the portly plumber: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. The original 3D World released on the Wii U, and this Nintendo Switch port introduces faster gameplay to 3D World, online play (a lovely addition that works more than it fails), and a brand-new adventure with Bowser's Fury. Playing 3D World online or even locally with friends and family alike has been some of my most cherished gaming memories. Sure, we might hinder more than we help one another at times, but that's all part of the platforming fun. Super Mario 3D World remains one of the better 3D outings featuring Mario and company, and it's an excellent game that is made even better on the Nintendo Switch.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (NSW)

We move from 3D to 2D with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, a dual package of platforming adventures. There is the original New Super Mario Bros. U, which served as a launch title for the Wii U, and then there's the additional DLC adventure, New Super Luigi U, featuring bite-sized, much more difficult levels to play through. I talked about hindering more than helping other players with Super Mario 3D World, and yes, as you can imagine, that's the case as well with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. And yet again, that's simply part of the fun as well. Laughing at one another when Mario and Luigi are over a pit, and Mario accidentally leaps off Luigi's noggin, thus resulting in the lean green plumber plummeting to his death, will never not be funny. Yes, I am a sadist at times in my gaming exploits. Regardless, two of the better 2D platformers within the Mario series in one package, and a great co-operative game to boot? That's just super!

Luigi's Mansion 3 (NSW)

We return to the 3D realm of gaming with the third game in the Luigi's Mansion franchise, and dare I say the best entry yet: Luigi's Mansion 3. What makes this optional co-operative mode with Luigi's haunted adventure so terrific is that while one player can control Luigi, the second can control Gooigi. This second player not only can help Luigi through puzzles which require two players, but Gooigi's great for beginner or lesser skilled players, as Gooigi has unlimited lives and can walk through most dangers unscathed. In the standard solo adventure, the player controls both Luigi and Gooigi, which can sometimes feel like trying to rub one's stomach while patting one's head (don't brag to me if you can do that easily, by the way). At any rate, Luigi's Mansion 3 offers lots of co-operative fun for both beginners and veterans of gaming alike to enjoy themselves and help one another out.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

Let's take a trip back into the past by almost two decades with some Mario Kart: Double Dash. This Nintendo GameCube entry in the Mario Kart franchise is one of the most creative and innovative in both the series and the kart racing genre as well. Two players ride along the same kart: one player drives and the other fires off items. The two can--with the proper communication--switch positions mid-race to change racing duties. This is often necessary to succeed in a given race and cross that coveted finish line in first place. This is a co-operative kart racer that demands cooperation, communication, and patience with one another, or else you'll find yourselves careening off course, getting gob-smacked by the competition, and winding up in the back of the pack and low on the leaderboards. It was a terrific one-off installment of the Mario Kart series, but I know I can't be alone in wishing that this dual kart mechanic would return in a future installment, right?

Rayman Legends (Multi)

Moving on from Mario to a lesser beloved and appreciated platforming hero, we have Rayman's most recent platforming adventure: Rayman Legends. Play with up to three other players in some ingeniously crafted levels, some of which return from Rayman Origins with brand-new secrets and window dressing inside them. The stars of the level show happen to be the Murfy levels, where one player controls the flying little wonder as he manipulates level obstacles and platforms to help the other players through these hazard-filled gauntlets safely. Like any co-operative game worth its weight in Lums, teamwork, communication, and patience are required to survive. Outside of the Murfy levels is some of the most creative and enjoyable designs seen in a 2D platformer, from the lovely music levels to the entertaining bosses. Case in point: Rayman Legends is an excellent platformer whether you're playing with a full group, another partner, or simply by your lonesome.

Overcooked 2 (Multi)

Co-operative cooking action! No, this isn't a Hideo Kojima game, it's Overcooked 2! Players and prospective cooks alike team up together in kitchens of all shapes, sizes, and gimmicks to cook and serve multiple menus of delicious goodies. Simple enough in theory, but much, much more difficult in execution. When you have obstacles in your way, kitchens that shift and split up as you try to move around them, and of course having to delineate tasks between your co-operative partners, things get mighty tense mighty quickly. It's almost as intense as trying to run a restaurant's kitchen in real life! Almost, of course! With dozens upon dozens of levels to perfect for great scores, progressively more challenging menus to construct, and plenty of teamwork to be found, Overcooked 2 is one rowdy co-op cooking experience!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES, ARC)

The oldest game on this list, but by no means one of the only retro co-operative games available for players to enjoy (no, no, that's FAR from the case), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time stormed arcades before releasing on the Super Nintendo for players to enjoy at the comfort of their cozy couches and homes. Shredder was back and down to his typical dirty deeds, but this time around, he had a trump card in the form of sending the Turtles back in time. This particular TMNT beat-em-up featured the most variety of locales and level gimmicks than most other games of its genre. It's the type of game that is just fun to play, and not just for one time and then you put the cartridge away to forget about it for the rest of your days. No, the gameplay was so enjoyable, especially with a second player, that it made for a title that saw repeated plays at the SuperPhillip household and without question repeated plays in gaming households the world over. 

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