Updated with Vampire Survivors, which launched with multiplayer upon its Switch debut. Enjoy!
While there’s a huge variety of gaming experiences available on Switch, there’s a good chance that couch co-op games were a big part of the reason you bought Nintendo’s hybrid console. After all, the Switch is tailor-made for those experiences thanks to its Joy-Con controllers, which double up as two separate pads when you’ve got a friend nearby, even when you’re out and about.
But what are the best couch co-op games on Nintendo Switch? That’s what we’re here to find out in this selection of cooperative local multiplayer titles. We’re going with the definition that co-op games allow players to work together as teammates, as opposed to competing against each other. We’re also only including games with local multiplayer on a single device, which rules out games like Splatoon 3, for example.
If you’re not concerned specifically with the local co-op experience, be sure to check out our selection of the best Nintendo Switch games, an ever-evolving list of the top 50 Switch games as ranked by Nintendo Life users. However, assuming you’re looking to collaborate with a mate, we proudly present — in no particular order — the best cooperative experiences on Switch…
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Koei Tecmo
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order isn’t a groundbreaking, narrative-heavy reinterpretation of the comic characters you know and love, but then again neither were the first two games. In that regard, it’s a very faithful sequel that mines the vast roster of characters from the comics while including plenty of nods to the current state of the more modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it doesn’t do anything particularly new or outstanding, it embraces the brainless fun of its brawler combat with gusto, and it’s at its absolute best when played with a team of player-controlled supers.
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Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft
You might not be aware that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has an excellent co-op mode, with you and a friend tackling a variety of mission maps as your favourite characters. You’ll have to have completed World 1.5 in solo mode before it becomes accessible via the Buddydome to the right of Peach’s Castle. We’d love to see this expanded on in a potential sequel, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for an announcement this year. Sadly, the sequel — Sparks of Hope — is missing co-op entirely.
Publisher: Nicalis / Developer: Edmund McMillen
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ offers four player local co-op in this Zelda-like endless dungeon crawler roguelike. Bit of a mouthful, eh? Sadly, you won’t play as four Isaacs. Only player one is Isaac, with the other players playing as babies instead. These deal half of the damage of Isaac and can fly, but only have a single heart container – which they take off Isaac when they join.
Publisher: Psyonix Studios / Developer: Psyonix Studios
Rocket League is a fine online multiplayer game of driving really fast, pulling off insane tricks, and scoring ridiculous goals with an oversized ball in a car. Make no mistake, despite the odd concept, this is arguably the finest football game available on Switch right now. Local co-op is supported for up to four players, and you can battle against the CPU in 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 matches. That’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
A beautiful little game, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a winner whether you’re after puzzling or jump button-less platforming, and the two-player co-op Nintendo added post-launch makes this offering even tastier with Toadette able to join the Captain through the entire game. There’s even a nice little nugget of DLC for once you’ve polished off the main story. With beautiful visuals and an upbeat soundtrack, it’s is a real gem; a wonderful and gorgeous 3D platform puzzler fit for all ages, and one which you should definitely experience if you’re yet to.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Dodge Roll
Enter the Gungeon is as mad as its name suggests. This is an absolutely bonkers bullet-infested roguelike in which you shoot, loot, roll, and flip a bunch of tables on your journey through hordes of enemies to earn the legendary gun that can… er, kill the past. Whatever that means. Who really cares about story – this is an action-packed shooter that makes the action of The Matrix look like a Yoga session for the elderly.
Publisher: Mojang / Developer: Mojang
Minecraft was at one point the biggest game on the planet before Fortnite arrived to steal all of the limelight. Even so, its influence is far-reaching and explains the sheer number of copycat survival games and blocky builders. The original and best is available on Switch though, of course, and provides you with countless hours of co-op fun as you pretty much do anything you want from building stuff to crafting weapons and beating up enemies.
Publisher: SMG Studios / Developer: SMG Studios
Death Squared was built with co-op in mind, and boy does it do a good job of it. You have to work your way through a bunch of increasingly-challenging puzzling levels, helping two cuboid robots to stand on their same-coloured circle without destroying each other. It sounds easy, but navigating the various pitfalls and challenging sequences can be very challenging. Packed with character and brilliant narration, Death Squared is a little cube-shaped eShop gem.
SMG and DevM Games’ Moving Out and Moving Out 2 are also both well worth a look if you’re after a breezy, chaotic removal firm sim that has you clearing houses as quickly as possible to an excellent ’80s soundtrack.
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft
Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is an absolutely excellent 2D platformer that you really should check out regardless of the multiplayer options. As it happens though, it has full couch co-op support, allowing you to play through the entire experience with a friend. And what an experience it is. You’ll run, jump, and punch your way through a variety of imaginative levels that draw on influences from Mario to Sonic, and even Guitar Hero.
Publisher: Asteroid Base / Developer: Asteroid Base
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime turns the silliness right up to 11, and provides near perfect co-op action fun for you and your friends. It’s got support for four players, and each of you have to work together to keep a pink Death Star running as it battles nasties in space. You’ll run between various different control rooms, manning turrets, lasers, shields, and thrusters to both keep your ship functioning and to rack up a high score. Death is inevitable, but you can delay it for as long as possible – provided you work together.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Camelot
Mario Tennis Aces offers up to four player couch co-op via its doubles mode and if you’re a really big tennis fan, this is easily the best option right now on Switch. Also, while this is primarily a couch co-op list, it’s well worth mentioning that online co-op challenges have been introduced, rewarding you with special outfits, characters, and alternate color schemes.
Publisher: StudioMDHR / Developer: StudioMDHR
Cuphead was an absolute masterpiece when it launched on Xbox and nothing has been sacrificed in its move to the Switch. It’s the same visually jaw-dropping, aurally delightful, knuckle-whiteningly difficult game it was on Microsoft’s console and the Switch’s library is all the better for its presence. Its focus on intense boss battles won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into we can’t recommend it enough and it’s easy to share with a mate taking control of Mugman and joining you for the ride in two-player co-op. And with the DLC, The Delicious Last Course, there’s even more to dunk into with a friend.
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: Coldwood Interactive
Unravel Two is a wonderful little game, filled with heartfelt moments of poignant storytelling and challenging platforming puzzles, and now it has a fitting new home on Nintendo Switch. Even with a few downgrades to the visuals, Unravel Two is far from an inferior experience when played on Nintendo’s hybrid system. Full of charm and character, it’s one of the best co-operative platformers you can play anywhere, and another robust Switch port that was well worth the wait.