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The 25 best co-op games on PC to play in 2021

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With more of us turning to games to hang out with our friends these days, it's never been more important to have a bunch of great co-op games you can play together. That's why we've compiled this list of the 25 best co-op games you can play on PC right now. Whether you want to survive against zombie hordes, fell giant monsters, or fling your physicsy forms across chasms, there's a co-op game here for you.

Our criteria is simple. If you can play with a pal without competing, then it's a co-operative game. It's not enough if it's a team-based competitive game, which is why you won't see games like Counter-Strike or Dota in this list. We've also decided to exclude those games which flit between PvE and PvP moment to moment, such as DayZ and Sea Of Thieves. They're all great games, but they belong on a different list.

The best co-op games on PC

Without further ado, then, here are the 25 best co-op games on PC right now. You can either click the links below to go straight to the game in question, or just carry on scrolling to read the whole thing.


25. It Takes Two

Hazelight have a knack for designing clever, co-op-only puzzle games, and It Takes Two is definitely their best yet. You and a mate play as bickering couple May and Cody, who get turned into tiny doll versions of themselves after upsetting their daughter. Despite their relationship being the verge of a big divorce bust-up, they must work together to get back to their normal selves, and maybe learn a few life lessons along the way.

It's not the happiest of stories, all told (and features some truly horrifying moments involving stuffed toys and broken vacuum cleaners), but its puzzles are absolutely top notch. Players must really work together to conquer It Takes Two's imaginative obstacle courses, and its range of ideas is a clear step up from Hazelight's first co-op-only game, A Way Out. Even better, only one person needs to actually buy the game, as every copy comes with a free friend pass for your player two.


A group of white, doughy player characters walking across a grassy plain under a large stone gateway in Human Fall Flat

24. Human Fall Flat

Human Fall Flat began life as a pleasant if unremarkable puzzle-platformer starring a featureless, physicsy dough boy called Bob. Then its developers added co-op, and it came alive. Played with two players in local co-op or up to eight online, your goal is still to steer your dough boys towards the exit on a series of floating islands.

You must do this by clumsily lifting yourself up ledges, clumsily swinging from ropes, and clumsily working out how to use the environment to continue your journey. This clumsiness is extra delightful when you're not just doing it yourself, but watching friends do it as well. They hoist you up behind them, hold your hand as you dangle from those ropes, and you talk to come up with plans to clumsily enact. Brilliantly, not much else has changed about the game. You'll still mainly play on the levels originally designed for a single player. That boat you used to clamber on? If all 8 of you leap on, your combined weight will cause it to sink. This turns out to be fine - it just becomes another obstacle to work out how to overcome, and another moment of physics fun.


Kait and Del holding their guns in Gears 5

23. Gears 5

Gears 5's meaty campaign is a fine old romp when played alone, but it really comes alive when you're cleaving through it with a pal or two. You'll probably be rushing to play as either Kait or Del, the two beefcake heroes of Gears 5's story campaign and the main ones doing all the shooting, sawing and yanking of robot plugs from the backs of unsuspecting enemies.

The third player takes control of Jack, Kait and Del's friendly flying robo-drone who provides support for his human masters, laying down traps, dropping boosts, fetching weapons or providing a quick bit of first aid if you get downed. He's not quite as much fun to play for experienced roadie runners, but there's no denying that he adds a vital bit of spice to Gears 5's action vocabulary. Whether it's mind-controlling swarm troops, turning you invisible or netting you a rare sniper rifle from a far-off perch, Jack is often the one who can turn the tide of a difficult battle.

Special mention must also go to Gears 5's local splitscreen support. Some may prefer to offer their co-operative chainsaw from afar online, but there's something about being in the same room that makes Gears 5 all the more enjoyable. It's something we wish big blockbuster games did more often, and Gears 5 is a great example of how to do it well.


The player faces a horde of man-sized rat men in a ruined cathedral in Warhammer: Vermintide 2

22. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Vermintide 2 is clearly indebted to Valve's zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. Each level can be tackled by up to 4 players, and sees you slaughtering hordes of enemies to reach the end intact. Special enemies threaten to pick off anyone that strays from the group, and the appearance of an occasional boss can tear through an unprepared team.

Those similarities might make it tempting to dismiss as a Left 4 Dead knock off, but you shouldn't because Vermintide 2 has the best rats in video games. They're man-sized opponents with weapons and minds of their own, making them individual combatants that are more satisfying to fight than ravenous zombies. The five classes, each with separate skills and access to different weapons, help to give each player their own role. Those vermin are more varied, too, with a random selection of mini-bosses and horde types to make each run feel a little different. Fatshark nailed the melee combat at its core and sprinkled in some breathtaking level design, and the end result might be the best horde survival game, even if you don't like Warhammer.


A player holds out a mop in a yellow room full of cartoonish dead bodies in Viscera Cleanup Detail

21. Viscera Cleanup Detail

It's not exactly the most original setting: a dilapidated space station filled with aliens and crimson, world-building wall graffiti. Viscera Cleanup Detail turns this tried and tested scenario on its head, tasking you not with repelling the aliens, but cleaning up the bloody aftermath with a mop that looks like Zoidberg's mouth.

With up to 32 players, you mop up blood, collect spent shells, deposit bits of human in contaminant containers, refill med stations and incinerate body parts. You might think that more players means faster cleaning, but with you all tracking bloodied footprints across the floor and knocking over buckets filled with gory slop, it won't be long before things devolve into a food fight. But with human limbs instead of food.


Four players attempt to prepare food in a barn-themed kitchen in Overcooked 2

20. Overcooked 2

Overcooked and its sequel Overcooked 2 are both are silly games of simmering and sizzling, the physical manifestation of the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth". You're in a kitchen with up to three other players, and you have to make food to order by preparing and combining certain ingredients. To get this done properly, everyone needs to carry out their appointed tasks pronto. Thing is, it doesn't always work out that way.

The kitchens of Overcooked are constantly changing. Narrow spaces mean players get in each other's way. Sometimes the whole level shifts. Benches on a ship will slide down the deck with each large wave, altering the layout entirely, while cooking in two trucks means that one part of the kitchen will occasionally accelerate, suddenly becoming off-limits. How will you get the chow off the hob before it boils into an inedible paste? By shouting at your fellow chefs, of course.

Overcooked 1 and 2 are much the same, but it's 2 we'd recommend. For one, it's now got online multiplayer as well as local, letting you play with those geographically distant friends. For two, you can now throw ingredients back and forth between chefs. Your co-chef needs more mushrooms? Maybe he'll catch the one you just threw to him; maybe it'll bonk him right in the face.


Fishing from a pond in a Stardew Valley screenshot.

19. Stardew Valley

There is a lot of shooting and adventuring on this list, but very few opportunities to hang out in a turnip field. Stardew Valley lets you live out an alternate life as a farmer, away from the hustle and bustle of cities and video games with guns. It's about escape. Ever since the multiplayer update, you can now escape with friends.

It provides a place to be rather than a challenge to overcome. Each of you gets to dodder around town, either working together and divvying up tasks or ploughing away at individual farms. It's not that the Valley feels sterile without other humans, but there are only so many blackberries you can hand over to your NPC neighbours before your relationships start feeling one dimensional. With real people in the mix, you get an actual community. Maybe your pal has a spare melon you can give to Penny for her birthday. Maybe they'll bake you a cake. Or steal your chickens.

People breathe warmth and life into this farming game fantasy that's already about those things. You've got the freedom to pursue whatever charming humdrum activity takes your fancy. Go fishing. Comb the beach. Or, if you want, mercilessly compete to see who can optimise profits. It's your farm.


An armoured dwarf fires a gatling gun underground in Deep Rock Galactic

18. Deep Rock Galactic

It's a simple pitch: a group of dwarven friends with class-based skills walk into an asteroid, mine for materials, and fight back the critters who fancy them for dinner. What complicates matters is the need to leave again: once their pockets are full, the dwarves have got five minutes to down pickaxes and reach an escape pod before it leaves without them.

This is even more complicated than it seems, because the asteroid's tunnels and caverns are a twisting warren interspersed with enormous drops. Re-trace your path inwards in reverse, in a rush, and it's easy to get lost - and those drops are now, of course, climbs. If you thought to make your ad hoc constructions two-way when you threw them up on the way in, then no problem. If you were hasty, or if your platforms were destroyed by explosive enemies, then you're going to need to construct a new route. The adrenaline rush of your extraction is a thrill with friends over voice comms all panicking together.


The player fires on a guard inside a bank in Payday 2

17. Payday 2

If you've never played Payday 2 or its predecessor, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was about perfect planning, stealth and crowd control. The reality is a bit different, and it usually goes like this: the four of you excitedly chat about how you're going to approach a heist, you split up, someone fudges it almost instantly and every police officer in the world turns up to shoot you all in the head.

It's more wave defense than precision stealth, with each player setting up traps, sharing ammo and trying to keep the police at bay as a timer ticks down. It's chaotic and messy, but the shooting is weighty enough and the skill trees are satisfying to advance through. It's possible get through each of the heists without raising an alarm, but it's bloody hard and you stand very little chance until you've unlocked some of the more advanced skills. Still, the possibility hangs there like a 24 carat carrot, nudging you all to have another go until you've perfected every scenario.


16. Streets Of Rogue

Streets of Rogue is a chaotic playground at the best of times. Adding more players makes it more so, but not just by mindlessly multiplying the destruction. While players are on the same 'side', the NPCs treat you all as separate entities - another person like them, not a faction they can magically recognise.

Combined with its systems-driven design already present in single player, it means that instead of blocking each other out, your options overlap to create more opportunities. The usual friction between players who want to do things in different ways is reduced, as you can opt out of getting involved, or even exploit the other players' behaviour to give yourself more options. You died, but someone playing as a shapeshifter possessed a hacker, then reprogrammed a slot machine to improve its odds while a third player tried to win enough money to pay for the resurrection. And even if you're all going full chaos, the rippling reactions to your rampage produce as many laughs out of sitting back and watching the aftermath. None of us know how we ended up with a loyal gorilla minion who joined a gang.


A bomb you must defuse that's packed with puzzles in Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

15. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

The best example of asymmetry in co-op. It involves at least two players - one of you is defusing a bomb with judicious mouse clicks and cautious wire snips, the other is giving instructions from a bomb-defusing manual. Neither player can look at what the other is doing. It's one of the most perfect set-ups for the destruction of a healthy relationship and a fantastic example of leaving the screen itself behind.

You don't have to print out the manual to read from it (you could just read the PDF file from a laptop) but we think it's the best way to play. You flip hurriedly through pages, trying to decipher the theory of these explosive devices. Then comes the challenge of communicating the quirks and symbols of the page in a way that won't be misunderstood. As the bomb handler, you're consistently double-checking and second-guessing your team mate as they stammer out their directions. In the end, you've just got to trust them.


A sniper and spotter in ghillie suits in an Arma 3 screenshot.

14. Arma 3

Arma 3 takes place on a pair beautiful fictional Greek islands. It does have a single-player campaign, but it's that island, the vehicles, guns and mechanics, and the painstaking attention to detail, that makes Arma 3 great. It's a platform for the community to create their own games upon, and there's enough community made content that if you get into it, you could be playing Arma 3's cooperative mode to the exclusion of any other game.

There's something about Arma's design philosophy that makes it especially well suited to playing with other people. Partly there's the realism, which obviously lends itself well to the kinds of genuine squad tactics you can enact when playing with some dedicated friends or a committed community like ShackTac. Partly it's the way in which the islands are designed in spite of you, not in service to you, making your steady journeys across the landscape with another person feel more satisfying than overcoming a set of contrived obstacles. Hopefully one of you is a good pilot.


Three characters gather together in a treehouse in Don't Starve Together

13. Don't Starve Together

Now available for free to anyone who already owns Don't Starve, Don't Starve Together lets you try and survive its Burton-esque nightmare wilderness with friends. While you might think it would be easier to survive with someone to huddle up to by the night's fire, cooperation here won't just see you chopping up firewood twice as fast - the more players you have, the more competition there is for food.

The trick is to work together instead of fighting over scraps: one of you can cook while another places traps; someone else can be chopping wood ready to stoke the night's fire. With six players, there's plenty of scope for creating a sustainable base, so long as everyone sticks to their roles and shares resources. Don't Starve was already a brilliant story generator and the stories only get better when you've got people to share them with by a campfire.


A masked player fires their gun at a horde of Zed zombies in Killing Floor 2

12. Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 provides a familiar flavour of zombie wave defence (or "Zeds", as the game calls them), tasking you and five other players with welding doors shut, swinging katanas and removing heads with panicked shotgun blasts.

What weapons you start with depends on the class, so while assault rifle equipped characters might be able to pick off Zeds at range, the Support class needs to stop undead that get close by removing half of their head with some buckshot. What makes Killing Floor 2 so great is the feedback: weapons punish trigger-happy players with recoil, body parts fly from enemies with each impact, and claret glistens on the ground, a bloody reminder of each skirmish. Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.


A gunfight on the streets of Las Vegas in a Rainbow Six Vegas 2 screenshot.

11. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

You can play through the whole of Vegas 2's brilliant but flawed campaign with a friend, rappelling down walls, breaching windows and taking out terrorists in unison. While that will keep you busy a while, it's Terrorist Hunt - a mode where you team up with three buddies to hunt down a set amount of enemies across large sandbox maps - that will keep you coming back.

Guns are powerful and fast; death comes faster. This makes methodically creeping through the maps as a unit, covering corners and assaulting defended positions, an incredibly tense affair. This only ramps up when your squad inevitably gets picked apart on the harder difficulties, right up until three of you are sat watching the lone survivor, the whole success of the mission pinned on them scraping through. It could even be down to you and you'll feel the tension ramp up as you suddenly become aware of being judged.


Borderlands 3 - The four playable Vault Hunters stand together shooting at enemies.

10. Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 is classic "bigger is better" sequel design: everything you liked in Borderlands 2 (still a great co-op romp in itself) but with more. More gun variables, more character abilities, more locations, more vehicles, more rifles that grow legs and run around as a lead-spewing sidekick. The only thing it has less of is Claptrap, which is a blessing. And so it makes sense that co-op is the way to go in this bombastic FPS game.

At any one time one friend could be ordering a giant battle ant into the fray while another hops into a Titanfall-ish mech suit, a third activates a drone and a holographic double and the fourth performs psychic powerbombs in the middle of it all. The way these character skills can be further differentiated means you never really know which version of each character you'll be rubbing shoulders with, turning co-operative sessions into a showcase for builds. Of course, the main takeaway is always: I want my own battle ant.

Importantly, it's a friendlier co-op game than Borderlands 2, too. With instanced loot drops, players don't have to fight over the same spoils of war, and the difficulty scales to each combatant, so a casual dabbler can comfortably leap into an old pro's game.


A group of players fight an ice dragon in a ruined plain in Divinity: Original Sin 2

9. Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin let you create a character and then suggested it might be fun if you took a friend along. It was fun, because you got to do all sorts of silly things. Divinity: Original Sin 2 wants you to consider the possibility of playing with multiple friends. It supports up to four players but rather than simply increasing the size of the party, it does something far smarter and more insidious.

This time around, Divinity wants you to consider what might happen if your friends were no longer your friends. They're colleagues, perhaps, and sometimes they're rivals. And thus the competitive-cooperative RPG is born. You can take on quests with contradictory objectives, kill that one NPC your best mate really needs to talk to if she's ever going to get closure on her character's personal backstory, or poison all of the health potions and then share them with the party after the next battle. It's a brilliant game however many people you play with, but it's at its best when you're playing with a group of your very best frenemies.


An image from Monster Hunter: World which shows the player grappling hook towards a huge Jagras (a yellow lizard).

8. Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter: World is arguably the best and slickest Monster Hunter game yet. This is a game that made a concerted effort to smooth out previously obtuse mechanics and controls and move from partitioned monster arenas to open playpens that encourage exciting chases and allow surprise clashes as angry bits of the ecosystem butt heads - all without sacrificing the weapon mastery or crating trees that keep you playing for months.

When hunting alongside friends, you're rewarded for teamwork. Some weapon classes offer extra support, like blowing a stat-buffing boogie on the hunting horn or blasting friends with a bowgun's healing shots, but really it's about everyone knowing their tool and beating down the monster at every opportunity. What elevates it above most co-op games is the way it taps into the camaraderie of real-world team activities. Not just the main event, but the rituals that build up around them. Meeting in a tavern, having a slap-up meal (prepared by a giant cat), comparing the latest hobbyist gear... y'know: Big Dad Energy stuff. Also: the incredibly fussy lobby system, with its invites and quest noticeboard, feels a lot like dads trying to work out the intricacies of Facebook. It's well worth muddling through the archaic kinks.


A knight readies their shield as they fight an even bigger knight in Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition

7. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

While many are purists when it comes to From Software's masterful action RPG, refusing to summon help or forcing themselves to equip just underwear whilst wielding only an overgrown twig, Dark Souls is fantastic in co-op. You can jump in with a friend, with a bit of planning, taking turns to help each other through each section. Even without friends, though, Dark Souls will have you forming bonds with silent strangers.

There's an unwritten etiquette to the Souls games that sees people treating each other with respect, bowing to each other once summoned and waving each other off or cheering after a defeated boss. There's nothing quite like the feeling of relief when a summoned co-op partner helps you finally beat Ornstein and Smough - the only thing that comes close is paying it back later, becoming the saviour in someone else's story. Adam said it best in our review: "It's superb, populating an already haunted world with phantoms and memories, and providing an eventual gateway by which to become an all-but anonymous hero or villain."


Four players duke it out underground in Spelunky

6. Spelunky

Spelunky is a moreish 2D platformer with roguelike elements that kicks your arse until it straightens your spine. Although the geometry might be constantly shifting with each frequent death, the rules that govern the enemy types remain constant. After a while, reflexes handle the enemies of The Mines - it's like peeking into another dimension, but instead of losing your mind you become Neo. Can you dodge bullets? Yes.

Co-op changes the rules, making it perfect for seasoned players to team up. You might think things would be easier with more health and attack power, but stunning, whipping and blowing each other up will be a regular occurrence in the claustrophobic confines of the levels. More players only add more complication and four player co-op is chaos, creating more hilarious ways to fail. Timing, as ever, is key. Now see if you can make it to Hell with friends.


A templar leaps onto a group of enemies in Diablo 3

5. Diablo 3

Diablo 3 is a beast of a game and it's playable from start to finish with three friends. Not only is it absolutely huge, but there's replayability in the different classes and combinations, not to mention the difficulty levels. On lower difficulties it's kind of meditative - you just explore colourful environments bashing things as the world reacts to your destructive force and you pick up sweeter gear.

Like this, it's one of the best social games around, requiring little in the way of planning while you chat to your friends and get on with bashing skeletons. Crank it up, though, and your party is in for a world of hurt if you're not planning, talking about the fight and working together - providing buffs, healing and prioritising targets is essential to victory. It's easy to pick up, difficult to master and even harder to put down.


Two men do wheelies on motorbikes in GTA 5

4. Grand Theft Auto 5

Los Santos is a gorgeous playground, each bend in the road bringing you level with a postcard view - every angle feels scrutinised. Trace a route from the peak of Mt Chiliad, driving down through the dusty plains of the Grand Senora Desert, snaking by the hilltop mansions of Vinewood Hills, cruising on through the twinkling city itself and finally coming to stop at Vespucci Beach - all this, including the skies above and the sea beyond, is your online playground.

Grand Theft Auto Online is stuffed full of co-op scenarios, but the best experiences are found in the Heists. These multi-part missions ask you and three other players to take part in everything from the setup - casing the joint and grabbing getaway vehicles - all the way to the caper itself. While not all of them are literal heists, each one does an incredible job of making sure all four players are busy. Everyone has their own job to do, sometimes all together, sometimes in pairs and sometimes alone. This, along with the randomness of the open-world's systems, gives each one massive replay value. The only real downside is that you really need to play with three friends to get the most out of it. With each heist taking a couple of hours from setup to execution, it can be as difficult to organise as an actual heist.


A screenshot of a Minecraft volcano build.

3. Minecraft

Nobody knew how huge Minecraft would be when the alpha released in 2010, but there were hints of it even from the first few hours, when the game's initial players started building rudimentary shapes and sharing screenshots of what they'd created.

Today, Minecraft is played by people of all ages. Part of its appeal, aside from its openness, is the social aspect. Whether helping your child stave off monsters as you build a fantasy land together or collaborating with a group of adults to make a working hard drive, there's something for everyone.

You can even play it as an RPG, killing mobs with your co-op partner, levelling up and building equipment to grow stronger, with the eventual goal of taking on the final boss, the Ender Dragon. Minecraft is whatever you want it to be and you can play it all with friends.


Three characters aim their guns at a zombie on the floor in Left 4 Dead 2

2. Left 4 Dead 2

Panicking with friends can be sublime. That shared fear and desperation, the yells and shrieks of people facing the same horde, each convinced they're moments from being overwhelmed. In a sense, they already are.

Horror games reach into your lizard brain and convince your amygdala that you're in trouble. Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the best, because it's built around saving your friends from that state. When the necrotic tongue of a Smoker comes grasping for your mate, you get to save the day with a well placed shot. When a Hunter pounces on your pal who's straggling at the back, there you are with a punch and shotgun blast. When a Tank jumps right into the middle of your group... well, you can't survive every time.

That's part of what makes triumph taste so sweet. You're pulling together against an AI director that keeps you on your toes, sending in hordes when it thinks you can take them, but rarely throwing so much at you that it feels unfair. Every level is an appropriately intense ordeal, where cries of frustration can quickly turn into tears of laughter. Ten years on, Valve are still the kings of co-op horror. Especially if you play Versus mode, and know the Hunter tearing into you is your mate Dave.


The two robot pals get ready to solve puzzles in Portal 2

1. Portal 2

What happens when you take a single-player game about traversing intricate puzzle rooms with portals, and then double everything? It becomes twice as complicated and twice as satisfying. Portal 2 already expands on everything introduced in the bite-sized Portal, adding things like Excursion Funnels, Thermal Discouragement Beams, Propulsion Gel and other fancy sounding words, but the addition of another player changes things the most.

Four portals make each room more confusing to explore, especially when you consider both players need to reach the exit. In essence, many rooms require two solutions. Some puzzles require both thought and dexterity, and firing your friend across a chasm by moving a portal while they freefall through another eventually becomes as normal as walking.

There's a lot of personality in the design of the two robotic protagonists, too - the Laurel and Hardy of shiny metal. When you're working together, you'll be high fiving each other's metal hands and barking possible solutions through your headset.

If you're not using chat, Valve were kind enough to provide lots of ways to communicate in-game, with players able to place markers and emote. Every puzzle solution is punctuated by a dance. Portal 2's co-op is an experience you can't quite replicate, its systems a perfect balance of cooperation and friendly rivalry. Grab a friend and become the most stupid pair of geniuses around.

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