Best video games for two?
November 11, 2013 8:39 PM   Subscribe

What are the best collaborative 2-player video games? My husband and I played Mario Galaxy 2 and it was perfect - he player Mario and I played "Starfy" and it worked out great. Are there more games like that for 2 players, where one player (aka me) can be kind of bad at video games? We have a Wii, some computers and are considering getting an Xbox One in the next few months..
posted by annie o to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I was the bad-at-video-games partner for the Lego games and it was very fun. I especially liked Lego Indiana Jones.
posted by Swisstine at 8:43 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I like a game called 'ms. splosion man' it has cooperative labels. all you do is jump, but the challenge is to time your jumps correctly. it was on xbox 360 in the arcade so maybe it will be on xbox one as well.
posted by Jaelma24 at 9:02 PM on November 11, 2013

By way of a friend, Borderlands 1/2, Orcs Must Die, Left for Dead, Minecraft, Portal 2, and the Lego series (on preview as Swisstine suggests). I used to enjoy playing Civilization 3, Heroes of Might and Magic 3 and Simcity. I know they released updated versions, but those type of games usually hold the interest of a very small population so I wouldn't purchase them without reading a review.
posted by palionex at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Boom Blox!
posted by littlesq at 9:11 PM on November 11, 2013

If you don’t mind an older game, Kirby Super Star is tons of fun and fits your criteria exactly — player one is Kirby, player two is the “helper”. This was an SNES game, so it should be available on the Wii’s Virtual Console or in some other rehashed form.
posted by Ryon at 9:14 PM on November 11, 2013

Once their populations decline, MMOs with challenges that scale interestingly for 2-players might fit the bill. Champions Online and Guild Wars 2 are good examples. Leave / turn off the chat channels, and it's mostly just you two, exploring a world, handling some scaling encounters, and taking on open world challenges that are as easy or hard as you like.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:20 PM on November 11, 2013

Soul Caliber 2 is well balanced enough to kill a few hours with a friend every now and again.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:45 PM on November 11, 2013

My GF and I play minecraft on the xbox sometimes. She's terrible at video games and ended up playing it a lot more than I do.

We also enjoy the Telltale games (Walking Dead, Wolf Among Us). I usually control it and let her decide the dialogue options.
posted by empath at 9:55 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

You mentioned computers... maybe Monaco if you have Steam? Super fun and pretty much anyone can pick it up and play.

I was going to suggest Mario Kart but that's totally not collaborative...
posted by curagea at 10:49 PM on November 11, 2013

Yes, all the Lego co-ops are good for what you're looking for (Star Wars, Harry Potter, LoTR, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones). We've also tried Portal 2 and Castle Crashers. In the past we did well with "hack and slash" games like the Diablo series since I could get by with lots of frantic clicking instead of having actual mad skillz. For non co-op but fun games to play together on one screen, we used to play puzzle-solving type games together like the old LucasArts ones (Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, Monkey Island), some of which you can now get in re-releases and there may be new puzzle-style games now too. It was fun puzzle-solving together since each person has different ideas to contribute, and was a nicer dynamic than me following along as a sidekick as with typical video games.
posted by girlhacker at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

my boyfriend and I just finished little big planet 2 - there were a few levels that my crappy game skills couldn't manage, but for those he would just play without me, and then I'd join the game again on the next level - it was a lot of fun.

the portal 2 co-operative levels were amazing! I'm better at figuring out puzzles, and he's better at aiming/jumping/moving accurately, so we had some great collaboration going on.

good question! now that we've played through those two I need new material!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:43 AM on November 12, 2013

Seconding, Portal 2 co-operative levels. My good lady and I had lots of fun (and arguments!) solving the puzzles :)
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 7:28 AM on November 12, 2013

This is how my wife and I play video games... the Lego games are the best (the new Lego Marvel game is fantastic, and coming for the XBox One), and she loved the second player mode in Mario Galaxy too.

De Blob 2 is a great game for the Wii (and other consoles) with a casual 2nd-player coop mode similar to Mario Galaxy.

The Deathspank series isn't on the Wii, but it's on consoles and PC, and has drop in co-op.

The Co-Optimus site is a great place to check out reviews of strictly co-op games - you can use their search feature to look for specific co-op types, and their reviews always go into detail on the co-op experience. Also use search here in the Green... this type of question is asked frequently.
posted by Gortuk at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2013

My boyfriend is a video game programmer and I had essentially never played console games before we moved in together. We started with Lego games. Borderlands 2 was fun because it's clever and can tell which player is better and then distributes the bad guys based on that. We also played some wii Mario game I forget the name of and are now playing Castle Crashers, which seems pretty good but is sometimes kind of hard.
posted by carolr at 10:24 AM on November 12, 2013

Alright, let's get this one over with, though it is not strictly speaking a 2-player game. World of Warcraft. I'm sure you've heard the good and the bad of this behemoth of a game, but in the end there's a reason it is as popular as it is, even this many years after release. We found it to be an excellent couples (+ friends, in our case) game. There's no need to be 'good' at it (there is a very gentle learning curve), and there are several roles you can fill such that you can find your niche. I've just found that it has far more sticking power, variety, and interesting aesthetics than other options in the genre. You should try the 'trial' version first though, to see if its co-op dynamic is what you're looking for and whether your computers can handle it. If you're interested, just message me and I can go more in-depth. MMOs can pretty easily be played as 1 or 2 player games, just ignoring the rest of the world, if that is your desire. (This is my primary bias - I much prefer this kind of game over Minecraft and other very open-world games.)

If you prefer science fiction like Star Wars, The Old Republic is a pretty solid game that we enjoyed for a year. Still, not quite as...crisp, as WoW. I found Guild Wars 2 initially interesting, but the content got stale and you might find the combat more challenging than in the other two mentioned. I have not tried the new Final Fantasy MMO.

Beyond that, other couple games we enjoyed are Borderlands (both the original and sequel are absolutely fantastic), Portal 2, Diablo 3/Torchlight 2/Path of Exile (all games of the same genre) - even the Halo series of games is a lot of fun in cooperative mode, but higher on the challenge rating. (Then again, the respawn mechanic they have is very gentle for combining a very novice player with a more experienced player.) The Fable series has co-op where you can help out with a 2nd character to fight things, and it's a fun series in general, but the co-op is fairly simplistic.

And I just want to mention - you can learn how to play games just as well as anyone else, don't hold yourself to the 'girls are bad at video games' stereotype. Play what you enjoy, and you'll get better at it, just like with any other skill!
posted by aggyface at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2013

My husband and I really enjoyed playing through Rayman Origins together. It's a jumping platformer, but the collision detection is a lot nicer than New Super Mario Brothers, and you can never run out of lives. When one dies, you turn into a bubble (kind of like Mario), and have to get "popped" by the other player. It's totally okay to die over and over, and even if both of you die at the same time, you just start over from that section of the board, and each board is split into multiple sections. The music and art are also great!

I also enjoyed Lego Harry Potter--it's nice that the two of you can go off in your own directions, as long as you stay in the same room. And the different characters get different abilities that are needed to solve specific puzzles.
posted by that girl at 12:35 PM on November 12, 2013

On the Wii, Guitar Hero or Rock Band work well for cooperative play at different levels (each player/instrument can be a different difficulty level during the same song). That's what my parents were into on theirs.

When we got an Xbox 360 I got a load of "nice"/cute games for my wife and I to play together - she was a non-gamer. Things like Lego whatever, Rayman. She hated those, we mostly play Borderlands, Left 4 Dead and Halo together (all games from those series) - seems she loves killing things, who knew! L4D is not very forgiving, the other two are. Borderlands 2 somewhat controversially has a deliberately easy-to-play character.

(Versions of those games will make it to the Xbox One eventually I guess... Personally I'd give next-gen a miss for now and pick up a cheap 360.)
posted by dickasso at 9:51 AM on November 13, 2013

Orcs Must Die 1&2, both my husband and I love computer games but this is one of the few we can play together without arguing.

Any of the Lego games, I like the first Batman one best but they are all good. This works because if my husband annoys me enough with his know it all behaviors I can wack his character until it explodes into lego pieces everywhere, very satisfying in its own way and it never gets old.

Portal 2.

Borderlands which I like solo doesn't work for us as co-op as we both end up going off and doing our own thing and not really working together. Others as you have seen here have better luck with it.

Ratchet and Clank all 4 One. Silly, fun, you have to work together, the commentary is hilarious and you can play with up to 4 players.
posted by wwax at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2013

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