Whether you’re across the world or sitting together on the couch, cooperative gaming is a great way to connect with people, creating new relationships or rekindling existing ones. Xbox Game Pass offers dozens of games that support co-op play, from sports games and shooters to brawlers and MMOs. We’re taking a look at some of our favorites here and hope that you’ll discover a new game to play with people you know and people you don’t (yet). And since these are all Xbox Game Pass titles, playing nets you Microsoft Rewards points that you can use to help support a good cause. So hit up a friend and get playing!
Gears (Franchise) – Mike
Whether you want to go back to where it all began with Marcus Fenix and company in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition or jump into the latest explosive entry with Kat Diaz in Gears 5, you can have a friend next to you on the couch for split-screen action or play together online as you battle the horde through epic story-driven campaigns. And once you knock those out, hop online across a ton of different competitive modes either on the same team or trading fire against each other.
Start the fight, continue the fight, and finish the fight with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. This massive bundle of Xbox classics includes nearly every Master Chief experience — including Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach – all featuring co-op gameplay either through split-screen or online via Xbox Live. Everything from fighting the Covenant across multiple Halo rings, to wandering the streets of Mombasa, to defending the planet Reach can be done with your buddies. There are a tremendous number of experiences here to be shared with friends.
Journey to the Savage Planet – Will
One of the funniest games in recent memory also offers one of the best co-op experiences. Journey to the Savage Planet, from publisher 505 Games and developer Typhoon Studios, drops players into a brightly colored (yet still very deadly) world, tasking them with exploring and cataloguing said savage planet. And what better way to do that than with a partner by your side? They’ll help you find the flora and fauna needed to determine if AR-Y 26 is hospitable to human life, battle the bosses you face, and, most importantly, offer you someone to mess with. Try tossing some Grob Bait on your buddy, then sit back and watch the hilarity that ensues.
Minecraft – Jeff
Simply put, one of the greatest, most widely-played cooperative experiences of all time. Don’t let Minecraft’s deceptively-simple visual style give you the wrong idea – Survival mode is as thrilling as it gets. You will absolutely want a friend or 3 (in person via split-screen or joining via Xbox Live) to help gather resources, build a shelter, find food, and fight off skeletons, spiders, and Creepers when the sun goes down. For those seeking a more peaceful experience, Creative mode is the ultimate, low-key collaborative sandbox. Teaming up to build amazing creations without limitations is a uniquely satisfying experience for players of all ages.
Monster Hunter: World – Will
The best-selling game in Capcom’s storied history, Monster Hunter: World was the game that introduced millions of players to the series’ unique universe, in which Hunters are tasked with killing or capturing increasingly bigger and tougher monsters in the name of researching a new world. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into the game’s co-op offerings, which was a great benefit to the game’s new players. In addition to in-game meeting spaces in which players can post what amounts to help wanted ads, Hunters can launch an SOS flare if their party is having trouble with a monster, allowing nearby players to join in on the fun. It’s the perfect way to handle co-op, and a big reason for the game’s success.
Moving Out – Jeff
Can you lift a box and toss it in the back of a truck? Great, you’re now a certified Furniture Arrangement and Relocation Technicians (or F.A.R.T.) in the silly, yet charming, world of Moving Out. Laughter has filled the house each time we’ve fired up the game in couch-co-op, as we struggle to – and occasionally succeed at – piling a family’s earthly possessions into the back of a moving van in 10 minutes or less. While cheesy jokes and persistent pets kept my kid in stitches, I was endlessly entertained by sly pop culture references ranging from Ferris Bueller to Frogger. If you’ve ever wanted to throw Jerry Seinfeld’s sofa out of his living room window, Moving Out provides the opportunity!
Remnant: From the Ashes – Will
Take one part third-person shooter, one part melee-focused roguelike, throw in a dash of interdimensional evil that corrupts everything it touches, and bake it all in an oven powered by over-the-top boss battles. The resulting cake is Remnant: From the Ashes, a game that has quietly built up a dedicated fanbase by combining familiar gameplay mechanics into a unique, exciting whole. One of Remnant’s most interesting features is its randomized nature, which means you could play through the whole campaign without battling certain bosses or even meeting every NPC. While co-op play isn’t necessarily required, the challenging bosses and tough enemies will surely have you calling your friends in to help. It pays to help them, too, especially if you want to get the drops from the bosses that don’t appear in your word.
Rocket League – Will
Do you love driving? How about soccer? If you answered yes to both of those questions, have we got the game for you. In this genre-bending title from Psyonix, you’ll control a rocket-powered vehicle pushing and dribbling a giant ball around an arena, with the objective of knocking it across your opponent’s goal line. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, it’s simply because I’m not a good writer! In reality, it’s an absolute blast, especially once you add your friends to the mix via Xbox Live or locally via splitscreen. It’s even got cross-platform play, so you can invite your pals who own other consoles to settle your differences on the pitch.
Streets of Rage 4 – Jeff
As a Genesis kid growing up, I have many fond memories blazing through beat ’em ups Streets of Rage 2 and 3 after school with friends at least a couple times a week. Playing through the brand new Streets of Rage 4 in co-op (both couch and via Xbox Live) has brought those decades-old feelings screaming back via familiar, yet modernized visuals, music, and gameplay. New playable characters, especially rocker kid Cherry, are great additions to series mainstays Axel and Blaze. And unlocking new (and very old) characters give you plenty of reasons to play through the campaign again and again. Protip: as you’re likely to keep your friends close, be sure to turn off friendly hits (press Y in the game setup menu), though there is an achievement to be gained the first time you accidentally clock your friend with a 360 kick.
Sea of Thieves – Mike
Jump into a vast open world with your best (first) mates to explore, loot, sail, fight, dig, explore, put on silly hats, fight cursed skeletons, fish, play a shanty, find treasure… you get the idea. It’s even got pets, including parrots, monkeys, and everyone’s new favorite, cats. Sea of Thieves with friends is a near-limitless experience – and one that is constantly unpredictable each time you log in. And it continues to evolve and grow with monthly updates under its pirate hat, including Tall Tales’ new story-driven campaign. There’s never been a better time to get your sea legs under you.
It’s hard for me to imagine playing State of Decay 2 without friends, as the few times I’ve attempted it, my character has met with a grisly end. However, co-op play, especially with 3 or 4 players over Xbox Live, shifts the balance of power in even the worst zombie infestations. If you haven’t played through this survival simulator recently, the new, free Juggernaut Edition upgrade delivers dozens of gameplay enhancements, plus a new map and tutorial with a smoother ramp up into the action. If you haven’t played State of Decay 2 before, dozens, or even hundreds of hours of zombie bashing and community building await.
Like many massively multiplayer online role-playing games (you might know those as MMORPGs or simply MMOs), The Elder Scrolls Online can be played entirely solo if that’s your thing. I won’t judge, but it pays to know that the game really shines once you started running through its many co-op offerings. Don’t feel like grouping up? Just hop into one of the many timed emergent world events in each of the game’s zones. Looking for more of a challenge? Take on some of the tough world bosses, which require multiple players to take down. For those dedicated to co-op, there are 4-man dungeons galore, with more than a dozen in the base game and more than 30 once you include all of the various DLC game packs. Best of all, those can all be joined via The Elder Scrolls Online’s in-game activity finder, which is a great way to meet new people while bonding over dungeon crawling.
Coming May 26th: Minecraft Dungeons – Jeff
OK, I know it’s not out yet, but I couldn’t resist. Fight your way through an all-new action-adventure game, inspired by classic dungeon crawlers and set in the Minecraft universe. Better yet, up to four players can battle together through action-packed, treasure-stuffed, wildly-varied levels, all in an epic quest to save the villagers and take down the evil Arch-Illager. Xbox Game Pass members can pre-install Minecraft Dungeons now and jump right in on release day.