Amelia Wilson 2024-03-18 11:55

Top Split-Screen and Local Co-op Games for Steam Enthusiasts

Couch co-op and split-screen tend to be associated with consoles as the terms conjure images of friends playing Mario Party and Crash Team Racing on a TV, but PC owners have plenty of options as well. Nowadays, most major multiplayer releases make their way to Steam, and they typically offer online support to simplify the process of finding partners. LAN parties have generally transitioned to online connections, a decision that permits users to either play with friends or strangers.

Online is the standard in modern gaming, but that does not mean local co-op has gone extinct. In fact, some of the most memorable multiplayer experiences on Steam let players share a screen. Even though PC gaming is not synonymous with local co-op or especially split-screen, there are plenty of games that demonstrate the potential of these multiplayer experiences.

Baldur's Gate 3 - A Co-Op Fantasy Realm Awaits

Steam's Varied Local Co-op Library

Updated March 12, 2024, by Mark Sammut: Steam will always be associated with online multiplayer rather than couch co-op, but Valve's platform does not completely ignore the latter option either. While most months do not produce many notable local co-op Steam games, the store has amassed a varied enough library to satisfy most needs.

Top Local Co-op Titles on Steam

Below, find a selection of games that shine brightest when enjoyed with company, providing both thrilling gameplay and the chance to bond over shared digital adventures.

Baldur's Gate 3 - A Co-Op Fantasy Realm Awaits

After achieving near-perfection with Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios struck gold again with Baldur's Gate 3. Launched in August 2023, this title isn't just a hit for solo escapists; its 2-player local co-op mode allows friends to embark on quests together, with split-screen technology ensuring that each player can explore individually without restrictions. It's a true testament to cooperative play in PC gaming.

It Takes Two - A Marital Adventure in Co-op

It Takes Two - A Marital Adventure in Co-op

Hazelight Studios specializes in story-rich co-op games. It Takes Two, an award-winning title from 2021, puts players in the shoes of a married couple forced into a fantastical journey. Its unique mechanics and narrative perfectly complement the co-op experience, demanding as much cooperation in real life as on-screen.

Portal 2 - Puzzling Together with Science

Valve's Portal 2, famed for its single-player campaign, also offers a stellar co-op mode. Two players can navigate challenging puzzles with the help of portal guns, transforming the singular brain-teasing experience into one that requires solid teamwork and communication. Plus, its native split-screen support makes it easy to jump in together.

Cuphead - Test Your Co-op Skills

In the beautifully animated world of Cuphead, players will face grueling bosses and relentless difficulty. Playing alongside Mugman in a 2-player local co-op doesn't necessarily make the game easier, but it does make triumphing over adversity more satisfying with a buddy by your side.

Castle Crashers - Hack, Slash, and Laugh Together

Castle Crashers - Slash, and Laugh Together

The indie darling Castle Crashers is a shining example of local co-op done right, supporting up to four players. Beat waves of enemies while rescuing princesses and enjoying quirky humor reminiscent of Flash-era gaming. It encourages forming well-balanced teams for maximum fun and strategy.

Inclusion of Varied Co-op Experiences

The inclusion of co-op modes in these games ranges from necessary for the complete experience to a delightful bonus. Each title brings something different to the table, whether it's creativity, a need for strategy, or just shared enjoyment of a challenging stage. What they have in common is a dedication to fostering connections through interactive entertainment.

Final Thoughts on Local Multiplayer

Local multiplayer may no longer be the dominant mode of play as it once was in the era of older consoles, but it's far from obsolete. Steam hosts a plethora of titles that remind us of the joy found in gathering friends or family around a single screen to share in both victory and defeat. In an increasingly connected world, it's nice to find reasons to enjoy each other's company the old-fashioned way - together in the same room, sharing laughs and gaming memories that lie just a screen click away.

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