Thu 25th Oct, 2018 19:00 BST: A bunch of excellent co-op games have launched since we first ran this list in August, so we've updated it with these in mind. We've also cut the list down to 20 games so it's a lot tighter.
Chances are, couch co-op games were a big part of the reason why you chose to buy a Nintendo Switch. After all, Nintendo is the bonafide master of local co-op games, and 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.
But what are the best couch co-op games on Nintendo Switch, we hear you cry into the cold, unanswering void? Well, that's a question we aim to answer in this list. We've painstakingly searched reviews, your user scores, and various different websites to come up with this definitive list. And that means you can't argue with it, so there.
Also, we're going with the definition that co-op games allow players to work together as teammates, as opposed to competing with each other. We're also only including games with local multiplayer on a single device, which rules out games like Splatoon 2. Right, with those ground rules out of the way, shall we begin?
Kirby Star Allies really should be higher on this list, considering that HAL developed it with four player local co-op firmly in mind. One of you plays as Kirby and recruits enemies to serve as allies, which any Joy-Con wielding friend nearby can take control of.
You can even combine the abilities of your allies to various effect, like adding lightning or flames to your swords, but it never really comes together. That's largely down to the fact that the game is just far too easy, with simply no challenge in sight. It's definitely fun, but even young children will probably find the lack of challenging unsatisfying.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle does have an excellent co-op mode, with you and a friend tackling a variety of mission maps as your favourite characters. If this was the entire single player campaign, you can bet your bottom dollar that this would be much higher on the list.
Fire Emblem Warriors combines the insanely addictive Dynasty Warriors combat with the strategy and dramatic plot of a Fire Emblem. The result is a unique game of taking strategic locations with force, directing troops, and battling bosses.
You can play pretty much the entire experience in co-op as well. After a few short missions, a friend can pop in and join you as you work together to capture all of the strategic locations, defeat bosses, and find the secrets in each level.
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, can fly, and only have a single heart container – which they take off Isaac when they join.
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.
Oh, Shovel Knight. What a wonderful 2D platformer you are, both harkening back to the glorious 8-bit era but taking off the rose-tinted glasses and providing us with modern trimmings. You really are the perfect slice of retro action, aren't you?
Sorry, did we say that out loud? Either way, if you're into your retro games, you absolutely have to play through Shovel Knight with a friend. Right now the co-op is limited to the, admittedly excellent, first entry, but that's more than enough game to keep you busy for a while.
Sonic Mania was a real treat for fans of the speedster, being the finest entry in the franchise since the Mega Drive originals. It's also completely playable in couch co-op, with one player controlling Sonic and the other Tails. Both can collect rings, defeat enemies, and pick up items, but the camera will follow whoever is playing Sonic, so Tails will have to work hard to keep up.
Sonic Mania Plus expands on the original by introducing two new characters: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, alongside a brand new Encore Mode.
Crawl is a little bit co-op, a little bit competitive, and a whole lot of fun with friends. One of you plays as a hero who has to battle its way through a nasty dungeon, while the remaining players take charge of the various traps and monsters that inhabit the dungeon.
The goal of the main player is to survive for as long as possible, while the remaining players work together cooperatively to try and ruin the hero's day. Once the hero is killed, the player that killed them takes their place. It's a race against time to see who can generate the highest score.
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 right now.
Local co-op is supported for up to four players, and you can battle against the AI in 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 matches. That's plenty to dig your teeth into.
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.
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.
The Resident Evil franchise has flirted with co-op horror ever since Resident Evil 5, but it didn't truly nail it until Resident Evil Revelations 2. That's largely thanks to the fact you have both vulnerable and combat-ready characters to take charge of, and they have to work together to overcome the various challenges.
There are genius ideas, like certain characters not being able to see enemies or treasure, and other characters not being able to participate in combat. There's a mechanic in there to scare either party, and Revelations 2 pulls it off with aplomb.
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.
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.
Mario Tennis Aces offers up to four player couch co-op via its doubles mode. If you're a really big fan of tennis, this is 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 just been introduced to the game, rewarding you with special outfits, characters, and alternate color schemes.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe actually has a co-op mode in the form of Battle Mode. This is a collection of a variety of different minigames like Balloon Battle, in which each player has three balloons and the objective of the mode is to be the last team standing by bursting other player's balloons. There's also Shine Thief, which is basically capture the flag, Bob-omb Blast, which involves throwing bombs at other players, Coin Runners, in which your team has to collect the most coins in a set period, and Renegade Roundup, which is basically cops and robbers.
Super Mario Party is probably Nintendo's biggest surprise this year. Very few people expected it to be this good, given its recent history, but the latest entry in the multiplayer party franchise turned out to be a hit.
The latest entry also offers the best co-op multiplayer yet, thanks to River Survival Mode. This sees you and up to three friends rowing down a treacherous river before a timer ticks down. You'll avoid obstacles and try and collect balloons that initiate a minigame. Beat the minigame and you'll add more time to the clock. It's an absolute ton of fun that's well worth checking out.
TowerFall is an indie megahit that recently found a brand new home on Nintendo Switch. It's a bit like Super Smash Bros. if the only weapon was a bow and arrow. You and your team have to battle others until you're the last ones standing.
If it wasn't for a certain excellent Switch co-op exclusive, Overcooked 2 would have comfortably taken the top spot on this list. This is a time management simulator, in which you and up to three friends must work together to prepare a variety of orders before your grumpy customers storm out of the restaurant impatiently.
Meanwhile, your restaurant is actively fighting against you. You might have to contend with gusts of wind while preparing food on top of a hot air balloon, or have to navigate a spinning kitchen. It's frantic stuff, and the craziness only ramps up the more players you play with. No matter how you play it though, you'll have a crazy amount of fun cooking up the various dishes.
Overcooked 2 pretty much builds on its predecessor to completely refine the experience, providing more polish, new mechanics (throwing stuff at each other!), and souped-up visuals.
Not only is Snipperclips a Nintendo Switch exclusive, but it remains the finest couch co-op experience on the platform well over a year after initially launching. It challenges you to navigate around a variety of creative levels, cutting your paper characters into different shapes to help you sole puzzles.
There's a massive single player story to work through, which supports two player co-op, then a bunch more puzzles you can figure out with up to four players. If you can only pick one game off this list, make sure it's this one.
What's your favourite local co-op game on this list? Did it even make the cut? Let us know in the comments below.