While there's a huge variety of gaming experiences available on Switch, there's a good chance that couch co-op games were a big part of the reason you bought Nintendo's hybrid console. After all, 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, even when you're out and about.
But what are the best couch co-op games on Nintendo Switch? That's what we're here to find out in this selection of co-operative local multiplayer titles. We're going with the definition that co-op games allow players to work together as teammates, as opposed to competing against each other. We're also only including games with local multiplayer on a single device, which rules out games like Splatoon 2, for example.
If you're not concerned specifically with the local co-op experience, be sure to check out our selection of the best Nintendo Switch games, an ever-evolving list of the top 50 Switch games as ranked by Nintendo Life users. However, assuming you're looking to collaborate with a mate, we proudly present — in no particular order — the best cooperative experiences on Switch...
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order isn’t a groundbreaking, narrative-heavy reinterpretation of the comic characters you know and love, but then again neither were the first two games. In that regard, it’s a very faithful sequel that mines the vast roster of characters from the comics while including plenty of nods to the current state of the more modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it doesn’t do anything particularly new or outstanding, it embraces the brainless fun of its brawler combat with gusto, and it’s at its absolute best when played with a team of player-controlled supers.
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You might not be aware that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has an excellent co-op mode, with you and a friend tackling a variety of mission maps as your favourite characters. You'll have to have completed World 1.5 in solo mode before it becomes accessible via the Buddydome to the right of Peach's Castle. We'd love to see this expanded on in a potential sequel, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for an announcement this year.
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 and can fly, but only have a single heart container – which they take off Isaac when they join.
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 on Switch right now. Local co-op is supported for up to four players, and you can battle against the CPU in 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 matches. That's plenty to sink your teeth into.
Strictly speaking, this is more competitive than co-operative, but we really like Crawl and we’d bet our collected stash of gold and wrath you will, too. A dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash affair, one player is the hero trying to get through a dungeon and the others play as monster-controlling ghosts attempting to kill said hero and take their place. It's an everyone-for-themselves free-for-all, yet there are opportunities for frantic 3v1 co-operative play — a necessity when all the non-hero ghost characters must take joint control of bosses the hero faces.
So then, light on co-op but heavy on fun. Couchplay doesn’t get much better than this on Switch.
A beautiful little game, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a winner whether you're after puzzling or jump button-less platforming, and the two-player co-op Nintendo added post-launch makes this offering even tastier with Toadette able to join the Captain through the entire game. There's even a nice little nugget of DLC for once you've polished off the main story. With beautiful visuals and an upbeat soundtrack, it's is a real gem; a wonderful and gorgeous 3D platform puzzler fit for all ages, and one which you should definitely experience if you're yet to.
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.
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. Packed with character and brilliant narration, Death Squared is a little cube-shaped eShop gem.
SMG and DevM Games' more recent co-op game Moving Out is also worth a look if you're in the market for a breezy, chaotic removal firm sim that has you clearing houses as quickly as possible to an excellent '80s soundtrack.
Trine Enchanted Edition is the origin story for the three unlikely heroes of Trine - Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief. Spellbound by the magical object Trine, the heroes must join forces to overcome obstacles and puzzles in a fully interactive physics-based world, battle the undead and their minions, and restore balance to the kingdom. This a great game for playing with one or two friends as you really need to work together to solve the puzzles and move to the next area. The whole charming trilogy is available on the eShop, with Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power making the (somewhat awkward) jump to full 3D and also supporting online and local co-op.
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.