Best co-op games on PC in 2023

Conquer the world, start a peaceful farm or re-build a fading love - these are the best cooperative games of the year, with a variety of gamers in mind.

two gamers and some of the Best co-op games on PC

by Ryan Houghton |
Updated on

Dust off your second controller, boot up your rig and prepare for hours of laughs, tears and some soul-crushing difficulty, these are the very best co-op games on PC to test your mettle (as well as your tear ducts). We have picks in all genres, from RPG games to co-op shooters and more

These excellent games have taken the PC gaming world by storm (some of which have for at least a decade), whether it's for a thrilling story, moving characters or just for hilarious cooperative antics - these co-op games truly steal the show.

The best co-op games on PC in 2023 at a glance:

Best co-op PC game - It Takes Two Standard | PC Code - Origin - View at Amazon
• Best co-op RPG PC game: Baldur's Gate 3 - View at GoG
Best run n' gun co-op PC game - Cuphead - View at Amazon
Best indie adventure co-op PC game - Spiritfarer PC - View at CDKeys

Fight against your couch companion, escape the clutches of a maniacal cyborg's testing facility or build a life together in the wilderness with a great indie game- the choice is invariably yours. We've picked a handful of enticingly unique games, ideal for a wide variety of games, so there's bound to be something here for you to co-op game like crazy.

Each and every title we've selected works exceptionally well on most rigs, so you won't need the best PC to simply run them, and many of them are also available across a variety of consoles - perfect for co-op gaming.

Best co-op games on PC in 2023

Best co-op PC game

The epitome of co-op games, It Takes Two takes the top spot on our list as one of the most exciting, bold and innovative cooperative game titles of the past decade.

Explore and revive the dying love of protagonists Josef and Soni, in this genre-twisting, mind-melting platforming extravaganza of puzzles and mini-games, each more captivating and side-splitting than the last.

It Takes Two is a fun, yet touching epic adventure that is perfect to play with your partner - there's simply nothing like it.

Pros

  • Excellent gameplay packed with originality and excellent co-op action
  • A fantastic story full of variety and themes
  • Fun, lighthearted environment rendered in eye-catching graphics

Cons

  • Some mini-games are far stronger than others

Best co-op RPG PC game

Baldur's gate 3 - one of the best co-op games on PC
Price: £49.99

www.gog.com

Baldur's Gate 3 may feature turn-based combat (using the popular Dungeons & Dragons ruleset) but somehow Larian Studios has enabled this killer RPG title to work as a four-player co-op game. Although, in wider interactions, only one player can act on behalf of the whole party, everyone can still (amazingly) explore the world as they wish.
Character progression, abilities, and the overall gameplay experience are kept intact, and even all of the character customisations. Co-op players do need to progress together at major story points though.

Featuring some of the most detailed character models we've seen, Baldur's Gate 3 takes place in a richly detailed world with plenty of lore to sink your teeth into - and now you can share that with up to 4 people at once. An amazing RPG experience.

Pros

  • Huge narrative with satisfying characters and lots of companions to choose from
  • The most satisfying visuals of almost any game in this genre
  • Turn-based combat brings a strategic aspect to the game's action
  • Your choices will have a meaningful impact on the game world

Cons

  • You'll need a monster PC spec to enjoy the best it can offer

Best Run n' Gun co-op game

This sensational run n' gun romp, brought to you by indie studio MDHR, has been making waves for the past few years on account of its gorgeous visuals, swingin' music and heart-racingly difficult combat, and it's still as enticingly prevalent as ever.

Ploughing through side-scrolling carnivals, conquering a mash of monsters, demons, robots and more - there's so much excitement to be had with this revolutionary run n' gun.

Whether it's the pumping jazz orchestra that'll keep you returning time and time again or just the sheer amount of love and dedication to the dying craft of hand-drawn animation - Cuphead is a timeless platformer that has to be experienced alongside a trusted and battle-hardened gamer with limitless resolve - for experienced gamers, this is one excellent PC game, just for you.

Pros

  • Phenomenal visuals that bring 30's cartoons to life
  • Challenging, yet invigorating combat
  • Made to be experienced cooperatively

Cons

  • Unforgiving difficulty at times
  • Fairly short once mastered

Best indie adventure co-op PC game

Grief, loss and the acceptance of death, Spiritfarer's alluringly colourful cast of characters and lighthearted art style may fool you initially, but what lies underneath is a truly tragic and poignant tale about coping with loss.

Charon, the spiritfarer of the underworld retires from his macabre position, handing the reigns over to you, Stella (as well as your adorable feline companion, Daffodil). As the spiritfarer, you must collect spirits preparing to pass to the afterlife, accommodating to their needs while unravelling their often complex stories.

Spiritfarer may mechanically be a base management sandbox with platforming elements, but at its core - it's truly about people, our relationship with death and how we, the players process loss in its many forms.

In its exploration of its truly wonderful characters, Spiritfarer is one of the most ingeniously moving gaming experiences we've ever experienced, make no mistake - you will cry.

Pros

  • An incredibly powerful story centring on grief
  • A wide array of gripping characters
  • Satisfying mini-games and base management gameplay

Cons

  • Could benefit from more mini-game variation

Best sandbox co-op PC game

Gracing our monitor screens for over a decade now, Minecraft is a staple of cooperative gaming - the perfect blend of relaxing, imaginative and enthralling - there's just so much versatility when it comes to the gameplay of Minecraft, you're truly never short of places to explore, and tasks to do.

Minecraft, while initially baffling due to its total lack of any sort of guide, quickly becomes beautifully intuitive and relentlessly moreish. Minecraft centres around crafting, management and that genre-defining, dopamine-supplying upgrade loop - from wood to stone, iron to diamond, players steadily grow stronger and more capable of taking on an endless world full of intrigue.

Minecraft might just be the perfect co-op game, regardless of if you're building an idyllic life in a peaceful cabin together, or you're racing against each other in a battle for resources - there's practically limitless fun to be had, and it still manages to retain its addictiveness all these years later.

Even with a budget PC, your setup is likely more than capable of handling Minecraft's blocky art style, making it a great game for practically anyone to pick up.

Pros

  • Endlessly playable with a ton of options for creative play
  • Addictive gameplay that's massive fun to spend hours in co-operatively
  • Limitless possibilities when it comes to building and exploring

Cons

  • No story as such so it's not technically completable - not for everyone

Best farming simulator co-op PC game

Easily one of the most moving co-op games ever made, Stardew Valley is a work of art from beginning to end - with no end to the amount of tug-on-your-heartstrings moments throughout the entirety of the game.

Simple on its surface, yet engaging from the start, you begin as an office cubicle dweller who inherits their grandfather's farm. Worn down, dilapidated and overgrown - players quickly get to work cleaning up and returning the family farm to its former glory, and what a journey it is.

Despite Stardew Valley's primary draw being farming (alongside some ingeniously addictive mining and fishing mini-games) - the true draw of Stardew Valley lies in its characters, who rarely fail to break your heart.

Romance, drama and tragedy - Stardew Valley's straightforward-looking surface quickly melts away, revealing a network of complex character relationships to become utterly tangled in.

Pros

  • Entertaining game premise with lots of originality
  • The story is one of the more emotionally gripping ones and still works as a coop
  • Beautiful game art that suites the experience on offer perfectly

Cons

  • Some may not find the farming backdrop the most exciting

Best puzzle co-op game

Potentially Valve's finest masterpiece, Portal 2 is a mind-meltingly good FPS puzzle game that's more than stood the test of time, retaining its favour amongst seasoned gamers and newcomers alike. Even if you've never played Portal 2, you're likely to recognise its iconic Portal Gun and portal-centric mechanic anywhere.

Utilising a truly brilliant portal mechanic that has players flipping, falling infinitely and harassing sentient guard turrets, Portal 2 looks and truly feels effortlessly fantastic, even to this day. What's more, its cooperative mode is nothing short of excellent - humour, wit, and teeth-gritting challenges that require you to truly work as a team, don't hesitate to pick up Portal 2, should you crave a real challenge and plenty of lighthearted fun.

Pros

  • One of the best core puzzle mechanics in gaming
  • Witty, tongue-n'-cheek dialogue
  • Excellent co-operative mode gameplay

Cons

  • Fairly short
  • Older game with somewhat dated visuals

Best co-op games on PC: Buyer's guide

Check with the person you're playing with

Before investing in a new co-op game the most important thing to do is make sure you have someone to co-op with... After all, deciding to blast your way through 1930's run-and-gun hit Cuphead only to find your gaming buddy doesn't like platformers is going to be a bit of a let-down.

Can your PC handle it?

After that, the only real recommendation we can make is to look very carefully at the minimum system requirements to run the game. If you're stuck with a slightly older rig, you'll have to make sure your game is at least playable at settings you can enjoy. Other than that, if you're desperate to play a title that is more demanding (as is often the case with top-end sci-fi games like Cyberpunk 2077), you're really going to have to look at upgrading to one of the best gaming PCs, for the job.

It takes two - and we're talking about controllers

It's all too easy to get excited about a couch co-op game only to suddenly realise you don't have a second controller that's up to the task. So, always budget for a good extra PC gaming controller or two.

Best co-op games on PC: FAQs

Couch co-op vs online - what's the difference?

Couch co-op or split-screen enables side-by-side gameplay, often with split-screen functionality, so you can truly experience a game with your local ally (or foe).

Couch co-op is pretty old school and is becoming increasingly rarer as time goes on, but they're still being made - as is evident by our extensive list.

What are the requirements to run cooperative games?

This entirely depends on the cooperative game itself, but in order to sufficiently run the most demanding games on this list, you'll need:

RAM: 16GB (minimum)
Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 3050
OS: Windows 10 or greater
Processor: Intel Core i7
Storage: 1TB at least

Can I use a controller for cooperative games?

Generally, a controller is perfectly fine for co-op games, and it's especially more comfortable than sharing a keyboard - so we'd highly recommend investing in a couple. And perhaps other PC gaming accessories to improve comfort and the addition of extra headsets and the like.

Ryan is a tech writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in PCs and gaming. He is a keen PC gamer and an avid reader.

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