Co-op Games of the Year, 2018

Playing games in co-op remains my favorite way to play. I had a chance to try many games in 2018, but the following are my favorites. Keep in mind that there will be a bias towards online co-op here, as most of my friends do not live locally.

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    The Vermintide formula is still a winner, sort of a Left 4 Dead with character classes. Vermintide 2 doubles down by offering each character "careers," which allows you to further tailor to your play-style. The game looks and feels great, and many of the new enemies and minibosses are welcome additions. The game continues to demand coordination and communication from its players. Unfortunately, the extremely ill-advised hero power system detracted mightily from the experience for me (damage dealt and the number of enemies you're able to hit with a single swing are tied to character level).


    Metalhead Software continues to make stellar baseball games. Super Mega Baseball 2 provides a perfect division of labor for co-op players (one player pitches and the other fields, one player hits while the other runs), and the graphical style and humor are still top-notch. It's always great to create a full team of your friends and co-workers with the customization system. The game falls short a bit with online connectivity issues and the mojo system (players can get into slumps that are almost impossible to reverse).

  • #10

    Just like last year, I have an entry from Total Mayhem games, the sequel to the excellent "We Were Here." The series is composed of asynchronous puzzle games, in which players are often separated and cannot progress without information from their co-op partner. One of the best aspects of the game is figuring out how to communicate unfamiliar symbols and how to direct your partner without a clear frame of reference.

  • #9

    Hacktag represents an optimization of the formula I first saw in 2015's Clandestine. One player plays the hacker, who can activate distractions, turn off cameras, help with unlocking doors, etc., while the other plays the agent, or man on the ground. The game requires communication and timing, and you are actually able to acquire perks to suit your play-style in each of the game's roles. Each player requires the other to proceed, as the hacker can unlock door and the agent can bypass "firewalls."

  • #8

    Although Dark Quest II looks low-budget, it brings a lot of wonderful strategy to the table. You and your co-op partner will encounter some difficult and tricky situations in this turn-based RPG tactics game, and you'll need to create synergy between the classes on offer. Once a solution is found, it feels very satisfying.

  • #7

    I was chomping at the bit to play this game ever since it was announced, and I found a lot to like once I dug in. The game has quality voice acting, a few touching cut scenes, and an extreme diversity of gameplay. You'll find yourself fishing with a stick, sneaking around in a prison laundry room, navigating white water rapids, holding up a gas station, and more. The game actually reminded me of a co-op Uncharted game, but with more diverse gameplay. I hated the ending, can't win 'em all.

  • #6

    Full Metal Furies is a top-down shooter that is built from the ground up for co-op. Each character plays very differently, has different abilities, and has a different color associated with it. When an enemy appears on the screen with a certain color bubble surrounding it, you'll need the character of the corresponding color to shoot the enemy before the other characters will be able to damage it. Certain characters are stronger than others against certain types of enemies. The game has a great sense of humor, and developer Cellar Door exhibits a lot of creativity with enemy and level design.

  • #5

    For the King is a roguelike, turn-based, co-op fantasy RPG...what a mouthful. It contains a D&D-inspired stat/roll system, with many different characters with possessing various active/passive abilities. The vast majority of the game's systems, such as the focus system and pipe system, are intricately designed and work together flawlessly. The game has a charming graphical style, and continually surprises the player with encounter design (especially that of the scourges).

  • #4

    Although I was flabbergasted by some of the game's poorly explained aspects (armor and power talons, gajalaka quests, ???-track questions), not to mention the absurdity of playing the campaign cooperatively, I can't deny that it felt fantastic to go on a hunt with my friends. My favorite monsters were those that required us to prepare in a specific way, such as the Nergigante or Diablos. I was a bow-main, and I loved the feel and power of my various attacks, either dropping "stones" from my "basket" or charging up a dragon piercer.

  • #3

    I never got a chance to play the first Overcooked! game, so this title was my first experience with the series. Suffice it to say, I loved it! At first, I found myself absolutely baffled in the kitchen, but soon became a pro. Overcooked demands that players quickly ascertain what ingredients are needed and form a plan of action and division of labor to make dishes most efficiently. When you've created a rhythm, Overcooked provides players with a sense of flow that is almost unmatched among co-op games (or games in general). Not to mention, the developer is not above flipping your kitchen in the middle of a level so that your roles are reversed.

  • #2

    Strange Brigade is a third-person shooter about stopping the resurrection of the ancient evil queen Seteki! Strange Brigade alternates between puzzle and horde sections throughout it's campaign, and developer Rebellion does a wonderful job of forcing players to pay attention to each of its carefully designed levels. Not only are puzzle solutions often located in the environment, but usage of powerful traps are necessary to survive the game's horde encounters. You'll need to pay attention to where each trap is and how much uses it supports. The game's hammy narrator is consistently amusing, and the characters are diverse enough that I went through the game a second time.

  • #1

    Instead of the top-down stop-and-go tactics of its predecessor Door Kickers, Action Squad is a real-time 2D title. I found playing this game to be exhilarating. The classes are diverse, and you'll want to switch between them in order to adeptly tackle the game's levels. Developer KillHouse made a brilliant decision with "team skills" for you to be able to either upgrade a class or upgrade your team as a whole - this means that time trying out new classes is never wasted. The levels are cleverly designed, containing hostages that require communication between partners to save, as well as slo-mo breach doors. You'll want to choose the ideal time to spend the meter that you build up as you clear a level, which can be used to call in additional health and armor or even sniper support. Above all, though, is the wild, wild 80's rock soundtrack. Check it out - you won't be disappointed.