10 Quirky Co-op Games Like It Takes Two
It Takes Two, the lovely platformer by Hazelight Studios, is easily one of the best co-op games out today. Made by the same team behind 2018’s A Way Out, It Takes Two takes you and a partner through a vivid and vibrant small world turned big, where bugs wage war against squirrels and you can hitch a ride on a fluffy spider.
You and a friend (the game is multiplayer only) play the roles of Cody and May, a constantly quarreling couple who’ve decided to divorce. A tear-filled plea from their daughter ends with the two magically transformed into dolls, and they must work past their differences to find a way back into their human bodies.
Frankly, there aren’t many titles that weave storytelling and co-op gameplay together the way It Takes Two does. Fewer still present a product with this kind of box office blockbuster polish. But if you’ve seen the saga of Cody and May to its conclusion and are itching for another game to play with a friend or family member, this list of 10 quirky co-op games like It Takes Two should give you some inspiration.
A big part of the charm of It Takes Two comes from its puzzles, which are fun, creative, and just hard enough to make you feel like a genius when you solve them. Escape Academy is a quirky escape room simulator that’s all about puzzles, thrusting you and a pal through a gauntlet of timed challenges that require creative thinking and cooperation to get through.
The idea is that you have been admitted to a top-secret school for escape artists. While there, you’ll polish your problem-solving abilities by working through a series of escape room puzzles, all while untangling the school’s many mysteries. You’ll meet a quirky cast of outlandish students and professors who add a bit of color in the moments between solving escape rooms.
While you can take on the various mindbenders solo, Escape Academy is best enjoyed on the couch with a buddy. Escape Academy will challenge every facet of your problem-solving skillset with a varied mix of math, logic, word, and spatial reasoning puzzles, so it helps to have as many minds in one place as possible.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets Valheim in this enchanting first-person co-op survival game that shrinks you and up to three friends down to the size of a bug, then leaves you to fight for your life in your own backyard.
Yes, you have to constantly forge for dew drops and bug meat for sustenance—and then there are the giant wolf spiders—but Grounded is also a game where the mundane becomes magical. You can explore the busted guts of broken electronics, climb blades of grass as tall as trees, or build trampolines from twigs and spider webs.
As with most survival sims, Grounded is so much more fun with friends. Whether it’s putting together a grass lean-to or figuring out new ways to make delicious meals out of bug meat, discovery’s around every corner. It’s easily one of the best base-building survival games we’ve played.
Portal 2 may be on of the older games on this list, but it remains a puzzle gaming staple. There’s also an underappreciated co-op mode that’s aged incredibly over the years, and it’s just as well-written and humorous as the much-acclaimed single player campaign.
For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, Portal 2 is a physics-based puzzle game that takes you on a great escape through the innards of a clandestine private research lab. Fortunately, you have a gun that creates twin portals that allow you to walk through one end and come out to other.
The two player co-op mode throws you and a friend through dozens of portal gun puzzles, but there’s one catch: each of you only has one half of the portal gun. This simple change allows for fun twists to the standard Portal puzzle formula while also encouraging constant communication and coordination. Just be sure to play with someone you trust; the ability to disable a portal on a whim makes it far too easy to troll your partner.
If you loved exploring real-world environments from the perspective of bite-sized heroes, Unravel Two is the game for you. You and a friend play as two adorable critters made of yarn who find themselves stranded in a new land. Now, they must make their way home by solving a series of creative physics-based puzzles.
Our crocheted hero duo are tied at the waist by the yarn they’re made of. You’ll need to work together, using the yarn in creative ways to traverse the dangerous environments ahead of you. And since you’re tied together, communication is key, because the only way out is together.
Unravel Two is a meditative experience, so don’t expect the action-packed set pieces of It Takes Two. But if you want a more relaxing puzzle game experience, one that doesn’t mind giving you time to breathe while you and your partner work out a challenge, then Unravel Two should be right up your alley.
REZ PLZ is a pixel art platformer with a strange and macabre twist on co-op gameplay. Brothers Arcan and Zeph must battle their way through the evil minions and monsters that inhabit the Dark Arcanum. The catch is that they’ll have to kill each other to get past the labyrinth’s numerous puzzles and guardians.
Most co-op games have players trying to keep each other alive. In REZ PLZ, the only way to advance is by strategically killing one another. Luckily, the brothers have a Resurrection Scroll, which allows them to bring each other back to life.
While the puzzles in REZ PLZ aren’t particularly difficult, you’ll find completing them while dealing with the game’s enemies to be quite the challenge. As you progress, the brothers unlock powerful magical spells, which help them solve puzzles and also take out enemies more quickly. Just take care not to aim that wand at your friend!
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
This fun-filled spin-off of LittleBigPlanet stars Sony’s sometimes-mascot in an isometric 3D platform game adventure that borrows heavily from Super Mario 3D World. Even though almost the whole game can be soloed, the levels are clearly designed for co-op fun, so bring a few friends.
Unlike LittleBigPlanet, which focused on player creation, Sackboy: A Big Adventure has you make your way through a series of diorama-like stages that you’re free to explore. There’s a thousand and one things to do in a stage and countless ways to do them, from hunting for collectibles to laying the smack down on the game’s colorful baddies.
To keep the game’s simple running and jumping fresh, A Big Adventure regularly introduces new mechanics. Much like in It Takes Two, each stage revolves around a different gimmick. You may find yourself dodging spotlights in one stage then herding sheep-like critters in another.
We Were Here Forever
We Were Here Forever is the fourth title in the We Were Here series of co-op escape room puzzle games. The whole series is a blast with friends, but Forever has the best pacing and puzzle design of the bunch. If you’re just getting into the series, you can jump right in with Forever (don’t worry; you don’t have to have played the previous games).
The We Were Here series’ puzzles are designed to encourage direct communication, outside of the game’s world. We Were Here Forever does this by forcing you and your partner to split up in order to complete its challenges. It’s a simple but clever change that taps into the collaborative spirit that makes escape rooms so much fun in the first place.
Most puzzles in It Takes Two can be worked out by one person. There’s no opportunity for a single player to carry their partner in We Were Here Forever. The puzzles demand contributions from both players, so if you loved It Takes Two and want to step up to something a bit more hardcore, We Were Here Forever is that game.
When your boss tells you to bring a projector into the meeting room, it’s technically correct to just catapult the thing through the wall instead of carefully wheeling it through the office. Good Job! is the office-themed creative puzzle game that thrives on letting you do things the technically correct way.
In Good Job! you’re a clumsy oaf with no redeemable qualities. You also happen to be the kid of the company’s CEO, so that means you get an easy office job and countless opportunities to prove your worth. The ends justify the means, always; who cares if you knocked over your coworkers or broke a printer or two so long as the job gets done?
The various odd jobs you’re given around the office sound mundane enough, but Good Job! gives you the freedom to improvise as you go, leading to some unexpected and hilariously complex solutions to simple tasks. You can call in a friend to double the fun and fall up the corporate ladder together.
Human Fall Flat
In Human Fall Flat, you play a squishy ragdoll that moves with the clumsiness of a drunk toddler. You and seven other wiggly, wobbly humanoids must work together to complete a series of physics-based puzzles.
Human Fall Flat looks and plays like someone looked at a video game ragdoll and said, “Yes, this thing should solve puzzles that rely on careful movement and coordinated teamwork.” It’s as ridiculous as it sounds—characters move like they’re inebriated, which makes performing even simple actions absurdly imprecise.
It’s also absurdly hilarious. The game’s entire premise is silly, so it’s hard to get too frustrated when a friend’s attempts to build a makeshift bridge end with them crushed beneath a giant stone slab, or when, after carefully inching your way across a precarious pathway, a slight nudge from an impatient ally ends with you freefalling down a bottomless pit.
Cuphead is an old-school run-and-gun shooter with a look inspired by the hand-inked, rubber hose animation style of the 1930s. In it, you play as the titular Cuphead (and, if you have a second player, his brother, Mugman) on a reluctant quest to repossess souls for the Devil following a loss at the Devil’s Casino.
The entire game is a finely crafted love letter to animation’s Golden Age—pie eyes, white gloves, and all. There’s an impressive level of technicality and care in every frame, and it’s hard not to sit slack-jawed at how great the game looks. Even more impressively, Cuphead gets increasingly spectacular with each new stage.
Cuphead’s quality is more than skin-deep, though. Beneath that immaculate aesthetic lies a tough-as-nails platformer that plays like a mix of Contra and Gunstar Heroes. It’s hard—much harder than you’re probably used to—so prepare to be tested, even if you’re a run-and-gun veteran.