With Covid-19 leaving many people unable to work over the past 18 months, the gaming industry has boomed, with many people turning to video games as a way to relieve stress, or simply continue socializing online, but now as people are returning to work, will we continue to see the gaming boom, and what games can we continue to enjoy with friends, we’ve taken a look at the best co-op games of 2021 to help you continue the gaming sessions with friends.
Kingdoms Reborn (Best Co-Op City Builder)
We recently tested out Kingdoms Reborn for our Kingdoms Reborn review and were surprised with just how much we love this game.
Created by a small team, which since the game’s release to EA has grown and seen more updates as a result, Kingdoms Reborn is a hidden gem, which takes all the best bits from Banished and creates a unique co-op game experience, which is both strategic and relaxing at the same time.
While there have been many city builders out this year, such as Patron, which seems to be becoming very popular, Kingdoms Reborn is one of the few that offers relaxing gameplay and co-op.
Players do not have an army and do not fight for territory, in fact, there is no need to fight for land at all, considering the map is so huge, instead, both players can concentrate on making the perfect city and even work towards trading with each other.
Ranch Sim (Best Co-Op Simulation Game)
Ranch Sim is one of those games that I just did not expect to enjoy, there’s a lot of work left to be done on it, the content at times feels a little thin, yet I still find myself grabbing a friend and tending to our animals frequently.
While it’s not the most action-packed game out there, it again has that relaxing feel to it, that is both challenging, yet relaxing at the same time.
The biggest challenge in Ranch Sim is managing to make enough money to purchase animals, keep your vehicles fueled and make sure you can purchase materials to continue expanding your ranch.
Whilst there’s still a lot more that could be added to the game, there is still enough to do at the moment, from breeding animals to attending the animal market to purchase livestock and horses.
It Takes Two (Best Platformer Game)
Released across PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, It Takes Two comes from A Way Out’s Hazelight. This action-adventure game can be played with two players online or via local co-op. Utilizing their abilities, players must work together to progress through the levels.
Aside from being a platformer, It Takes Two features plenty of minigames which can be really fun.
This co-op game takes some of the best gameplay aspects from various genres; one minute you’re casting spells and the next you’re completing a dot-to-dot picture.
Whether you’re looking for a fun single-player platformer or arguably one of the best co-op games in 2021, It Takes Two will definitely tantalize your tastebuds and offers hours of fun and adventure.
Valheim (Best Co-Op Survival Game)
Valheim is a survival RPG-style game that can be played on your own in multiplayer instances, or with your friends. When Valheim first came out in February 2021 it took the gaming market by storm. After a good year since COVID, the gaming industry seriously slowed down.
Almost everyone on my Steam friend’s list was playing Valheim, so naturally, I was sucked in too. At first, I was a little put off by the graphics; beautiful scenery, skies, and landscapes, then characters that resemble those from the 2000s like Runescape.
Valheim definitely has an essence of World of Warcraft about it, but I think that’s what the co-op and multiplayer aspects bring to it. You can build bases, craft weapons, or take your boat on an endless adventure through treacherous waters with your friends.
Honorable mention: Grounded, Obsidian Entertainments latest survival game can be played with up to 4 players, while it’s a great survival game, the updates have not come in quick enough to keep me interested, however, it’s still worth trying.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Best Nintendo Switch Co-Op Game)
With so many seasonal events, festivals, and weekly happenings, it’s hard not to love Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It made its debut just at the right time, offering an escape from the reality of the global pandemic.
This one sits on the verge of single player. While you can visit each other’s islands, you are limited as the visiting player by how much you are able to do.
Visiting players can bring items to trade with the main player’s island, but are not able to dig up plants, or make any changes to the island. But it is a great way to get inspiration from other players, to make sure that you build the perfect dream island.
There are plenty of items to collect, such as fish, insects, art, and much more, all of which can be traded with other players to help you both complete your collections, that all go off to the island’s museum, where they can be viewed on exhibition.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 (Best Co-Op RPG Game)
Released back in 2017, Divinity Original Sin 2 remains one of the best co-op RPG games. It offers hundreds of hours of gameplay, allowing you to build relationships with your companions, team up for some co-op gameplay, or go it alone.
For players who loved Baulders Gate, Divinity Original Sin 2 offers a sense of nostalgia, turned up a notch. In this turn-based RPG, you must fight your way through as an Undead, Archer, Elf, and more, using your unique abilities.
What makes this a great co-op game is that when you’re playing with your friends, you really have to think about which character to choose so that you can complement each other. Stand guard while your teammate sneaks behind an enemy, watching them fall miserably to the ground.
Seen something in the distance but can’t quite reach it? No problem! Use your telepathic abilities to pull items towards you, or drag a box and climb up onto it – the possibilities are endless, and the enjoyment I’ve got from Divinity Original Sin 2 keeps on giving.
Fortnite (Best Co-Op Battle Royale)
Fortnite rewards players with new skins for their characters, outfits, and weapons with 2 tiers, the free tier and a paid tier, which offers more skins than the free tier per level.
Fortnite has become very popular among both younger players as well as Twitch streamers but offers diverse gameplay, which can attract people of all different backgrounds.
I would recommend muting voice chat, apart from your party, as there is a lot of immature and toxic players within the Fortnite community, much like in Rust, but muting them resolves that issue as there is no global text chat.
The team behind Fortnite are frequently working on collaborations, bringing players skins from the likes of Marvel and DC as well as various other famous TV shows and movies.
Fortnite does feature micro-transactions, where players can outright purchase or gift skins, as well as complete sets, these can end up becoming pretty expensive just for a game skin.
Honorable Mention: Call of Duty: Warzone is another free to play battle royale game that has started to pick up popularity, created by the team behind the main Call of Duty games, if you want to try something other than Fortnite, I suggest giving Call of Duty: Warzone a try.
Sea of Thieves (Best Pirate Co-Op Game)
Sea of Thieves is all about working together to explore the open seas, find treasure, and battle both other players and NPC’s. While the game has had mixed reviews, and in honesty, I wasn’t overly keen when it was first released, the developers have actively produced new content and patches, making it much more exciting to play.
It can be hard to find a good group at times, and as the game revolves around players working together to man the ship and keep it afloat it can be hard at times to get a good game with a good crew, but when you do, it’s worth the wait.
Of course, if you are playing with friends, you will have a much better experience, as you will know and trust your crew, and shouldn’t have any slackers, keeping your ship on top of the water.
Submit Your Own Suguestion:
We’ve created this list based on what Unboxed Reviews staff have enjoyed playing during the lockdown, we would love to hear about and play your favorite lockdown games, so let us know in the comments below what games you used to entertain yourselves during Covid-19.