Best local multiplayer Switch games guaranteed to build friendships and then destroy them

The best local multiplayer Switch games offer a host of entertaining experiences you can play on your couch with friends and family. From games like Mario Party Superstars which is perfect for a family gathering, to trying to reach the finish line first in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with pals, there are plenty of great times to be had on the Switch. 

With an ever-growing library of first and third-party games that support couch co-op on the Switch, we’ve put together our pick of the best local multiplayer Switch games you can play right now. 

15. Moving Out

Moving Out

(Image credit: Team 17)

Yet another game to put your relationship to the test, Moving Out tasks you and up to three friends with operating a moving truck. Sounds simple enough, no? Well, it actually is pretty straightforward, but the catch is that you’re scored based on how fast you can clear everything out. Big items like sofas require two players to move, while sheep will need to be herded into the truck.

There are also plenty of obstacles in between the items and the truck, and inevitably disagreements about how to proceed and blaming-throwing. Basically, it would take a miraculously agreeable group to avoid a calamitous end result full of running, throwing, and slapping your way to the finish line. Couch co-op in the most literal sense, Moving Out will bend your friendships to their breaking points, and then charm you with its lighthearted wit and leave you laughing off your frustrations in exhausted satisfaction.

14. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the co-op Breath of the Wild game you didn’t know you needed. Take up arms with a friend and plow through hordes of Bokoblins on your way to stop the Calamity. 

The gameplay is classic musou stuff, with chaotic large-scale battles and some strategic elements, but Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity benefits from its gorgeous Breath of the Wild art style, surprisingly involved story, and diverse cast of characters. There are a whopping 18 playable characters, from Link and Zelda to lesser-known fighters like Teba and Riju, and each character comes with their own moves. It’s an easy game for anyone to pick up and mash their way through, but it’s also deep enough to challenge and engage seasoned players. Check out the free demo on the Switch eShop to see if it’s for you and your roommate.

13. Diablo 3

A magic attack devastates a battlefield in Diablo 3

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Hacking through hordes of demons and gradually progressing with new skills and gear (read: grinding) in Diablo 3 is one of the most satisfying gaming experiences ever, and it’s even better with a friend. Plus, the experience translates beautifully to the mobile Switch, ideally paired with a Pro controller. Here’s one you can almost mindlessly grind through while having a conversation with some music on in the background, although it can also demand your attention during tough boss fights.

12. Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The follow-up to the excellent Super Mario Maker is an absolute riot with friends. There’s something mutually satisfying about playing a course your friend painstakingly labored over, falling for their traps, and eventually triumphing while they proudly examine your every move and associated facial expression.

If you have sadistic friends, Super Mario Maker 2 can be a uniquely entertaining multiplayer experience when you’re playing through their stages, simultaneously enraged by the ruthlessness of their level design and astonished by their ingenuity. Of course, the more traditional multiplayer option is to play through and create levels together, which is also great fun, but there’s a special attraction to the back-and-forth torture of swapping stages with friends.

11. Rocket League

Rocket League

(Image credit: Psyonix)

If you haven’t heard of Rocket League,  it’s soccer with cars. And if that sounds like a silly, nonsensical, chaotic venture, that’s because it absolutely is, and fortunately it’s also absurdly entertaining. Rocket League on Switch offers split-screen local multiplayer with up to four players, and matches see you carve through fields and attempt spectacular tricks to land the ball in the net. This is one that’s easy to pick up and play for busy gamer duos and parents, but beware the urge to squeeze in “just one more” before bed.

10. Overcooked 2

Overcooked 2

(Image credit: Team17)

Overcooked 2 is the most hectic, chaotic multiplayer game I’ve ever played. I repeat: do not turn to Overcooked 2 if you’re looking for a cool, collected cooperative experience. You and a teammate are put backstage at a busy restaurant, tasked with dishing out as many dishes as possible in order to save the Onion Kingdom from The Undead or something. Forget the story, Overcooked 2 is all about screaming over your teammate as you frantically assemble dishes against a fast-tracking clock. There’s a competitive and single-player mode, but trust me when I say Overcooked 2 truly shines as a breathless co-op experience.

9. Cuphead

Cuphead

(Image credit: Studio MDHR)

Cuphead is a notoriously difficult platformer, whether in single-player or co-op mode. For that reason, it’s better with a partner so that you have someone to restrain you from chucking your controller at the screen. For reals though, Cuphead is an extremely challenging game, but it’s also one of the best platformers on the Switch and elsewhere. Just don’t go thinking you’ve found an easy mode in recruiting an ally – Cuphead’s bosses are twice as tough in co-op mode, and the chaos can be a little overwhelming. This is one to play if you’re looking for a creative, charming, genuinely challenging experience to tackle with an equally determined friend.

8. Snipperclips

Snipperclips

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Snipperclips is an exceedingly inventive and engaging multiplayer experience on Switch, and like many of the titles on this list, you can switch between competitive and co-op modes. Working together, you take control of pastel-colored shapes and snip clippings off each other to make new shapes needed to fit into spaces and solve puzzles. Solving these puzzles is engaging as hell and is guaranteed to prompt enthusiastic high-fives between teammates. Party mode is basically a four-player version with more intricate puzzles and solutions, while Blitz mode is a competitive mode that’s decidedly more hectic than the co-op modes. Snipperclips is a great co-op experience with a refreshing, if not so deep, competitive mode.

7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Three girls face the camera with big smiles in Animal Crossing New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If your ideal couch co-op experience is of the relaxed, non-competitive flavor, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is for you. Here you can visit each others’ islands, pick fruit you might not have on your own island (with your friend’s permission, of course), and sit around a late-night bonfire and fish for sharks.

Without any obstacles or threats, Animal Crossing is a great place to kill a few hours while having a chat on the side. Alternatively, you can compare islands, trade items, check for turnip deals, meet each other’s neighbors, and capture memories with New Horizons’ photo mode. In a time where the stresses of competition aren’t always ideal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons shines in local multiplayer.

6. Among Us

Among Us

(Image credit: Innersloth)

Among Us was one of the most talked-about games of 2020, and it’s easy to see why. Developer InnerSloth brilliantly layers a party-style formula with palpable tension and the suspicion that your friends are out to get you. The concept is simple: players are completing menial tasks to repair a badly damaged space ship, but one or more players are secret imposter aliens sent to kill the crew. If the imposters, who will try to blend in as much as possible by pretending to complete tasks, manage to kill everyone else, they win, whereas the crew wins by completing every task on the list. 

Basically, if you’re the imposter, your success will depend on how well you can lie to trick your friends, whereas crew members will need to win by throwing trust out the window and adopting a ‘me vs. the world’ mentality early on. It’s the perfect recipe for good-natured chaos, as loud accusations, nervous denials, and “I knew it was you!”s will fill the room as you play.

5. Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi's Mansion 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The latest ghastly adventure from Mario’s put-upon brother is tailor made for couch co-op and multiplayer. In the main campaign, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has one player run through levels as the jumpy protagonist and the other use the malleable Gooigi use his unique strengths to slip through gutters and slide through pipes to explore new areas. The formula allows both players to feel like they’re contributing something different, and it’s fun as hell shooting plumbers into each other. 

Then there’s the online multiplayer ScareScraper mode, where you can gather a team of 8 players (2 per console) and progress through increasingly difficult tower floors. Finally, ScreamPark allows up to 8 players on a single console to face off in Mario Party-like mini-games. Needless to say, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a couch co-op dream.

4. Mario Party Superstars

Mario Party Superstars

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario Party is back, baby. The latest entry in the venerable party series offers a heaping dose of well-polished nostalgia for Mario Partyers across several generations. There are characters, mini-games, and whole maps pulled from some of the best games in the series, resulting in a beefy, time-tested couch co-op experience sure to turn any otherwise well-mannered group of self-respecting humans into a chaotic storm of jeering, accusing, and conspiring competitors with an unquenchable thirst for those precious yellow stars.

3. Arms

Arms

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Arms is an extraordinarily approachable multiplayer experience where you flail around with a Joy-Con in each hand until your opponent dies – that is, until you both learn how to better control the game’s fairly simple mechanics. Whether you’re a skilled boxer or you’re content with the real-life equivalent to button-mashing, Arms is a wonderful local competitive experience. 

You’ll combine accurate throws and projectiles to drain your foe’s life bar before you take one too many spring-powered gloves to the face. As mentioned earlier, there isn’t much of a learning curve, although there are mechanics in place to balance out matches between skilled and unskilled players, making this one of the more family-friendly competitive entries on this list.

2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Ah, Smash Bros., the ultimate catalyst to a doomed friendship since 1999. Whether wistfully lobbing bombs at your friends and laughing as they backfire, or taking out bottled-up aggression on your family, Smash Bros. is the best fighting experience on a Nintendo console and one of the most iconic multiplayer brawlers of all time.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best game in the series and an essential multiplayer experience on Switch. The roster is the largest ever, featuring every character from past titles as well as a bunch more, and there’s an excessive number of unique stages to play. This is the Smash Bros. we’ve always known and loved, but more ambitious and successful.

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario Kart is the quintessential multiplayer Nintendo experience, making its debut on the Super Nintendo in 1992. Nearly three decades later, it’s as prevalent as ever in today’s local multiplayer circuit. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of one of the series’ finest titles, adding new characters, tracks, and a Battle mode that’s vastly improved from the Wii U version. The Switch port takes the already-great Grand Prix mode and adds polish and new content, and makes the competitive Battle mode something you’ll actually want to turn to once you’ve seen enough of standard races. And with more tracks still to come thanks to the Mario Kart Booster Course Pass, there’s plenty to get stuck into with pals. 

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