Many games nowadays include multiplayer features just to bring in more money. But certain titles are designed with the express purpose of being played that way, offering players a unique experience, rooted in innovative and gripping game design. Today, I want to explore some of the very best that the multiplayer world has to offer. Here are the top 7 essential multiplayer experiences that you must try.
Rocket League is one of those games that is really easy to get into but nigh-on impossible to master. I have spent hours trying to master mechanics that the pros make look simple. Every second of Rocket League is engaging and fun, even when you’re just practising balancing the ball on your car in training mode. You can play Rocket League by yourself, either against online opponents or in a single-player mode, but this game is clearly designed for you to play with your friends.
The gameplay can be wildly addictive. Clearing the ball off the line and starting a rapid counter-attack to score an equaliser in the last second, just to be beaten in overtime is all part of the Rocket League experience. There are also a ridiculous amount of customisation options that are unlocked just by playing. Challenges have been added to keep you playing, refreshing every week to ensure players always have something to do.
The highs and lows that the game has to offer are only enhanced when you play with your friends. Watching your friends randomly flail and drive straight past the ball, or glancing over your shoulder, seeing them miss an easy aerial as you watch the ball fly into your net, followed by a smugly dabbing Grim Reaper – yes, it exists – is just hilarious and exhilarating. Even when you lose in Rocket League you have a good time. I cannot recommend it enough. Also, when someone misses the ball and you score, make spam “What a save!” – they love that.
You must be thinking that this is a joke, but just take a moment to remember all the good times you’ve had playing games with family members who may be old or technologically challenged. Everyone that I know has owned a Wii, and that means that everyone that I know has owned Wii Sports. The Wii has a catalogue of wildly engaging titles, but none quite capture the magic of Wii Sports.
Nintendo’s smash-hit console came packaged with the delightfully charming experience that is Wii Sports. You can choose from a range of game modes to play: tennis, baseball, bowling, golf or boxing. This game has everything to offer to all aspiring athletes and couch potatoes alike. All of the game modes have unique mechanics and controls for the player to master. The motions match the action that would be used in the sport itself.
When playing Wii Sports with your friends or family, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time. Some of my fondest memories of gaming come from playing Wii Sports surrounded by the people that I care about most.
MARIO KART 8 DELUXE
Another Nintendo entry on the list – they might be pretty good at making games. Who knew? Mario Kart is an essential for so many reasons. It is not only one of the best racing game franchises ever created, it’s also one of the most charmingly infuriating games that pits family and friends against one another. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is currently the best iteration of the game available. If you have a Switch, you need MK8D.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a whopping 48 tracks each with their own unique aesthetics.Not only does the game offer shiny new maps with a glossy HD coat, but revamped fan-favourite levels from consoles gone by. My personal favourite is beautifully recreated Wii classic, Wario’s Gold Mine.
If you’re thinking about buying this game on your Switch, there is literally no reason that you shouldn’t – besides the blue shells. Playing this game on the go can be a blast. Online and local multiplayer offer endless replayability. This is, in my opinion, one of the best Switch-exclusive games, and it stands tall alongside single-player titles like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario: Odyssey.
Cuphead is a challenging game that I could never recommend to anybody because of its immense difficulty. Regardless of my ineptitude, this game is incredibly fun – a challenging and stunningly crafted boss-rush that offers a wide range of content. If you aren’t a fan of platformers, this may not be your cup of tea – pun intended – but playing with a friend could certainly lighten the burden and provide you with motivation to power through Studio MDHR’s masterpiece.
With the upcoming release of the Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC, now is the perfect time to persuade a buddy to complete the game together. I can guarantee you there will be blood, sweatm and tears, but you’ll enjoy every moment. Learning move patterns, reaching the last hurdle, coming so close to beating some oddly-coloured beast that looks like it was dreamt up in a pre-schooler’s nightmare and falling to its final flail. This game is a blast, and even though I always struggled with it, I always enjoyed it, especially when playing with my friends.
DON’T STARVE TOGETHER
The base game of Don’t Starve aims to isolate the player, making them feel alone and scared. The goal is for the player to grow and to become a budding adventurer, exploring the dark and dingy depths of a randomly generated world. However, players intimidated by the difficulty and the notion of losing all progress when playing the single-player version of the title need not fear: Don’t Starve Together offers solace to the players who need assistance and who don’t want to face the world alone. Multiplayer makes the game so much more enjoyable, the winters less unbearable, the summers less frustrating, and the bosses less terrifying.
Playing DST allows for a unique and engaging experience that cannot be found in any other game. This game is fantastic when you play it alone, but becomes an entirely different beast when played with friends. New challenges arise, you must find more sources of food and hounds are still as daunting as ever. You can now create team dynamics with character synergies. A game with this much content is definitely worth trying out.
TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX SIEGE
Rainbow Six Siege is perhaps one of the most innovative first-person shooters of this decade. No other modern shooter offers the palpable tension that Rainbow Six Siege can create. Tactical proficiency is a requirement when playing Siege, because the destructible environments and dynamic toolkits of the operators allow for each game to be drastically different.
Of course, every second of intense Siege gameplay is only enhanced when playing with friends, and communication makes the game significantly more enjoyable. The game is frequently nominated for ‘Best Ongoing Game’ and ‘Best eSports’ awards, which is indicative of the good work done by Ubisoft (I feel ill saying that), with frequent updates and content being added. If you enjoy first-person shooters, then you should probably own Rainbow Six Siege.
On April 18th, 2011, Valve released a sequel to the Orange Box’s critically-acclaimed puzzle game, Portal. Portal 2 was an instant classic due to its gripping narrative, quirky world design, and unique gameplay mechanics. Portal 2 has since been heralded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, puzzle games of all time. The single-player component is gripping and has compelling story beats, featuring one of gaming’s best villains: GLaDOS.
However, the co-operative mode keeps pace, offering players a full campaign to play through with a friend. Portal 2‘s multiplayer puzzles often require the use of portals from both players, meaning four portals at once! This can lead to a great deal of confusion and hilarity, but that’s always been part of Portal‘s appeal.
All the games listed above are here purely based on merit. They all have unique mechanics that cannot be found anywhere else in the world of gaming and they all possess a great multiplayer counterpart that offers endless amounts of fun.
My earliest experience with video games consists of my father buying me a PlayStation 2 for my birthday, and me responding by saying that “I just wanted toys”. Couldn’t have been more wrong.