The best co-op games for PC
As much as we PC gamers love the quiet isolation of an RPG or the thrill of a competitive shooter, nothing beats the joy of playing games cooperatively with friends. For many, our most memorable gaming moments are only meaningful because someone else was there to laugh, cry, or celebrate with. With that in mind, you’d think co-op games would be more common, but it’s rare to discover a game that everyone owns, everyone likes, and everyone has time to play. The best co-op games on PC are often ones that have been around for years that you’re just finding now.
Here’s our most up-to-date collection of the best co-op games for PC—the kind of games you can get all over with pals. Read through the list and you’ll find deep, seemingly bottomless games like Warframe and Destiny 2, breezy co-op FPSes like Back 4 Blood, time-erasing survival games for groups, and plenty of more casual co-op games anyone can get into.
The best survival/management co-op games on PC
Release date: 2021 (early access) | Developer: Iron Gate AB | Players: 1-10 | Steam
Valheim doesn’t reinvent survival games, but it gets rid of all the stuff we don’t like about them. This relaxing, but punishing PvE camping trip to Viking purgatory will never let you starve to death, and you’ll never need to pay a dime to repair your items. All the busywork is gone, replaced by a gorgeous, threatening world, and an elegant crafting system that lets you make everything from ugly lean-tos to the flippin’ Eye of Sauron. Teaming up with friends to plan adventures and build a home together makes the experience even better.
In his Early Access review, Chris sums it up nicely: “Valheim is an utterly engrossing experience that blends thoughtfully-designed survival systems with exciting RPG-like adventures, where each small nugget of progress sets the stage for the next.”
No Man’s Sky
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Hello Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
No Man’s Sky has been a fun redemption story to watch unfold. Developer Hello Games has spent the last four years updating its galactic exploration-survival sim with expansive new features like base building, guilds, and most importantly, online multiplayer. In 2022, No Man’s Sky is some of the most fun you can have in a co-op survival sim. The game still occasionally buckles under the weight of annoying bugs, but it’s worth powering through for the joy of discovering planets and bizarre creatures with friends. If you’re looking for a space-faring survival game with a bigger focus on building, you should also check out Astroneer.
Release date: 2011 | Developer: Mojang | Players: Varies | Official site
Of course Minecraft makes the list. You probably don’t need us to tell you Minecraft is very fun with friends, but on the off chance you’ve never experienced the joy of creating a little settlement or exploring miles-deep caverns with 8-20 of your best buds, now’s a better time than any. The Minecraft of today has hundreds of hours of stuff to do (or thousands if you’re a natural builder).
If you want the quickest, easier route to multiplayer, Minecraft Bedrock Edition is the one you want. You can host a game with up to four players or rent an official Realms server that supports up to 11 players at once. If you’re aiming bigger and want to explore the endless world of Minecraft mods, then you’ll have to start a third-party server the old-fashioned way in Minecraft Java.
Release date: 2016 | Developer: ConcernedApe | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Stardew Valley multiplayer arrived in 2018, adding co-op for up to four players (or more with mods) sharing the same farm. It’s a pleasant place to spend time together, dividing up the endless farm chores and watching your overgrown homestead slowly morph into a thriving veggie plantation. Multiplayer works pretty seamlessly: You share money but otherwise have your own houses, inventories, and relationships with the townsfolk, so your whole crew can mostly do their own thing, then come together for special season events. While you become the master of planting, I’ll be over here catching enough fish to keep us in money during the winter.
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Coffee Stain Studios | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Satisfactory gives the first impression of a galactic survival sim in the vein of No Man’s Sky, but play for five minutes and you realize that it’s actually a very pretty, very satisfying cooperative logistics game. Players start from the ground up gathering resources and building machines that will help you build more useful machines and automate the whole process. This can be fun alone, but in group play you really feel the benefit of extra pairs of hands.
Eventually, you can make fully automated planetary factories with AI assistants, self-driving delivery trucks, miles of conveyor belts, and train networks.
Don’t Starve Together
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Klei Entertainment | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Klei fought shy of adding co-op to its brilliant game of goth survival whimsy for a couple of years, reasoning (not unreasonably) that the addition of other people might break its esoteric spell, which relies on feelings of isolation and discovery. Turns out the developer needn’t have worried, because a disaster shared is even more fun. The mutual blame when a Deerclops stomps through your camp, ruining days worth of winter prep, is a strategy game in itself.
In keeping with Klei’s attention to detail and balance across its games, the core Don’t Starve experience is tweaked across Together’s three modes—Survival, Wilderness, and Endless—to ensure revival items and certain character abilities aren’t overpowered. It’s Endless you’ll likely find most enjoyable. Chilling out on Discord with a friend whilst pooling your resources to try to keep each other alive against the increasingly brutal effects of the seasons.
Remember: Happiness is a fridge full of frogs legs.
Read more: Don’t Starve Together — the first five days
The best co-op shooters on PC
Back 4 Blood
Release date: 2021 | Developer: Turtle Rock Studios | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Back 4 Blood proves that there’s more life to squeeze out of co-op zombie shooter. Turtle Rock’s spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead drags the genre into the 2020s with modern conventions like aim-down-sights, sprinting, mantling, and a card-based progression system. Amazingly, it all works pretty darn well.
Back 4 Blood is perfect for a crew of four that’s tired of playing through Left 4 Dead 2 for the billionth time, but what it gains in depth it loses in simplicity. There is really good, mindless zombie shooting to be had here, but only after spending a few minutes fiddling with cards and deciding on a loadout.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Bungie, 343 Industries | Players: Varies | Steam
The Halo series may have the most replayable FPS campaigns ever. Each game has a handful of levels that put you in wide open spaces, free to tackle enemies when and how you choose. Steal a ghost or warthog and careen around the map running over Covenant enemies are they dive out of the way. Seek out a rocket launcher to blow them to smithereens. Hide behind cover and ping down their shields with headshots. Harder difficulties are made easier with a co-op partner, since as long as one of you is alive, there’s a chance to respawn. In the Master Chief Collection, you can even toggle on a scoring mode and modifiers that tweak enemy behavior (or make them explode into confetti). It’s a good time.
Now that every game in the Master Chief Collection has arrived on PC and has crossplay with Xbox, it has become one of the ultimate co-op packages in games. And of course, all of the games are on Game Pass, too.
Risk of Rain 2
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Hopoo Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Somehow Risk of Rain 2 managed to transform a loot-heavy 2D roguelike into 3D nearly flawlessly, retaining the fun of its character classes despite the totally new perspective. It’s a simple game about blasting enemies over and over again until you inevitably die. The joy of it, what keeps you coming back, is the potential for insane builds. You’ll collect dozens of items through a run, things that make you move faster or heal when you get kills or shoot electricity out of your body or hit enemies with a flame tornado or jump so high you’re airborne for 10 seconds… and they all stack like crazy, making you absurdly powerful in ways you can’t quite predict at the start of each game. The loop can hook you solo, but play with three friends for maximum mayhem.
Deep Rock Galactic
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Ghost Ship Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Deep Rock Galactic is like procedurally generated Left 4 Dead with bits of resource management and open-ended exploration. It had its issues when it launched in Early Access in 2018, but developer Ghost Ship Games has spent the last four years bulking it up with new weapons, biomes, enemies, mission types, and challenges. Where before missions felt pointless, you now always have weapon unlocks on the horizon that change up the playstyles of its four dwarf classes. It’s a casual game to go spelunking in together. The shooting feels great and its voxel-based destruction never gets old. Deep Rock has found its groove, and hopefully keeps on growing.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Fatshark | Players: 1-4 | Steam
This sequel to Vermintide confidently expands on the Left 4 Dead-alike formula, adding a whole new faction of enemies to fight in addition to the Skaven, and more robust class leveling and loot systems. It still feels nice and meaty when you smash in a rat man’s face with a giant club, and there’s a welcome build variety now with the game’s five characters. Switching characters or even classes makes levels easily replayable a dozen times over.
If you loved Left 4 Dead but have simply played enough of it for the past decade, this is one place you should redirect your attention. There are newer co-op games these days, like Back 4 Blood, but Vermintide is great for a few dozen hours of bloody melee carnage. It’s also gotten a lot of free (and paid) post-release support, adding quite a few levels to an already substantial campaign.
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Bungie | Players: 1-3 | Humble
Destiny 2 contains a good Halo-esque campaign, a ton of playful side missions, a growing number of strikes (aka dungeons), and some trying six-person raid activities. Now that it’s also free-to-play, it’s even easier to tempt your friends into playing with you.
That’s all nested in one of the best feeling shooters on PC. Destiny 2 has dozens of hours of co-op shooting within, from brainless fun to challenging endgame encounters. That’s more than enough fun to squeeze out before the Eververse even becomes a concern.
Read more: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen review
Release Date: 2013 | Developer: Digital Extremes | Players: 1-4 | Steam
It’s easy to fall into a routine with Warframe, a game fundamentally about running through procedurally generated levels to upgrade your character over and over again. Playing alone just doesn’t make sense for some missions, and playing online with strangers can be intimidating at times, especially for newer players. But Warframe shines as a co-op action game, creating the perfect digital space to hang out with your buddies while tearing through hordes of baddies.
And if you want to really dive into it, Warframe’s systems go deep. You can lose yourself in upgrade planning and crafting component wikis until the sun comes up. But it’s still easy to play with friends of pretty much any skill level, meaning you don’t really need to start playing all at the same time, and don’t have to meticulously time out your play sessions. You can all play at your own pace, and then cross paths in a Grineer spaceship from time to time.
Release date: 1999 | Developer: Sven Co-Op Team | Players: Up to 32 | Steam
It’s pitched as cooperative Half-Life, but this must be the closest thing to Interdimensional Cable from Rick & Morty. Hop into a random server and suddenly you’re inside a technicolor playground populated by Teletubbies. Join another, and you’re in a Mega Man homage, a secret military base, or Egyptian pyramids where you throw grenades at Anubis himself.
Download an assortment of weird maps, hop in Discord with five or six of your buddies, and lose yourself in hours of retro-weirdness, laughter, and awkward platforming. With the right group of friends, it’s a calamitous and hilarious mashup of Half-Life’s blocky cast of monsters, scientists, and security inside ever-stranger worlds.
Grand Theft Auto Online
Release date: 2015 | Developer: Rockstar Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
GTA Online has a whole of stuff going on, but the heists bring out the best in Rockstar’s open-world playground. Four players team up to conquer a series of story-like missions that involve each team member performing a different role building up to a bigger heist. This includes everything from stealing vehicles as part of the setup to assassinations and other interconnected tasks—the missions very cleverly allow everyone to feel like they’re playing a key part in the journey towards that endgame of earning mega money.
When all four players come together in the finale of each heist, making a dramatic escape from the cops as a collective is incredibly exciting and rewarding—more so than anything found in the main story. If only Rockstar would make more of them. They’d be worth paying for.
Read more: Grand Theft Auto’s greatest controversies
Left 4 Dead 2
Release Date: 2009 | Developer: Valve | Players: 1-4 | Steam
It’s really saying something about the strength of Valve’s terrific zombie shooter that it’s still clawing its way onto lists like this one after so many years. A fanatically balanced, cleverly written shooter, Left 4 Dead 2 is built on the strength of four survivors working as a team. As it throws zombies at the team, the group must coordinate their movement and help each other out of danger or death with last-second heroics that give each campaign a story worth retelling.
Valve must also get some credit for how long it has supported L4D2, adding level editors, Steam workshop support, porting in the maps and characters from Left 4 Dead 1, and continuing to offer “mutations,” always-changing game modes that offer something new for experienced players.
Left 4 Dead 2’s active modding community is also a huge part of why this game comes so highly recommended, as it has produced new campaigns, like Lord of the Rings’ Helms Deep castle, which have kept L4D2 fun even after the base campaigns grew old. Plus, you can play as a velociraptor, which clearly warrants our highest praise.
The best co-op RPGs on PC
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Larian Studios | Players: 1-4 | Steam
According to our reviewer, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is “a sprawling, inventive adventure and one of the best RPGs ever made.” And you can play one of the best RPGs ever made with up to three other friends in online co-op. Chaos and player agency reign supreme in such a reactive world, meaning one friend could piss off a guard or reveal their undead identity at an inopportune time—but that’s exactly what makes Divinity 2 so great with friends.
You’re no longer dealing with a loyal party of characters you shape over time. You’re dealing with three other stubborn people, all vying for different outcomes. It’s a beautiful role-playing mess set in one of the most lush, engaging RPG worlds ever. And once you complete the campaign, the Game Master mode lets you create new campaigns from scratch with an extensive D&D-style dungeon master’s toolkit.
Divinity 2 is still the best, most complete Larian RPG you can play right now, but if you’re itching for more, the first chunk of Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now in early access.
Sea of Thieves
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Rare | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Rare’s swashbuckling sandbox makes for a decent co-op game but it really shines as a co-op hangout. Sea of Thieves is one of the most stunningly beautiful open world games and it can be completely undemanding—board a ship with your friends, pick a direction, and just sail around drinking grog until you barf, playing musical instruments, and firing each other out of cannons. Or just chat for an hour while you cruise around taking in the picturesque sunsets. Nowadays, the game is regularly updated with new quests that are sometimes frustrating but frequently serve up some thrilling Goonies-esque moments of adventure, and will make you feel like a brilliant crew of swashbucklers.
For excitement you can chase down other crews for some bracing ship-to-ship combat, hunt for buried treasure, or take down a skeleton fort, but it’s just as enjoyable to treat it like a chat room with beautiful waves and the occasional Kraken.
Monster Hunter Rise
Release date: 2022 | Developer: Capcom | Players: 1-4 | Steam
As Capcom’s second crack at getting Monster Hunter on the PC, Rise is leaps and bounds better than 2018’s Monster Hunter: World. You can play all of Monster Hunter Rise alone if you want, but the game truly shines when you spin up a multipayer lobby and invite up to three friends along for hunts. Monster Hunter’s weapons are varied and distinct that your friends will naturally gravitate to a specialty that brings its own strength and synergies with others. Grinding for cool armor is also way more fun with friends to show it off to. Rise’s lobby system is friendly to drop-in/drop-out play and easy to use once you get used to talking to a mail cat every time you want to send an invite.
Read more: Monster Hunter Rise review (90%)
Release date: 2019 | Developer: Nine Dots Studios | Players: 1-2 | Humble
An RPG experience like few others on PC. You’re a truly fragile nobody. There are no map waypoints to guide you where to go, and no level-ups to raise your stats and make you stronger. You can’t fast-travel across the world. You have to navigate by landmarks and play as cautiously you would in a real adventure across the world, and that’s a really fun experience with a friend by your side. As Chris wrote in his review: “It makes minor setbacks feel like major obstacles to overcome and it makes small victories feel like utter triumphs. Outward is harsh and occasionally frustrating, but it does what so few games do. It requires you to put real thought into the choices you make, and it makes those choices feel like they really matter.”
The best casual co-op games on PC
Release date: 2020 (early access) | Developer: Kinetic Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Even in early access, Phasmophobia has become a serious co-op hit. Armed with pro ghost hunting tools like EMF readers, flashlights, salt, crucifixes and oh so many other items, you and your co-op partners will have to enter haunted buildings to determine what kind of spirit is running amok. You can each only carry a few tools at once, so you’ll need to divide and conquer to collect clues about its identity. Ghosts will mess with you by turning off lights, locking doors, and popping up to give you a fright or outright murder you. Oh, and they’ll listen to you talk via Windows voice recognition, so be careful not to go shouting their names too often.
A good ghost hunting team can work together to figure out which kind of ghost registers an EMF reading of 5 paired with freezing temperatures and escape with all their heads intact. Proximity voice chat paired with walkie-talkies for distance makes exploring each dark locale a tense adventure for friends who are willing to put their communication to the test. It’s almost just as fun if you and your friends are terrible at your jobs though. Here’s why we think it’s the best ghost game ever made.
Forza Horizon 5
Release date: 2021 | Developer: Playground Games | Players: 1-12 | Steam
As has become a habit with the Forza Horizon series, the latest version of Playground Games’ social racer is also the best. Horizon 5 makes it super easy to hop into an open world lobby with friends and do whatever the hell you feel like. Out of the box, Horizon 5’s Mexico map has hundreds of races, stunt jumps, drift competitions, and cross-country treks that can quickly devour entire nights of gaming, and that’s if you don’t spend an hour custom tuning its hundreds of cars or creating your own liveries.
If your buds are car people as much as they’re game people, look no further.
Read more: Best Open World 2021: Forza Horizon 5
We Were Here series
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Total Mayhem Games | Players: 2 | Steam
We Were Here is a puzzle adventure series designed entirely around co-op. Seriously: You can’t play it any other way. The puzzles are inspired by escape rooms and games like Myst, and you and your co-op partner have to talk each other through what you’re seeing and doing to get through together. The first game, We Were Here, is free, while sequels We Were Here Too and We Were Here Together are each under $15. As we wrote about one of the sequels, you and your partner are the real puzzle—figuring out how to communicate is the challenge and satisfaction of this trilogy.
Release Date: 2018 | Developer: Ghost Town Games | Players: 1-4 | Steam
Overcooked is chaos incarnate. It’s the type of co-op game where you’re supposed to be helping each other so that you’ll all succeed, but you may never want to speak to the people you play with ever again by the end of it. Overcooked 2 shares the same penchant for destroying relationships, but before you hate each other, you’ll love playing this game together. The sequel adds new maps and new complexity. You can play multiplayer locally or online. Now you can make sushi, and there’s teleportation involved. Just like your standard kitchen, really.
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Studio MDHR | Players: 1-2 | Humble
Cuphead doesn’t become a breeze just because a friend can have your back in co-op. Crowding the luscious animations with another body and even more bullets complicates this side-scrolling arcade shooter, you see, making the two-player option a challenge for only the absolute ironclad best of friends.
But in the same way your brain and hands meld into a higher power after enough failure, and gradual pattern recognition hardens into pure instinct, bridging that rapt attention between two brains is mild telepathy. Friend telepathy for the purposes of finishing a cartoon game.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Release date: 2015 | Developer: Steel Crate Games | Players: Up to 12 | Humble Store
Our favorite thing about Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is all the paperwork. Wait, wait! Come back! KTNB is a game about that scene in every action movie where the hero has to defuse a bomb, and the nerd on the phone asks him: What do you see?
KTNB made waves as a great VR game, but you don’t need a headset to have a good time (although it’s really fun that way). The defusing player can take a laptop to one side of the couch, and the advisers open up their bomb hardware manuals on the other. Communication is critical and any number of players can advise the bomb technician, making this a fantastic party game.
Release Date: 2011 | Developer: Valve | Players: 2 | Steam
Portal 2, one of the most critically acclaimed games of the last six years, is on a best-of list? What a shock! There’s no denying the raw quality of Portal 2’s distinct co-op campaign, though. As the two testing robots Atlas and P-Body, you and a friend get to explore the darker, more dangerous side of GlaDOS’s testing routines—the stuff that’s too dangerous for (non-protagonist) human testers. The three-dimensional spatial thinking that makes the Portal series so addictive is only magnified when there’s another friend getting stumped at the puzzles with you.
Portal 2’s co-op is strongest when neither of you know the answer: if your partner waits patiently for you, you feel like a moron; if they don’t, they’ll be rushing you through all the discovery that makes the game great. Several years after release, though, finding two fresh players would be a rare trick indeed. Luckily, Valve’s excellent map editor community has created a full array of excellent new maps to explore, and get stumped in, together.