This is a list of the 20 favorite local multiplayer games in our household. All of the games below were picked and ordered by me and two of my kids (at the time of writing this they are 7 and 6 years old). I’ve joined in or completely played with them on all of these. Also please note that whatever online multiplayer functionality any of these games have is not a factor in how we play (we don’t even have Nintendo Switch Online).
#20 – Snipperclips Plus – Cut it out, together!
Snipperclips Plus is a delightful puzzle / party game. You are a shape and you can “cut” your fellow players shapes to make new shapes to solve puzzles. It’s a unique concept and has lots of different modes. Snipperclips Plus is easy enough for anyone to pick up and play but shines brightest when whoever is playing is at least somewhat coordinated.
#19 – Crayola Scoot
Crayola Scoot is Splatoon meets Tony Hawk on scooters. There are a variety of different skate parks and several modes to choose from but my kids mostly just like to scoot around, go off ramps, and color the park with their paint. If I had one complaint it would be that it needs a way to launch multiplayer from the title screen. As it stands, you have to start the game, scoot over to the arcade, and then launch multiplayer from there.
#18 – Super Mario Party
Despite its mixed reception, my kids and I loved playing Super Mario Party and getting all the unlockable playable characters. I believe this is the first introduction to the grid based boards which is a 2 vs 2 mode that my kids strongly prefer over the traditional boards. Also, the River Survival Mode is cooperative up to four players and is a blast.
$17 – Mario Strikers Battle League
Mario Strikers Battle League got a bad rap for a less than ideal number of playable characters and shallow game progression. There is merit to those criticisms but the gameplay is fun and addicting. Four players can be on the same team which is great for my kids who always prefer that (and it’s better for feelings getting spared). Up to 8 players can play locally with a single joy each.
#16 – Yoshi’s Crafted World
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a chill “2.5-D” platformer with some light puzzle solving. My kids played this together and beat it with some occasional help from me when they couldn’t figure out how to progress. This game is inferior to the masterpiece of a game, Yoshi’s Woolly World, but it still has its own charm.
#15 – Moving Out
Moving Out is a hilarious cooperative party game about moving furniture and packages into a truck. I picked up this game because of how much I personally enjoyed playing Overcooked, and heard this would be a good choice for fans of that game. My kids prefer this WAY more than Overcooked (even if I’m partial to Overcooked) – Moving Out’s controls and objectives are simpler to understand and it boasts a more slapstick tone. This does get progressively more difficult though, so watch out for some of those later levels!
#14 – Untitled Goose Game
In Untitled Goose Game up to two players are cooperatively causing mischief (as a goose) in a quiet town. My kids technically played through this on the PS4 but it is available digitally and physically on the Switch. It is a short and amusing experience with lots of things to interact with. Untitled Goose Game will require at least some amount of reading to advance the story.
#13 – Very Very Valet
Very Very Valet is a party / simulation game in the same vein as Moving Out and Overcooked (though it is shorter). The premise is simple… park cars and then deliver them back to the customer. I was surprised how much fun I had playing this one with the kids.
#12 – Kirby Star Allies
I got outvoted on this one — my kids insisted Kirby Star Allies needs to be on the list. Kirby Star Allies is inferior to many Kirby games that have come before and after it, but nonetheless my kids had a ton of fun with it. It is up to four players co-op but only the first player can be Kirby — the other player(s) will be one of the “befriended” enemies. Make sure you do the update for this game as there’s a post-game mode called “Heroes in Another Dimension” as it introduces some level of challenge.
#11 – Heave Ho (Digital Only)
Heave Ho had a small physical print through Limited Run Games, but otherwise this is a digital only title (I picked this up on the eShop for $3.99 on sale but it is totally worth the $9.99 MSRP). Heave Ho has the most ridiculous premise and gameplay on this list. You are a head with two arms and you have to platform your way across the levels by grabbing and swinging. You WILL need to help each other and you WILL get in each other’s way. It is absolute madness but it is laugh out loud funny. Heave Ho gets pretty challenging as the game progresses. I appreciate that but I could see it getting too frustrating for some. If one player is able to make it to the goal there is an accessibility option to help the other players.
#10 – Boomerang Fu (Digital Only)
Boomerang Fu is a battle royale with food and beverage characters throwing boomerangs at each other. It’s surprisingly easy for just about anyone to pick up and join in on the fun but it also does have a high skill ceiling. Up to six players can play this one and the teams can be uneven if you want (like 4 vs. 2 for example).
#9 – Mario Party Superstars
Mario Party Superstars has only five boards to play on but we mostly play this for the 100 mini-games. All of them have been redone from the first 10 Mario Party installments.
#8 – Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe
We played and beat Kirby’s Return to Dreamland on the Wii a little while before the Switch port was announced but when the Switch “Deluxe” version released I sold our Wii copy and got the Switch one. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is a 2D game with lots of power ups, platforming, and light puzzle solving. The Magolor Epilogue (which is unlocked after beating the main game) is a little RPG adventure that is also playable with up to four different colored Magolors. Me and my (at the time) six-year old found this new mode to be incredibly fun but lost the interest of my five year old.
#7 – Luigi’s Mansion 3
This game claims 1-8 players but that is really just for some bonus content / mini games (which are quite fun, to be fair). The main story can be completed cooperatively with one or two players, one player as Luigi and one player as Gooigi. Gooigi IS required for some of the puzzle solving so this isn’t like a “play as Mario’s hat” kind of cooperative play, it’s actually integral to the story. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a beautiful and delightful game. It is one of the earlier games we played and beat, but the kids have returned to this one multiple times, especially for the mini games and the “sand level.”
#6 – Rayman Legends
For me, this is the best 2D platformer. Super Mario World lovers are heading for the comments, I’m sure. The music-based levels are incredible and the game can get extremely challenging (without feeling too inaccessible for the less-skilled players). We technically played this on the Wii U but it is available on Switch.
#5 – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is endlessly repayable, has a high skill ceiling, and has great accessibility options. You could literally turn on steer assist + auto-accelerate and hand the controller to a two year old. It has a generous 48 tracks to race on (or 96 if you get the DLC booster courses). You can play free for all or everyone playing can be on the same team. An absolute classic and it is the best-selling Switch game for good reason.
#4 – Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the pink puff-ball’s first real foray into 3D. The whole story is playable 2-player cooperative — one player is Kirby the other player is Waddle Dee (who doesn’t have all the same power-ups as Kirby but has a decent move set of his own). The “mouthful mode” is delightful and the way the power ups level up is a great mechanic. My two oldest played the vast majority together but I gladly helped out every so often. We beat the main story but we aren’t anywhere close to completing it with all the extra challenges and post-game content.
#3 – Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Super Mario 3D World is a port of the Wii U game with some slight tweaks, most notably faster movement. My kids and I loved it so much that it’s the first game we 100% completed. The Super Mario 3D World portion of this is great for more experienced and less experienced gamers to play together. Bowser’s Fury is a completely new game mode that is a bite-sized single player open world adventure, but a second player can tag along as Bowser Jr. (the camera follows Mario).
#2 – Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Ezra, my oldest, insisted this belongs in this #2 spot (I’d personally put it just below Luigi’s Mansion 3). There’s some recency bias here, but even so there’s no denying this is a fantastic game. Each level has its own “wonder” effect that gives each level a unique personality. The overworld is well designed and has lots of secrets. They really nailed the cooperative element in Super Mario Bros. Wonder even with small details like players can’t run into each other. They’ve also got the accessibility option of having the Yoshi and Nabbit characters not take damage from enemies.
#1 – Stardew Valley
Not what you were expecting, eh? For me and my family, this is far and above the best and most-played video game. I played this a little while back on my own and when I learned that two people can have a farm together with split-screen local play, I figured I would let my kids give it a try. At first, they weren’t sure about it. There’s a lot to learn and to progress you do need to do some reading (neither of them could read at the time) so I had to supervise. But once they got the gist of the game just did whatever they wanted and absolutely loved it. Now their farm is quite successful (I helped in that regard) – they did what a lot of people consider to be the main story of the game (which is completing the community center) and just keep doing whatever their heart desires – mining, fishing, farming, foraging, building, decorating, and wandering. I also convinced my wife to start a farm with me. She doesn’t even like video games but she really enjoys it too (just now while writing up this list she told me she has been looking at ideal building layouts)!
Honorable mentions: Pocket Mini Golf 1 and 2, Hole IO, Flat Heroes, Unrailed, Fly Together, Conduct Together, Tools Up, and Kirby’s Dream Buffet.
We aren’t done yet! I’ve got some tips / resources to share that might be helpful for anyone who plays the Nintendo Switch.
-Dekudeals.com is a great website for notifying you of when a game is on sale at most major retailers or when it is on sale on the Nintendo eshop. I use it regularly and it just notifies me via e-mail if a game goes on sale for a price I want.
-There are some quality YouTube channels that put out weekly “deals” videos. Some are better than others but my favorites are SwitchUp, Maple Syrup Gaming & Tech, and Gamecamiller Kaiju Club. They do cover T and M rated games so if you are looking for a purely family-friendly resource then I’ve got no suggestions.
-If you ever have any drift in your joy cons or any other joy con issues as of writing this, Nintendo will service your joy con for no charge. Not even shipping. We have eight individual joy cons and one had drift and the other wasn’t turning on and they fixed both. Just google “Nintendo Joy Con Repair” and the official Nintendo website should be the first result.
But wait, there’s more! The games above are all ones I’ve played with both of my older kids. I have some more that I would highly recommend if you have some more experienced players / older kids in your household.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – I’ve technically only played this a tiny bit and have not let my kids play it yet. But I loved the original game back on the N64 and given that Ultimate is probably the top of a lot of people’s list for multiplayer games I have to at least mention it!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredders Revenge – Another one I’m waiting for the kids to be a bit older. I beat this myself and played a handful of levels with some family members — it is really great fun and can support up to six players playing through the campaign.
Overcooked! + Overcooked 2 – This is one my personal favorite multiplayer games, but the tasks asked of you get increasingly complicated really fast. These two games are chaotic cooperative fun at its finest. This has been the gold standard for party games for a reason.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe – I played and beat Pikmin 3 on the Wii U and it instantly became one of my favorite strategy games. The game was originally designed for one player but on the Switch the main campaign now entirely playable with two people. It has a pretty decent learning curve and there is a lot to think about so it might be better suited for older kids. I let my kids give this a try once but they weren’t getting the hang of it.
Portal 2 – I have this for PS3 so I’m unfamiliar with the Switch build, but it can be purchased digitally as part of the Portal Companion Collection. There are two campaigns in Portal 2 – one is single player and one is specifically designed for two player cooperative play only. The ESRB rating is for E10+ but whatever “fantasy violence” is present is mild and I am really only putting this in the “older” section because it will probably be too difficult for younger players. I played this somewhat recently over a two day period where Ezra was home sick with a fever (since I knew this would probably be too tricky for my six-year-old daughter).
Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze – We honestly haven’t played this one much (I think the first three levels) but I’ve heard this is one of the more difficult platformers from Nintendo. The campaign is playable with one or two players cooperatively. We have this for the Wii U and I would imagine with the Switch version that has the easy “Funky Kong” mode might make this more manageable for younger gamers.
Cuphead – I’ve only played this one player but the campaign is completely playable with two players. It’s both exceptionally difficult and also very deserving of the E10+ rating. This is one of the hardest games I’ve ever played and I’m really proud that I was able to beat it!