Couch co-op gaming will never truly fade away—playing games with your teammates literally by your side is just too enjoyable. Combine that with the satisfying and just plain fun gameplay of a good action game, and you’re certainly in for a treat.
“Action” is an extremely broad genre, so when selecting games for this list we looked out for the titles that deliver on constant thrills as you play. Regardless if you’re taking on groups of enemies or intimidating boss fights, we just care that’s it’s a heart-pumping and action-packed experience.
Hand-Drawn Boss Encounters: Cuphead (PC/Xbox One/Switch/PS4)
From its reveal in 2014 to its release in 2017, Cuphead has been turning heads thanks to its unique hand-drawn art style. Not only does this game feature tight controls and some of the toughest bosses in gaming, but it also feels like you’re controlling a living cartoon thanks to the excellent animation. And you can enjoy this creative adventure with all with a friend as you play as Cuphead and Mugman.
You’re both going to die to the bosses a lot, but fortunately, you can keep each other in the fight by continually reviving one another. And when you finally beat that difficult boss, the sense of satisfaction you’ll both feel will be unmatched.
Four-Player Chivarly: Castle Crashers (PC/Xbox One/Switch/PS4)
Castle Crashers is an iconic couch co-op game for it’s simple yet fun gameplay, comedic tone, and four-player co-op support. There are jokes around every corner as you and your teammates work together defeating bosses and enemies in an effort the save the princesses kidnapped by “The Wizard.” There are multiple characters to unlock and different weapons to use, so every run-through of the game will feel fresh as you experiment with the different combinations.
Spell Slingers: Wizard of Legend (PC/Xbox One/Switch/PS4)
Casting spells has never been more fun and satisfying than in Wizard of Legend. In this top-down roguelike (a genre of games where you have to restart your character after each death), you’ll learn how to make use of various spells and magical abilities to progress through stages and fight enemies. There are two-player co-op and a wide variety of spells to use, so you and your friend can each create your own loadouts and become the perfect duo.
Lunging Luchadors: Guacamelee 1 and 2 (PC/Xbox One/Switch/PS4)
The bright and vivid world of the Guacamelee series is filled to the brim with enemies to fight. At their core, these games are 2D platformers, but you don’t just jump on enemies to defeat them. You play as powerful Luchadors, so you can expect to use a variety of wrestling moves to keep combos going for massive damage. Both games are pretty similar gameplay-wise and support two-player co-op, so you can’t go wrong with either. But, as a sequel, Guacamelee 2 does naturally expand on the concepts introduced in the first game.
Flashy Moves: River City Girls (PC/Xbox One/Switch/PS4)
Classic beat em’ ups of the arcade era like Golden Axe are a great time in two-player co-op, and River City Girls aims to recapture that gameplay with some modern flair. You’re not just limited to normal punches and kicks here, there’s a great selection of ultra-flashy moves between the two selectable characters. Whether you’re whacking people with a backpack or stunning enemies with the flash from your phone, River City Girls’ combat never stops being interesting as you fight through the stages.
Sprawling RPG: Outward (PC/Xbox One/PS4)
“Open-world RPG” is likely not a genre that springs to mind when it comes to couch co-op, but Outward aims to change that. Outward has all the makings of a great RPG including a massive fantasy world to explore. But most importantly, it supports two-player co-op throughout the entire game. You can each create a character, choose your weapons and items, then explore this world together.
Hordes of Foes: Hyrule Warriors (Switch)
It’s hard to think of a franchise that embodies the “action” moniker more than the Dynasty Warriors series, and this Nintendo sanctioned spinoff is perfect for some co-op fun on the Switch. Taking place in the Zelda universe, Hyrule Warriors features massive hordes of enemies that you can cut through with the various characters. And there are a lot of characters to choose from (31 to be exact), including some more obscure picks that fans are sure to love playing as.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Zelda series, the action-packed gameplay the Warriors series is known for is in full effect here. Characters use massive, sweeping attacks that clear out enemies quickly and spectacularly. It’s not particularly in-depth, but the simple joy of tearing through hordes of enemies and racking up points keeps you playing for many hours. There’s a full story mode present, along with additional gameplay modes, such as “Adventure Mode” where you complete missions with special requirements on a map styled after the original Legend of Zelda game. All of the game modes fully support two-player co-op, so there’s plenty of content to work through here.
For Fire Emblem fans, Fire Emblem Warriors does much of the same as Hyrule Warriors except in the Fire Emblem universe. It’s also fully playable in two-player co-op, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want more of the gameplay seen in Hyrule Warriors.