10 co-op games to play online with your friends while quarantined
Let’s face it, being quarantined during the currently ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can kind of suck. Sure, you can work from home and hang out with your family (while maintaining proper social distancing practices of course), but what if you want to keep in touch with any friends/relatives who aren’t in the same house as you? Well, that’s where gaming, particularly co-op gaming, can prove to be an invaluable resource.
There are hundreds of games you can play with others across many different platforms, and in some cases you can play together even if you have a different gaming device than your friends. Below, we’ve listed 10 excellent online co-op games spread across a number of different gaming genres and platforms. Whether you enjoy shooters, open-world games, sci-fi, fantasy RPG’s, adventure games, or racing titles, this list should help you find a game you and your friends can play together despite the distance that separates you.
Sure, you technically drive cars around in Psyonix’s excellent online “car-soccer” title Rocket League, but don’t let that put off any of your friends who normally don’t care for more traditional racing games. In Rocket League, the goal is to use your cars to speed, slide, flip, and barrel-roll around an arena so you can smack a large ball into the enemy team’s goal.
Rocket League’s high-speed gameplay components and gravity-defying physics system allow for some truly insane plays and trick-shots, ensuring you and your friends will have a good time even if you’re not consistently winning. Best of all, Psyonix’s long-term advocacy for full cross-play support means that players on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch can all play together, so no matter which platform your friends have, they can absolutely play Rocket League with you.
Hello Games’ ambitious space exploration sim No Man’s Sky had a bit of a rough launch back in 2016, but since then it has only gotten better thanks to the multiple major content updates Hello Games has released over the following months and years. Today, No Man’s Sky boasts a number of impressive new features it didn’t have at launch, including VR support, underwater exploration, in-depth base building, and online co-op multiplayer.
No Man’s Sky can admittedly be a little difficult to get into since it has a much more slow and technical pace than most other games. However, if the thought of just going out and exploring a limitless number of strange alien worlds with your friends intrigues you, Hello Games’ debut title definitely nails that fantasy and then some.
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices
Epic Games’ massively popular online shooter title Fortnite is obviously best known for its battle royale mode, but it’s still worth checking out even if your friends don’t care for the whole battle royale format. Some folks might remember that Fortnite originally launched as a co-op base-building/PvE survival game, and that co-op experience has since been spun off as a separate ‘Save the World’ game mode which operates independently from all the battle royale stuff.
Unfortunately, while Fortnite’s battle royale component is free-to-play, Save the World requires the purchase of a Fortnite Founder’s Pack, the cheapest of which is $40. Also, while Fortnite supports cross-play and cross-progression across PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, Save the World currently isn’t playable in the game’s Nintendo Switch or mobile versions.
If you want to play Fortnite with your friends but you don’t want to shell out for the Save the World mode, your best option is to stick with the battle royale client. The silver lining, though, is that the game’s expansive ‘Creative’ mode is also included in the F2P battle royale version, allowing you and your friends to create your own custom maps and modes to play together.
Rare’s loveably goofy pirate simulator Sea of Thieves was made to be played with a group of friends. Yes, you can technically sail the high seas as a solo pirate, but the game’s true magic lies in its ability to give groups of players the tools necessary to live out their craziest pirate shenanigan adventures.
Over the years since its launch, Rare has also been expanding Sea of Thieves with new explorable regions, social features (such as playing instruments), and even a structured ‘Arena’ PvP mode for those who’d rather focus solely on the game’s thrilling ship-to-ship player battles. If your friends aren’t quite so cutthroat, you can also have plenty of fun just sailing around and completing contracts for various NPC factions or doing what pirates do best; hunting for treasure on remote islands.
The pirate’s life may not be for everyone, but if your friends group is the sort that enjoys creating their own spontaneous fun in the moment, Sea of Thieves is one game you should absolutely check out.
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
If the term “sci-fi space ninjas” sounds at all interesting to you, by all means keep reading. Warframe is a free-to-play sci-fi action-combat game that’s been around for many years now, and it’s honestly one of the slickest, coolest-looking games in the entire F2P market. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to play.
Developed by Digital Extremes, Warframe was built from the ground up with online co-op in mind. Players can pick from a roster of many different frames (essentially character classes with different looks and abilities), arm their frame with dozens of different firearms and melee weapons, and engage in a wide range of different cooperative mission types. Warframe is also very fast-paced, allowing players to partake in balletic bullet-dodge gunfights, tense melee scrums, and acrobatic platforming involving wall-runs and double-jumps.
Warframe’s only major detractor is that it’s also incredibly obtuse and complex, throwing so many different systems, sub-systems, currencies, and ancillary mechanics at the player that it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and lost even after sinking dozens of hours into it. Still, if you want to just jump around with your buddies fighting space baddies and looking incredibly stylish while doing so, Warframe is certainly worth checking out, especially since it’s F2P.
If you’re looking for a more laid back experience where you and your friends can just chill and build stuff at your leisure, there’s really no substitute for developer Mojang’s insanely popular building title Minecraft.
Thanks to the many years of post-launch support it’s received, the boundaries of what you can do in Minecraft are really only limited by your imagination. If you want to just kick back with your buds and collaboratively build a castle, a village, or (if you’re feeling really ambitious) an entire city, you can. If you want to see how long you last in the game’s Survival experience, that’s fine too. There are dozens of different maps, server types, texture packs, and pre-made realms for players to explore, ensuring that you and your friends will find something to like regardless of your individual tastes.
Minecraft might not be the best fit for players who prefer to have lots of structure and/or pretty graphics in their games, but if your group finds satisfaction in the simple process of creating something together, it’s absolutely worth giving a shot.
There’s certainly a place for fast-paced online shooter games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or Overwatch, but such games can also be off-putting for players who prefer a more traditional ‘boots on the ground’ approach that doesn’t move a mile a minute. If you and your friends grew up on tactical shooter experiences like SOCOM, Ghost Recon, or even the original Rainbow Six games, Rainbow Six Siege is still very much worth giving a try despite its heavy emphasis on PvP and competitive eSports.
Siege can admittedly be a little intimidating thanks to its dizzying (and ever-growing) number of different playable operators, but developer Ubisoft has also taken great pains to ensure new players have plenty of in-game resources to learn the ropes at their own pace. Plus, even though it doesn’t really get any attention from Ubisoft these days, the game’s Terrorist Hunt mode offers an incredibly tense and tactical co-op experience that you can play either with random matchmade strangers or in a private squad with your friends.
Buying into Siege can get expensive depending on how many operators you want to have immediate access to, but even the game’s default starter edition is worth investing in if uber-realistic tactical co-op gameplay is what you and your friends live for.
If Sea of Thieves’ pirate fantasy isn’t your jam, how about riding the plains as a rough and tumble cowboy? As its name implies, Red Dead Online is the online multiplayer component of Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, providing a zany and chaotic open-world experience which perfectly juxtaposes the game’s more serious and weighty single-player story.
Much like the Grand Theft Auto Online portion of Grand Theft Auto 5 before it, Red Dead Online plays host to a number of different structured and unstructured activities for players and their posses to participate in. You and your friends can engage in competitive shootouts and horse races, complete PvE missions for various NPC’s, sit down for a game of poker, and even pursue structured specialist roles and their associated business ventures like Moonshiner or Bounty Hunter.
The hectic online worlds of both Red Dead Online and Grand Theft Auto Online can be a bit much to take in at first, especially if you run afoul of more experienced players looking to cause some havoc (as they are often wont to do). With a few buddies watching your back, though, these digital playgrounds can also be a heck of a lot of fun no matter your preferred playstyle.
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Working together with your friends to take down a terrifyingly massive beast sure sounds like a great bonding experience, doesn’t it? If you agree, you’d do well to check out developer Phoenix Labs’ free-to-play MMO games Dauntless. Unlike some other MMO games which involve complex fetch quests, grindy repetitive tasks, and archaic gameplay mechanics, Dauntless distills the appeal of the MMO genre down to its essentials by offering players an easy-to-understand yet still highly-replayable gameplay loop: go out, hunt and slay large monsters, use the slain monster’s materials to forge new gear, hunt bigger, tougher monsters, rinse and repeat.
At first blush, Dauntless may sound awfully similar to Capcom’s Monster Hunter series (and there is even an MMO Monster Hunter game in Monster Hunter: World), but as anyone who’s played a Monster Hunter game can attest, they don’t tend to be very newbie-friendly. Dauntless, on the other hand, offers a much more easily accessible monster-slaying experience that’s well-suited to group play and also deep enough to encourage long-term investment.
Best of all, Dauntless takes a page out of Fortnite’s book by supporting both cross-play and cross-progression across all its different platforms. This means you can play it virtually anywhere and invite your friends to play with you no matter what gaming device they have.
Looter-shooters have become a genre all their own, and there really isn’t a gaming property out there that’s nailed the looter-shooter feel quite like Gearbox’s Borderlands series. Borderlands 3 refines what made the earlier Borderlands games so great (namely the shooting mechanics, razor-sharp humor, and, naturally, the mountains of loot) while also layering on new RPG features and other sub-systems to bring it more in line with modern gaming tastes. As with some other games on this list, Borderlands 3 is technically playable solo, but when you’ve got a few friends to loot and shoot with, that’s when the real magic happens.
You’ll be especially well off giving Borderlands 3 a shot on PC since it recently gained cross-play support across its Steam and Epic Store versions, thus massively boosting the game’s total player community. Even if you and your friends prefer consoles, though, Borderlands 3 will give you a never-ending supply of incentives to work towards while also eliciting a few laughs along the way.