Video games are a wonderful way to pass time alone, for sure, but they can also be an amazing way to bond with a friend, family member, or romantic partner. Now, the degree to which this is fun is going to vary depending on the two of you, but I am of a firm belief that there is a game out there for just about any couple. Whether you’re competitive, cooperative, or somewhere in the middle, you can likely find a good choice in this list of top five games for couples.
Catherine is a game that is not without its flaws, and at first glance, it seems like an odd choice for a list like this. It’s primarily a single-player game with a small multiplayer offering that follows the story of a less-than-ideal romantic partner and his issues with commitment. That said, the game does close out every chapter with a moral question about relationships and that can be fun to talk about with your partner as you watch the train wreck unfold. Of course, this is assuming you answer the questions correctly. Once you answer the question, you then get to see how other players answered the question on their first playthrough. It’s an interesting way to see how people view relationships. The game constantly asks the players to think about what they think is important in a relationship.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
Mario Kart is a staple in party games, and Double Dash is a particularly excellent entry because of its emphasis on cooperative play. In the game, two players can ride on one kart, taking turns between driving and wielding items. It also, as a result, has some techniques that aren’t present in some of the other entries. Naturally, the game doesn’t force you to cooperate though, so competitive couples will be able to go at it and have a good time, assuming a blue shell doesn’t create too much tension between you two.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
This was an odd Final Fantasy game, to be sure. Crystal Chronicles was originally a GameCube release that focused on multiplayer and required that everyone involved use a Game Boy Advance as a controller. The Game Boy Advance also functioned as a second screen. Mechanically, there’s a focus on communication, and the best way to do damage and cast spells is to combine your abilities on the fly. The story is also equal parts cute and sad. I particularly enjoy the in-game families that the characters get and the relationships that can be built with them. Playing the original game isn’t always convenient, though, so it’s a good thing that a remaster of the game is due out sometime in the near future, assuming everything goes as planned.
I have had so much fun playing Portal 2 with people. I’ve played it with friends and I’ve played it with my wife, and the key, for me, is to put enough time in between these sessions that I manage to forget the puzzles. The game uses Portal ‘s iconic mechanics, wherein players use a portal gun to connect two places spatially to navigate courses. When you play with another person, that increases the amount of portals, wackiness, and importance on timing. The dialogue in the game is also humorous and, really, there’s just so much to love here. For people unfamiliar with first person games, it might take a few moments to get used to the controls. Fortunately, the game allows you to learn in relatively low stakes scenarios and the difficulty curve is well implemented.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was one of the earlier games to come out of the current generation of virtual reality, and it was one that really got people talking. Literally. Communication is at the heart of the game. The idea is that one person wears a virtual reality headset and manipulates the various components on a bomb in an effort to defuse it before time runs out. It can be a bit hectic and the person in the headset can’t do it alone. Instead, they need to act on instructions given to them by the person tethered to regular reality as they read through a bomb defusing manual. The game is an absolute blast.