The 40 Most Fun Multiplayer Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe key art

The 40 Most Fun Multiplayer Games

A general rule of thumb is that things that are enjoyable on their own are often better with a friend, and that sentiment certainly holds true when it comes to video games. Since the very early days of the medium, video games have been a multiplayer-focused activity, with Pong and other early arcade cabinets becoming a cultural phenomenon thanks to how much fun players were having competing with one another. Decades later, the Nintendo Wii ended up being the undisputed winner of the 7th console generation thanks to its emphasis on casual, low-stakes multiplayer fun with its incredible Wii Sports pack-in showcasing the brilliance of the system’s motion controls. Video games have evolved tremendously since the days of Pong (and even since the Nintendo Wii), but the core elements of what makes a fun multiplayer game are still the same.

The games on this list aren’t necessarily the absolute “best” multplayer games (even though there are several that could easily rank on such a list), but they are the ones that players will likely have the most fun with while playing either competitively or cooperatively. The current gaming landscape is rife with live-service titles that encourage players to keep playing either solo or with friends for hundreds of hours, and it’s the intangible “fun” factor of the greatest live-service games that keeps them so popular among players. Aside from the industry’s modern pivot into live-service games, though, the PC and console ecosystems are absolutely flush with incredible games that can provide dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of fun for a group of friends.

40. Unreal Tournament 2004

Unreal Tournament 2004 gameplay

Quake III might go down as the first game to truly embrace the concept of being an “arena shooter”, but shortly after its release the first Unreal Tournament would arrive and arguably do it better. Unreal Tournament 2004 is an incredible arena shooter that fans of online multiplayer should not miss, as its frantic sense of speed and propensity for laugh-out-loud moments among friends make playing it a heck of a good time. What Unreal Tournament understands about arena shooters is that they are meant to be frantic, and the gameplay embraces that principle in nearly every facet.

39. Diablo IV

Diablo IV gameplay

One of the newer games on this list, Diablo IV is still finding its way as a live-service game but its core gameplay loop is still immensely satisfying. Regardless of the somewhat tedious endgame grind, linking up with a group of friends and tackling dungeons or even wandering the large map in search of world events can easily soak up hours of playtime before anyone notices. The hack n’ slash combat, along with plenty of regular loot drops and the satisfying dopamine rush of crushing waves of enemies and making a character more powerful, is even better in a co-op than it is as a solo player.

38. Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege gameplay

In the almost 10 years since its initial launch, Rainbow Six Siege continues to be one of the most popular online shooters thanks to its continual updates and new content adding more and more layers to its already complex and satisfying gameplay loop. Players get to join up with friends on a squad of either attackers or defenders, and the chaos that unfolds once a match begins proves to be incredibly addictive. Taking the “breach and clear” gameplay of the single-player Rainbow Six games and making a competitive shooter out of it ended up being a stroke of genius on Ubisoft’s part.

37. Hunt: Showdown

Hunt: Showdown gameplay

In terms of the burgeoning “extraction shooter” genre, few games (if any) offer what Hunt: Showdown brings to the table. It’s an incredibly dense game that can be hard to get into at first, but once it clicks it offers PvPvE action that continues developer Crytek’s long history of providing unique first-person-shooter experiences that are mechanically deep and, more importantly, a lot of fun. The supernatural-tinged swamp setting is fairly uncommon for a shooter and the game’s use of sound design make situational awareness and constant communication with allies a must.

36. Payday 2

Payday 2 gameplay

Even after the release of Payday 3, Payday 2 continues to be a hugely popular online game with a dedicated fanbase. Taking the bank heists of films like Heat and turning them into a hugely entertaining “cops vs robbers” experience proves to be a recipe for success, and few other games offer the kind of thrills that come from teaming up with a squad of three friends to pull off a successful bank robbery in Payday 2. The gunplay is tightly focused and excellent, the need for coordination makes pulling off a successful heist immensely satisfying, and the continued support of the title more than 10 years after its launch means its a stable experience with a healthy player base.

35. Left 4 Dead 2

The original Left 4 Dead still stands as one of the best co-op shooters of all time, and its sequel is better by nearly every metric. Players get to choose from one of four survivors and try to stay alive as long as they can against seemingly endless hordes of the undead, making it from Point A to Point B and stopping at safehouses along the way. The framing of each campaign level as a movie is a brilliant setup, and Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the few cooperative shooters that remains fun even if you and your squad continually find themselves at a Game Over screen.

34. Valheim

Valheim gameplay

Survival games can be a tricky genre to get into with their high barrier to entry and very niche gameplay mechanics, but somehow Valheim is both approachable and mechanically deep. Further, the ability to play on a multiplayer server and work cooperatively with others adds an element that is all-too-often missing from the largely solo-experiences most survival games offer. That spirit of cooperation and community building is just one of many aspects that makes Valheim so special, as its excellent Norse mythology-inspired setting and easy-to-grasp collecting and building mechanics also make the game more enjoyable by giving players more tangible evidence of progress.

33. Among Us

For a brief moment, it seemed like the entire world was playing Among Us and discovering the same thrill that players of the popular card game Werewolf had been familiar with for years. As one of several crew members on a spaceship, Among Us tasks players with discovering who among the crew is secretly an alien in disguise. The fun of Among Us mainly comes from knowing that it’s almost impossible to trust even your closest friends, as anyone could potentially be the killer alien. Watching a group of players gradually dwindle down to just a few as the alien still goes undetected is an incredible virtual game of cat-and-mouse that ratchets up tension and paranoia. It’s no wonder Among Us quickly became a cultural sensation.

32. Fall Guys

Fall Guys gameplay

Battle Royale games are no fairly common since the release of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, but then along comes Fall Guys to provide an entirely different kind of Battle Royale experience. Rather than have large groups of people compete to be the last man standing in a kill-or-be-killed scenario, Fall Guys instead imagines its contestants as participants on a wacky game show, running through hilarious obstacle courses and competing in events where the game’s hilariously wonky physics are always working against them. Playing Fall Guys with a group of friends is as close as most of us will ever get to being a contestant on Double Dare, and it ends up being just as fun as it sounds.

31. Phasmophobia

Phasmophobia gameplay

Phasmophobia is a rare breed among horror games. Sure, players can team up with a friend to hunt ghosts, but what makes Phasmophobia special is that having a friend along for the ride in no way diminishes the game’s frightening nature. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that hearing a friend panic while they’re in the other room and you happen to be back in the command center of investigating something off in the distance creates a sense of urgency that few other games are able to impart. Phasmophobia proves that ghosts are still scary, and even playing with a friend in multiplayer doesn’t guarantee your safety (or sanity).

30. Marvel SNAP

Marvel SNAP gameplay

It makes perfect sense that members of the Hearthstone team would be behind Marvel SNAP, as it offers the same level of compelling and deceptively complex card-battling action as Blizzard’s excellent deck-builder. At this point in Marvel SNAP‘s life, the game continues to evolve further and further from the original state of its launch, but it arguably continues to get better as more and more cards are added that significantly shake up the meta and require players to strategize new decks. Between the effects that occur at each lane, the abilities of the cards themselves, and the ability to play off of another user’s cards to your own advantage, Marvel SNAP‘s competitive matches are almost endlessly addictive.

29. Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 gameplay

Starcraft 2 might still be the gold standard of RTS games, even more than a decade since its release. Looking at its competitive scene shows that the march of time has done little to pull players away from the game, as there are still thousands of players across the world still actively playing. Beyond the validity and popularity of its eSports scene, though, Starcraft 2 is an immensely fun title that begs to be played in either cooperative or competitive multiplayer with an easily approachable gameplay loop that has an equally as high skill ceiling.

28. Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World gameplay

Monster Hunter World is a perfect example of a game that is already an incredible single-player experience only being enhanced through multiplayer. The core loop is simple — research one of the titular monsters to discover its weaknesses, prepare for the hunt, set out to kill and harvest parts from the monster, and then use those parts to enhance your gear and be able to tackle greater and greater challenges. Like Diablo, the core mechanics of Monster Hunter World are incredibly fun as a solo player but even better when teaming up with friends. Additionally, the relatively seamless matchmaking helps to make linking up with fellow hunters a painless process, and the scaling of monster strength depending on how many players are in a hunt prevents the players’ prey from ever being too easy.

27. Goldeneye 007

Goldeneye 007 gameplay

In 1997, Goldeneye 007 would arrive on the Nintendo 64 and completely redefine the modern first-person shooter. A large component of what makes Goldeneye such a revolutionary title is its 4-player split-screen competitive multiplayer, which would end up soaking thousands of hours of playtime from millions of Nintendo 64 players across the globe. For many of us, Goldeneye would be our first experience playing a competitive multiplayer mode in a first-person shooter, and it’s still just as much fun today as it was almost 30 years ago.

26. Tekken Tag Tournament

Tekken Tag Tournament gameplay

Truthfully, any of the Tekken games could earn a place on a list of the most fun multiplayer games, but it’s the series’ first outing on PS2 that takes the honor thanks to its potential for hundreds of hours of couch multiplayer fun. Nowadays, online connectivity is ubiquitous with consoles, but the PS2 and other 6th generation consoles would be the last group of console hardware to launch without online capabilities. Synonymous with this era is couch co-op and split-screen multiplayer, which fighting games would end up being a huge component of. Tekken Tag Tournament is arguably a perfect fighting game, with its incredible roster and fine-tuning of Tekken 3‘s excellent mechanics. And, lest we forget, Tekken Bowling is maybe the best mini-game in the history of the fighting genre and a worthwhile multiplayer game in its own right.

25. WCW/nWo Revenge

WCW/nWo Revenge gameplay

Speaking of fighting games and couch co-op, the Nintendo 64 is host to an absolutely staggering number of great wrestling games, and the system is arguably the best platform for multiplayer games of the era thanks to its 4 controller slots and plenty of titles that make use of them. The king of the ring, as far as N64 wrestling games go, is undoubtedly WCW/nWo Revenge. Releasing right as professional wrestling was experiencing something of a comeback, this all-time great wrestling title was a staple at sleepovers across the country. Going back and playing it today requires still having a Nintendo 64 lying around, but it’s well worth digging it out and plugging it back in for some over-the-top tag-team wrestling action with friends.

24. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection gameplay

The first-person shooter genre is one that has traditionally been synonymous with single-player campaigns rather than cooperative experiences, but part of the magic of the original Halo is the ability to tackle the entire single-player campaign with a friend in co-op. Of course, Halo and Halo 2‘s competitive multiplayer would also be industry-defining experiences that helped usher in entire generations of console users into playing 16-player matches via LAN parties and signing up for the first iteration of Xbox Live. The Halo: Master Chief Collection allows players to relieve all of the series’ best moments, and it’s an absolute must-have for any fan of the Halo series, first-person shooters, and either competitive or cooperative multiplayer fun.

23. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time gameplay

Side-scolling beat ’em ups are one of the oldest genres in all of gaming, and like their other coin-op cousins, the beat ’em up genre is one synonymous with either 2 or 4-player cooperative fun. Perhaps the best company to understand the core mechanics of the arcade beat ’em up was Konami, and out of its incredible roster of coin-op cabinets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time is arguably the best. 4 turtles, 4 players, it’s a perfect match! Whether talking about the arcade original or the SNES port, Turtles In Time is classic beat ’em up fun done right.

22. Tetris Effect: Connected

Tetris Effect gameplay

Tetris is and likely always will remain the best puzzle game ever made. Since its inception, the title has always been meant to be played competitively, with players pushing their reflexes and skill to their limits and beyond to achieve victory over a challenger. In that way, Tetris is probably the closest approximation to the spirit of a chess match in the video game world, and looking at the depth and complexity of its competitive scene and the various strategies its participants employ only serves to strengthen that argument. There are a ton of versions of Tetris, but Tetris Effect might be the best one yet thanks to its incredible visuals and entrancing soundtrack. The online modes are also seamless and hugely popular, meaning finding a competitive match never takes much time.

21. Worms Armageddon

Worms Armageddon gameplay

The Worms series is similar to the old-school computer classic Scorched Earth, albeit with a much wider variety of weapons to use against opponents as you take aiming trajectories, environmental obstacles, and wind speed into consideration. Passing around a single controller with a group of friends and gradually destroying the procedurally generated maps in hopes of wiping out competing teams’ diminutive worms is an endlessly good time, and playing the game in Armageddon mode with all the weapons unlocked makes for some absolutely hilarious chaos.

20. Overcooked

Overcooked gameplay

Overcooked is one of those rare cooperative games that can drive people to real-life conflict thanks to the incredible amount of cooperation it requires from its players. In addition, it’s also flat out hilarious playing the game with a group of people and shouting commands to your partner as you compete to prepare, cook, and plate food in a timely fashion. It’s a simple premise that ends up being extremely entertaining, competitive, and stressful all at once. Ultimately, though, Overcooked is a deceptively simply game that can provide hours of fun between multiplayer teams, even if it might unintentionally unearth some deep-seeded resentment among players.

19. Remnant II

Remnant II

The first game in the Remnant series, Remnant: From the Ashes, successfully proved that the soulslike formula could work in the context of a third-person shooter. Its sequel, Remnant II, not only expands on that idea in some ingenious ways by providing more viable melee options and more varied ranged ones, it also has some of the best procedural generation and online co-op of any game. Remnant II is a great experience when playing solo, but playing in co-op is an entirely different ball game, coordinating and exploring with up to 3 friends while searching through the deadly procedurally generated biomes the game places you in. The gunplay and melee combat are satisfying, and teaming up with friends against Remnant II‘s threats makes it feel like you might actually survive its greatest challenges.

18. Risk of Rain 2

Risk of Rain 2 gameplay

Not too many roguelikes offer cooperative multiplayer as an option, which is one of the many reasons that Risk of Rain 2 still stands as one of the best games in the genre. The core gameplay loop of Risk of Rain 2 is already an excellent foundation, but playing in co-op elevates the experience to something with near-endless replayability and plenty of opportunities for hilarity to ensue. Like many of the other games on this list, Risk of Rain 2 is an incredible single-player game that only gets better when teaming up with a friend to explore procedurally generated alien worlds.

17. Hearthstone

Hearthstone gameplay

Like some of the best strategy games and deck-builders, Hearthstone is a deceptively simple game that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master. Further, it’s equally as difficult to put down, as the title absolutely nails the “just one more match” addictive nature that so many roguelikes and card-battlers successfully implement to keep players engaged. There’s a wide variety of viable strategies, it largely avoids predatory “pay to win” features that keep the competitive scene honest, and it’s also just plenty of fun to play.

16. Destiny 2

Destiny 2 gameplay

One thing is for sure about Bungie — the studio absolutely understands what makes a first-person shooter feel good. There are alot of complaints that players rightfully have about Destiny 2, but one thing that most can agree on is that the title has absolutely pitch-perfect gunplay and an addictive core loop of looting and shooting. That the game incentivizes players to team up and form squads and/or clans shows that Destiny 2 is a title with cooperative multiplayer as a focus, and few of the games on this list can match the rush of successfully completing a Raid with a well-coordinated squad.

15. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe gameplay

Since its inception, Super Mario Bros. has always been a multiplayer game, even if the implementation of that multiplayer component changes from entry to entry. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe takes the more modern approach to Mario multiplayer by allowing up to 4 players to traverse its brilliantly designed platforming levels at once, and of course the potential for competition with one another and intentionally sabotaging one’s partners natrually rises up. Being able to jump on the heads of your friends to knock them down into a pit or launch fellow players across the screen adds an element of unpredictability to one of gaming’s oldest genres, and it’s all the better for it.

14. Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 gameplay

Team Fortress 2 is still the bar for all other class-based team shooters to reach for, and it’s almost single-handed invention of the “hero-shooter” genre raises it as yet another of Valve’s medium-defining titles. Most players would have their first introduction to Team Fortress 2 within the contents of The Orange Box, and it still boasts an impressive amount of concurrent players more than a decade later. With distinct classes that each provide a very specific role in combat, Team Fortress 2 displays a level of balance and polish that other, more modern hero shooters can’t seem to quite match.

13. Counter Strike 2

Counter Strike 2 gameplay

Speaking of Valve, the surprise launch of Counter Strike 2 last year means that it replaces the original Counter Strike as one of the best multiplayer games of all-time. This competitive shooter can trace its origins back to a mod for the legendary Half-Life, but it has since taken on a life of its own to become a pillar of the online competitive multiplayer scene. Counter Strike 2 takes the foundation laid by the original and improves upon it by significantly overhauling the visuals and the in-game economy, and it’s absolutely one of the biggest and best competitive shooters available.

12. Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Super Street Fighter II Turbo gameplay

Fighting games are, at their core, an essential genre for multiplayer gaming. After all these years, one of the best is still Street Fighter II, with Super Street Fighter II Turbo arguably being one of the best versions of the legendary title. Capcom’s arcade phenomenon is just as good now as it was 30 years ago, and its roster of fighters is a “who’s who” of the series that each have their own pros and cons for use in battle. What Street Fighter II gets right is its balance, which allows even amateur players to have a fighting chance against seasoned pros depending on which character they choose and how fast their reflexes are. And, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want bragging rights for beating their friends in a martial arts tournament?

11. Apex Legends

Apex Legends gameplay

For a minute there, it seemed as if Apex Legends might be the game to unseat Fortnite from its Battle Royale throne. While that didn’t happen, Apex would grow its own massive audience to become a hugely popular competitive shooter (whether playing solo or in a squad) and remind everyone about the genius of Respawn Entertainment. By taking the mechanics and movement of the incredible Titanfall 2 and implementing them into an online Battle Royale shooter, Respawn ended up creating one of the greatest multiplayer games on the market, even if it sadly means we didn’t get Titanfall 3 as a result. Apex Legends is fast, fluid, and frantic, and it also happens to be a ton of fun either solo or with friends.

10. Minecraft

Minecraft key art

Markus Persson’s Minecraft is arguably one of the most important games of all-time, introducing an entire new generation of gamers to the medium and showcasing how to build a compelling open-world sandbox with nearly limitless potential. Playing Minecraft cooperatively only adds to that sentiment, as it becomes obvious how well constructed the foundations of the game are when collaborating with other players to create a full-fledged virtual world. Minecraft‘s potential for educational application was already apparent as a single-player title, but getting to socially collaborate and build with others only reinforces its potential as a tool for learning and experimentation.

9. Rocket League

Rocket League gameplay

Taking soccer and replacing the players with rocket-powered cars might seem strange, but Rocket League proves that its a winning idea that almost never gets old. What makes Rocket League one of the best multiplayer games is its unique combination of the best parts of racing, fighting, and sports games, and the insane sense of speed and loose physics create plenty of jaw-dropping moments when playing in a competitive match against friends.

8. Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

Beat ’em ups have been experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years, with nearly all of the major marquis franchises in the genre receiving modern updates. The best of these is, by far, Streets of Rage 4. Like the original Streets of Rage games on Sega Genesis, Streets of Rage 4 practically begs to be played in co-op with 3 other friends, and the game does a great job of significantly ramping up the challenge to make having 4 players not give anyone an unfair advantage. Like the best beat ’em ups, Streets of Rage 4 has a low skill floor and a high skill ceiling, offering plenty of mechanical depth and rewarding those that put in the effort to master its nuance.

7. Contra

Contra gameplay

The original arcade release of Contra might be the first version of Konami’s classic game, but most players probably more fondly remember the NES port. For anyone who grew up during the NES era in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it’s almost a guarantee that they played Contra with a friend, getting both players 30 lives through using the Konami Code and beating the game in a single sitting. Contra is run n’ gun perfection, and it’s even better when playing with a friend.

6. Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic gameplay

Deep Rock Galactic is one of those left-field gaming experiments that only becomes more and more addictive the further you get into it. The premise is fairly simple — team up with a squad of Dwarves and venture to strange planets, digging up ore and clearing out monsters preventing you from leaving with your spoils. In practice, however, Deep Rock Galactic is anything but simple, as the game throws just the right amount of curveballs as to keep things interesting without it ever becoming frustrating. Ultimately, though, there’s just something so satisfying about mining some precious gems with a laser cannon.

5. It Takes Two

It Takes Two gameplay

It Takes Two is one of the few narrative-driven multiplayer experiences on this list, but the strength of that narrative and the ingenious nature of its mandatory co-op gameplay immediately elevate it to almost legendary status. There’s a reason that It Takes Two won Game of the Year in 2021, and its heartfelt tale and subtext about the importance of cooperation, communication, and teamwork make it a co-op game that can teach you as much about yourself as it does about its mechanics and systems.

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gameplay

The Super Smash Bros. series is one of the most successful first-party Nintendo franchises, and its best entry is arguably its latest — Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The platform-jumping arena fighting of Smash Bros. Ultimate is made all the more exciting thanks to a staggering number of Nintendo and non-Nintendo characters that make up its roster, and the rewards for completing activities in-game help players compile a virtual museum of all-things Nintendo. However, the real draw of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are its competitive multiplayer matches, which are just as fun now as they were on the Nintendo 64 original.

3. Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand Theft Auto Online gameplay

The Grand Theft Auto series would experiment with an online mode in Grand Theft Auto IV, but it wouldn’t be until the revamp of the game as part of Grand Theft Auto V that GTA Online would truly take off. Now, GTA Online is one of the most popular and robst online multiplayer experiences anyone can partake in, and there’s no shortage of activities to get lost in while wandering through its impressive open world sandbox. Between racing, heists, property acquisitions and spending cash, and just creating general mayhem and chaos, GTA Online offers something for everyone, regardless of how you like to play a Grand Theft Auto game.

2. Fortnite

Fortnite gameplay

It’s no secret that Fortnite gets a bad rap from a lot of players due to the perception that it’s a “kid’s game” (made all the more hard to argue against thanks to most of its key demographic being under the age of 13), but the reality is that Epic have created one of the most impressive gaming ecosystems on the market. Fortnite‘s Battle Royale mode was already a winning spin on the popular Battle Royale shooter, but its implementation of a new LEGO mode, a racing game (from Rocket League creator Psyonix, no less) and the Rock Band-like Fortnite Festival, Fortnite now offers something for everyone. The star of the show is still Battle Royale mode though, and whether playing solo or in a squad it’s still an incredibly polished third-person shooter.

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe gameplay

Racing games are tailor-made for competitive and cooperative multiplayer, and there’s a strong case that the best multiplayer experience a group of friends can have is sitting down to a round of races in Mario Kart. Any of the Mario Kart games could end up in the top spot on this list, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes the cake thanks to its series-best mechanics, incredible roster of drivers, and absolutely staggering number of courses and grand prix heats. But, of course, racing is only part of the equation in Mario Kart, as it’s just as important to try and sabotage other racers using any of the various pick-ups to collect throughout the track. There’s so much potential for betrayal and hilarity that few multiplayer games, if any, can come close to the atmosphere of pure fun that Mario Kart provides.

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