5 of the best Square Enix Co-op games

The friends that play together stay together. Here are some of best co-operative games that you can play now, or in the near future.
Autor Duncan Heaney

There’s a school of thought that everything is better with a friend - and that’s particularly true for games.

There are few things as fundamentally satisfying as overcoming enemies and obstacles with the help of a pal, and when the game’s been specifically designed to support that type of cooperative play, it’s even better.

What’s interesting is that we’ve entered a sort of golden era for co-op here at Square Enix. We have multiple games out or coming very soon, all great, all unique, and all specifically designed to be played with others.

We wanted to highlight what we think are some of our best. If you regularly play with others, you don’t want to miss these:


Marvel’s Avengers

Teaming up with a friend is cool, but teaming up with a friend who’s playing as Captain America? That’s even cooler.

Marvel’s Avengers lets you and up to three amazing friends play as six of Marvel’s most well-known heroes: Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Hulk and Ms. Marvel. You’ll embark together on missions all over the world, from the verdant woods of the Pacific Northwest, to the frozen tundra of Scandinavia.

Combat is fast, fluid and satisfyingly deep. There are few experiences as thrilling as seeing a team of icons join take down supervillains and giant foes… except maybe being part of that team.

What makes it so enjoyable is that every characters feel unique - for example, Black Widow is fast and agile, Iron Man can fly and excels at range, and Hulk… well, Hulk smashes. And as you gain experience and develop your characters, these differences only become more pronounced - there a lot to dig into.

Not only that, but additional characters are coming and they’re all free. You’ll be playing this one for a loooong time.


BALAN WONDERWORLD

This upcoming 3D platformer takes two protagonists - Emma and Leo - into a weird, wacky world where people have become trapped by their own negativity.

And yes - two protagonists means two players. The game supports local co-op, allowing you to platform and puzzle your way through all 12 worlds as a team. Not only is it fun to leap, bounce and punch your way through this vibrant world with a friend, it also opens up new ways to play.

As you explore, you’ll collect more than 80 costumes. These don’t just make you look good (and every now and then a bit silly), they also give you abilities that you can use to overcome the obstacles in your path, such as ranged punches or the ability to walk in the air. In co-op, you can even combine these abilities open up entirely new paths!

In short, this is one of those games that just leaves you feeling happy. It’s cute, optimistic and radiates pure joy out of every pixel.

There's a new demo out on January 28, 2021, and the full game releases March 26, 2021. You won’t find a happier experience this year.


Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

This four player archaeological adventure taxes your brain as much as your reflexes. When Lara Croft is beaten to an artifact by a careless rival, the evil deity Set is released from imprisonment. Suffice to say, he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about it.

Now Lara, fellow adventurer Carter Bell and the newly revived gods Isis and Horus must join journey through a series of deadly tombs and temples to stop Set and fend off an incoming apocalypse. So, basically a typical Wednesday for Lara.

What’s great about this game - and its predecessor Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - is that players each have different skills that they have to use together to solve puzzles. For example, Isis could use her staff to raise a platform to get Lara up high, and then Lara can use her grappling hook to pull her partner up with her.

Of course, things are generally more complicated than that - Crystal Dynamics’ incredible puzzle pedigree is on full display here. The various conundrums will make you think hard - but when you finally find the solution, it’s as satisfying an ‘aha’ moment as you’ll ever find in games.


FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition

A multiplayer FINAL FANTASY is already an exciting prospect, but what puts it over the top is just how cooperative it is. Every element of the game has been designed to accommodate multiple players - and inspire them to work together.

Let’s say, for example, that your group runs into a tough monster. You could all charge into the fray, waving swords and spells around willy-nilly - but that approach is far from effective. Instead, you should co-ordinate your attacks, and execute them at the same time as your comrades -that way, the effect will be magnified and the enemy will be put down a lot faster.

That’s just a very simple example - the game regularly puts you in positions where teamwork makes the dream work. Even the tribe you play as makes a difference. It’s a truly collaborative game.

The other thing that’s really great about FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition is how easy it is to start playing. The Lite edition of the game is available for free, and lets you play through the opening three dungeons online with other players.

What’s more, if only one of you upgrades to the full version, everyone can play through up to 13 dungeons together, regardless of their edition. And it’s cross-play to boot, so whichever platform you have, you can play with your friends online.


Outriders

This is a very different type of RPG, but it makes for an equally good co-op experience.

It’s a game built for co-op, and the action feels genuinely incredible - in fact, it’s some of the most satisfying combat I’ve experienced in a game for a years.

Guns hit hard, with a profound sense of impact and skills are imaginative as they are flashy. Which is to say… exceedingly. There’s a phenomenal sense of flow as you dance between guns and abilities seamlessly in the heat of combat.

But what makes it particularly fun is the way you and your friends can combine and combo your skills. For example, pyromancer can immobilize (and immolate) a group of enemies, letting the Trickster gets in close for a powerful - and probably fatal - melee slash.

And that’s just the tip of the super-sized iceberg - there’s obviously far more you can do. But rest assured that whenever you team up with a friend, the results will be brutal, gory and gloriously gratifying.

Add an RPG structure with tons of side quests and secrets, and you have a really satisfying experience that you and a friend can play for hours. Make sure this is on your radar.


Those were just five of our pics for the best co-op experiences from Square Enix. To stay up to date about all of these games - and to share your own picks - make sure you join the team on social media:

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