Ahh, Valentine’s Day. If we’re going to be pressured into laying down some cash for an increasingly commercialized mark on our calendar, the least we can do is make sure it’s a fun one by investing in some video games. To that end, whether your special someone is a gaming greenhorn or controller champion, these are our picks for the best games to play together for that most special of occasions.
Get scared together: Until Dawn/Man of Medan (PS4)
We’re pretty sure that it’s a scientifically proven fact at this point (read: entirely unsure) that watching a scary movie with a love interest only makes you closer. Until Dawn lets you enjoy the full cinematic experience. It’s a spookfest of a story featuring traps, monsters and gruesome results, only this time you’re in control of the casts’ terrible choices.
When it comes to games, Until Dawn is the ultimate spectator experience, making it a brilliant choice to play through with a loved one regardless of their taste for gaming. For a backseat player, the entire experience feels an awful lot like watching a movie, but one where you can shout at the director – your valentine – for doing things you’re unhappy about, or distract them from crucial quick time events by desperately screaming in their ear. Admittedly, you probably shouldn’t play Until Dawn with us if you want to succeed.
Sequel Man of Medan is a much shorter experience but introduces a fantastic movie mode. In this pass-the-controller system, players in the same room each take command of a different character in the story. If you both want to play and prefer haunted boats to spooky snowbound mountaintops, consider grabbing Man of Medan instead.
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Laugh out loud: Snipperclips (Nintendo Switch)
Phew, after all that unsettling horror, you’re probably in need of some laughs to lighten the mood. Snipperclips may have been a Nintendo Switch launch title, but it remains one of the funniest co-op games available on the hybrid device. Each player controls a paper figure that can rotate itself and hop about on simple 2D stages. Overlap with each other and you can “cut” your teammate, shaping their body as needed to complete the level’s – usually ridiculous – task.
Working together you’ll need to snip each other into shape to dunk basketballs, pop balloons, sharpen pencils and much more. The controls are incredibly simple, and the entire game works with just a pair of Joy-Cons, making it a brilliant choice for inexperienced gamers.
Puzzle pairs: Portal 2 (PS3, Xbox 360 + Xbox One backwards compatibility, PC)
It may be nearly ten years old, but Portal 2 remains both a brilliant co-op experience, and a stupendous puzzle game to boot. If you and your valentine are both comfortable with FPS controls, the co-op mode will let you test your wits as robot pals P-Body and Atlus as you take on challenges set by infamous AI overlord, Glados.
If only one of you wants to take the wheel, the single player story still offers plenty of chances to strain those brains together. More than just puzzles though, Portal 2’s campaign is also an opportunity to enjoy the sidesplittingly funny dialogue of Stephen Merchant’s mishap-ridden sphere, Wheatley.
Once you get your head around the portal gun, the controls for Portal 2 are relatively simple, and, by and large, the game refrains from requiring rapid aiming. Portal 2 is certainly old, but it’s still a brilliant team experience for all ranges of gaming couples. Valentine’s Day? More like Valventine’s Day.
Teamwork test: Overcooked/Overcooked 2 (all platforms)
Consider yourselves a power couple? This Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to test if you’re really meant for one another. Overcooked and its sequel are, at first glance, cutesy games about making and delivering orders together in a chaotic kitchen. Under that friendly veneer, however, lies a game that will test the heart of your collaborative spirit.
Chopping veg, boiling rice and tenderizing meat may be as simple as a single button press, but when there are just ten seconds left on the clock and someone has forgotten to wash up a service plate again then, well, let’s just say that nerves can get a little fraught. When you do form an efficient team, Overcooked feels brilliant and you’ll find it hard not to rerun each level to chase down those three-star rankings.
Flirt ‘em up: Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Nintendo Switch)
If you and your partner are comfortable joking about your virtual crushes, then Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a brilliant game to dive into together. A revival of Nintendo’s strategy franchise, it splices turn-based combat with an open monastery that’s filled with a massive cast of characters to meet and train(and fall for).
Playing on Hard/Classic difficulty will keep Fire Emblem veterans satisfied in combat, while the engaging characters and visual novel-style dialogue appeals to the romantics of the gaming world. Who will you choose to woo together? And if it isn’t Claude, what’s wrong with you?
The more the merrier: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (all platforms)
We could hardly suggest Valentine’s Day gaming without bringing up Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. If you’re after some frantic co-operative fun, you can’t go wrong with Asteroid Base’s indie title about piloting a spaceship together. You and your partner will need to dash between controls of the ship, swapping between shields, helm, and defenses as you navigate asteroids and alien-filled caverns.
Want to bring more than one to your Valentine’s party? Lovers in the Dangerous Spacetime only gets better and more ridiculous if you bump the player count up to three or four. Load it up and do your best to keep your ship in shape while laughing and/or shouting at each other.
Those were our picks for the best games to play together on Valentine’s Day. Do you have your own go-to game as a couple?
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Henry Stenhouse was formerly a PhD physicist before being born anew in the fires of game journalism. An unashamed Super Smash Bros. fanatic, he’s still waiting for the rest of the editorial team to accept his daily challenges for an Ultimate showdown. Other genres of interest include FPS, RTS and western RPGs.