Single player is great and all, but playing games is even better with a friend or loved one, and usually makes for an amazing stay-at-home date night for couples! Multiplayer editions of video games are becoming more common these days but I still find the amount of cozy, couple-friendly video games to be nearly non-existent—most of them are a little too challenging and stressful for a sit-in date with your partner. I took to Google for some recommendations and I came up short with the results: instead of cozy, friendly co-op games, I found competitive MOBAs and other challenging or stressful multiplayer recommendations that didn’t suit my needs.
I asked Google for co-op video game suggestions to play on my Twitch stream and the top suggestion was League of Legends. Like ok, are you trying to turn me into a friendless psycho?
— Joshalynne (@MissJoshalynne) March 25, 2021
Google results immediately suggested League of Legends, and I thought to myself “Wow. Are you really trying to sabotage my relationship?” I can’t believe League of Legends and other MOBAs like Dota 2, Overwatch, and Apex Legends were the top-suggested co-op video games for friends and couples. Forget that. Instead, here are some cozy video games to play that won’t ruin your relationship or tempt you to throw your controller at your computer monitor in frustration; they’re also pretty inexpensive! You’re welcome.
I’m going to be honest, I still have no idea how to play Minecraft, but running around not knowing what to do is part of the fun. Minecraft is a sandbox-adventure video game with three modes of play: Adventure, Creative, and Survival. Each has four levels of difficulty: Peaceful, Easy, Normal, and Hard. The difficulty levels determine how threatening the monsters are, and the style is called “sandbox” because it provides a creative landscape with no fixed goal and endless possibilities. The first thing you do in the game is create a world and name it, and then you can explore and fill it in as you go. It’s very similar to Don’t Starve Together, since the possibilities are endless and there isn’t a fixed goal. If you want to chill with your partner and create a world that’s completely yours, then Minecraft is worth a try (and if you don’t want to deal with monsters, set the mode to “creative”!) Start a farm, herd some animals, build a beautiful home, and don’t forget to upgrade your tools along the way!
A Minecraft server can support a lot of players and you can download it on several different platforms for free!
4. LEGO Harry Potter
Who doesn’t love the world of Harry Potter? Lego has made this into an incredibly cute and funny game to enjoy with your partner, especially if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter world. Team up with your partner to play as your favorite characters Harry, Ron and Hermione, with a few add-ins from the rest of the Harry Potter universe. You work your way through a series of levels themed around the memorable sections of films one through four, with several amusing spins and twists on the story. The characters remain true to their film-selves and that was also an incredibly relieving experience. Hopefully Harry Potter Lego will hold you over for the Hogwarts Legacy release in 2022!
Harry Potter Lego Years 1-4 can be purchased on Steam for $14.99 (and it regularly goes on sale)!
3. Don’t Starve Together
Don’t Starve Together is the multiplayer expansion of the survival game Don’t Starve. Similar to Minecraft, there aren’t any fixed goals to achieve besides surviving through different seasons, which is the whole point of the game. During summer, the days are longer, crops grow, and food is easier to find. In winter, nights are longer and the player must stay warm to avoid freezing to death. Plants stop growing and many creatures stop being active, while other creatures can only be encountered during winter. You can choose to kill monsters that spawn on the map, or simply just survive. It’s really up to you.
To survive, you have to forage the land and create weapons and defensive barricades to fend off monsters that will randomly spawn on the map. When you create your save file, you can alter several settings such as monster spawn rate, foraging items (used to create survival tools and various weapons), and you can set the game to different difficulty modes to makes the experience easier if needed. There are also multiple cute characters to choose from and each one is unique with their own set of special abilities.
If you have a lot of people joining your server, this game can get pretty overwhelming really easily, and having more players active on the server will initiate regular monster attacks that normally would only occur every 20 in-game days or so which can greatly increase the challenge and risk factor. But on the flip side, having more players means more resources will be gathered more quickly, and monsters are no longer a threat after just a few hours of gameplay. You and your posse will be undefeatable.
Don’t Starve Together supports up to six players max and is available on Steam for $14.99 and the Nintendo Switch (although I definitely suggest the PC version because the Nintendo Switch controls can be a little crazy). There are several bundles you can purchase for this game too, and there’s a Wiki created by players for players with a complete beginner’s guide!
2. Final Fantasy XIV
Did you really think I wouldn’t include Final Fantasy XIV in this article? There is just so much to do in this online multiplayer game! You can choose one of 17 different classes to level up together, and once you’ve leveled a class up to 80, you can pick and choose another class to level! Besides leveling together, you can play mini-games together like mahjong, go fishing together, or join a end-game raid group to take on tough bosses together (if you don’t know much about endgame content in this game, be sure to check out my stream every Friday and Sunday; it’s quite fun and we also have an active Discord server! 😉). Honestly, the possibilities in this game are endless and there are several features that go beyond just hacking and slashing monsters such as dressing your character up, purchasing and furnishing a home, attend a marriage ceremony, and participate in server-wide crafting competitions.
Final Fantasy XIV is free-to-play up to level 60 and story content up through the Heavensward expansion. It is available on PC and the PlayStation store. It offers several free login campaigns throughout the year, but a typical monthly subscription to the game costs $14.99, plus the cost of the games and expansions.
1. Stardew Valley
Meet the farming simulator inspired by the classic Harvest Moon titles—Stardew Valley. This game is as cozy as it gets and thanks to Concerned Ape’s newest multiplayer update, you can start a farm together with your friends and achieve all of the end-game goals you normally would in the single-player such as the depths of The Skull Cavern and winning the seasonal festivals together. Plus, you can now marry a co-op player if you surprise them with a Prismatic Shard (which has a remarkably low chance of appearing!) that will be sure to make the moment even more special!
Playing with a few friends also makes the game a little bit easier since everyone will be tackling different goals simultaneously that would otherwise take more time and effort than doing alone in the solo campaign mode, so playing Stardew Valley in multiplayer mode could be ideal if you’re trying to introduce friends and family to this game. The game isn’t difficult at all per se, but there is a lot of content, and playing solo your first time can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what the goal of the game is.
With all of that being said, I have over 200 hours in this game across PC, Nintendo Switch, and the PlayStation 4—I really enjoy this game solo and with friends. Stardew Valley supports up to four players max and is available on Steam for $14.99 and the Nintendo Switch. Both versions are really great, the Nintendo Switch controls are really simple, but if you want to modify the game at all you should purchase the PC version from Steam.
Image Credits: Klei Don't Starve Together