Top 5 Friday: Games for Couples

As of tomorrow (7/19/2014) I’ll be a married man.  My soon-to-be wife and I have been gaming together since we met almost 5 years ago.  Gaming together has, and probably always will be, something we do together as a hobby.  We play all kinds of games, but any game we can play together is definitely a bonus.  So this week, in honor of the pass-time that brought my wife and I together, I present you with the top 5 games for couples to enjoy together.

Note: You won’t find any competitive multiplayer games on this list.  You have to be a special breed of crazy to enjoy competing against your s.o. on a regular basis.  Many a game of Street Fighter or WoW duel has ended in tears and gnashing of teeth.

5.  Portal 2

Look at these adorable bastards.

Gameplay-wise, Portal 2 could easily be number 1 on this list.  It is, without a doubt, the most innovative and clever co-op game I’ve ever played.  The puzzles are all challenging and require all manner of outside-the-box thinking.  This makes the partnership between you and your s.o. feel incredibly even, as my manner of problem solving and her manner of problem solving seemed to work in equal parts.  The reason Portal 2 is number 5 and not number 1 is simply that it’s not a very long game, and it doesn’t have much replay value.  Sure, there are some user-made puzzles to play, but the overall game can be finished in a couple of long play sessions.  Plus, my wife does a spot-on GLadOS, and it kills me.

4.  Diablo III

Stay a while and listen.

Supremely replayable and extremely fun in co-op, Diablo III is a game that my wife and I have poured literally hundreds of hours into.  It’s not a perfect game, to be sure, but the changes made with the Reaper of Souls expansion definitely helped to not only revitalize the game, but also set some of the prior design mistakes right (I’m looking at you real money auction house).

Like titles:  If you’re looking for a Diablo style game but don’t like Diablo itself, Path of Exile and Marvel Heroes 2015 are both pretty good choices.

3.  Borderlands 2

Hey minion! Come shoot stuff with me!

Borderlands 2 is one of the best and most unique co-op experiences on the market.  If you’re unfamiliar with the game, think of it a bit like FPS Diablo.  You have a campaign which you can play over and over again, getting random loot (in this case, guns) and leveling up to give you characters some cool ancillary skills.  The game is fantastic by yourself, but played together it’s sublime.  Challenging but beatable, it requires some good teamwork between you and your s.o., but there is nothing quite like handling a touch encounter together, or reviving them in the heat of battle.  The game also features a metric ton of extra content which adds a lot of replay value.

Like titles:  Borderlands 1.  If you want to start the series from the beginning, Borderlands 1 is a great game in it’s own right.  Plus it’s just more fantastic Borderlands content if that’s what you’re looking for.

2.  Minecraft

Blacks and blocks and blocks and blocks.

Minecraft, or as I like to call it, Could We Survive Together on a Deserted Island Simulator 2010Minecraft becomes a fascinating recreation of your romantic relationship when played with your s.o.  Do you both help each other?  Does one party order the other party around?  Do you have the same goals in the game?  Because of Minecraft’s freeform nature, it’s easy to use the game as a barometer for your relationship.  That may seem a bit extreme, but taken at face value, I really isn’t.  You’re thrown into a world together with no tools, no home, and no food.  Will you make place in this world a good, survivable one or will you bicker and argue until the sun goes down and creepers kill you.  For my wife and I, we found that we thrived in Minecraft.  We would set out to accomplish certain tasks, break them down into pieces and complete them together one by one.  If we needed stone to build a castle, we’d go mine for stone together whilst watching each other’s backs for baddies.  When we actually built the castle, she’d build one wing and I’d build the other so that it felt like it belonged to both of us.

Like titles:  If you’ve played Minecraft and you’ve had your fill, try Terraria.  It’s basically a 2D version of Minecraft with some interesting new elements thrown in.

1.  World of Warcraft

Kung-fu Pandas.

If you read my stuff at all you had to know this was coming.  For a number of reasons, WoW is my favorite game to play as a couple.  First off, you not only get to interact with your s.o., but you also get to interact with others.  It’s a bit like going to a party with your girlfriend.  You guys both go, hang out with each other, hang out with some other people and then when you leave, you discuss all the goings-on together.  In addition, there is a plethora of content that can be done with just you and your s.o.  For one, there are 11 classes to try and you can level them all up together.  The dungeons meant for five players can be taken on by a party of 2 if you’re skillful and work well together.  There are several different ways to pvp, old dungeons and raids to play through for cosmetic items.  There are holiday events to partake in, a monthly carnival, pets to collect, the list goes on.  Especially for couples who have a long distance relationship, WoW can be a great way to spend time together.

Like titles:  I used World of Warcraft as my number 1, because this is a list of games, not genres, but if you’re not into WoW at all, there are other MMOs that can definitely scratch the same itch.  I’ve found that WoW has the greatest offering of content for a couple to accomplish on their own, but there are still plenty of great MMOs to try.  Star Wars: The Old Republic, Wildstar, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.  The list goes on.  MMOs aren’t for everyone, but that can definitely be a ton of fun as a couple.