As much as the internet has benefited people, it has also taken away some joys, like playing multiplayer games on the couch with a friend or family members. The PC is especially guilty of this since it popularized online multiplayer gaming to the extent that split-screen has almost been phased out to extinction. The PC is home to multiple online behemoths like League of Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch, Battlefield, and more. The rise of these games has lowered the popularity and demand for couch multiplayer games.
That said, there are still games out there which have definitely remained old-school and offer split-screen to gamers. After all, even though playing with complete strangers over the internet has its perks, there’s nothing quite like gaming with friends in the flesh. Not all split-screen multiplayer games available today are great, but there are plenty of gems out there.
Updated November 14, 2022 by Quinton O’Connor: For all the doom and gloom of split-screen PC gaming rarities, we’ve still managed to add a few more entries to the list. Maybe there’s hope after all.
This zany hack-and-slash from The Behemoth seemed to come out of left field when it released in 2008 on Xbox 360, before making its way on PC in 2012. The game quietly became a cult classic and a go-to for PC gamers looking to delve into some fun arcade-style co-op, either online or locally.
Despite its retro feel and Cartoon Network vibe though, Castle Crashersis deceptively deep, sprinkling in RPG elements and progression.
Up to four players can embark on this colorful journey at once — hacking their way through unique foes, collecting goodies, and slaying some absurd bosses. These little knights can even be pitted against one another in the confines of a battle arena for bragging rights.
Those seeking a great co-op platformer in the vein of New Super Mario Bros don’t exactly have a ton of options on PC. Still, this charming Ubisoft sidescroller gets pretty close in terms of gameplay, and even surpasses the plumber’s outing aesthetically.
Playing just a few stages of Rayman Legends will reaffirm why Rayman has remained a classic gaming mascot after all these years. A whopping 120 stages and a slew of distinct challenges round out this robust platformer. Innovative mechanics, rich visuals, and solid level design make Legends a delight when playing solo. Still, its simultaneous co-op is where it really shines, as players are often forced to work together and tackle different tasks to progress.
Team17’s Overcooked helped pioneer a now-popular party game subgenre that revolves around teamwork, communication, and the juggling of multiple tasks. This deeper, refined sequel adds even more meat and fixings to the succulent experience.
Overcooked 2 draws from the appealing foundation of the first game while tossing in new ingredients (figuratively and literally speaking) to spice things up. Along with more detailed recipes, the game also features more fluid, hazardous stages, and a super addictive online mode.
Cooking countless meals for impatient customers has never been so fun!
A way out
It’s not often that a game is specifically designed around teamwork and split-screen gameplay, especially on PC. Yet, Hazelight Studios defies conventions with A way outresulting in one of the year’s most notable multiplayer games.
Players assume the role of two convicts trying to break out of prison and elude the authorities. While the experiences are often isolated, players will need to work together to progress. This is sometimes done by improvising and choosing one’s own methods, which include actions like distracting guards. The experience is further colored with some delightful minigames that range from Pong to Connect Four.
With a gripping, cinematic plot and inventive concepts, A Way Out offers a fun and fresh way to game with a friend.
Set in the gorgeous fantasy world of Aurai, out blends survival-centered gameplay mechanics with the thrill of exploration. Along the way, there are enough creatures in your path who very much want you to dead to mandate weapon upgrades, spell enchantments, and — most relevantly — ample room for a friend to help save your skin.
Games like Outward often sport online multiplayer opt-in functionality. It’s comparably rare to see a developer who’s just as determined to offer local features. There’s something special about splitting the screen to pitch a tent to defend against the dangers of the night.
Left 4 Dead 2
Even more than the original hit — Left 4 Dead 2 stands out as both a quintessential zombie game and a highly entertaining co-op romp.
Of course, the online missions are as thrilling and action-packed as ever, but what of split-screen multiplayer? Though it’s not available by default, installing a custom menu will allow two people to lock and load locally, and slay the ravenous zombie hordes under the same roof.
Resident Evil 6
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. Resident Evil 6 is not the best game in the series; not by a long shot. The horror in it, after all, seems like an afterthought. However, it becomes a lot more fun when deciding to play with a friend.
Resident Evil 6 allows third-person split-screen, granting the ability to play co-op with a friend and kill all the different zombies you see in the game. When played in split-screen, the action aspects of the game become a lot more fun, making it a worthy entry.
Serious Sam 3: BFE
The Serious Sam games are famous for going over-the-top: they often throw a horde of enemies at the player, typically at the same time. Serious Sam 3: BFE is no different. It’s just as violent, frenetic, and fun as the other games in the franchise.
The game is enjoyable enough in single-player mode, but play it with a friend in split-screen, and it becomes a lot more fun. The arena shooter is one of the few shooters still available today that allow split-screen, and it certainly benefits from that. The mayhem is way too good when the hordes are even bigger, and it’s up to the players to get rid of them.
Most people consider Road Redemption a spiritual successor to Road Rash, a classic game that blended motorcycle racing with the bashing of opponents. It has just as much mayhem, retaining the spirit of the original, and it’s a lot more enjoyable with a friend than going solo.
Road Redemption also has a number of additions that keep it from getting stale, like a Campaign mode which plays like a roguelike: the player’s health bar doesn’t replenish, and death requires starting over. The game also offers a Classic Quick Play feature that lets one simply earn trophies to progress.
LEGO Batman 2
Virtually every LEGO game offers split-screen multiplayer. However, LEGO Batman 2 stands out because it’s such a fantastic game. First, it’s made for the family so that younger players can enjoy it as much as older ones; maybe even more. It also uses humor, which contrasts the seriousness of Batman in other media.
LEGO Batman 2 lets players control Batman and Robin, along with other superhero friends from DC comics. The gameplay is easy and anyone can learn the controls in a few minutes, which makes it ideal for kids or non-gamers.
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 is a great third-person shooter, and one of the better games in the franchise. Taking place 25 years after the Locusts were finally wiped out, the COG have become the new villains. Players take on the role of James “JD” Fenix, who is on a quest to save the world after a new enemy appears called the Swarm.
The game offers split-screen play for the campaign; the multiplayer part is only online on PC. So, it’s a good thing that the campaign in Gears of War 4 is one of the most enjoyable, especially for fans who have been following the storyline of the previous games.
Sonic & All-Stars: Racing Transformed
From the makers of Split/Second and Blur, Sonic & All-Stars: Racing Transformed is one of the best kart racers available on PC. It has non-stop acceleration, fun weapons, iconic video game characters like Sonic and Knuckles, and unique tracks that even include the sky.
What makes it all the more fun is the multiplayer aspect. You can play with up to three other friends in a four-screen multiplayer, which often leads to hours of fun. If there’s an answer to Nintendo’s iconic Mario Kart, it’s definitely Sonic & All-Stars: Racing Transformed.
If Mario Kart had real cars instead of karts, it would be this. blur blends the exciting racing action of games like Need for Speed and Project Gotham Racing while giving you access to explosive weaponry that’s often reserved for kart games.
Blur lets the gamer go against three other friends in four-player split-screen, and there are five different modes for the gamers to play. The modes vary their focus: some focus on destroying opponents’ vehicles, while other modes focus on racing. Whatever one’s preference, the odds are good that it can be found in Blur.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
This is one of the most beloved RPGs to come out in recent years. It has a spectacular story that tugs at players’ heartstrings, with meaningful choices making it more investing than most stories in video games. It also allows the player to experiment however they want, which gives a level of freedom not seen in other games.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is also an excellent multiplayer game. Players can go online, or opt to adventure with a friend in split-screen. Though it also allows a four-player co-op, an additional PC and a second copy of the game will be required.
rocket league is a unique game that blends arcade racing games with a soccer sim; it’s basically a soccer game but with rocket-powered cars in place of players. The result is a fun game that can be played for hours without getting tired. Try playing with a friend to amp up the excitement and investment.
There’s nothing like beating a friend in a fast-paced game with one’s own skills (or a bit of luck). For gamers who don’t like soccer, Rocket League has expanded since its launch to include other sports like ice hockey and basketball.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection follows in the footsteps of Left 4 Dead 2 — local split-screen isn’t available by default (though online multiplayer split-screen is!), but with a bit of internet detective work, you’ll find what you need to do the trick. It’s a shame 343 Industries hasn’t given the MCC an official outlet for it, given that it already exists on consoles, but them’s the breaks.
Regardless, it’s well worth the minor hassle. There’s nothing like kicking back while clipping Covenant troops galore. Grab a cold one with some mates, mow down some foes, and relive a timeless series together.
portal 2 is an exceptional puzzle game, and one of the best games from Valve. It pits players against a homicidal AI, and the puzzles themselves are pretty varied. It also has plenty of humor and sarcasm which makes the characters iconic.
As fun as Portal 2 is to play solo, though, it’s a lot more fun when playing in split-screen co-op, where players can take on the role of two different robots. The puzzles demand working together, whether it’s figuring out part of the puzzle or getting the timing right. It’s a different kind of multiplayer, but that’s why it lasts long in the memory of those who play it.
NEXT: Best Split-Screen Multiplayer Games On Xbox One, Ranked