My grandma used to have a saying; If video games be the food of love, prepare for food poisoning. Traditionally, games are often seen as the antithesis of romance, and the solitary experience of a night in front of the PS4 will often quench the passions of even the lustiest among us.
However, as the industry matures and grows more inclusive, there are video games out there that could serve to bring couples closer together. Fighting for your lives, working as a team, and overcoming the odds together through co-op play could ignite a connection that you never knew existed. If you fancy spicing up your relationship through the medium of polygons and thumbsticks, then look no further than our list of games best suited to gaming-couple congress.
Child Of Light
Child Of Light is a beautiful fairy story that will easily sweep up players in its fantastical setting and colourful characters. The game unfolds with a whimsical narrative that is both engaging and charming, thus making it enjoyable even if you aren’t directly playing.
However, player 2 does have the option to pick up a controller and move the firefly companion, Igniculus. From there, player 2 can provide a tactical advantage in battle by healing the party, slowing down enemy turns, and grabbing much needed items and treasure. The key to co-op play is the ability to work together, and Child Of Light provides that in an RPG; a genre typically reserved for solo play. Experiencing this fantasy story together in a meaningful manner may just be the magic you need to create your own fantasy in your front room. An odd thing to say about a game suitable for kids perhaps, but there it is.
The Walking Dead
While technically a solo experience, The Walking Dead is a well-known TV series that you’ve probably watched together in bulk. That’s already a hook that both of you can get into. However, what makes Telltale’s The Walking Dead a decent couple’s game is that there is a distinct focus on the narrative. It isn’t about gameplay systems or violence; it’s about the relationships that form within the group. In that way, it’s a similar experience to watching the TV show, only you occasionally have to make a decision here and there, and then you get to see the consequences of those choices.
As a duo, you can have one person responsible for controlling the character, and the other responsible for making decisions. Or you can decide together. With no right or wrong way to play, the game will offer interesting possibilities no matter how you tackle it.
Besides, everyone loves zombies.
No one would consider copious violence and demon-slaying to be a romantic pursuit (excluding Philip Schofield: The Eater Of Souls), but the fact remains that Diablo III is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have cooperatively. The hack and slash nature of the game, combined with an abundance of loot drops, ensure that boredom is banished to the fiery pits of hell. And who knows, perhaps spilling litres of blood on screen will cause blood to rush elsewhere in the meat-realm?
Star Wars Battlefront
Everyone cried when Dumbledore died in that new Star Wars film. Now you can recreate Star Wars: Return Of The King in your own living room!
Star Wars Battlefront may have less content than a packet of Walkers crisps, but at least it does have a decent co-op Survival mode. Think of Gears Of War’s Horde Mode but without the visceral gore and more John Williams. Survival mode has you working together in split-screen to fend off the advancing Imperial army. It’s very easy to pick up and play, meaning that anyone can jump in and enjoy without a required skill level. This low barrier to entry will allow gaming couples to blast through the enemy defenses, and hopefully, their inhibitions. Let the lasers of love melt you together!
Gears Of War 3
Now with added women, Gears Of War 3 represents the ultimate multiplayer experience for gaming couples of all genders, sizes and ages (above 18). With its fully-fleshed out online and couch co-op, plus Horde and Beast modes, there’s plenty of multiplayer action to get your chainsaw bayonet into.
Sure, Gears doesn’t exactly have a tender atmosphere, especially Marcus Fenix with his face like a chewed chicken leg, but there are story beats that will resonate with any romantics out there. Dom just loves his wife so damn much that he grows a beard in her memory. Marcus and Anya have some sort of weird thing going on. Plus, Cole’s passionate prose is possibly the most affectionate thing put to paper since Shakespeare:
“You grubby-ass bitches are goin’ down! So down you ain’t even gonna know which way is up! Your asses are gonna be cryin’ to your skank-ass queen”
Shall I compare thee to a Locust Queen?
Jobs are plentiful. Sexual intercourse is called “Woo Hoo”. People grow older by spinning in the air. So yeah, The Sims is a realistic life simulator, and perfect for you and your partner to test your relationship.
While it features a strictly single player control scheme, The Sims can be an entertaining experience for backseat drivers. This is a game in which you can simulate the entirety of your relationship start to finish. You can create the ultimate fantasy lives for yourselves by making yourself a famous actor/actress and your significant other a professional athlete. You can create some children to prove just how beautiful or hideous your offspring will be, which should be a deciding factor in your relationship. Plus, should you ever break up, you can just burn the house down.
After watching your digital selves perform pixelated antics between the sheets and in the shower, no doubt you’ll both be in the mood for some real life Woo Hoo of your own.
Streets Of Rage II
What better way to prove your undying love to your spouse than by smashing a punk in the face with a lead pipe? Streets Of Rage II may not be an obvious choice, but the game features some of the best, most accessible co-op action you could hope for.
Frankly, on those mean streets filled with double-denim knife jugglers and spiky-haired ninjas, you’re going to need someone to watch your back. In that regard, the game teaches trust as you help each other to overcome the odds. One player can hold an opponent while the other wails on them mercilessly. By making sure you don’t hog the chicken, you’ll also prove to a potential partner that you have a caring side. You can declare your love for each other by stabbing a fetish model in the street! Failing that, you can just beat the shit out of one another for a laugh, which I suppose is some sort of bonding experience.
Are you an intellectual couple? Would you rather tickle the cerebellum than the perineum? Do you play Strip Sudoku? Then Portal 2 is definitely for you!
Portal 2 is a game where you have to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape the clutches of a maniacal AI. These physics puzzles will tax your grey matter, and maybe even your relationship. However, like all relationship tests, you’re sure to come out of the other end stronger than ever. Unless you’re Peter Andre and Jordan. I bet they never played Portal.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
If you’re the type of couple that thinks they’d make a great tag team, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 offers you the chance to prove it. You can go head-to-head, providing a virtual space in which to violently vent your frustrations on each other, or you can team up on the AI and smack them into the concrete.
In the battle of the sexes, there can only be conflict and mayhem, which sums up Tekken’s character roster to a tee. While Tekken can be tough to master, most novice players can perform some flashy moves through trial and error, meaning that everyone can enjoy kicking people in the balls. Repeatedly. Seriously, stop spamming that move now.
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
Wait, how did this get in here? This is awkward…
Thus concludes our magnum opus of romantic games. Our Gamer Sutra, if you will. We have shown you a selection of our favourite games to play together, now you show us yours. Leave your Valentine’s games suggestions in the comments below.