With many of us staying home in an attempt to flatten the curve of Covid-19, we’ve had to get creative to maintain our social connections. For some of us, that may mean video chatting, texting, or sending the occasional meme, but for many gamers, myself included, it has meant exploring co-op and multiplayer games like never before. So now I’m here to share four games that made a real impact in helping myself and others stay connected.
Some games can have a pretty steep learning curve, but in the name of socialization and reconnecting with friends, this list has been curated with the hope of appealing to almost anyone. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or maneuvering a controller for the first time, these games bring fun and cooperation to the table.
Minecraft is a familiar name to many gamers and non-gamers alike and for good reason. Developed by Mojang Studios and originally released in 2011, Minecraft is well regarded for its popularity and near-endless possibilities for building and exploration. You can create sprawling castles, traverse deep, intricate mines, and tame the local wildlife. Even better, you can do all of this solo or with friends.
If you’ve ever wanted to build a mansion out of blocks with your closest pals while fighting gigantic spiders and skeleton archers, Minecraft might just be the game for you. You can set your world to be as difficult or as casual as you’d like as well. Maybe you want to test your chops by slaying the Enderdragon in Hardcore mode, or perhaps you’d prefer to kick back with your friends in a garden of your creation. Either way, Minecraft has you covered. Minecraft is currently available on almost all platforms.
2. Don’t Starve Together
Developed by Klei Entertainment and released in 2016 as a standalone expansion to the popular survival game Don’t Starve, Don’t Starve Together offers the same unique gameplay and endearing Tim Burton-esque art style as its predecessor. Where it differs, as implied by its title, is in its cooperative or competitive elements (I won’t tell you to play nice, and neither will this game). Don’t Starve Together has a cast of 17 characters (three of whom are available through DLC) with a wide range of perks and abilities.
One can summon the ghost of her twin sister to assist her in combat, another receives increased efficacy at building fires, and one is afflicted by the curse of the werebeaver, which is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. Another great thing about Don’t Starve Together is that if you purchase one copy via Steam, you get a second copy to give a friend! Don’t Starve Together is currently available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
3. Project Winter
Project Winter is a survival game with a focus on social deception. Developed by Other Ocean Interactive and published in 2019, Project Winter provides a unique co-op experience. You and four to seven other people are stranded in an icy, unforgiving landscape attempting to survive long enough to escape. If that doesn’t sound difficult enough, there are also traitors in your midst! In each game, a small number of players are randomly selected to do their best job of preventing the others from escaping, while also hiding their treasonous identities. Be careful venturing into the forest for supplies. You may have a companion with you, but can you trust them to have your back?
While at its core, Project Winter is a game of betrayal, it can also provide excellent opportunities to bond with friends. There’s plenty of fun to be had after a particularly heated game. Whether you’re chastising a friend for their clever deceit or reveling in your own, it’s sure to provide some laughs and conversation. Project Winter is currently available on PC.
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons, developed by Nintendo and released this year is an endearing continuation of the beloved series that focuses simply on having a nice time in a quaint town filled with kind, loveable animals. If that alone isn’t enough to convince you to get your mitts on a copy ASAP, you should know that like all the games on this list, you can share your Animal Crossing experience with friends. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can visit other islands, or invite friends to come over and visit yours.
While you might not be able to meet up with buddies for a quick trip to the museum in real life just yet, in Animal Crossing, you can do that and so much more. Catch up with a pal by the river and fish! Or perhaps you’re both more inclined towards bug catching or socializing with the zany cast of characters inhabiting the island. Regardless, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has you covered. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is currently available on the Nintendo Switch.
Next time you’re feeling the quarantine blues, call up a friend and see if they’re up for a game or two!