It can often feel like proper split-screen multiplayer is a relic of the past these days. Why go through the hassle of wrangling all of your friends together in a single location when you can simply connect online?
But, as all gamers of a certain age know, there’s something special about crowding around the TV with your friends, sharing a single screen and some colourful banter – by which I mean personalised insults that would earn you a smack in the face if you repeated them to a total stranger. Thank the lord for the PS4 then, eh?
Best PS4 Split-Screen Multiplayer Games
Thankfully, while many of the PlayStation’s standout titles are engrossing, single-player experiences (Bloodborne, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us etc. etc.) the PS4 features a diverse collection of enjoyable split-screen multiplayer games.
It’s not always obvious which games support local multiplayer, however. So, to help those seeking the perfect game to while away a few hours with their friends (and foes), we’ve brought together some of the finest PS4 has to offer in this here list.
Where better to start, on a list of the PS4’s top split-screen multiplayer games, than Overcooked and its equally brilliant sequel, Overcooked 2?
Despite its colourful and cutesy aesthetic, Overcooked 2 provides a gloriously hectic and intense experience.
Supporting up to four players locally or online and set within a series of increasingly creative and inefficiently designed kitchens, communication and coordination are the keys to success in Overcooked 2. Making it a surprisingly effective litmus test for friendship.
If you and your mates can survive an afternoon of Ghost Town Games’ wonderfully unique cooking sim/puzzle game without launching a stream of profanities at one another, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll be besties for life.
That’s not to say it’s a slog. There are a range of difficulty levels that cater to players of all ages and abilities, not to mention a healthy dose of frivolity that ensures any disputes arising from a spate of missed orders will stay within the confines of the kitchen.
Both games are relatively inexpensive, too. So you won’t have to empty your piggy bank in order to enjoy Overcooked’s particular brand of local multiplayer mayhem.
If Overcooked belongs at the top of this list, Rocket League would be a shoo-in for second place.
Debuting on PS Plus back in the summer of 2015 with little to no fanfare surrounding its release, the strangely compelling car-football hybrid we never knew we needed has since become something of a PS4 mainstay.
Easy to pick up and play but extremely difficult to master, Rocket League is the obvious choice both for casual (those looking for something slightly different from traditional sports sims like FIFA or Madden NFL) and hardcore gamers (those seeking high-level competition) alike.
Rocket League’s universal appeal has thus helped it establish itself as one of the finest party games of the last two decades. And its success shows no signs of slowing down either.
Over the last three and a half years, developer Psyonix has released a raft of supplementary content including new arenas, cosmetic items, and game modes. While the introduction of the seasonal Rocket Pass ensures there’re always plenty of rewards on offer that are sure to keep players coming back for just one more game for years to come.
The Swords of Ditto
Harking back to the classic fantasy action RPGs of the past, The Swords of Ditto sets itself apart from the competition thanks to the roguelike elements that permeate this vibrant and utterly charming adventure.
Set within a vibrant world full of dungeons, colourful characters, and oodles of loot, The Swords of Ditto follows a pair of randomly generated heroes who, over successive generations, must fight against the evil witch Mormo to save the world from her dark spell.
The world changes with each successive playthrough, too. Falling further into ruin if the duo fails to forestall their nefarious foe; regenerating by inches if they manage to loosen Mormo’s vice-like grip on the land and its inhabitants. Binding each individual campaign together into a coherent, entertaining whole.
What’s more, like the vast majority of games on this list, The Swords of Ditto is perfect for players of all ages and abilities – thanks to its straightforward mechanics, light-hearted sense of humour, and sheer originality.
Though nominally a solo experience, Rayman Legends also supports two-player local co-op, earning itself a place on our list.
I say co-op. Conscientious players can certainly enlist the aid of a friend to hoover up every last secret and collectible hidden throughout the game’s diverse array of classic 2D levels, however, there is a competitive element to Rayman Legends.
In co-op mode, players will be pitted against one another to see who can rescue the most Teensies as they run, jump, and swing through the selected level; testing not only their respective platforming skills, but also their cunning.
Add to this the game’s gorgeous visuals, superb sound design, and watertight mechanics, and you have one of the most enjoyable platformers of this generation.
A chaotic explosion of colour and simple, yet deceptively tactical gameplay, Gang Beasts is a party game like no other.
Supporting up to four players via local or online co-op, the point of Gang Beasts is straightforward enough: eject your opponents from whichever of the game’s compact, hazardous arenas you happen to find yourself in and be the last person standing.
The problem is the commands, while basic, are intentionally awkward to execute. Ensuring each round devolves into a frenzied brawl full of grappling, punching, comically visceral headbutting, and last-ditch bids for survival.
Yet, as anyone who’s played it before will know, it’s this wonderful mixture of skill and random chance that makes Gang Beasts such an entertaining and genuinely hilarious party game. That and the indefinable pleasure of watching plasticine models do battle above an industrial meat grinder in what can best be described as a dystopian episode of claymation kids show Morph.
Next time your friends come to visit, crack open a couple of beers and load this up. You’ll have an absolute blast.
A Way Out
Whereas the other games on this list are, more or less, family friendly experiences that both parent and child can enjoy, Hazelight Studios’ A Way Out is very much designed with mature audiences in mind.
But what really sets it apart from other couch co-op games in a more general sense is the fact that it simply cannot be played solo. Each of A Way Out’s two strikingly different protagonists – the calm and composed Vincent Moretti and the brash, often headstrong Leo Caruso – must be controlled by an actual human player; either side-by-side on the same sofa or online.
But don’t worry if you or you’re gaming companion are strapped for cash. Thanks to the A Way Out’s revolutionary Friends Pass system, two people can share a single copy.
Admittedly, the game itself isn’t the most original in terms of plot and scenario. And, with a heavy emphasis on quick time events (and variations thereof) it’s not always the most fulfilling from a purely mechanical perspective.
However, the sheer originality of director Josef Fares’ creation and the genuinely compelling relationship between the two otherwise somewhat run-of-the-mill protagonists makes for a genuinely intriguing tale of companionship, set against the backdrop of 1970s America.
If you’re bored of huge open-world RPGs and microtransaction-laden AAA first-person shooters, A Way Out is something you absolutely must try.
Anyone who’s read this far may be wondering why Minecraft, Mojang’s perennially popular sandbox-survival game, wasn’t included on this list initially.
Well, our thinking was that the game is so well known, it’d be better to highlight a few lesser known titles first. Games like The Swords of Ditto or A Way Out, that don’t always get the attention they deserve.
Of course, no list of the best PS4 split-screen multiplayer games would be complete without it. So, we’re adding it now!
Minecraft, for those who don’t know the first thing about it (we’re assuming there are still a couple of remote tribes dotted across the world who haven’t heard of it), is a game that rewards ingenuity and encourages players to share their creations with others.
Whether that’s an almost perfectly replica of Minas Tirith, a 90-foot Super Mario statue, or even a complex circuit of Redstone blocks that have been cunningly put together in such a way that enables it to replicate the functions of a basic computer.
Not that Minecraft is the exclusive preserve of savants. Simply exploring the world and experimenting with the game’s deceptively deep mechanics can be extremely satisfying, especially if you’re sharing the experience with a friend or loved one.
Indeed, Minecraft is a universally accessible game in the truest sense, and is thus a brilliant starting point for youngsters who don’t quite possess the dexterity to try something like LittleBigPlanet, but are looking for an interactive and endlessly versatile creative outlet.
Traveller’s Tales’ Lego Games
You’re getting twenty for the price of one in this entry, since the title of UK developer Traveller’s Tales’ “Best Lego Game” is entirely subjective.
Those that prefer fantasy to science fiction will undoubtedly plump for Lego Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings to Star Wars; while adventure seekers might select Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean over DC Super-Villains or Marvel’s Avengers.
The point is, no matter which game you decide to play, it’s almost guaranteed that you and your friend will come away happy.
Not only are each and every one of TT’s Lego games delightfully faithful to the source material, full of genuinely amusing in-jokes that are bound to bring a smile to the face of any fan, they offer the kind of pure, unadulterated enjoyment that we tend to avoid these days – often in favour of darker, grittier fare. Boasting a surprising level of depth that has only become more pronounced as Traveller’s Tales has perfected its craft.
They can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike; just like the films, books, and comics on which they’re based. And, more importantly, you don’t need the reflexes of a Jedi master in order to complete them.
Some will probably wonder (justly) why Diablo III wasn’t at the very top of this list.
Full to bursting with procedurally-generated dungeons to explore, monsters to slay, abilities to experiment with, and loot to be hoovered up like a compulsive hoarder, it’s not only one of the most popular RPGs of recent times, but, with four player couch co-op built in as standard, one of the most desirable for those looking for a truly engrossing multiplayer experience.
To be honest, the only reason it failed to make the initial cut is, purely and simply, that we didn’t want to be too obvious with our picks! But I digress.
Alongside everything mentioned above, on a broader scale, it’s timeless combat mechanics and addictive core gameplay loop establishes Diablo III as a must-have for any self-respecting RPG connoisseur, not to mention PS4 owners in general.
The 10th entry on our list had to be something special. A PlayStation icon that, over the course of the last decade or so, is responsible for delighting gamers across the globe with its particular brand of split-screen fun. And there’s only one game, or perhaps I should say series, that fits the bill: LittleBigPlanet.
At first glance, you might think LittleBigPlanet is little more than a traditional 2.5D platformer. Colourful, enjoyable, and brimming with charm yes, but not particularly unique. Beneath the family-friendly façade, however, lies a sophisticated and versatile suite of customisation tools that completely transforms the experience.
Suddenly, players were free to create their very own levels and share them with the world, increasing the number of available stages from a couple of dozen to quite literally tens of thousands.
Admittedly, many were derivative reskins of existing levels; more still were just plain bad. But among these duds were some real gems that were every bit as detailed and entertaining as those created by the developers themselves. Some talented individuals were even capable of creating entirely separate games within LittleBigPlanet itself!
It’s such a fundamental part of the experience, in fact, Media Molecule is attempting to take things one step further with its next ground-breaking title, Dreams.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
What’s better than one irreverent looter-shooter with gorgeously stylised visuals and wicked sense of humour? Two irreverent looter-shooters etc. etc.
Released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC back in 2015 and featuring both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Handsome Collection is absolutely brimming with content, adventure, and larger-than-life-characters.
What makes it truly special, however – vast open worlds aren’t exactly unique in 2019, after all – is the ability to play the entire game with up to four friends. Both via the technical wizardry of the internet and traditional couch co-op.
It’s hard to say why, exactly, cooperative play is so well suited to Borderlands. If we had to guess, we’d say it’s that certain je ne sais quoi that comes from obliterating waves of Psychos with an arsenal of over-powered weapons and a mate or two by your side. That, and the game’s razor-sharp wit and genuinely hilarious dialogue.
Just don’t be a loot hog – no one likes that guy.
Of course, these are just a handful of PS4’s finest split-screen multiplayer experiences.
We’ll be adding more over time, so it’s well worth checking back every once in a while, to see if your favourite has made the list. And feel free to leave a message down in the comments section below if there are any hidden gems you feel deserve a place amongst the PS4’s best local multiplayer titles.