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.
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.
Enjoy and be sure to check out our complimentary list of the top five split-screen games from 2017 while you’re at it.
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.
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 you’re 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.