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Raucous, unbounded, exuberant, all-age competitive fun is something video games are known for. Find the right games for your family and you can create important and healthy ways to let off steam, excel and persevere as you sit next to each other on the sofa. These games can play a big part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat. Kids love competing online, but the games here focus on battling in the same room. Played with multiple controllers and a shared screen, they offer challenges that require real skill and give everyone a chance to rise to the top of the family pile. This list includes 183 games from the last 27 years, with 2,742 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to compete on the couch.
Release Date: 28/04/2017, updated in 2022
Out Now: Switch
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a go-kart racing game where you race against Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power-ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic but still requires skills to do well.
Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
TowerFall Ascension is a running, jumping and archery game where each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. Play is about quick reactions and second-guessing what your...
Release Date: 08/02/2006, updated in 2014
Out Now: Wii and Wii U
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports Club offer motion-controlled sports. Although these games are well known, the depth each of them offers is a best-kept secret. Games like bowling, tennis and boxing are easy to pick up but require...
Release Date: 30/11/2012
Out Now: Wii U
Components: 3D First-Person and 3D Third-Person
Nintendo Land is a collection of Nintendo games that was created for the Nintendo Wii U launch. It uses the console’s tablet screen to create specific roles for different players. In Mario Chase, the hiding player uses the tablet controller screen...
Release Date: 13/08/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Boomerang Fu is a fighting game where you control small food-like characters. Using your boomerang the aim is to slice the other players with ranged or melee attacks. You can use a large range of power-ups such as explosive boomerangs, disguises and...
Release Date: 06/08/2020
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up...
Release Date: 04/07/2017
Out Now: PS4
Components: 2D Side-On
That's You! is a family quiz game played on the PlayStation using Android or iOS phones/tablets as controllers. The game displays a challenge on the main TV screen that each player tries to complete on the device in their hand.
Release Date: 28/04/2016, updated in 2021
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Pico Park is a collaborative puzzle game for up to 10 players where you traverse levels using one another to solve puzzles. It's a game about communication and physics as players work to position themselves to bridge a gap, use ropes to hang off ledges...
Release Date: 05/07/2016, updated in 2017
Tricky Towers is a battle puzzle that uses shapes but instead of creating lines, you must balance them in towers that mustn’t fall over. Real-world physics applies, along with wind and attacks from other players to make your stack topple. Up to four...
Release Date: 14/09/2021
Out Now: Switch and Wii
Cruis’n Blast is a brash over-the-top racing game based on a series of big arcade machines. Competing with games like Ridge Racer, OutRun and Daytona USA, it offers whacky racing with big and bombastic visuals and characters.
Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011
Out Now: PS2 and PS3
Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...
Release Date: 16/07/2014, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Hidden in Plain Sight is a unique battle that requires keen observation rather than quick reflexes. Up to four players fight to protect or assassinate the king, catch a thief or race across the screen without being stopped. The twist is that you each...
Release Date: 10/06/2022
Mario Strikers Battle League Football is a sports action game and the latest in the Mario Strikers series. Like the previous games, it offers a five-on-five battle sport that combines football and ice hockey with...
Release Date: 26/09/2014
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Thief Town is a stealth traversal game where you play in a crowd of identical characters. You must first work out which one you are and then spot the other human players to attack them. Get it wrong and all you do is reveal yourself.
Release Date: 01/12/2009, updated in 2011
Out Now: DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On, Grid and Pixels
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a strategic battle puzzle where you position units to form patterns that determine how they behave. The play combines the simple matching of Candy Crush with the complex strategy of Advance Wars or Fire Emblem. It...
Release Date: 21/09/2021
Out Now: PC
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Chessplosion is an action, puzzle game where you drop chess pieces on a board to trigger bombs in the shape of their related chess moves. Your aim is to use the different pieces (and bomb attacks) to trap opponents like Bomberman. No prior chess...
Release Date: 05/03/2021, updated in 2021
Circuit Superstars is a simple racing game viewed from above. Up to four players control a car and race around a complex track. You can see what's coming which makes it easier but must work with real car physics to get across the line first. What starts...
Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2017
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Crawl is a dungeon fighting game where your friends control the monsters and traps. The hero player moves around, break boxes and attack enemies while the ghost players try and stop him. Once the hero dies they become another ghost and the next player...
Release Date: 02/03/2023
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
King Of The Castle is a narrative strategy game where you play a monarch battling nobles for power in a kingdom. The twist is that the nobles are controlled by other players who also have their own factions and objectives. You play by making decisions...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Rekt 2 is a stunt racing game where your car works like a skateboard. Play brings the previous game's fast action jumps, tricks and battles to 16-player online matches. It stands out for the simple joys of landing jumps and bumping other players off...
Release Date: 28/03/2019
Shipped is a multiplayer boat fighting game where you steer, bash and shoot your way through simple seas of islands. You play by steering your ship and turning to aim cannons. It stands out for the simple approachable fun and range of modes you can...
Release Date: 08/10/2010, updated in 2013
Out Now: Switch, Wii and Wii U
Components: 3D Third-Person and Dice
Mario Party is an interactive board game. Players roll dice to move around a board and then compete in different mini-games to earn the chance to throw again or earn points. You play as Nintendo characters and take on challenges that make use of the...
Release Date: 20/09/2023
Out Now: PC and Xbox One
Party Animals is a fighting game where wobbly animal characters go toe-to-toe. Like Gang Beasts, the novelty is in the game physics that recreates realistic movement and impact with a cartoon rag-doll feel.
Release Date: 12/09/2014, updated in 2014
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS4
Nidhogg is a fast two-player duelling game whose simple visuals belie the skill required to defeat your opponent. The novelty is that upon death you reappear on the next screen. The player to advance through the most screens wins.
Release Date: 28/09/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
EA Sports FC 24 is a sports game designed to simulate the players, tactics and crescendo moments of top-flight football. Play involves picking players and setting tactics before controlling each of your team in turn on the pitch. Its simulation is...
Release Date: 12/09/2017
Out Now: Mac, PC and PS4
Components: 2D Overhead, Open World and Pixels
Tooth and Tail is a real-time strategy game about anthropomorphic animals. Before each match, you choose a commander from four factions and six units from a pool of twenty. You then use these units to build farms, lookouts and gather resources.
Release Date: 17/09/2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Impostor is a space survival game like Among Us. It is a community-created version of that official game on Roblox as Impostor, but also on Minecraft as a couple of minigames called Among Us and Impostor. The Roblox game is a version of Among Us for...
Release Date: 16/10/2020
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a kart racing game with a difference - You play on the Switch but use it to control a real-life Mario Kart that races around the floor of your living room. You see the race from the view of the car beamed back to the...
Release Date: 10/09/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Cartoon
Bake 'n Switch is a puzzle fighting game where 2-4 players are apprentice bakers fighting the "Mould" and taking on various Guardian bosses. It's ridiculously cute and a lot of silly fun, as you catch, merge and sacrifice the anthropomorphised dough...
Release Date: 19/09/2019, updated in 2022
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 3D First-Person and Open World
Hot Lava is a running and jumping game where you mustn't touch the floor because it's covered in lava. It takes the childhood playground game online as you work to cross nostalgia-filled maps on your own or with other players
Release Date: 21/01/1999, updated in 2018
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a light-hearted cartoon-style brawling game where multiple players choose well-known video game characters to fight. Play involves using your character's move-set to outwit and beat your opponents. You wear down their...
Release Date: 12/12/2017, updated in 2021
Gang Beasts is an over-the-top brawling game where you play wobbly characters who kick, throw, push, pull and pummel up to seven other rivals to win. The game models real physics so you have to work with the grappling and jelly-like bodies to both get...
Release Date: 21/10/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS
Pac-Man Party Royale is a four player version of Pac-Man. You must be the last man standing to win. You eat pellets to speed up and aim to eat the Super Pellet first to send opponents and ghosts running. There's a twist though, each opponent you eat...
Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed is a fighting game where you battle mechanical dinosaurs based on the Zoid series. You need to learn the special moves and button combinations to pull off just the right attack at the right time. Each different Zoid and...
Release Date: 13/06/2017
Out Now: PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Cars 3: Driven to Win is a racing game based on the 2017 film. You take on different races in the world of Radiator Springs and other locations from the film. As you do, you meet the other cars, collect items and unlock new areas.
Release Date: 18/11/2012, updated in 2019
Out Now: Switch and Wii U
New Super Mario Bros. U is a platform game where you play with 4 main players (and an optional assistant player) to traverse from one side of the level to the other. Along with the usual running, jumping, stomping and collecting you are racing other...
Release Date: 13/11/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a shooting game. It's a direct sequel to the original Call of Duty: Black Ops. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will have a Campaign, Multiplayer, Zombies, and integration into Call of Duty: Warzone. It's a game that...
Release Date: 20/08/2015, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad
Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
Horizon Chase 2 is the latest game in the Horizon Chase series of arcade racing games with a focus on competitive fun rather than realism; its graphics make it look like it was plucked from the nineties’ arcades, with a nod to Outrun and Lotus Turbo...
Release Date: 21/11/2013, updated in 2013
Super Mario 3D World (known as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury on the Switch) is a platform game you can play with up to 4-players in the same place. While all Mario games are good for families, this cooperative and competitive play makes it great...
Release Date: 29/07/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Rayman Legends is a platform game, the sequel to Rayman Origins, where you get sucked into a painting that takes you to a fantasy world with all sorts of creative running and jumping challenges.