I had a lot of fun putting this one together. I've been thinking about this topic for a few days now, and I wanted to make sure I did it justice. Hopefully I've come up with picks you both agree with and enjoy. Let me know if you try a few of them out! As always, thanks for reading.
Chances are you're spending a ton of time stuck inside your house right now. That means you're seeing the same people day in and day out. Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, all trying to not get on each other's nerves. Instead of slowly inching towards World War III within the confines of your home, why not ease the tension with the Switch? Gather your family around and enjoy some local multiplayer action to take the edge off.
The Switch plays host to thousands of great games, and some of those are absolutely fantastic for local multiplayer experiences. We've dug through the various games we've played since Switch launch to scrounge up the ones best suited to local multiplayer fun. The bulk of these were chosen as games that players of almost any skill level can still have fun with. We peppered in some local multiplayer games meant for more skilled players as well, because they're just too damn fun to pass up.
BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!™
BOXBOY has been an absolutely stellar puzzle platformer since its inception on the 3DS, but BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! cranks up the fun by letting you bring a buddy along for the action. You and one other player can tackle some truly devious platforming puzzles that'll have you scratching your heads. With a ton of levels and a deep level of satisfaction when you clear a stage, BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! should keep you and your player two entertained for hours.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
If you prefer your puzzle platforming done in the third dimension, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is for you. This isometric puzzler will have you twisting and turning stages in all different directions to hunt down hidden gems and more. This game didn't originally offer up multiplayer, but a free update lets you grab a partner for the adventure. Grab another player and set off on a cute, charming, and quite devious puzzling journey!
If you're looking for a puzzle platformer that really pushes the idea of cooperation, Death Squared is the way to go. Not only do you have to coordinate your moves with up to 3 other players, you'll need to tackle some truly intricate puzzles while you're at it. These challenges aren't going to be easy, but the "ah-ha!" moment you hit when a stage comes together feels oh-so good. There's plenty to do and see in Death Squared, but make sure your puzzling partners are ready for a read mind-bender!
If you want a local multiplayer game that's ridiculously simple in mechanics but hard to master, Heave Ho is the way to go. You and three other players will have to swing your way through perilous stages, all by stretching your arms out to grab the landscapes around you. Sometimes you'll have to team up to help one another, but most of the time you'll just be laughing at the many, many mistakes you'll make. With just two shoulder buttons and a joystick needed, Heave Ho has a low barrier for entry, but provides a huge amount of fun.
Hidden Through Time
Okay, technically Hidden Through Time isn't a local multiplayer game, as it only supports one player. That doesn't really matter though, as it's a great game for others to passively play. This is basically a Where's Waldo clone with some animations and interactive elements. Move a cursor around the screen and hunt down a list of predetermined items. If you have a big screen TV, your item hunt can become a local multiplayer affair. It always helps to have more than one set of eyes for a game like this!
Jackbox Party Packs
The Jackbox Party Packs really need no introduction. The brand has become synonymous with local multiplayer fun. Each party pack is filled with more hits than misses, and each one creates a unique environment for laughing until you cry. It's also extremely easy for any skill level to play, as all you need are some cell phones or tablets. If you've got a funny family (or one with dirty minds!), you seriously can't go wrong with any Jackbox Party Pack.
Jeopardy!/Wheel of Fortune
Speaking of games that need no introduction, we have the "America's Greatest Game Shows: Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy!" pack. There's a reason why these two game shows have been on for decades upon decades. They both represent fun and interesting games that you can play at home just by watching. Instead of sitting back and passively playing, why not get in on the games themselves? You won't win any big cash prizes or trips, but you will come away with family bragging rights.
Just Dance 2020
Some people might groan at the inclusion of the Just Dance series, but there's still plenty of fun to be had here with the right family. Plus it's the perfect excuse to get up and get some exercise while you're stuck indoors. Even better, it's yet another game anyone in the family can play, as no prior knowledge of joysticks and buttons are needed. Just lose your inhibitions, crank up the stereo, and have some silly fun dancing away to the latest and greatest hits.
Kirby Star Allies
If you're looking to move your family more towards something in the traditional game realm, all while not overwhelming them, Kirby Star Allies is a great choice. Most mainline Kirby games go out of their way to be simple platforming experiences where you don't really have to worry about a game over. Kirby Star Allies also allows you step in and take care of your co-op buddies with a health boost if needed. A straightforward platformer with a focus on taking it easy could be the perfect fit for your family.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe fits into the category of games anyone can play. Everyone knows how to drive, or at least has some idea of how it's supposed to be done! Hand everyoen a controller, let them choose motion controls or traditional controls, and see who's got what it takes to take the #1 spot! Straightforward racing or battle mode, it doesn't really matter. A few rounds with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe should have everyone smiling.
No joke, N++ is one of our favorite local multiplayer games here at GN HQ. It definitely skews a bit more towards the experienced gamer, but with a bit of time and perseverance, every player should be able to get the hang of things. The mechanics are dead simple, as all you need is a joystick and one button to jump. It's the momentum-based platforming and ridiculous traps and enemies that make things tough. If you have a family that's willing to learn and is up for a challenge, N++ could be an insane amount of fun.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
You can't have a feature on local multiplayer and not include a Mario game! New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the quintessential family experience. Almost everyone knows the basic mechanics of 2D Mario games, and there's enough leeway here for players of all skill levels. More skilled players can show off their platforming prowess, while newcomers can pick characters that give them an edge against the competition. If you still have someone on your team who can't stand the heat, there's always bubbling!
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2+
We seriously cannot recommend Pac-Man Championship Edition 2+ enough. It's a franchise older people in the house will recognize instantly, and the gameplay isn't so far removed from the original Pac-Man that it'll leave them confused. This two-player affair has you munching pellets, avoiding ghosts, and rushing through mazes at breakneck speeds. The longer you last, the faster things get, and the entire experience is fueled by a thumping soundtrack. You're guaranteed to have a good time with Pac-Man Championship Edition 2+, and you'll keep coming back to try and best your score.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Tetris is yet another game that millions of people know and love, so chances are the people in your household already know how to play. For those who want it, Puyo Puyo Tetris can offer a purely multiplayer Tetris experience. You and three players can battle it out in classic Tetris style, send garbage to each other, and listen to your family scream as they top out. If your family gets a little adventurous, they can try out the Puyo Puyo mode, or even combine both Tetris and Puyo Puyo for action that really keeps you on your toes!
Snipperclips was there at the start of the Switch, and it's still one of the best local multiplayer games you can get. Snipperclips provides an extremely unique puzzle experience where you and your paper buddies snip and shape each other to solve puzzles. Sometimes you have to fit into silhouettes, other times you'll need to shape your body into a scoop to deliver water to another part of the map. The game is completely random in the puzzles you're tasked with, but the answer always has to do with cutting up your partners. If you have a family that likes a different kind of puzzler, Snipperclips is the perfect choice.
In our opinion, Super Chariot is a criminally underrated local multiplayer game. We honestly thing it's one of the best co-op games ever! You'll definitely want someone who's more into gaming for this one, as you'll be tasked with some pretty complex controls, and a serious of obstacles that'll take intense teamwork to traverse. It's part platforming, part escort mission, and part physics puzzler all rolled up into a supremely charming presentation. If you're looking for just one local co-op game for the person in your house who loves game as much as you do, Super Chariot is a must-have.
Super Mario Party
The Mario Party series has been at the tippy-top of local multiplayer experiences for years now, and Super Mario Party continues that tradition. Grab your family, play some mini-games, and start a feud while stealing stars to become the winner. Super Mario Party forces you to work together, asks you to compete against one another, and somehow expect you to be friends with the people you're playing with afterwards!
Unravel 2 is somewhat similar to Super Chariot, as it's another local co-op experience best suited to more skilled players. With that said, the experience isn't quite as challenging, and tends allow for a slower pace. You'll platform your way through realistic environments that ask you to cooperate with your partner in order to progress. There's also a heartwarming and heart-wrenching story as well, so make sure you bring some tissues.
Those are our picks for some of the best local multiplayer experiences you can find on Switch. Hopefully you can put the list to good use and enjoy some of these with your family and friends! Again, this list was based on games we've actually played, so there's no doubt other fantastic titles we missed. Do you have a suggestion for a game that should be included? Feel free to leave it in the comments below!