Games where “lag” isn't an excuse
As fun as it is to jump into a server with your friends, it feels incomplete. Even when you're on a group call with your buddies, it doesn't really feel like you're in the thick of things. If you've experienced this, then you need to detox with some good ol' local multiplayer fun. Check out the following games if you have a spare controller lying around.
This is the pinnacle of gaming, no doubt about it. Duck game is one of those ridiculously fun games which just shouldn't work on paper. But it does. In the game's two-dimensional world you control a duck which battles with other ducks for dominance. Sounds like a generic action game, but Duck game perfects this formula. The ducks are surprisingly fast on their webbed feet, and the maps offer plenty of places to run and things to hide behind.
Gunplay is intense as you have to pick up the guns with one button and fire with another. With shotguns you need to press the fire button again to reload. This leads to gunfights being more tactical, with one hit from any gun leading to death. Timing and positioning are everything, and often you'll have Mexican stand-offs for many minutes while you and your opponent try to figure out the right time to burst out of cover and shoot. Plus, you can adorn your ducks with an assortment of hats.
I haven't even told you the best part yet — there's a quack button. Yes, it's for rubbing it in when your friend dies.
A new take on the dungeon crawler genre, where you control the hero and your friend controls the monsters. Each room you enter, you'll have to contend with demon spawn, all of which are actually your annoying friend. As you progress you can upgrade your hero with newer weapons, magic and potions. So can your opponent, as the monster mini-bosses have skill trees and get more difficult to beat with each set of upgrades. This keeps things interesting, since not all monsters are as effective. Similarly, not all hero upgrades are equally useful so you'll have to keep playing to find the best combination.
Every time the hero dies, roles are switched and you get to take over the monsters. This little tug-of-war as you switch between the hero and the monsters is the strongest part of the game. Since the monsters and loot is randomised, luck plays a part in making the game more exciting; or annoying, if you're on the wrong end of it. The pixelated 2D view fits the aesthetic, as does the art style with dark, broody landscapes punctuated by bright blood or blue bolts of magic.
Fast-paced brawling is what Crawl tries to be, and it does that very well. I can confirm there are few things better than when you kill your friend's hero just as they're about to release a special attack.
Archery has never been more fun than in Towerfall. You'd think a game where your only weapon is a bow would become old quickly, but Towerfall is so much more than that. Here, you and a friend can either team up to fight monsters or battle against one another with just that one ranged weapon. Somehow, in its 2D landscape, it captures the essence of archery perfectly. You can aim your shots quite precisely with keyboard or analogue sticks, as well as jumping and dashing to avoid the arrows.
What really ramps up the action is the fact that you only have a limited number of arrows. Once your quiver is empty you become defenceless, and have to run around the map to pick up the arrows you've shot. This adds an element of strategy to the game, as you can't go out guns blazing. As intense as the deathmatches get, the real fun is in the co-op campaign. There you'll have to put your skills to the test against some well-designed monsters. They are all fast, some of them can dodge your attacks and there are even dark archers who can do everything you can but better. Combined with the fact that your wayward shots can kill teammates, this mode is guaranteed to deliver quality entertainment for a long while.
I hope you have as much fun with these games as I did, and remember to not get salty if your friend dominates you. We can't all be MLG now, can we?
Wasique Hasan fights N'wahs during the day and TØP haters during the night. Fight him at the time of your choosing at: facebook.com/hasique.wasan