I've started this thread to consolidate info about games that can be played locally, or at least are great fun and optimally played locally. By local play I mean games, on any system, that can be played by multiple people on a single screen or split screen. Can be Versus or Co-op, an old game or new game, indie or AAA title. Feel free to recommend anything.
So, I've been big into local play of games, even buying a Wii U for its higher the usual number of local play games. I'm lucky enough to have a large group of gaming friends near me that are willing to try silly stuff
So here's my list of fun games:
Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator - a bit simplistic missions currently, but crazy fun role playing a starship bridge crew. Just get over the feeling of ultra nerdyness and you'll find something very special. The individual roles seem complicated, but start simple, however, to survive and thrive, you need to be able to work together, taking orders to make the ship run optimally. It's not just listening to your captain though, often times you'll be anticipating orders, and of course also frantically trying to keep up with orders from the captain as well.
Super Mario 3D World - It's a 3D Mario, the latest, and it's got cat suits. What else? Well actually, my friends and I ran through most of the game, having a blast. In comparison to previous 2D Mario updates on the Wii U, this one has drastically toned down the "screw your friends" elements. Although they're still there, because the entire game is designed with an equal level of precision, but also space for 4 players to jump around together, it all works pretty well. There's some fun mechanics that add a little co-opetition to use that catch phrase. If you get the highest score at the end of a level, you get a crown in the next level. If you finish the level with the crown, it gives you 5000 points to help you keep the crown. Now, people can try to beat you normally, but they can also pick up your crown if you get hit, or try to stomp the crown off your head. The
Nintendo Land - It's a series of mini-games, not much else to say other than that there are 3 mini-games that almost make the game and Wii U worth it. That's the Sweet Day, Mario Chase, and Ghost Mansion mini-games. These three are especially great uses of the gamepad versus 4 normal player gameplay. Sadly, the rest of the mini-games range from uninteresting and done before, or just frustrating and overly complex. I would actually buy a game that just took those 3 mini-games and expanded on them, and had other similar games.
Rayman Legends - A great platformer that's really well tuned, and works equally great with 1 player or 4 (or 5). It comes down to the excellent platforming mechanics. Great jumping feel, excellent movement and physics. A bit of action with the various attacks, but not combat focused. A vibrant 2D art style, and more. When playing co-op the characters don't bump in to each other. The only way you interact is through attacks (you can hit each other for no damage), and the usual taking of platforms and triggering stuff. But so many of the platforming elements are designed for multiple people, it all just works. Top it off with this new Kung Foot mini-game, which is basically 2D soccer between 2-4 players, really is just fun. Kids to adults can play it.
Little Big Planet 1/2/HUB - an oldie but goodie. Some might not like the floatier physics and pure physics based gameplay, but you can't beat the game for its creative aspects. For example, that aformentioned Kung Foot game for Rayman Legends I had basically played the exact thing as an LBP map previously, perhaps not with the same detail or mechanics, but it was very fun.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - This is a love or hate game. I like to describe it as a game with low initial fun factor, but that the fun factor increases exponentially the more people you play with. It's also partially why I got a Wii U after trying it on the 3DS. At its core, you hunt monsters, then use parts harvested from those monsters to craft weapons, armor, and other useful things to hunt other more powerful monsters. Most of the things you do between the big monster hunts is preparing items and equipment for the monster hunt, although there are smaller challenges. Few things can beat the feeling of you and 3 friends going in to face off against a giant monster and coming home after a successful hunt.
Towerfall - this hit on the Ouya to a lot of much deserved praise. At its core, it's a 2D 8bit style graphics versus game where 4 players get into a map with 3 arrows, and try to kill each other. The arrows you fire have a slight bit of seeking on them if they get close to a target, and they kill in 1 hit. Moving around is a bit like old style arcade games, smoother though as a result of modern gaming. It may sound simple, but it's an excellent game that harkens back to the great old versus arcade games. You and your friends will be laughing and screaming at each other as crazy stuff starts happening during fights. Arrows collide, people can dash to catch arrows mid flight, and the special arrow types bring a bit of chaos into the fights, as well as powerups. Oh, and the new PC version coming out early next year includes a lot more, including single player challenges, and a lot more levels and modifiers to choose from for multiplayer matches.
Samurai Gunn - Can be considered a Towerfall clone because it shares a lot with the game. Instead of archers you have 4 Samurai and the default weapon is a sword slash in the 4 cardinal directions. If you connect, it's a 1 hit kill. However, if two sword slashes happen at the same time, the they clash and the two are flung apart. Each Samurai also has a gun with 3 bullets. These bullets go through enemies, and can also be deflected with a sword slash.