There’s something magical about playing video games side-by-side with a friend. It could be the sense of camaraderie. Or you may simply enjoy crushing the living daylights out of their puny, pathetic on-screen character. Either way, the best local multiplayer games for PC have you covered.

The best local multiplayer games utilize one screen to deliver an immersive experience for up to 8 players. Whether you’re a fan of co-op or competitive titles, roguelikes or racers, there’s a great shared or split-screen option for you. And, equipped with the right peripherals, you and your friends can play like it’s the 90’s all over again.

To help you on your way, we’ve assembled a list of the 10 best local multiplayer games of 2019. We’ve also scoped out the top 3 upcoming titles to give you a heads up on their release dates. Ready to check ‘em out? Let’s dive right in.

10 Best Local Multiplayer Games of 2019

We’ve curated this list to help you find the best local multiplayer title for your next get-together.

1. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Binding of Isaac

Our pick for one of the best local co-op games

  • Website: http://bindingofisaac.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS
  • Genre: Roguelike
  • Developer: Nicalis
  • Release: 2014

If you’re looking for an exciting local co-op game that combines roguelike obstacles with dungeon-crawling excitement, you’re in for a treat. In Binding of Issac: Rebirth, players assume control of Isaac, a young boy whose mother is hellbent on sacrificing him as an offering to God. Make your way through the dungeons below Isaac’s house, using your tears as projectiles against the monsters that lurk below. Multiplayer mode allows your friends to hop in as a follower that helps Isaac navigate the dungeon. Think you can make it out alive?

2. A Way Out

A Way Out

Our pick for one of the best local co-op games PC

  • Website: https://www.ea.com/
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Developer: Hazelight Studios
  • Release: 2018

A Way Out can only be played locally via split-screen, and developer Haelight Studios has done an astounding job making the game exciting and easily accessible. Players assume control of Leo and Vincent, two prisoners who must stage a jailbreak and escape the authorities. Cooperate with your friend to make it through an endless series of challenging obstacles and harrowing situations. The game has received praise from consumers and critics alike and can be played on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

3. Nidhogg

Nidhogg

Our pick for one of the best local multiplayer indie games

  • Website: http://nidhogggame.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, PS4, Vita
  • Genre: Fighting, Side-Scroller
  • Developer: Messhof
  • Release: 2014

Don’t let the simple graphics fool you. Nidhogg is a brilliant example of what can be accomplished by an indie studio, and it boasts incredibly immersive gameplay. The objective? Duel it out against your friend using nothing but a pixel sword and your sharpest wits. The side-scrolling environment offers the perfect playground for players to run, jump, and outmaneuver their opponent at every turn. Think you got what it takes? Check it out on Windows, Mac, PS4, and Vita platforms today.

4. Crawl

Crawl

Our pick for one of the best local 2 player games

  • Website: https://www.powerhoof.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Genre: Beat ‘em Up
  • Developer: Powerhoof
  • Release: 2014

Crawl your way through randomly generated dungeons, navigating the endless maze of challenges and obstacles. You must make it all the way to level 10, enter the portal, and obliterate the boss to reach victory. The catch? Your friends control the monsters. The game grows progressively harder with each level, and fiendish new enemies and traps are fair game for your friends to set. It’s a challenging beat ‘em up that brings a new twist to local multiplayer matchups.

5. Towerfall

Towerfall

Our pick for one of the best local play games

  • Website: http://www.towerfall-game.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Android
  • Genre: Action
  • Developer: Matt Makes Games
  • Release: 2013

Towerfall is an exciting action game where players face off against each other using nothing but arrows and headstomps. Make your way about the arena, dodging enemy fire and collecting power ups to gain a competitive edge. There are four game modes in total and each one caters to a different gameplay style. Towerfall also features some of the sleekest pixel art around, and it’s a lighthearted romp available on every major system.

6. Rocket League

Rocket League

Our pick for one of the best local multiplayer games PC

Are you into racing or sports games? If so, Rocket League is definitely the right choice for you. It’s a soccer game that takes place in a giant arena, but instead of humans kicking the ball around, it’s done with rocket-powered vehicles! It’s a blast to play, and you can match up locally or take it for a test drive online to battle it out against the competition. Rocket League is available for play on PC and all major consoles.

7. Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla

Our pick for one of the best local multiplayer fighting games

  • Website: http://www.brawlhalla.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Developer: Blue Mammoth Games
  • Release: 2015

If you’re a fan of Smash Bros, chances are you’ll dig Brawlhalla. It’s a free-to-play game that you can play locally or online, and it features all the juicy fighting mechanics you know and love. The goal is to knock your opponent off the edge of the stage, and the last one standing wins. There are several different game modes to fit everyone’s playstyle and the interface is intuitive and easy to learn. It’s the perfect casual game for local play on any system, and it’s always a smash hit at get-togethers.

8. Enter the Gungeon

gungeon

Our pick for one of the best local multiplayer roguelike games

  • Website: http://dodgeroll.com/
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Genre: Roguelike
  • Developer: Dodge Roll
  • Release: 2016

Enter the Gungeon is a roguelike bullet-hell game that revolves around a band of adventurers intent on killing their past. Descend into the procedurally-generated dungeon to navigate the maze of obstacles and vicious enemies. Pick up gear, weapons, and an assortment of treasure to help you find the Legendary Gun that will kill your past. Team up locally and have your friend play a never-before-seen 5th character! Enter the Gungeon is available to play on every major OS and game console.

9. SpeedRunners

Speedrunners

Our pick for one of the best racing local multiplayer games

SpeedRunners is a racing side-scroller that has players compete to achieve the high score. Outmaneuver your opponents in a variety of levels, using your grappling hook and power ups to come out in front. But be careful! The screen follows the leading player, and those who can’t keep up get left behind. SpeedRunners is popular game on Steam and across current-gen consoles, and you’re free to play it locally or try your hand at online competitive play.

10. Rivals of Aether

Rivals of Aether

Our pick for one of the best local multiplayer games

Knock your opponent out of the arena and off the screen to win. Sounds simple enough, right? Not quite. Rivals of Aether takes common battle mechanics and adds a new twist— elemental magic. Each character comes equipped with its own moveset inspired by elemental forces, and players must used their tactical prowess to knock out their opponents. Moreover, the game features an exciting amount of lore and optimized mythology for an entirely immersive experience. Check it out on Windows and Xbox and try your hand against your friends.

3 Best Upcoming Local Multiplayer Games

Now that we’ve seen 10 of the best local multiplayer games on the market, let’s take a look at the top 3 upcoming titles.

1. Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Cuphead

Check back into the world of Cuphead and Mugman for more exciting adventures and classic early 1900’s animation. The difference this time around? Studio MDHR has been hard at work developing a new character known as Ms. Chalice. She turns the dynamic duo into a triumphant trio, introducing new movesets and gear to the game. It’s slated for release in 2019, and it’s shaping up to be a major hit.

2. Tunche

Tunche
  • Website: http://leapgs.com/
  • Platform: Windows
  • Genre: Beat ‘em Up
  • Developer: Leap Game Studios
  • Release: 2019

If you enjoy classic beat ‘em up games, Tunche offers that and a whole lot more. This 4 player co-op game has players assume control of Rumi and friends, shamanic adventurers who boast physical and magical movesets. Make your way through the Amazon jungle, defeating bosses and mastering the ancient arts along the way. The official release date is TBA, but it’s set for a 2019 release.

3. Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is back with the 11th installment of the hit fighting series, but this one comes with a few surprises. New game mechanics are set to be introduced, including Fatal and Krushing Blows that will keep your enemies on their toes. In addition, a new blocking system paves the way for exciting new combos and tactical strategies. Test your skills against your friends, and don’t forget to go for the fatality. The game is set for a late April 2019 release, and it’s available for pre-order today.

What are Local Multiplayer Games?

Local multiplayer games are video games designed for multiple people to play on the same screen. This is achieved by having the players share the whole screen, as is the case in games like Mortal Kombat, or splitting it in two, like you see in Rocket League. You’ll also find local multiplayer games that utilize turn-based mechanics, e.g. one player finishes and the next player jumps in.

There are various types of local multiplayer games, and you can find examples of games in every genre using local multiplayer mechanics. Naturally, there are local co-op games that have you team up with a partner and competitive titles that pit player vs player. Both offer endless amounts of entertainment, and both are incredibly popular among gaming audiences across the spectrum.

Local Animated

General Thoughts on Local Multiplayer Games

Let’s take a look at some general thoughts on the local multiplayer genre.

1. Pong was one of the first local multiplayer games.

Pong was released in 1972 to unrivaled critical acclaim. It’s still heralded as an iconic video game that went on to define a generation of local multiplayer titles.

2. Local games usually range from 2-8 players.

While most of the options on our list cap out at 4 players, there are options out there there that supports up to 8 simultaneous gamers!

3. They’re great for interaction.

As opposed to online play, local multiplayer games involve genuine human interaction, which science shows is necessary for our health and happiness.

4. Hotseat games are local turn-based titles.

If you like to play alone but also enjoy competition, hotseat games are the perfect option. Players take turns playing the game and competing for points, and swap seats once they lose.

5. Arcades were the spot to play local multiplayers.

Do you remember going to the arcade as a kid? While no longer as popular, arcades still boast the ultimate local multiplayer games and community environment.

Further Reading

Did you like our list of top local video games? If so, be sure to check out our other roundups below: