Despite the rise of online gaming, local multiplayer games are still incredibly popular, and on PS4, there are some particularly great co-op and split-screen games available. Though split-screen gaming isn't as popular as it once was, you'll still find great modern split-screen PS4 games, like A Way Out and It Takes Two, and beyond split-screen specifically, many of the best PS4 games support local multiplayer if you're not looking to jump online. With that in mind, we've rounded up the best PS4 split-screen games to play in 2021--and of course, all of these games are playable on PS5 as well. Our list also includes multiplayer PS4 games that aren't technically split-screen but that can be played locally with friends and family on one screen. The following picks are organized alphabetically, not ranked, with split-screen games listed first.
For more local multiplayer games, make sure to take a look at our list of the best couch co-op games for couples and best games to play with people who don't normally play games. We also have a bunch of roundups highlighting the best titles for all major platforms, including the best PS5 games so far, best Xbox One games, best Xbox Series X games so far, best Nintendo Switch games, and best PC games to play in 2021.
The best split-screen PS4 games
Hazelight Studios' A Way Out was designed to be played cooperatively. In fact, you can only play it cooperatively, and it's most enjoyable when you're sitting on the couch next to a friend or loved one. A Way Out stars Leo and Vincent, two convicts who work together to break out of prison and elude authorities. A Way Out has a really interesting approach to both gameplay and story. You and your partner are often separated and perform different tasks to help each other make progress. The mix of puzzle-based, stealth, and action gameplay offers a constantly dynamic experience that funnels into the well-written story that has a surprising amount of heart. Though you're working together, you'll also come across fun competitive minigames throughout the adventure.
See our A Way Out review.
The Borderlands franchise is one of the rare first-person shooters that still offers split-screen co-op. While all of the games in the series have co-op on one screen, we're recommending Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which contains Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, two awesome games with lengthy campaigns. Both games offer split-screen multiplayer for up to four players. Though the loot-focused shooter can be played solo, Borderlands really hits its stride when you team up with friends, especially as you progress further and the action becomes more chaotic.
See our Borderlands: The Handsome Collection review.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the latest entry in the long-running first-person shooter franchise, offers split-screen multiplayer for its Zombies and competitive modes. We're mainly recommending it here for Zombies, which is specifically built with co-op in mind. Black Ops Cold War's Zombies mode currently has three maps, though it will evolve throughout the year as new seasons drop. Teaming up with a friend to go toe-to-toe with waves of flesh-hungry undead enemies is a ton of fun.
See our Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the best RPGs you can play on PS4, whether you're running solo or with a friend. It's an old-school role-playing game with a layered turn-based combat system and a captivating open world. Divinity: Original Sin 2 features two-player split-screen co-op, which allows you to explore the massive world and make critical decisions on how to approach combat alongside a friend. It should be noted that Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a lengthy experience that can take well over 50 hours to complete, so it's quite the time investment. We'd recommend it for those who have experience with tactical RPGs; it's not really a game for newcomers to the genre to learn the ropes.
See our Divinity: Original Sin 2 review.
Klei Entertainment's survival game Don't Starve always felt like a game that would be great to play with friends, but it took a few years for that feeling to be confirmed. The standalone multiplayer expansion Don't Starve Together released in 2016, and it remains one of the best survival games to play split-screen with a friend today. It has three game modes, each of which offers a different sort of survival experience. The main Survival mode truly emphasizes working together, while Wilderness and Endless modes let you take in the scenery a bit more and feature more forgiving experiences. Don't Starve Together has a fun and challenging combat system and a gorgeous art style. This is the type of co-op game you can come back to over and over again thanks to its randomly generated environments and dynamic combat encounters that change with each run.
Following in the tradition of A Way Out, Hazelight Studios' sophomore game It Takes Two is also co-op only. When Rose learns that her parents are divorcing, she consults a book about love and winds up transporting her parents' minds into the dolls she made of them. The premise is both humorous and rather sad, and It Takes Two manages to tread this line carefully to deliver a charming tale. It Takes Two is also significantly more involved than its predecessor when it comes to gameplay. Playing as the small dolls, you and your partner work together to traverse the larger-than-life environments around the house. It Takes Two has some truly wonderful platforming sequences that require teamwork and ingenuity to complete. It's one of the best games of 2021 so far and shouldn't be missed by platforming fans. Though checkpoints are forgiving, It Takes Two does necessitate some platforming skills, so it's not as approachable for a newcomer as a game like A Way Out.
See our It Takes Two review.
Traveller's Tales Lego games have always been great picks for families to play together on the couch, especially those with young kids. The Lego Marvel Collection compiles three fun Lego games in one package: Lego Marvel Superheroes, Lego Marvel's Avengers, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. These lighthearted adventures let you and another player team up to take down supervillains while playing as well-known Marvel heroes such as Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America. All three of the games have forgiving, easy-to-learn mechanics, which make them great co-op titles to play with your kids or those who don't game much.
Not much needs to be said about Minecraft, which holds the title as the best-selling video game of all time. On PS4, split-screen multiplayer supports up to four users who work together to craft their own Minecraft worlds. If you're looking to find games to play with your kids, Minecraft is a superb pick, as it lets their imaginations run wild.
See our Minecraft review.
Rocket League has been one of the most popular online multiplayer games around for years, but you can also play it offline with up to four players on one screen. Rocket League is a ridiculously fun sports game that is essentially soccer with a giant ball that's played in vehicles instead of on foot. Rocket League also happens to be the only free-to-play game on this list, so you should absolutely check it out during your next game night.
See our Rocket League review.
Sega celebrated Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary in style by releasing Sonic Mania, an adventure that fondly nods back to the iconic mascot's heyday. Sonic Mania looks and feels like a Sega Genesis game, and it even remixes some of the best levels in franchise history. Like the early games, you can play two-player split-screen co-op, with one player controlling Sonic and the other playing as Tails. Sonic Mania also has a competition mode reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that lets you race your friends across a variety of levels. For those on the hunt for a nostalgic co-op game, Sonic Mania is an excellent choice.
See our Sonic Mania review.
The Wipeout Omega Collection compiles three great anti-gravity racing experiences in one package: Wipeout HD, Wipeout HD Fury, and Wipeout 2048, which was previously a PlayStation Vita exclusive. All three games run beautifully on PS4, and each brings something different to the table. Wipeout Fury focuses on combat, Wipeout HD offers a solid representation of the series' fast-paced gameplay, and Wipeout 2048 shows off a different side of the series with normal nature environments serving as the tracks. With a wealth of game modes, tracks, and unique ships, Wipeout Omega Collection offers one of the most robust racing experiences on PS4. It's also a complete joy to play with friends thanks to its casual arcade format that oozes with style.
See our Wipeout Omega Collection review.
The rest of the games on this list have local multiplayer, but they aren't split-screen. We're kicking things off with an action-RPG that has remained relevant for almost nine years.
Though Diablo 3 has been available on consoles for many years now, it's still surprising how well it translates to being played with a controller rather than a mouse and keyboard. Diablo 3 is a modern classic with a loop that remains fun even after you've run through the campaign dozens of times (really). Up to four players can join in on the action on one screen. With an emphasis on acquiring better and better gear and a battle system that's approachable for newcomers, Diablo 3 is easily one of the most entertaining action-RPGs that you can play via local co-op.
See our Diablo 3: Eternal Collection review.
Nearly every popular fighting game supports local multiplayer, and there are no shortage of great options on PS4. We're going with Dragon Ball FighterZ as our top recommendation thanks to its stylish visuals, fast-paced battle system, and dedication to being both approachable and layered in its combat. Of course, Dragon Ball fans will be far more interested in this one than those who don't care about the anime. That said, it's such a finely crafted fighting game that it wouldn't be surprising if you convinced those who know nothing about the franchise to tag along. It's chaotic and over-the-top and features a wealth of unique playable characters, including a bunch of DLC fighters that are worth paying for.
See our Dragon Ball FighterZ review.
Helldivers is another game that was specifically designed with a co-op focus. You can play with up to four players on one screen. Helldivers has an arcade vibe to it as a top-down shooter. The story sees you and your teammates explore alien planets and take down baddies to save the Super Earth. Though the combat is fast-paced and can get pretty hectic, Helldivers has a tactical bent to it, as you and your teammates must make critical decisions on how to approach each encounter. You also have to be on the same page as the rest of your squad, since Helldivers doesn't protect you from friendly fire. The world is procedurally generated, so Helldivers remains interesting even after you think you've mastered the loop.
See our Helldivers review.
You can't go wrong with any of the Jackbox Party Pack games for your next game night with friends. We're highlighting The Jackbox Party Trilogy here, as it comes with the first three Party Packs, each of which contains five unique games. The Jackbox Party Trilogy includes a wide variety of party games, including Trivia Murder Party, multiple versions of the the witty Quiplash, and Fibbage, a game that compels you to lie to friends and loved ones.
As members of the League of Very Empathetic Rescue Spacenauts, you and your partner must stop the Anti-Love while saving bunnies. It sounds like a casual and silly game, but Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is fairly intense. Your team controls a ship, applying both offensive and defensive tactics to stay alive. One of the best aspects of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is how it truly emphasizes solid communication. You and your teammate must act as one cohesive unit to keep the love alive and save the bunnies.
An ode to twin-stick arcade shooters, Nex Machina is a stylish and frenetic shoot-'em-up that excels in local multiplayer. In each level, you and a friend work together to defeat a series of enemy waves, each of which is more challenging than the last. Nex Machina demands your constant attention, as it's easy to get tripped up by obstacles and formidable foes. Though it can also be played solo, Nex Machina truly shines in co-op, especially when you get to the really punishing stages or are attempting to complete secondary objectives and unlock secrets.
See our Nex Machina review.
Team17's Overcooked series offers frantic and hilarious co-op and competitive multiplayer that's wrapped up in a cutesy package with lots of charm. You can get both games plus every piece of DLC in Overcooked: All You Can Eat. Each level tasks its cartoon chefs with preparing meals by gathering ingredients, cooking them properly, and then serving them on dishes. It's a simple premise that requires few buttons. That said, the time restraints and wacky kitchen designs lead to some hilarious (and sometimes stressful) situations in the kitchen. Both Overcooked games are well worth playing, but Overcooked 2 also adds the ability to throw items, which is a game-changer. This mechanic combines with the wild, dynamic kitchens in a way that forces constant teamwork and communication. We can't promise that shouting won't be involved during meal prep, but Overcooked and its sequel are well worth the possible frustrations that come with its tricky scenarios. There always seems to be a proverbial fire in the kitchen while playing Overcooked, and this intensity is exactly what makes it such a solid party game.
See our Overcooked review and Overcooked 2 review.
Rayman may not get the same love as some other video game mascots, but the dude with floating body parts happens to lead one of the best modern side-scrolling platformers: Rayman Legends. As a direct sequel to Rayman Origins (also good), Rayman Legends is the biggest game in the series with more than 120 wonderfully designed levels featuring different styles and objectives. Rayman Legends can be played with up to four players on one console.
See our Rayman Legends review.
In Sackboy: A Big Adventure, the latest entry in the LittleBigPlanet series, you and up to three friends work to defeat an evil jester doll and save Craftverse. Sackboy is the closest thing to a modern Super Mario game you'll find on PS4. The well-designed levels offer a staggering amount of variety to keep the platforming fun throughout. The game's whimsical tone, catchy soundtrack, and bevy of cute outfits make it a great choice for families. While Sackboy doesn't do anything we haven't seen before in the platforming genre, it has an extremely sturdy foundation that makes it easy to recommend.
See our Sackboy: A Big Adventure review.
If you and your friends are up for a challenge, Spelunky and Spelunky 2 are both excellent side-scrolling roguelikes that work exceedingly well as cooperative adventures. Both games feature randomly generated levels filled with dangerous obstacles and enemies that can kill you in a flash. Spelunky's loop constantly surprises you, as even when you start to get the hang of navigating its perilous trappings, you never know what kind of layout you'll see next. Playing the games cooperatively has its benefits: You can bring your teammates back to life and work together to uncover treasures and defeat enemies. Both games also feature a competitive mode that drops you and up to three friends in an arena to battle it out to the death. While both entries can be frustrating due to their high degree of difficulty, they are incredibly rewarding for those who stick with them.
See our Spelunky and Spelunky 2 review.
While primarily thought of as a single-player game, Stardew Valley also has an excellent multiplayer mode. The massive 1.5 update added the ability to play split-screen co-op, which lets you and up to three friends hang out in the country-life simulator together. Stardew Valley's multiplayer mode plays very similarly to the traditional solo campaign, so you and your friends can tend to the land, converse with the colorful NPCs, and explore the mines just as you would in solo play. As an endless experience, you can get a lot of mileage out of Stardew Valley. This is definitely a great pick for those who want to unwind at night with some leisurely couch co-op. Stardew Valley is also a good choice to play with someone who may not have a lot of experience with games, as it's not mechanically challenging, though it also offers plenty of depth and strategy for longtime gamers.
See our Stardew Valley review.
Side-scrolling beat-'em-ups were a staple of arcade and early console gaming, and Streets of Rage was one of the very best in the genre. After a lengthy hiatus, Streets of Rage 4 arrived in 2020, marking the first entry in the series in more than 25 years. Streets of Rage 4 may have modern visuals, but it's an old-school beat-'em-up through and through. You can run through the 12 challenging levels with up to four players, and there are even some secret retro levels to uncover. Streets of Rage 4 succeeds because it sticks to its roots to offer a nostalgic and thoroughly engrossing couch co-op adventure.
See our Streets of Rage 4 review.
TowerFall Ascension is a fast-paced and rather humorous action game that's simple to get the hang of. Up to four players can play locally on one console, with each taking on the role of an archer and trying to be the last player standing. The small arena-style maps make each match go quickly, and a wide variety of power-ups help keep the gameplay fresh. TowerFall Ascension feels incredible in motion and remains one of the coolest party games on PS4 more than seven years after its release. Though primarily a competitive multiplayer game, there is a co-op quest mode that lets you and a friend take on AI-controlled archers and monsters.
See our TowerFall Ascension review.
Unravel was a fun platformer, but poor Yarny seemed lonely at times. Unravel 2 doubles the fun by letting you and a partner create your own Yarny characters and embark on a platforming adventure together. Just like the first game, Unravel 2 has a colorful world that is pleasant to explore as a creature made out of yarn. It makes great use of its two-player premise by requiring you and your partner to work together to solve puzzles. The strings at the end of your yarn are tied together, forcing you to work together as one. Unravel 2 is filled with clever puzzles that really emphasize both sound planning and execution. It's a pleasant experience that we'd especially recommend for couples.
See our Unravel 2 review.
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email firstname.lastname@example.org