How indies are reviving local multiplayer gaming

Curtis Free
Apr 18, 2018 · 5 min read

After years of games moving to big, full screen, multiplayer online experiences (343 might never be forgiven for removing local co-op from Halo 5), you might think that local multiplayer games are dying a slow death.

A small group of London Gaymers made their way out to the Tobacco Docks in London for EGX Rezzed in April this year.

But our recent trip to the indie game focused EGX Expo in London had loads of fantastic local multiplayer games on show, perfect for a party night with friends or a big gaming event! So, get those extra controllers ready because we’ve highlighted some of the most exciting we played at the show…


Big Crown: Showdown

In this four player competitive gauntlet you must avoid traps, moving platforms and knock your opponent off the edge to be crowned the winner! All the while, the camera keeps moving along the level, forcing you to continue progressing through the hazards and tricky platforming challenges!

We loved the beautiful art style, crazy hazards (even if I did spend a bit too long crushed between giant stone pillars) and the simple control scheme means anyone can pick up any play without lots of explanation.

The final game is planned to have 15 levels available to play, will be released on Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch and is due for release in 2018.


BFF or Die

From competitive to cooperative, in this game four people play using two controllers, with two sharing a controller.

In this action-puzzle game you play an alien navigating through maze-like levels with your friends, collecting tokens as you pass to finish the level. Sounds easy enough? But as you progress the difficulty ramps up with more and more enemies on screen, new mechanics opening up (we managed to try the grabber) and spooky zombies! Communication is key to solving the puzzles and getting out alive, so it lends itself perfectly to local co-op play!

We were told the game was being released a little later this year on PC, so hopefully not long to wait for this one!


Phogs

In this super cute and super colourful game, you and a friend are on an adventure as a double-ended dog. You have to cooperate to stretch and grab onto things, each using one half of the controller, to feed the giant hungry world worms of course, along with other strange creatures you meet along the way.

The games so colourful and vibrant and friendly, and those big goofy dog faces makes it hard to not love Phogs!

And it was the only game at the show that came with an oversized dog bed for selfies so…

Phogs is also due to be released later this year on PC.


Catastronauts

Imagine a mix between Overcooked and Faster Than Light — that’s Catastronauts!

It might be unfair to just call this “overcooked in space” but it’s the best description I can give it. You and up to three friends must fight off the threat of a hostile spaceship. As they blast your vessel you have to repair broken gear, fix breaches to the hull, put out fires, recharge batteries and even avoid solar flares — all while fighting back with your own guns!

You need quick reactions and great communication skills as you scream over each other to take out the enemy ship before you get destroyed. It’s crazy and manic and messy and just perfect. This is going to be very popular.

Catastronauts will be released on Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch and is due for release in ‘Late 2018’


Nippon Marathon

San! Ni! Ichi! Hajime!!! This Japanese themed ragdoll party racer is a little unlike anything you will have played before. Grab four pads and race your friends to be the first over the finish line and winner of the Nippon Marathon.

But of course, there’s just a bit more to it than that. You have to hurdle over falling barrels, outrun cute little Shiba Inu dogs, stumble over giant cheeseburgers and watch out for the jumping fish as you run across dangerously balanced wooden pathway — all while throwing fruit at your opponents to slow them down and knock them off the stage.

I guess if you took Speedrunners, added some Gang Beasts and seasoned it with the crazy challenges from Takeshi’s Castle, you might end up somewhere around Nippon Marathon.

The best thing about this game is that it’s available now on Steam early access and will be coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Mac in Autumn 2018.


Brawlout

And last but certainly not least — a stand at EGX with constantly large crowds was Brawlout! The perfect way to scratch your Super Smash Bros itch.

It’s the party fighter game formula you know and love, with unique character designs and move sets, super smooth action and animation, bright colourful levels and some cross over franchise characters too, such as Hyper Light Drifter and Guacamelee!

The mechanics are a little different to Smash Bros, there’s no blocking, grabbing or edge-grabbing but instead a system based on combos. Fighting builds up player’s Rage Meter, which fuels powerful special attacks and adds an extra layer of strategy by triggering the Combo Breaker or Rage Mode!

You can pick this up and start brawling right now on Nintendo Switch or on Steam Early Access, and it’ll be coming to PS4 and Xbox One in early 2018 (which we hope means very soon!)


So there you have it, undeniable proof that multiplayer and couch gaming is here to stay. We’d love to hear about any multiplayer games you played at EGX that we missed, or what local multiplayer games you’ve been playing recently or are looking forward to! ❤

London Gaymers

The LGBT+ community for board and video gamers in London and across the UK.

Curtis Free

Written by

Brand designer based in London, UK and Co-founder of London Gaymers. Loves design, food, video games and dreams of travelling the world.

London Gaymers

The LGBT+ community for board and video gamers in London and across the UK.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade