Roses? Played out. Champagne? Too bubbly. Chocolate? A risky proposition. If you really want to make your significant other swoon this Valentine’s Day, grab a couple of controllers and play some games you can both enjoy. Sure, you could choose to pound your mate’s face in the Gladiator Duel in Sports Champions. But you know that’s a battle you can’t ultimately win — any victories now are always paid back with dish-washing duty later. Let’s make a pledge: This year, it’s about nest feathering, not neck-snapping.
Here are some cooperative-focused classics that should brighten up the boudoire tonight, plus some Trophy suggestions to keep things nice and friendly. We also want to hear from you — what games do you like to play with your main squeeze? Be sure to fill in the gaps in the comments.
This is the quintessential couples game. PixelJunk Monsters’ two-player cooperative mode is legendary for transforming non-gamers into digital devotees in just a few minutes. If your significant other struggles with the tower defense basics, have him focus on upgrading emplacements and collecting gold while you focus on the strategy. A guaranteed good time for all.
Trophies to shoot for: “Construction Expert” (Build 10 towers in less than 30 seconds upon entering a stage), “Money Grubber” (Clear a stage without losing a single coin)
For starters, Sackboy is freakin’ adorable. Second, the platforming gameplay is second nature to many inexperienced gamers. If your mate has a creative bent, you might also consider building a custom level together — Create mode supports multiple simultaneous users. Or just pick one of over 3.6 million levels and play that — perhaps an enterprising user has already created a good Valentine’s Day-themed level?
Trophies to shoot for: “Complete Story Mode” (Complete the main path of the story mode), “Multiplier 5x” (Score a 5x multiplier in a Story level); “Community Spirit” (Publish a level to the community)
The couple that slays together, stays together. This is a perfect Valentine’s Day choice for a mate who’s handy with an SMG and a melee attack, as you’ll need some tight teamwork to blast the countless hordes of the undead that infest the sprawling urban environments. Protip: If your significant other isn’t much of a gamer, go with the easiest “Brain Dead” setting to avoid heartbreak.
Trophies to shoot for: “Teamwork” (Complete a mission in co-op mode on any difficulty), “Double the Action” (Complete Campaign mode in co-op Mode)
Despite its dual-stick shooting and retro stylings, PixelJunk Shooter is well tolerated by non-gaming significant others. Exploration is emphasized over action, and creative solutions are more important than a quick trigger finger. There are plenty of opportunities for teamwork, too, whether it’s winching your partner away from an erupting volcano or collaborating on hunting those all-important diamonds.
Trophies to shoot for: “Cave Cleaner” (Kill over 100 enemies)
The Beatles: Rock Band
Fab Four? More like Terrific Two. The Beatles: Rock Band is a good option for a non-gaming significant other. If playing the plastic axe or drums is too demanding (or embarrassing), offer up vocal duties. Who doesn’t know the words to a few Beatles songs? I wanna hold your haaaaaaand…
Trophies to shoot for: “Don’t Let Me Down” (Save a bandmate from failing), “Shake It Up, Baby!” (Use Beatlemania at least 5 times in a single song using either Bass or Guitar), “Let’s Get Some Levels” (Calibrate your system for the optimal experience)
An ideal choice for the hardcore shooter couple. Borderlands’ heavy co-op focus works nicely in splitscreen, and infighting will be rare as long as you agree to some ground rules on revives and sharing loot. In fact, the only risk here is that you’ll grind for loot and XP for so long that you won’t leave any time for romance.
Trophies to shoot for: “Group LF Header” (Rescue a groupmate from death in a co-op game), “There’s No ‘I’ In “Team” (Complete 15 missions in co-op), “United We Stand” (Defeat the Rakk Hive, the Vault Boss, Sledge, Krom, or Flynt in a co-op game)
Dead Space: Extraction
Some couples like their Valentine’s Day hot. Others prefer the cold vacuum of outer space, and that’s where this suspenseful sci-fi shooter fits in. Armed with a pair of PlayStation Move motion controllers, you and your main squeeze will nip and tuck the loathsome Necromorph with surgical precision. You’ll find this co-op gem lurking on your Dead Space 2: Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc; it’s also available separately on PSN.
Trophies to shoot for: “Twice The Firepower” (Play cooperatively with a second player), “A Star is Born” (Complete any level with a 5 star rating)
Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game
Deceptively tough despite the ultra-cute graphics, this 2D PSN beat-em-up is one where having a co-op partner or three will pay off in spades. You’ll want to exploit the tag-team attacks and revives as much as possible. And if the going gets tough, go ahead and steal a life — we won’t tell.
Trophies to shoot for: “The Power Of Friendship” (In a multiplayer game, reanimate another player at least 25 times), “Armed And Dangerous” (Defeat at least 200 enemies using interactive objects)
Time Crisis: Razing Storm
Gaming scholars have long known that lightgun-style shooters are an ideal choice for casual-gaming partners, and Time Crisis: Razing Storm is a natural if you’re packing two PlayStation Moves. The Arcade mode is packed with humongous action set pieces, screen-filling boss battles, and loads of secrets. Don’t overlook the Time Crisis 4 and DeadStorm Pirates bonus games, either.
Trophies to shoot for: “Arcade Master” (Clear Arcade Mode Ranking Play), “Synchronized Shooting” (Reach a Teamwork Level of 100% in DeadStorm Pirates), “Sharpshooter” (Obtain a ‘Nice Combination!’ rating 100 times in DeadStorm Pirates)