Highlights Xbox Series X offers a generous selection of backward compatible games that support split-screen gaming, allowing players to revisit classic titles and enjoy local multiplayer experiences. Games like Hot Wheels Unleashed, Human: Fall Flat, and It Takes Two provide fun and engaging split-screen gameplay, offering players the opportunity to play with friends and solve puzzles together. The LEGO games, Divinity: Original Sin 2, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection are examples of franchises that have embraced split-screen gaming, providing memorable co-op experiences for players.
Split-screen gaming, whether it be competitive multiplayer or couch co-op, has been on a downward trend since the seventh generation of home consoles was introduced and popularized online gaming. In the years that have followed, the rise in online multiplayer has continued to step on the split-screen gaming scene, to the point where many multiplayer games now ignore local gaming entirely.
Thankfully, the Xbox Series X has a generous offering in terms of backward compatibility, which, in turn, allows players to revisit some of the classic split-screen games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 days, along with the few modern releases that have recaptured the magic of old-school local multiplayer.
Updated September 4, 2023, by Mark Sammut:The Xbox Series X is enjoying a boom period thanks to the release of Starfield, but Bethesda’s RPG will not scratch someone’s split-screen co-op itch. Luckily, the console supports more than enough titles that offer this functionality. This article has been updated to include the specs of each project.14 Hot Wheels Unleashed Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical
Hot Wheels Unleashed is a high-octane racing game that lets players compete in wild and wacky races using a variety of iconic Hot Wheels vehicles. With its fast-paced gameplay and eye-popping visuals, this game is a blast to play in split-screen mode with a friend.
The goofy physics end up ensuring that players will have a blast, with the tracks being varied enough to remain interesting in after a few hours of gameplay. While the progression featured in this game is a bit too slow, Hot Wheels Unleashed’s tight racing mechanics more than make up for this drawback.Hot Wheels Unleashed Platform PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One Released 2021-09-20 Developer Milestone Genre Racing Check It Out On Amazon 13 Human: Fall Flat Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical
Players looking for a split-screen title that will make them laugh out loud every step of the way should definitely check out Human: Fall Flat. This physics-based puzzle game puts players in the role of a wobbly, bumbling character who must navigate through a series of surreal and challenging levels. Its gameplay mechanics are simple yet engaging, with its visuals being detailed enough to convey what players need to do if they wish to get through the numerous levels in the game.
The game is a delight to play in split-screen mode, and players will love working together with friends to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Suffice it to say, co-op is a great way to experience the unique and hilarious gameplay of Human: Fall Flat, making it an unmissable experience for fans of this style of game.Human Fall Flat Platform PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS5 Released 2016-07-22 Developer No Brakes Games Genre Platformer, Puzzle Check It Out On Amazon 12 Fall Guys Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical
Fall Guys is a whimsical battle royale game that challenges players to outwit and outmaneuver their opponents in a series of zany challenges and mini-games. Its colorful graphics, charming characters, and addictive gameplay have made it a smash hit with gamers of all ages.
With its split-screen mode, friends and family can enjoy the chaos and hilarity of Fall Guys together, competing for glory and bragging rights. The title genuinely feels like a video game version of Takeshi’s Castle, which is actually a surprisingly good way of describing how the game works.Fall Guys Platform PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC Released 2020-08-04 Developer Mediatonic Genre Battle Royale, Platformer, Action 11 It Takes Two Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical
It Takes Two is perhaps one of the greatest cooperative experiences of recent times. The micro-sized toy-like adventure sees two players (or one) take on the role of two parents-turned-playthings in an epic quest through a home that looks and feels like a fantasy world thanks to the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!-style influences. At its core, It Takes Two is a beautiful adventure that features some incredible visuals. Past that, it’s a fantastic cooperative experience in which players must actually work together if they want to proceed through the game.
Regardless of whether they’re playing locally, or online, players will always maintain a split-screen view, so that they can keep an eye on one another more easily throughout their quest. It Takes Two is an innovative release that tells a fantastic character-driven story that revolves entirely around co-op.It Takes Two Platform PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC, Switch Released 2021-03-26 Genre Action, Adventure See at Amazon 10 Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Number Of Players: 1-4 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
For those who are looking for a more exciting experience, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands offers up some great couch-coop. Although it’s not a Borderlands title by name, it players very much like the Looter-Shooter that everyone has come to know and love over the years.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands takes the Borderlands formula and upgrades it by turning it into a fantasy-styled adventure, complete with quests, D&D references, and a ton of interesting guns, magical spells, and abilities for players to find, unlock, and use. Those who are craving a first-person shooter but also want to enjoy some couch cooperation can snag Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Platform PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC Released 2022-03-25 Developer Gearbox Software Genre Action RPG, FPS Check it Out On Amazon 9 Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Number Of Players: 1-4 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
Following the success of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Activision decided to bring back another PlayStation 1 classic with a remake of Crash Team Racing. The game provided PlayStation gamers with the perfect replacement for Mario Kart 64 back in 1999, and it accomplishes the same task today.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled offers PlayStation and Xbox gamers a viable and equally enjoyable alternative to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It has everything that makes a kart racer great, from the wide selection of characters to game-changing power-ups and well-designed maps.Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Platform PS4, Xbox One, Switch Released 2019-06-21 Developer Beenox Genre Racing See at Amazon 8 Call of Duty: WWII Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Horizontal
The Call of Duty series was one of the franchises responsible for online multiplayer’s growth and consequent overshadowing of split-screen gaming. However, the IP hasn’t abandoned split-screen multiplayer itself, other than in the battle royale game Warzone.
There are many Call of Duty games playable on the Xbox Series X that are worth checking out, though Call of Duty WW2 gets the nod ahead of its peers for bringing back the classic Second World War-style that many players had been asking for since Modern Warfare 3.
The concept of Rocket League seemed like it would be the type of thing that sounds amazing on paper but is impossible to execute in a way that’s enjoyable. However, Psyonix was able to create a well-balanced, deceivingly complex game that has become a leading force in the multiplayer market and world of Esports.
Rocket League masters the art of providing a game that is easy and enjoyable for casual gamers to pick up and play, but intricate enough for hardcore gamers to get their teeth into. Better still, it’s now free to play on Xbox, having previously been reserved exclusively for Game Pass subscribers. With regular content updates, it’s definitely worth checking out.Rocket League Platform PC, PS4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, Switch Released 2015-07-07 Developer Psyonix Genre Sports 6 The LEGO Games Number Of Players: 1-4 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
The LEGO games have been a shining light in a dark time for couch co-op. Moreover, the games have likely been fundamental in the slow but steady return of the pursuit, with Unravel Two, Overcooked 2 and It Takes Two all being examples of excellent recently released couch co-op games.
LEGO games have found a winning formula in grabbing the attention of gamers by incorporating hugely successful franchises such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter while ensuring that players stay engrossed with the simple yet thoroughly enjoyable collectathon and puzzle gameplay.LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga $35 $42 Save $7 Platform Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S Released 2022-04-05 Developer Traveller’s Tales Genre Action, Adventure Check It Out On Amazon 5 Divinity: Original Sin 2 Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical
The RPG genre has always been a significant part of gaming’s multiplayer market, so it would be unfair not to include one of the genre’s many great games in conversations about split-screen gaming. There is a lot to choose from, but Divinity: Original Sin 2 manages to stand out from the crowd for a number of reasons.
Larian Studios’ fantastic role-playing gamewas first released on PC in 2017 before coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 the following year. Garnering universal praise for its modernization of CRPG staples and its ambitious storytelling, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a dense, challenging, and addictive game that supports co-op play.Divinity: Original Sin 2 Platform Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC Released 2017-09-14 Developer Larian Studios Genre RPG 4 Left 4 Dead 2 Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
The entertainment industry had a strange fixation on zombie-based media in the late 2000s and early 2010s, with books, films, and video games all trying to get their share of the undead hype. One of the most successful franchises during this time was Valve’s Left 4 Dead series, a fast-paced all-action shooter that demanded players kill or be killed.
The enemy variety and fast-paced nature of the games quickly led to them being recognized as some of the best multiplayer titles available on the Xbox 360. Sadly, the series now appears to be one of the many Valve franchises that are seemingly destined to never receive a third installment.Left 4 Dead 2 Platform PC, Xbox 360, Linux, macOS Released 2009-11-17 Developer Valve Genre Shooter 3 Portal 2 Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
Portal 2 is another critically acclaimed Valve franchise that doesn’t seem to be receiving its long-awaited third entry anytime soon. However, much like with Left 4 Dead 2, the puzzle platformer is so well-designed that players are still getting hours of entertainment out of it to this day.
Partnering Portal 2’s memorable single-player campaign is the Cooperative Testing Initiative, a co-op mode that requires players to put their heads together with a friend to solve tricky and thought-provoking puzzles. The co-op chambers feature some of the most enjoyable and ingeniously designed puzzles in the entire series, making it essential for fans of the genre.Portal 2 Platform PS3, Xbox 360, Switch, PC Released 2011-04-18 Developer Valve Genre Puzzle, Platformer 2 The Gears of War Series Number Of Players: 1-2 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
The Gears of War franchise has been one of the most important collections of games for Xbox outside of Halo. The titles showed their worth right off the bat, as the original Gears of War was released just a few days before the PlayStation 3, giving the green brand one final sales push before their main competitors released their latest console.
Gears of War games have gone on to tell memorable stories, while also consistently providing multiplayer fun. The franchise has provided traditional modes like Deathmatch and Capture The Flag, though it’s also innovated too. Horde mode from Gears of War 2 is a great example of this and has since been replicated by numerous titles across the gaming industry.Gears of War 2 Platform Xbox 360 Released 2008-11-07 Developer Epic Games Genre Third-Person Shooter 1 Halo: The Master Chief Collection Number Of Players: 1-4 Orientation: Vertical Or Horizontal
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an obvious choice for any Xbox gamer. Not only is Halo Xbox’s flagship franchise, but, depending on who one asks, the collection also features some of the best and most iconic split-screen games ever released. Despite their advancing years, they still hold up incredibly well today and are free to play for all Game Pass subscribers.
Whether it be teaming up with friends in cooperative campaigns or sniping them in a Deathmatch, Halo: The Master Chief Collection ensures that split-screen multiplayer still has a fundamental place in modern gaming. The series’ latest entry, Halo Infinite, also supports split-screen.Halo: The Master Chief Collection Platform Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC Released 2014-11-11 Developer 343 Industries Genre First-Person Shooter See at Amazon