Happy Valentine’s Day (or 14th of February, which ever you prefer). As I dash to the shop to pick up a present (like some lads) I was thinking about all the games my wife and I like to play. I had previously done a Multiplayer Madness post but it was more focused on series of games that are great to play with friends. This post is about the games Sharon and I regularly play together. There may be some overlap but I’ve tried to keep this one unique. Instead of talking about an overall series, I’ll be looking at individual games. The list will be heavily skewed towards Nintendo because Sharon loves their games but there will be one or two surprises. I hope you enjoy.
Lego Harry Potter
Might as well get the overlaps out of the way. Sharon is a massive fan of the Lego series of games. Every time a new one is released, we try to get our hands on it. I’ve gone for the Lego Harry Potter games as she’s a massive Potter fan. I know these are technically two separate games but who’s counting. The first part (Years 1-4) was originally released in 2010, with Years 5-7 following in 2011. TT Games’ take on the Harry Potter films sees us play as a range of characters as they smash, build and zap their way through the levels. As with most Lego games, there are tonnes of characters to unlock, abilities (or spells) to acquire and mini-kits to collect. Each film is lovingly recreated, with levels dedicated to key scenes. These are accessed through certain areas of Hogwarts Castle. The Castle represents the hub world but has its own secrets to uncover, from classrooms where you’ll learn spells, students in peril that need rescuing and secret areas where you can find the elusive Gold Bricks. Sharon loves the simple pick up and play style of these games. The humour, inventively done as there’s no voice acting, the level design and the overall Lego charm are a joy to behold. It’s an absolute blast to play in multiplayer and I honestly can’t think of any other way of playing it.
Mario Kart 8
The second (and last crossover from the Multiplayer Madness post) is Mario Kart 8. We don’t have the Deluxe version so I’ve gone with the Wii U one. The game comes with the standard Mario Kart modes that we’ve come to expect from the series: Grand Prix, Battle and Vs Mode. We spent a lot of time in Grand Prix as the Battle Mode doesn’t feature its own arenas. With a large number of karts and characters to unlock, this one kept us occupied for a long time. Sharon enjoys the older games but this and the Wii version are her favourites. I never really cared for the Wii version in multiplayer because the Grand Prix mode is absent in 2-player. With this one, we would compete to see who could take home each cup. Not to brag (but I really am), I am the better Mario Kart player but Sharon has come a long way with the series. Now, she can regularly beat me and she will let me know. I try to brush it off as me going easy on her but that’s just a lie to preserve my pride. Remember when I said there was a large selection of characters to race as? Well, Sharon used to rotate between a few characters but the moment we bought the DLC with Link, that was it, Link was her go to guy. Wish I could play as Link someday…
Super Mario 3D World
Recently rereleased with Bowser’s Fury, Super Mario 3D World had you play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Rosalina or Toad as you tried to stop Bowser. As you’d expect from a Mario game, it features a variety of lovingly crafted levels for you to hop, jump, stomp and… eh… purr your way through. Introducing the Cat Suit, Mario and friends can now lunge at enemies and scramble up walls and flag poles. Playing this one with Sharon was great fun. While we enjoyed New Super Mario Bros., they can feel a bit hectic because of their design. This one was a little bit more relaxing. We would work together to reach the end of each level, while trying to find every Star along the way. I would rotate between the characters as they each had their own style but Sharon was adamant that she would be Luigi (she loves Luigi). I’m glad this one got a port to the Switch as its give people who never owned a Wii U a chance to play it. It’s a great game that’s not as frantic as New Super Mario Bros., not as grandiose as Super Mario Odyssey but a fun adventure nonetheless.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
This is the one we’re currently playing. We’ve completed the main story and are just sweeping up the remaining quests. If you’ve ever played Dynasty Warriors, you’ll know what to expect from this one. It’s a hack’n’slash adventure set before the events of The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild. The game follows Zelda, Link and Impa as they look for help in stopping the revival of Calamity Ganon. Along the way, you’ll find new party members, each with their own style for you to try. The art style looks wonderful but the game is sadly prone to slowdown, especially when using specials. We blasted through this one relatively quickly. I would experiment with characters, Sharon would be Link. She found his combat style fluid and easy to control. That’s why he’s nearly level 100, while everyone else is hovering around level 60. It’s surprisingly addictive and unlike other games in this style, I never really got bored with it. I think this may be a combination of its mission design along with playing the whole game with Sharon. We’re so close to 100% and when that’s done, we’ll probably revisit the original on the Wii U.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The only single-player game on the list. Well, the only one we’ve played in single player. Uncharted 4 is the final chapter in Nathan Drake’s story (for now). Here, he teams up with his brother as they go on an exhilarating journey to uncover a lost treasure (it’s always a lost treasure). The game is explosive, with several key events playing out in cinematic fashion. It’s my second favourite entry in the series. This is a bit of an unusual entry as I was playing this by myself when Sharon sat down to watch me. As I got further and further into it, she became more invested. She eventually decided she wanted to play it by herself. Due to its nature and the multitude of difficulty options, Sharon picked this one up very quickly and had a blast playing through it. I would sit and watch as she was drawn further and further into the action, only giving guidance whenever asked. Although not a multiplayer game, we did have fun playing through this one together and I hope she’ll play more of the series someday.
Left 4 Dead
Me: “Now there’s a Witch ahead, so let’s be careful.”
Sharon: BOOM “Got her with the shotgun.”
And that’s how Sharon has an achievement that I don’t. Left 4 Dead is an adrenaline fuelled run and gun adventure through zombie infected levels. While some may play cautiously, Sharon would pack a shotgun and charge straight in to devastating effect. Often, she would reach the Safe Room long before us. It may be a team game, but Sharon was surviving at any cost. Valve’s multiplayer shooter has you control one of four characters as you make you way slowly (supposedly) to a safe room to finish each area. The game has a decent variety of infected to watch out for, from the standard zombie to the fearsome Tank. There’s a number of weapons to pick up along the way to help you through. If you die, a friend can find you again in a room later on… unless that friend is Sharon, then you dead dead. We played this one with two other friends and it was absolute carnage. Unlike other zombie games, it’s not a survival-horror, so ammo conservation and strategy aren’t as important. Good thing too with how many shotgun shells Sharon went through! It’s a great game to play with friends and I’d recommend trying it and Left 4 Dead 2 at some stage.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
I could have picked any beat’em up as my final entry as we love playing them together. The simple style, easy to pick-up and play nature of them, and short length make them a nice genre to sit down with on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was a Ubisoft game based on the original Turtles in Time. It had updated graphics but kept most of the structure and layout of Konami’s original. I remember it receiving mixed reviews at the time for a number of reasons, including the updated graphics, but we enjoyed it. I would have liked an option to switch between the original graphics and the new ones but what can you do. Now, the reason I chose this one over some other beat’em ups comes down to one memory that still makes me laugh: pizza. This was a game Sharon, my friend Vinnie and myself played together. We were making good progress, smashing some foot soldiers, avoiding level hazards, when we came across some pizza. Pizza in the game is used to restore health and out of the three of us, Sharon needed it the most. Vinnie was moving towards an enemy and accidentally took it and this led to a very foul-mouthed tirade. At the time, Sharon and I were in my house and Vinnie was in his but only Vinnie and I had a head set. So, when the rant started, I simply told him that Sharon was upset. He laughed it off but didn’t realise how angry she was. From then on, any pizza she saw, she would sarcastically quip “is he going to take that one too”, before dashing to pick it up. I still laugh about it, even if it was a little frightening at the time…
I hope you enjoyed my little list. What games to you like to play with a friend? Are there any you’d recommend? Have a happy Valentine’s Day and I hope you’re keeping safe.