7 Video Games You Can Play with Your Teenager

Teens are difficult, finding games to play with them shouldn’t be

7 Video Games You Can Play with Your Teenager
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

As the COVID19 lock-downs move into their third month, families continue to look for ways to cope. Kids of all ages are stuck at home, and teenagers are taking it the hardest. Parents know that raising teens can be tough in the best of times. With the anxiety and missing social pieces of the puzzle, it’s that much harder on kids and parents.

If you’ve seen any movies with angst-ridden teens, they pretty much get it right. Connecting with them, on any level, can feel like an impossible mission at times. Local co-op games give us the perfect vehicle to make that connection easier.

My son is 13 and fully in the throes of teenhood. He thinks he knows it all and will tell you about it incessantly. But through it all, we’ve been able to connect through our mutual love of gaming. I search endlessly to find games that he will like that also offer local co-op. They aren’t plentiful, but they do exist.

Here’s 7 local co-op games that teens will actually want to play with their parents.
Overcooked. Source: Twitter.


This one is charming, quick, and the true definition of “easy to learn, hard to master”. Overcooked makes the players cooperate to prepare and serve meals before the timer runs out. Each level is a different kitchen to work in, but the challenge comes from various obstacles that change the way you navigate the kitchen. Story mode and single-level options are available, and each stage is re-playable for a better score/grade.

The key is to work together, and the magic of the game is just how you choose to do it. You will laugh, you will scream, and you will have a blast doing it.

Available on all platforms.

Stikbold. Source: SIEE.

Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure

Stikbold! is an odd, adorable game with a story ostensibly about dodgeball and saving the world. It’s a bit hard to follow, but you’re not playing it for the story. You want to peg some people with a rubber ball. Stikbold! delivers in that way, with simply-designed but challenging levels that are incredibly fun to play.

The objectives of each stage vary, as you may be aiming at people, a bus, or even sea creatures. Random events change the levels and add to the challenge, but it’s never unfair. The cute graphical style and unintelligible dialogue add to the charm and will leave you smiling throughout.

Available on PlayStation 4.

A Way Out. Source: Hazelight Studios.

A Way Out

This one is rated Mature, so it’s best for the older teen demographic. This is a story-driven game that still delivers some of the best actual gameplay in the genre. Each player controls one of the protagonists, sometimes working apart but often coming together to achieve a goal.

This is a great game for anyone who is new to gaming, as the controls are mostly of the button-press prompt variety. Think of it as an elevated form of QTE (Quick-Time-Events) style gaming. A quick press of the indicated button makes a successful outcome. Not so quick, and your character may be caught or killed.

The draw here is the story, about a prison breakout and the origins and aftermath thereof. It is a wild violent ride throughout, well written, and with a solid payoff. Worth the price of admission for those who like their entertainment on the dramatic side.

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Guacamelee 2. Source: Drinkbox Studios.

Guacamelee 2

The sequel to a well-regarded indie game, it surpasses its predecessor in every way. It is a Metroidvania-style platformer where running, jumping and various attacks rule the day. As you upgrade the attacks and abilities, more areas open to your characters, and you progress semi-linearly through the entertaining story.

Communication with your playing partner is truly key here. Some sections require split-second timing, with one player controlling the level while the other bounces through to the next screen. Potentially frustrating, but these sections never feel unfair or out of reach of your skills.

The Aztec/Mexican aesthetic is a refreshing change from most of what is on offer with PlayStation. Lovingly detailed backgrounds may cause you to stare in awe while your character plummets into a lava pit, so be forewarned. One of the best experiences of this type on any system.

Available on PlayStation 4.

Castle Crashers Remastered. Source: Twitter.

Castle Crashers Remastered

If the card game “Exploding Kittens” was made into a video game, it would be Castle Crashers. This one is outrageously crazy, both in its art style and the frenetic gameplay. It’s a beat-em-up where two players control knights, using various weapons to hack and smash the bad guys to bits.

This game will tickle your funny bone and appeal to the early-teen love of toilet humor. It’s not uncommon to see a forest creature with diarrhea running across the screen. The enemies are unique and charming even while they try to murder your characters. There’s not much story here, but you won’t want to take your eyes off the action long enough to notice.

Available on PlayStation 4.

Worms W.M.D. Source: Team17.

Worms W.M.D.

This is the evolution of the tank games we grew up playing, where pixelated guns fired at each other across the screen. These have been replaced by hand-drawn, detailed maps filled with murderous teams of anthropomorphic worms. The goal is to eradicate the other team, and your arsenal is filled with truly hilarious ways to do it.

Banana bombs, flying sheep, and the Concrete Donkey are just a sample of the insanity on offer here. No matter the weapon, you and your opponent will take joy in torturing each other’s worms, chipping away at their health, or blasting them clear off the map. Easy to play, hard to stop, simple to recommend.

Available on all platforms.

Rocket League. Source: Twitter.

Rocket League

Simply put, Rocket League is one of the most popular games on the planet. This “soccer played with cars” game is simple in premise, and the more you play the better you become. Watching the pros in one of the e-sports leagues is akin to witnessing a wizard at his craft, but the game is a joy regardless of skill.

The gameplay is lightning fast, while various pickups grant powers that affect other cars or even the ball. Rules can be adjusted to enhance the fracas, with extra gravity or exploding cars just a small sample of the tweaks. This is another one that anyone can pick up, much as the sport it emulates has low barriers to entry.

Available on all platforms.

Extra Life: LEGO Games

I couldn’t resist adding an 8th entry, as the LEGO games are one of this family’s favorite franchises. Developer Telltale Games has made itself one of the best-known studios in the world on the back of the LEGO license. They have created nearly three dozen titles, most of them recreating a well-known media property in brick form. They are charming and usually a delight to play.

More than likely your teenager has grown up playing these games in some form. The magic lies in that they are still just as fun to play today. They tend to skew more simple and are collect-a-thons at heart.

They are love letters to the properties they emulate and can be enjoyed by all for the humor and details they include. Chances are there’s a property for every taste, as this list shows. There’s something here for everyone!

Source: Unsplash.

Teens will always be a challenge, so finding a way to connect with them is now more important than ever. Gaming is a way to foster healthy competition, keep their brains active, and even laugh together for a while. I hope you and yours find as much joy in these games as our family has.

Be well, and long live gaming.


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