Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes
Pop quiz hotshot.
There's a bomb ticking away in front of you, you need to defuse it. But you don't have the instructions. Your beer soaked friends have the defusal instructions, but they can't see the bomb. What do you do?
This is best with VR, but you can also play it on your monitor too, as long as the other team can't see it. This is probably the best game on our list for parties: most of the players don't even interact with a computer, but with the printed bomb disposal manual.
Playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is at the same time a tense and glorious experience. Any number of people can make up the defusal team and I've seen this played with groups of drunken strangers.
With two people it's tense, a recreation of bomb disposal scenes from a thousand thrillers, but with 5+ drunken players hollering at you and each other? It's delicious chaos.
Do you like eighties movies? Do you want to adventure through 80's action movies with up to 3 friends? Tango Fiesta might be "your bag": this top-down shooter channels Smash TV (itself a product of 80's action movie The Running Man) to deliver a dose of nostalgia right to your face.
One of the better indie co-op games I've had my hands on recently, Tango Fiesta lets you choose an iconic movie character, kit them out with iconic movie weapons and then turn them loose.
There's a playful element of competition - while you succeed or fail as a team, someone still has to come first and score is attributed based on piles of collectible cash on the ground but, in a nice twist, bashing your frenemies with a melee attack causes them to drop a bit of cash, allowing you to pick it up.
How about a game without killing? SpeedRunners is all about the need, the need for speed.
Speedrunners feels like a perfect cross before Micro Machines' Micro Maniacs spin off and Mario Kart. You're trying to keep pace with the 3 other players on a two-dimensional map.
Fall behind and you're eliminated, so you'll need to use smarts, platforming skills and a grapple hook to try and keep up. If that doesn't work out, there's a host of power-ups to keep you competitive, including the golden grapple hook which pulls the leading player back towards you.
SpeedRunners is a game for the hyper competitive, with maps rewarding repeated playthroughs and a bit of knowledge.
It's quite quick to pick up, but more experienced players will easily dominate the rookies until they get the hang of the maps, but as soon as they've worked out the flow of the maps the playing field is even. It's one of the best indie racers available now, if you can forgive the lack of anything that goes "Vroom Vroom".