Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but its nearly that time of year again. The time where young couples have a romantic date at their local McDonald’s, staring longingly at each other over a McFlurry, whilst old couples, typically sick of the sight of each other, are forced to make an effort on this special day. Yes that’s right it’s Valentine’s Day!
But don’t go running to the nearest supermarket for a card just yet, because here are TheXboxHub’s Top 5 games for Valentine’s Day to get you back in the good books:
Honourable Mention – Firewatch
Starting the list off with a curveball – a single-player narrative experience. But it’s one that can be completed within an evening and offers a compelling story throughout, only really let down by the ending.
Players control Henry, a guy who has just started a job as a fire lookout in Shoshone National Park. He is in constant communication with a female named Delilah, an old pro in the park having done the job for over ten years.
What follows between them has romantic undertones throughout, particularly on one evening, but it’s the connection and relationship they build over the walkie-talkie which makes Firewatch stand out. You see, it’s very human. That may sound silly but never has a game represented a relationship so well before, and many couples will be able to take something away from the experience. Of course things don’t go to plan, leaving Henry to solve the mystery going on around the park.
If Firewatch only does one thing, it will keep players guessing until the very end.
5 – Halo: Master Chief Collection
Sometimes, no matter how perfect we claim to be, we are going to piss our partner off. It’s only natural. And sometimes they may express that anger physically or emotionally. Which is why this game is on our list. Because now that physical exertion can be done on a virtual battlefield, avoiding any damage to property and/or person. Hurrah!
Halo: MCC is in place on this list over Halo 5 for a couple of reasons. One is the sheer amount of content the MCC offers: over 100 multiplayer maps, four full campaigns (five with Halo 3:ODST DLC) and Halo 4’s Spartan Ops mode. The other, more crucially, are its local multiplayer capabilities.
After decimating each other on any of the multiplayer maps, you can kiss and make up, before combining forces to take on one of the campaigns. It’s probably best to stick to Casual so that you don’t die as much and blame each other though. This is the day of love after all.
4 – Rocket League
Another game where you can choose to play together or play against your loved one, but this time it involves little RC cars and oversized footballs!
Rocket League is a personal favourite in our household and anyone who has ever tried it will likely agree. It’s incredibly easy to pick up and play, supporting up to 4-players on one console if you are into polygamy, and comes with both offline and online support for when you need an extra challenge.
It’s a worthy investment also as developers Psyonix are committed to bringing out updates. In the 12 months since its release on the Xbox One there have been new maps, new cars, accessories (some paid for) and even a whole new game mode in the form of basketball. This is a game that will easily cover many date nights post-Valentine’s Day as well.
Another standout part of the game is the soundtrack. It’s a gorgeous mix of different genres of dance music, with many giving out a more chillout vibe. This is frequently being added to as well, so feel free to leave the game running on the main menu when you have finished playing and give the soundtrack a listen.
3 – Trackmania Turbo
Number 3 on the list is another driving game, but this one takes on a more traditional driving mechanic – hurtling around a track as fast as possible in order to post the quickest time.
Trackmania Turbo is pure time trialling and while it is possible to go head-to-head on the same track at the same time, the cars will phase in and out of each other rather than colliding. It puts skill front and centre, as opposed to barging into an opponent on a corner and overtaking them. I’m looking at you Mr Every-other-driving-experience I have had online.
Trackmania Turbo has another little mode that puts it on this list though. Two players, one car. Not some mechaphiliac reference to the infamous internet video, but two players using two controllers to manoeuvre the same car round the track. You are able to see which direction you are steering towards with the halo around the car, and as long as both players can match up direction, the car will go that way. It rarely happens though and more often than not will result in an argument. The skill comes from being able to know each other’s technique to driving and being able to then compensate for yours. Get it right and this is a co-op game worthy of a bit of practice. Get it wrong and it’s the spare room for the night.
TMT also includes a track editor, but if you are unable to steer a car together this should probably be avoided altogether.
If, like me, you are a bit of a tight arse when it comes to over-commercialised special days like this, then Lovers will be right up your street as this month it is one of the free Xbox Games with Gold. Completely free and also rather good.
Lovers tasks 1-4 players in a co-op journey among the stars as you all help pilot the ship and rescue kidnapped animals. Each player takes on a different role within the ship, whether that be taking charge of the shield, engine or turrets. Once each level has been complete the heart shaped portal opens to the next area.
The art style may not suit everyone, but the gameplay excels when in co-op and will offer something for every couple. Teamwork is once again key to enjoying this game to the fullest, but if you can work together then Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime may be the grandest adventure a couple has taken since the first time they met the in-laws.
1 – Overcooked
Fewer things are more romantic than preparing a meal for a loved one, lighting some candles and putting on some Teddy Pendergrass (ask your parents), before sitting down and enjoying it together. Cooking on your own is fairly easy. Cooking as a group with moving kitchen units and against the clock is far from easy. The polar opposite of relaxing, Overcooked can bring record stress inducing levels to any relationship.
But why is it number 1 on our list? Because Overcooked is the ultimate gaming test of any relationship, but get it right and it will easily become one of your co-op favourites. The premise is simple: cook meals in various different kitchens fulfilling orders against the clock. When time ends you get an overall rating.
The first time you try it, things will be pretty disastrous. But if you can get over this and try again, you will be instantly hooked. Overcooked gives off that ‘One more try!’ appeal better than most, as you work together and try and best your high scores. Once you get the hang of it, the game’s charm will win you over for good.
And that’s the list! Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments and whether you expect them to make or break your Valentine’s Day.
Good luck – you might need it!