We’re looking at the top 13 best platforming games like It Takes Two.
It Takes is a multi-award-winning game. Its trophy rack includes GoTY’s Game of The Year, Best Family Game, and Best Multiplayer. On Steam, it won the Better With Friends Award. Lastly, at the Golden Joystick, it won Best Multiplayer Game.
Let’s see the elements of the game to better understand its success. Moreover, dissecting the title will help us identify similar platforming games. Similar games would have some mix of the elements below:
- Deep but charming story: The story is the core element of the game. You play as Cody or May, a couple on the verge of divorce. A magical spell turned them into rag dolls, and they must work together to go back to their bodies while saving their relationship.
- Tone: The setting creates a whimsical tone, but the story is full of character and personality. Moreover, there’s a big emphasis on characterization, relationships, trust, love, separation, and parenthood.
- Co-op gameplay: It Takes Two is an action-adventure platformer game. It’s only available as a co-op experience, online, or locally as a couch split-screen game.
- Dynamic mechanics: It Takes Two keeps adding new mechanics across its nine chapters. These mechanics take ideas from other game genres, but they are related to each level’s story and theme.
- Skills: Some of the mechanics the levels add are skills for the titular duo, Cody and May. For example, Cody can rewind time, and May can replicate herself at some point. Players need to cooperate and use these skills to overcome creative in-game challenges, mini-games, and obstacles. The characters get a new ability on every level.
- Puzzles: Likewise, the game delivers puzzles on every episode, in every area. Players need to interact with elements in the environment, use the skills, and research the areas to solve the challenges.
- Creative design: The studio added many creative, silly elements because you play as dolls in a magical world. You get to pilot a pair of boxers or form an alliance of a group of sewer rats.
- Friend’s Pass: If you don’t have someone to play It Takes Two with, you can buy the free Friend’s Pass. It allows you to invite a friend to play with you, even if they don’t own the game.
Overall, the It Takes Two experience is hilarious, disruptive, and fun. Still, the game manages to be a metaphor of relationships, therefore smoothly merging its narrative and gameplay.
The games like It Takes Two we’re looking for would also merge gameplay and storytelling. It must be games with something to say fueled by a dynamic action-adventure / platformer gameplay.
Games Like It Takes Two
- Developer: Double Fine Productions
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: August 2021
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series
We’re starting our list with Psychonauts 2, an Xbox Studios exclusive. It won the Golden Joystick award as the best 2021 game for Xbox, so it’s a direct competitor. Overall, Psychonauts 2 delivers laughs, suspense, and fun gameplay at all times.
The game combines a quirky tone and disruptive missions with a hilarious story. These are the core pillars of its platform-adventure gameplay. At the same time, the gameplay adds a cinematic style, humor, intrigue, and customizable powers to merge the story and the playtime.
You play as Razputing Aquato, a young acrobat and psychic. You’re a member of the international psychic espionage organization Psychonauts. Being a part of the organization was Raz’s dream, but it’s not as sweet as he imagined. He discovers a deep conspiracy underneath the group. He must help the super spies from the dangers lurking on the headquarters.
The game has tons of unique environments, plus the ability to dive into people’s minds. Raz uses this key ability to uncover memories, secrets, and stories. Ultimately, the quest is full of third-party platforming combat with psychic powers, puzzles, and jumping segments. The end goal is defeating a psychic villain in a battle full of emotional baggage, color, and insane abilities.
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Publisher: Valve Corporation
- Release Date: April 2011
- Platform: Windows, macOS X, Linux, Xbox 360, PS3
The Half-Life spin-off is the definitive co-op experience and an all-time genre-defining classic. This entry draws the original Portal’s innovative formula, gameplay, music, story, and characters to create a cult following experience. In essence, Portal 2 is a 3D puzzle-solving / maze game.
Portal 2 has a single-player mode and a multiplayer mode. On Single-player, you go through a series of test chambers using the Portal Gun, a weapon capable of creating portals anywhere. The two-player mode is another campaign that introduces two new characters. More importantly, it forces players to reconsider the story they learned while on a single player. Overall, Portal’s plot is deep, sarcastic, and sad.
The gameplay is about a series of mazes within a lab. Players must use the Portal Guns to pass each level while dodging hazards, turrets, and other unique obstacles. The labs’ main computer, GLaDOS, will do anything it can to trample you.
Either mode features an extensive campaign with a complex physics system. In particular, the game has a creative and impressive range of challenges to produce a large and challenging game. On top of that, you get Portal 2’s editing tools to craft, play, and share your own maps.
Ori and The Will of the Wisps
- Developer: Moon Studios
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: March 2020
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
The second entry of Microsoft’s original series is one of the best platformers of the generation. It also shares other key elements with It Takes Two, like a whimsical setting, creative abilities, and skill-based puzzles.
Ori is a little spirit living in a quiet forest. After finding his friends in peril, he journeys to heal the land and discover his destiny. The setting delivers a gorgeous-looking 2D platforming adventure with Metroidvania elements. It’s an experience platforming fans can’t miss.
The adventure takes you deep into forests and caves to meet friends, fight foes, and learn abilities. The scenarios are stunning, as the studio hand-painted every character and area. Then, there’s the music, an original orchestral score traveling alongside you. Lastly, there’s the story, an emotional coming-of-age story.
As I said, this is a Metroidvania-type game. That means your new abilities and upgrades allow you to unlock inaccessible areas on the map. Lastly, there’s a hub area where all of the friends you rescue live, and you can improve the site to unlock different areas and skills.
A Way Out
- Developer: Hazelight Studios
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: March 2018
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Hazelight Studios blew up with It Takes Two, but it’s not their first genre-breaking title. Their prior title, A Way Out, is also a co-op adventure, not available as a single-player title. However, you can play it with Steam’s Remote Play Together.
You play the role of one of two prisoners, and the goal is escaping prison. The characters are Leo and Vincent, who craft an alliance to break out. The plan they create is tricky, so, during the story, they do their own things, separate from each other, across the prison.
Over time, the third-person adventure gameplay turns into an emotional, thrilling, action-packed story. Each character has a strong personality and a reason to regain their freedom. They need to cooperate to solve many obstacles, puzzles, and challenges.
That said, the gameplay is dynamic and evolving. Game segments include stealth, melee combat, shooting, driving, running, bonding with other inmates, researching, and more. We must add that A Way Out is not a game for children, including mature content.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Developer: Sumo Digital
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: November 2020
- Platform: PS4, PS5
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a great option for those who enjoy It Takes Two. Sadly, it’s a PlayStation exclusive, so if you don’t have a Sony console, you won’t be able to play it.
That said, this is a sequel to the PlayStation platformer LittleBigPlanet series. As before, the studio delivers a family-friendly experience with charming little characters. It doesn’t have a deep characterization or mature themes, but it excels at providing pure joy and exciting gameplay mechanics.
You play as the franchise’s mascot Sackboy. He goes on a small but epic adventure to save Craftworld, his homeworld, from the villain Vex. The title offers a similar experience as It Takes Two because it combines 3D platforming with puzzles, active combat, and a whimsical tone.
More importantly, Sackboy is better when you play with friends. You can join up to three people online or locally. The game will adapt its challenges according to the number of players in the party, so certain challenges require cooperation. If you go solo, though, Sackboy is still a massively fun little platforming title.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Developer: 505 Games
- Publisher: Starbreeze Studios
- Release Date: August 7, 2013
- Platform: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Nintendo Switch
Before Josef Fares founded Hazelight Studios, he worked at another indie place, Starbreeze Studios AB. About a decade ago, he directed Brothers, a competing narrative puzzle platformer. Years later, he continued exploring the themes of this game on the award-winning co-op.
The older game focuses on two brothers on a fantastical adventure. Their journey is about finding a cure for their sick father before it’s too late. The emotional experience is full of epic moments, magic, self-discovery, pain, anger, and love. In a way, the title is about facing adversity and going through the perils for the sake of someone else’s.
You guide the two brothers as a single-player co-op experience. Even so, the Nintendo Switch version allows two players on local co-op, each one behind a character. That said, you control each character with a thumbstick. That delivers a unique but very challenging playtime.
Overall, Brothers seems like the spiritual prequel to It Takes Two. It’s a “co-op” emotional platforming adventure that continuously develops the characters and mechanics.
- Developer: Coldwood Interactive
- Publisher: EA
- Release Date: June 2018
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Take-Two Interactive is currently in a legal battle against Hazelight because of the “Take Two” name. Funny enough, there’s another game with a similar title and even formula, Unravel Two. In fact, you can also play this game via Steam’s Remote Play feature.
Unravel Two is a local co-op or a single-player experience. It’s an adventure/platformer game where you play on a cold land as a “Yarny,” a little magical creature. The story opens up a setting full of exuberance, energy, platforming, and combat. The goal is to awaken the world around you to help nature blossom.
This game is best in co-op, though. You can join another friend in a local co-op, but not an online co-op. If there’re two players in the party, though, both members must support each other to complete multiple trials and traverse the world.
Overall, Unravel Two is a gorgeous, silly, and fun game navigating tiny natural landscapes. Both the gameplay and the landscape evolve and flourish as the characters progress. It’s a playful title about problem-solving within a heartfelt story.
Human: Fall Flat
- Developer: No Brake Games
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Release Date: July 2016
- Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
Human Fell Flat is another platforming with a loyal, happy fan base. This is a physics-based puzzle platformer. You play as a customizable avatar “Bob,” a regular human with no skills. He can only do stuff like grabbing and moving items and climbing ledges.
The story happens in a light-hearted world of floating landscapes. There’re over 18 dream worlds, and each one has environmental challenges, mechanics, multiple routes, and puzzles. The overall tone is playful, and the gameplay encourages exploration, creativity, and ingenuity. Similarly, the game is open-ended, offering players multiple ways to solve puzzles.
Moreover, the game has an online multiplayer feature to make challengers easier. Up to 8 people can join you to transform the areas and go through. In essence, you can use many items in each area to your advantage, thus changing the scenario to solve a puzzle. For example, you can move a boulder to a make-shift catapult and throw yourself over a wall.
Lastly, there’s a character creation screen to customize various aspects of your head, body, and outfits. Similarly, there’s the Steam Fall Flat Workshop. It allows players to create and share game content (levels, skins, and lobbies).
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
- Developer: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: February 2021
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
It Takes Two fans could probably enjoy Super Maro 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. A Nintendo Switch exclusive follow-up to the Wii U Mario 3D platformer.
The game follows Mario and friends saving cute little fairies from Bowser. It happens after the series’ villain invaded the Sprixie Kingdom. If you’re at all familiar with the series, you know the kind of joyful 2D platforming this is.
The gameplay feels similar to any other Mario game, but it adds many new features to spice up the genre. For example, there’s the Super Bell, a power-up that turns you into a cat to climb walls and scratch enemies. There’re multiple power-ups available in the game.
Lastly, you can play the game solo or with a group of friends. Up to 4 players can join the match either locally or online. Each player can choose a character from the Mario world (Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad). Each character has a distinct ability for different play styles.
- Developer: Ghost Town Games
- Publisher: Team17
- Release Date: August 2016
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Overcooked 2 is neither a platformer nor a puzzle game. But if you like the light-hearted fun It Takes Two offers, this is the best game we can recommend.
This is a life-sim adventure game featuring cooking, farming, crafting, and co-op. These elements blend together for an interactive cooking game with plenty of humor and charming characters.
You play in the Onion Kingdom as part of a team of chefs. The chef team is your online or couch co-op friends, and up to four players can join your session. Together, you must save the world from the hunger of the Unbread, as the plot says. That means working together (or not) in a messy kitchen to fulfill goals.
The game can happen across various land, air, and sea maps. You get to cook according to the map of each theme, like sushi restaurants or alien planets. Overall, it’s a fun, friendly, and wholesome experience to share with your family and friends.
Little Nightmares II
- Developer: Tarsier Studios
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: February 2021
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Little Nightmares II is a mysterious and nearly frightening adventure. We choose it because it also mixes its game mechanics with its narrative. In particular, core abilities, enemies, and environmental designs go hand-by-hand with the game’s dark story.
This suspense adventure game introduces Mono, a young boy in a distorted world. Six, a little girl wearing a yellow raincoat, is your guide. Together, you go on a journey to discover the dark secrets of the world and its Signal Tower.
The journey includes a plethora of enemies, puzzles, and mysteries. The gameplay delivers a mix of platforming, puzzles, and combat in a 2.5D world. Mono can swing from certain objects, fight, break things, and sneak by. More importantly, Mono has to protect Six and work with the little girl to solve puzzles and evade or defeat enemies.
Lastly, we must commend the quality of the game. Currently, the studio is selling the Deluxe Edition, and owners of the original title get free access to the upgrade. The newer version packs 4K visuals, 60-12fps, ray-tracing, volumetric shadows, increased detail, and immersive 3D audio. That said, it requires a 6-core CPU plus an Nvidia 2080 / 3060 to run (or a new-gen console).
We Were Here Together
- Developer: TMG Studios B.V.
- Publisher: TMG Studios B.V.
- Release Date: October 2019
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Macintosh operating systems
We Were Here Together is a co-op puzzle game. It takes players on many challenging scenarios and locations akin to escape rooms. The idea is to work together to keep going forward.
The original game, We Were Here, premiered as a free title. The third part of the series, We Were Here Together, has a free demo you can try. This newer entry introduces a unique setting, Castle Rock. Here, you must cooperate with a friend to regain freedom.
You play as explorers on a rescue mission to rescue your missing crewmates. The game starts at your camp, where you need to plan your quest and discuss clues. Ultimately, the journey takes you towards the castle while uncovering the truth of the character’s expedition.
The tone of the game is dark, sinister, and suspenseful. You and your friend must infiltrate a castle while using only a walkie-talkie to communicate to add more danger. If you use third-party voice chats like Discord, you might ruin the experience. So, overall, Together is about cooperating to solve puzzles, rescue NPCs, and a dark storyline.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: June 2021
- Platform: PS5
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the latest entry in the PlayStation series. It’s also one of the best games like It Takes Two. Yet, it’s not a co-op, and it’s not deep, but it’s a genre-defining platforming adventure title.
Rift Apart uses the power of the PlayStation 5 to deliver a swift and smooth experience. In-game, Ratchet and Clank get lost in different dimensions. They must find each other and stop the villain, Dr. Nefarious. As for the players, they experience a game without loading screens. The title is capable of rendering multiple scenarios instantly for an awesome experience.
That said, Rift Apart is a platforming game with third-person directional shooting. The tone is bombastic and explosive, and the design is creative and colorful. The game uses these elements to deliver an ever-increasing gameplay experience. In essence, the game continuously adds challenges, puzzles, and plot points.
Lastly, the game has several weapons, and armor players can upgrade. The arsenal is wide and varied, and so are the enemies. As a result, the gameplay is dynamic and fun. Overall, platforming fans should try out the Insomniac title if they have a PS5 (that’s the hard part).