These days, enjoying the fun of co-op puzzle games needn’t require purchasing expensive gaming consoles or equipment. Platforming games like Fireboy and Watergirl have become a huge hit with online audiences, namely because they offer casual players the opportunity to embark on adventures without breaking the bank.
But why, of all free flash games, has Fireboy and Watergirl proved to be such a hit? Well, the colorful platformer also mixes in a fun dose of puzzle elements and the ability to play cooperatively with a pal. With this in mind, we’re taking a look at five other games that will hit on some — if not all — of these features.
The added bonus? All of these games are relatively expense-free, but they’ll substantially level up your gaming experience. So, find your Player 2 and dive into one of these new (or retro) adventures!
Fireboy and Watergirl
Before we delve into our other recommendations, let’s take a quick look at Fireboy and Watergirl. If you’ve yet to experience the fun of this easy-to-play hit, it’s worth carving out a little time to check it out. Throughout the course of a Fireboy- and Watergirl-led adventure, you control one of the titular characters (or both if you choose to play solo).
As their names suggest, one avatar is composed of fire, while the other is composed of water, which means they must work together to avoid a variety of obstacles. That is, Fireboy has to skirt around water hazards, and Watergirl would do well to avoid lava-filled pits and other fire-based traps. Additionally, both characters need to steer clear of any green lakes you stumble across.
All of this said, the mechanics are pretty simple. Using arrow keys (and/or the AWD keys), you’ll guide the elemental heroes through mysterious worlds and quest for riches. Not to mention, the game is so popular that there are a variety of sequels available. So, if you’re looking for an easy-to-play co-op adventure that combines platforming with light puzzling elements, check out Fireboy and Watergirl’s many titles on Cool Math Games.
It Takes Two
Looking for something with more world-building? Embark on an epic quest in It Takes Two. The premise here is that Cody and May are going through a rough divorce, but everything changes when they find themselves turned into the dolls that their daughter, Rose, made to represent them. As a result, the player is tasked with finding ways for the couple to work together and restore their human forms. If you want to play with a pal, send them a friend pass, which will allow them to join you for free. After all, this game is all about teamwork.
Developed by the award-winning studio Hazelight, this co-op adventure features a beautifully rendered world and occasionally hilarious plot points. Don’t believe us? Well, you will once you find yourself facing off against a gang of squirrels, piloting a pair of underwear, and bobsledding in a snow globe. You never know where the It Takes Two journey will take you next, making this whimsical, exciting ride one you’re sure to love.
TLDR: Full of whimsy, fun action-adventure platforming, and robust co-op.
Available on: Steam (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S
Get ready for a blast from the past and relive the ’90s with Snow Bros. Originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and in arcades, Snow Bros. is now both a free-to-play Arcade Spot title and an app. If you vaguely recall this game from your youth, we recommend getting a refresher before you jump back in.
In the game, players join snowmen brothers Nick and Tom as they embark on a quest to conquer 50 floors of challenges. After they escape, they’ll be able to reach their girlfriends (so long as they aren’t in another castle). You’ll want to use the Snow Bros.’ icy powers to your advantage; defeat enemies by turning them into snow-covered bowling balls, for example, and then use them to get a “strike” by taking out other foes. Full of nostalgia, Snow Bros. is super easy to play and a great choice for days when you’re looking to have a little lighthearted fun.
TLDR: Great co-op mode, nostalgia-filled feel, back-to-basics platforming, and snowball bowling.
Available on: iOS, Android, Online (Arcade Spot); Originally: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis, Game Boy, Arcade machine
Minute of Islands
In Minute of Islands, you’ll guide young mechanic Mo on her quest to repair a world that’s on the edge of collapse. From fantastic islands to mysterious labyrinths, the places you traverse are all beautifully rendered, but they also reveal that Mo’s all-powerful Omni Switch may not be enough to repair what lurks beneath the broken world’s surface. You know — it’s all really low-stakes stuff.
But, in all seriousness, although the fate of Mo’s world may rest in your hands, but the game actually has a rather poetic, almost quiet feel. It’s certainly not as frenetic as some of the other platformers on this list, but the puzzles, art direction, and narrative make it just as engrossing. As you stumble upon otherworldly machines and witness the truth behind the islands’ hidden past, you’ll see that Minute of Islands is like piloting a protagonist through a living, breathing graphic novel.
TLDR: Inventive platforming, narrative-driven puzzles, and a beautifully rendered game world.
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam (Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems, Classic Mac OS), Xbox One
Take it all the way back to the 1980s with the classic arcade game Bubble Bobble. While this 1986 game originally hit everything from arcade machines to the Atari ST back in the day, it’s now a free-to-play title on Retro Games and available in app form. While there have since been plenty of entries in the Bubble Bobble franchise, there’s a reason the original gets re-released every few years on the latest platforms.
As you may know, players control one of the two characters — Bub and Bob — who are eager to save their romantic interests from the Cave of Monsters. However, things take an interesting turn when Bub and Bob wander into the cave world and find themselves transformed into bubble-blowing dinosaurs.
Each level is presented as a new screen where Bub and Bob must collect items for points and defeat their enemies by trapping them in bubbles. Once you’ve got an enemy trapped in a bubble, jump into them to turn them into fruit that you can collect for bonuses. (Clearly, Bub and Bob are on the Pac-Man diet.) Take too long to complete any level, however, and Baron Von Blubba will appear in an attempt to destroy you! How’s that for stakes? Plus, there’s a lot of replay value here with 100 levels total to master.
TLDR: Solid co-op mode, retro masterpiece, back-to-basics platforming, and bubbles. Lots of bubbles.
Available on: Online (Retro Games), Android, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Windows; Earlier Releases: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Arcade machine, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, DOS, FM Towns, Game Boy, Game Gear, J2ME, MSX, NES, Sharp X68000, ZX Spectrum
In Journey, you control a robed figure who is traveling a vast desert, nearing a mountain that looms off in the distance. You can meet other players on your journey, but you cannot communicate with words — just a musical chime, which has the power to transform dull cloth into a shade of vibrant red. This mechanic also impacts the world around you and adds to the game’s progression.
The music, which was composed by Austin Wintory, responds to the player’s actions and builds to a single theme that feels mimetic of the game’s emotional arc. The score was nominated for a Grammy — a first in video game history — and the game earned five BAFTAs for its audiovisual splendor. Often called one of the greatest video games of all time, Journey has a relentless beauty that’s easy to get lost in — and those startlingly emotional moments are a real bonus.
TLDR: Unique, emotionally resonate co-op, beautifully rendered world, and an all-out audiovisual masterpiece.
Available on: PlayStation 3 & 4, Microsoft Windows, iOS