Playing Videogames with my Girlfriend

Posted on March 26, 2018 by Richard Goulter

My girlfriend and I have had a bunch of fun playing videogames together.

Layton’s Mysteries

I had bought this for the Nintendo 2DS.
I didn’t realise it was available on Android phones, and I’d heard good things about the Layton series.
Unfortunately, many reviews suggest that other games in the series are better.

In any case, we found this game to be quite fun to play together.
“Layton’s Mysteries” is a puzzle game.
The gameplay is split into two parts: finding/interacting with different parts of an area, and solving puzzles/riddles.

The “find/interact with parts of an area” is (IMO) quite dull.
It just involves ‘clicking’ on each person, object, lightbulb, etc. shown until finding all the ‘puzzles’.

The puzzles are the real meat of the game.
There are many different kinds of puzzles.
Some will have a deliberate trick answer. (Often “zero” is the trick answer, whenever the wording of the question may allow for it. e.g. “a bus has this fuel efficiency, minus this for every person in the bus. If all the people get off the bus, how far can the bus go with this fuel?”.).

We did get quite stuck on a couple of the puzzles to the point where we had to use all 3 clues. – Mostly I’d blame this on poor phrasing/wording.
But for the most part, we were able to have fun thinking about it and trying “this is the answer, no this is the answer”.


“Overcooked” on Steam is Windows only. (Although maybe it’s available on PlayStation and Xbox).
And it doesn’t have multiplayer over internet. So, you can only play it together with other people on the same computer.

I’d seen “Overcooked” played by Achievement Hunter on YouTube.
It’s clearly chaotic fun there.
“Overcooked” is ‘multiplayer Diner Dash’. That is, you play as a chef in a kitchen, there are orders which need to be cooked. Each order has a specific set of ingredients, and the ingredients may need preparation. The kitchen features stations for picking up ingredients, preparing them, cooking them, and delivering them.
To make things more interesting, “Overcooked” often adds constraints in each level. e.g. one ‘kitchen’ takes place in two trucks, which periodically come together, and drive apart. So, the players have to plan which tasks they can do on one half, and what transfer must be done when the two halfs of the kitchen are together.

It turns out that the game is really designed for four players.
But, it can be played by two.
– It can be played by one; but then the point of the game is the constraints make communication and strategy decisions made between players are important. And so with just one person, there’s no chaos or tension like that.

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed playing “Overcooked”.
We played it on an old laptop; so things were a bit laggy.
The experience tended to be: - Try a level once or twice to see what constraints come up. (e.g. Whether the kitchen splits in half. Or that there are rats who will steal any food left lying around). - Discuss “I’ll try doing this part, you do that part”. Try that. - Discuss “What would help is if I were to … and you were to …”.

It was really satisfying to get 3-stars for a level.
Sometimes we got a score much higher than the score required for 3-stars. One time we got the required score exactly!
– You don’t need to get 3-stars for each level. In order to progress through the game, you need to have enough stars to ‘unlock’ the next level.

I think what makes “Overcooked” so good for multiplayer is: - It’s co-operative. So there’s a shared goal. And it’s in everyone’s interest to get along. - It requires coordination between players. - Low barrier to entry: The games rules are actually very simple. And it doesn’t seem like it demands huge skill with a controller. The challenge comes more from decisions about how to go about doing tasks.

Pit People

“Pit People” was developed by The Behemoth. The Behemoth also made “Castle Crashers” and “Battleblock Theatre”.
Their games on Steam have overwhelmingly positive reviews.

“Pit People” is a turn-based strategy game.

Unfortunately, we didn’t really enjoy playing this.
I took a look at the negative reviews, and it seemed to match our experience:
e.g. The combat was really slow. And didn’t seem to involve much strategy.

The game also seemed to have a lot of ‘stuff’, but it wasn’t always clear what was going on.

After playing with my girlfriend, I have since put in a couple more hours into the game by myself. (Although not yet with my girlfriend again).
It’s not bad. I’d say it takes some time to get used to.

I think it doesn’t compare favourably to e.g. “Tiny Metal”.
“Tiny Metal” is ‘inspired by’ “Advance Wars” (and “Fire Emblem”), which are cute turn-based strategy games. “Pit People” and “Tiny Metal” are both turn-based strategy games, which have an overworld where players move their army about and choose which fight to fight next.
Overworld: “Tiny Metal”‘s overworld is bare-bones. Barely more than a prettily dressed up menu. “Pit People”’s overworld much more complicated.
Turn-based gameplay: “Tiny Metal”’s involves quite a depth of strategy. You can construct units, and so can choose units which are hard-counters to enemy units. (e.g. anti-aircraft guns which can eliminate enemy aircraft quickly, but are defenseless against ground units). – “Pit People” seems to put its ’strategy’ into unit-composition; but this doesn’t seem to have a large impact and fights just seem to take a long time regardless of what attacks what.

It seems to me “Tiny Metal” is much more fun in the meat of the gameplay (turn-based gameplay).
It’s not that “Pit People” is dumber. But it seems to be more complex in areas where the game should be simple.

I also think “Pit People” limits the gameplay in its overworld by limiting the inventory space.
e.g. you need to return to the city to heal/revive your units after a battle. Or you can use a campfire, (like in Final Fantasy games). But, your inventory is only 8 slots. And campfires don’t stack.
And you need inventory space to collect spoils from a fight.
– I believe the complaint I saw in a negative review which said “you have to return to the city every two skirmishes, no matter what”.

Lego Star Wars

I’d played through “Lego Star Wars” by myself a couple of times before, many years ago. (As well as having played “Lego LotR”, and “Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).

The series has added some complexity/gimmicks to its formula, as well as improving the co-op gameplay to split the screen!

But, yeah, we played through the classic “Lego Star Wars”.

We had some difficulty with the platforming. I think LSW was somewhat unforgiving here.
My girlfriend wasn’t familiar enough with using a game controller, and so her thumb got quite sore.

But besides that, the gameplay is fairly simple. And the cutscenes are cute, and it’s cute to play as the Lego characters.

The other fun thing was the “what’s this person’s name again?” type things.
– I’d done a movie-marathon of all the Star Wars movies with my girlfriend leading up to The Last Jedi’s release.

Ibb and Obb

I’d heard good things about “Ibb and Obb”.
I also had seen Achievement Hunter’s PlayPals play this (though they edited out most of their gameplay).

It’s a puzzle-platformer, and is only for two-players.
The platforming/puzzling is built around mechanics around moving between above-ground/below-ground. Below-ground has gravity pointing up. So, kindof like “thinking with portals”, but using flipped-gravity instead of teleportation.

The game is very cute.
I think the puzzle-platforming did require a good amount of skill/precision in places. (I’m not sure if it requires it from both players, though).

I don’t think there was too much discussion about how to solve puzzles. Most of the time it was more a matter of struggling to execute a particular plan.


“Cutthroat” is similar to “Hidden in Plain Sight”, or “Thieftown”.
The basic premise of these games is that the game screen has many units on screen, but there’s no indication of which unit is controlled by which player. So, the goal is to figure out which unit you are, which unit the other player is, and then eliminate the other unit.

“Cutthroat”’s design/variation on this formula is that there are four kinds of units, and each unit has two abilities (in addition to a basic attack).
– One good thing about this is it makes it easier to find your own unit (since you get to select which kind of unit your unit is).

I felt that my girlfriend didn’t enjoy this one as much. Or, rather, it would take quite a bit of practice to get used to.
More than once, we had to wait for the level’s timer to run out to the point where almost every non-player unit was removed from the map before someone won.

I kinda felt that the units on the map lacked vitality. It felt kinda dead to look at. But, perhaps if they were livelier, it would be more difficult to spot other characters.

Ultimate Chicken Horse

I’d also seen “Ultimate Chicken Horse” on Achievement Hunter’s videos.
They played with four players. I was concerned that it wouldn’t work as well with two people. – But mostly it works just as well.

“Ultimate Chicken Horse” is a platformer game, where the goal is to reach the end of the level.
The twist is that: if all the players make it to the end, no one wins any points. (And if no one makes it to the end, no one wins points). Each round takes place on the same map, and each turn the players get to pick an ‘obstacle’ to place on the map. (e.g. a platform, or an auto-firing crossbow).

I don’t know if this works with greatly-different skillsets playing at the same time. (It’s not cooperative). – But there is an option to ‘handicap’ a player, by reducing the number of points someone gets from winning a turn.

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed this.
I think because: - The platforming itself is relatively easy. So you always think “I could do that”. - Just because you might not get points, doesn’t mean it’s not fun to see someone die because of a trap/obstacle you placed. - Since everyone places obstacles simultaneously, even just that is kinda fun: You can plan a route to help yourself, place an obstacle to make things harder, or place an obstacle to nullify the obstacle the other players placed. - The graphics are quite cute.

The only way it’s not as fun for two players as it is for four players is that with two players it’s “I win the round, or you win the round”; whereas with four players, it’s possible for multiple players to win.

Newer post Older post