Cooperative video games to use in session with client?

Seeing a 12 yr old client in his home, he has an X-Box One…can someone recommend some games where we are playing together as opposed to against one another? I need some cheap recommendations! Going to go shopping tomorrow! I have my list but looking for your suggestions! Thanks in advance!

I am including some posts I received from the Geek Therapy Community on Facebook… but please keep adding to the list!

Tricky Towers! It’s a physics based Tetris style game that has both competitive and co-op. My 12 & 14 yo sons love it!

Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime; Overcooked I should mention these are both digital downloads only though.

Army of Two. It’s literally cooperative

You can buy these in-store and all have couch co-op: Any LEGO, Gears of War, and Halo games, Resident Evil 5 and 6, Call of Duty: Black Ops III campaign or zombies, Call of Duty: WWII zombies, Dynasty Warriors 8, Rayman Legends. I would check if he has any of those first. I think Halo, Rayman, and some LEGO games are good go-tos to have in your toolbox. You can buy the Xbox 360 versions (cheaper) of these last games and they’ll work on an Xbox One as long as it has the latest software update.

Diablo is great as well!

Portal 2 really requires intense cooperation.

Castle Crashers, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Portal 2, Hard Corps: uprising, dynasty warriors, cuphead


For the most part, you want games that you can pick up and put down easily and that match a therapeutic goal. Death Squared is a good choice for slowing down communication and helping your client be precise in their requests. You can also practice taking turns being in charge, which can be helpful in balancing the power dynamic in therapy. Lover’s in a Dangerous Space time is great for exploring intensity of communication and determining what level of urgency is appropriate in the moment and how to modulating one’s voice to match the circumstances. Overcooked is great for exploring role reorganization and communication/negotiating one’s responsibilities (I use this in couples therapy and it works great). Rayman Legends is good for exploring consent and asking for permission before moving forward. Cuphead is great for discussing when to be selfish and when to support your partner. For rapport building, any hack and slash game like dynasty warriors and castle crashers are good choices because they are easy to pick up and put down. Diablo 3 is a great game, but it difficult to play that game in 20-40 minutes of a session. Portal 2 is a great game that requires teamwork, but it’s also complex to master in one session and may leave the client dissatisfied. Feel free to ask any questions. I’ve been running therapy groups using video games for the last 3 years and using games in individual and family sessions for the last 5. Hope this helps!


I think Spelunky is easy to pick up and is good for discussing teamwork, it also works well in terms of switching leadership roles. It requires planning and a calculated approach, go too fast and you are more likely to make mistakes, so it’s also good for impulse control.

“Enter the Gungeon” might be good for rapport building. Im sure the must be some nice applications for it but none of them come to mind.

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Games that I use in session have been: Portal 2, and then since we are Canadian, any NHL game.

My general rule of thumb is that it has to be cooperative - not competitive.

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I’ve used Overcooked and Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time effectively in therapy. Another good option is Death Squared, which is very cooperative and more of a cooperative puzzle game.

I’ll also add that I have recommended Celeste for clients dealing with Anxiety or Depression to play on their own for us to discuss in session. The game features a main character who is dealing with similar issues without explicitly saying so, throughout the game.


I love using Viva Piñata, it’s a purely cooperative game where you both contribute to the garden. They can decide who to try to lure to the garden, which piñatas to keep and which to eliminate… Offers lots of fodder for building a space together (literally and figuratively) and about preferences for different types of people. Also, I love using it as a way to analogize negative and positive relationships (sour piñatas/bad dudes that show up), the potential for positive change (sour to regular piñatas), and boundaries. I like how it offers the idea of building a theoretical environment around oneself that is pleasant and tolerable!