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The Best Nintendo Switch Local Multiplayer Games to Play With Family & Friends This Thanksgiving Weekend

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We’re on the eve of Thanksgiving, and tomorrow many of us will see turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Cheetos (or is that just my family?) up to our eyeballs. Regardless, if you’ve no interest in watching football, then before and after Thanksgiving dinner might be a bit of a bore. In that case, why not pull out your Switch and invite some family members to some competitive or co-operative gaming!
The following is but a sample of some suggested games I have to make this Thanksgiving fly by fast like a live turkey that just heard the word “dinner”. While this is by no means an exhaustive list (otherwise we’d be here till long after Thanksgiving), I feel that these titles are a great start to what will hopefully be a good holiday for our readers in the United States.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu / Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee (MSRP: $59.99 each)

Our first games are listed together, but both versions are not necessary to purchase to enjoy the entire package. They merely start your Pokemon-catching adventure with either Pikachu or Eevee, so it’s really based on preference. Regardless, one player can join up with another to travel the land of Kanto together, catch Pokemon together with Let’s Go‘s simple Pokemon GO-style catching system, and battle other trainers together. Sure, this makes an already rather easy game (well, for the most part) even easier since you can face trainers in two-on-one Pokemon battles, but really, as long as you’re enjoying yourselves, everything is just A-OK. Besides, the world of Pokemon is already a dog-eat-dog one anyway. Wait. I’m thinking about the world of Black Friday shopping. My mistake!
Super Mario Odyssey (MSRP: $59.99)

This next game is great for a parent to play with their child or an experienced gamer to help out someone of a lesser skill level. Super Mario Odyssey offers a multiplayer mode called Assist mode, allowing one player to control Mario while the other controls Cappy, Mario’s sentient hat in his adventure. Players are advised to work in tandem to complete goals, and while the person controlling Mario is basically the starring role here, the player controlling Cappy is not just along for the ride. They can assist Mario by attacking enemies, capturing them, and working the camera. Controlling Cappy is perfect for that aforementioned lesser skilled player who just wants to enjoy Super Mario Odyssey, but might not have the total coordination needed to fully play a 3D platformer just yet.
Super Mario Party (MSRP: $59.99)

Mario Party as a series is always a good time with family and friends (unless it ruins relationships, of course), and the latest entry in the series arrived on the Switch last month with Super Mario Party. Offering over 80 mini-games which all show instructions on how to play them beforehand, simple one Joy-Con controls, and an appealing number of modes to try out, Super Mario Party has a lot of meat to it. Whether you play a free-for-all board game, a 2-on-2 Partner Party match, have everyone team up to paddle down a forking, raging river as you play mini-games in River Survival, or play with the beat in some rhythm mini-games, Super Mario Party will have your family readily coming back for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths and–you get the idea!
Mario Tennis Aces (MSRP: $59.99)

Maybe you and your family are discussing politics (first of all, why would you even do that?!) and you get into a bit of a scuffle. Don’t settle it at the dinner table–settle it on the court in Mario Tennis Aces! (I’d say “Settle it in Smash“, but that’s not out yet!) This tennis title featuring the Mushroom Kingdom cast has modes for everyone–from involved rallies with traditional tennis rules to more arcade-style rules, such as the ability to slow down time to reach faraway shots or allowing you to power up and smash the ball right into your opponent’s face. “Yeah, NOW tell me about that ‘myth’ called global warming, Aunt Lindsay!” There’s also tennis where you can play with motion controls for a more involved and aerobic gaming session–great for burning some of those extra Thanksgiving dinner calories.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (MSRP: $59.99)

With 48 racetracks total, a reinvigorated Battle Mode, and more characters and karts than you can shake a banana peel at, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a game that anyone can enjoy due to the features added with the Switch version. Players can opt to have steer assist on, meaning that if they head towards the edge of the track, the game will automatically steer them back on course. There’s also an auto-acceleration feature, so players won’t have to hold down the A button to continually drive forward. Finally, those who don’t want to mess with the analog stick to steer can tilt the controller like a steering wheel to drive their kart around. All of these are optional features and they allow any kind of player to love reaching their desired need for speed.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (MSRP: $39.99)

As you’re seeing with this list of local multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch, there’s a grand mix of competitive and co-operative multiplayer games on offer. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the latter, and it has one player controlling Captain Toad through diorama-like level filled with puzzles. The other player is the omniscient helper, who can freeze enemies in place, move platforms, and throw turnips at foes to defeat them. The co-pilot, as it were, is a great role for someone who might not be wholly comfortable controlling Captain Toad, or wants to join in to help the other player in some of  the game’s truly tricky levels and challenges!
Kirby Star Allies (MSRP: $59.99)

Team up with three other players in local co-op as you adventure through Green Greens, Dream Land, and even outer space in Kirby’s latest adventure. Kirby Star Allies is a bit of a breeze to pick up and play, and while the adventure itself isn’t too challenging, it does allow for most to have fun with the game. Players can collectively clobber enemies, call upon Dream Friends to help out, feed one another health pick-ups to rescue ailing teammates, and much more. Teamwork makes the dream work, and all of the wonderful (and free) DLC that has expanded the base game puts Kirby Star Allies as a terrific, stress-free title more than worth its asking price.
ARMS (MSRP: $59.99)

Speaking of clobbering, ARMS is all about fist-to-fist fighting in closed arenas using extendable weapons called ARMS. Each ARM has unique properties and elements to it. Some are hammers that pound into opponents, some are covered in ice–temporarily freezing your competition in place–while others can certainly bring a shock to your adversary’s system quite literally! ARMS has traditional controls, but for a Thanksgiving with family, you GOTTA get up and put a Joy-Con in each hand and use motion controls to punch up your party (and your opponent)!
1-2 Switch (MSRP: $49.99)

If your family is the type to love having fun (well, that narrows things a down bit already! Not!) but doesn’t have much experience playing video games, 1-2 Switch is an excellent party game that doesn’t really require complex combinations of inputs on the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. Consider 1-2 Switch like the console’s version of Wii Sports in that it’s a casual-oriented title for all. Instead, you use the controllers to perform enjoyable and hilarious tasks in motion-controlled mini-games like milking a cow, for instance. Whichever player fills up their cup with the most milk is the winner. The simple to learn controls make 1-2 Switch a fantastic party game for all ages.
Go Vacation (MSRP: $49.99)

Jumping off of 1-2 Switch, perhaps your family is more “with it” with video games and needs something with more depth to it. Go Vacation is very much that kind of game. Taking cues from Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort, Go Vacation is set on an island with a multitude of activities to participate and partake in. There’s racing across a wide variety of vehicles such as ATVs, water bikes, race cars, snowmobiles, skis, snowboards, horses, and so forth– and other things to do like tennis, beach volleyball, table hockey, scuba diving, trick competitions, mini golf, snow-tubing, ski jumping, horseback riding, river rafting, and many more activities. All that and the ability to freely roam Kawawii Island’s four main resorts. Simple motion controls or traditional inputs make for one island getaway that won’t break the bank. (But you won’t get a tan, however.)
LEGO City Undercover (MSRP: $29.99 – Currently $8.99 on the Nintendo eShop)

You might be asking yourself, “Phil, why do you mention LEGO City Undercover when there are no less than six LEGO games already on the Switch?” My answer is this–What sets LEGO City Undercover apart is that: 1) The adventure and story are wholly original–not based on any licensed property, 2) The story itself never failed to make me laugh–or at the very least, smile–with its humor for both kids (slapstick humor and whimsical characters) and adults (references of movies and TV shows that most kids won’t know), and 3) LEGO City is an absolute joy of an open world that can be explored with another player. The city is dense with discoveries to find, characters and vehicles to unlock, and just family-friendly fun to play around in for all.
Sonic Mania (MSRP: $19.99 – Currently $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop)

For those retro gaming enthusiasts in your family, or just anyone who loves the Blue Blur, Sonic Mania is an excellent game to play together in co-operative fashion. Like Super Mario Odyssey, one player can control the main character Sonic while a lesser skilled player (or anyone else who wishes to tag along) can assist as Tails by defeating enemies, grabbing rings, and helping out. For further multiplayer fun, try the competitive mode which has players racing in full levels to reach the goal before their opponent does. Meanwhile, Sonic Mania throws in the Encore DLC (a $5 upgrade), adding new playable characters to the mix. Whether alone or with another player, Sonic Mania and its Encore DLC are what I consider the ultimate 2D Sonic the Hedgehog package.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (MSRP: $29.99 – Currently $20.99 on the Nintendo eShop)

Also from Sonic Team, we have Puyo Puyo Tetris, which is a title that offers two unique puzzle games in one package: SEGA’s Puyo Puyo and one that is much more likely to be familiar to family members, Tetris. As the title of the game suggests, Puyo Puyo Tetris also has a mode that mixes and mashes these two puzzle game types into one. There are a wide assortment of modes to play both offline and on, a full story mode with a tutorial to learn the basics of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris, and a charming presentation to make the entire collection all the more desirable.
Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (MSRP: $39.99 – Currently $15.99 on the Nintendo eShop)

While New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe won’t be available this holiday season to play with family, another four-player co-operative 2D platformer definitely is–and it’s on sale on the eShop starting today. It’s Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition, one of the finest 2D platformers ever since its original launch on the Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Up to four players can challenge themselves to trek through Rayman Legends‘s delightfully designed levels, making steady progress thanks to a generous checkpoint system. While Kirby Star Allies is aimed more towards a younger audience with its difficulty, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition can get quite hard in later levels! However, for a casual platforming play-through, there’s little better on the Switch for such a stellar deal.
Super Bomberman R (MSRP: $39.99)

This last game (but not the least game–or something like that) on our list is both competitive and co-operative in modes. The main draw of the Bomberman series is its head-to-head-to-head-to-head multiplayer mode where the goal is to drop bombs and trap your opponents in their explosions to eliminate them from the match–while not blowing yourself up in the process. Be the last Bomber standing, and you’re the victor. Though most multiplayer characters and arenas are locked away in the shop–needing to be purchase to unlock them–what’s in the game when you immediately begin Super Bomberman R should be a… wait for it… blast anyway. Meanwhile, the story mode campaign delivers not only solo play, but a friend or family member can join in to help out. Just watch out for friendly fire!
There you have it–fifteen games to perhaps play with family and/or friends this Thanksgiving weekend. Do you agree with these picks? Which games would you add and remove? Let the TouchArcade community know in the comments or tweet at us. Happy Thanksgiving!