The Best Asymmetrical Multiplayer Games

Highlights

  • Asymmetrical multiplayer games offer a unique gaming experience where different teams have different gameplay mechanics, creating thrilling and dynamic gameplay.
  • The genre has evolved over time, with newer games establishing themselves as big hitters in the industry, providing both new and familiar horrors for players to enjoy.
  • From horror games like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to cooperative puzzle games like “We Were Here Together,” there’s a wide range of asymmetrical multiplayer games available for players to explore and enjoy.

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Asymmetrical multiplayer games are where two teams or groups of players experience the same game but with different gameplay mechanics. A stellar example is the Left 4 Dead 2: Versus Mode, which, although dated by today’s standard, was one of the most popular examples of this type of game. Half play as zombies, the other half as survivors.

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Since the early days of asymmetrical co-op and multiplayer, the genre has steadily chugged away in the background, with loads of newer games establishing themselves as big hitters in the genre. Here are some of our favorite asymmetrical multiplayer games.

Updated on December 25, 2023 by Jouanna Bondakji: Asymmetrical multiplayer games let you see what it’s like to work together with and go against your friends at the same time. Games like hide and seek have always had a sort of thrill to them in real life, and asymmetrical games replicate that pretty well. This list has both newer and older asymmetrical games, and we’ve added even more for you to check out.

17 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

New And Familiar Horrors Unite

the texas chain saw massacre leatherface chainsaw dance

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, this asymmetrical horror game is worth checking out. There’s usually one killer hunting down a group of victims in these types of games, but this one has you running from and fighting off three killers at once.

The hunters are Leatherface and two of his family members, while the victims are entirely new characters unrelated to the movies. There are multiple ways to make your escape as the victims, but also several ways to hinder victims’ progress as the family. Each character from both sides has abilities unique to them, and the victims have different stats that you can pour skill points into improving. With two groups against each other, you’ll always be on your toes. You can read more about the game in our review.

16 Identity V

A Specialty In Atmospheric Horror

Identity V Man In Red, Painter Violetta, and Mercenary Naib looking towards the viewer

Identity V is a hit or miss because of its distinct art style and mainly mobile platform. But when it hits, it really hits. Though it’s a four-versus-one asymmetrical game at its core, it has an entire plotline with a detective whose investigations you follow.

There are a ton of survivors and hunters you can choose to play as, and they all have special skills and abilities, so strategizing is essential. As survivors, you have to decode five cipher machines to use the password they give for the exit. As the hunter, you must stop the survivors from getting away by tying them to rocket chairs and sending them back to the manor that started it all. Identity V has even done crossovers with other medias, like Danganronpa, Persona 5, and even the Junji Ito Collection.

15 Among Us

Lies And Betrayal: The Game

Crewmates sit in the cafeteria while ghosts fly behind them in Among Us.

You can have a lot of fun with Among Us, especially in big groups, since it can host up to 15 people. The core gameplay is pretty simple: you, as a crewmate, have to go around your ship and complete different tasks. The problem arises when there’s an imposter–sometimes more than one–killing off the crewmates one by one.

To get to the bottom of this, you have to utilize voice chat (or your keyboard) to discuss whom you think the imposters are and vote them out. It sounds simply enough, but paranoia and distrust will almost guarantee innocent crewmates being ejected into space. If you’re the imposter, sharpen up your sneaking and lying skills to achieve success. If you’re the crewmate, trust no one.

Among Us has incorporated a new “Hide n Seek” mode that has some gameplay changes. It’s even more tense than the original mode, as you’ll be playing in the dark with a limited scope of vision as you try to stay out of the seeker’s way.

14 Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed

Hunt Or Haunt Your Friends

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Trainee Ghostbusters Using Their Proton Packs

There’s something weird in the neighborhood, and the only ones to call are the local Ghostbusters. There have been a lot of takes on the cult favorite spook-solving squad, some better than others, but Spirits Unleashed seems to be the best one yet.

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This asymmetrical multiplayer horror game pits a team of Ghostbusters against a resident haunter of choice. There are a lot of unique ghost designs, including some classic characters from the franchise on both sides of the board. It’s a fast and arcade-feeling game by Illfonic that knows its source material, so you’ll especially enjoy it if you’re a fan of these famous ghost hunters. So grab a squad of your friend and get those ghosts!

13 Depth

Ready To Fear The Water?

Depth: Diver Fighting Off Shark With Machine Gun

A game that’s sure to be a favorite for those with thallasaphobia, Depth is an exercise in submerged scares that’ll keep you out of the ocean for a long while. Developed by Digital Confectioners, Depth features a crew of scuba diving salvagers facing off against a big undersea beastie, with the goal of getting back to their ship in one piece… and with pockets of treasure.

There’s a range of creatures to try out, from sharks of abnormal size to prehistoric creatures. They have their own unique styles and benefits to using them as they chase the dive team around. To have a chance of surviving, the human team gets access to all sorts of protective equipment and weapons, but in the end, nothing can ever stop a big hungry shark. Sessions are short, fast, and full of opportunities to scare the absolute bejeezus out of each other. So if you like underwater monster horror, then Depth is worth diving into.

12 Crawl

Be Quick And Lethal To Win

Crawl: The Hero Fighting A Large Chicken Monster Boss

If you’re looking to find out just how unforgiving your friends can be, just play Crawl. This dungeon-crawling indie game by Powerhoof is an anarchic and brutal roguelike RPG with a twist. Instead of the roles being fixed in each round, everything is fluid and anyone can win.

How that plays out in gameplay is, at any given time, one of you controls the protagonist who has to go through each room in a level, fighting monsters and generally trying to survive until the end. At the same time, the other three players act as roaming spirits and can possess objects and creatures to attack the protagonist. If they kill the protagonist, they become the hero. This lasts until you get to the exit of the dungeon or are killed and replaced by another player. So there’s a constant fight of one-upmanship as everyone turns on whoever is currently winning the game.

11 Panoptic

Where’s Waldo? With Mind Manipulation

Panoptic: Getting Caught By The Giant Overseer

Another asymmetrical multiplayer game with a twist. Instead of a team versus one, this is a more personal versus mode of one person on a keyboard and mouse and the other in VR. Developed by Team Panoptes, Panoptic is a perspective-shifting stealth game that can provide a lot of tense moments and creative mind games.

High in the sky floats a giant all-seeing mask with the ability to shoot eye beams at anyone below; that’s the VR perspective. Meanwhile, far below on ground level is someone controlling a small masked human amongst a massive crowd. The goal? Blend in and make it to the end of the area without being spotted or zapped. There are a lot of opportunities for messing with your friends’ heads as you try to guess what the other is doing, and the amount of unpredictability in each session can lead to a lot of laughs. If you want to tower over your friends as a god or cause havoc for a headset-wearing mate, then Panoptic should be on your radar.

10 Back 4 Blood

A Modern Take On Left 4 Dead

Back4Blood: Survivor Being Attacked By A Tall Boy

Back 4 Blood, developed by Turtle Rock Studios, was released in October 2021 and was not overly well-received by those who were expecting a return to the glory days of Left 4 Dead. The gameplay is a bit clunky, the level progression and storyline aren’t quite as gripping, and the return to the zombie-killing formula maybe isn’t exactly what everyone wanted after all.

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However, its versus mode is one of the game’s more exciting features. Each team is divided into four players – four Ridden (the zombies) and four Cleaners (the humans) that are tasked with destroying each other. There is no Campaign versus mode like in Left 4 Dead, but it’s still quite a lot of fun.

There will be no more future updates for Back 4 Blood, but the game is still completely playable.

9 Aliens Vs. Predator

A Hidden Gem

AvP: Marines Fighting Xenomorphs

2010’s Alien Vs. Predator was developed by Rebellion, a studio that diehard fans of the Aliens universe have credited with creating one of the most refined Aliens experiences yet.

Games based on movies don’t have the best reputation, but with over 12,000 Very Positive reviews on Steam, this game is an underrated experience. The versus mode in Aliens Vs. Predator is intense and engaging. No matter whether you play as an Alien or Predator, you’re going to be terrified. Don’t even mention the Marines. It’s pitch-black most of the time. Overall, a great game to check out if you can get some friends together.

8 Friday The 13th: The Game*

The Fun Is In The Jank

Friday The 13th: The Game - Classic Jason Searching For Counsellors

Friday The 13th was once a very enjoyable asymmetrical multiplayer game. Based on the horror franchise, most of you play as survivors, while one takes on the role of the iconic Jason Vorhees. However, things have gone a little downhill since the game’s initial release.

The developer servers have been dropped, which means anything left is usually a modded server–a recipe for disaster. All the original horror thrills of the game are somewhat ruined if your character has Thomas The Tank Engine for a head. On the other hand, these circumstances can lead to some unexpected laughs. If you can get a group of players together, it’s still worth your time, but if not, best to stick to another game on this list.

7 Secret Neighbor: Hello Neighbor

Screams Of Terror And Laughter

Secret Neighbor: Key Art Showing What The Neighbour And Children Look Like

The Hello Neighbor games are pretty infamous at this point, but Secret Neighbor is the standout that’s actually worth trying out. While not as popular as Among Us, Secret Neighbor finds its way onto this list because it is a bit more intense. Like, actually pretty scary.

Again, the premise is pretty simple: six of you try to rescue your friend from a locked basement, trying to avoid the Neighbor, who plays alongside you. Best played with a group of friends, this game will have you half-giggling half-screaming.

6 Tick Tock: A Tale For Two

A Short And Sweet Cooperative Experience

Tick Tock A Tale For Two: Art Showing Watches And A Mystery Tunnel

This game is a little different, as its focus is fully on cooperation rather than competition. Developed by Other Tales Interactive, Tick Tock: A Tale For Two is a co-op asymmetrical puzzle game where two players need to work together to solve a variety of complex puzzles. It’s cross-platform for Switch, mobile, and PC, so you can play wherever as long as you can talk.

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It’s a relatively short game, coming in at around 2 and a half hours, but for the price of just a fiver, it’s definitely worth it if you’re looking for a short and sweet puzzle game

5 Natural Selection 2

Dive Into The In-Depth Gameplay

Natural Selection 2: Marines Surviving An Onslaught From Bugs

Released in 2012, Natural Selection 2 still has a small but active competitive player base, there are still servers running, and the developers even stop by every now and then. There have been over 350 updates and counting. It’s a classic asymmetrical multiplayer game, considered by its dedicated player base to be one of the best asymmetrical shooters ever made.

Two teams, one comprised of aliens, the other of humans. There is a great variety of different aliens you can play as, as well as some cool mechs for the humans. The mechanics also go way beyond other games of this genre, with a complex mix of RTS and FPS gameplay. There’s a commander with a map overview and units (controlled by real players) that move around the map… It’s complicated, intricate, and not exactly a casual experience. Perfect for something to really sink your teeth into.

4 Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

Test Your Communication Under Pressure

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes: Wiring, Buttons And Gizmos Required To Disarm The Bomb

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes from Steel Crate Games is still one of the most intense and enjoyable asymmetric co-op experiences out there. There’s a bomb, you have to defuse it, but you don’t know how. The only people that do can’t see the bomb.

It’s a fast-talking game that can quickly devolve into chaos. The so-called Experts, your friends, have the manual. They need to tell you what to do in a step-by-step process as quickly as they can, while you must relay what you’re seeing to them accurately, or the bomb explodes. A chaotic game that is as fast-paced as it is loud.

3 We Were Here Together

Put Your Heads Together To Win

We Were Here Together: Two Players Encountering A Distant Flare

This stripped-back asymmetrical experience is for two players only and plays out like a sort of advanced Escape Room. Some of the puzzles are extremely complicated, with one reviewer pointing out that they needed a real-life whiteboard to complete the game.

It’s either a make or break for your friendship, too. Being able to essentially throw your puzzle-partner under a metaphorical bus makes for a fun, if occasionally frustrating, experience. Work together or you’re just not going to get anywhere. We Were Here Together is tense, hilarious, and just a solid game to play with a friend.

2 Dead By Daylight

Play As Iconic Horror Protagonists And Antagonists

Dead By Daylight: The Trapper Shown In Key Art For The Game

Dead By Daylight is definitely one of the most popular asymmetrical multiplayer game on this list, with almost 500,000 Very Positive Steam reviews. It is the pinnacle of the genre, although it’s already more than five years old.

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Competitive horror shapes the gameplay of Dead By Daylight. Four players try to survive, one player tries to kill them all. It’s cat-and-mouse at its brutal best, with perks helping or hindering your attempts. There are so many variables as you play, like abandoning your teammates to escape early, or using them as bait, that makes the game fresh each time around. A great introduction to the genre.

1 Left 4 Dead 2

Zombies Of All Types

Left4Dead 2: Encountering Zombies

For many, nothing really beats the classic co-op experience of Left 4 Dead 2, which has sort of been stewing away in the background with continued mod and custom creation support while players wait desperately for the next big zombie co-op shooter.

Two teams of four play as either survivors or zombies, with the zombie players taking control of some of Left 4 Dead’s most iconic creations, like the Boomer. It’s pretty much the next best thing if you really enjoyed Left 4 Dead’s terrifying enemies while appreciating its tongue-in-cheek nature, providing a bunch of new weapons and campaigns.

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