There’s no shortage of local multiplayer Steam games that let you compete against your friends, but my favorites tend to include those that really let you rub your victories in their faces. So here are some of the best Steam games for dunking on your buddies when you hand their butts to them on a Friday night in.
Divekick bills itself as the world’s first two button fighting game. But it’s also an absurdist skewering of fighting game stereotypes and a surprisingly difficult to master game of its own. You don’t directly control your left-right directional movement in Divekick. Instead, you have a dive (up into the air) and a kick (down at a forward angle) button. Hitting your foe with a kick defeats them, and the usually brisk matches are won by the player who is first to five wins.
Each character’s dive and kick moves fire at different speeds and angles, so the game milks its limited mechanics absolutely as far as they’ll go. Combos are built through a slowly building shoe meter and are fired off by pressing dive and kick at the same time — which is literally the only remaining button option you could have. Somehow, it all works. Few games encourage the degree of trash talk and friendly rage that Divekick can generate once a group of friends have fully familiarized themselves with its control scheme.
It’s a racing game on foot, with Mario Kart style items that you use to trip up other races as you run endless loops around intricately built comic-book style courses. SpeedRunners puts you in the role of a superhero racing other superheroes, with an art style remixed from classic 1960s Sunday morning superhero cartoons.
There aren’t set amount of laps in a SpeedRunners race. Instead, up to four racers continue indefinitely around the track and each are eliminated when they fall behind and go off screen. Most devilishly, the screen size itself begins to shrink once enough time has passed, eventually resolving to the size of a tiny rectangle barely big enough to fit the racers clumped together. More than once, I’ve finished an entire lap racing within this nail-bite rectangle, my friend and I perfectly in sync as we struggle to pull ahead just the second more to secure victory.
Because laps are endless and the focus is being the fastest, not simply being fast, SpeedRunners rewards players that can build and sustain momentum. Races can resolve in less than a minute or drag on for much longer, but nailing a trap at the right moment — such as right before another player is about to hit a speed boost — can condemn them to a setback they can’t make up. And with friendship-busting items like the golden hook, SpeedRunners will ask you: Do you love your friends? Or do you love winning?
Mount Your Friends
National pride. The thrill of competition. Wiener physics. It all comes together in the aptly titled Mount Your Friends, which puts you in charge of an Olympic team of muscled, oiled men competing in humanity’s oldest sport.
Specifically, players take turns clambering over each other’s characters in a goal to make an ever-rising tower of human bodies. Once you’ve scaled the highest person on the tower, your character freezes in place and your turn is over. But since the time limit to scale the tower remains the same each round, it becomes progressively harder to get there in time.
Mount Your Friends is a throwback to the juvenile-yet-earnest humor of the internet of the aughts, with an art style strongly reminiscent of old school flash games. Rather than directional controls, each character’s limb is assigned to a different key and is controlled independently, a scheme that takes a few minutes to learn but which is extremely fun to master. It’s based on a very simple game mechanic that works far better than it has any right to.
Also, the grunting … you really need to witness it for yourself.