Will your love keep you alive? Couples games test levels of collaboration and care

Looking to take your relationship to the next level? You might want to try a video game.

Games for couples such as Haven (2020), Until Dawn (2015), Overcooked (2016) and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (LiDS; 2015) aim to test how romantic partners communicate, collaborate, support each other and build relationships. strategies.

In LiDS, for example, players explore a vibrant galaxy in a large neon battleship that can only be controlled when the two work together, one equipping the turrets, lasers and shields while the other powers the thrusters.

In the interactive game Until Dawn, the battlefield changes with each decision a couple makes. Meanwhile, their friends’ lives and theirs hang in the balance.

In Haven, the battle is more abstract. How much importance do we place on the happiness of a partner, when times are tough and all is not going our way?

These games can be eye-opening for couples who have been together a long time, advisers say. They can help answer questions such as, how have the dynamics changed; and, is one of us acting too quickly, nullifying the initiative of the other? They can give lessons in love that carry over into the real world.

What’s not advisable is to play such games if you’re already having problems as a couple, says dating and relationship coach Simran Mangharam. “These could add to stress in ways that might be hard to predict. In an unsupervised environment, they could lead to damaging confrontations that might be hard to come back from,” Mangharam explains.

Assuming all is well, then, here are six new games to try.

It Takes Two (2021)

This one begins, rather ominously, with a couple on the verge of divorce. Wife May is an engineer and husband Cody a gardener. The couple are raising a daughter, Rose, who is upset by the impending separation.

In a magical turn of events, Cody and May are turned into cloth dolls. As they panic with their arm noodles, they are greeted by a talking book, The Book of Love, which tells them that they will return to their human bodies once they resolve their differences.

Their first challenge is to find a way to tell Rose what happened. Throughout the game, Max and Cody must work together to navigate their way through various challenges, avoiding new perils such as an open toolbox and an angry vacuum cleaner being thrown away. Each obstacle can only be overcome if they work together. In the end, it’s a kiss that helps them break the spell.

Haven (2020)

In Haven, the challenge is more abstract: How important is a partner’s happiness to you when times are tough and things aren’t going your way?

Two young lovers, facing opposition from their families, flee to a distant, abandoned planet to stay together. Throughout the game, they must roam this new world in search of things they can use to turn their ship into a cozy home. They must also cook, gather valuable resources to get through the day, and stay ahead of a corrupting contaminant called Rust.

Can we still take the time to find a partner’s favorite ingredient and make it the favorite dish that brings him so much joy? How much importance do we place on the happiness of a loved one, when times are tough and all is not going our way? The lessons of the game seem designed to be transferred to the real world.

Lovers in a Dangerous Space-Time (2015)

This sci-fi space game is all about communication and teamwork. As a force called Anti-Love threatens the universe, players must navigate the labyrinths of the galaxy in a neon battleship that they can only control together (one must lead, while the other defends ). Players must traverse asteroid belts, safely dock at space stations, rescue space bunnies, and gather gems in floating containers to gain new abilities.

Until Dawn (2015)

Until Dawn is an interactive game in which each choice changes the plot a little.

In this rather macabre interactive game, a couple must try to save their friends as an array of monsters attack them at a remote ski resort. The first choice is interesting: defend or attack? The playing couple can choose to help their friends escape the monsters or kill the monsters in increasingly brutal ways. Each move changes the plot a bit, in a version of the butterfly effect (think Black Mirror: Bandersnatch).

Until Dawn is built around the concept of choice. The actions of both players determine who lives and who dies, which of their friends’ relationships flourish and which fade; even how non-player characters interact with each other. There is no guaranteed happy ending; too many wrong moves and everyone could end up dead.

Don’t Starve Together (2016)

Darkness is the enemy; players must find enough to eat while they build a base camp and fight monsters to stay alive. It will only work if they can allocate tasks effectively, maximize output, and leverage each other’s strengths. Which partner is likely to be the best hunter? Can the other stay home, tend the farm and protect the base? Creativity is the key. You might end the game surprised at what your partner can accomplish with just a few twigs and a piece of fabric.

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