Have you ever heard of Quadrapong? It was one of the first ever 4-player games produced, and was, as you can probably imagine from the name, a version of the classic game Pong that supported 4 players. Now, of course, we have many games available that offer multiplayer modes for you and your friends to enjoy, but it could be argued that the best of them are still using many of the principles espoused by Quadrapong.
The graphics may be better and the gameplay may be flashier, but 4-player games are still fun thanks to the sheer chaos they provide. Here are the best 4-player split-screen PS4 games to play right now. We’re taking the term “split-screen” in a figurative sense here; these games might put you all on the same screen, but you can all gather around them to play together.
It doesn’t get better (or sillier), when it comes to multiplayer PS4 games, than Gang Beasts. The premise is simplicity itself; four wobbling humanoids must do battle with one another until only one remains on each map. They must punch, kick, and throw each other around Gang Beasts’ various levels in an attempt to achieve victory. There aren’t any different characters with bespoke skills and stats to choose from, so if you’ve got some friends over and you want something easy to jump into, Gang Beasts is for you.
Much like Gang Beasts, TowerFall Ascension is a very simple game, but it’s deceptively deep when it comes to strategising and trying to outwit your opponents. Players must fire arrows at one another, but you have a limited amount available to you, and when you’ve run out, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t attract the attention of those who do still have arrows left to fire. It’s a straightforward setup, but you’d be surprised just how much mileage there is in TowerFall Ascension.
Are you looking for something more cooperative in nature? If so, Castle Crashers is the perfect choice. It’s a side-scrolling beat-’em-up in the vein of Streets of Rage or Golden Axe, but with a more cartoony and modern art style. Otherwise, though, it’s a throwback brawler in every sense of the phrase. You and your friends must work your way through a variety of levels in order to save a princess, and to do so, you’ll need to dispatch baddies, unlock new attacks, and even recruit animals to help you.
The PlayStation doesn’t have Mario Kart, but Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is the next best thing, and some might say it’s even better than Nintendo’s racing titan. With a bevy of Crash Bandicoot characters to choose from and some of the best level design in racing gaming, Crash Team Racing is the perfect kart racer for when you have buddies over and you want to battle it out for supremacy. It’s a less forgiving game than Mario Kart, but it should still be easy to pick up and play.
If you can dig out some Rock Band instruments or find some at a car boot sale somewhere, then Rock Band 4 is still just as wildly entertaining as it’s ever been. Grab some buddies to fill in the other instruments (no shame if you don’t want to sing) and prepare to work your way through a host of classics. There’s DLC available, too, adding songs from all-time greats like Nine Inch Nails and up-and-comers like Olivia Rodrigo, so there’s plenty for everyone regardless of music taste.
There’s no swifter and more surefire way to test friendships than to try out Overcooked! with your friends. In this frantic kitchen-bound multiplayer game, you and your fellow players must work to fulfil a cadre of extremely demanding requests from customers, and you’ll need to do so quickly while also keeping your kitchen tidy. You’ll be screaming at each other to allocate tasks and get things done in an orderly manner, so this isn’t one for the faint of heart.
It’s absolutely criminal that the Rayman franchise doesn’t get the love it deserves. Rayman Origins was an excellent platformer, and it’s arguable that Rayman Origins improves on it in pretty much every way. Extremely strong level design, some excellent musical sequences, and lots of secrets to find all add up to a great platformer that you and up to 3 friends can enjoy together. Again, this one’s a co-operative experience, so you won’t be competing with one another too much.
Now here’s a classic multiplayer experience for all the family. Rocket League has everyone piloting a rocket-powered car in an attempt to nudge a ball towards a goal; it’s basically football meets RC car racing. The local multiplayer mode supports up to 4 players, so you can all face off against one another for dominance. Rocket League is one of those games that’s easy to learn and extremely hard to master, but you’ll have a lot of fun trying to get there.
If you can navigate Streets of Rage 4’s maddening difficulty and deliberately retro feel (it still has a lives system, for Sega’s sake), then you’ll find a beautifully-designed, wonderfully crafted few hours’ worth of entertainment here. Streets of Rage 4 can be enjoyed alongside up to three other players, and it’s probably best played that way; while its side-scrolling action can get a little repetitive solo, adding friends (and snacks and drinks, ideally) into the mix makes for a barrel of retro laughs.