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You Can Play Astral Chain In Co-Op, But It'll Be Tougher

Initial looks at Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain have portrayed the game as a single-player experience. But it doesn't have to be played that way.

According to IGNAstral Chain is very much playable in co-op, thanks to a feature added during development by the team at PlatinumGames.

"You may have noticed that the characters are connected by a chain," the game's director, Takahisa Taura, said in an interview. "When you're controlling two characters, that chain allows you to see where the other character is in relation to the one that you're controlling."

That tether mechanic makes it easy for a single person to keep tabs on and ultimately control both characters. But what if a friend wants to jump in and help? PlatinumGames considered that, and the Switch — being a system with two Joy-Cons that can be removed and shared between two players — seemed made for that kind of feature.

"I thought as I was developing the game that, of course, it could be made into that kind of system where it could be split up, but generally what I wanted to do is have one player control two characters at the same time," Taura added. "But the Switch actually has this great feature where, obviously, you can detach the Joy-Con and share play. We wanted to take advantage of that as well."

That certainly sounds like a fun and interesting way to play, and it's nice that you won't have a friend sitting around bored should you decide to put some time into Astral Chain. But don't think for a second that doubling up makes the game easier. In fact, because one player won't be controlling both characters — and both can be used to perform attacks simultaneously — you'll actually have a more difficult time pulling off some of the game's moves.

You'd "have to be of the same mind," as Taura put it. And we're not saying that's totally impossible, as there are teammates in all sorts of games that regularly seem to have some sort of mind-meld happening. But if you have the kind of buddy who is more often found dead while you're busy doing the work of two, you might find Astral Chain especially challenging to play in co-op.

All that said, we're glad the mode is coming, and we're happy that PlatinumGames is talking it up a bit before Astral Chain's release. If there are people who can down Destiny raid bosses with nothing but Rock Band drums and DDR dance pads, there are probably two of those souls out in the world who can join up for Astral Chain and beat it without getting hit. We're looking forward to the YouTube videos, for sure.

Astral Chain makes its way to Nintendo Switch on Aug. 30, 2019. Should we get some more news about the game prior to its release, we'll let you know.