Closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) as one of the important configurations of the circular economy (CE) has received considerable attention in sustainability matters. It is composed of characteristics that, when identified, studied, and categorized, help not only to a better understanding of the current contributions in the literature but also lead to formulating new models. This research presents one of the first in-depth studies to investigate factors influencing CLSCs. It concerns the investigation of the models which are designed based on the game theory (GT). Therefore, the reviewed works focused on cooperation and competition among the game participants. A systematic literature review is implemented as a four-step process consisting of material collection, a descriptive analysis, category selection, and evaluation stage to review and discuss the works that focus on CLSC and use GT simultaneously. A content-based analysis is carried for the final works, which include 215 papers. The identified characteristics of these papers are classified into 12 main categories. Moreover, they are divided into subcategories to highlight the contribution of each paper. Accordingly, results are derived, and gaps are explained.