Top 10 Switch Shmups: First 2 Years


Have a blast at home and on the go



Over the past couple years, Nintendo’s hybrid console has amassed a wealth of shoot ’em ups so here are the best ones so far.

Note: in order for a game to qualify for this list, it must have been released in North America before March 3, 2019.

10 Sega Ages: Lightening Force

Also known as Thunder Force IV, this Sega Genesis shoot ’em up from Technosoft is one of the best shooters from the 16-bit era. It feels awesome to swap between powerful and unique weapons while carefully weaving through clouds of projectiles after slowing down your ship speed. Oh, and the boss fights are incredible. Thanks to Sega, you can now enjoy this classic on your Switch, too!

Sega Ages: Lightening Force Review

Sega Ages: Lightening Force screenshot
It may be over 25 years old but Lightening Force is still a blast

9 ACA NeoGeo: Blazing Star

Speaking of retro space shooters, here’s Blazing Star from Yumekobo. Originally released for Neo Geo and in arcades, Blazing Star is unfortunately remembered for its poorly translated English messages but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. With an impressive collection of ships, distinctly appealing graphics, and tight gameplay; it’s a joy to play, especially if “Your Skill Is Great!”

ACA NeoGeo: Blazing Star Review
More ACA NeoGeo games

ACA NeoGeo: Blazing Star screenshot
Looks like it’s my lucky day!

8 Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax

Here we have an indie shoot ’em up from the developers at Dreamloop Games. Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a cooperative shooter that 4 players can enjoy together. It features fantastic gameplay and plenty of options that you can customize your experience with. Heck, you can even adjust the rules to create a more competitive formula which can be great fun if you’re playing with fellow shmup fans.

Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax Review

Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax screenshot
The power-ups in Stardust Galaxy Warriors are just awesome

7 Sine Mora EX

Although it debuted for Xbox 360, Sine Mora got ported in 2017 to modern consoles in this new EX edition. It’s a very cinematic experience akin to games like Einhänder and Söldner-X and its gorgeous visuals make it spectacularly engaging. Being able to slow down enemy projectiles and utilize ingenious sub-weapons is highly enjoyable, especially against the memorable bosses.

Sine Mora EX Review

Sine Mora EX screenshot
I have a feeling that I’m not going to last much longer against this boss…

6 Azure Reflections

Many Touhou console games have made their way westward over the past few years yet none of them have been shmups. Thankfully, Azure Reflections changed that by introducing western audiences to its varied and challenging gameplay with the familiar cast of charming characters. With plenty of rewarding items to unlock, you’re sure to have a blast with Azure Reflections for hours upon hours.

Azure Reflections Review
More Touhou games

Azure Reflections screenshot
Come on, Cirno, you can do it!

5 Astebreed

I originally played Astebreed on Steam then played it again when it released for PlayStation 4 and now, Switch owners can enjoy the anime-filled and story-heavy shoot ’em up. What makes it unique is that it has 3 different perspectives that the gameplay seamlessly shifts between: horizontal and vertical shooting as well as a view similar to Space Harrier. It goes without saying but it’s one epic shooter.

Astebreed Review

Astebreed screenshot
If you love explosions then Astebreed is a game for you

4 Steredenn

At first, I didn’t quite know what to think about a shmup roguelike hybrid but after learning its ins and outs, I had an excellent time with Steredenn. Its rocking soundtrack, stylish retro-inspired visuals, and relentless stages and bosses made me sit on the edge of my seat as I powered through seemingly impossible situations. Needless to say, I wholeheartedly recommend Steredenn.

Steredenn Review

Steredenn screenshot
Steredenn proves that roguelike shoot ’em ups can be just as fun as other shmups

3 R-Type Dimensions EX

It seems like R-Type finds its way into every one of my shoot ’em up top 10 lists and for good reason. This compilation of the original 2 games in the series may not have changed much from its original non-EX release but it’s still a great collection featuring retro 2D and modern 3D graphics that you can switch between on the fly. It’s a must-have for any shmup fan, that’s for sure.

R-Type Dimensions EX Review

R-Type Dimensions EX screenshot
I prefer the pixel graphics but this still looks awesome

2 Ikaruga

Yes, Ikaruga has been given its fair share of praise since it initially released in the early 2000s but it definitely deserves it. The colour-swapping mechanic still feels fresh and exciting and the pitch-perfect atmosphere is nothing short of immersive. One underrated aspect of its gameplay is the challenging chain system that only true shoot ’em professionals can master. Do you have what it takes?

Ikaruga Review
Also featured in: Top 10 Xbox 360 Shoot ’em Ups

Ikaruga screenshot 9Ikaruga screenshot 10
Did I mention that Ikaruga is one of the toughest shmups out there?

1 ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites

I know what you’re thinking; what the heck is Twinkle Star Sprites and why is it better than Ikaruga? Well, it’s a shoot ’em up where you compete against opponents. The better you perform, the more you can trip up your competitor as you send over enemies, various charged attacks, and even bosses. It’s full of lively music, colourful visuals, delightful characters, and a hilarious sense of humour, too. Oh, and the gameplay is intensely exciting as you constantly try to outsmart your opponent, be they local friend or AI. Just thinking about Twinkle Star Sprites makes me want to boot up my Switch and play a few rounds. In fact, I think I’ll go do that right now!

ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites Review
Similar game: Rival Megagun

ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites screenshot
Load Ran and Tinker duke it out in an epic battle
Gameplay video playlist for Top 10 Nintendo Switch Shoot ’em Ups (First 2 Years) 55:43

Konami shoot 'em ups Trivia



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