Updated for 2021. Feel free to let us know in the comments if there’s something missing that you think deserves a spot. Otherwise, enjoy!
The library of games on Nintendo Switch has expanded rapidly since the console launched back in 2017 and it now boasts a huge number of great games in practically every genre. Keeping up with all the releases coming to the Switch eShop on a weekly basis can be a challenge, but what a fantastic problem to have!
We’ve already examined the vast quantity of great shmups available on Nintendo’s platform, but now we’re looking at the best Run ‘n’ Gun shooters on Switch. These are games that put a projectile weapon in your hands and have you running around a top-down or side-scrolling level blasting seven bells out of aliens, robots or anything that moves.
From old-school re-releases and compilation to neo-classics and nostalgic throwbacks, charge that arm cannon and settle down for the best Switch run and gun games, in no particular order.
Publisher: The Arcade Crew / Developer: JoyMasher
The 21st century version of Contra we were hoping Contra: Rogue Corps would be, Blazing Chrome is exactly what you’re looking for if you’re after old-school thrills – as long as you’re up for the challenge, that is. With all the set pieces, tight control and epic gameplay you could wish for, this is one of the finest 2D action games on the console.
Following the spectacular disappointment of Mighty No. 9 — a game we’re still owed a copy of on 3DS, believe it or not — Capcom’s return of the blue bomber showed everyone how it should be done. This is a worthy follow up for the beloved character and one that you’ll enjoy whether you’ve played instalments 1-10 or never before touched a Mega Man.
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For those of us disheartened by how rubbish Contra: Rogue Corps turned out, at least Konami saw fit to put out this collection of classic Contras. Contra Anniversary Collection is a wonderful little package of the arcade originals and the 8- and 16-bit entries. With top-notch emulation courtesy of M2, this is arguably Konami’s most satisfying anniversary collection to date.
Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios / Developer: Easy Trigger
This throwback to run ‘n’ gun arcade shooters of the 16-bit era is an absolute joy. Inspired by the past but throwing a good dollop of modern features and an excellent soundtrack into the mix, Huntdown comes highly recommended to anybody who glances at the screenshots and thinks to themselves ‘yeah, that looks all right‘. It’s much better than ‘all right’ – it’s bloody brilliant.
Another collection of classics, Mega Man Legacy Collection brings together the NES entries in the series (that’s the original Mega Man up to Mega Man 6) and presents them beautifully on Switch. Digital Eclipse also added a bunch of extras and challenges, as well as a very handy rewind feature if you don’t have time to master the moves you’ll need to defeat every Robot Master. These games feature some of the best music of the 8-bit era, so we’d recommend adding this to your Switch collection if only for that.
Publisher: D4 Enterprise / Developer: Nazca
You can’t go too far wrong with Metal Slug, and Metal Slug X is arguably the pinnacle of the series. Essentially an updated, ‘special’ version of Metal Slug 2, this Neo Geo classic still looks and feels fantastic on Switch, and Hamster has done its usual bang-up job on the port.
Publisher: Inti Creates / Developer: Inti Creates
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX is a thoroughly enjoyable, rewarding and charming game from Inti Creates, the studio that brought us the Mega Man Zero series (more on that soon) and several other entries on this list. It’s a shorter, easier ride than veterans may desire, but would be a great way for newbies to get involved with the genre.
Publisher: Active Gaming Media / Developer: Studio Pixel
Kero Blaster is a Japanese indie release that looks back to the golden era of run and gun games, replicating the deep and satisfying mechanics of the classics with a modern touch that makes it a little more approachable to genre newcomers than some of the others here. You also get to control a gun-toting frog. Who could possibly resist that?
Publisher: Inti Creates / Developer: Inti Creates
A solid pair from Inti Creates, Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack gives the two 3DS games an HD makeover for Switch with HD Rumble and all the DLC. They’re not perfect ports, and if you’ve played them before on 3DS there’s not much to recommend double dipping, but otherwise this is a very enjoyable pair of shooters.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a fantastic re-release of the first four games in the series which comes with the now-familiar archival content and a new X Challenge mode. Short of going back in time and playing these 16-/32-bit games at release, this is arguably the finest way to experience these games nowadays.
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Free Lives Games
Broforce is filled with ’80s movie caricatures and winks to Hollywood’s most explosive of decades. Check your brain at the door and sit back for a hilarious dose of run ‘n’ gun action that demands very little of you (other than that you have an absolute blast).