Ser Flash from Studio Mudprints & Metal Jesus share their Top 10 Nintendo Switch Shoot em ups!
Aero Fighters 2
Sky Force Reloaded
Zero Gunner 2-
Strikers 1945 II
Danmaku Unlimited 3
Steredenn: Binary Stars
Aqua Kitty UDX
Sine Mora EX
– – Hey, guys, Metal Jesus here. Now, obviously the Nintendo Switch is an undeniable success, and one of the genres really kicking butt on the system are all the amazing shoot-em-up games. So, in this video I’ve teamed up with one of the experts on shoot-em-ups here on YouTube. Now, you might be familiar with them, it’s Ser Flash with Studio Mudprints. And we’re here to bring you the Top 10 Shoot ’em Ups on the Nintendo Switch. Plus, at the end of the video, we’re gonna include some honorable mentions. Let’s take a look.
Number 10. We’re gonna start this list off strong with Aero Fighters 2. Now, this was originally released in 1994 for the Neo Geo. Some of you may recognize this, as it was called Sonic Wings 2 in Japan. Now, right off the bat, this game’s kind of known for its really wacky characters that you get to choose from off the main menu. Get this, you can choose from a pop singer, a ninja, and yes, even a dolphin. This game is so bizarre. And to go along with those wacky characters, of course, it has a story mode, but it also has multiple endings. So, what does it all mean? Well, it’s all about gameplay, so each of these characters has their own ship and gameplay style, so you’re probably gonna wanna try each of them. Aero Fighters 2 includes 10 stages as well as a second play-through loop with even more difficulty if you need it. But really, most of us are here because of the gameplay. We want a really great shooter, and this is definitely a good one. Although, I have to be honest, I think the graphics here are a bit on the simple or basic side. I mean, you know, correct me if I’m wrong here but they look a little muddy. Now, that’s not to say I don’t like the way this game looks, but there’s a reason why it’s at number 10. And as we go along in this list, you’re gonna see that definitely the bar gets raised when it comes to graphics. But again, I do like this game. It’s a fun shoot-em-up with a lot of challenge and some classic shooter gameplay.
Number nine. All right, I’m so excited to talk about Sky Force Reloaded on the Switch! I love this game! This is a vertical scrolling overhead shooter that at first glance probably seems like every other shoot-em-up that you’ve played before. But you’d be wrong. Now, to be honest, this game is a little bit hard to describe because there’s so much going on, but the way I think of it is a mix of a shoot-em-up and an RPG. And what I mean by that is that the game changes as you play it, as you complete missions, and as you unlock new collectibles. For instance, you can’t complete a level and all its objectives on the first or even sometimes the second play through. You need to level up almost like an RPG, because you have to have the right ship, the right wingman, and a bunch of other factors to complete specific tasks. On one play through of a level, you might try and destroy 100% of the enemies. On the next play through of the same level, you might try picking up all the stranded humans, or maybe on the next play through, you’ll try going through collecting all the stars, or you have to maybe try not getting hit. And just like an RPG, if you’re not meeting your goals for that particular level, well, maybe you need to grind a little bit for stars, earning enough to unlock better armor, bullets, missiles, et cetera. It’s because of this RPG-like dev that makes this game so addictive. I mean, check it out. I literally have 25+ hours put into this game, and I still keep coming back for more. I probably play this game every week.
Number eight. Here is Hyper Sentinel. This is a shooter that’s quite unlike most modern shooters, and definitely stands out in our list. Now, to many retro gamers like myself, well, this is gonna look very familiar to an old game called Uridium, which was quite popular in the 1980s on the home computers, like say, the ZX Spectrum and my favorite, the Commodore 64. Basically, the difference here from most shooters is that instead of having a huge, scrolling play field, you get something here that is much more confined it requires you to fly back and forth over the same area, taking out enemy targets while trying to avoid their fire to me, ’cause I’m old, this immediately started feeling like the classic arcade game Defender. You know how in that game you constantly flip back and forth? But here, the action’s even more deadly. Just trying to shoot down enemies while avoiding obstacles is really chaotic at first, but you’ll quickly notice that when you flip, a little blue force field engages, making you kind of invincible for a second. Also, your ship energy recharges over time. You see it down there at the bottom there, that blue bar. Now, that’s very handy in a game like this, because it can be pretty tough to stay alive. And as a love letter to those old computers, this version includes a ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and CRT video filter that you can turn on if you wish. And you’re damn right I’m gonna play it game with a Commodore 64 filter turned on. Oh yeah, baby. And finally, consider that this game has over 100 levels to play through, which provides a ton of content for someone who’s looking for something to play that’s a little different than a normal shooter.
Number seven. – [Ser Flash] Hey, everyone, this is Ser Flash from Studio Mudprints and Bullet Heaven, and this is Zerodiv’s Tengai for Nintendo Switch. This particular title is the sequel to the vertically scrolling Samurai Aces, also on Nintendo Switch. This one feature human characters rather than the planes in the first game. Tengai was made by Psikyo, and it was the company’s first horizontal or yoko scrolling. And that was kind of a big deal because Psikyo was best known for its intense, very difficult, vertically-scrolling shooters. Tengai continues this trend over the course of its seven stages. It has gameplay similar to games like Gunbird and Strikers 1945, completely with power-ups, charged attacks, and bombers, but in a horizontal layout rather than vertical. In Tengai, players take control of one of five selectable characters, each with their own fire patterns, charged attacks, and bombers. Figuring out which one works best for the player is half the fun, and it definitely plays into the game’s replay. But Tengai is also pretty hard, so thankfully there are a number of different difficulty settings to choose from. It also has the kind of awesome pixel art we come to expect from a Psikyo game. This was especially evident with Tengai’s many lavish bomber attacks. It also has excellent character design, fantastic background, and the sort of atmospheric soundtrack that makes a game with this sort of setting really work. Better still, in Tengai each character has their own story arc, and two-player games have their unique and often humorous interactions depending on which character each player chooses. There’s tons of replay for one player or two. It all comes together to make for a game that no Switch owner that’s into shoot-em-ups should be without. –
Number six. Number six is Blazing Star. So, this is a horizontal-style shooter released by SNK in 1998 for the Neo Geo. This game is kind of known for its simple, yet effective two-button gameplay. Like a lot of arcade games of the time, here you hammer the fire button for a rapid shot, or you can hold down the button to build up a meter for a more powerful charge shot. Now, funny little story here, as I was playing this game and capturing the gameplay footage, you know, you’re just sitting there and hammering that fire button old-school style, you know what I mean, like you used to back in the arcades? Argh, I mean, it just tires you out. But it was only later that I realized that there’s a nice feature for this game under the options where you have the ability to turn on auto fire. Yep, that’s a nice way of avoiding carpal tunnel. Also, I immediately noticed that the enemies dropped tons of power-ups in this game, which is pretty nice to getting back to the level you were at if you happened to die. And I’m really digging the graphics in this game. I mean, they’re colorful, they’re detailed, they’re beautifully animated. Check out some from those pseudo-3D backgrounds there. It looks awesome. But those graphics do come at a cost. Now, this game does experience a bit of slowdown, especially in two-player co-op mode, but that’s to be expected when you’re trying to perfectly emulate that old hardware.
Number five. Coming in at number five, oh yes. Zero Gunner 2- by Psikyo. So, what’s the story with this game? Well, originally it was an arcade game like so many others in this video. But then it famously came to the Japanese Dreamcast where it turned out to be one of the more collectible and expensive shoot-em-ups on that system. Now, that’s kind of what makes it all the more great to see it released here on the Switch for such a reasonable price. And as you can see based on this gameplay footage, it’s really known for its omni-directional shooting system. Now, you guys know this, that normally in a shoot-em-up, you’re getting attacked either from, say, the top or the bottom in a vertical shooter or maybe side-to-side, but in this game, enemies attack you from all angles. And the way that this works is basically you hold down a button that lets you pivot your helicopter into the direction that you need. Now, I’m gonna be honest with you, this actually takes a little bit of time to get used to. It’s not quite a twin-stick shooter like you would expect to play today, because most modern games would use the two analog sticks. But in this game it’s a little bit different. It takes a little bit of practice. I actually found holding down the auto fire button while rolling my finger to the pivot button did the trick. It started to feel natural after a while. And I have to say, I really dig those late-’90s, early 2000s style of 3D graphics they got going on here. If you’re somewhat familiar with this game, you might be curious as to why it’s called Zero Gunner 2- on the Switch. The original game did not have that minus there. Well, it’s worth noting that the original source code for this game was lost to time, and for the Switch release, the developer had to recreate the game from scratch! That’s why this game is in 16 by 9 and looks a little sharper than you might remember. But as you can see, they kept those kind of Dreamcast-like graphics, and I think it’s pretty cool. I mean, they could have really radically changed this, but they decided not to. And with this redesign, this game is slightly easier than the original arcade and Dreamcast versions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for an audience that may never have got to play the original.
Number four. – [Ser Flash] Let’s talk a little about the Strikers 1945 series, not to be confused with Capcom’s similar but very different 19XX series. Strikers 1945 is the Psikyo take on the World War II personal shooter. Now, the jury’s out as this which one of the three are the best, but Strikers 1945 II is excellent by any standard, and the fine folks over at Zerodiv saw fit to bring it to the Nintendo Switch, as well. Strikers 1945 II is played in tate style over eight stages with super fast, difficult fire patterns and timing-based scoring. And it is pretty darn difficult at the best of times. So, thankfully there’s all kinds of different difficulty levels for players of a less intense nature. Now, that’s par for the course with many Psikyo games, but this one features a roster of six real-world planes to take on the enemy menace, including the fan favorite Flying Pancake. Each plane has its own fire pattern and can be leveled up several times. But Strikers 1945 II in specific introduces a tier charged attack system. Players can build a gauge to deploy more and more powerful charge attacks. The bomber attacks here are not only satisfyingly lavish, but also defensive. The support aircraft that fly in deal a ton of damage, but they can also shield a player from enemy shots. Strikers 1945 II has all kinds of cool enemy units to take out, and every stage has a huge, hulking boss that more often than not turns into a giant robot of some kind, which is pretty darn awesome. With its two-player co-op support, as well as a tate rotation mode for full-frame vertical gameplay at home or on the go, shooting game fans should absolutely have this one on their Switch. –
Number three. Oh yes, here we go. Gunbird 2 by Psikyo! So, this is one of those arcade shooters that includes a bizarre yet pretty silly storyline. In the game, you choose from six different characters. There are five off the main menu, and there’s one that’s unlockable. And each character has their own weapons and firing style. And the game is pretty lengthy, too. There are seven different stages and each character within that stage has their own storyline. I have to admit that over time I’ve actually started to appreciate the stories that these Japanese developers would put into these games. I mean, initially when I was a kid it’d seem kind of silly. I’d always skip through it. But now as I’m older, I do actually think that they’re pretty funny. I mean, there are some great characters here. Gunbird 2 is also known for, obviously, its gameplay, and there is a lot going on here. In addition to normal style firing attacks, you also have a strong melee attack, which is something you don’t normally see in these kind of games. And those of you trying to get the best score in the game will enjoy how nuanced Gunbird 2 is. See those coins? Well, the value of the coin is determined by whether its shiny face is towards you or not when you pick it up. So, as if trying to shoot everything and trying to survive isn’t enough, you’ve got all this other nuance to play with, too. I really like Gunbird 2’s use of beautiful graphics, complex gameplay, and fun characters to make a unique and enjoyable experience. To say that Gunbird 2 is loved is an understatement, and it’s great to see it here on the Switch.
Number two. All right, in the number two spot, so close to being the best, is Danmaku Unlimited 3. So, here’s the deal. When I think of Japanese-style, bullet-hell shoot-em-ups, this is one of the first games that comes to mind because this game loves to fill the screen with tones of bullets. There are a lot of things that make this game great, but I want to start off by talking about the spirit-slash-graze system that they have here, which basically promotes kind of risk versus reward gameplay. Basically, the closer you get to enemy bullets, the quicker you build up your trance meter that’s over on the right hand side there. That can activate a powerful beam that destroys almost everything in your path, and it’ll convert the bullets to gems. Now, I know what some of you are thinking out there, is that you hear Japanese-style bullet-hell shooters, and some of you get turned off on that. Well, I’m happy to report that one of the things I like about this game is that it’s very beginner-friendly. There’s a beginner mode in this game that when you destroy the enemy, its bullets that are flying on the screen will get deactivate and turn into spirits so they can’t harm you. That may seem like a small thing, but with so much going on in a game like this, it can really make a difference when you’re starting off in this genre. And to make it even cooler, those deactivated bullets still count towards your graze or trance, so you can still use those to power up your main attack. And notice in this gameplay footage, your ship down there, notice that than hit box is clearly defined and easy to see. I wish every game had that option. This game also supports tate or vertical mode to give you that arcade experience. And to round it all out, this game has an amazing rock and heavy metal soundtrack by the Japanese band BLANKFIELD. It’s amazing. With super-tight controls, great gameplay, and a rocking soundtrack, plus enough flexibility for beginners and hardcore players alike, it’s hard to beat Danmaku Unlimited 3.
And now, number one. I’m curious how many of you suspected that we were gonna pick Ikaruga by Treasure as our number on pick in this video. I mean, it’s not surprising. The game is one of the most beloved shoot-em-ups ever made, and it’s great to see it on the Switch. So, for those of you that don’t know, Ikaruga is famous for its polarity mechanic, where you switch back and forth between white or black. While you are white, you can absorb any of the white bullets on the screen while doing extra damage to black enemies, and then vice versa. So, when you’re black, you can absorb the black bullets on the screen while taking damage from white, and so on. Now, this sounds simple, and because of that, it plays differently than almost every other shoot-em-up out there. But I bet you can tell based on this gameplay footage that that simplicity is not necessarily easy. This game is tough. This game is painfully tough when you first start playing it. But thankfully, it comes with a bunch of options to start off with, both in difficulty and also lives, continues, things like that. So, it’s also fair. And if you’re like me, when you first start playing this game, you’re gonna lower the difficulty way down just simply to learn the levels, learn the patterns. And like every other good shoot-em-up on this list, check out those visuals. You know, it’s no surprise. It’s a Treasure game, they always make great stuff. It’s beautiful. I just love looking at it. And if you want more of an arcade feel, the game does support rotating the screen or going to tate mode. Listen, Ikaruga is definitely one of the best shoot-em-ups ever made. It has enough complexity to keep you coming back to master its nuances again and again. If you have a Switch, pick it up.
So, that’s our top 10 shoot-em-ups on the Nintendo Switch. But with so many great games on the handheld, here are some honorable mentions. – [Ser Flash] If you’re looking for a side-scrolling shooter with a hefty dose of random, Pixelnest Studio’s Steredenn: Binary Stars is the shooter for you. The Binary Stars version is an update from the PC original, and every play through is unique with random enemy waves, tons of cool weaponry and power-ups, and even a bunch of amazing secret encounters. There’s also a complement of unlockable ships to earn throughout the game. The Binary Stars version also features a two-player mode and rocks a pretty amazing soundtrack to boot. Zerodiv has released a ton of amazing Psikyo shooting games for Nintendo Switch, and in our opinion, Dragon Blaze is definitely one of the best. It basically takes Gunbird 2’s core controls and makes them even better with a powerful dragon melee attack and all kinds of different ways to deal with your enemies. Players even have the ability to rotate the screen 90 degrees to play in vertical or tate mode. This allows players to play in full screen on a rotating monitor, or even on the go with a stand for the Switch. This is also the first time it saw release in North America, and it’s super-affordable. Definitely one to scoop up. All right, so if you took William’s 1981 classic Defender and smashed it together with a bunch of LOL-cats, Tikipod’s Aqua Kitty would be the direct result. The Defender-style gameplay in Aqua Kitty UDX is as frantic as ever, and it comes complete with special weapons, sharp, pixel-style graphics, and really cute cat sounds. Aqua Kitty has seen release on other systems, but the Switch’s UDX version is obviously the definitive one, with extra missions and modes, including the awesome dreadnought mode, not to mention two-player support at home or on the go. Digital Reality Grasshopper manufacturer and THQ Nordic’s Sine Mora EX has also seen release to all other major platforms, but the Switch version is notable for having just about the same visual clout as the PS4 and Xbox One versions. It also supports the same asymmetrical two-player mode. But unlike other versions, it also has the benefit of being played solo or with a friend anywhere he might be. In addition to its amazing graphical style, Sine Mora EX also features some awesome time manipulation mechanics and and intricate, dark story for players to chew through. And finally, we’ve saved the best for last. We have Xenoraid from 10-Tons. Like Steredenn, it also has great, rogue-like mechanics, a wide variety of ships used as the game progresses, and a great weapon and ability load-out that can be mixed and matched in really strategic ways. But it also has an awesome system for its lives, since each is represented by a unique craft in your squadron. Neater still, up to four players can use one of these craft for a great, frantic co-op gameplay. It sports probably the best four-player shooting action on the Switch, so whether you’re playing alone or with your friends, it’s definitely one to check out. – [Metal Jesus] I want to give a huge shout out to Ser Flash from Studio Mudprints, because I reached out to him when I was thinking about doing this video, and honestly, there was honestly nobody better to do this with me, because his channel is dedicated to nothing but shoot-em-ups. And I have learned so much from watching his videos. If you haven’t checked out his YouTube channel and you like this genre, you absolutely need to. It’s amazing. All right, guys, have a great day.