Nintendo has a reputation as a casual-friendly company, and while that reputation is certainly well-deserved, it isn’t the whole truth. The fact is that Nintendo caters for gamers of all stripes; whether you love cuddly experiences like Animal Crossing or brutally violent excursions like Doom, your Switch will cater for you.
With that in mind, there are a lot of excellent Nintendo Switch shooters you can play right now. From space blasters to first-person classics, the Switch is a great hub for indie and triple-A shooters alike. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best shooter games for Nintendo Switch right now.
It doesn’t get much better than Id Software and Bethesda’s revival of the classic Doom series. This second iteration tightens up some of the gameplay from 2016’s Doom and adds more traversal mechanics, but at its core, the gameplay is the same gloriously cathartic shooting offered by its predecessor. Just like other Bethesda shooters, the Switch port of Doom Eternal is essentially witchcraft; the game runs at a buttery-smooth 30fps throughout, making it a perfectly playable experience on a handheld that shouldn’t be able to run the game by rights.
The Metroid series returns in style with Metroid Dread. Samus’ first adventure since 2017’s Metroid: Samus Returns continues the semi-linear style of that game, giving Samus several new expansive environments to explore but retaining the core Metroid identity that makes the series so compelling. This time around, Samus must delve into the depths of planet ZDR to discover the truth behind the re-emergence of the deadly X parasite from Metroid Fusion.
It’s hard to even classify Neon White as a shooter, but technically, that’s what it is. In fact, it’s difficult to classify Neon White at all; it’s a speedrunning platform-shooter, we suppose, but it’s so much more than that. If you want to know exactly what Neon White is, just play it; gameplay videos won’t do the tale of White and his cadre justice, and if you’re even remotely interested in twitch-reflex gameplay and lightning-fast platforming, you really need to experience this one.
In our opinion, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite can’t quite reach the lofty heights of the first game (ironically in the case of the latter), but they’re both still superb experiences, and the original BioShock is peerless. As such, this collection represents incredible value for money when it comes to Switch shooters, so pick it up if you’ve yet to experience the tales of Rapture and Columbia and their respective downfalls. You won’t regret it.
Dusk is a throwback to a bygone era of shooters, one with darkly atmospheric levels and overt horror elements. It’s reminiscent of games like Blood and Quake, but it’s far more akin to the latter’s lightning-fast shooting in terms of gameplay. New Blood is at the forefront of the boomer shooter revival, and Dusk is one of that revival’s best offerings, so check it out if you like 90s-era first-person shooters and wish more games were using that gameplay style today.
This is a shooter with a difference. In most shooters, the goal is to kill your enemies, but that’s just a byproduct of Splatoon 3’s multi-coloured mayhem; the aim here is to coat as much of the level as you can in your team’s paint colour, and killing enemies just means they have less time to paint the stage. As such, if you’re not really into conflict and you’d rather work behind the scenes, there’s still plenty for you to do. Splatoon 3 also boasts a surprisingly robust single-player campaign.
If you’ve ever played a game in which enemies come in different colours and you have to switch between two modes to defeat them, then that game probably has Ikaruga to thank for those mechanics. It’s a classic Treasure shmup that quickly fills each of its screens with bullets to avoid and enemies to destroy. This isn’t one to play if you’re not a fan of intense difficulty and stressful gameplay, but if you love a challenge, pick up Ikaruga right now. The Switch is a great home for it too.
“Well, Cuphead and his pal Mugman, they like to roll the dice…” So goes the infectious opening song of Cuphead, a brutally difficult run-and-gun boss-rush shooter with some of the most gorgeous art and animation you’re ever likely to see in a game. Again, this isn’t one to play if you’re challenge-averse, but if you like the difficulty in your games to be sky-high, then Cuphead is your jam. Its Max Fleischer-style animation means you can never stay angry at its brutal bosses for long.
If you liked Ikaruga and you’re looking for more shmup-style action, then you should definitely check out Sine Mora EX. It offers a rather intriguing twist on standard health bar mechanics; if you get hit, you’ll lose a little time, so rather than dying, you’ll simply watch the clock tick down hopelessly instead. Functionally, it’s not too dissimilar, but it means that if you do run out of time for the stage, it’s probably because you made too many mistakes rather than because the time limit was unfair.
Superhot is a shooter with a difference; time only moves when you do, which means that it’s just as much a puzzle game as an out-and-out combat experience. Each level is about maximising all of your movements, making sure you can accomplish as much as possible while you’re in motion. Our only criticism of Superhot is that it’s over before it really gets a chance to kick into gear, but honestly, that’s also a plus, because it means the game doesn’t outstay its welcome either.