Best Run And Gun Games 2023

Searching for more challenging action platformers? Then check out this list of the best run and gun games on Steam and other platforms.

Run and gun games have been around for decades and are best known for being some of the toughest action platformers on the market.

They often require you to memorize enemy attack patterns, swap between different weapons on the fly, and move quickly around levels just to stay alive.

In this list, we’ll be shining a spotlight on the best run and gun games to play in 2024 on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.

If you would like to see more retro-inspired gaming recommendations, feel free to browse through our other curated lists and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Related:Best Retro Style FPS Games 2023Best Action Games On PC 2023Best Indie Games On Nintendo Switch 2023

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Our first suggestion to run and gun fans is to pick up Huntdown a biting arcade shooter that’s equal parts action and comedy in one hard-boiled package.

The game casts you as a bounty hunter tasked with liberating a futuristic city from criminal overlords that have seized power from the local police.

This is done by tracking down various gang leaders and collecting the bounty on their heads across 20 gritty neon-soaked levels that draw inspiration from 1980s consumerism and cyberpunk aesthetics.

Huntdown’s 16-bit visuals have an irresistible retro feel that’s further complemented by hand-drawn animations, smooth 60 fps performance, and a bombastic soundtrack.

Mighty Goose is another modern run and gun game that leans into the retro aesthetic while playing like a responsive modern title.

In it, players control the titular hero Mighty Goose, a mech-donning fowl and bounty hunter on a mission to catch as many criminals as they can.

This entails traveling across the galaxy and blasting your way through 2D levels teeming with enemies, weapon power-ups, and overpowered vehicles.

In true run and gun nature, many of the game’s bosses are very demanding and may require multiple attempts and upgrades to successfully fell them.

If you come to run and gun games for a sense of challenge, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is probably the hardest series in the genre.

While there have been 8 games released to date, the one we’re highlighting here is Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, a reboot of the original NES platformer.

Players are cast as Knight Arthur as he’s forced to traverse the Demon Realm and slay skeletons, zombies, pigmen, and other monsters he encounters.

The reboot introduces a new visual style along with four difficulty options: Legends (the most difficult), Knight, Squire, and Page.

Postal: Brain Damaged is a spin-off to the cult boomer-shooter franchise that takes players on a weird adventure deep in the twisted psyche of the main character himself.

Much like the mainline Postal games, it features throwback graphics evocative of retro run and gun shooters like Doom as well as fast-paced combat in line with more modern titles.

The end result is a wild roller coaster ride of a game that sees you wielding all sorts of ridiculous weapons with explosive effects that you wouldn’t expect to see in a video game.

Environments and enemy designs are just as outrageous as you face off against floating clown heads, skinny pyramid men, and demonic nurses pulled straight out of a nightmare.

Speaking of strange expeditions into the psyche of video game protagonists, My Friend Pedro is a 2.5D run and gun game in which you play as a proficient assassin sent on a killing rampage by a speaking banana.

Building off of this bizarre premise, the game has you creating over-the-top action sequences using bullet-time slow-down effects and any weapon you can get your hands on.

This includes using dual-wield pistols, automatic rifles, barrels, skateboards, and even the occasional frying pan to inflict pain on your enemies.

The game introduces fun mechanics such as ricocheting bullets and parkour-based maneuvers that allow you to express your inner madman and make Pedro proud.

Continuing on, Blazing Chrome is another retro-inspired run and gun that harkens back to classics like Contra with its support for local co-op multiplayer.

In it, players take on the role of a badass rebel soldier and her mohawk-donning robot companion as they fight for their lives in a dystopian future where machines have taken over.

The story opens with you embarking on a suicide mission to infiltrate and destroy an AI-controlled power plant using a wide range of advanced weaponry.

While it will only take a few hours to complete, several unlockable characters warrant multiple playthroughs to see everything the game has to offer.

If you desire a resilient run and gun shooter inspired by games like Doom and Quake, then Ultrakill fits that description in abundance.

While its early polygonal 3D graphics make it look like an old-school title, under the hood the game has a lot more going on to make it feel both challenging and satisfying.

In addition to a skill-based scoring system that goes up the more carnage you create, Ultrakill features a unique health-regen mechanic that sees you bathing in enemies’ blood to recover HP.

Of course, such novel concepts are to be expected of developer Arsi “Hakita” Patala and publisher New Blood Interactive, who have both become prominent players in the run and gun shooter space.

Another New Blood title that’s worth picking up if you like old-school 3D run and gun games is Dusk, a grungy modern-retro FPS created by David Szymanski.

In it, players cross over to a demonic world overrun with monstrous enemies that range from possessed mercenaries to evil cultists, and everything in between.

Like many run and gun games, combat is fast-paced and encourages you to keep moving at breakneck speeds to stay alive as you wield hard-hitting shotguns, crossbows, rocket launchers, and more.

Players who overcome Dusk’s harrowing campaign are welcome to try their luck in alternate Endless Survival and Arena Multiplayer modes.

No run and gun franchise is as recognizable and longstanding as Mega Man, which has been around since the 1980s and is still receiving new entries and collections to this day.

The installment we’re recommending here is Mega Man 11, which looks to blend the series classically challenging 2D platforming action with a fresh new visual style.

Additionally, MM11 introduces a new Double Gear system that grants players a short burst of speed and power that will come in handy with the game’s more challenging bosses and levels.

As you fell Mega Man’s adversaries, you’ll unlock new abilities that allow you to more easily tackle other challenges and previous levels.

Along with Mega Man, Metal Slug is a legendary run and gun franchise that has received countless installments and spin-offs.

While not the most recent entry in the series, we’ve chosen to include Metal Slug X simply for the fact it’s one of the most well-received titles in the series.

This can be attributed to MSX’s refined balance and gameplay which sees you fighting your way through a battlefield to prevent an evil General from carrying out a coup.

There are six special missions available that back up local and online co-op for a maximum of two players with worldwide scoreboards.

We’d be remiss not to include one of the most visually-striking run and gun games released in the past decade, Studio MDHR’s animated shoot ‘em up Cuphead.

The game sells itself as a tough-but-fun action-platformer that centers on the titular Cuphead and his brother Mugman as the two set out to try and repay their outstanding debt with the devil.

To do so, players will have to put themselves through the wringer and defeat boss after boss using quick reflexes and memorization.

In addition to multi-phase boss rush encounters, the game features more traditional run and gun levels that introduce fun and challenging new mechanics.

Next up on our list is Enter the Gungeon, a top-down bullet hell dungeon crawler that combines twin-stick shooter gameplay with rogue-lite progression.

In it, you play as one of four characters tasked with exploring The Gungeon, a sprawling ever-changing labyrinth teeming with enemies, traps, and guntastic loot.

Depending on your character, you’ll start off with unique gear or abilities that can be further enhanced via different modifiers and gear.

Weapon selection is where Enter the Gungeon truly shines as guns will have bizarre, borderline ridiculous effects ranging from firing bouncing bullets to homing beehives.

If you’re looking for a great run and gun switch game that’s also available on PC and offers over-the-top action, Broforce is sure to put a smile on your face.

Set in a world where evil is constantly looming in the shadows, the game casts you and up to three players as “bro” mercenaries armed with overpowered weapons and attitudes.

Collectively, you will traverse through lively 2D stages with sufficient destroyable land and explosive components to fabricate your personal Michael Bay-style action scene.

Beyond Broforce’s co-op campaign, it offers competitive PvP modes and a level editor that functions as your own personal destruction sandbox.

Kero Blaster is another great PC and switch run and gun game that’s equal parts difficult and fun and comes from Studio Pixel, the creator of the cult classic Cave Story.

In it, you play as a bipedal frog janitor given the monumental task of saving your company’s headquarters after it’s invaded by strange black creatures.

This requires you to get creative and modify your custodial equipment to work as a weapon capable of sending these otherworldly monsters back to where they came from.

The game has a wholesome retro aesthetic and soundtrack that’s further complemented by addictive side-scrolling gameplay and a flexible weapon upgrade system.

Inti Creates is known to produce some of the best run and gun games that bridge the gap between retro graphics and modern game design.

Of all the franchises under the company’s care, Gunvolt is the most stylish and fast-paced, with Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX being chief among them.

The game ushers in a new era of 2D run and gun action by expanding players’ traversal options with new air-dashing, hovering, and wall-jumping maneuvers as well as lock-on shots and suped-up EX Weapons.

However, unlocking these won’t always be easy as bosses in Luminous Avenger iX are just as well-equipped and require players to use every tool at their disposal to defeat.

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Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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