Best Twin-Stick Shooters 2021

If you like action-packed twin-shooter shooter games, then you will love this list of the best twin-stick shooters of all time.

If you’re looking for the most action-packed twin-stick shooters to get your adrenaline pumping, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this list, we’ll be recommending the best twin-stick shooters for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

If we forgot to mention your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know.

And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future.

Related:Best Roguelike Games 2021Best Tower Defense Games 2021Best ‘Looter Shooter’ Games 2021

Table of ContentsShow

Shakedown: Hawaii is a retro-inspired twin-stick shooter from developer Vblank Entertainment, best known for Retro City Rampage, which Shakedown takes a few cues from.

The game sees you building a shady operation by taking control of legitimate businesses and sabotaging the competition throughout a vibrant 2D pixel art open-world.

You play as three different characters in the main story with unique motivations and can explore the world via cars, monster trucks, and boats.

It’s very reminiscent of the older Grand Theft Auto games before transitioning into 3D graphics and included numerous references to 80s pop culture.

One of the more recent titles to come from twin-stick shooter geniuses Housemarque, Nex Machina draws inspiration from games like Robotron and Smash TV while ramping up the action and carnage.

Set in a world where mankind has become overly reliant on technology, the game sees you waging war with sentient robots who no longer wish to serve humanity.

The campaign is comprised of 100+ voxel-based levels spread across six diverse worlds. Every level houses secret paths, humans to rescue, and waves of enemies to destroy.

Nex Machina offers local coop along with online multiplayer via Steam Remote Play. There are also community leaderboards and a host of unlockables to keep you busy.

One of the most fascinating details about Chippy is that it was made by Facepunch Studios, the developer behind the brutal survival game Rust.

This makes a lot more sense once you realize it’s just as challenging. Instead of battling other players using sticks and rocks, you’re tasked with defeating an onslaught of bullet hell bosses

Like many other twin-stick shooters, the level of difficulty can be punishing at times but is worth the effort to experience the game’s fantastic chiptune soundtrack.

Chippy features leaderboards, replays for each boss fight, and Steam Workshop support, where you can find additional levels.

Synthetik: Legion Rising is a brutally-difficult, skill-based twin-stick shooter with rogue-lite elements and tactical combat.

In it, you battle an army of cybernetically enhanced enemies known as the Machine Legion with an array of procedurally-generated weapons.

The game introduces unique reload mechanics that see you ejecting and reloading magazines manually while also making sure to avoid getting your gun jammed or letting it overheat.

It emphasizes customization, allowing you to pick from 8 class specializations that can be further adjusted with special loadouts, benefits, and perks.

It’s not every day you see a twin-stick shooter with voice-acted dialogue, especially from someone as high profile as Ron Perlman.

West of Dead is a roguelike cover shooter that has you playing as a dead cowboy who must venture deeper and deeper into the dark and dreary world of Purgatory.

The game uses procedural generation to render environments, enemies, and rewards, ensuring no two playthroughs feel the same.

The further you make it, the more chances you’ll have to unlock new weapons, improve your abilities, and gain insight into the mythical world your character inhabits.

From dead cowboys to murderous ducks, we’re covering all of our bases here today.

Blazing Beaks is a cute and colorful twin-stick shooter that sees you controlling a gun-wielding duck as they battle a host of mutants, monsters, and other creepy-looking creatures.

Procedurally-generated levels are packed with secrets and rewards that can net you some gold and help craft more powerful weapons.

The game supports local co-op and PVP for up to four players, Steam Workshop, and daily challenges for honing your skills.

Helldivers touts itself as a hardcore, competitive twin-stick shooter built for online and local 4-player co-op.

You and your team play as members of an elite combat unit tasked with protecting Super Earth from droves of enemies amidst an intergalactic war.

Missions see you traveling to various planets where you’ll have to pushback enemy forces who have gained a foothold.

Helldivers “Dive Harder Edition” includes a free upgrade that adds all previous expansions, a new loadout system, and a new game+ mode.

X-Morph: Defense offers a unique blend of twin-stick shooter and tower defense gameplay that makes for an action-packed experience with plenty of room for strategizing.

The game sees you controlling the X-Morph—a race of aliens that have invaded Earth to harvest its resources and reshape the surface.

Missions have you carefully placing extraction towers and various defenses to create maze-like paths for your human enemies to follow.

Toss in fully destructible 3D environments with collapsing buildings, bridges, cars, and trees, and you have yourself an authentic human exterminator sim.

Belonging to the long-running bullet hell shooter series, Touhou Endless Dream is a roguelike twin-stick shooter that emphasizes randomly generated levels, weapons, and abilities.

In it, you explore the vibrant 2D world of Gensokyo, which is slowly being plunged into darkness. This has also attracted an army of monsters who must be stopped before it’s too late.

Every restart introduces new enemy encounters and boss battles, as well as weapons and items that let you devise unique character builds.

Like other bullet hell-style shooters, Touhou Endless Dream presents a hefty challenge that requires quick reflexes, careful planning, and a little bit of luck.

Atomicrops offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s part roguelike, twin-stick shooter, and farming simulator.

The game sees you trying to grow enough crops to sustain human life following a nuclear disaster while holding off mutated vermin looking to corrupt your crops.

Growing and upgrading your farm requires exploring different biomes, unlocking new tools, and defending your crops from enemies.

The game features the ability to raise cattle such as pigs, cows, and chickens and even gives you the option to get married.

Doing so unlocks the ability to have your spouse follow you into battle and fight by your side, proving it’s still possible to find love even during a nuclear apocalypse.

Any self-respecting twin-stick shooter fan should take it upon themselves to check out Enter the Gungeon.

Modeled after classic bullet hell shooters with a rogue-lite twist, the game sees you playing as one of four characters exploring The Gungeon, a sprawling labyrinth brimming with enemies, traps, and loot.

Flexibility is the name of the game as each character introduces a unique modifier to spice things up, ranging from lock-picking to reduced reload times and an extended dodge roll.

This is further complemented by an arsenal of bizarre weaponry that ranges from handguns with bouncing bullets to cactus-powered rifles and target-seeking beehives.

Nuclear Throne is another roguelike with an apocalyptic setting, only much further in the future when mankind will have been completely disappeared and only mutated creatures remain.

Played from a top-down perspective, the game sees you fighting your way through randomly-generated wastelands using an array of weaponry and radiation-powered abilities.

As you collect more and more radiation, your character acquires new mutations that can affect gameplay and often turn you into a monster-crushing machine.

Complimenting these abilities is an arsenal of shotguns, rocket launchers, machine guns, and lasers, all rendered in vibrant 2D pixel graphics.

Presented as a fast-paced twin-stick shooter, Ruiner takes place in a Cyberpunk metropolis called Rengkok during the year 2091.

You play as a cybernetically-enhanced thug who finds themselves on the warpath after your brother gets kidnapped by a corrupt organization known as HEAVEN.

Teaming up with a mysterious hacker ally, you set out to uncover the truth behind the organization and destroy anyone who gets in your way.

Your character is equipped with a wide range of augmented gadgets and high-tech weaponry that allow you to slow down time and quickly tear through foes.

Battles can be quite brutal and unforgiving at times but are worth it if only for a chance to explore the neon-drenched streets that make up Rengkok.

The Binding of Isaac is another twin-stick shooter roguelike that comes from the mind of game designer Edmund McMillen, best known for the 2D-platformer Super Meat Boy.

The game was initially created for a week-long game jam but was later expanded into a full-fledged flash title that would late be improved and rereleased as The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

Loosely inspired by the biblical story of the same name, Rebirth sees you playing as a child forced to flee to his basement upon learning his mother has gone insane, believing to have spoken to a religious spirit.

Although its dark tone and graphic imagery may be a bit too much for some to stomach, gameplay and level design are meant to mirror classic Zelda titles like A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap.

The spiritual successor to Housemarque’s previous titles, Resogun is a twin-stick shooter’s paradise that still holds up in 2021.

In it, you pilot a ship tasked with rescuing trapped humans in cylindrical, voxel-based levels filled with waves of evil aliens. 

It’s one of the better-looking entries on this list in terms of graphics and is only made better by the wide range of powerful lasers, missiles, and bombs your ship can wield.

Exclusive to the PlayStation platform, Resogun features online multiplayer support, leaderboards, and a retro-inspired arcade mode for twin-stick pros.

You would be hard-pressed to find an arcade-style twin-stick shooter with as much style and pizzazz as Assault Android Cactus.

The game has you pick from one of nine distinct heroes before blasting your way through waves of your ship’s worker robots that have gone rogue.

Instead of a traditional lives system, it introduces a unique battery-draining mechanic that forces you to react swiftly and deal consistent damage.

Assault Android Cactus features a 25-stage campaign with up to 4-player local co-op and daily challenges for a spot on the leaderboards.

Alienation is an isometric twin-stick shooter that has up to four players defending themselves from an alien invasion on Earth.

The game features three classes and has teams exploring sprawling levels packed with various hostile alien species.

Aside from leveling up your character, Alienation features random weapon drops during missions and allows you to upgrade several aspects of your guns like rate of fire, clip size, damage, etc.

When replaying missions, bosses are spawned with random modifiers that make each encounter feel different, adding to the game’s replayability.

Geometry Wars has long been considered one of the best ongoing arcade franchises, and Dimensions Evolved is among the series’ strongest entries.

Presented as a twin-stick shooter, the game has you battling hordes of enemies on over 100 diverse 3D grid environments

The visuals are top-notch, the battles chaotic and fast-paced, and the music is everything we’ve ever dreamed of.

Dimensions Evolved includes a wide selection of classic game modes, many of which support online and local multiplayer for up to four.

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Justin Fernandez
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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