Best Twin-Stick Shooters 2023

Can't get enough arcade action? Check out this list of the best twin-stick shooters on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch!

Combining arcade action with satisfying and chaotic gunplay, the best twin-stick shooters will never go out of style.

So if you’ve been scouring the internet looking for new twin-stick shooter games to get your adrenaline pumping, you’ve come to the right place.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best twin-stick shooters on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

We encourage you to check back as we continue to update this list with new entries in the future!

Related:Best Arena Shooter Games 2023Best Top-Down ShootersBest Third-Person Shooters 2023

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To kick things off, we’re recommending NeverAwake, one of the best twin-stick shooters to grace PC and console platforms.

Boasting vibrant hand-drawn graphics and animations, the game casts you as a girl named Rem who finds herself trapped in a never-ending nightmare.

To survive, you’ll have to navigate 80+ levels packed with hazards and bosses ranging from vegetables to demonic dogs, schoolmates, and other absurd manifestations.

One of the coolest things about this game is its open-ended nature, with the ending changing based on the player’s dedication to seeing each level through to the end.

Blending rhythm and twin-stick shooter gameplay, Beat Hazard 3 allows you to map your music collection onto tense and action-packed battles.

Everything is experienced from the perspective of a small but mighty starship traveling through space.

While making your way around a fully-explorable galaxy of music, you’ll encounter enemy fighters whose attack patterns sync with the music.

To survive, you’ll have to time your attacks and tear through their ranks using powerful projectiles that can be upgraded over time.

Set in the expansive Warhammer 40K universe, Shootas, Blood & Teef is a new twin-stick shooter by Guns, Gore, and Cannoli developer Rogueside.

In it, you’re tasked with spearheading an Ork invasion into the hive city to defeat a powerful warboss and his army of minions across 2D run n’ gun levels.

The game supports both online and local co-op as well as PvP arena battles where up to four players can duke it out.

This is where Shootas really comes into its own, allowing you and your friends to play as different characters with unique weapons and playstyles.

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 shooter that casts you as a dead cowboy venturing deeper and deeper into Purgatory.

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

The further you go, the better your chances of unlocking new weapons, improving your skills, and gaining insight into the mysterious world around you.

MADNESS: Project Nexus ­is another twin-stick shooter with run n’ gun-inspired combat teeming with chaos and gore.

Taking on the role of deadly little bean men, you’ll mow down enemies across guarded facilities, cult camps, moving trains, and other environments.

Armed with an assortment of pistols, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and melee weapons with unique perks, you’ll hone your skills across an 8-hour campaign.

After that, you’re welcome to replay the story with a friend via local co-op or move over to arena mode with character customization and skill tree progression.

Our next suggestion is Vampire Survivors, a roguelike twin-stick shooter with survival elements and old-school-inspired 2D pixel art.

Gameplay focuses on fighting against continuous waves of monsters for as long as possible using one of many supernatural characters, weapons, and relics.

The longer players manage to stay alive, the more resources they’ll accumulate for unlocking new characters and equipment for their next run.

Despite its rather simple premise, Vampire Survivors does a great job of keeping you engaged with meaningful unlocks and action-packed gameplay.

Critadel is a hardcore twin-stick shooter with GBA-inspired pixel art graphics and a pulse-pounding techno soundtrack complemented by action-packed gameplay.

In it, you take on the role of a hero tasked with defeating legions of futuristic enemies as you navigate a mysterious mechanical tower known as Babel.

As you run, jump, and blast your way through Babel’s convoluted pathways and secret chambers, you’ll discover and wield an array of weapons and power-enhancing items.

The game features three playable characters with distinct starting weapons and equipment as well as upgradeable abilities and unlockable costumes.

Switching over, Brotato is an indie twin-stick shooter with hand-drawn visuals and roguelite elements that see you making steady progress.

If it wasn’t obvious enough already, you play as a murderous potato caught in a never-ending battle with alien invaders.

Such a dangerous threat calls for drastic measures, including the ability to wield up to six weapons during tense battles.

There are other traits and items to unlock and explore on your journey to discovering the most potent potato build for surviving the invasion.

Next on our list is The Ascent, one of the best twin-stick shooters for some cyberpunk dystopian action.

This twin-stick shooter also features RPG elements and sees you running and gunning your way through a futuristic city occupied by rival factions.

The most notable of them is The Ascent Group, an authoritarian megacorp whose untimely demise creates a power struggle among the local gangs.

Players can take on the challenge of crowning a new king solo or with friends via online/local co-op.

Carrying on, Shakedown: Hawaii is a retro-inspired twin-stick shooter from developer Vblank Entertainment, best known for Retro City Rampage.

In it, you set out to build a criminal empire by taking control of legitimate businesses and sabotaging the competition.

This plays out across three protagonists with unique motivations and methods for exploring the world, including sports cars, monster trucks, and speed boats.

It’s all very reminiscent of older 2D Grand Theft Auto games with a sprinkling of nods to 1980s pop culture.

One of the best twin-stick shooters to come out of Housemarque, Nex Machina draws inspiration from Robotron and Smash TV while ramping up the carnage.

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

The campaign features 100+ levels spanning six worlds with secret paths, humans in need of rescuing, and tough enemies.

Nex Machina offers local co-op along with online multiplayer via Steam Remote Play, community leaderboards, and a host of unlockables to keep you busy.

From rogue robots to death-defying ducks, we’re covering all of our bases in this list.

Blazing Beaks is a cute and colorful twin-stick shooter that sees you controlling gun-wielding ducks forced to fight mutants and monsters.

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.

Moving right along, 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 push back 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.

Atomicrops offers another one-of-a-kind experience equal parts roguelike, twin-stick shooter, and farming sim.

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

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

Modeled after classic bullet hell shooters with a rogue-lite twist, it sees you guiding one of four characters through a labyrinth filled with traps, enemies, and loot.

Flexibility is the name of the game as each protagonist comes equipped with a unique ability 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 where mankind has disappeared and only mutated creatures remain.

Fighting your way through randomly-generated wastelands, you’ll wield a wide array of weaponry and radioactive 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.

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

It was initially created for a week-long game jam before expanding into a flash game and eventually a full-fledged title as The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

Players take on the role of Isaac, a child forced to flee to his basement after his mother goes insane, kick-starting a twisted adventure.

While its dark themes and imagery may be a bit too graphic for some, Rebirth’s gameplay and level design are top-notch.

You would be hard-pressed to find twin-stick shooters 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 features a unique battery-draining mechanic that forces you to react swiftly and deal consistent damage.

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

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

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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