Love running and gunning your way through enemies, wildly spraying bullets in every direction as you go?
If you do, chances are you’re a fan of twin-stick shooters. Offering hours of unadulterated arcade-esque fun, twin-stick shooters are great for raising your adrenaline, placing you in hair-raising scenarios where you need to blast enemies all around you to survive. There are plenty of twin-stick shooters on Xbox, but which ones are the best?
We’ve assembled a list of the top twin-stick shooters available on Xbox consoles, from the One right up to Series X, each and every one of them tried and tested by us. Even better, most of them allow you to team up with others, too, either locally or online. And playing with others always equals more fun. So, read on to discover the best twin-stick shooters on Xbox.
1. Slaycation Paradise
Gory, over the top and with a wicked sense of humour, we love Slaycation Paradise. One of the best twin-stick shooters you can play on Xbox, this level-based action romp sees you take a vacation of a very different kind. Starting in a swanky hotel lobby, you’ll head out into various monster-filled environments, taking down hordes of weird and wonderful enemies. The levels are hugely varied and with so many enemies, weapons and traps at your disposal, it’s a game we never get bored of jumping into.
Read our review of Slaycation Paradise
2. The Ascent
Mixing together twin-stick shooting and action RPG, there’s a lot to love about The Ascent. Its world is utterly engrossing, but it’s tough: there are plenty of difficulty spikes and so you’ll need to keep your wits about you. It’s one of the best looking twin-stick shooters on Xbox, however, with visuals that truly shine, making shooting your way through its hard-as-nails enemies a pleasure. Just don’t expect too much from the story: The Ascent is all about the gameplay.
3. Trigger Witch
With a gorgeous and colourful top-down world, Trigger Witch looks like something from the heyday of the SNES era. It reminds us of A Link to the Past in its visual style, actually – but its gameplay couldn’t be more different. Playing as the titular Trigger Witch, you’re equipped with a huge gun to shoot down your enemies with an endless spray of bullets. Safe to say, Link never had anything that bad-ass. Expect plenty of exploration and puzzles to complete as you make your way through Trigger Witch, but it’s the fast-paced twin-stick shooting that keeps us coming back for more.
4. Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse
There really isn’t anything else quite like Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse – and we mean that in the best way possible. It’s best described as a mixture of Dead Nation and a roguelike, with plenty of humour thrown in. This is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, putting fun above anything else. And so, if you enjoy silly, silly humour along with exhilarating twin-stick shooting, this is a game you’re not going to want to miss.
Read our full review of Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse
5. Assault Android Cactus
With buttery smooth gameplay and riotous combat, there’s a lot to love about Assault Android Cactus. Sure, it’s a little ugly at times, but it’s easily forgiven once you get stuck into its fantastic twin-stick shooting gameplay. It’s surprisingly challenging, but its fast-paced nature keeps you on your toes – as does the surprising level of depth to be found here. It’s one of the best twin-stick shooters on Xbox consoles: even six years after its release we still keep going back.
Read our full review of Assault Android Cactus
Challenging and addictive, Ruiner is one of the best twin-stick shooters you can sink your teeth into on Xbox. There’s a huge range of enemies to take down, whether it’s a nasty criminal, a threatening group of cyborgs or even a huge boss. Whoever you’re up against, you’ll find combat to be effortlessly fun. It’s also one of the most stylish games on this list, being described as “f**king awesome” in our review. You can’t get much better than that.
Read our full review of Ruiner
7. Tesla Force
A sequel to Tesla vs Lovecraft, Tesla Force once again combines the technology of Tesla with the horrifying beasts from Lovecraft’s imagination. The result is a very entertaining romp that sees you using a wealth of weapons to take down hordes of monsters. It’s tricky: getting swarmed by hundreds of Lovecraftian beasts is very much a reality, and if you don’t keep on your toes, you’ll soon be seeing a Game Over sign. But making your way through its wealth of levels, getting better upgrades as you go, is hugely rewarding.
Read our full review of Tesla Force
8. Enter the Gungeon
We just can’t have a list of the best twin-stick shooter games on Xbox without including Enter the Gungeon. It’s a modern classic, providing an addictive and rewarding experience – even if it is occasionally frustrating. Its gameplay is expertly polished, leading to fun and stylish firefights where players really must be ninja-fast with their reflexes to stay alive. It’s exhilarating, even if you do die and die again. Enter the Gungeon is that special type of game that will keep you going back, even if it is kicking your ass.
Read our review of Enter the Gungeon
9. I Hate Running Backwards
Brought to life with charming, blocky visuals, we love I Hate Running Backwards. It’s one of those joyous experiences that keeps you with a grin permanently affixed to your face – even when you die. Its change of perspective means it feels fresh compared to other twin-stick shooters on Xbox, and its wicked sense of humour ensures the proceedings stay fun from start to finish. Like all great twin-stick shooters, it’s also best played with a friend – so we recommend grabbing a buddy to jump in together.
Read our review of I Hate Running Backwards
10. The Binding of Isaac
An absolute classic, no list of the best twin-stick shooters on Xbox would be complete without The Binding of Isaac. With its utterly gory and ridiculous visuals, there’s nothing else quite like it. It’s designed to be unsettling and unnerving, which might not gel with everyone, but it’s the simple but perfect gameplay that keeps us coming back. Don’t expect to pick up fancy guns and lasers here: your attacks remain fairly basic. But with rock-hard bosses with attack patterns to learn and overcome, it offers an immensely satisfying challenge that we can’t get enough of.