Bullet hell games were originally conceptualized in order to eat up many of your tokens in old arcades.
In this genre, it’s expected for your screen to be filled with projectiles that you have to evade, with only small safe spots you have to find.
As the name suggests, these games are naturally difficult. Whether it’s a classic shoot ’em up, top-down twin-stick shooter, frenetic run-and-gun platformers—or another genre entirely—be prepared for an onslaught of bullets.
The good news is that the Nintendo Switch has a huge number of bullet hell games. The bad news is that this means it can be hard to separate the great games from the mediocre ones.
But fear not!
This list provides 13 of the best bullet hell games on Switch, with a variety of options so there’s bound to be something suitable for everyone.
Don’t Die, Mr Robot!
Don’t Die, Mr Robot! is the simplest game on this list in terms of features. However, this straightforward arcade game is also one of the best bullet hell games on Switch.
The game puts you in control of a small square robot that loves to eat fruit. Enemies and hazards will start to rapidly fill in the screen, and you have to weave around their offense.
Mr Robot can’t attack these foes directly. Instead, it has to do what it does best: eat fruit. When you come in contact with the fruit that appears on the screen, it sends explosive shockwaves that destroy these hazards.
The twist is that you’ll have a much higher score multiplier if there are more fruits on the screen. Therefore, the game encourages you to play riskier by enduring the ever-increasing onslaught while you wait for more fruits to appear.
There are alternative modes to enjoy the game. Arcade mode is endless, only ending after you get hit. Time attack only takes place in a set amount of time, and you have to score as high as possible. Lastly, chill out mode is a casual and slower version of the game.
You can use the coin you collected from defeated foes to purchase upgrades and playable characters. These characters offer slightly different ways to play the game.
Wildcat Gun Machine
Wildcat Gun Machine is a top-down twin-stick bullet hell shooter that feels similar to Enter The Gungeon and Hades.
The game segments its levels with chapters called acts. These acts are large zones filled with rooms that you’ll have to clear. Occasionally, there are mini-bosses scattered throughout to test your combat skills.
The protagonist becomes stronger with each new upgrade found during the campaign. You’ll slowly grow your arsenal, grenades, special weapons, and other useful upgrades through fighting more enemies.
You’ll slowly charge up your super meter as you fight. When fully charge, you can pilot a devasting mech called the gun machine. This short moment imbues you with a lot of firepower if you really need to let loose.
While you will feel powerful, you’ll never feel like you’re stomping through the game. Wildcat Gun Machine is one of my favorite Switch bullet hell games, and is a refreshing take on the genre.
Assault Android Cactus+
Assault Android Cactus+ is a hectic arcade-style twin-stick shooter. The core gameplay loop is fun and satisfying, especially if you love to compete in online leaderboards.
The main campaign tasks you with fighting at 25 arena-like stages. These stages transform mid-battle, so you’ll have to adapt on the fly.
Assault Android Cactus+ is less punishing than other bullet hell games because of the absence of lives. Instead, androids have a steadily depleting battery meter, that must be recharged by picking it up from enemies.
However, enemies can still temporarily knock you down with enough damage. This reduces your overall score and prevents you from moving for a while.
There are 9 playable android characters with different guns and abilities. Assault Android Cactus+ emphasizes aggressive play as your weapons will become stronger if you have a long kill streak.
There are other games mode too like the competitive Daily Drive. This mode gives you one chance to get a high score on a randomly generated stage.
The game also supports local co-op for all game modes so you can have a fun time blasting away with your friends!
Steredenn: Binary Stars
It seems like it’s natural to pair procedurally generated roguelite elements with arcade-style bullet hell shoot ’em ups. Steredenn: Binary Stars well and truly stepped up here and delivered one of the best bullet hell games on Nintendo Switch in the process.
Steredenn is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up with procedurally generated stages. This is a match made in video game heaven because players in this genre are fond of replaying the game for a higher score.
There are five playable ships with their own weapons, abilities, and playstyle to choose from. For instance, the Specialist will be a nice change of pace for veteran shoot ’em up players. It’s weak on its own but it lets you set up and empower bots to fight for you.
Steredenn tasks you with fighting your way through seven stages of bullet hell pandemonium. During the run, you can collect power ups such as weapons to boost your arsenal. Bigger upgrades come after defeating bosses at the end of each stage.
Special events are also a part of the randomized loop to spice up gameplay. While there are often dangerous, like a meteor shower hurling space rocks across the screen, they always give a score bonus to push your high score.
The alternative modes are Daily Run, Boss Rush, and Arena. Daily run is a set global challenge for everyone who owns the game and a great way to compete for leaderboards.
Boss rush is a weekly global challenge but focuses on consecutive boss fights. While Arena is a challenge mode where you can train against the Steredenn’s bosses.
You can bring a friend by using the local coop to experience the joys of the game. Be warned: you both share the same health bar, so make sure you’re on good terms before you play.
Furi is one of the Switch’s best hack and slashes that doesn’t pit you against hordes of enemies. Instead, it’s a short and sweet experience against several unique and incredible bosses.
Furi’s gameplay is fast, impactful, and precise. You’ll be switching between slashing with your sword, dashing around, and parrying attacks with short telegraphs.
Furi becomes one of the best bullet games on Switch during these grueling boss battles. The protagonist is much more nimble and has access to more moves than standard bullet hell characters, making it much more interesting to evade and maneuver.
The bosses in Furi as superb and they’ll keep you on your toes. They all have multiple phases with different sets of attack patterns that you’ll need to learn to defeat them.
Furi has excellent replay value after beating the game. Reaching the end gives you the right to play Furier mode, which is like a whole new game with harder bosses and new attack patterns.
ITTA is a top-down bullet hell twin-stick shooter inspired by Enter the Gungeon, Titan Souls, and the very first Legend of Zelda.
Set in a fantasy land, the game starts out on a dreadful note, as you wake up next to your recently perished family. Afterward, a spirit guide transforms into your family cat and then gives you a revolver, which you’re supposed to use to take down strong foes.
There’s a focus on exploration and secret hunting in the game. You’re free to roam around to hunt for new weapons and interact with the various NPCs scattered about. In addition, there are no enemies in the overworld which makes the game surprisingly calm.
ITTA puts you up against frustratingly hard bosses that always remain fair and beatable. Dodge rolling also gives you some invincibility frames to evade right through projectiles.
ITTA uses detailed pixel art similar to Hyper Light Drifter. This art style makes it crystal clear to identify projectiles to evade.
The game also offers accessibility options for those who are having a harrowing time with the combat. You can toggle damage multipliers to adjust your difficulty or straight-up turn on invincibility if the game is still too hard.
Just Shapes & Beats
In its own way, bullet hell shoot ’em ups puts you into a flow state during its most intense moments. Just Shapes & Beats is a hypnotizing musical bullet hell game that tasks you with dodging and dashing along with the beat.
You’ll control a small colored square floating around in black space. When the music starts, you’ll have to avoid the other colored shapes coming to attack you.
These obstacles are lovingly synchronized to the licensed EDM and chiptune tracks. You can dash right through solid shapes for temporary invincibility, however, make sure you land on a neutral space, or else you’re losing health.
The game is as difficult as it is mesmerizing. Get hit enough times and you’ll be booted back to the last checkpoint—lose too much and you’ll restart the whole stage.
Just Shapes & Beats surprises players by including chaotic boss fights throughout the game. These brutal encounters will send you back to the very start of the stage if you mess up.
For hardcore players, the game also lets you try challenge mode, a much harder trial compared to the campaign. Just Shapes & Beats also supports local and online coop for up to four players.
The game also includes party mode, where it plays itself while cycling through different songs. This will surely give your guests an audio-visual treat.
The game also includes a photosensitive mode if flashing lights might be an issue for you.
Cuphead is a love letter to 1930s cartoons and tough run-and-gun games such as Contra and Megaman. It’s dripping with charm and fantastic in short bursts of game time.
You’ll play as the eponymous Cuphead and his brother Mugman (if a second player is present) living on Inkwell Isle. These two lost a bet against the Devil himself, thus, they’re forced to collect the souls of other shady characters who owe him.
Cuphead is notorious for its punishing and demanding boss fights. These bosses will put your memorization, quick reactions, and game knowledge to the test.
Some of these boss battles take place with the duo piloting aeroplanes. These segments offer some of the best side-scrolling bullet hell experiences on Switch.
Before taking on a boss, it’s advised to take on the run-and-gun stages found in the overworld. It’s worth overcoming these challenging segments to earn coins, which are used to purchase new weapons and abilities.
Aside from solid gameplay, Cuphead features painstaking hand-drawn animation which emulates the rubber hose style from the golden age of animation. Additionally, the game also offers an amazing jazz soundtrack that will keep your spirits up during the grueling combat encounters.
Undertale is a massively influential game that showed the gaming industry how to create a superb role-playing game without gratuitous displays of violence. The whole game is charming with memorable moments, endearing characters, and an engaging story.
You’ll play as a young child who fell underground, the realm where monsters are separated from humans. The ultimate goal is to make your way back to the surface, fighting or befriending any monster on the way.
Combat is a hybrid of turn-based RPG and bullet hell segments. The latter part happens during the enemy’s turn when you have to evade their attacks. These segments ramp up in intensity—they’re at their most intense during boss battles.
Undertale has some of the greatest characters in video game history. Their quirky dialogue, comedic interactions, and sometimes threatening monologues give them colorful personalities and unforgettable moments.
If you’re interested in Undertale it’s best to go into it blind. There are many secrets and twists that work best if you don’t know what to expect.
It has to be mentioned that Undertale’s music is incredible. While the hugely popular Megalovania has surely permeated mainstream audiences, there are many catchy tunes that will stick to you.
Risk of Rain 2
Risk of Rain 2 is one of my most played games because of how addicting it is. It’s a third-person roguelite shooter where it’s charming exterior mowing down hordes of alien enemies hides a complex game for those who look for it.
Risk of Rain 2 lets you play as one of the crew members of the UES: Safe Travels. These survivors provide vastly different gameplay from each other, so you can find which one suits you the best. Additionally, you can complete unique in-game challenges to unlock their alternative skills.
For example, the Railgunner specializes in single target engagements as she can destroy enemies with precise shots. On the contrary, the Artificer acts like a spell-casting mage because she throws area-of-effect abilities that are great for clearing hordes.
Risk of Rain 2 sees you finding teleporters hidden in every stage to go to the next one, until you fight the final boss. However, it isn’t a good idea to immediately advance to the next stage without gearing up.
You’ll have to defeat alien locals to earn gold and open chests scattered throughout the level. There are more than 100 items in the game that you can unlock for your runs.
Risk of Rain 2 encourages you to play fast because enemies will become more powerful the longer the game goes on. The game ramps up quickly; before long you’ll fight plenty of enemies with projectiles that could get you in one hit.
Risk of Rain 2 is undoubtedly one of the best bullet hell Switch games. Whether solo or with up to three other friends, you’re guaranteed a fun and chaotic time. Additionally, the game also has an unforgettable and intense soundtrack.
When it comes to the conversation about contemporary bullet hell games, Nuclear Throne is a bonafide modern classic. It’s a top-down roguelike twin-stick shooter that’s extremely difficult, yet undeniably addicting.
Assume control as one of the twelve mutants with special abilities, starting weapons, and perks. A personal favorite of mine is a mutant named Steroids, who can dual wield any weapon and innately make them fully automatic. Your goal is to reach the titular Nuclear Throne to re-establish posy-apocalyptic Earth.
Nuclear Throne is a masterclass in audio-visual feedback. Each shot is punchy, loud, and impactful. Most enemies (and extension, you) goes down in a few hits, so make sure to make every shot count.
Nuclear Throne is one of the best bullet hell games on Nintendo Switch because of how polished the gameplay is.
Additionally, the environment is also breakable so you can create small pockets to barricade yourself from a gunfight.
Local co-op is also available in case you need a buddy to get through hard times.
Originally released in 2001 for Japanese arcades, Ikaruga still remains one of the best Nintendo Switch bullet hell games today. This hectic shoot ’em up was made by legendary developer Treasure, which made cult-classic games like Gunstar Heroes and Radiant Silvergun.
At first glance, Ikaruga plays similarly to other vertical bullet hell shoot ’em ups. However, its core mechanic called polarity switch, adds a hectic puzzle element to the game.
The enemies in Ikaruga shoot out two colors of bullets, either black or white. If your switch gets hit by a projectile of the opposite color, it will crash and burn. But, if your ship comes in contact with a bullet of the same color, you’ll absorb it.
This allows Ikaruga to fill the screen with an ungodly amount of bullets since you’re expected to polarity shift on demand. Regular features of similar games like power-ups and screen-clearing bombs are noticeably absent, you’ll have to learn the nuances of polarity shifting to master the game.
For example, destroying three enemy ships of the same color in a row creates a combo chain, giving you a higher score. Another mechanic is purposefully absorbing the same colored projectiles to charge up a devasting attack.
Ikaruga is a great game for players who want to compete on the leaderboards since there’s so much room to improve. The puzzle aspect of polarity switching really makes the game stand out from other bullet hell shoot ’em ups.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is simply the quintessential bullet game that every player interested in the genre should own. It is a roguelite twin-stick shooter that’s filled to the brim with content, hilarious puns, and references to many other games.
The game takes place inside a gun-themed dungeon with multiple floors punctuated by a difficult boss encounter. Expect each procedurally generated floor to be a literal bullet hell, as hostile sentient bullets will be firing at you from all angles.
There are four playable characters with unique perks to choose from, with a fifth one exclusive to the local co-op, to descend the dungeon. Their ultimate goal is to reach the lowest floor in order to find the gun that can kill their past.
The bosses in Enter the Gungeon are unbelievably good. They have unique mechanics that will have you moving, evading, and dodge rolling to your limit.
Enter the Gungeon has an overwhelming amount of creative, fun, and hilarious items at your disposal. The game has loving references to other games, like the mega buster from Megaman or a small bubble blasting reptile that looks like the creature in Bubble Bobble.
As you continue to play the game, you’ll slowly unlock more and more of the weapons and items using collected currency. Enter the Gungeon is all killer and no filler; a quality game all throughout the hundreds of hours you’ll pour into it.