The 5 Best Indie Shoot-Em-Ups


There are a lot of awesome indie games out there, but how do you know which ones are worth playing? I’m here to help. This time we’re talking shooters!

Shooters, shoot-em-ups, mindless violence. Call them what you like, the shooter is a popular genre of game on every platform. Everyone knows the AAA big guns (pun intended) like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but what about the indies? I’m here to help with my list of the best indie shooters around.

Enter The Gungeon

by Dodge Roll

Not only is Enter The Gungeon beautiful to look at, it controls fantastically and there’s a ton of replayability. Procedurally generated levels and a lot of secrets to uncover as you try to unlock your character’s troubled past. And it runs at 60fps.

Enter The Gungeon on Steam (opens in new window)

Nuclear Throne

by Vlambeer

Similar in concept to EtG, Nuclear Throne came out first and is a little more primitive. But despite that, it’s still a fantastic game. Again, randomly generated with a lot of secrets to find. The daily challenges give you online high scores so you can take on the world and show off your skills!

Nuclear Throne on Steam (opens in new window)


by Milkstone Studios

Procedural generation doesn’t always work very well in first-person games. It’s very easy for levels to look either really boring or totally identical. But Ziggurat manages to pull it off pretty well. It’s magical abilities rather than bullets, but there’s a good selection of enemies and weapons to keep you interested. And some really cool boss battles. Oh, and evil carrots.

Ziggurat on Steam (opens in new window)

Featherpunk Prime

by Super Hatch Games

Another procedural side-scrolling platform-based shooter, but this time with a cybernetic neon flamingo as the main character. Because why not? It’s good, but misses out on being great just because the levels tend to end up looking a little similar.

My First Look @ Featherpunk Prime.


by Alientrap

EARLY ACCESS. If you ever thought that scavenging for scrap in derelict spaceships would be a fun hobby, I have the game for you. Cryptark looks a lot like classic 90s shooter R-Type. But they’ve added procedural levels and a style of play that rewards planning and executing missions as safely and efficiently as possible. And it’s hard!

Cryptark on Steam (opens in new window)

Worth Mentioning

Butcher is without doubt one of the most brutal and punishing games I’ve ever played. The 2D shooting and platform mechanics work well and I really enjoyed playing it. I was so bad at it I couldn’t get past around level 3, so it’s hard to give it a full recommendation! But if you like being punished, it’s definitely worth checking out.

My First Look @ Butcher.

Nation Red
Zombies? Check. Online multiplayer? Check. Fun weapons and crazy abilities? Check. Built on the Source engine so it’ll run on pretty much anything? Check. Although after a few waves of zombies you might still find your frame rate tanking. Great fun. These days I can only really recommend Nation Red if you’ve got friends to play it with online. The existing online community has disappeared.

Nation Red on Steam (opens in new window)