10 Best Shoot 'Em Up Games for PC

Bang, bang, boom, rata-ta-ta-ta-ta, phiiieeeww...

The biggest PC shmups...okay, okay, Shoot 'Em Ups

When choosing the best of the best shoot 'em up games for PC, you have to keep in mind that there's a lot of similarity between the titles. It's not like with strategies, RPGs or adventure games, that have widely different stories, systems, mechanics etc. This is just you, with a ship or something similar, shooting enemies that come on the screen.

What I'm trying to say is: "If you've played one, you've pretty much played them all." After you grab your first SHMUP (best abbreviation ever!) and play through it, the rest will feel the same and, therefore, lose the "wow" factor. I admit, I am biased too. However, I did try to come up with some criteria by which to rank them and, hopefully, give each game what it deserves.

So, here's what was important for me:

  • The feel - the ship has to handle well and should move naturally, otherwise it gets frustrating
  • The look - I don't mean super graphics, just pleasing or friendly (modern smooth, or old-school pixel, both can be lovely or ugly)
  • The sound - again, I don't mean cutting edge sound, just something that fits well and a good soundtrack
  • Features - a good choice of ships or upgrades can really help these games out!
  • Cleanliness - the screen can get pretty cluttered and it's important to be able to tell what you need to avoid, what to shoot and what to pick up
  • Originality - this is really important for shoot 'em ups, as the genre needs some innovation to give it life

Now without further ado, the list! (Do keep in mind, this is a top 10 list, meaning that these are already the best SHMUPs out there. Now it's just a matter of nitpicking at the details and a bit of personal preference.)


High standards & easily bored. Good luck
Gamer Since: 1992
Favorite Genre: RPG
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