What is Twin-Stick Shooter? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

Many gamers nowadays are used to games that require two analog sticks to play. The idea in most games is the right stick is used for camera manipulation and the left for movement. However, there are numerous games that deviate from this formula and one of these genres just so happens to be the focus of today’s article. In today’s article we will be discussing the genre of Twin Stick Shooter and how these games differ from other shooting based titles.

In our What is Twin Stick Shooter article, we will be teaching all of you gamers out there what the term means and why you should care. Twin stick shooter based games are not only tons of fun but can be a nice change of pace from the first and third person shooting games out there. Our What is Twin Stick Shooter article will make sure that by the end you’re not only well versed in the definition but also have some games to possibly play that you never have before. Alright folks, let us not delay any further and jump right into this article so you can read and increase your gaming knowledge up one more level.

Move and shoot at the same time

The problem with getting to use to one control method in gaming is that learning new ones becomes increasingly hard as time goes on. It’s equivalent to riding a bike with two hands most of your life then trying to only use one hand, you won’t find the switch of movement very simple. Twin stick shooter games tend to be like this where the idea of using two sticks in unison isn’t always the easiest thing to learn but if you keep practicing it becomes quick to master. Let us use our first examples in the forms of Resogun and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to teach you how twin stick shooting works and why at the end of the day you might be missing out if you don’t give it a try.

1. Resogun

  • System/Platform: PS4, PS3, PS Vita
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Housemarque, Climax Studios
  • Release Date: Nov 15, 2013

Hurry, humans have been trapped within square shopped prisons on an alien planet! You must pilot your small ship and defeat these alien invaders all while saving all the humans from their captors. Your enemy however, comes in waves and they all wish to destroy you with their large numbers and various giant crafts. However, you have the means of fighting back and with your expert piloting you can survive this pilot. Now go forth pilot and save all those humans in Resogun.

Resogun is easily one of the best examples we can think of when we think of what a true twin stick shooter game should look like. Players must navigate a circular map—which changes as you defeat all the enemies and boss—using a small ship as they fire and move at the same time using both analog sticks in the process. While Resogun isn’t an easy game for many at first—and on harder difficulties even veterans will find it hard—after a few minutes of playing you will begin to see how the game works and become only better with more practice. Resogun offers a nice mixture of speed and movement to make those who are looking for a good gateway game to get into the twin stick shooter. Though don’t worry if you stick to playing Resogun on the easier difficulties, we did the same and don’t regret it ourselves.

Resogun-Official Trailer (PS4) (Official Trailer)

2. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

  • System/Platform: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, OS X
  • Publisher: Nicalis
  • Developer: Nicalis
  • Release Date: Nov 4, 2014

Isaac is just your typical young boy with a thirst for adventure and fun. Isaac had a great life until his mother one day claimed to hear a voice from above claiming that Isaac was being changed by the various forces around him. Locking him in his room, Isaac lay there naked and afraid. Suddenly, the mother one day heard the voice again claiming Isaac needed to be sacrificed and thus the mother heads up to kill the son. With nowhere to run to, Isaac heads into a trap door leading to the basement in hopes of escaping his deranged mother. Though little does Isaac know that the within the basement lies horrors that may supersede his cruel mother and now he’s going to have to fight back against them if he wants to survive…

Twin stick shooter titles don’t always need to have space ships as the focus but can also be more akin to adventure games with roguelike elements, which we may or may not mention again in our last example. Thus, for our second example of how movement and shooting coexist in twin stick shooting titles we look at The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. This now extremely famous title has players take control of a young boy as they move around a randomly generated dungeon with their tears being the means of firepower. For a player to do well in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth they must become comfortable manipulating both sticks—especially if they plan on using a controller—at the same time. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth isn’t an insanely hard game if you’re running through it on normal settings but once you begin to enter the other gameplay modes and begun to see the various power ups and handicaps that you can use to make the game more interesting, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth becomes a truly tough title. We do recommend playing The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth with a controller to keep that twin stick shooter feel but if you’re a keyboard orientated person, you can still fully enjoy the game without any problems arising.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth-Release Date Trailer (Official Trailer)


Usually bullet hell titles

Now if you decided to look up twin stick shooters online, you will notice most twin stick shooting games are actually bullet hell titles. There are literally hundreds we can name and that would only be scratching the surface of how many twin stick shooter games are bullet hell focused. Though maybe you need some more proof of this and for that we found one of our absolute favorite twin stick shooting titles that is also a bullet hell focused game. This example comes in the form of Enter the Gungeon and trust us folks, if you need a fast-paced twin stick shooter you’re going to want to try Enter the Gungeon.

3. Enter the Gungeon

  • System/Platform: PC, OS X, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Developer: Dodge Roll
  • Release Date: Apr 5, 2016

Far away in space lies a planet that is heavily fortified. The reasons this planet is so focused on security is because deep within the planet lies a weapon that has the means of destroying something no other gun can, the past. 4 random strangers have decided to brave the planet’s tough security in hopes of reaching the gun and use it on their own various pasts. However, will they be able to reach the gun when it seems this planet has so many various threats both organic and inorganic?

Enter the Gungeon released in 2016 and was met by critical claim for being one of the most addicting twin stick shooting titles out there. With constant death being a means of restarting the game and trying it again with random results—which is known as roguelike—Enter the Gungeon provides players with an excellent idea of how twin stick shooter games should play and what they should look like. Running around dodging various gunfire and threats all while shooting back is the very essences of what a twin stick shooter is all about and that will always put a smile on our faces. Enter the Gungeon isn’t an easy game so we do recommend players to first familiarize themselves with twin stick games—like the ones above—before taking on this title. However, if you think you’re ready to experience a tough but oh so satisfying twin stick shooter, then you need to play Enter the Gungeon.

Enter the Gungeon- Launch Trailer | PS4 (Official Trailer)


Final Thoughts

Twin stick shooting games can truly be gaming titles that offer up players a new world of gaming. There’s an interesting nuance to having to manipulate two analog sticks at the same time to manipulate both your character and the means of firing back at your enemy. It might seem kind of complicated or confusing at first but quickly it becomes second nature and before you know it you’re a fan of the twin stick shooter genre. Have you played any of the twin stick shooter titles above or maybe other titles? Let us know in the comments directly below and be sure to keep stuck to us here at Honey’s Anime for more gaming articles!

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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