Galaga’s immense success drew masses of fans from all over the world. Not everyone remembers that, but its complexity hidden behind a simple pixel setting made it a must-play for arcade players.

Galaga was quite an innovative design, offering challenging mechanics set in faraway space. Players could play as spaceship pilots fighting increasingly larger enemy forces until the level became unbeatable. This simple recipe helped it become a gaming legend – but if you’re looking for a similar experience, we may have some recommendations!

Arcade shooters are instantly playable, thanks to the lack of unnecessary introductions. For many, they also provide a nostalgic factor, triggering the most pleasant memories from the past. Most shoot’em ups offer one fundamental objective – eliminate as many enemies as possible. Simplicity is their greatest power, and for that reason, we enjoy them so much.

Space Invaders Extreme

Release date:2018-02-13
Genre:Action
Developer:TAITO CORP.

It is a legendary space shooter, with the first version of the game released in 1978. Like Galaga, it offers challenging but also incredibly addictive adventure.

Operate a powerful laser cannon to eliminate all alien opponents on the map. Each success makes the next level even faster and more demanding, so beating the game isn’t as easy as it seems. This title influenced the entire shooter genre, including Galaga and Galaxian. On top of that, the pixel alien became the inspiration for the French urban artist Invader.

Key features
  • Fight incoming waves of alien forces
  • Beat increasingly difficult levels
  • Enjoy challenging gameplay within simple graphics
  • Play the game that helped shape today’s shooter genre

R-Type (Dimensions EX)

Release date:2018-11-28
Genre:Shoot 'Em Up
Developer:Tozai Games, Inc

It’s a collection of two arcade games, the first initially launched in 1987, followed by the second part only two years later.

R-Type Dimensions EX offers iconic gameplay in the style of the 80s with a new Infinite mode and the ability to switch between the original 2D visuals and the 3D version. The gameplay focuses on an epic battle against the hostile Bydo forces, which look much nastier than the cute aliens from Space Invaders. Players can use various weapons, but that doesn’t make this game easy!

Key features
  • Fight the sinister Bydo invasion
  • Play two iconic games in one collection
  • Try the addictive Infinite mode
  • Play solo or in two-player cooperation

1942 (Capcom Arcade Stadium: 1942)

Release date:2021-05-25
Genre:Action
Developer:CAPCOM Co., Ltd.

Based on Battle of Midway, the 1942 game focuses on fighting Japanese air fleets during World War II. It became the fourth most popular arcade title during the first two weeks after release in Japan!

Image credit: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.

1942 is now available as part of the Capcom Arcade Stadium collection on Steam, and you can get it as DLC after purchasing the base game. Unlike previous recommendations, the action develops in the Pacific, following the player’s plane, eliminating enemy forces in an explosive shoot ’em-up combat.

Key features
  • Operate the plane to defeat Japanese units
  • Avoid getting hit to survive the battle
  • Enjoy colorful graphics and dynamic combat
  • Get the DLC as part of Capcom Arcade Stadium

Gradius (Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics)

Release date:2019-04-18
Genre:Casual
Developer:KONAMI

It is a side-scrolling shooter from Konami where you can steer the Vic Viper ship to defeat the enemy Bacterion forces. Prepare for a high difficulty level!

Confront multiplying hordes of enemies to reach powerful bosses that require a bit of strategy to defeat. Power-ups play a crucial role in this game, as only by collecting enough of them will you be able to upgrade your weapons and win upcoming battles.

Key features
  • Get the game as part of the Arcade Anniversary Collection
  • Pilot Vic Viper to defeat enemy forces
  • Collect power-ups and upgrade your weapons
  • Plan your actions to defeat powerful bosses

Ikaruga

Release date:2014-02-18
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Treasure

Play as a rebel pilot fighting Tenro Horai’s troops. The Ikaruga fighter will be your trustiest companion and tool in this ultimate battle for revenge!

Ikaruga is widely famous for its unique black-and-white polarity mechanism, which requires pressing buttons assigned to specific colors of enemy units. Also, focus on collecting equipment to confront more powerful opponents. Although the game first launched in 2001, the 2014 version perfectly captures its timeless spirit.

Key features
  • Pilot the Ikaruga fighter to defeat enemy units
  • Focus on colors to get the most out of each battle
  • Collect equipment and advance to the following levels
  • Play solo or in two-player co-op

Games similar to Galaga do not need elaborate plots, deep characters, or a complicated hero development system. They give you a gun and a vehicle and tell you to shoot at enemy units – that’s it. Like today’s mobile games, old-school classics focus on simplicity and pure joy. There is nothing more to it, and players love that relaxing feature, still playing iconic shoot’em ups from the past in 2024.