Contra: Operation Galuga - Switch Review

"If you want to play a good Contra game, look no further than the Contra Anniversary Collection."

Contra: Operation Galuga - Switch Review
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Contra: Operation Galuga revolves around a mysterious island that becomes the epicentre of a meteor shower. Soon after, a terrorist group called the Red Falcon takes over the island. However, two elite commandos, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are sent to the location after the government detects strange gravitational disturbances on the island.

Contra: Operation Galuga is a reimagining of the cult classic Contra for the NES with a brand new coat of paint and a few new faces to play as while you progress through the campaign.

The Good

The Contra series has always been known for its run & gun gameplay and not much has changed in this reimagining of the NES classic. You get to play through eight action-packed stages, such as infiltrating a secret lab, running through a dense jungle or killing a horde of parasites within a huge alien creature. Each stage offers a varied selection of environments to run & gun through, with mini bosses and huge end level bosses to encounter and destroy. The gameplay is fast-paced and it’s wildly satisfying for the most part. The guns are fun to use, special abilities add an extra layer to how you approach enemy encounters and boss battles, and of course the perks are incredibly useful, especially the extra hit points and extra lives, which are like gold dust.  

Although, this time around, you won't see any gallery shooting sections like ones in the NES version. These have been replaced with a few new hovercycle sections, which see you riding and shooting through the stage on a rather cool bike. These sections are also a nice change of pace and have some cool dynamic camera angles that occur during play. 

There are three game modes available to play in Contra: Operation Galuga. The first is the story mode, which allows you to play through all eight stages solo or with a second player following the story, which, by the way, is fully voice acted with a plethora of new characters that unlock slowly over time. Each character has their own unique abilities, such as Bill and Lance both being able to double jump; Lucia can use her grapple gun to launch upward; and Ariana can use her slide to avoid enemy bullets. 

There is also an arcade mode which allows you to play with up to four players locally. And finally, there’s the challenge mode which pits you against multiple stages with certain criteria to win. These can be pretty challenging to beat and require some quick reflexes and shooting prowess to overcome.

New perks can be purchased when you’ve completed a stage with credits  from the perk shop; these allow you to add extra hit-points to your character and extra lives, which are a god-send. You can only equip a maximum of two perks before a stage begins, as well as guns and upgrades, making them even more powerful. Though it is possible to collect weapons during play, upgrading them on the fly by collecting the same weapon twice is a useful alternative. There’s also a new overload ability that allows you to destroy your current weapon for a powerful super move or support move. The ability to purchase these perks allows you to have greater control over your gameplay experience, which I appreciated.

The game can be fun playing solo, although the challenge is far greater when playing by yourself. However, having a friend in tow through the story mode brings back a lot of fond memories of my childhood and it's only enhanced when playing in the arcade mode with four players locally.


  • Varied stages, environments and bosses
  • Story, arcade and challenge modes
  • Perks and weapons! 
  • Two-player story mode and Four-player arcade.

The Bad

One of my biggest issues with Contra: Operation Galuga is that the developers haven't evolved the gameplay enough—that goes for the stages themselves. There were a few moments where I was like, wow, this is kind of cool, only to be taken back to a pretty linear, bland stage again. I feel like they could really make this reimagining of a classic into a truly evolved version with more dynamic, interesting stages to fight on, but sadly, I was left wanting something that was never delivered. 

The game also struggles to perform well during hectic moments when there are a lot of bullets flying about. And while these moments are brief, they can impact gameplay considerably.

I also encountered a strange bug in my second attempt at the ruin stage after I had defeated a certain boss. I was making my way across to a larger boss encounter when my character became unable to move—Nothing worked. I even recorded the moment, thinking it was a one off occurrence, although, even on the third attempt, it happened again. I haven’t been able to progress further due to this bug. 

My final issue is when you have a great weapon, it's fully upgraded and you accidentally walk over a new weapon drop. This happens all the time and your weapon is automatically swapped out with your current weapon. This is awful and sometimes unavoidable if the screen is moving, meaning you lose your powered up weapon and are then stuck with a low level gun going into boss zone is suicide. It can really kill your momentum instantly, which is incredibly frustrating.


  • The game feels lacking
  • Performance issues
  • Strange bug on ruin stage
  • Automatic weapon swapping

Final Score: 6/10

Contra: Operation Galuga is ok for a weekend get-away but it doesn't do enough to stand apart from the thousands of better run & gunners on the eShop. If you want to play a good Contra game, look no further than the Contra Anniversary Collection.

Thank you for checking out our Contra: Operation Galuga Switch review, thank you to Konami (via Five Star Games PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: