Contra Rogue Corps for Nintendo Switch review: A huge let down for Contra fans

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The newest entry in the Contra series isn't worth your time or money. The mechanics are bland and the game itself feels unpolished. Where it tries to be funny and over-the-top, it just comes across as pathetic and amateurish.


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    Multiplayer co-op campaigns

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    Four interesting characters

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    Respawn on the spot

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    Lots of different gear


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    Seems amateurishly made

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    Terrible graphics on Switch

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    Slow matchmaking

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    The camera is awful

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    It's hard to aim at the right targets

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When Contra Rogue Corps was first announced I got excited. Perhaps we'd finally get a Contra title that was an equal to the classic games of old. After all, it's been several years since a good Contra game released. However, to my disappointment, Konami's game didn't provide enough to keep me remotely interested. It's horrible because it really did have a lot of potential.

The game starts off several years after the events of Contra III: The Alien Wars. A section of the planet has been turned into the Damned City, a place where abominations live and people go mad from too much exposure. Thing is, there are plenty of goodies in the city as well, which draws mercs and desperate folks to the area. You'll take control of a band of mercs who enter the city looking for plunder. Your main goal is to survive, level up, become stronger, and earn money. While the characters themselves are interesting enough, the gameplay really just isn't good. Here's my full review of Contra Rogue Corps.

A shoot 'em up campaign for up to four

Contra Rogue Corps What I like

This game was such a disappointment that it really was hard for me to come up with positives at first. However, there definitely are some. Though it's low on the list, the only way this game would deserve no stars is if it never booted up on the Nintendo Switch to begin with. So here are the good things that you'll find in Contra Rogue Corps.

Interesting characters Four to choose from

The best thing going for this game are the incredibly zany characters that you can choose from. There's Kaiser, a merc who's got a drill for an arm; Gentleman, a humongous disgusting looking bug with high-brow British etiquette; Ms. Harakiri, an assassin who merged with an alien creature to survive the Alien Wars; and Hungry Beast, a cyborg Panda with a scientist's brain.

There are four zany characters to choose from and they each have their own unique starting weapons.

These characters are all distinct and come with their own unique starting weapons. Another thing that helps build these characters up is the talented voice actors who really got into character and gave their all for this game. Unfortunately, the bad timing of the cut scenes combined with the actual gameplay drags down these actor's performances and just makes the humor feel pathetic.

Still, being able to choose between these four helps break up combat and gives you something to work toward. Each character levels up and has their own cut scenes, which further encourages you to play with everyone. In addition to leveling up, each character can visit the Surgery Room at the Base Camp in between missions. Here you can pay for surgical transplants that have the potential to increase your stats. There are three doctors to choose from and they progressively cost more. The thing is, surgeries aren't guaranteed to work so you might end up spending a lot of money trying to increase your stats and fail to do so.

Different modes Play solo or with others online

The point of the game is that you're a bunch of mercs looking to make money in this crazy world. To that end, you can either mow down hordes of enemies on your own, or connect with others online for multiplayer co-op. There's also PvP options for those who are looking for a more competitive option. While it's not the best multiplayer in the world, it's nice having a game that you can play on your own instead of always being at the mercy of those online. This is a twin-stick shooter, so you control your character's direction with one joystick and the direction of your weapon with the other.

Contra Rogue Corps What I don't like

As I've previously mentioned, this game really didn't cut it for me. As a matter of fact, after playing several hours of the game, I peaked around on Metacritic to see what other players thought about it. The average score isn't good. This game has failed to bring back the fun of older titles or introduce anything new that was worth playing. Here are some particulars about why I feel that way.

Bad mechanics Boring gameplay and terrible controls

This game really just feels directionless. Hordes of enemies come at you over and over and just make the game feel like an endless smash. Previous games in the serious also had waves of enemies, but they felt more intentional and well made. You do find several different weapons and each character can do special attacks, which helps break up the onslaughts. Also, I really liked that the game had me respawn on the spot whenever I died. However, it's not enough to save the game from going stale pretty quickly. All in all, this game just feels poorly made, like it was rushed to completion.

You can't control the camera so you're often stuck with a horrible viewing angle.

One of the biggest transgressions is the horrific camera. You have no control over it as it moves about on its own when you change locations. If you're firing and then enter an area with a camera pivot point, you just end up shooting the wrong direction and missing enemies. Additionally, objects within the level block your view and make it hard to see. This really just makes gaming sessions frustrating and annoying, especially if you're trying to play competitively. I realize that this is a twin-stick shooter, but Konami could have made use of the other buttons on the Switch to allow you to change your view.

Slow matchmaking Takes forever to start multiplayer

Every time I start up a multiplayer match it takes several minutes before I actually start playing. At first, I figured this was just a fluke, but it's not. It doesn't matter if you're trying to play co-op or PvP, you'll be twiddling your thumbs waiting for the game to start. I don't know if it's because there aren't enough people playing Contra Rogue Corps on Nintendo Switch, if it's an issue with the game itself, or something else. At any rate, it really doesn't make you want to play when you have to wait forever between missions.

While we're on the subject of multiplayer, I was upset to discover that there is no local co-op. I know most games don't really believe in sharing a screen anymore, but a buddy game like this could have really benefited from it. If nothing else, it would have allowed players to avoid the horrible wait times of the matchmaking process.

Gameplay graphics Muddy and indistinct

It's a fact that the Nintendo Switch can't handle as high of graphics as the PS4 or the Xbox One. While Contra Rogue Corps graphics aren't anything to write home about, this is definitely one of the games that looks a lot worse on the hybrid console. The characters are murky and it's hard to make out specific details while you're playing. Of course, the point of the game isn't to look beautiful, but it does make it hard to really see what's going on or to even take in the intentionally repulsive designs of the oncoming hordes.

Contra Rogue Corps Bottom Line

Contra Rogue Corps really isn't worth your time or money. It botches the fun gameplay found in older classics and just doesn't provide anything new for the series. Additionally, the camera gets in the way, and the zany characters aren't enough to pull the game out of the drudgery that it's in. If that wasn't bad enough, it takes forever for multiplayer games to load and the battle mechanics really aren't interesting enough to hold your attention. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this one.

This game mostly brings me frustration and disappointment. If you're really looking for fun Contra games, I suggest you go check out the Contra Anniversary Collection. They're oldies, but goodies.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.