As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, so do the variety of experiences it has to offer. One of the most popular categories out there is the action genre with titles that will test your skills. The high-octane genre spans over quite a few subcategories from fighting games to survival experiences. We’ll explore some of the best action games out currently and take a look at what’s coming soon.

Let’s dive into one of the largest gaming genres out there and find an experience that’s right for you!

Fighting games

Nothing says action like a knock-down-drag-out fighter that depends on hair trigger reflexes to emerge victorious. The classic two player showdown first established itself in arcades across the globe in the 1980’s. Now all of these brawlers, and more are available on a home console near you. Fighting games boil down to combat between two or more opponents that attack and defend. Using various combos and other offensive tactics you chip away at each other’s health bar until someone reaches zero and is KO’d.

This formula has created some legendary showdowns in classic franchises like Dead or AliveKiller InstinctMortal KombatStreet Fighter and Tekken. Sport prize fighters like EA’s UFC offer ultra-realistic graphics and authentic moves to give you a taste of action in the octagon.

Whether you are a fan of 1v1 or 4v4 there is a ton of fighting action available for both beginners and veterans alike.

Top heavyweight fighters out now

Street Fighter 6

Release Date: Available now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5 and PS4
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (90%)

Street Fighter 6 is the next evolution of Capcom’s legendary fighting series, featuring innovative new gameplay features and enhanced visuals. Take your skills around the world in search of your own personal strength in three distinct game modes: Fighting Ground, World Tour and Battle Hub are you ready to step into the ring?

Purchase Street Fighter 6 on Xbox Series X|S, PS5 and PS4

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Release Date: Available now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch
Full Review | Overall Rating: 44.9/5 (98%)

A modern action fighter that puts a focus on multiplayer brawls is Super Smash Bros Ultimate and it enjoys a massive following. It’s a great party game and features classic characters like Mario, Link, Banjo-Kazooie and more.

Purchase Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Fighting games coming soon

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 takes you back to the start of the epic battle for Earthrealm. Explore a new universe with reimagined origins and guest fighters, and learn the secrets of the Fire God Liu Kang, the Keeper of Time. Fight with a new system, modes, and fatalities that will blow your mind.

Pre-order Mortal Kombat 1

Tekken 8

Join the ultimate fighting tournament in Tekken 8, the latest installment in the legendary Tekken franchise. Powered by Unreal Engine 5, Tekken 8 looks to deliver stunning visuals, fluid gameplay, and intense action. Follow the saga of the Mishima and Kazama clans as they clash in epic battles that will shape the fate of the world. Experience a new focus on “Aggressive” tactics through a “Heat System” that challenges your offensive skills. Choose from a roster of iconic fighters, each with their own unique moves and styles.

Reserve your copy of Tekken 8

Platforming games

Some of the most iconic characters and games ever created have come from the platforming genre. Legendary names like Crash BandicootDonkey KongSuper MarioSonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man hopped, skipped and jumped their way into stardom.

The general formula for these titles has you controlling characters who traverse platforms and other obstacles while facing off against enemies. Modern titles are still reinventing themselves decades later with incredible graphics, mind bending storylines and challenging levels. Must play games like Astro’s Playroom (free on the PS5), Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Sackboy’s Big Adventure  showcase the incredible experiences platformers have to offer.

Must-play platformers

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Release Date: Available now for Nintendo Switch

Go on a journey full of surprises with Kirby in Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Nintendo Switch. Play as the powerful pink puff ball Kirby, and while the journey unfolds, step into a 3D platforming world featuring abandoned monuments, remnants from a past civilization.

Purchase Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 5

Get ready to manipulate time with the dynamic duo of Ratchet and Clank as they work to stop an evil empire. Battle through cross-dimensional worlds with an outrageous arsenal of weapons. New and old friends await on your adventure as you fight to protect your universe.

Purchase Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Sonic Origins Plus

Release Date: Available now

Sonic Origins Plus is a remastered collection of classic Sonic games that lets you experience 16 Sonic titles and 12 Game Gear games. The game also features new playable characters, modes, challenges, behind-the-scenes content, and more. It’s the definitive way to play these timeless games!

Purchase Sonic Origins Plus

Hotly anticipated upcoming platform games

Super Mario Bros Wonder

Mario Wonder is a side-scrolling platform game for the Nintendo Switch that features Wonder Flowers, game-changing items that can Mario and friends into some wonderful and wild forms. The game looks to recapture Mario’s old magic with a fresh spin. You can play with up to three other people, to help each other over obstacles.

Pre-order Super Mario Bros Wonder today!

Sonic Superstars

Play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose to race across the Northstar islands in the Sonic Superstars. Race through the Northstar islands, use your powers, and stop Dr. Eggman’s evil plan. Play alone or with others in local co-op mode.

Reserve Sonic Superstars today!

Shooting Games

The biggest and most popular part of the gaming industry as a whole are shooters. These games range from military style conflicts to run and gun side scrollers (and everything in between). The commonality between all these titles is a player-controlled character with a fireable weapon. The perspective in which these games are played come in multiple forms; from the first person perspective, over the shoulder third person perspective to hero, and tactical shooters. 

First person shooters

First person shooters (FPS) give you the in-game character’s field of vision while playing. This places you in the shoes of the protagonist adding to the game’s immersion. Some of the legendary pillars that make-up the FPS experience are games like Bioshock, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Doom, Half-Life, Halo, Quake, Wolfenstein and more.

Best in class first person shooters

Call of Duty Modern Warfare II

Witness what makes Task Force 141 the legendary squad it is today in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. With the return of the iconic team leader Captain John Price and fan favourite Simon “Ghost” Riley, gear up for a global campaign and immersive multiplayer combat with narrative-driven Special Ops.

Buy Call of Duty Modern Warfare II


Discover the secrets of the cosmos in Starfield, this action RPG lets you create your own character and explore a vast galaxy with no limits. You can choose your own path, align with different factions, and interact with a rich cast of characters. Starfield is a new universe from Bethesda, the creators of Skyrim and Fallout 4, and it marks a return to their deep RPG roots of meaningful customization, dialogue, and choice.

Purchase Starfield

Upcoming FPS games

Call of Duty Modern Warfare III

Prepare for the ultimate showdown in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. You are the last line of defense against the ultranationalist war criminal Vladimir Makarov, who is plotting to unleash a global catastrophe. Adapt or die in a fight that spans across the world, customize your loadouts, choose your own path through missions, and decide whether to go stealthy or loud in this epic FPS sequel.

Pre-order Call of Duty Modern Warfare III

Third person shooters

Third person shooters give you a full body view of your character with “over the shoulder” aiming mechanics. They create immersion through the shared experience between you and the on-screen avatars. Some of these games follow a linear path like the Tomb Raider series while others have a more open world approach like Grand Theft Auto V.

Must play titles in the third person shooter category are Devil May Cry 5Gears of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and the Uncharted series.

Not all shooters are necessarily for mature audiences, Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 is available for some family friendly, light-hearted fun.

High octane games

Horizon Forbidden West

Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4
Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.9/5 (98%)

Delve into an epic adventure with Aloy as she braves the Forbidden West – a majestic but dangerous frontier that conceals mysterious new threats. Explore distant lands, fight bigger and more awe-inspiring machines, and encounter new tribes as you return to the far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon.

The adventure continues with paid, PS5-exclusive DLC in Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores DLC. Aloy will now explore the Tenakth Clan Lands in the area formally known as Los Angeles.

Buy Horizon Forbidden West

Tactical shooters

If you are looking for a more realistic, strategic experience in a shooter you might want to go tactical. These games avoid the common tropes of arcadey-style action shooters, instead taking a more methodical approach to combat. Tactical shooters require you to carefully plan movement, provide limited health and rely heavily on your squad mates. A pinnacle of the squad-based experience is Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six series, offering challenging combat and thrilling “breach and clear” moments. The current game in the series, Rainbow Six Siege features tense multiplayer moments and a big focus on team-based strategy.

Must play tactical shooters

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction

Release Date: Available now

Take on the unknown enemy with your knowledge, cooperation, and a tactical approach. Team Rainbow has been the shield against the worst global threats imaginable. Now, we face the greatest terror yet: a lethal, mutating alien parasite.

Action Genre Survival Games

Survival games

This part of the action genre will leave you on the edge of your seat as you fight tooth and nail for your own life. From battle royales, sims to survival horror, there is an adrenaline filled experience that will keep you entertained for hours. Buckle up, the survival category isn’t for the faint of heart, but will definitely leave you with a few stories to tell!

Battle royale

The battle royale experience has taken the gaming industry by storm over the last half of the decade. These games follow a formula of dropping 80-100 players into an area unarmed, forcing them loot for weapons and duke it out until one champion remains.

This sub-genre began in earnest with Arma III mods that later evolved into their own game in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The popularity and growth of the battle royale category has been explosive ever since. Following PUBG’s massive success Fortnite appeared on the scene, transcending the game industry to become a pop culture phenomenon.

Developer Respawn introduced Apex Legends based in the TitanFall universe. It brought its own unique spin to the battle royale landscape introducing hero-style mechanics into the mix.

Many other cornerstone shooters like the Call of Duty series got in on the action releasing their own battle royale modes. Call of Duty has its own battle royale mode that is free to play called Warzone you can pick up starter kits to get a leg up on the competition.

Survival simulators

Survival Sims 2022

Survival sims channel your inner Bear Grylls to live off of your surroundings. You are left with minimal resources in a hostile environment and it’s up to you to figure out the rest. Mojang’s Minecraft is a great jumping off point if you are interested in this subgenre with its block-style procedurally generated worlds.

Survival horror

Survival Horror 2022

The survival horror genre is about trying to live through a terrifying environment filled with nightmarish enemies. Think zombie apocalypse or escaping a haunted insane asylum and you start to get the idea of the terrifying thrills this subgenre offers. Some of my most memorable moments with video games have come with classic horror titles. The “must play” horror games offer experiences that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Hollywood’s most terrifying films. Alien: IsolationThe Last of Us, Resident Evil 2, RE 3 and RE 4 are stories that offer as many thrills as chills.

Top tier survival horror titles

Dead Space

The Dead Space remake offers a more captivating and enthralling experience that original fans of the game will be sure to love. Join Isaac Clarke as he searches the USG Ishimura for his partner, Nicole, and unveil the many secrets hidden aboard the ship. This classic sci-fi survival horror game features stunning visuals, suspenseful audio, and gameplay improvements.

Purchase Dead Space

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4’s third-person shooter survival horror game stays true to the franchise’s atmospheric adventure horror genre. New gameplay highlights include heightened design and creative direction in a frightening survival story using a contemporary approach, building upon the survival horror genre, utilizing lighting and sound to create an intense and up-close horror feel fans will enjoy.

Buy Resident Evil 4

Upcoming horror games

Alan Wake II

The highly anticipated sequel to the cult classic survival horror game Alan Wake is just around the corner. In the game, you play as both Alan Wake, a best-selling author trapped in a dark dimension, and Saga Anderson, an FBI agent investigating a series of ritualistic murders in Bright Falls. Explore two worlds, two mysteries, and two characters as you face the Dark Presence, a mysterious cult, and your own nightmares. The game will be released on October 27th, 2023, for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Get ready to enter the darkness!

Music games

Action Games - Music Games

If you enjoy music and are no stranger to singing or dancing along to a song, rhythm games could be a perfect fit. These titles are all about carefully timing button presses, or matching movements on screen to sync with a musical beat.

Rhythm games come in forms like the 1996 classic PaRappa the Rapper where you follow along with a loose storyline and jam with out with characters by pressing buttons. There are also peripheral based experiences like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Each comes with their own hardware like a dance mat, guitar controller and full band kit. These games prompt you to hit drumbeats, guitar frets or vocal notes with included hardware.

Dance to your own tune

Samba de Amigo: Party Central

Release Date: Available now

Get ready to shake it up with Samba de Amigo: Party Central, the ultimate rhythm game for Nintendo Switch. This game lets you use your controllers as maracas and groove to over 40 songs from different genres and regions. You can also join the World Party mode and compete with up to 8 players online or locally. Customize your character with various outfits and accessories and show off your dance skills on the big screen.

Purchase Samba de Amigo: Party Central

Music games coming soon

Just Dance 2024

Release Date: Pre-order today!

Sing and dance along to 40 new songs from your favourite artists, as well as timeless classics and viral hits. Players can dance the night away with online multiplayer with your friends and join seasonal events throughout the year to win badges and customize your Dancer Card.

Pre-order Just Dance 2024

High octane action

The action genre is the gaming industry’s biggest by far, offering a wide range of adrenaline pumping experiences. If you are looking for a game that will entertain and put your skills to the test, you’ll surely find an unforgettable title in this category. With dozens of subgenres, award winning titles like Call of DutyBioshock, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption and more you’ll find multiple games that rival any Hollywood action experience. Try a title from each category above and see which is the best fit for you!

Let us know what your favourite action game is in the comments below.

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Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux.


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