PS5 Review: Contra: Operation Galuga

Is this the Contra we’ve been waiting for?

When the Red Falcon terrorist group takes over the Galuga Islands off the coast of New Zealand, elite Contra commandos Bill Rizer and Lance Bean springs into action, initiating an all-out war in which the fate of mankind hangs in the balance! Run, jump, and shoot your way through eight levels using a devastating arsenal – including the spread shot, laser, and homing missiles – now with stackable upgrades and awesome Overload abilities! The intense action is customizable with three difficulty settings plus a variety of additional challenge options. Contra: Operation Galuga is a thorough reimagining of the classic run-‘n’-gun action game from the ’80s, featuring modern graphics and sound, new stages, new enemies and bosses, new play mechanics, an updated weapons system, and explosive co-op combat for up to two players in Story Mode or four players in Arcade Mode!

There have been a good number of Contra games over the years, most of them superb…while later entries haven’t faired so well. The series hadn’t seen a game since 2019’s Contra: Rogue Corps which was a top-down isometric run-and-gun game as opposed to the traditional side-scroller that we’ve all loved over the years. Operation Galuga is a return to the old style and is labelled by Konami as a reimagining of the original game.

The developer WayForward isn’t a stranger to the Contra series, having previously released Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and was modelled after Contra III: The Alien Wars, with upgradable weapons similar to Super Contra. Sadly that game was never released in Europe so I didn’t get to play it at the time…

The classic run-and-gun gameplay returns and brings the nostalgia with it. The difficulty is still as tough as it ever was, even with a player fighting alongside you in Story Mode. It didn’t take me too long to blast through the story, but there is also an Arcade Mode which you can play with 4 players. Sadly it’s couch co-op only, but considering the lack of those types of games these days, its more than welcome.

The levels are well varied and the weapons are satisfying to use. The game handles as you would hope from a classic Contra game and while the new visuals may not be to everyone’s tastes, I personally liked how it looked. It also runs at a solid framerate throughout and I didn’t come across any glitches during my playthrough. If there’s a problem to be found, its that the game plays it safe by ticking all the boxes for a Contra game but not expanding beyond them. Which in the grand scheme of things is tiny.

The Verdict

Contra: Operation Galuga takes the series back to its roots with this reimagining of the original classic. It may not take any risks, but does more than enough to satisfy veterans of the franchise. I had low expectations going in, so I was more than pleasantly surprised with the final outcome.

Score: 8.0

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this product from