Sin and Punishment: Complete Switch Controls Guide and Tips for Beginners

The popular N64 rail shooter is back as part of the Expansion Pass! Here are the Switch controls and tips for the fast-paced game.


One of the most popular releases for Nintendo 64 – and only a short time before its discontinuation – Sin and Punishment is back thanks to the Switch Online Expansion pass. The rail shooter takes place in 2007, where a worldwide famine has struck, and mutated monsters called Ruffians add another dire threat to humanity.

The intense, fast-paced shooter was unique not only in its gameplay but for being a rare game that used the left and middle of the N64 controller. While the controls are not laid out as such, it will still take some adjusting the layout on the Nintendo Switch.


On this page, you’ll find all of the N64 and Switch controls for Sin and Punishment, with gameplay tips further down.

Sin and Punishments Nintendo Switch controls

  • Strafe: D-Pad (left, right)
  • Jump and Double Jump: L, R (tap twice for Double Jump)
  • Aim and Move Cursor: RS
  • Change Cursor Mode: A (from Target to Lock-On mode)
  • Shoot and Sword Slash: ZL and ZL (when opponents are close)
  • Roll: D-Pad left and right (double-tap either direction)
  • Pause: +

Sin and Punishments Nintendo 64 Accessory controls

  • Strafe: D-Pad (left, right); C-Left and C-Right
  • Jump and Double Jump: L, R (tap twice for Double Jump)
  • Aim and Move Cursor: Joystick
  • Change Cursor Mode: A (from Target to Lock-On mode)
  • Shoot and Sword Slash: ZL and ZL (when opponents are close)
  • Roll: D-Pad (left, right) and C-Left, C-Right (double-tap either direction)
  • Pause: Start

For the Sin and Punishment controls above, the left and right analogue sticks on the Switch are denoted as LS and RS, while the directional pad buttons are shown as D-Pad with the direction button.

How to familiarise yourself with the controls layout in Sin and Punishment

While the button layout for Sin and Punishment is not as frustrating as Starfox 64 on the Expansion Pass – and remember, you cannot remap buttons at this point – it will still take time to adjust.

Luckily, there is a Training mode accessible from the Main Menu that walks you through each game mechanic in a holographic training centre. It is highlyrecommended that you spend as much time here as needed.


Using the D-Pad and Right Stick is a bit odd. It is like most modern shooters in that the Right Stick plays a role in aiming. However, so does your side-to-side strafing – the main means of movement in the game as it automatically proceeds you forward – in that the angle of your strafe affects the aim of your shot.

How to avoid as much damage as possible in Sin and Punishment

One of the first big battles in the game in Kachua.

The best way to avoid damage is to use the Roll (double-tap D-Pad left and right or C-Left and C-Right), which will make you temporarily invulnerable to attacks during the action. Particularly against individual enemies – who tend to be stronger – rolling is your best bet for success.

Next, make sure to Jump (R or L) to avoid low attacks and enemies on the ground. Bosses and mini-bosses all have individual tendencies that are generally simple to ascertain. Some may lash out in certain directions or send continuous shouts in multiple directions. Understanding these tendencies and timing your Jumps and Rolls will do wonders to mitigate damage received.


While more of an offensive note, just hold down ZL or Z to continuously shoot until your Sword is needed. This will help to ensure that at least one point of attack is blocked off regardless of the situation.

Lastly, don’t get too focused on targeting one area. In Sin and Punishment, it is almost a guarantee that you will face swarms of opponents above, in front of, and below you. A narrow focus could lead to an early demise.

How and why to use the Sword in Sin and Punishment

The Sword is used with the same button as the Gun: ZL or Z. However, it is only used when opponents are close. Simply press ZL or Z when enemies near, and you will lash out with your Sword, generally felling foes with one strike. Rather than trying to aim and shoot at the continuous enemies, slicing enemies also mitigates their opportunities to inflict damage on you.

Making use of the melee weapon is also essential in certain boss and mini-boss fights. With Radan, for example – the pictured battle – the Sword is used to flip over Radan, making it vulnerable to attack. Further, continuous strikes will send Radan off of the platform, inflicting massive damage.

Just remember that, unlike the gun, you cannot hold ZL or Z down for continuous slashes: you must hit the button each time.

How to save your progress in Sin and Punishment

You can save Sin and Punishment in the traditional way and the non-traditional way. With the traditional way, the game has natural checkpoints where you will pick back up from if you die. However, you do have a limited number of credits (14 in this playthrough), but you probably won’t need all the credits. The good news is that after you die, you restart from the checkpoint with full health

If you decide to quit the game, simply click on ‘Start/Continue Game’ to restart from your previous point.

The non-traditional way involves using the Switch to save the game like an emulator. At any point, you can open the Suspend Menu (press – on Switch) and select ‘Create Suspend Point.’ When you restart the game, select Load Suspend Point to pick up from wherever you set the Suspend Point.

A few more tips for playing Sin and Punishment on the Switch

Sin and Punishment is also unique in that the audio is in English while the encoded subtitles are in Japanese. Unless you can read and understand Japanese, this is decidedly not a game to play on mute.

The Lock-On function (toggle with A) is best used on bosses and mini-bosses as they are usually alone. Some will have obstacles to overcome in the battle, furthering the importance of Lock-On in these situations. It is especially effective against more immobile opponents as the more that they move around, the higher the likelihood is that the Lock-On will break.

Against swarms, Lock-On will be more of an impediment than a boost. Keep yourself free to aim, shoot, and slice whatever may come your way. Especially against mobile opponents, Lock-On can also affect your vision due to how the camera pans.

Lastly, if you are playing on Switch Lite, the screen size will be an adjustment. It is a bit more difficult to process the rapid pace and intensity of enemies on the smaller screen. This is why spending time in Training is even more important.

Hopefully, these Sin and Punishment controls, tips, and hints will help you to enjoy the superb N64 title to its fullest on the Nintendo Switch.


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Bruce L

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