The platforming game genre has been around for a long time, and you can trace its roots back to Super Mario, who’s still doing pretty well for himself. Many tried to create platforming games that attempted to redefine the genre, but alas, many failed while others flourished. Today I’ll be taking a look at the Top 10 – Best Platforming Games of all time. This list was no easy feat. There have been some phenomenal platforming games released during the past few decades, and I thought, why not? The platforming genre has always been one of my favourites.
With that, let’s take a look at the Top 10 – Best Platforming Games you can play right now.
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Conker’s Bad Fur Day started as a cutesy, kid-friendly game geared towards the audience that Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie had, but during development, it all changed. Conker’s Bad Fur Day stars a foul mouth, booze-pounding squirrel with mad love for the ladies. The plot twist was around the time, Nintendo wasn’t known for M-rated games like this, so this was an N64 game unlike any other.
The game wasn’t the first M-rated game on the N64, and it didn’t necessarily start a tradition of games like that on Nintendo consoles, but it did feature some of the best 3D platforming to this day. So, thank you, Rare. The game has you running, jumping, hovering by using your tail as a propeller, and strike the bad guys with a frying pan. The game is lewd, ridiculous, full of laughs and well worth a try if you haven’t played it before.
The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remasters all three of our favourite marsupials epic adventures: Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped. This new remaster includes a couple of new levels, including the previously unreleased level from the first game and a brand-new level.
If you haven’t played Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, you should give it a try. A platformer with tricks up its sleeves that you’re always on the look-out for dangerous traps that rely on quick timing. You’ll want to complete these levels with crystals, gems, and relics because who doesn’t want to see Crash dance.
When Little Nightmares was first announced, I was already super excited for it, the Tim Burton-esque adventure that gracefully tiptoes the border between cutesy and creepy. You play as a young girl who is trapped in a dangerous vessel called the Maw. You will need to conceal yourself and evade its gruesome inhabitants while solving environmental puzzles that will give you a bit of a challenge.
Little Nightmares hits that delicate balance between genres. A puzzle platformer that crosses into horror survival, and at the same time, its cartoonish art style is used to depict horrifying characters and situations. The combination of all these things makes Little Nightmares a unique and fascinating adventure, and its a joy not solely to play but also to experience.
Its predecessors before it in the Metroidvania genre, Hollow Knight, combines many action elements to its gameplay that you’d think it’ll be on another list. But underneath all its action, melee combat, and many challenging bosses occupies an intense platformer, full of challenging obstacles, super-dashes and double-jumps.
Hallow Knight gives you that old-school feel and mentality, sometimes to a frustrating degree. And like Castlevania Symphony of the Night, the enemy isn’t given a health bar, leaving you to guess when the battle will end. The world is full of elusive figures to plunge into and hidden treasures. If you want to get one of the ‘better’ endings, you will have to pass tricky and challenging platforming to make it through.
The moment Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was released, I knew that Activision wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the same with Spyro, our lovable purple dragon. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy cranks up and overhauls all three original Spyro titles and finally bringing the beloved dragon to the modern age.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a trip down memory lane. The moment I started my adventure in the Artisan World, I was captivated by its colours and how I always imagined the game looking like this on the original PlayStation. Am I right? Let me know down below.
It was made from the ground up by Iron Galaxy and Toys for Bob. This new Spyro offers tougher bosses and new challenges but kept the same fun minigames, tricky platforming and the magic that kept us hooked so long ago.
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Buy Now: PC, XBO (digital), NS (digital)
Cuphead is a game that was inspired by 1930s cartoons like Betty Boop and the Looney Toons. After playing this game, I can tell you that conquering it is no easy feat. You’ll encounter strange bosses and obstacles that test your timing and patience. The art style of the game is beautiful, it’s meticulous hand-drawn, the unforgiving levels you see, the crazy bosses you encounter, and our wide-eyed heroes look so good.
As you progress through the game, you’ll encounter bosses such as a fighting frog, a carrot with sonic abilities, and a wicked sunflower. You’ll gain new skills as well, all the while earning time bonuses and HP. Cuphead is a challenging platforming game, and if you’re into that, I’m surprised you haven’t played it yet. The game is cruel but so rewarding at the same time.
04. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Release Date: March 20, 1997
Buy Now: Google Play
Long before Konami gave us the masterpiece that was Metal Gear: Survive (I’m just joking,) the company graced us with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, one of the most solid platformers ever released. If you look beyond its beautiful gothic art style and visuals, Symphony of the Night has great combat and gameplay.
You play as Alucard and get to traverse levels that are marvellous to look at, from the interior of the castle to twisting caverns. Alucard is on a quest to end the newly resurrected Dracula. To do so, you’ll have to fight through dangerous enemies and cleverly designed bosses. The soundtrack even has become a favourite with fans of the series.
Although many consider the Castlevania series to be more of an action-RPG, Symphony of the Night features the stapes we know and love about platformers.
Shovel Knight is a game that was created to look, sound, and feel like an 8-bit game, but made with today’s modern technologies, and its a wonder of retro engineering. What makes this game stand out is its commitment to the 8-bit aesthetic. The environments you see feel like an NES title, but they could never be achieved on NES hardware. The cherry-on-top is its controls; they’re sharp and responsive when you need it the most, and the soundtrack just brings you back to the NES glory days.
Shovel Knight is an excellent platformer, especially when the genre wasn’t the most popular at the time. The game has enjoyed a series of expansions, ending with the King of Cards update, which was released in December 2019. If you haven’t played Shovel Knight yet, give it a try, a sequel was announced, so there’s a lot to look forward to within the series.
02. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Release Date: May 23, 2010
Buy Now: Wii
Can a direct sequel be even better than the original? It seems like Nintendo has once again made Mario’s galaxy adventure feel exceptionally fresh and, somehow, even more, enjoyable than the original. It’s easy to get carried away when praising such a game, but it thoroughly deserves all the praise. The game’s length is great, and collecting all of the 120 stars is enjoyable and will take a long time, but for those completionists out there, there’s even more; 120 hidden green stars are placed in galaxies once all the golden stars have been found. The green stars will test your platforming skills more than any other game before it.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes the originals formula and refines it to something that’s close to a masterpiece. The game features so many new ideas with a lot to see and do, a control scheme that will never let you down, its charming presentation and that touch of Nintendo magic.
01. Super Mario Odyssey
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Buy Now: NS
If Super Mario Galaxy 2 was close to a masterpiece, then Super Mario Odyssey might be as well be a masterpiece. It’s extraordinary that after all this time, a new 3D Mario game can feel more modern and fresh than anything ever before in the series. Meeting Cappy was great, exploring Kingdoms is breathtaking, there’s so much to do and so many secrets to uncover.
Super Mario Odyssey comes alive with its beautifully crafted visuals and its unmistakably cheerful soundtrack with an orchestral sound. The game welcomes exploration with open-arms and rewards you for exploring. It rarely feels daunting and always a surprise when you stumble upon something off the beaten path. Super Mario Odyssey is a modern-day masterpiece and is the best platforming game ever made.
Don’t agree with my Top 10 – Best Platforming Games, list yours below in the comment section. I would like to know about your favourite platforming games.