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Platformer Games I've Played

Platformer games are categorized by a primary gameplay loop of running and jumping while trying not to fall off something. I've played 40 games in this genre so far.

You can also go back to all genres.

poster for Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Best one yet. Gameplay feels fluid, powerups are fun and offer a lot of customizability. Levels are still tough, but it finally feels like we have enough tools to really tackle them well. It also has the best story of any of them so far, building effective backstory to the rest of the games.

poster for INSIDE

INSIDE

While this game doesn't explain anything more than its predecessor, I liked the setting much more. Instead of being in a black-and-white zone, you're in a series of industrial buildings that really give the game an eerie sense of place. The controls feel better and the puzzles are better balanced (if a bit easier). It also goes places I didn't expect, which feels like a rarity these days. I enjoyed it a lot for what it was.

poster for Tinykin

Tinykin

Extremely charming platformer. Plays a lot like Pikmin-lite, but simplified in all the right ways. The animations and sound design are extremely cute and the NPC dialogue is a lot of fun. Each world is great to explore and they pulled the "pea-sized-person in a house" vibe off incredibly well. The only thing that fell flat was the story, which tries to be much deeper and serious than it needs to be. Luckily, it doesn't get it the way of anything and can be safely ignored. What a delightful time!

poster for Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

Fun re-tread of the base game. Occasionally frustrating, but it nails the style of those older platformers in a fun and fairly charming way.

poster for Lucky Luna

Lucky Luna

Very intriguing controls. Small, but tight levels. Lots to explore. No real story, but it's a vibe. Very novel.

poster for Exo One

Exo One

Really incredible sense of scale and momentum. Didn't _really_ have a story, so the bits that snuck in were mostly distraction. Exploration was interesting and I liked the self-guided and stripped down nature of it. Serene and surreal.

poster for Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

Very cool! Nailed the retro vibe with combat and platforming. Occasionally frustrating when it demanded pixel-perfect accuracy around spikes, but I enjoyed my time with it. Died 156 times total.

poster for Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

Neat game. Good enemy design and fluidity of movement. Main game is pretty easy. Some worlds are aewsome and others are pretty underhwleming. Definitely felt like unnecessary padding. I don't love that there are so many moons available - definitely feels like quantity over quality. There are good ones, but also a lot just laying out there. Tons of content and some pretty memorable moments. Costumes and playing as monsters were fun too.

poster for Celeste

Celeste

Collected 38 strawberries. Died 1,741 times. Really touching story. Good level variation, mechanics, and music. Definitely tough, but rewarding. Tying the challenge of the game into climbing a literal mountain is an effective mechanic. There's a lot more to do if I ever want to come back to it, too! Very impressed.

poster for Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy

Really cool levels and mechanics. Great music, just lots of fun. Dated graphics on the nice TV, but not awful.

poster for Journey

Journey

Slow, exploratory game. Great use of music and art. Short, but there's some replay value.

poster for Limbo

Limbo

Great little platformer with a very distinct art style. There was ostensibly some story happening, but it was the kind where I'll need to search "Limbo story explained" afterwards. Some neat puzzle mechanics. It didn't quite do it for me, but I enjoyed my time with it.

poster for A Hat in Time

A Hat in Time

Had some great ideas. They wear their Mario 64 inspiration on their sleeve, but don't feel chained to it. None of the levels blew me away, but each felt unique in its own way. Movement was decent, felt pretty fluid. Collectibles never felt worth it- I think doing something closer to Mario (no rewards for accumulation) would have been better. Liked that there was a bit of a story on each level that you could play through. Pretty good supporting cast. Forgettable plot overall, unfortunately. Did a lot right, but fell short in some key areas.

poster for Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2

Charming in many ways, but also failed to be greater than the sum of its parts. There's platforming, story, and combat, but they all felt separate and not in service to each other (especially the combat). But, the only thing you get for exploring and platforming is resources to get better at combat, which is limited and boring, so it all feels a little wasted in the end. Story is good, cast is ok, worldbuilding and tone/vibe are great. Pacing was rough- _lots_ of cutscenes. Level design had a couple of good ones, but nothing that eclipses the first game. Definitely an interesting one.

poster for The Messenger

The Messenger

Generally fun. Platforming and combat were too simple, but the bosses were varied nicely. Good writing, music, and art direction. Didn't love the aimless wandering; didn't feel like there was enough there worth exploring. But, it certainly kept me engaged.

poster for Psychonauts

Psychonauts

Really superb writing. Platforming and powers were decent, it not a little clunky. Story was cool. They did a nice job all around!

poster for Banjo-Tooie

Banjo-Tooie

Harder in interesting ways, easier in others. Better, bigger worlds. I like that it was interconnected. Lots of repeated animations and story/writing was meh.

poster for Astro's Playroom

Astro's Playroom

Cute game. Tech demo, but does it well. Simplistic, but joyous.

poster for Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie

There was a lot to like. Great sound design. Some good levels, some frustrating ones. The graphical bump was nice; still feels old without being too bad to look at. Controls were pretty imprecise, which was mostly fine until it wasn't. Collecting and exploring was pretty fun. The levels were smaller than I'd remembered, but they use their space well. I'll be really curious to see where they take the sequel.

poster for Haven

Haven

Really interesting concept. I liked the focus on love as a core theme. Also enjoyed the free-wheeling spirit and the cleanup motif. Combat was interesting, but a little too unexplained for my tastes. It wasn't always clear what turn was happening, which I think was a design choice. Cool exploration and hand-crafted levels. Maybe could have baked a little more, but I enjoyed it. Very cute writing.

poster for Wandersong

Wandersong

Far and away the best of of this game is the writing. The dialogue is a delight and every character is more interesting than I thought. The story is decent and has pretty good stakes. The gameplay itself was sort of a slog? I found myself getting bored, despite the charm. It was also a little buggy and didn't run great. Some of the platforming sections had cool mechanics and I wish there were more of them! But the fetch quests weren't great. Music, understandably, was good. Lots of good things going on here.

poster for Snake Pass

Snake Pass

I'm conflicted here. Ultimately the gameplay is unique if not a little on the unwieldy side. Art is good, as is the music. I fished 14/15 levels and quit the last one of frustration and lack of caring. There are collectibles and a faint glimmer of a story, but enjoyment here is basically all about the movement of he character. Ultimately that's good and it's worth checking out, but the game certainly has its flaws.

poster for Planet of Lana

Planet of Lana

Loved the art direction and tolerated the gameplay. There were some puzzles, but mostly simple running and jumping. There's some implied story, but it didn't do much for me. The art and music are great though, taking much inspiration from INSIDE and Journey. It's relaxing enough, but not altogether unique.

poster for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Though hailed as both one of the best modern platformers and a very hard game, I think this lives up to neither title. The platforming wasn't very compelling, the collectibles useless, the difficulty was sporadic (but mostly not bad) and the bosses were miserable. The game feels unfocused and uninspired. I simply don't understand the praise it gets. Each world had ~1 level I thought was neat and fun. The rest were mostly exercises in pointless frustration.

poster for Sonic Adventure 2

Sonic Adventure 2

Beat the Good story in ~ 4 hours. Bad story was worse. I liked the idea of seeing the other side, but it didn't really execute. Ultimately, I think a thumbs down. It does have a good sense of "Gotta go fast", but the platforming in 3D is inconsistent and I died too many times that weren't my fault. The camera is pretty dreadful and the voice acting is similarly wooden. Music is decent and the plot under everything is ok. Chao are ok, but their systems are complicated and opaque. There are some cool levels, but there's a lot of asset reuse. Most boss fights are bad, as are the treasure hunt levels. Shadow is a cool character. There's a lot of content, but a lot of it doesn't feel well thought out.

poster for Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania

I just couldn't get into it. It's hard, but doesn't feel fair. Visuals are good, but a lot and make my eyes hurt a little. Can't really go fast and it's hard to explore or navigate. As someone who never really played the old game, there's no nostalgia here for me, just frustration.

poster for DLC Quest

DLC Quest

For a game about being tounge in cheek about dumb parts of games, there's a lot of time spent doing pointless stuff.