Platformers used to be a dominant gaming genre, but today they often feel like a relic of a bygone era. Even so, 2021 has seen the release of several stellar platformers. If you’re looking for a game that will challenge your hand-eye coordination and jumping skills, then look no further than this list. The following games all share common elements but carve a unique path in the genre. Listed in no particular order, here are 10 incredible platformers that you shouldn’t miss.
2018’s PSVR release Astro Bot Rescue Mission plastered a smile on our face, but we’re glad that even those who don’t have a VR headset can enjoy Astro’s follow-up adventure. Better still, Sony gave away the game; Astro’s Playroom comes free to anyone who owns a PlayStation 5. This lighthearted experience is also a love letter to the PlayStation brand, bursting with nods to many of our favorite consoles and gaming franchises. We loved hang-gliding through electrical canyons, collecting coins on frozen cliffs, and bouncing across lilypads in a mechanical frog suit. The title is also an impressive tech demo for Sony’s newest controller, and the DualSense’s haptic feedback offers realistic tactile vibrations, adding depth to the feel of walking on sand, standing in rainfall, or pushing against the wind. | Our Review
Super Mario Odyssey
Mario is the king of platformers, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see him on this list more than once. Naturally, we had to pick Mario’s big Switch outing because it remains a non-stop rollercoaster ride of brilliant ideas. Every level is jam-packed with engaging, interactive moments, from tearing through a forest as a T. rex to bouncing off springy flowers in a frozen desert to jumping into a wall for a 2D platforming sequence that recalls Mario’s early days. In Odyssey, Mario’s iconic headgear has also come to life, allowing Mario to possess any entity that wears the hat. Sure, possession sounds scary, but who wouldn’t want Nintendo’s chubby plumber running around in their head. | Our Review
These days, it’s easy to make fun of Sonic, but 2017’s Sonic Mania wasn’t just a return to Sonic’s 2D glory days, it was easily one of the best Sonic games to date. After the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic and his friends discover that something is amiss on Angel Island. Dr. Eggman is one step ahead of the speedsters, and his team of EggRobos plan to exploit a magical gemstone for evil. Designed by members of the ROM hacking community who made their mark working on Sonic fangame, then later, official mobile ports, Mania understands what makes Sonic special. Many of Sonic Mania’s levels start as riffs on familiar stages from yesteryear, but they quickly evolve into exciting platforming experiences all their own. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles run loops across sand-swept deserts, dodge trash compactor deathtraps, and use the brand-new drop dash to race ahead of Dr. Eggman once again. | Our Review
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys isn’t the first game you’d think of when coming up with a list of the best platformers, but this nail-biting competitive experience is so compelling that there is no question it should be here. A mix between battle royales and game shows like Takeshi’s Castle and Wipeout, Fall Guys pits 60 players against each other in a series of competitive platforming challenges that are as fun to watch as they are to compete in. Whether we were ping-ponging from one bouncing platform to the next, racing across the disappearing floors, or navigating a field of spinning windmills, we couldn’t resist the pull to start “just one more match” whenever we landed on our face. | Our Review
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Since the release of Crash Bandicoot: Warped in 1998, we’ve seen dozens of games starring this goofball marsupial. However, as the name implies, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a return in form to the glories days of the platformer that put Naughty Dog on the map. Developer Toys for Bob did a fantastic job recapturing the magic of ‘90s-era 2.5D platforming while keeping the action fresh thanks to the inclusions of Quantum Masks that slow time, turn the world upside-down, and cause all manner of havoc. Additional playable characters help shake up the action. For example, Tawna comes equipped with a grappling hook for some high-flying action, and Dingodile’s powerful vacuum allows him to suck up boxes from across the screen. | Our Review
What games on this list do you enjoy? What games would you add that aren’t listed? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out our other recent genre lists by clicking on our list hub below.
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