Guiding a character through hazard-filled levels and improbable jumps to skirt death with timing and speed is a pleasure that will never get old. Platformer games have enthralled gamers since the days when Donkey Kong ruled arcades, and although the genre is no longer as popular as it once was, the entries that come along these days continue to innovate.
Here’s a look at the best platformer games available right now:
5. Ratchet & Clank
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developers: Insomniac Games
Sony’s answer to Mario has thrives since the PlayStation 2 era. The furry lombax and his robotic sidekick pick up a ton of high-powered, insanely creative weapons that help them make short work of enemies they confront. With smooth level design and engaging boss battles, the game gives fans just what they wanted.
ORDER: Ratchet & Clank
4. New Super Mario Bros. 2
A throwback to Mario’s earliest adventures, this side-scroller delivers the flavor of the likes of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. With the goal of snagging 1 million coins, you race through impressively designed levels, hop on enemies’ heads and face off with Bowser. In a first for the series, downloadable add-on levels expand the fun after the credits roll.
ORDER: New Super Mario Bros. 2 here
3. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Developer: Retro Studios
Platform: Wii U
The Donkey Kong Country games ruled the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 days, and this recent release is a resurrection of what made those games fantastic. Collecting bananas and bonus letters, power-slamming on enemies and teaming up with Diddy Kong for special attacks and bonus levels makes for hours of white-knuckle entertainment.
ORDER: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
2. Rayman Legends
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Vita
One of the most visually striking platformers rolls with its distinct style, letting you charge on from one whimsical, mind-bending level to the next. The game was originally released at the tail end of the last generation, so fans of new consoles demanded ports. Ubisoft responded in kind with enhanced versions of the game for the Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U.
ORDER: Rayman Legends
1. Super Mario 3D World
Platform: Wii U
Select Mario, Luigi, Toad or Peach and take on the thrills and hazards of the Mushroom Kingdom either solo or with up to three pals on the couch. Some of Nintendo’s finest level design can be found here, with levels that mess with gravity and perspective and are filled with hidden secrets.
ORDER: Super Mario 3D World
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Watches movies and games for work, then watches more movies and plays more games on his downtime. A movie and video game critic since 2001, Phil is the author of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin’ Mormon and Zeta Male. Twitter: @philvillarreal