One of the first actions we were given when the first pixelized version of a person was displayed in a video game was a jump. Jumping, a simple action, has probably been explored and expanded through video games over the decades more than any other human ability. Even the face of video games, Mario, was originally just “Jump Man” back in the day. As soon as we could jump, we needed things to jump on, over, and around, and thus the platforming genre was born.
The idea of running and jumping through an obstacle course is genius in its simplicity. Anyone, no matter what language they speak or culture they come from, can understand the basics of jumping over a pit to reach the ground on the other side. Things have only gotten more complex, as is necessary to keep the genre from becoming stale. Platformers added new elements alongside just jumping, such as unique hazards, stories, and even the third dimension. Today’s platformers are arguably at their best. With decades of examples and inspiration to draw from, the games released today, big and small, are the most polished ever seen. Here’s our list of the best recent platformers you can play right now.
We should also mention that only one game per franchise is eligible for this list, if only to just keep it from being half made up of different Mario games.
In a clear ode to the formula of Mario 64, A Hat In Time is an old-school collectathon style platformer, only with highly polished modern controls, an awesome soundtrack, and deep story. You play as a girl who has lost all her Time Pieces and must go across various parts of the planet to collect them so she can get back home. The open levels are all places you’ve never quite been to in any other platformer, like a creepy forest inhabited by a soul-stealing creature known as The Snatcher, or an island in the sky inhabited by birds, cats, and goats. Just like any good collectathon, you can progress picking up some Time Pieces, with getting them all being an extra challenge, plus plenty of even harder bonus areas for those who really want to master all the movement options.
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