Visually fascinating and incredibly eerie, Limbo takes you on a harrowing adventure you won’t soon forget. It lacks a storyline, yet still manages to establish an emotional connection through its ambiance. And with so many hidden traps and complex puzzles, you’d best be prepared to die.
Sonic CD ($3)
Though a port of a 1993 Sega CD release, Sonic CD makes the transition to iOS with flying colors. The platformer pits Sonic against Dr. Robotnik in an epic battle that transcends time, and the mobile version adds the ability to play as Tails, as well as multiple soundtracks.
Rayman Jungle Run ($3)
With vibrant scenery, clever level design, and zany action, Rayman Jungle Run not only looks beautiful on an iPad, it plays beautifully too. It’s easy to pick up and play, yet tough to master, especially given the sporadic spikes in difficultly and the sprawling number of rewarding stages.
Super Crate Box ($2)
Super Crate Box perfectly blends frenetic, fast-paced action with classic, arcade-style platforming. You collect weapon crates and blast endless waves of aliens as you attempt to best your high score again and again. Sadly, virtual controls don’t always mesh well with the idea of instant death.
Mikey Shorts ($2)
Run, jump, and slide your way through Mikey Shorts‘ 84 impressive levels, while trying to collect as many coins and gold shorts as possible. It’s perfect for the speed-run gamer in us all, with plenty of branching paths and rewards for players who achieve the fastest possible time.
Thomas Was Alone ($5)
Thomas Was Alone is a simple run-and-jump game, but its emotional storyline and clever puzzle design allow it to stand atop the platforming crowd. British comedian Danny Wallace also lent his voice as the narrator, giving the minimalist title even more depth than its distinct shapes.
Leo’s Fortune ($3)
Easily the most beautiful game of the bunch, Leo’s Fortune tasks players with navigating the game’s incredible array of physics-based challenges and obstacles to help recover the protagonist’s stolen loot. The driving narrative is key, but the refined platforming mechanics bring it all home.
Using a combination of light and shadows, players attempt to free Penumbear from the grips of a mysterious castle. With 100 levels to explore and skip entirely, Penumbear has no shortage of clever and exciting gameplay, especially given the girth of unlockable content at your disposal.
Mutant Mudds ($9)
Armed with nothing more than a jetpack and a water cannon, players run, jump, and shoot their way through Mutant Mudds‘ 60 uniquely designed levels as Max. It’s a genuine homage to the 8-bit generation, one showcasing the ability to move between the foreground and background.
NyxQuest HD ($1)
A platformer set against the gorgeous backdrop of Greek mythology, NyxQuest HD finds players controlling the winged Nyx who flies, glides, and uses the powers of Greek Gods to find her pal Icarus. It’s short, but the tricky puzzles and simple controls render it more than memorable.