Platform games have been a staple of the gaming world for decades, offering challenging, engaging gameplay and memorable experiences. Over the past 30 years, the genre has evolved, but the best games have always remained timeless.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 7 best-reviewed platforming games of the last 30 years, games that have set the standard for the genre and continue to be enjoyed by players of all ages. These games have captivated players with their imaginative levels, innovative gameplay mechanics, and unforgettable stories. So let’s dive in and explore these classic games that have stood the test of time.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 is a classic platformer that was first released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1988. Developed by Nintendo, the game is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time and one of the most important games in the Mario franchise.
One of the most notable features of Super Mario Bros. 3 was the introduction of a wide range of exciting new power-ups and abilities. These included the Tanooki Suit, Raccoon Suit, and Frog Suit, which allowed Mario to take on new forms and gain new abilities, such as the ability to fly, swim, and more. These power-ups helped to enhance the overall gameplay experience and provided players with new ways to interact with the game world.
The levels in Super Mario Bros. 3 were designed with care and creativity, and each one offered a unique set of challenges and obstacles for players to overcome. From the classic Mario platforming to thrilling water levels, the game offered a diverse range of environments and experiences.
Another memorable aspect of Super Mario Bros. 3 is its soundtrack. The game’s music has since become iconic and is still remembered by fans of the franchise to this day. From the classic overworld theme to the unforgettable airship levels, the game’s soundtrack helped to set the mood and bring the world of Mario to life.
Donkey Kong Country
Up next is Donkey Kong Country a classic platformer that was first released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1994. Developed by Rare, the game was a huge hit and is considered to be one of the best games for the SNES.
One of the most notable features of Donkey Kong Country was its groundbreaking graphics. The game was one of the first to use pre-rendered 3D graphics, which allowed for incredible detail and smooth animation. The game’s environments and characters were richly detailed, with lifelike textures and intricate animations that brought the world of Donkey Kong to life.
The levels in Donkey Kong Country were challenging, but fair, and often required careful timing, precise platforming, and strategic use of the game’s power-ups and items. Players took on the role of Donkey Kong or one of his friends as they journeyed through a variety of environments, including jungles, caves, and underwater worlds.
The bosses in Donkey Kong Country were unique and unforgettable, each with their own distinct personality and set of challenges. These battles required players to think creatively and use their skills and powers to overcome obstacles and defeat the bosses.
Another memorable aspect of the game is the now-famous “DK Rap,” which played over the game’s opening credits. This iconic song has become a staple of the franchise and is still beloved by fans of the series to this day.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a classic platformer that was released for various gaming platforms in 1999. The game is set in a whimsical, fantasy world and players take on the role of Rayman, a limbless hero, who must save the world from an evil pirate named Admiral Razorbeard.
One of the most notable aspects of the game is its stunning graphics, which were ahead of their time for the period. The game’s environments are colourful, vibrant, and full of life, featuring detailed character designs and beautifully animated creatures. The levels are well designed, each with its own unique challenges and obstacles to overcome.
Another standout feature of Rayman 2 is its innovative mechanics. One of the most interesting mechanics in the game is the use of the “Gloop” ability, which allows Rayman to manipulate his surroundings by shooting a sticky, gooey substance. This mechanic added a new level of depth to the gameplay, as players had to use strategy and puzzle-solving skills to navigate through the levels and defeat enemies.
In addition to the Gloop ability, Rayman 2 also featured a range of other innovative mechanics, such as the ability to fly using helicopter-style rotors and the ability to swing on ropes. These mechanics combined with the game’s beautiful graphics, exciting levels, and well-designed characters create a truly immersive gaming experience.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy is a platformer that was first released for the Wii in 2007. Developed by Nintendo, the game was a huge success and is widely considered to be one of the greatest games for the Wii and one of the best games in the Mario franchise.
One of the most notable features of Super Mario Galaxy was its innovative use of gravity. The game’s levels took place in a variety of celestial environments, and players were able to explore these levels by jumping and running on the surface of planets, moons, and other celestial bodies. The game’s gravity mechanics were used to great effect, and players were able to experience a wide range of gravity-defying gameplay, such as running upside-down, flipping and rolling around planets, and more.
The game’s imaginative power-ups were another standout feature. Players could collect a variety of different power-ups, such as the Bee Mushroom, Boo Mushroom, and Spring Mushroom, which allowed Mario to take on new forms and gain new abilities, such as the ability to fly, turn invisible, and more. These power-ups helped to enhance the overall gameplay experience and provided players with new ways to interact with the game world.
The visuals in Super Mario Galaxy were stunning, with rich and vibrant colours, detailed environments, and intricate animations. The game’s music was unforgettable, with a diverse range of memorable tracks that helped to set the mood and bring the world of Mario to life.
Limbo is a puzzle platformer that was first released in 2010. Developed by Playdead, the game was well-received by critics and players alike and is widely considered to be one of the greatest indie games of all time.
One of the most notable features of Limbo was its minimalist aesthetic. The game’s environments were rendered in black and white, with a focus on stark contrasts and simple shapes. This minimalist approach to design helped to create a moody atmosphere that was both haunting and memorable.
The puzzles in Limbo were challenging, but satisfying to solve. Players took control of a young boy as he made his way through a dangerous and mysterious world, and they had to use their wits to overcome a range of obstacles and environmental hazards. The puzzles were designed to be challenging, but they were also fair, and players were able to learn from their mistakes and progress through the game with a sense of accomplishment.
The game’s haunting soundtrack added to the overall experience. The game’s music was sparse, but effective, and it helped to set the mood and reinforce the sense of danger and mystery that pervaded the game world.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer that was first released in 2015. Developed by Moon Studios, the game was widely praised for its hand-drawn graphics, tight controls, and touching storyline.
One of the most notable features of Ori and the Blind Forest was its hand-drawn graphics. The game’s environments were beautifully rendered, with rich and vibrant colours, intricate details, and smooth animations. The hand-drawn style of the game helped to bring the world of Ori to life and create a truly immersive experience.
The controls in Ori and the Blind Forest were tight and responsive, which made the platforming elements of the game feel smooth and satisfying. Players took control of Ori, a small and agile spirit, and had to navigate their way through a series of challenging levels, using their acrobatic abilities to jump, climb, and glide through the game world.
The game’s touching storyline was another standout feature. The game told the story of Ori and their journey through the forest of Nibel, as they tried to restore the balance of the forest and uncover the mysteries of their past. The story was touching and emotional, and it helped to give players a deeper connection to the game world and the characters within it.
The levels in Ori and the Blind Forest were challenging but fair. The game’s designers struck a careful balance between difficulty and accessibility, and players were able to progress through the game at their own pace, learning from their mistakes and improving their skills as they went. The boss battles were unforgettable, with epic confrontations against powerful and imposing enemies that tested players’ skills and nerves.
Celeste is a platformer that was first released in 2018. Developed by Maddy and Matt Makes Games, the game quickly gained a large following and was widely praised for its tight controls, challenging levels, touching storyline, and standout music.
One of the most notable features of Celeste was its tight controls. The game’s designers put a great deal of care into the control scheme, and the result was a platformer that felt smooth and responsive. Players took control of Madeline, a young woman who sets out to climb the mountain of Celeste, and they had to use precise jumps and other abilities to navigate their way through the game’s challenging levels.
The levels in Celeste were challenging but fair. The game’s designers struck a careful balance between difficulty and accessibility, and players were able to progress through the game at their own pace, learning from their mistakes and improving their skills as they went. The game’s design encouraged players to experiment and try new approaches, which kept the gameplay fresh and exciting.
The game’s touching storyline was another standout feature. The story of Celeste was a personal one, exploring themes of mental health, self-discovery, and friendship. The game’s writing was excellent, and the character of Madeline was relatable and likeable. The story was touching and emotional, and it helped to give players a deeper connection to the game world and the characters within it.
The game’s music was also a standout, with its catchy and emotional tracks. The game’s composer, Lena Raine, created a memorable soundtrack that perfectly captured the mood and themes of the game. The music was integral to the overall experience, and it helped to enhance the game’s atmosphere and emotional impact.
All of these games are considered to be some of the best platformers of all time, and each has earned high praise from both fans and critics. They have set the standard for what a great platforming game should be, and they continue to be enjoyed by players of all ages.
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