The genre of platforming video games is one of the oldest in gaming history. It began with an arcade game titled Space Panic in 1980 & was soon carried over by the legendary Donkey Kong in 1981. After that, publishers like Nintendo & Sega mastered platformer games by experimenting with titles like Super Mario, Sonic, Super Castlevania, & more.
The strong foundation of the platforming genre is a Huge reason it still exists in 2022. Moreover, the tenacity of modern-day platformers going beyond the tropes & stereotypes previously present in said games has really popularized the genre among the players. Quite a few platforming games that have stood out over the years for shaking the norms.
Braid is an excellent puzzle platformer from 2009 that still st&s out because of its Gorgeous art style & 2D visuals. The game has roughly painted aesthetics, which gives it the old children’s book vibe, & its plot is also pretty much centered around recusing “an abducted princess.”
Despite the cliche, Braid breaks the norms by providing an incredible story that gets darker the further players get into it. Moreover, it hits people with a plot twist that completely changes the meaning of the entire game & its plot.
Inside is a 2D adventure platformer from independent Danish game developer Playdead. The game came out in 2016 & was a spiritual successor to the studio’s first game, Limbo. In this game, players control a boy running from security & trying to escape while solving environmental puzzles.
Inside’s simple & straightforward gameplay makes it an incredibly interesting platformer, as there is no backtracking, & players are always exploring new areas. Moreover, the main character can not kill the enemies & will always rely on stealth. That is until players experience Inside’s plot twist in the end.
Limbo is a puzzle platformer indie title by Playdead that initially came out in 2011 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, & Windows. Since then, it has arrived on every other major platform, including Android & Nintendo Switch. The game plays from a 2D perspective & has a silhouette art style uncommon in platformers.
In Limbo, players control a little boy searching for his sibling in a dark forest. Throughout the game, players will face fearsome foes like the giant spider & interesting puzzles based around the environment.
Unravel is one of the rare 2.5D games from Electronic Arts that greatly embraces the puzzle-platformer genre. It’s a 2016 title that came out on all major platforms & became an instant hit among players due to its style & gameplay. The game has since spawned a sequel with a brilliant co-op mode.
In Unravel, players control a doll-like creature made of yarn & solve environmental puzzles by unraveling the thread. It’s a brilliant gameplay mechanic that compliments the nature of the game & its nostalgia-inducing storyline.
6/10 Salt And Sanctuary
Salt & Sanctuary may be one of the most underrated action-oriented role-playing games from the last ten years. The title came out in 2016 on various platforms & tried to give players a Souls-like experience that isn’t common in the 2D platforming genre.
At its core, Salt & Sanctuary is a Metroidvania title where it is up to players to explore, revisit areas, & uncover various secrets hidden in the world. The game also features a Gorgeous world full of unique eye-popping concept work & dozens of bosses to beat.
5/10 Murasaki Baby
Murasaki Baby is another puzzle platformer that really evolved the platforming genre. Sadly, the game is less-known as it is one of the rare PlayStation Vita exclusives from a long time ago. The side-scroller came out in 2014 & utilized the h&held console for most of its gameplay features.
In Murasaki Baby, players have to manually hold a little baby’s h& & help her clear the environmental obstacles. The game is grim, uses a brilliant h&-drawn art style, & has a creepy storyline that still st&s out in 2022.
4/10 The Messenger
For good reasons, The Messenger has been one of the highest-rated action platformers of the last five years. This game features Gorgeous retro-style visuals, fast-paced gameplay, Unbelievable boss fights, great progression, & a Metroidvania feel. The game was originally a Switch & Windows title, which later came out on PlayStation 4 & Xbox One.
The Messenger is a story of a ninja who is fighting against the Demon King. His goal is to deliver a scroll to the top of a mountain to help save the village from impending doom.
3/10 Ori & the Blind Forest
Ori & the Blind Forest is one of the most aesthetically Gorgeous games of the last ten years. It’s a Microsoft Studious title that first came out on Windows & Xbox in 2015 & later on Nintendo Switch in 2019. The atmospheric platformer is also one of the few games that aren’t on Sony’s consoles.
In Ori & the Blind Forest, players control Ori, a guardian spirit spawned from a spirit tree to help save the world. The game features a few RPG-like mechanics involving exploration, item collection, & Metroidvania-style backtracking.
Clocker is a fairly less-known game from 2019 available on all major platforms, including Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, Linux, & more. It’s a puzzle platformer with elements of time manipulation & a few role-play mechanics added into the mix.
In Clocker, players witness a world stuck in a void, & the goal is to fix everything. The journey features a painful story of a young daughter & her clockmaker father, who has a time-controlling watch. The narrative, visuals, & music make this Gorgeous indie title a must-play.
1/10 Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight is an action platformer game that pushes the boundaries of the platforming genre in all directions. Not only is it a great pixel graphics retro title with RPG elements, but also a brilliant boss-battle extravaganza spread across dozens of levels. In a way, this 2014 platformer is a true successor to Megaman.
In Shovel Knight, players control an armored knight who uses a shovel to do most of his dirty work. The goal is to dig, beat unique bosses, & gain their powers, all in the glorious 8-bit visuals.
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