When it comes to technical innovation, 2D side-scroller games have been surpassed by their 3D counterparts entire decades ago. Modern triple-A titles continue to challenge the technical limitations of all major gaming systems by striving towards higher photorealism and while side-scrolling games can’t compare to them in this regard, they effectively compensate by relying on an entirely different set of means to create immersion. Best platformer games exploit unique art styles, creative level design, and a tasteful appeal to nostalgia in order to offer gaming experiences that can’t be found on any other video genre.
Our blog team already gave some good examples of 2D side-scroller games in one of our previous blog entries, however, a good deal of time passed since then, not to mention that we’ve only scratched the surface as there are many more titles worth discussing. That’s why we compiled a new list of suggestions for those who seek to try the best platformer games out there!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
In our first blog article we talked about Ori and the Blind Forest, and now we have a perfect opportunity to suggest trying out its sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Just recently, on March 11th, 2020 we saw the release of an ambitious follow up to the acclaimed 2015 side-scroller made by the same team of former AAA developers Moon Studios. Beautiful musical soundtrack, dynamic 2.5D environments, and a touching story of an orphan spirit trying to discover its destiny place Ori and the Will of the Wisps among the best platformer games currently available.
Another good 2D platformer to emerge in recent years is none other than Cuphead – a game developed and published by Studio MDHR Entertainment. This multiple-award-winning title can be immediately recognized by its unique art style inspired by 1930s cartoons such as Disney’s original Mickey Mouse. However, despite its kid-friendly presentation, this run and gun side-scroller is absolutely brutal in terms of difficulty. Boss battles can be exceptionally challenging but addictive gameplay and charming aesthetics keep drawing you back in.
Sonic the Hedgehog has been the main character of some of the best platformer games of all time. Due to the popularity of the series, there have been many iterations of Sonic’s adventures. The speed-obsessed hedgehog has fought the evil Dr. Eggman in games of various genres – platformers, sports, and racing. Though not every title was received equally, that’s why in 2017 the developer Christian Whitehead returned the SEGA’s mascot and his friends, Tales and Knuckles, to their original 16-bit era side-scroller roots with Sonic Mania. If you miss classic Sonic games – this option is highly recommended.
Made by an indie studio Playdead, Limbo is a great example of how unique and atmospheric best platformer games can be. In this 2D side-scrolling title you play as a small boy who wakes up in a creepy black and grey environment with limited lighting. There are no cutscenes, no user interface, or loading screens and this greatly adds to the overall feel of the game. As you play, you’ll soon realize how dangerous and merciless the levels are. This side-scroller encourages the player to learn through trial and error – expect to constantly fall into traps or get brutally killed by atrocious monsters. Nevertheless, the game doesn’t feel frustrating and is most definitely worth playing through to the end.
Super Meat Boy
You can judge by the title alone that the next 2D adventure included in our best platformer games list pushes the level of gore even further. Here you play as a Meat Boy – anthropomorphic cube of meat who tries to save his kidnapped loved one from the malevolent Dr. Fetus. Rush through simplistic 2D side-scroller levels making wet noises as you stick to walls and constantly leave an eerie trail of blood behind yourself. It’s a weird game but in a very tasteful, and humorous way. In the old school 2D platformer tradition, Super Meat Boy is a simple game that can get seriously challenging at moments. Then again, it’s nothing a little practice can’t beat.
When discussing Dead Cells, we move into the realm of darker, much more serious action titles. Among the modern best platformer games there’s the 2D side-scroller made by Motion Twin. Dead Cells title combines elements of multiple genres – rogue-like RPGs, Metroidvania, and one might even feel the influence of Dark Souls while playing. Here the player controls a decapitated prisoner and fights through hordes of zombies in constantly shifting, procedurally generated levels with random item layouts. The game allows customizing your character with new buffs and abilities by collecting cells and presents an all-around great replay value. One more unique feature of Dead Cells is that death here is not only inevitable – it’s necessary to make progress.
My Friend Pedro
If Dead Cells title resembles a side-scroller version to Dark Souls, then My Friend Pedro is a side-scrolling Max Payne. Among the best platformer games presented in this list, is the action title developed by DeadToast Entertainment. There’s isn’t much of a story here – you control a nameless protagonist who is guided throughout the urban 2.5D levels by a talking banana named Pedro. The gameplay concentrates on gunfights and exploits a slow-motion mechanic – something that never gets old. You’ll fight thugs by wielding pistols or SMGs in each hand, perform crazy mid-air kills by doing backflips, and landing on skateboards by the end of it. It’s a side-scroller that truly makes you feel like you’re in an action movie directed by John Woo.
Visit Eneba for the best platformer game deals!
Eneba game store offers you the opportunity to own and enjoy all these titles for a significantly cheaper price and that’s not all! On our website you will also find an entire collection of Best Platformer games / 2D side-scrollers, which includes a total of 40 games, together with the titles we presented in our previous article. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover great examples of this immortal genre, whether it would be modern iterations of 2D side-scrollers or retro games that still have a lot to offer even years after their original release.