We can safely say that platformers are one of the more prevalent genres of video games. In this day and age, when the capabilities of various media are being pushed to the max, there’s something refreshing about the simplicity of jumping tasks and the quick think-on-your-feet escape strategies. And so, we compiled a list of top 5 side-scrolling games for you to enjoy! Next time you want something different and unique, be sure to check out these titles.

1. Super Mario Maker 2

We would probably do the world a disservice if we didn’t start with the current king of platformers – Super Mario Maker 2. If you grew up with the series, or even if you’ve just heard about the game in passing, it’s a must-have for your collection, especially if you enjoy platformers. The cornerstone and the most exciting feature of the game is innovation. No two levels are the same, ever, that’s why Super Mario Maker 2 is the undisputed number 1 among our top 5 side-scrolling games.

Imagine playing a new game every day, with no repetitions! Once you delve into the heart of Super Mario Maker 2, you will find that creativity and innovation are not exclusive to game designers only! Connect with people all over the world as you try to beat their levels, marvel at the aesthetics that range from old-school Mario to the newest releases. Here, you can find everything from casual gameplay to finger-breaking difficulty. Truly, it’s a game with a myriad of levels and never-ending fun!

2. Hollow Knight

Second place in our top 5 side-scrolling games list goes to Hollow Knight. This unique and hand-drawn game offers one feature that seems fundamentally disconnected from the platform games – freedom to explore. That’s right, even if the game follows the side-scrolling traditions and does many of the things by the book, the multiple interconnected and entangled passages and areas are yours to explore. Following the usual Metroidvania fashion, Hollow Knight will present you with challenges and plenty of enemies to conquer, some character customization and even a better understanding of some of the villains you face.

But what earns Hollow Knight a place in top 5 side-scrolling games is the sheer ingenuity of the game. Created by a small team, the game exudes the love and dedication for the platform genre, reinventing the restrictions that should be placed on the player and the game as a whole. The hollow knight stands out from the masses for its unparalleled art-style that invokes wonder and fascination. This game is meant for all those who loved Castlevania and Metroid, those who want something different and timeless, and those who seek to rediscover the joy of action platform games.

3. Ori and the Blind Forest 

Another glorious representative of top 5 side-scrolling games is Ori. This marvelous and atmospheric game presents the player with an experience they will not soon forget. The game follows a touching story of an orphan who must conquer his inner fears to face the tangible evil in order to save his home. It might seem somewhat cliché, but once you open up the game for the first time, you will be amazed at the sheer quality and brilliance behind the title.

The driving force behind Ori and the Blind Forest is not only the platform aspect but the soundtrack as well. This title definitely deserves its place in the list of top 5 side-scrolling games, as haunting tracks follow your adventure, enhancing every encounter and each victory – both battle and discovery-related. Find the way to save Nibel’s forest, awaken hope and strength in Ori’s heart and find the light in the very depths of darkness.

4. Celeste

A game about climbing the mountain, that’s it. Or at least that’s how it looks on the surface. Take control of Madeline and help her ascend Mount Celeste. Along the way there are plenty of challenges and detailed platforms, you will have to evade enemies, avoid traps and somewhere along the way, you will certainly understand why Celeste earned a place as one of the top 5 side-scrolling games. There’s something undoubtedly charming about the old-school aesthetics of the game. The character sprites may look like pixelated faceless blobs, but it is part of the attraction – when combined with detailed and vibrant backgrounds, they stand out in the most perfect of ways!

And we cannot forget the true allure of Celeste, it’s the story. In fact, one can say that it is the narrative that drives the whole game forward. As you get to know Madeline and her struggles, meet and get to know other characters, there’s something nostalgic about the whole thing. Celeste stands firm as one of the top 5 side-scrolling games due to its brave and bold approach to imbue the platformer with relevant topics of pressure and maturity. While sometimes levels require concise precision, it is easy to forget how many times you already died when all you want is to reach the next plot point!   

5. Terraria

And obviously, we could not leave out Terraria! This side-scroller has survived for almost a decade and still holds firm, enchanting new and veteran players with its tremendous vastness in content and possibilities. If Hollow Knight can be praised for giving players freedom, Terraria takes it to a whole new level, which for sure earned it a place in the list of top 5 side-scrolling games. The story is for the player to decide and work on, nothing holds your hand and there are very few restrictions. Once your character is created, go wherever you want and do what you will; a true paradise for those who enjoy roleplaying games.

What sets Terraria aside is the original approach to platform games. The title’s mechanics remind of the games like Minecraft or even Skyrim – they all share the sandbox world, where players can act on their own free will, building and fighting and just making a name for themselves however they please. No top 5 side-scrolling games would be complete without Terraria. In this game, you can be a pacifist and gather all your friends or allies to live in the city you create, or you can become a gruesome mercenary, who hunts monsters left and right… or even a mix of two, as a noble knight with a remote cabin in the woods! It’s just an endless stream of fun!

So, whether you enjoy the RPG aspects and look for an engaging story, or perhaps you want something that would challenge your skills and requires quick and precise reaction, or even if you give yourself some time away from the big titles that will still grip you and won’t let go – this list should satisfy all of those demands.