We’ve all played platformers with bad control schemes. The button prompts were either unresponsive or had tank-like controls, making movement difficult. They’re hard to play and don’t deserve much attention, so we’re looking at the finest platformer games ever instead.
We want to discuss platformers that go beyond what we know. They transformed us, made some of us reevaluate our lives, and put us on a path of altruism. Many say the video game versions of Adonis are godlike.
Was that overdone? Whatever. We’ll celebrate them in this list of the finest platformer games ever.
So this isn’t just a list of Super Mario games; we’ll pick just one, which is harder than it seems.
Symphony of the Night
I pity gamers today. Konami offered us Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, one of the best platformers ever. Symphony of the Night has outstanding aesthetics and gameplay, too.
As Alucard, players traverse gorgeous levels, from castles to tunnels. Even the soundtrack has devotees.
Alucard is on a journey to kill a freshly resurrected Dracula. To do so, he must combat amusing – and sometimes challenging – foes and bosses.
Castlevania is an action RPG, yet it has platforming elements we love.
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Super Ghosts & Ghouls
If you like being mentally beaten by games, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was undoubtedly in your Super Nintendo collection. The third Ghouls ‘n Ghosts game illustrates that video games are best in threes.
While the first two Ghouls’ n Ghosts games were amusing, Super Ghouls’ n Ghosts was the first to look good. The eerie levels feature fierce dogs and zombies to fit the horror mood.
Arthur returns as the hero, with upgradeable armor that increases his abilities. Considering the huge bosses after each level, he needs it.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is challenging, but it’s worth it.
Diddy’s Kong Quest
Diddy’s Kong Quest was a visual enhancement over the first, which gained its plaudits. This doesn’t just mean better graphics. Diddy’s Kong Quest offered beautiful, colorful settings that topped Super Nintendo games at the time.
The sequel to Donkey Kong Country played similarly to the first, which isn’t terrible. It was longer and more difficult, but the smoother gameplay made up for flaws.
Diddy’s Kong Quest included the younger Kong, which added character and differentiated it from Donkey Kong Country.
Super Mario (1994)
It’s unclear if Super Metroid is a “platformer.” Those that disagree can argue in the comments.
It’s not debatable whether Super Metroid is one of the best games ever. Super Metroid improved visually and technically over its predecessor, giving fans more to enjoy. Samus’ unique weaponry helps her explore the unfamiliar world.
Super Metroid is one of the best exploration-based platformers, giving players plenty of content, bosses, and secrets to unearth.
Sonic 3 (1992)
Sonic the Hedgehog’s simple concept drew a huge fanbase. It’s also hard to reproduce in modern games, but we have Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when we want to race.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 isn’t much better than the original, but the controls are tighter and significantly updated. Both are wonderful, bright platformers, but the sequel included Miles “Tails” Prower, giving siblings a new way to torment one other.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was fun on a gameplay level and had some memorable levels. Who can forget spending hours in Casino Night Zone chasing the jackpot?
We may never see another game like Banjo-Kazooie from Rare, but that’s not bad. In Banjo-Kazooie, players control a bear named Banjo and a red-crested Breegull named Kazooie in a 3D game that is superior to Super Mario 64 in many aspects.
By 1998, 3D platformers had proven successful, but Banjo-Kazooie wasn’t a retread.
The animal pair explores fascinating, rich settings to acquire puzzle pieces for their battle with Gruntilda. It’s easy to get lost in Rare’s many secret places, NPCs, and quests. This allowed players to explore, leading to 40 hours of game time.
If you want to lose 20 pounds, promise your readers only one Mario game on an “all-time platformers” list. I wonder whether this was John Wick’s mission.
I choose Mario’s first 3D game, though. Yes, it had an unforgiving camera that, by today’s standards, is unpleasant to cope with. Still, Super Mario 64 started 3D Mario games, giving us Sunshine, Galaxy, Odyssey, and Super Mario Land 3D, Super Mario 3D World.
Super Mario 64 added NPCs you could interact with and gave Mario missions to complete before facing Bowser. Super Mario 64 required some polish (which comes in my next piece), but it was a superb platformer that brought Mario to new heights.
Mega Man (1988)
Mega Man 2 sold 1.5 million copies to become the series’ best-selling game. Overall, Mega Man 2 was better than its predecessor. Visually, it’s more appealing with richer color palettes and world design.
As a platformer, Mega Man 2 was easier than its predecessor but stayed true to the original material. Mega Man and Mega Man 2 are inevitable when talking platformers and side-scrolling games.
Capcom built a balanced experience so new players may enjoy the music and soundtrack.