Nintendo is often considered among the best platform games developer ever, thanks not only to the Super Mario Bros. series, but also thanks to others like the Kirby and Donkey Kong Country series. And today we’re here to share with you the best platformers for Nintendo Switch.
While Nintendo may dominate in the genre, there are many other platform games released on Nintendo Switch that are rightly considered as good as Nintendo developed games. Whether you are into 2D or 3D platform games, you will always find some good titles to play on the Nintendo Switch.
Here are our favorite platform games available on the Switch: games that we consider the absolute best you can play (listed in no particular order).
The first game on the list is also among the most interesting, and also among the most in-line with Nintendo’s game design approach. While clearing inspired by retro-platform games, Celeste is much more than a simple throwback at old times.
Celeste is all about the main character of the same name, a young girl who has to climb a dangerous mountain in a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. It’s also a journey for the players, as the game throws challenges upon challenges at them constantly while also giving them the choice of picking an easier path.
Coupled with the excellent presentation and sound production, Celeste is not only one of the best platform games released on Nintendo Switch, but also one of the best indie games released on the console.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze continues the tradition of the Donkey Kong Country games, originally developed by Rare, with a challenging experience that puts players’ platforming skills to the test.
The game expands on the gameplay features introduced in Donkey Kong Country Returns in every possible way. The game is still a 2.5D platform game at its heart, so you will be stomping enemies, collect bananas, perform some very dangerous jumps and fight huge bosses.
While the game is definitely challenging, there are ways to make it more accessible to players, such as powerful items that can grant invincibility and so on. Using Funky Kong as a character also makes the game easier, as the character comes with five hit points, the ability to double-jump, hover in mid-air, stand on spikes and more.
Thanks to these features, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the perfect platform game for both experienced players and those who approach the series for the very first time.
Dead Cells is among the most unique games included in this list, but also the most interesting, as it offers a level of depth that most of the other platform games don’t offer.
Dead Cells can only be described as a roguelike Metroidvania. During the course of the game, players will have to explore procedurally generated levels which require players to explore quite a bit to complete.
A lot of enemies will also try to get in your way, and only your knowledge of the game’s weapons and available skills will make you victorious. And if you die, you lose everything, in true roguelike fashion.
Dead Cells can be a frustrating experience, but those who are willing to put some effort in learning its mechanics will find it extremely rewarding.
Kirby Star Allies
Like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Kirby Star Allies combines both old-school and more modern features to offer an excellent platforming experience for players of all skill levels.
Like most other entries in the Kirby series, Kirby Star Allies is a 2D, or rather a 2.5D, platform game where players can only move on a two-dimensional plane. During the course of the adventure, players will have to traverse a lot of different locations while collecting items and fight enemies.
Kirby Star Allies gives players a few different ways to deal with enemies. Players can not only Copy Abilities from enemies but also choose to obtain Mix abilities from enemies or make them Helpers, which also allows other players to take part in the action.
Kirby Star Allies also offers plenty of content outside of the main Story Mode, making it one of the biggest platform games available on the console.
Mega Man 11
The Nintendo Switch is proving to be a safe haven for classic franchises, with many of them making glorious comebacks on the console. Mega Man is definitely among them: after a long hiatus, the Blue Bomber came back in the best possible way.
Mega Man 11 retains the classic gameplay style of previous entries in the series, with Mega Man having to go through a variety of stages, defeat the boss of each stage and eventually get to confront Doctor Wily once again.
The Blue Bomber’s abilities include the chargeable Mega Buster, the slide and the new Double Gear system, which allow him to slow down time and power up all of his weapons.
If you’re into old-school run and gun games, there’s no better game to get on Nintendo Switch than Mega Man 11. Fans of the series will also not be disappointed: the long wait has been well worth it.
Rayman Legends is far from being a recent game, as it has been originally released back in 2013, but it’s still one of the best 2D platform games available on modern hardware, thanks to its excellent presentation and gameplay mechanics.
Rayman Legends expands the formula introduced in Rayman Origins in every possible way. Stages are more varied than ever and filled with even more secrets, multiplayer is even more engaging thanks to the level design, and the Online Challenges make it so that players can come back to the game every now and then even if they have discovered everything in the game.
Rayman Legends may not be the most original game around, but the care that has been put in its creation continues to make it one of the best platform games of the last decade.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
In the past few years, a lot of indie games featuring 8-bit aesthetics have been released on all formats, but the most known and loved of them is Shovel Knight. The platform game developed by Yacht Club Games redefined the way many people say indie games, offering a quality experience that no fan of platform games should pass.
In Shovel Knight, players control the titular knight as he travels all over the world to fight the knights of the Order of No Quarter and The Enchantress. During his quest, Shovel Knight will traverse a lot of different locations filled with though enemies and traps at every turn.
There’s no way to describe Shovel Knight with only a few words. The game sports mechanics taken from a lot of old and more modern games, such as the classic platform game Ducktales, Dark Soul and many others, tweaked in such a masterful way that they work incredibly well together.
Coupled with the huge amount of content, including three new campaign starring three of the knights of the Order of no Quarter, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a game that no Switch owner should ignore.
The Sonic the Hedgehog series has been going through some very rough times since the end of the 16-bit era.
The Sonic Adventure games, released on the SEGA Dreamcast, were competent games, but they failed to capture the magic of the first three entries in the series, and all following games have been pretty much hit and miss, with Sonic Generations being the best of the modern games and the one that feels the closest to the classic games. Not counting Sonic Mania, that is, which is the best Sonic the Hedgehog game since the 90s.
Sonic Mania has been built like the classic 16-bit games, and it plays like them, with the same physics that fans have come to love. The game features a mix of old stages, which have been redesigned to offer a fresh experience, and some brand new ones as well as mechanics lifted from all the 16-bit games, including the excellent Sonic CD.
Features from modern Sonic games are also in, like collectibles and multiple playable characters outside of the Sonic, Tails and Knuckles trio. What makes everything even more incredible is that the game hasn’t been developed by SEGA directly: fans have given what fans have wanted for a very long time
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario 3D World is among the most unique 3D entries in the series, as it did away with the sandbox approach introduced in Super Mario 64, offering a somewhat contained experience that’s more akin to the 2D games. These times, however, are long past, as Nintendo has gone back to the more open design of older games with Super Mario Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey is undoubtedly a definite step forward for the series, as Mario will venture outside of the Mushroom Kingdom in search of Princess Peach, who has been kidnapped once again, by Bowser. This has allowed the developers to go wild with their creativity, introducing so many diverse worlds and gimmicks that make the experience always feel fresh.
The introduction of Cappy is also another big feature that sets Super Mario Odyssey apart from previous games, as it’s possible to capture enemies through it and use their abilities, opening up even more gameplay possibilities.
If you can only get one platform game for the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey is the game to get. While the other games in the list are excellent in their own right, the game by Nintendo is, by far, the very best.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Yoshi’s Crafted World is the most recent of the games in the list, as it’s the only one that has been released this year worldwide. Like many other games in this list, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a 2.5D platform game, so players can only move on a 2D plane in 3D environments, not counting select sequences when players can interact with the 3D dimension.
In many ways, Yoshi’s Crafted World resembles Yoshi’s Wooly World and previous Yoshi games quite a lot. In the game, players have to traverse several different worlds, using Yoshi’s tongue to eat enemies and other objects, turn them into eggs and throw them.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is as classic as a platform game can get. It will not win any award for being original, but if you’re looking for a relaxing experience, this is the game to purchase.
This is a classic side-scrolling platformer with a unique visual approach and extremely well built levels, offering a massive amount of challenge for fans of the genre.
Hollow Knight is a classically styled 2D action adventure across a vast interconnected world. Explore twisting caverns, ancient cities and deadly wastes; battle tainted creatures and befriend bizarre bugs; and solve ancient mysteries at the kingdom’s heart.
Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition
An absolutely amazing platformer that managed to somehow fly under the radar. But do yourself a favor and give it a try: you will love this game like crazy!
We’re talking about a unique 2D metroidvania platformer full of mystical creatures and boundless exploration. Defy gravity as you jump across floors, walls, and ceilings alike. Discover the mysteries and secrets hidden throughout the world of Salt and its diverse array of characters. Empower Dandara for combat and survival against enemies and, most importantly: have a ton of fun playing this game!
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of 3D or 2.5D platformers – give me the 2D side-scrolling adventures I grew up playing, bring up the challenge levels and I’m all game!
But I have to admit that this title is really well made and works really well as it is. Younger audiences will probably enjoy it better than adults will, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t challenging or fun for grown-ups. There’s a bit of everybody, inlcuding the 2D “classic” platformer fans out there.
So give this game a try, ready to run, jump and roll your way through the fun levels.
There are a lot of platform games on Nintendo Switch, so some other excellent titles didn’t make it into the list. Know any other noteworthy game that deserved to be mentioned? Let us know in the comments.
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