Everyone loves Mario. Everyone. If someone says they don't, they are a liar. There is a Mario game for everybody. There are games made in the style of RPGs , like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and the Paper Mario series. There are the classic 2D platformers that many of us have grown up on like the classic Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario World. There are more 3D "open world" style games like Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. Then there is Super Mario 3D World - a game that can be described as an amalgam of your classic Mario 2D platformer and the 3D games like Mario Galaxy. Nintendo managed to combine these two types of Mario games and make one heck of an excellent platformer.
Thing is, while nobody really hates Mario, he is not the be-all-end-all of video game franchises. Mario platformers are consistently excellent games, but they aren't the best - so we've compiled a list of 15 modern games that we believe to be just as good, if not better than Super Mario 3D World.
Keep in mind, this list is entirely the opinion of the author and most certainly won't match up with your own opinions, but feel free to share your thoughts!
15 Trine 2
If you haven't played this puzzle-solving action platformer then you are truly missing out. Best of all, you can't use your preferred console as an excuse to skip this title - Trine 2 is available on Windows, Mac, X-Box Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and the Wii U eShop!
On top of its fantastic level design, gorgeous backgrounds, and smooth animations - there is truly something for everybody in Trine 2. If you're playing alone, you have three different classes combined into one entity. You have the ranger that can grapple different surfaces and attack from afar with arrows. The fighter that can deflect objects, deal big damage, and destroy walls. Then you have the wizard who can grab objects with magic and create magical boxes and planks. The player switches through the different play styles to get through different encounters throughout each level.
If you don't like the idea of playing varied classes by yourself, you can go co-op with two friends and work together to solve puzzles and encounters throughout the action platformer.
14 Ducktales Remastered
If the Ducktales animated series on the Disney Afternoon wasn't a major part of your childhood...there is nothing I could possibly do to express how sorry I am. In addition to being such a great show, it boasted not only one of the greatest platformers for the original NES, but it's possibly one of the greatest games on the classic console period.
As a testament to how great it is, Capcom and Disney decided to bestow the gaming community with an HD remaster that went above and beyond expectations. Not only were we given graphics and an art style that look exactly like the classic animated series, but the original voice talent came on board to give us some real acting as opposed to dialogue boxes.
The game play and level design more or less remains the same with the exception of a new "tutorial" level. Considering everything but the graphics are more or less in place, this goes to show that you don't need flashy graphics to have a great game...but it does help.
If you've never heard of Ducktales, this is still a fun and challenging platformer. If Ducktales was a part of your childhood, this will be an unforgettably nostalgic experience.
13 Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
Whether you're a fan of Cinemassacre's hilarious Angry Video Game Nerd review series, retro console gaming, or both, you are going to absolutely love Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures.
You play as James Rolfe, an angry, Rolling Rock drinking nerd that plays and reviews terrible retro games so you don't have to. Though James plays awful and sometimes broken games for his series, this game is inspired by games James actually loves - namely the original NES Mega Man and Castlevania games. If you're looking for something in the vain of these classics, you need to give Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures a shot.
In addition to classic platformer elements like a screen full of enemies and obstacles, disappearing platforms, and bosses that take up large portions of the screen, there are a number of comedic nods to the bad games he's played, as well as moments from the AVGN series.
It's cheap, it's available on a wide number of platforms, and it's highly reviewed. You need to pick this one up.
12 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
The thing that makes Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U just as good, if not better than its predecessors is the fact that it changes little but adds just enough to create a new experience. This is something Nintendo does very well when it comes to their exclusive properties. They don't fix what isn't broken purely for the sake of change - but they add just enough to make every subsequent title in the series a fun and new experience. Hell, they do this with their consoles too. We see this practice carried over in the Zelda and Mario games as well.
Tropical Freeze's status on this list isn't just one man's opinion. In 2014, it had several nominations for various Best Platformer awards, as well as Game of the Year awards. The game even brought home Game Trailer's Best Platformer award in 2014.
I went ahead and went with the first LittleBigPlanet since it's more of a true platform game than its successor, which is indeed a platform game but more of an emphasis was put on the various mini-games you play throughout.
Outside of just looking flat-out amazing, LittleBigPlanet was a text book example of a great platformer at its core. Beyond that, the game is so much more - it allows the player to customize levels, build levels (not just limited to platform levels), create character customizations, in-game cut-scenes, and even music! Combining platforming with creativity not only makes LittleBigPlanet a contender with Mario 3D World, but a solid contender against Mario Maker as well (Yeah. I said it).
As the series has moved on, its ratings have declined, but this first installment won't be forgotten.
10 Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy shows that a game doesn't need a big studio and hundreds of developers to gain a popularity that sees it available on almost every console and operating system currently in popular use. Nor does it need this studio and hundreds of developers to be one of the top rated games of all time, boasting a perfect 10/10 on Steam.
Super Meat Boy doesn't skimp on any of the ingredients that made the legendary platform games that inspired it (Mega Man, Mario, Metroid, Castlevania) great. It also offers quite a challenge, a rare feature in the current video game landscape.
The game also features a special brand of odd and irreverent humor that really makes it stand out from the crowd - even in the indie scene.
9 A Story About My Uncle
If you haven't played A Story About My Uncle, I can't exactly blame you. At present, this first-person platform game is only available on PC for Windows and Steam. Fortunately, it's has a 9 out of 10 on Steam, receiving "very popular" reviews overall. Hopefully this will earn the title a home on the major consoles in the near future. It would be a shame if not because what we have here is a great game, reminiscent in terms of game-play to another popular first-person platformer - Bioshock Infinite.
The world is equally as beautiful and imaginative as the world of Infinite, but it has a more dream-like aspect to it. The story that unfolds as you search for your uncle is engaging and mysterious. While you don't have nearly as many weapons and resources at your disposal as Booker DeWitt, the physics and speed to your very similar grappling style weapon is on a whole other level.
If you're skeptical but you do have a gaming PC, make sure to grab this over the next big Steam sale.
8 Shovel Knight
The success of Shovel Knight is a true testament to the idea that graphics do not make the game. To this day, there is still a deep love for games like Castlevania and Mega Man because they were excellent games with no short-comings other than dated graphics. Shovel Knight proves that a good platformer is a good platformer and those old graphics have more or less become an art-style unto themselves. A style that is no longer really dated, but has actually transcended time.
Shovel Knight is one of the best platform games of all time, holding spots right beside the classic games that inspired it. Its popularity is so strong it's available on just about anything - the last two generations of all three major consoles, the PS and Nintendo handhelds, and just about any computer running any OS.
7 Portal 2
Because of how strange it is and the strong focus on puzzles, it's hard to think of the Portal games as platformers, though they most definitely are puzzle platformers. Portal doesn't put as much emphasis on its platform elements, but Portal 2 embraces those elements with far more death defying and swashbuckling physics puzzles, especially so with the addition of the the various gels that offer a whole new level to the workings of the orange and blue portals and your abilities to traverse the various levels.
While you might miss GLaDOS heckling you throughout the levels, Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons offer just as hilarious comedic brilliance throughout your very frustrating travels.
6 Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Remastered
In the days of 8 and 16-bit games, Disney was known for making some excellent platform games based on some of its major properties. Jungle Book, Ducktales, Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers, Lion King, and especially Aladdin, were some incredible games in their day and are still extremely playable today. They looked great, featured great level design, and they were very challenging even though they were targeting younger players (*cough* wildebeest stampede *cough*). Castle of Illusion, like Ducktales, was such a good game it received the HD remaster treatment as it was just as good back then as the platform games of today.
There is one major change to game-play in the remastered version which is the ability to fully explore the castle and find new items to unlock never before seen areas - making this a treat even for those of us that still have the original cartridge in our collection.
5 Child of Light
Child of Light is available on just about every platform and if you haven't played it yet, I have a few questions I'd like to ask:
Why do you hate video games?
Who exactly do you think you are?
Why don't you want to have a fun and fulfilling life?
There is nothing about this game that is bad. It has a fantastic story, beautiful art, excellent animation, and it combines the platform genre so seamlessly with different styles of RPGs that nobody engaging in an argument as to whether Child of Light is an RPG or a platformer at its core would be totally wrong.
Child of Light also boasts an excellent voice cast with stars like Steve Carell, Sandra Bullock, and Rachel Weisz. If you still think this game looks a little "girly," I'll have you know that Dolph Lundgren, He-Man himself, helps round out the talent.
4 Mighty No. 9
Oh boy. I know I'll be getting a lot of flack for this. I'll probably lose all my credibility as a gamer and be forced into a small cave where I'm only allowed to play checkers by candle light. But...I have to say it:
I. Love. Mighty. Number. Nine.
That felt good to get off my chest.
At first, I had a lot of the same gripes as everyone else. The levels were kind of ugly, but graphics don't make the game. The voice acting was bad, but not really worse than most of the games that feature voice acting. Sure, it was hard for the sake of being hard, but that's a major feature to any Mega Man game and Mighty was a spiritual successor made by one of the original Mega Man creators.
While it had its faults, one of the things that made Mega Man games great was they kept everything that worked and simply added a new feature or ability here and there.
When I came back to Mighty No. 9 a second time, without being influenced by hype, I was able to see it for what it was - an excellent Mega Man game. It kept everything that worked and added the dash attack. Once you master that new dash ability and start chaining those attacks, the game becomes something else entirely. It's fast-paced, action packed, and offers one heck of a challenge without being impossible. I will concede that MN9 isn't as "fair" as Mega Man was in its hardness, but it isn't impossible.
If you bought this game and were immediately disappointed, give it another chance. Without all those expectations, you might be surprised with how much you enjoy it.
Atmospheric isn't a word you would usually use to describe a platformer. That's generally reserved for first-person, story-driven games or survival horror. Platformers usually rely on strong, colorful backgrounds, unique art-styles, and lots of action. They rarely leave a player sitting there without pushing buttons to try and do something.
The wonderful thing about this puzzle-platformer is there just isn't anything like it. It's dark, eerie, and pretty disturbing. The puzzles were actually designed to be solved through failure, meaning you will die and you will die a lot - but that's part of the fun. Your death scenes are rather gruesome, made all the more disturbing when you remember your character is a little boy searching for his sister.
Despite being so dark and a little twisted, there's an underlying beauty to the minimalist, largely black and white art style.
2 Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Not much can be said about Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams that can't be said about many of the other games on this list. It has beautiful backgrounds, flawlessly smooth character animations, screens filled with enemies, and deeply satisfying attacks to the occasional heavy metal jam. I'm also a big fan of any game with large, full-screen bosses. The soundtrack to the boss fights in this game coupled with your tiny-size against a massive boss that takes up half the screen just gets you pumped and every move you pull off becomes all the more satisfying. It's pure, unadulterated fun.
If you grew up playing the original on the Commodore 64, this may not be the game for you. Unlike Ducktales Remastered and Castle of Illusion Remastered, the only similarities here are the name and the fact that they're both platformers. The core game itself isn't intact. If you can move past any expectations, this one is a must play.
1 A Boy And His Blob
This modern re-imagining of the NES classic A Boy and His Blob fell under the radars of a lot of people and it's quite a shame. In fact, this might be one of my favorite platform games of all time and it's most definitely in my top 5 games for the Nintendo Wii, a console with a lot of excellent games to play if people could pull their lips from Call of Duty's butt for ten seconds.
Hand animation is a dying art and it's great to see it done so well here. It's the first thing that really shows you this is not the frustrating, trial by death, punishment-fest that the original was. It feels like you're playing a children's storybook instead of a puzzle platformer. There are even elements of game-play that add to the "storybook" feel. Sometimes you need to reset the blobs position to properly feed him the jellybeans that turn him into the tools you need to solve the levels puzzles. You do this by giving him a hug - which might be the most heart-warming piece of animation to ever grace a video game console.
Each level gives you different jellybeans, which turns the blob into different tools. This keeps the puzzles from getting stale, which is a problem a lot of puzzle platformers experience. You also get to fight full screen bosses, each one requiring a different use of the blobs shape-shifting abilities to beat. No level is the same.
Even though this game is very different from its predecessor, many level screens are direct nods to the screens of the original, serving as easter eggs to us man-children that played A Boy and His Blob for the NES all those years ago.