I love 2D platformers! In no particular order (because it was too hard to decide) these are my Top Ten 2D Platformers for consoles! Handheld Platformers will have their own post soon!
10: Mischief Makers
Something of a hidden gem for the N64, I had read about it many times in Nintendo magazines but it wasn’t until I borrowed a friends copy at Uni that I finally played it for myself! It’s a very unique platformer with a strange gameplay mechanic, you pick things up and shake them and different things happen when you do that. The game has some very clever level design that plays to this mechanics strengths. Also hidden away in each level is a yellow gem, collecting these actually increased the length of the ending. It’s a lot of fun to explore the levels and find them! The boss fights are fun and creative with each one being killed in a different way, the music and graphics are equally strange and brilliant. A true N64 classic! Shame I didn’t play it sooner!
9: MegaMan classic series
As you all already know if you read these posts, i’m a huge megaman fan so it should come as no surprise that i’m including the games here, it was too hard to pick just one game from the series, so i’m including the whole 8-bit series, including 9 & 10. they all are pretty much the same game with minor changes between then so play all of them and think of them as new levels expansions and you’ll have just as much fun no matter which one you decide to play! 4 is my personal favourite but that’s probably because that’s the one I grew up with. The megaman X games are also (mostly) amazing and definitely worth a play! Especially 1, 2 and 4.
8: Donkey Kong Country Series.
Especially DKC2! All the DKC games, including the newer ones on the Wii/WiiU are all really good platformers, with tight controls and varied gameplay which includes using the abilities of other characters, such as Dixie Kong and her propeller hair which lets you hover for a short time, you can even play as Cranky Kong in the latest game using his walking stick as a Pogo stick which makes for some really cool speedruns! The music in all the games is excellent, with tracks ranging from traditional jungle music, to ambient music, rock music, and everything in between, they are all really fun to listen to! The gameplay is really smooth and the levels are very challenging, but not impossible. Its a game of skill and rewards players who take time to explore thanks to many hidden items and secrets! It’s also well known for being one of the first games to use digitized 3D graphics! The gameboy and GBA versions are also worth a look, especially the Donkey Kong Land series for the original Gameboy, which are entirely new games based on the first three DKC games!
A quirky platformer for the SNES. It may not be the most well known of games on this list, but it does have a dedicated fan base, especially now that the the creator has been releasing a new PLOK comic strip. The game has you playing as PLOK on a quest to find his missing flag. He travels all round the (quite large) map in search of it. Encountering many strange creatures and lots of fleas along the way. At one point you also get to play as PLOK’s grandfather in a black and white flashback. You throw your arms and legs at the enemies to defeat them as well as getting many optional weapons and power ups from hidden presents within the levels. There power ups can range from weapons such as a shotgun or a fireman’s hose, to vehicles such as helicopters and motorbikes! The game also has loads of secrets and awesome boss fights!
6: Rocket Knight Adventures/ Sparkster
Definitely my all time favorite Sega Megadrive game! Rocket Knight Adventures was a complete surprise for me and exceeded all my expectations of it. I got it from a bootsale one day along with about ten other Megadrive games. I didn’t think much of them but as soon as I put in RKA (to try out for a few minutes) I was hooked and spent the rest of the day playing it non stop, all the way to completion! This sparked (pun intended) my obsession with the series and thus, I eventually tracked down the other two games in the series Sparkster and… Sparkster. They are both very different games, one is a direct sequel for the Megadrive and the other is a different game for the SNES. Both are excellent but neither live up to the magic of the original. There was also a reboot on XBLA and PSN a few years ago, but I was very disappointed with it. So stick to the originals! I can’t recommend them highly enough! Go play them! 😀
5: Kirby’s Fun Pak (AKA Kirby Super Star)
8 Games in one! Well that might be a bit of a lie. It’s more like 4 games and some mini-games, but even so, this collection is packed full of fun! A game I remember fondly from my childhood, each game in the collection is equally memorable, from discovering secret paths in Dynablade, to scouring the caves of Great Cave Offensive for treasures and travelling through space in the slightly surreal Milky Way Wishes. This game is still just as much fun today as it ever was and easily the best Kirby game you can get! Also worth checking out is the DS remake, called Kirby Super Star Ultra. It can also be played on the Wii and WiiU virtual console.
4: Super Mario All Stars / World
This special cartridge came bundled with every main Mario game at that point, each game was completely remade with amazing colourful 16-bit graphics and enhanced music. This is by far the best way to play Super Mario 1, 2, 3 and Lost Levels. The inclusion of Super Mario World is just an added bonus and not included on the original release or on the Wii re-release which was seen as a pretty lazy celebration for Mario 20th anniversary. Either way, this collection is the definitive Mario collection and has endless replay value.
3: Castlevania 1/3/4/Rondo Of Blood
I simply couldn’t decide between these four which one was my favourite… Castlavania always has a special place in my game library. The controls may seem slightly clunky and maybe even seem archaic to some, I personally believe that the restrictive ocntrols actually improve the experience making it much more a skill based game than some other, more forgiving platformers. The levels are perfectly designed to compensate for the stiff controls, and memorisation is key to progressing through the games deadly castles and surroundings. Add to this precise gameplay a wealth of different power ups and some superb music and you have a classic game series. Just avoid Castlevania 2 at all costs!
2: Sonic 2
My favoirite of the side scrolling sonic games. This game improves massively on sonic 1 and keeps the originals straightforward level design. With countless improvements including Spin Dash, Tails, (although its disputable if tails could be considered an improvement or not…) Much improved bonus levels and generally faster gameplay. The game is a blast to play through and doesn’t let up from the moment you start playing! The music is fast and catchy and the levels themselves are all bright and colourful! I chose this over the more popular Sonic 3 & Knuckles because I feel that game got too big for its self and lost some of the simplicity which makes sonic 2 such a joy. Even so, both games are definitely worth a play and have aged wonderfully!
1: Klonoa 1/2
Almost the complete opposite to Sonic, Klonoa is a much slower, more carefully designed game. With an emphasis on puzzle solving and using enemies to your advantage (e.g using them to help you get to hidden areas). The main gimmick to these games is the ability to use a ring to pick enemies and objects up, throw them, or use them to make an extra jump. As well as this interesting mechanic, you can also hover for a short time using Klonoas ears to give you a little extra reach with your jumps.
The games are both really fun and colourful. Although they may look 3D, they play out strictly on a 2D plane, making use of a moving camera to give the game added depth. There’s also a ton of fun mini games throughout the levels. The first game was also re-released on the Wii and is a fantastic upgrade to the PS1 original! The GBA and Wonderswan games are also worth checking out if you enjoy these, they are even more puzzle focused though so don’t go in expecting much action and you’ll have a good time!
OK so that was actually 38 games… Never mind!