Top 10 Platform Games That Don't Star Mario or Other Nintendo Characters

Nintendo fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to platform games. On the Switch alone, there are more than a dozen games in the Super Mario series from across console generations that demonstrate why Nintendo developers are such masters of the platforming genre — and that's not even counting games starring Donkey Kong, Kirby, and smaller Nintendo stars . , such as BoxBoy.

But there are plenty of great platform games, on a wide range of systems, that don't star Mario and his friends and rivals. Here are some of the best 2D and 3D platformers you can enjoy on PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch – more “pure” platformers, as opposed to Metroidvania-style combat-focused exploration games.

Pizza tower

Photo: Tour de Pizza

where do you play: Windows computer

Many platform games try to be Mario. Pizza tower Striving to be his own chaotic version of the mirror world, Wario, and this fast-paced 2D platformer from indie dev Tour De Pizza is a tribute to Nintendo's Wario Land games. As the hero and restaurant owner Peppino Spaghetti, you explore and destroy the titular pizza tower by running, jumping and smashing your way through a set of levels.

There is an incredible amount of diversity in those levels. Many of them come with their own gameplay gimmicks that must be learned, under a certain amount of speed-platforming duress, to advance and escape. Paired with an earworm-filled soundtrack and a '90s Nicktoons aesthetic, Pizza tower It is one of the most innovative and nuanced platform games of all time. Not bad for an honor.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Shovel Knight hurtles through the sky toward a gem in a screenshot from Shovel Knight

Photo: Yacht Club Games

where do you play: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Shovel knight is the most authentic retro game ever made, distilling the 8 and 16-bit nostalgia of classic console games – most notably the beloved 1989 NES game Duck tales – and craft this commemorative ore into a sharp, finely polished adventure. Shovel knight He uses his titular gadget to great effect, allowing the player to flip over enemies, dig up treasure, jump over obstacles and enemies and dig spikes.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove It's actually a collection, and represents one of the best offerings in gaming. Along with the original Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, treasure Includes sideshows Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, Shovel Knight: Ghost of TormentAnd Shovel Knight: King of Cardsin addition to a multiplayer platform fighter Shovel Knight Showdown.

Penny's big breakup

Penny launches a Yo-Yo out in a screenshot from Penny's Big Breakaway

Photo: Evening Star/Special Section

where do you play: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox Series

Created by the developers behind Sonic mania, Penny's big breakup It builds its 3D platforming mechanics around a single tool: the yo-yo. Yo-Yo Benny (named Yo-Yo) accidentally becomes self-conscious and too hungry for snacks. Yo-Yo offers Penny a variety of traversal methods, acting as a kind of grappling hook, high-speed Segway, and helicopter to help her navigate a series of colorful worlds and avoid an army of vengeful penguins.

Penny's big breakup It has a retro aesthetic that doesn't look dated – its visual style harks back to the cover art for 16- and 32-bit platforms, which helps developer Evening Star's 3D adventure stand out from the hand-drawn, pixelated styles of other platform games.

Celeste

Madeline does aerial dashes over a high-altitude platform in a screenshot from Celeste

Photo: Maddie makes toys

where do you play: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Celeste It is a 2D platform game that sums up this type of game at its core. It features chunky, pixelated artwork and characters, and a simple set of moves. As Madeline, you can run, jump, climb walls, and air dash. There are no power-ups or unlockable skills. But when you climb Mt CelesteThe game presents you with increasingly difficult challenges to test your ability to run, jump, climb walls, and air dash.

in some ways, Celeste It is a throwback. It's very difficult in the context of “masocore” games like Super Meat Boy. Making your way through a level, let alone a single screen, requires quick reflexes and staying calm under pressure. but Celeste It is also quite modern. It tells a personal and compelling story, and includes a variety of accessibility and difficulty features that can be transformed Celeste From impossible challenge to moderate challenge. It's forgiving, so if you mess up, you won't be pulled back to the start of the level. You've been given the opportunity to try, try and try again.

Snake corridor

Noodle the Snake wraps himself around a bamboo structure over a pit of spikes in a screenshot from Snake Pass

Photo: Sumo Digital

where do you play: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Sumo Digital 2017 game Snake corridor It sets itself apart from all the other games on this list by being a platformer without a jump button. As Noodle the Snake, players instead slide, twist and climb across the world of Haven Tor. Noodle is joined by his animal friend Doodle the Hummingbird, who is tasked with collecting a series of key pillars by solving challenging physics-based puzzles.

Snake corridorThe controls may take some getting used to; You're playing with the action of a snake, not a bipedal mascot, after all. but Snake corridor It is an innovative and beautiful platformer that is worth keeping until you click.

Rayman Legends

Rayman and Globox stand on a stone platform as a guitar-playing rock quartet flies around them in a screenshot from Rayman Legends

Image: Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft

where do you play: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox Series

Rayman LegendsThe impressive variety, elaborate set design, and gorgeous art make it a confident, simple platformer. It is mechanically simple. As Rayman or one of his fellow heroes, you can run, jump, and hit things. But it's also a precise platformer with a wide variety of levels and hidden secrets that encourage players to explore.

Myths Cute and charming. It may look like a living anime world, but it's definitely aimed at experienced players of the genre. Players who are up for the challenge will find a diverse series of worlds with an equally diverse array of activities: swimming, flying, stealth, fighting, racing, and even musical rhythm games.

Sonic mania

Sonic the Hedgehog balances precariously on a moving platform while Tails hovers overhead in a screenshot from Sonic Mania

Image: Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games/Sega

where do you play: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox Series

To create one of the best Sonic the Hedgehog games released in the last decade, Sega turned to some of its biggest fans. Sonic mania He is a fan of the old school branch of Sonic gameplay and design. It takes the series' Genesis-era ideas to their logical extreme, while still obeying the old Sonic the Hedgehog design rules. If you have any affection for Sonic (and his friends), especially the 16-bit flavour, Sonic mania its yours. This is a game that loves Sonic the Hedgehog too.

Psychonauts 2

Raz runs towards a lush psychedelic level covered in eyeballs in a screenshot from Psychonauts 2

Photo: Double Fine Productions/Xbox Game Studios

where do you play: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series

We called Psychonauts 2 “One of the most innovative platformers, with an absolute flood of delightful ideas and images” in our review of Double Fine's 2021 platformer adventure game. It also boasts one of the most engaging and creative stories of any game on this list.

As psychic pioneer Raz, you will delve into people's brains, which appear as strange and inventive worlds, to help them battle their inner demons, unlock hidden memories, and resolve their emotional baggage using a range of psychic powers. Psychonauts 2 It deals with important topics and complex psychological issues with warmth, compassion, and humor—while also serving as a capable and consistently entertaining platformer.

Klonoa Fantasy Reverie Series

Klonoa runs around a ring-shaped level, trying to avoid a boss attack, in a screenshot from the Klonoa Fantasy Reference series

Image: Bandai Namco

where do you play: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series

This set brings the original PlayStation game Klonoa: Ghost Door and its PlayStation 2 sequel Klonoa 2: Veil of Lunatia Bringing it to the modern era, with updated visuals and some quality of life features. These underrated platformers fall somewhere between 2D and 3D, allowing players to explore a cute and colorful world as Klonoa, who can use his Wind Ring to snatch and throw enemies. The Klonoa games aren't particularly complex, but they do require a puzzling geographic level and thoughtful use of jumping abilities to conquer each world.

Astro games room

Astro swims in the beach area of ​​Astro's game room

Photo: Asobi Team/Sony Interactive Entertainment

where do you play: PlayStation 5

Ostensibly a technical demo of the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller, Astro games room It is an excellent 3D platformer that also serves as a nostalgia tour of PlayStation history. And to be frank, Astro games room It really has no business being as good as it is; It's free, after all, and included with the PlayStation 5. But it's an excellent platformer with tight controls, fun action mechanics, and thoughtful design touches. Playing through it, you might wonder why Sony doesn't make these games more frequently (and charge for them).

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