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Gaming 101: Platform Games

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Platform games.

Platform games task the player with directing their character to jump, climb, run and avoid obstacles. Getting their name because of levels constructed of platforms from which you have to jump, these games usually introduce hazards to make the forward progress more hazardous.

Although often played with just a joystick and couple of buttons the timing and duration of the button presses and joystick direction requires considerable skill. When combined with Simulation genre the character responds to the physical mechanics of the game world in such a way that players need to spend time learning to use their instincts and relations to progress.

These are commonly considered Action games, but platformers (as they are often called) can also be combined with Fighting or Rhythm games to create a wide range of ways (and reasons) to traverse levels. Although Platform games are usually simpler to understand. However, when combined with Open-World or Puzzle genres they can present a larger and more complex challenge to players.

This list includes 47 games from the last 33 years, with 1,502 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first platform game. We break them down into the following areas:

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth and Traversal
Total Likes: 1,502
 

 

1. The story of the climb

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

Old Man's Journey

Old Man’s Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather-figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.

Submerged Hidden Depths

Submerged: Hidden Depths is an adventure game where you boat, climb and explore the ruins of a sunken world. With light puzzle solving and no combat you discover a drowned city, crumbling skyscrapers and deserted villages. It's the sequel to the first...

Never Alone

Never Alone is a running, jumping and exploring game based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, "Kunuuksaayuka". You swap between controlling an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion as you complete puzzles and move the story forwards.

Hue

Hue is a puzzle game where you run and jump through platforms. You explore a grey land while searching for your missing mother. The novelty is in the coloured pieces you uncover, which when matched against obstacles will cause them to disappear,...

Journey of the Broken Circle

Journey of the Broken Circle is a rolling and jumping game about looking for a life partner. You play as a simple circle with a piece missing. As you progress by making jumps and solving puzzles, you meet partners who slot in specific abilities and...

Surmount

Surmount is a traversal game about jumping, swinging and climbing your way up a challenging mountain. You play by controlling your character's jumps, moves, skills and swings to get higher and higher. It's a unique mountain climbing adventure that gives...

2. More than running and jumping

Rainbow Billy

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone is jumping and puzzle solving platform game where you control different-coloured rectangles. It sounds boring and derivative but each of the distinctly coloured shapes comes to life in the game as a character embroiled in this escape...

Wandersong

Wandersong is an adventure where you play a bard on a quest to gather parts of a song. Uniquely, you interact with the environment and inhabitants by singing with one of the direction sticks. It stands out not only for its start of love and loss, but...

JellyCar Worlds

Jelly Car is a puzzle game about a car made of jelly traversing a squishy world. You use the physics properties of the car and the objects in the world to get from A to B. It's an action puzzle game that stands out for the joyous novelty of a malleable...

3. Embark on your platforming education

It Takes Two

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells a story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly trap the clashing-couple in them. You and a friend...

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a running, jumping, bashing and exploring game. It’s a re-release of the classic platform games featuring the purple dragon, Spyro. The attraction is the well designed levels, collecting and exploration. It’s an amiable...

Ibb and Obb

Ibb & Obb is a puzzle game where you run, jump, land on enemies and solve momentum puzzles. The novelty is that it's a game designed for co-operation. One player controls the green creature, Ibb, and the other controls the pink creature, Obb. The world...

Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run is a running and jumping game you play by tapping the screen to jump. Your character automatically runs and you just tap at the right time to avoid obstacles and jump on enemies. It sounds too simple to be fun but is actually a cleverly...

Doodle Jump (Series)

Doodle Jump is a jumping video game where you guide a hand-drawn four-legged creature up an endless series of platforms. Once you fall to the bottom of the screen it's game over.

Downwell

Downwell is a vertically scrolling platform game where you frantically shoot snail-like enemies to gain points and upgrades. You will die frequently, but that's part of the fun. Each go, you have a chance to learn from what went wrong last time as you...

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is a running and jumping game where you help Mario on his quest to save Princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from Bowser and his minions. Play is similar to earlier Mario games, only here the levels are larger and have vertical height,...

Eagle Island

This is a running and jumping adventure where you play Quill and his owl companion Koji as they uncover the secrets of Eagle Island. You work your way through levels using falconry-inspired attacks to take down enemies.

Poinpy

Poinpy is a jumping and bouncing game where you play a green monster and work your way up a well. You play by directing each leap to avoid enemies and collect the fruit. It's exclusive to Netflix subscribers and from the developer of [link game/downwell...

Pyro Jump Rescue

Pyro Jump and Pyro Jump Rescue are a one button jumping and rolling game where you are a lump of fire leaping from one platform to the next to try to catch Princess Paper. You work through levels by jumping and the attaching to wheels and surfaces,...

4. Complete your platforming education

Astro's Playroom

Astro's Playroom is a running and jumping game that launched with the PlayStation 5. It not only showcases the PS5's new DualSense controller but offers a loveable adventure with novel interactions and considerable substance.

New Super Lucky's Tale

New Super Lucky's Tale is a platform game where you play a fox on a quest to recover pages from a magical book that will save his world. It takes gameplay in a more action-oriented direction but the islands and characters are full of quirky character...

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Kirby's Epic Yarn is a running and jumping game starring Nintendo's Kirby character that can (usually) suck enemies into their large mouth to gain new abilities. It's set in Patch Land, a world made completely out of fabric. You use your platforming...

Celeste

Celeste is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is, perhaps unsurprisingly, haunted by self-doubt at the task in hand. She presses...

Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World (known as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury on the Switch) is a platform game you can play with up to 4-players in the same place. While all Mario games are good for families, this co-operative and competitive play makes it great...

Yoshi's Crafted World

Yoshi's Crafted World is a running and jumping game where you control a friendly dinosaur, Yoshi. You work through each level, eating or jumping on enemies while searching for hidden items and collectables.

Yoshi's Woolly World

Yoshi's Woolly World is a platform game of knitted yarn. You explore, jump and run your way around, solving puzzles and collecting items to complete each stage.

Super Monkey Ball (Series)

Super Monkey Ball is a rolling and balancing game where you tilt platforms to control the path of a hamster ball containing a monkey. The peculiar premise is matched with accurate challenging gameplay and some great multiplayer modes (like Monkey...

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Series)

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a running, exploring, puzzle game where you guide the Toad character to save Toadette from the villain Wingo and retrieve the Power Stars on each level. You navigate puzzles and obstacles, fighting enemies to reach the...

Spelunky 2 (Series)

Spelunky 2 is, like the classic Spelunky, a running and jumping game where you exploring mysterious caves on the moon looking for your missing parents. On your journey, you will find unique environments, treasure, and people to join you as you delve...

Cave Story

Cave Story is a running and jumping game styled after classic Metroid and Castlevania games of the 1980's. Unusually, it was initially overlooked until it gained popularity on the internet and then received widespread critical acclaim. The simplicity,...

5. Take platforming to the next level

Dead Cells

Dead Cells is a running, jumping and fighting game where you are escaping a prison. In a bright pixelated world you must accurately time attacks and dodges to defeat a wide range of enemies. It's intentionally hard, and you will die a lot. But each time...

Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss is a running and jumping game where you charge through temples to get to the exit. Your only tool is a whip that interacts with objects and can propel you forward. Along the way are numerous traps and difficult jumps to avoid. There are...

Rain World: Downpour

Rain World, and the expansion Downpour, are traversal and survival games where you play a half cat, half slug in a living breathing world. You must venture out and brave the other predatory creatures to find food before the rain comes and you have to...

Katana Zero

Katana Zero is a noir-styled fighting game where you are a samurai assassin. At (literally) breakneck speed you slash, dash and jump your way through side-on missions. The twist is if you die the game rewinds time and you try that loop again.

Neon White

Neon White is a fast tactical shooting game where you use Soul cards to gain special attacks and moves. You play an assassin handpicked from Hell to exterminate demons in Heaven to earn your place there. It's unusual because of its combination of a...

6. Overlooked platforming gems

Webbed

Webbed is a running and jumping game with a twist. You play a spider who can make webs, swing, climb and all the while creating music as she goes. It follows the story of our happy little spider on an adventure to save her boyfriend from a big dumb...

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

Hoa

Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home. It's unusual because of its handcrafted...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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