Okay, who here does not love a good platformer. Platformers have played a major role in video game history. In the 1980s, platformers pushed the video game industry towards mainstream entertainment. This was the era of the first Super Mario game, the first Metroid game, the first Castelvania game, the first Mega Man, for crying out loud. Platfomers paved the way for 3D-world building in the mid 90s with games like Banjo-Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, and Super Mario 64. Overall, platformers have been a defining factor in the industry, so you better take note of the top 10 platformers of 2017 listed below.
10. Little Nightmares
- System: PC, PS4, XONE
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
- Developer: Tarsier Studios
- Release Dates: Apr. 28, 2017
You get to walk in the shoes of a little girl called Six in this suspenseful platformer. You see, Six has been trapped on the vessel The Maw, and it’s about time she breaks free. However, the workers on The Maw don’t really like the idea of you running free. So as you head upwards towards the deck, you must outmaneuver and outwit those that stand in your path.
The atmosphere is definitely the strongest point of Little Nightmares. It is the type of game that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. No, this is not the type of game with jump scares. Instead, Little Nightmares relies heavily on building tension. With each enemy you come to face, you can see them in plain sight and learn their movements. However, you never know what they’re thinking. You might feel that you have picked the best spot to hide, and then suddenly the Chef is lumbering towards your hiding spot. Is he just coming to pick up something or has he figured out your little game. It’s heart pounding as you wait to see if your enemy has indeed discovered you.
- System: PC
- Publisher: Limited Run Games
- Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
- Release Dates: Jul. 28, 2017
Sundered takes you into the pits of the underworld. You play as Eshe, a wanderer, who has suddenly found herself pulled into a world of monsters and unspeakable horrors. It’s your job to bring her to safety while keeping as much of her humanity intact as possible.
Sundered is probably the most challenging game on this list, which is saying something, especially when you have a game like Cuphead on the list too. Sundered loves to overwhelm you with enemies. It is constantly challenging you to move faster and hit harder. The boss battles are a constant high point of the game. They demand you to take on massive beings that take up basically the whole screen. The nice touch is that the difficulty generally forces you (no matter how reluctant you are) to tap into power that will steal Eshe’s humanity. It provides a unique bittersweet moment as you finally beat a boss by using a power that you’re pretty sure just changed Eshe’s fate for the worse.
8. The End is Nigh
- System: NS, PC, PS4
- Publisher: Nicalis
- Developer: Nicalis
- Release Dates: Dec. 12, 2017
The End is Nigh is an adventure platformer that brings you into an apocalyptic world. You play as Ash, a small black blob, who is livestreaming a game. When the game suddenly crashes (this happens when you die playing through the game he’s playing), Ash is forced to go out into the apocalyptic world and try to make a friend.
The End is Nigh is so simple artistically and yet addicting. At a first glance, you might think that the game is too simple, that it will be too easy to get through. That’s where you’re wrong. The game has so many hidden layers to it as it demands an incredible amount of exploration to simply proceed to the next level. It really isn’t easy in any sense and will make you think critically about the way you approach each level. Massive bonus points go to the game for providing multiple endings and a plethora of mini-games. It really is the type of game that just draws you in with its simplistic look and then ensnares you in maze.
7. Rain World
- System: PC, PS4
- Publisher: Adult Swim
- Developer: Videocult
- Release Dates: March 28, 2017
Rain World is a survival platformer that will have you worrying about every single thing you encounter. You play as a Slugcat, a creature that is half-cat and half-slug, that is looking high and low for its family.
Rain World is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. This is due to the mix of its beautiful artwork and inherently difficult gameplay. Each area you enter has a host of creatures; and if you have not seen one of the creatures in a previous area, then you better be on guard. Almost anything can be a predator, and there are quite a few things that you will be surprised are prey. Though it is a challenge to adjust to the level of difficulty, the game is an extraordinary example of being out in the wild.
- System: PS4, PC, XONE, NS
- Publisher: Team 17
- Developer: Playtonic Games
- Release Dates: Apr. 11, 2017
Yooka-Laylee presents us the characters of Yooka and Laylee who are in the process of renovating their home when they happen upon a book. Well, this book happens to be a special book that some corporate bigwigs want to use in order to convert the entire world’s stock of literature into profit. Yooka and Laylee have decided that isn’t going to happen.
Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series and it shows in many ways. It is, after all, a platformer that requires you to take control of two unique characters in order to traverse the many obstacles that are present in an environment. Oh, and the crew that created the game were former developers at Rare who have admitted that this game is a spiritual successor. All of that aside, the game is enjoyable, whether or not you’re looking for a nostalgia trip. The puzzles and quizzes range from simple to quite challenging, and the world is absolutely gorgeous to look at.
5. Sonic Mania
- System: PS4, XONE, PC, NS
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sega
- Release Dates: Aug. 15, 2017
Sonic has finally made a comeback with style! It’s about time for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. Unlike the Super Mario entry on this list, Sonic Mania returns Sonic to his roots. Rather than trying to expand into new territory, Sonic Mania gives us a side-scrolling platformer that has a good chunk of nostalgia tied to it, because there are eight zones featured that were originally from Sonic the Hedgehog II.
That aside the game simply hits all the right buttons. It gives us the opportunity to choose one of three characters (Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles), each with their own special abilities, to traverse each terrain. This means that you will find quite a bit of replay value from this game as you explore different aspects of the zones with each character’s unique abilities. The colors blast from the screen and the music is always on point for each zone. Whether you want a trip down memory lane or simply a fast-paced side scroller, you can’t go wrong with Sonic Mania.
4. A Hat in Time
- System: PS4, PC, XONE
- Publisher: Gears for Breakfast
- Developer: Gears for Breakfast
- Release Dates: Dec. 5, 2017
A Hat in Time follows the insane and incredible adventure of Hat Kid, a young girl who simply wants to return home. You see, Hat Kid is heading back to her home planet when she gets held up by the mafia, befriends a local troublemaker in order to take down the mafia, and then gets backstabbed by her supposed friend. It’s at this point that things really go topsy-turvy, as she races against her ex-friend to collect Time Pieces. Every step of the way, Hat Kid runs into unique foes and friends while trying to find all the Time Pieces.
A Hat in Time is going to catch you off your guard. Its story is so unique and zany that you really can’t even guess where the next turn will take you. On top of the countless twists in the story, the gameplay is simply addictive. It has a similar feel to the best 3D platformers on the N64, like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. To some, this might make it sound like it’s a little behind the times, but that is a false notion. First off, the platformers on the N64 set the stage for what a platformer can be and are still better than most current platformers. Secondly, the artwork and gameplay flow so beautifully and fit with the wackiness of the plot.
- System: PC, XONE
- Publisher: Studio MDHR
- Developer: Studio MDHR
- Release Dates: Sep. 29, 2017
Cuphead’s story follows the death-defying feats of Cuphead and his brother, Mughead, after they foolishly made a deal with the devil. The game is a run-and-gun game with extremely long and intense boss battles.
If you’ve been reading the top ten games lists for 2017, you probably have seen this game and the following one quite a few times. The simple truth is that both of them are amazing, and if you have not played either of them, then shame on you. Two things make Cuphead so amazing. The first is the incredible artwork that takes on a 1930s cartoon quality. It makes the game jump off the screen. Truly, it is hard to not appreciate the level of detail that the creators put into this game. The second is the level of difficulty that truly pushes players to “get good.” This difficulty fits beautifully with the old cartoonish vibe as games back in the day tended to be a little more difficult and challenging than the games of today.
2. Hollow Knight
- System: PC, NS
- Publisher: Team Cherry
- Developer: Team Cherry
- Release Dates: Feb. 24, 2017
Hollow Knight follows the adventure of a bug that finds itself wandering through a decaying world. What used to be the lively and bustling kingdom of Hallownest is now a hollow shell of its former glory. With only a few bugs holding onto their sanity, it is apparently our job to fix this world and stop the infection that is corrupting the land to the point of destruction.
Hollow Knight simply does everything right. The environments capture such a range of emotions as one area will make you terrified to take a step forward and the next will make you feel at home. The artwork couples perfectly with this emotional rollercoaster, relying heavily on dark tones that make even the slightest bit of light seem like salvation. The music is exceptional at every stage in the game, and it plays a huge role in creating the atmosphere. Though the gameplay is enjoyable by itself, the music really pulls you in and makes each battle, especially boss battles, feel epic. Finally, the gameplay is difficult but manageable as once you get halfway through the game you can set up your skills to basically take on any battle with simple brute strength rather than finesse.
1.Super Mario Odyssey
- System: NS
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release Dates: Oct. 27, 2017
The Super Mario franchise has been providing gamers with exceptional experiences for over a few decades now. The franchise was most people’s first experience with a platforming game in the 1980s. Then the franchise was one of the first to create a 3D-platformer with Super Mario 64 in 96, and the franchise has been pushing the envelope every year since then. In Super Mario Odyssey, the plot is nothing particularly new. Peach is being held against her will by Bowser and Mario needs to save the day.
The journey that Super Mario Odyssey takes us on is simultaneously familiar and new. A good chunk of the worlds have those classic color palettes and features that define the Super Mario series. However, we also get entirely new worlds that completely redefine the settings and environments that Mario can jump into. Furthermore, we get the joy of being able to take over various people and creatures. All in all, Super Mario Odyssey continues the trend of breaking new ground and setting up completely new experiences that the Super Mario series is known for.
There you have it. Those are the top 10 platformers of 2017. If you couldn’t tell, it was a great year for the genre. All of the platformers listed above are completely unique. Not a single one will feel the same. The only thing connecting them is that they are all amazing. So what are your thoughts on the list? Do you have a platformer in mind that deserves a spot on this list?