Platformers never get old. Most gamers have played Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, or other old-school games involving jumping and running throughout the stage.
Although video games are constantly evolving, and many deliver simulationist experiences, the good old platform genre is not going anywhere.
These games tend to be more lighthearted or easier to just pick up and play, making them perfect for a handheld console.
Whether you like running and jumping or jumping and shooting, I’m sure you’ll find something that fits your taste in our list of the 15 best platformers on Switch.
Blue Fire was a pleasant surprise when it first came out. Although it shares many similarities with Zelda, this game can sometimes be much more frantic.
As for the visual design, this game seems heavily inspired by the metroidvania, Hollow Knight. From the overall tone of the game to how the main character looks, it is hard not to see similarities.
Although it has dungeons, combat, and exploration to an extent, Blue Fire really stands out as a fast-paced 3D platformer with a lot of movement options.
The massive dungeons in the game are filled with tricky platforming trials, and as you play through the game, you’ll unlock more abilities to expand your move set.
Hollow Knight is an absolutely essential platformer for those who love exploration and combat. Although it may seem like just another Metroidvania game at first glance, it is so much more.
While you do need to gather certain upgrades to progress, there is no set order in which you must do so. This gives the game a sense of freedom that is not seen in many other games in the genre.
The world is full of history and mystery, and it is up to the player to piece it all together. Combat is also a highlight of the game. It is both challenging and satisfying.
All of this is wrapped up in a beautiful package. The game’s hand-drawn art style is breathtaking and brings the world of Hollow Knight to life.
If you’re a fan of the Metroidvania genre or just love a good challenge, Hollow Knight is a must-play.
Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is an indie Metroidvania that combines pinball mechanics with the exploration aspects of the game.
In this title, players control a dung beetle named Yoku, who works as the Postmaster on Mokumana island. This title is not meant to be deep or exhilarating. It’s just a relaxing and fun game.
The combination of genres might seem a bit weird at first, but there is makes Yoku’s Island Express way more fun than expected. It’s one of those things you must try to see.
Yoku’s Island Express offers a welcome diversion from the usual Metroidvania experiences. Although it keeps most features you’d expect from the genre, it also delivers a lighthearted and enjoyable experience.
Shovel Knight is a retro-style platformer that pays homage to classic 8-bit games. The main character, Shovel Knight, has a shovel for a weapon instead.
Despite being based on old games, Shovel Knight boasts modern improvements like beautiful animations, updated sound design, and a wealth of content.
The game has four distinct single-player campaigns, each featuring a different character, and the game offers a lot of replay value.
With so much content to explore, Shovel Knight is a must-play for anyone who loves classic platformers.
Rayman Legends is a 2D jump-and-run platformer with endless charm and a remarkable personality.
Looking from the outside, Rayman might not feel very original. It is indeed a platformer that plays as you’d expect. There are momentum sections, a simple attack command, and moments that demand precision.
That said, this game truly shines in execution and aesthetics. Artwise, Rayman Legends is legendary. Every single artistic decision is iconic and perfectly fits the overall world of the series.
On top of that, the stages present unique mechanics. They are different enough to not make you feel like the game is repetitive.
If you like your platformers cute and funny, this game is for you.
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, a beloved platformer, has been ported to the Nintendo Switch after originally being released on the Wii U.
While it may seem like just another entry in the Donkey Kong Country series, Tropical Freeze stands out as one of the best platformers available.
The game introduced Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong as playable characters for the first time in the modern series.
Additionally, the Nintendo Switch version of the game brings a new character, Funky Kong, who offers players the option to modify the game’s difficulty and enjoy a more relaxing experience.
Tropical Freeze offers a unique and diverse set of levels that will keep players entertained for hours.
Sonic Mania is a game that pays homage to the beloved franchise, making it a must-play for Sonic fans.
Even if you’re not a die-hard follower of the blue hedgehog, Sonic Mania is an excellent introduction to his greatest hits and more.
Although some zones are repurposed from past games, Sonic Mania’s gameplay remains true to the classic 2D side-scrolling formula.
The game doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, which is why it works so well. However, some stage gimmicks spice up the gameplay here and there.
Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are playable characters, and each has a unique set of skills, making for a diverse gameplay experience with many hidden areas throughout the zones.
While Sonic Mania leans heavily on nostalgia, updating the graphics while keeping the classic gameplay fresh makes it a true delight.
The Messenger starts as a linear 2D platformer but then reveals itself to be a Metroidvania game after you reach a certain point.
While it’s heavily inspired by Ninja Gaiden, this game offers enough unique features to stand out as more than just a clone.
Visually, The Messenger is a treat to behold, with graphics that resemble NES games but with much more detail. The game also features a unique gimmick that transports the main character to the future, updating the graphics to something resembling 16-bit games.
The platforming in The Messenger is fast-paced and fluid, with a range of abilities such as dashing, wall-jumping, and clinging to walls that make it easy to traverse levels.
The game’s tight and responsive controls enable players to execute complex movements and maneuvers with ease. Additionally, there are many secrets to uncover and collectibles to find.
Neon White on Switch is a puzzle platforming first-person shooter. That alone makes it an unusual title in the best way.
In this game, players take the role of an assassin summoned from Hell to compete in an annual contest in Heaven. You and other sinners are given the task of taking down the demons that have infested the area.
The gameplay is designed for speedrunning enthusiasts, as each hand-crafted level challenges you to complete it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Typically, each stage, except for boss fights, takes less than a minute on your first try and just a few seconds after repeated attempts.
What sets Neon White apart is its innovative card-based weapon system. Each card has two functions: a primary shot with limited ammunition and a discard function that activates a platforming action.
For example, discarding the basic pistol card lets you perform a double jump. This is just one of the unique aspects that make Neon White so much fun.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is a 2D Metroidvania platformer that focuses on precision platforming, timing, and puzzle-solving.
While it might not seem groundbreaking at first glance, this game’s visuals and gameplay quickly reveal one of the most beautiful and innovative games of its time.
What sets Ori apart from other platformers is its emphasis on precision platforming. The more skills you collect, the more challenging and complex the levels become.
On top of that, the boss battles are actually long platforming sections, setting this game apart from the others.
There’s more. Ori’s unique saving system allows you to create your own checkpoints, which helps you deal with whatever area that you consider especially annoying or difficult.
If you’re a fan of challenging platformers with breathtaking visuals, Ori and the Blind Forest is a game you won’t want to miss.
A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time captures a childlike wonder that makes it one of the most charming games of its year. Although it has a cute design, the game can be quite challenging at times.
As you play, you’ll step into the shoes of Hat Kid, an alien girl on a quest to retrieve her Time Pieces. These items were lost after an encounter with the Mafia, and you’ll need to explore a variety of open-world levels to recover them.
This game is heavily inspired by Marion 64, which is not a bad thing. That game is still considered an amazing platformer.
Along the way, you’ll collect yarn that you can use to craft different hats. Each hat has its own unique ability, like sprinting or throwing projectiles.
If you’re a fan of 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, A Hat in Time is a must-play game.
Super Mario Odyssey
While the game follows the familiar formula of Mario saving Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, Odyssey takes things to the next level.
Mario’s sidekick in this adventure is his new sentient cap named Cappy. They team up to travel through different themed Kingdoms in search of power moons to power their hat-shaped ship, the Odyssey.
Mario’s moves are expressive and fluid, allowing him to perform a variety of tricks, such as triple jumps, wall kicks, and rolls, to collect power moons.
With Cappy’s help, Mario’s move set becomes even more versatile. He can throw Cappy mid-air to change his direction or even belly flop on top of Cappy to gain extra height and distance.
The game’s unique gimmick is Cappy’s ability to take control of other units in the environment, granting Mario special powers. For example, possessing a frog will let you jump high into the air.
Overall, Super Mario Odyssey is a standout title in the Mario series. Its fun gameplay, unique gimmicks, and iconic characters make it a must-play for any platformer fan.
Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a title with three classic games that are sure to delight Crash fans.
The games play as you’d expect; they are all simple, linear 3D platformers with light combat mechanics.
What sets this game apart is the charming and vibrant visuals that have been updated for modern consoles. The graphics have been remastered, giving each level a fresh coat of paint that’s sure to bring a smile to your face.
Despite the familiar gameplay, the levels remain challenging and fun to play through. Each level is unique, with its own mechanics and obstacles to overcome, ensuring that the game never feels repetitive.
Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe may not offer the same innovative experience as Super Mario Odyssey or Bowser’s Fury. In fact, this is a game that plays a lot like old Mario games.
The controls are straightforward and accessible, making it easy for younger players to enjoy, but the gameplay is engaging enough to keep more experienced gamers hooked.
If you’ve ever played a game like Super Mario World, you know exactly what you can expect.
Super Mario Bros.
U Deluxe is not trying to be more than what it is, a 2D Mario game made for the fans to enjoy.
Celeste is a masterpiece indie title that stood out in the gaming world for its remarkable control and exceptional level design.
In Celeste, you take the role of a young woman named Madeline, who is climbing Mount Celeste to conquer her personal struggles.
The game has a smooth learning curve, with more mechanics gradually introduced as the difficulty and complexity increase.
Despite its challenging nature, unlike some action games, Celeste doesn’t revel in your failure. Instead, it motivates players to keep trying with its lightning-fast respawn time.
Madeline’s move set may not be as expansive as Mario’s, but the game’s level design will test your fundamental moves to their limits.
Overall, Celeste is an easy game to recommend if you like the idea of a platformer about timing and precision.