The 10 Best Platformer Games on Steam
The best platformer games on Steam are a topic of hot debate. The platforming genre of video games stood at the top of the food chain throughout the 1990s. However, as time went on, AAA developers became less interested in the genre as a whole.
Thus, it fell to the indie studios to prove the value of the platforming genre. Thanks to the accessibility of the Steam marketplace, it’s now easier than ever for upcoming studios to release their game to as broad an audience as possible.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the 10 best platformer games you can play on Steam right now!
10. Portal 2
Let’s kick off the best platformer games on Steam list with an oldie but a goodie.
Despite releasing over ten years ago, Portal 2 still stands as one of the most entertaining platformers of all time. The only reason it’s placed so low on this list is because the game is already so well-known and popular.
The ingenious level design found in the Portal series is unrivaled. Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction after solving a tricky puzzle.
Valve took a relatively simple premise and cranked it up to eleven in Portal. Of course, you have the tried and true teleportation puzzles. However, laser puzzles, platforming challenges, and more are also found in this title.
Things get even crazier when you team up with a friend and must work together using each other’s portals to reach the end goal. However, the fun doesn’t stop after beating the game. Portal 2 allows players to design their own co-op puzzles that you can share with the Steam community.
Hours upon hours of user-generated content make Portal 2 infinitely replayable. If you haven’t played Portal 2 already, what are you waiting for?
9. Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is hard. No, seriously, this game is notorious for being one of the most difficult platformers ever to grace a computer screen.
You play as an adorable chunk of meat and must slip and slide your way through varying hazardous terrains in order to save your girlfriend. This simple premise is supported by Super Meat Boy’s gameplay as well.
Super Meat Boy allows the player to do two things. Jump and slide. Although easy to understand, these controls are incredibly difficult to master. However, this is Super Meat Boy’s greatest strength. The core mechanics are so tight that any death you experience is likely down to your own lack of skill.
There are very few “cheap deaths” to be found in Super Meat Boy, which is rare for a platformer requiring this much precision. All in all, Super Meat Boy is a challenging title that is sure to test your gamer mettle.
8. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy
Expertly remastering the original PlayStation Crash Bandicoot titles, the N.Sane Trilogy has, at last, come to Steam. What was once argued to be the best platformer game on the PlayStation is now one of the best platformer games on Steam.
Crash Bandicoot stands alongside Mario and Sonic as one of the most iconic gaming mascots of all time. Despite having a catalog of mixed reception, the original three games are what put Crash on the map.
Jump and spin your way through tons of unique and exciting worlds and levels as you relive the days of your childhood.
We must warn you that these games are not for the faint-hearted. This trilogy is just as tricky as it was all those years ago, and some levels will have you pulling your hair out. Road to Nowhere, in particular, is one of the most infuriating stages in video game history.
Still, for what this trilogy offers, there is not much else to complain about. Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back, and Warped are all present here, providing hours of gameplay.
After completing the main story, why not try your hand at some time trials? Alternatively, try and collect all the gems and boxes in a certain level. Don’t be disheartened by your first game over. Get right back on that polar bear and give it one more shot.
7. Sonic Mania
For years, Sonic fans had been crying out for a return to form. Throughout decades of werehogs, glitchy reboots, and turn-based RPGs, Sonic Team couldn’t grasp the idea that maybe giving the players what they want might be a good idea.
Then, along came a group of like-minded individuals set on creating the ultimate Sonic experience. The result; the best Sonic game in the last ten years.
Where Sonic Generations threw the alley-oop, Sonic Mania drove it home for a big slam dunk. Showcasing remixes of fan-favorite levels, Sonic Mania is a love letter to Sonic fans and the pinnacle of 2-D blue blur goodness.
Developed by fans, for fans, Sonic Mania is the first step on the road to recovery for Sonic Team.
We don’t talk about Sonic Boom…
6. Psychonauts 2
The original Psychonauts is a cult classic, so you can imagine the excitement of the fanbase when the long-awaited sequel was finally announced.
Psychonauts 2’s main draw is its compelling story, rich world, and entertaining characters. There is a thoroughly compelling narrative to explore here as you play as a Razputin Aquato on his journey to becoming a powerful psychic.
Much of the original charm has been maintained in this sequel. It’s rare for such a highly-anticipated game to deliver on all fronts, but Psychonauts 2 goes above and beyond to make sure it’s up to par.
We recommend checking out the original game first if you have the time. After all, the story won’t make much sense if you haven’t played through the first title. However, if you are only interested in scratching your 3-D platformer itch, Psychonauts 2 comes with its own personal back scratcher!
5. Ori and the Blind Forest / Ori and the Will of the Wisps
It may be cheating to put both of these games on the list, but they are both so entertaining it’s hard to choose between them.
Playing through an Ori game, you may find yourself forgetting to press the controller. This is one of the most visually-stunning games ever made and, at times, looks more like a movie than a video game.
Everything you could want out of a 2-D platformer is here. Great bosses; check. Challenging puzzles; check. A fully realized and fleshed-out world; check, check, check.
Ori: The Collection is a bundle available on steam that contains both of the Ori titles. We highly recommend picking this up if possible, as you should experience these games in tandem.
4. Shovel Knight Treasure Trove
When it comes to the best platformer games on Steam, we can’t not talk about Shovel Knight.
In a world of realistic first-person-shooters, sprawling open-world RPGs, and whatever Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to be, Shovel Knight proves one thing. Good graphics do not a good game make.
Journey through this game’s charming pixelated world as you battle various fantasy monsters and conquer tricky platforming challenges.
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove is a bundle of every Shovel Knight game, including:
- Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope
- Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows
- Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
- Shovel Knight: King of Cards
- Shovel Knight Showdown
Each game utilizes the same core mechanics Shovel Knight fans have come to love. However, with each subsequent entry into the franchise, new characters breathe fresh life into the platforming challenges.
Plague Knight and Specter Knight have wildly different mechanics than Shovel Knight, making every sequel feel like a brand-new game instead of DLC.
Shovel Knight proves that indie developers with a vision will always outlast soulless AAA cash grabs looking for a quick buck. Shovel Knight is one of the first titles that gave weight to the argument that platforming games are not on their deathbed.
Fans of 2-D platformers had long awaited a game to satisfy their needs, and Shovel Knight provides fun in spades.
Cuphead is a joy to play through from start to finish. The deceptively simple mechanics allow easy access for casual players but enough depth to provide hours of fun for hardcore speedrunners!
Speaking of which, Cuphead has a thriving speedrun community with various categories to test your skills.
Each boss in Cuphead will test your platforming prowess as you must avoid obstacles while constantly whittling down the enemy’s health bar.
Occasionally, pink objects will present themselves on screen in varying forms. You can charge your super meter by parrying these before unleashing a devastatingly powerful attack.
Cuphead also mixes things up, including autoscrolling plane levels, the entertaining “run, and gun” stages as well as the traditional boss fights. With a plethora of different items and upgrades to choose from, no two playthroughs will ever be the same.
While Cuphead’s gameplay is enough to justify a purchase in and of itself, the true joy comes from its art style. For those unaware, the backgrounds of Cuphead were painted using watercolor, while every frame of animation was hand-drawn on paper.
In twenty to thirty years or so, the big-budget games of today will look very outdated. Cuphead, however, will continue to look timeless with such an innovative and unique art style. It is undoubtedly one of the best platformers on Steam, if not of all time.
2. Hollow Knight
The term “Metroidvania” is thrown around a lot nowadays. Almost as much as comparing games to Dark Souls. However, when it comes to the best Metroidvania games on Steam, none do it quite like Hollow Knight.
This game, arguably, shouldn’t even appear on a list of the best platformer games on Steam. That’s the beauty of Hollow Knight; it doesn’t fit into any boxes. Instead, the game chooses to embrace its uniqueness and provide players with the titular jump and slash gameplay they’ve come to associate with Metroidvanias.
It’s easy to get lost in the sprawling world Team Cherry has created here. However, these branching paths feel more like detours as opposed to diversions. No matter where you end up, there will always be some items to grab, some enemies to fight, or an untouched location to explore.
Hollow Knight: Silksong is fast approaching, and we can’t wait to see how the developers at Team Cherry expand on such a strong foundation.
Our pick for one of the best platformer games on Steam goes to Celeste.
Celeste is a game that took the platforming world by storm. Appearing on the surface as a collection of basic levels, each stage requires pinpoint precision to make it through unscathed.
The layout of Celeste’s levels is so much fun to whizz through as you propel off bubbles, jump over obstacles, and boost over pitfalls.
The game is both incredibly challenging and very rewarding when you finally make it to the final goal. Newcomers will likely earn their fair share of deaths on the first playthrough. However, by sticking with it, you’ll be on your way to achieving a world record speedrun in no time.
Celeste does something very few platformers do. That being, injecting an authentic and heartwarming narrative into the game. Most platformers drop players on the left side of the screen and tell them to go right.
On the other hand, Celeste dives deep into issues such as anxiety, mental health, and insecurity. These metaphorical issues come to life as a mountain you as a player must climb on behalf of the game’s protagonist, Madeleine.
With each step towards the top, not only do you feel a sense of accomplishment, but you are actively helping someone fight their inner demons.
Would you rather have this kind of storyline or have to save Princess Peach again?!
When AAA studios moved away from developing platformers, indie creatives took it upon themselves to keep the genre alive. The success founded by these indie titles has shown big-budget developers that there is still high demand for a great action platformer.
Hopefully, we continue to see more and more people dip their toes into the platformer pool in an effort to create the next breakout hit.
There are so many titles that could be considered the best platformer games on Steam at the moment, and it pained us to leave off some other great titles.
Games such as the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, A Hat in Time, Katana ZERO, and Limbo all deserve a spot in your Steam library. We highly encourage you, platforming fiends, to get out there and try out these great titles.
With so many new games to download, those with less than efficient PCs may run into performance issues. Games like Cuphead and Shovel Knight are best enjoyed on maximum graphics settings, so if you’re looking to maximize your Steam experience, knowing how to allocate more RAM to Steam Games will save you from unwanted crashes or lag right in the middle of a key platforming challenge.
These were our recommendations for the best platformer games on Steam, but what are your thoughts? Can you think of any other of the best platformer games on Steam we forgot to mention? Be sure to let us know down below.