N64 Lead
Image: Nintendo Life

Thursday 29th June 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Banjo-Kazooie's release on Nintendo 64. To celebrate a quarter-century of Rare's archetypal and much-chronicled 'collectathon' platformer — one of the finest games on the system by our estimations — we've assembled the following list of every 3D platformer on N64, as ranked by you. Breeee!

The launch of Super Mario 64 ushered in what is now commonly referred to as the Golden Age of 3D platformers. In the years before the arrival of online gaming when first-person shooters came to dominate the console landscape for a period, these colourful solo experiences represented the medium's adventures into a new frontier, with freedom of movement and worldbuilding potential never before seen.

The template that Nintendo laid out with Mario 64 guided developers of 3D worlds across the globe, and the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 were the stages for many a wonderful childhood experience that fuels nostalgia for that generation and the genre that arguably defined it.

However, looking back, the N64 didn't actually host an enormous number of platformers, 3D or otherwise. Or games in general, come to that. Internationally, just 388 titles launched for the system, and many of those went unreleased in one region or another. 2D platformers were few and far between at a time when the third dimension was the hot new stuff, so while PlayStation had a far larger library (including your Spyros, your Crash Bandicoots, et al.), the number of platformers comprising that 'Golden Age' is surprisingly slight.

With that in mind, here we present you with a list of every 3D platformer on Nintendo 64, as ranked by you. Yes, the order below is dictated by each game's overall User Rating in our games database and it is therefore subject to real-time change even now, as you're reading this. We've excluded Japan-only releases from the running — otherwise, the list below represents every N64 3D platformer that saw the light of day in the years straddling the millennium.

Will any of the pretenders have what it takes to knock Mario off the 3D throne? Read on to find out...

27. Blues Brothers 2000 (N64)

Blues Brothers 2000 (N64)
Blues Brothers 2000 (N64)
Publisher: Titus Software / Developer: Player 1
Release Date: 17th Nov 2000 (USA) / 13th Oct 2000 (UK/EU)

Yep, John Landis and Dan Akroyd's Blues Brothers 2000 film has a video game adaptation. Blues Brothers 2000 has its fans, but all in all, this imitation of Super Mario 64 cannot live up to its inspirations. Perhaps we should've expected so from the developer of Superman 64 and Carmageddon 64, but it at least manages to surpass those with solid controls, colourful visuals, and good music. But at just an hour long and very clearly derivative of some of the best 3D platformers on the system, this is one that you can leave in jail.

26. A Bug's Life (N64)

A Bug's Life (N64)
A Bug's Life (N64)
Publisher: Activision / Developer: Travellers Tales
Release Date: 30th Apr 1999 (USA) / 1st Jan 1999 (UK/EU)

Unsurprisingly, A Bug's Life follows many of the same story beats as the 1998 Pixar film of the same name, but the experience of playing the game is nothing like as fun as watching the movie. The controls are sluggish, the combat system (throwing berries) is needlessly complicated and it lacks much of the charm of what made its source material tick. What can we say? It's a movie tie-in game.

25. Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)

Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)
Earthworm Jim 3D (N64)
Publisher: Rockstar Games / Developer: VIS
Release Date: 31st Oct 1999 (USA) / 17th Dec 1999 (UK/EU)

Ohh Earthworm Jim, what happened to you? With Shiny Entertainment not at the helm, Earthworm Jim 3D fell into the hands of VIS Entertainment, and along the way, it seems like this third entry in the series lost all of its charm and humour. A frustrating camera, unimaginative levels, and half-baked collectathon elements are a result of what seems to be a long, messy development period. The music is still good, and Jim's abilities transfer well to 3D, but there's surely a reason we haven't seen much of him since this game.

24. Taz Express (N64)

Taz Express (N64)
Taz Express (N64)
Publisher: Infogrames / Developer: Zed Two
Release Date: 1st Aug 2000 (UK/EU)

While not an outright disaster, the PAL-only Taz Express featured a core gameplay mechanic that proved frustratingly dull: delivering crates through stages intact. That said, the ability to spin through literal terrain and take on a giant UFO makes this N64 title a unique curiosity that manages to stand out from the crowd, even if it's not the most polished experience on the system.

23. Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck (N64)

Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck (N64)
Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck (N64)
Publisher: Infogrames / Developer: Paradigm Entertainment
Release Date: 16th Sep 2000 (USA) / 27th Oct 2000 (UK/EU)

Paradigm Entertainment brought us Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck late in the N64's life, which perfectly emulates the Looney Tunes cartoon of the same name. But like many other licensed platformers on the system, it suffers from wonky controls, blurry visuals, and less-than-imaginative levels and gameplay. It's such a shame as the animations and art style are perfect otherwise, but it all amounts to an average experience all around.

22. Starshot: Space Circus Fever (N64)

Starshot: Space Circus Fever (N64)
Starshot: Space Circus Fever (N64)
Publisher: Infogrames / Developer: Infogrames
Release Date: 30th Jun 1999 (USA) / 4th Dec 1998 (UK/EU)

Starshot: Space Circus Fever is probably most well-known for being one of the only widescreen games on the N64, but aside from that, it's a largely forgettable platformer, even with the unique premise. Playing as a space circus juggler sounds pretty fun on paper, and the visuals and music go a long way to selling that fantasy. Releasing with little fanfare back in the day, Starshot was plagued with bugs, technical issues, and a lack of polish that sullied an otherwise promising game.

21. Chameleon Twist 2 (N64)

Chameleon Twist 2 (N64)
Chameleon Twist 2 (N64)
Publisher: Sunsoft / Developer: Japan System Supply
Release Date: 14th Apr 1999 (USA) / 1999 (UK/EU)

Sunsoft's sequel to Chameleon Twist makes a number of key changes from its predecessor but ultimately is unable to replicate the success demonstrated by other, far more accomplished platformers. You could quite easily beat this thing in just a couple of short hours, and with platforming mechanics that clearly take inspiration from Super Mario 64, it's easy to see exactly where this one falls short.

20. Tonic Trouble (N64)

Tonic Trouble (N64)
Tonic Trouble (N64)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 31st Aug 1999 (USA)

A 3D platformer from the creator of Rayman inspired by Day of the Tentacle and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past sounds like a dream, right? And for the most part, Tonic Trouble isn't bad, with varied gameplay elements and solid controls. Unfortunately, the game is visually a bit of a mess and the level design is hampered and uninspired as a result. We've seen Michel Ancel and Ubisoft do much better on the very same system, so while Tonic Trouble certainly isn't the worst, it's also far from the best.

19. Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (N64)

Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (N64)
Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (N64)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Casablanca
Release Date: 20th Dec 2000 (USA) / 8th Dec 2000 (UK/EU)

Ubisoft's Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (or Quack Attack in Europe) is full of character and personality, with colourful levels and fun nods to Disney's duck, but compared to other versions of the game, the N64 port has some flaws. Despite using Rayman 2's engine, many of the animations and cartoony sections are muddied by the visuals, and the music is bugged. This is definitely one for the kids, but even so, you can probably find a better version elsewhere.