Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Switch)

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Switch)Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Switch)
Publisher: Team17 / Developer: Playtonic Games
Release Date: 8th Oct 2019 (USA) / 8th Oct 2019 (UK/EU)

Donkey Kong Country fans rejoice: this is the spiritual successor you’ve been waiting for. The worst thing you could say about it is that the overworld exploration may prove to be too involved for those who are in it purely for the runny-jumpy stuff, but those who are happy to mix platforming with top-down adventuring and don’t mind adapting to the constantly changing pace will find the best of both worlds here. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a fantastic sophomore effort that pays tribute to Rare's past and establishes Playtonic as one of the UK's most exciting studios.

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Wunderling (Switch eShop)

Wunderling (Switch eShop)Wunderling (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Retroid Interactive / Developer: Retroid Interactive
Release Date: 5th Mar 2020 (USA) / 5th Mar 2020 (UK/EU)

By removing the basic ability to turn direction whilst walking, Wunderling proves itself to be an incredibly addictive and fresh-feeling platformer that boasts excellent level design, brilliant writing, and adorable visuals. Its impressive accessibility means that almost anyone can pick it up, but it simultaneously remains challenging enough to keep you engaged for hours.

Levelhead (Switch eShop)

Levelhead (Switch eShop)Levelhead (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Butterscotch Shenanigans / Developer: Butterscotch Shenanigans
Release Date: 30th Apr 2020 (USA) / 30th Apr 2020 (UK/EU)

Levelhead will live or die on the commitment of its community, but even without the creation aspect it would still be an enjoyable platformer. Smart design in every department - challenge, creation and curation - means that Levelhead is a surefire winner, and we hope it catches on. After all, there's more to the 'maker' genre than just Super Mario.

The Eternal Castle [Remastered] (Switch eShop)

The Eternal Castle [Remastered] (Switch eShop)The Eternal Castle [Remastered] (Switch eShop)
Publisher: TFL Studios / Developer: TFL Studios
Release Date: 15th May 2020 (USA) / 21st Aug 2020 (UK/EU)

The Eternal Castle [REMASTERED] is a neo-retro masterpiece. Even if you play the game from start to finish just once in a single sitting and never come back to it, this minimalist post-apocalyptic epic will stay with you for years to come. Obviously, if you're not a fan of classic 'cinematic' platformers like Another World and Flashback and their prioritising of look-and-feel over control responsiveness, then you may want to approach with caution. If you're looking for the next true evolution of that genre, though, look no further. They just don’t make them like this any more… and we found ourselves wondering 'why not?'.

Spinch (Switch eShop)

Spinch (Switch eShop)Spinch (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Akupara Games / Developer: Queen Bee Games
Release Date: 3rd Sep 2020 (USA) / 3rd Sep 2020 (UK/EU)

Bright, technicolour visuals, punishing difficulty, excellent level design and tight controls are all hallmarks of this deliciously enjoyable sugar rush. Spinch is a short but sweet experience and one that certainly proves itself to be worthy of both your time and money. Although regrettably marred by some performance issues, Spinch is an otherwise wonderful platformer that we’d highly recommend to anybody who just can’t get enough of the genre.

Evergate (Switch eShop)

Evergate (Switch eShop)Evergate (Switch eShop)
Publisher: PQube / Developer: Stone Lantern Games
Release Date: 18th Aug 2020 (USA) / 18th Aug 2020 (UK/EU)

Evergate is a wonderfully designed puzzle/platformer that starts off strong and goes from strength to strength over the course of its campaign. Every new world you encounter here adds a new twist to proceedings, gradually becoming more complex as it layers mechanics on top of one each other, enabling you to experiment and come up with your own unique ways to bound across its intricate levels. Speed-running here, for us, feels like it was tacked on for no real reason but, besides this one little misstep, this really is an essential purchase for puzzle/platforming fans and a standout example of its genre on Switch.

Horace (Switch eShop)

Horace (Switch eShop)Horace (Switch eShop)
Publisher: 505 Games / Developer: Paul Helman
Release Date: 21st Oct 2020 (USA) / 21st Oct 2020 (UK/EU)

Horace is something very special — the only vaguely negative thing we can say about it is the fact that there are so many spectacularly brilliant indie games on Switch already vying for your attention that we fear Horace may fall somewhat by the wayside. If you have any interest in superb level design, excellent storytelling, terrific art, evocative music, great characters, hilarious situations and emotional gut-punches, Horace is a no-brainer. It's moving without being manipulative, clever without being smug, and nostalgic without being a lazy rehash. It's a platformer, but it's so much more than that.

So yes, Horace is another indie masterpiece, and every gamer who enjoys quality experiences should play it; a masterpiece that owes so much to its medium, but has the strength, creativity and identity to stand alone as something very, very special. Buy this.

Cyber Shadow (Switch eShop)

Cyber Shadow (Switch eShop)Cyber Shadow (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Yacht Club Games / Developer: Mechanical Head Studios
Release Date: 26th Jan 2021 (USA) / 26th Jan 2021 (UK/EU)

If you consider yourself a fan of retro action platformers, you owe it to yourself to pick up Cyber Shadow. It’s clear in virtually every facet of Cyber Shadow’s design that this project was a labour of love and that its designer is intimately familiar with what makes the stalwarts of this beloved genre so great. Well-built levels, authentic presentation, tight controls and a high difficulty all combine to make this a supreme and focused experience, and one that we can easily say is well worth your time. Mechanical Head Studios has set a high bar with its inaugural release.

Kaze and the Wild Masks (Switch)

Kaze and the Wild Masks (Switch)Kaze and the Wild Masks (Switch)
Publisher: Soedesco / Developer: PixelHive
Release Date: 26th Mar 2021 (USA) / 26th Mar 2021 (UK/EU)

An absolute pleasure from start to finish, what Kaze and the Wild Masks lacks in originality it makes up for in the strength of its level design, responsive controls, kinetic move set and attractive visuals. Excellent, action-packed platforming through and through, with great gameplay variety and gimmicks that don’t compromise on what the game is best at – challenging, fast-paced obstacle courses and deviously-hidden secret areas. Easiest sell? Kaze and the Wild Masks is to Donkey Kong Country what Freedom Planet was to Sonic the Hedgehog. Don’t miss this one.

Aeon Drive (Switch eShop)

Aeon Drive (Switch eShop)Aeon Drive (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Critical Reflex / Developer: 2Awesome Studio
Release Date: 30th Sep 2021 (USA) / 30th Sep 2021 (UK/EU)

Aeon Drive isn’t quite up there with modern platforming classics like Celeste, but it’s pretty darn close nevertheless. While its narrative won’t win any awards, this is simply a supporting backdrop to the fantastic gameplay on offer. Bolstered by solid performance and minimal loading screens, racing through the levels feels exhilarating as you jump, slide, and teleport your way through the maze-like environments. With an online leaderboard to satisfy your competitive nature and added multiplayer to boot, Aeon Drive is a speedrunning triumph that absolutely deserves your attention.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 4th May 2018 (USA) / 4th May 2018 (UK/EU)

There's no doubt about it, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is one of the most refined and enjoyable platformers money can buy. The levels are all beautiful, the characters move with fluidity and brilliant responsiveness, and the inclusion of Funky Kong brings balance for those who have less experience with brutally tough platformers. It’s so well-made that it’s almost too well-made; there's an absence of a certain 'rough-and-ready' charm found in the original DKC trilogy. This is, however, a complaint so minor it's practically insignificant. Donkey Kong’s first appearance on Switch is streamlined, rewarding, and immensely good fun; any fan of 2D platformers simply has to get this game.

Some excellent platforming picks there, we're sure you agree, and there are plenty to choose from. Feel free to discuss your favourites below.

This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.

Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!

If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.