Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a wonderful love letter to a classic series, keeping everything that made the original games what they were, but slapping on a fresh coat of paint for the HD era. There are a few creaking bones showing their age here and there, but only due to the developers’ desire to keep things as accurate as possible. The Switch version looks absolutely stunning and runs surprisingly well, so if you’re looking for a classic 3D platforming experience, you should definitely give this a look-in.
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New Super Lucky’s Tale is a solid port of an underrated platformer with a greatly improved camera. It's a little on the short side and may not provide much of a challenge to more hardened gamers – and if you already own it on Xbox One there really isn't enough new here to warrant a second purchase – but what makes it worth a look is its uncanny ability to make you smile, and this is something that can't be overlooked, especially in modern times.
Considering the long-reaching cultural impact that the SpongeBob cartoon has had on modern pop culture, it’s nice to see that the franchise got at least one solid video game that properly represents the unique draw of SpongeBob and his friends. Though Battle for Bikini Bottom doesn’t bring anything new to the table as a 3D platformer, its strong level design, lighthearted tone, and gorgeous remastered visuals make this one an easy recommendation. Rampant technical issues hold the game back from true greatness, which is a real shame given the quality in nearly every other area. As a result, this certainly isn’t the game to unseat Mario, but those that love a good collect-a-thon 3D platformer will find plenty to love here.
You've surely got this in your collection already, no? Just like Vanessa Williams, we went and saved the best for last. No, this list isn't ranked, but let's not kid ourselves, hmm?
Super Mario Odyssey represents a shift in direction for Mario. For about a decade we had exceptional but tightly structured 3D series entries, but this new arrival’s building blocks go back to Super Mario 64. It’s a very modern take on ‘sandbox Mario’ - Cappy and his abilities are key additions that freshen up the formula, and we have a sizeable and diverse set of lands to explore. In the second half and post-credits - in particular - it takes on a life of its own, showcasing incredible design and development flair. It’s also a wonderful showcase for the Switch, and would be a fabulous introduction to the wonders of Mario in three dimensions. For the veterans among us, meanwhile, it’s yet another special release to remind us of why Mario is still gaming’s number one.
Pumpkin Jack is an absolute triumph. For a debut title, it’s remarkably confident in its vision, delivering a delightfully spooky experience that feels very familiar to MediEvil without outright copying it; in fact, with MediEvil's controls feeling distinctly dated by modern standards, we’d go so far as to say Pumpkin Jack is superior. The controls are slick with satisfying combat mechanics, and while the platforming can occasionally feel a bit frustrating, it’s mostly very well done. Visuals in handheld mode can look a little grotty, so we’d recommend playing on the TV if you can, and make sure you crank up that camera sensitivity. Fear not though, folks; the spirit of Halloween lives on year-round thanks to Pumpkin Jack.
We had an absolute blast playing through these three gems all over again, especially now they look sharper than ever. It’s a shame that the presentation is practically barebones with no bonus content beyond the soundtracks, but there can still be no denying the quality of the games on offer here. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is the Beatles’ Greatest Hits of the video game world, and is an absolute treat whether you’re reliving it in HD or discovering it for the first time.
Unfortunately, if you didn't grab it before it was delisted on 31st March 2021, you'll have to rely on the secondhand market if you want a copy of this triple pack of platforming goodness. It's certainly not too hard to find, though.
A very pleasant and enjoyable surprise, Blue Fire is an auspicious debut from ROBI Studios. Only the performance issues, mildly sloppy combat and high difficulty are points of contention, and the latter will certainly depend on your point of view. Developed with passion and skill, this is a world you can lose yourself in that'll reward you the more you play and the better you get. It's uncompromising in its difficulty but doesn't resort to cheap tricks and "gotchas". The graphics are appealing and, crucially, clear as day. This is a fantastic experience overall, even if it isn't made up of the most original pieces. It's gameplay first and once you're traversing the infinite space of the Void stages, everything else basically just falls away.
The Switch version of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is a perfectly passable port of a fantastic platformer that's absolutely rammed with things to do. It may have the lowest frame rate and resolution of all versions of the game, but if the Switch is your main console or you're looking to enjoy some bandicoot-bouncing on the go in handheld mode, it's still an excellent offering when judged on its own merits.
Going in with diminished expectations no-doubt coloured our impressions of Toree 3D, but our brief time with this 99-cent gem was undeniably delightful. For significantly less than the price of a decent cup of coffee, you get an enjoyably bite-sized, colourful 3D platformer with great music and a fun aesthetic that doesn't take itself seriously in the slightest — and it doesn't stick around long enough to get boring.
Can it compete with the scale and depth of the Switch's finest 3D jump-fests? Of course not, but this low-poly PS1-style platforming experience is a joyous breath of fresh air that's more than worth the asking price. A great way to spend those Gold Points.
Super Mario 3D World remains one of the better linear Mario games, and anyone playing it for the first time is in for an absolute treat. Add to that the curious bonus adventure that is Bowser's Fury and you've got a package that provides great value for money. It isn't without its flaws, but most of these (online multiplayer, repetitive missions in Bowser's Fury) relate to the new additions; the main game itself remains as pure and perfect as it was on Wii U. Had it just been Super Mario 3D World on its own, we'd be thoroughly recommending it anyway; Bowser's Fury is just the cherry on top.
More 3D platformers than you were expecting, no? Have we missed anything that you've really enjoyed? Let us know in the comments.
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, 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, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, 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, and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.
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, and 2020. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.