Katana Zero is unmistakably an action platformer that you need to add to your Switch collection at earliest opportunity. The tough, hair-raising action sequences, gripping narrative, and impeccable sense of style elevate it, cementing it as a modern classic that sets new standards for what a side scrolling action game can be. This is the kind of game that you’ll blindly play through once and soon find yourself wishing you could have that first-time experience again; there’s nothing else quite like it on the eShop and we can’t recommend it enough.
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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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 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] 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?'.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.