In the many decades that have passed since the invention of the personal computer, thousands of video games have hit the market and changed the lives of millions of people. Among the mess of titles that saw the light of the day, platformers remain one of the most popular genres in the PC gaming world. Platform games are great for extended plays when you’re in the mood for an all-nighter or just feeling bored. Break out your wallets and computers, because here are the best platform games you can play on PC right now:
A Hat in Time is a 3D platform game developed by Gears for Breakfast using funding gained from Kickstarter. It features adorable animation, a unique design and art direction, and a captivating plot. In the game, players control a little girl, dubbed Hat Kid, as she attempts to return to her home planet using a spaceship. The game boasts an open-world environment and has been compared favorably to other heavyweight titles like Super Mario 64.
Initially self-published for Windows and macOS computers, A Hat in Time eventually made its way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Two years later, the game saw a release on the Nintendo Switch as well.
Also known as Out of This World, Another World is a cinematic platformer that follows a young scientist named Lester. Lester mistakenly transports himself to a dangerous alien planet where he must fight for his life. The game, released all the way back in 1991, originally made its way to the Atari ST and Amiga consoles. It has since received ports for other consoles, with 15th- and 20th-anniversary editions allowing for PC play. Though the game is quite old and short, it still manages a spot on this list for its impeccable story and graphics that were truly ahead of its time.
Braid, Number None’s puzzle and platform game, follows the main protagonist named Tim as he tries to rescue a princess from the clutches of a monster. While its premise is far from revolutionary, its game features offer a lot more to the table. In the game, players attempt to solve various puzzles in order to progress. The game also boasts a time-manipulation aspect as well as a composite narrative.
Widely considered as a masterpiece by game critics and players alike, Braid received numerous awards and glowing reviews from all the major (and minor) game review sites. If you want a game that will entertain and enthrall you at the same time, Braid is undoubtedly one of the best platformers games that you should try.
Released in 2018, Celeste is a single-player platformer game that allows players to control Madeline. In the game, she travels up Celeste mountain and dodges deadly obstacles. Interestingly, developers Noel Berry and Matt Thorson generated the prototype in just four days while participating in a game jam. The idea slowly evolved and became the game players know and love today. Upon its release, Celeste earned universal acclaim from critics and players, with many praising its story, gameplay, graphics, and design.
The N. Sane trilogy consists of three remastered games in the Crash Bandicoot series: 1996’s Crash Bandicoot, 1997’s Cortex Strikes Back, and 1998’s Warped. The games were originally released for the first PlayStation console. Due to overwhelming popularity, the trilogy eventually made its way to the PS4 with a PC port following soon after.
Crash Bandicoot fans already know what the games are about. But just in case you don’t, the trilogy follows the eponymous protagonist as he traverses through platforms and levels in an attempt to foil Doctor Neo Cortex’s plans for world domination.
Cuphead is truly unique in all respects. Despite its whimsical design, Cuphead tells a darker underlying plot. The game lets you control Cuphead or his brother Mugman on a quest to repay their debts to the devil. Players achieve this by going from level to level and fighting tough enemies and bosses. Many critics praised the game for its charming art style and challenging gameplay. Its difficulty admist its 1930s rubber hose-style cartoonish art style has earned its title as one of the best platformer games around. In fact, its widespread popularity has even led to a production deal with streaming giant Netflix.
An indie puzzle-platformer, Fez follows Gomez as he reconciles the dimensions and restores balance in the universe after discovering through the eponymous headgear that his world is a three-dimensional plane. In the game, players must solve multiple puzzles and realign platforms in order to get to his goal. Fez initially landed on the Xbox 360 in 2012 before becoming available for the Windows PC a year later. Since then, the game has been released for other platforms as well.
Hollow Knight is a single-player action-adventure platformer first released in 2017. In the game, players control a nameless knight known as a ghost or vessel as it travels through Hallownest, a kingdom overrun by an ancient plague and is now occupied by insects. As you play the game and defeat its numerous enemies, you unlock new abilities and uncover the kingdom’s deep mysteries.
Upon its release, Hollow Knight received favorable reviews from both critics and players alike. It won a couple of awards, and its popularity eventually led to the announcement of a sequel in development.
Though not as widely known as other titles on this list, the Knytt series remains one of the best platformer games due to the relaxing and charming atmosphere its titles offer. These games pose minor difficulties that players must overcome, but you won’t have to face any big bosses or powerful enemies. Instead, the Knytt series is a collection of exploration games designed to ignite a magical wonder in you. These indie free platformer games won’t take you long to finish, but they are no less captivating than the other great titles on this list.
A 2D side-scroller platform game, Limbo follows an unnamed boy as he navigates through a dangerous world filled with traps and dangers to look for his sister. It uses a physics system that makes the game more realistic and challenging. Its engaging story makes the player feel more connected to the boy and his trials. Limbo is not for the faint of heart, though, as the game utilizes gruesome imagery to depict the boy’s many deaths. Regardless, it remains one of the best online platform games and is widely considered as one of the greatest titles you can play.
You can easily judge from the title of this game that Little Nightmares is a horror platformer, and this title is a really unique one at that. The story follows a little girl, Six, as she tries to escape a large iron vessel known as the Maw donning her yellow raincoat. The mysterious Maw is filled with Nomes, carnivorous leeches, and a blind being known as the Janitor. Little Nightmares received praise from critics and players, and its massive success spawned a sequel, a mobile app, a comic series, and even a television show.
A Metroidvania platformer game, Ori and the Blind Forest was released for the Windows PC and Xbox One in 2015. In the game, players control a small white guardian spirit named Ori as well as the light and eyes of the Forest’s Spirit Tree named Sein to solve puzzles and travel through platforms. The game boasts an impressive system that allows for skills and abilities upgrades. The game earned universal acclaim upon its release and continues to be one of the best platformer games in the industry.
Ori and the Blind Forest was so good that it spawned a sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Will of the Wisps is an equally mesmerizing and praise-worthy game as the Blind Forest. In this iteration, players once again control Ori as he traverses through platforms and deciphers puzzles. However, Will of the Wisps sees a shift in art style, converting to 3D models instead of the 2D ones seen in the Blind Forest. Additionally, the sequel incorporates new melee combat, though it still shares narrative continuity with the first game.
First released in 2005, Psychonauts features a narrative that is just as interesting as its title implies. In the game, players assume control of Raz, a young boy with psychic abilities who flees the circus to join a summer camp designed for those with the same abilities, dubbed “Psychonauts.” Throughout the story, Raz enters the minds of other Psycadets and helps them conquer their fears and past memories in exchange for their help.
Despite being a commercial failure during its initial release, Psychonauts eventually developed a cult following, received deserved acclaim, and sold more copies after the acquisition of its rights. A sequel is currently in the works.
Shovel Knight began as an idea from Yacht Club Games that eventually came to full fruition after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Treasure Trove is a collection of five 2D side-scroller games where players can blast, dig, bash, and slash their way through pixelated platform worlds. Shovel Knight received critical acclaim from critics everywhere and is widely considered as one of the best platformer games of all time.
Sonic Mania was created as part of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary and pays homage to the original Sonic games. Released in 2017, Sonic Mania is a side-scrolling platform game where players can choose to control one of three characters: Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles. Each character features a unique ability that will help players navigate the world of Sonic Mania. The 1990s were the peak for Sonic games, and critics welcomed Sonic Mania for its classic 90s feel following several unsuccessful titles in the 2000s.
The year 2008 saw the launch of Spelunky, an indie 2D platformer following a spelunker who traverses through a series of caves to gather treasure, rescue damsels, avoid traps, and engage in combat with enemies. You will have endless fun with Spelunky as the caves are procedurally generated to ensure a different experience every time you play the game.
Creator Derek Yu designed the game as freeware for Microsoft Windows, and its source code continues to be available online. It has since seen ports to various consoles. With its unique style and content, Spelunky is definitely one of the best free platformer games you can get your hands on.
The late 1990s were a prime time for Spyro games, and the remastered trilogy hailed a return to the fascinating and magical worlds introduced in the titles. The trilogy consists of 1998’s Spyro the Dragon, 1999’s Ripto’s Rage, and 2000’s Year of the Dragon. It became available on Windows in September 2019. Players and critics note that the trilogy’s gameplay stays faithful to the original while making apt changes to match the world’s current landscape.
Super Meat Boy is a platform game originally released in 2010. In the game, players assume control of Meat Boy, a red cube, as he attempts to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus. All in all, there are 300 levels in the game, further divided into different chapters. Super Meat Boy garnered critical acclaim from critics upon its release. Its undeniable popularity has even led to cameo appearances by Meat Boy in various other video games like Ori and the Blind Forest, another title in this list.
Despite its perplexing title, VVVVVV is a highly addictive game developed using Adobe Flash. Released in 2010, the game features Captain Viridian as he tries to save his space crew following their separation in Dimension VVVVVV due to a teleporter failure. Interestingly, the game doesn’t let players jump. Instead, you must use gravity to your advantage, allowing you to fall in different directions. The game’s distinct setup and use of physics certainly set it apart as one of the best platformer games in recent memory.
An Ever-Expanding List
Platform games are a staple in the PC gaming community and will undoubtedly continue to break barriers in the future. As more time passes, newer titles will enter the market, allowing this list of best platform games to grow. For now, you can occupy your free time playing these 20 games and start a magical journey.