Whether in 2D, 3D or somewhere in between, video game platformers are a video game genre that while simple to pick up and play take pride in the fact that they can at times be hard to master. At the platformers most basic level they propel you forward jumping platform to platform, sometimes gathering items, sometimes not. The truth is that if you’re a fan of well-made, expertly designed and innovative platformers with the odd literal pit—fall here or there, you’ll take heart in the fact that there is plenty to go around. Here are our 10 best platformer video games released since 2000.
10. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight is essentially a love letter to fans of 8-bit 2D side-scrolling platformers (try saying that when your drunk!) that simply understands what made those original types of games such a blast, fluid gameplay. Shovel Knight imposes restrictions on itself on purpose: the lack of voice acting, a chip-tune soundtrack and 8-bit art style that all adds to the game’s charm. For some it might be considered simple “nostalgia-bait”, but it does it so brilliantly you can’t help but enjoy your time with this platformer.
9. Sly Cooper: Thieves in time
A somewhat underrated platformer gem coming in at the tail-end of the PS3 era, Sly Cooper: Thieves in time perfected all of the gameplay and story elements developed in the previous three games, even though it was handled by a different studio. Full of whit, charm and just oozing with style, the game is a time-travelling romp that although linear makes great use of its cell shaded art style and welcome boss fights to satisfy any fan of 3D platformers.
8. Rayman Origins
Rayman Origins arrived to consoles at a time when it was thought that both its central franchise and level format had long since died. Rayman had been overtaken by Rabbids and fast-paced platformers outside of Mario were a dime a dozen. Cue not only one of the most colourful and vibrant 2D experiences ever to grace PS3 and 360 but a video game with some of the most varied and interesting level design, that lets players blitz their way through more levels than you can shake a stick at.
Backed up by a mesmerising synth score composed by Disasterpeace, Fez is the brainchild of passionate game developer Phil Fish who through 5 tortuous years fine tuned one of 2012’s most well received games, solidifying it as one of the best 2D platformers. There is no clear objective in the game other than to collect various cubes which proceed to restore certain sections of the world, but don’t let that bother you. Sit back relax and lose yourself in Fez’s art style and music.
6. Super Meat Boy
Let’s not beat around the bush, Super Meat Boy is a lot of wonderful things, it just so happens that it’s defining feature is that it’s hard. Thankfully this unique sense of challenge which sees the mighty Meat Boy and friends beat you and your morale down into a pulp is what makes that final feeling of accomplishment something worth chasing. Don’t be fooled by its Mario-esque platforming name, Super Meat Boy is the Dark Souls of 2D platforming and definitely one of the best platformers since 2000.