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Best modern 2D platformers


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Not counting indie titles, Rayman Origins was a massive surprise to me, and one of the best recent games I've played in the genre.

I never liked the old Rayman games, but this is a completely different ballpark. Such a nice feel and flow to every stage, you could really tell they had put a lot of thought into that, and whenever you replay a section you'll find yourself optimizing the route to pick up every lum as effectively as possible. Outside of the bonus stage, the game never gets really challenging, but learning the stages in this way still feels just as rewarding as if it were. It's brilliant.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is another one I think deserves a lot of love. It shares the typical element of western 2D platformers where every animation needs to play out in order to have an effect which results in most of your movements having a bit of intentional lag to them. And the level design has a tendency to rely a lot on trial and error. But the game just feels so great that none of that really matters at the end of the day. Every single level is an explosion of creativity, and you can really feel how they are built around David Wise's amazing soundtrack, and vice versa, often evolving the music as the stage progresses. I don't recall ever seeing another video game soundtrack utilized this effectively.

Mega Man 11 is great.

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A lot of my favourite games post 2000 are 2D platformers. 

NSMBU/ Luigi U

Duck Tales Remastered

Shovel Knight

Stryder

Mega Man 9, 10, and especially  11

DKC Returns and TF

Mario Maker (haven't played 2 yet)

 

All great games in my opinion. Rayman Origins, Giana Sisters, and Shantae were all pretty solid too. Probably a few more I can't think of off the top of my head that I've played and enjoyed. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Sumez said:

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is another one I think deserves a lot of love. It shares the typical element of western 2D platformers where every animation needs to play out in order to have an effect which results in most of your movements having a bit of intentional lag to them. And the level design has a tendency to rely a lot on trial and error. But the game just feels so great that none of that really matters at the end of the day. Every single level is an explosion of creativity, and you can really feel how they are built around David Wise's amazing soundtrack, and vice versa, often evolving the music as the stage progresses. I don't recall ever seeing another video game soundtrack utilized this effectively.

Mega Man 11 is great.

 

36 minutes ago, Andy_Bogomil said:

A lot of my favourite games post 2000 are 2D platformers. 

NSMBU/ Luigi U

Duck Tales Remastered

Shovel Knight

Stryder

Mega Man 9, 10, and especially  11

DKC Returns and TF

Mario Maker (haven't played 2 yet)

 

I can't believe I forgot Tropical Freeze. I would say it's easily one of the 10 best platformers of all time.

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If we are talking post-2000, there's plenty. I'll skip the obvious stuff like Mario Makers, every New Super Mario Bros game, DKC Returns, etc. And I agree with everything mentioned. Some to add just from what I've played: 

  • A Boy and His Blob (remake on Wii)
  • Mutant Mudds 
  • Downwell
  • Yoshi's Woolly World / Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby Triple Deluxe
  • Rogue Legacy
  • Dead Cells
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No mention of the great granddaddy of indie games, Cave Story? I am disappoint

I've brought up in other threads my love for Rogue Likes, so Rogue Legacy is pretty tight.

The New Super Mario series is also pretty top notch, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii U are kinda underrated imo.

Looking at my steam library for other solid platformers (That haven't been mentioned yet);

Braid
Battleblock Theater
Freedom Planet
VVVVVV

Idk if Terraria & Starbound count? They have some pretty solid platforming elements anyway.

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7 hours ago, SpoonMan Abrams X said:

No mention of the great granddaddy of indie games, Cave Story? I am disappoint

I've brought up in other threads my love for Rogue Likes, so Rogue Legacy is pretty tight.

The New Super Mario series is also pretty top notch, New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii U are kinda underrated imo.

Looking at my steam library for other solid platformers (That haven't been mentioned yet);

Braid
Battleblock Theater
Freedom Planet
VVVVVV

Idk if Terraria & Starbound count? They have some pretty solid platforming elements anyway.

I was under the impression OP was asking for suggestions on strict platformers. By that I mean games with an emphasis on precision jumping, timing, or control. Personally, I consider games with an emphasis on shooting and fighting (Cave Story, Contra, Rogue Legacy, Dead Cells, Mega Man, etc) as being in a separate category than strict platformers. But obviously that's just semantics and everyone can and should group games however their hearts desire.

That being said, VVVVVV is amazing! Great choice and definitely fits in the category of strict platformers.

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On 2/25/2020 at 1:33 PM, DoctorEncore said:

I consider games with an emphasis on shooting and fighting (Cave Story, Contra, Rogue Legacy, Dead Cells, Mega Man, etc) as being in a separate category than strict platformers. But obviously that's just semantics and everyone can and should group games however their hearts desire.

Same. The above aren't really games I think of when thinking of "2d platformers". Of course, they are clearly platforming games, just a different vein.

That said, I'd put The Messenger in the general 2D platformer box. Sure, it marketed itself as some kind of Ninja Gaiden'esque action sidescroller, but that's pretty dishonest. The game has an almost pure focus on platforming.

Castle In The Darkness is another game worth highlighting, which appears to be a "traditional" indie metroidvania, but very quickly starts focusing almost entirely on platforming. It's a super entertaining game that I think is really underappreciated.

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18 minutes ago, Californication said:

I saw one person say shovel knight. I keep going back and forth on whether I should buy Shovel Knight: Trasure Trove. Are these games easy or is there a challenge

Shovel Knight includes all of the extra content (Treasure Trove is just the latest add-on that is being advertised, there are multiple others at this point -- all included).

 

The core game is "easy" to beat (assuming you are good at Mega Man and Ducktales), sufficiently challenging to get all of the achievements from playing levels with particular equipment handicaps.

The expansion games are quite a bit harder than the core game, due to the unique mechanics and the inherent handicap of playing as the individual bad guys with their idiosyncracies.

 

It is a game that is WELL WORTH the price of admission.  Very few games in the last 20 years have managed to strike the balance of being so nostalgic while being so original.

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There's not much challenge in Shovel Knight's first loop. You'll probably die a lot learning the stages, but there's a ton of checkpoints and healing items about, so it gives you a crapton of leeway.

But I seriously recommend playing the "New Game+" mode immediately after! It's not like those typical versions of that mode that exists just to pad a game, it's a slightly changed version that alters it just enough to play more like a traditional action platformer of the late 80s/early 90s. Since you keep your skills and items from the first playthrough, you don't need to go searching for money and items again, and can focus on the action. And all healing items have been removed (save from one halfway through the boss rush), and so have the majority of the checkpoints. It's a much more rewarding experience that really lets the qualities of the game shine.

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8 hours ago, Sumez said:

Same. The above aren't really games I think of when thinking of "2d platformers". Of course, they are clearly platforming games, just a different vein.

That said, I'd put The Messenger in the general 2D platformer box. Sure, it marketed itself as some kind of Ninja Gaiden'esque action sidescroller, but that's pretty dishonest. The game has an almost pure focus on platforming.

Castle In The Darkness is another game worth highlighting, which appears to be a "traditional" indie metroidvania, but very quickly starts focusing almost entirely on platforming. It's a super entertaining game that I think is really underappreciated.

Well now I want to play them both. Has anyone invented a time machine yet?

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  • 3 months later...
Member · Posted

I want to bring this thread back but also give some extra love to Hollow Knight. This one may be too far on the Metroidvania side and away from the pure platformer side, but I’m still squeaking it in.

Atmosphere and visuals go a long way in games for me and Hollow Knight has both abundantly. The dark, dreary, biological environments with entirely insect themed characters and enemies. I’m loving it. While it’s not a strict platformer, there is challenge to be had in the platforming coupled with the battle mechanics as you fight enemies throughout the dreary world it takes place in.

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