One of the oldest and most integral genres in video gaming is platforming. In the simplest idea, these games involve progressing an avatar through a series of obstacles by jumping from one platform to another. Originating back in the 1980s, platformers are not a pure genre; there is a tendency for other game types to mix in with platforming. For example, Contra gave rise to “run and gun” games; these are a cross of platforming and shooters.
There is something about the simple act of moving across a game while being troubled by a series of obstacles. So much so that platforming is still a prominent genre in today’s gaming-sphere. On the tenth day of this holiday article series let’s take a look at ten of the most popular platforming games on current consoles.
UP, UP, AND AWAY
Released in 2009, Trine was developed by Frozenbyte and published by Nobilis. Taking place in deep medieval fantasy, you take the role of one of three different characters: a thief, a knight, and a wizard. Trine can be played cooperatively or as a single player. As you progress, regardless of play style, all three characters earn upgrades. Throughout the game you encounter spiders, skeletons, lava, bats, pendulums, and even greater bosses.
Originally released in December 2008 for Windows, Spelunky eventually came to PlayStation 4 in October of 2014. This playful platformer lets you take the role of a cave diver. As you explore the twisting series of caves you find treasure, dodge lethal traps, fight of enemies, and even save a damsel in distress from time to time. Just be wary of the instant kill traps; if you die you are taken back to the beginning.
This little gem from Metanet Software hit PlayStation 4 in July 2015. Part of what has drawn fans to N++ is the simple and elegant, bright color scheme levels and the insanely detailed interactivity. Pieces of the N++ levels are usable, and sometimes necessary, in ways that are inventive to the classic genre. The original Gamescom 2013 announcement trailer sums the N++ up the best; “Fast. Fluid. Frustrating. Fun.”
The fifth main title in the famous Rayman series came to PlayStation 4 in February 2014. Rayman Legends was set to be a Wii exclusive, but after some delays that was changed. This title is known for its gorgeous level design and controls. By November 2014 the game had exceeded one million units sold and an average rating around 9.5/10, this is one to check out. Without a doubt, Rayman Legends has some of the most content for platformers out there.
MODERN TAKES ON THE CLASSICS
The third main installment, and sixth overall, to the LittleBigPlanet franchise, LittleBigPlanet 3 was released for PlayStation 4 in June 2014. Though it received initial criticism for technical problems, LittleBigPlanet 3 was overall well receieved. With the addition of new characters and plenty more puzzle, fans were sure to enjoy this game. One of the most appreciated aspects of the game is the create mode. Aside from being able to create all the wackiness your heart desires, you can post your level for other players and take on their challenges as well.
This platforming beat ‘em up finally came to PlayStation 4 in July 2014. Taking on the role of Juan Aguacate, a farmer in love, who has come to hold a magical luchador mask. You battle through the levels in an attempt to save El Presidente’s daughter from Carlos Calaca. Molding fast paced platforming with side-scrolling fighting under the cover of traditional Mexican lore, Guacamelee is one of the simplest and most fun games available.
Developed by Polytron Corporation, Fez was released in April 2012. The character Gomez comes in possession of a magical fez cap that unveils the truth of the two-dimensional world he lives in. The 2D world he knows is actually one side of a four sides, three-dimensional world. With the hat, he can rotate the world between the four faces to progress through the game. Fez received mass, critical acclaim for this new take on a classic idea overtop a brightly colored, gorgeous landscape. Sadly, the proposed sequel has since been canceled due to the games creator Fish leaving the industry.
Oddworld: New ’n’ Tasty
Also known as Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee- New ‘n’ Tasty, this game is a remake of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Released in July 2014, this game was developed by Just Ass Water. Taking on the role of Abe, a member of the Mudokon species, you aim to free all 299 Mudokon slaves. This game is renown for its use of two point five dimensions and the added talk feature. Abe can talk and guide other Mudokon. This comes in great handy given that Abe has no direct attacks of his own.
A RIVETING TALE THROUGH THE SCROLL
Super Meat Boy
Massive success aside, Super Meat Boy is an independent platformer developed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes under the name Team Meat. After five years on the market, Super Meat Boy finally came to PlayStation 4 in October 2015. As Meat Boy you take on over three hundred level of painstaking obstacles in an attempt to save your love, Bandage Girl. Aside from the addictive difficulty of Super Meat Boy, the harsh level designs, often crude humor, and over the top themes set this apart as one of the great platformers. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack that has even been released as DLC for Guitar Hero 3.
This two-dimensional, side scrolling platformer hit hard with fans with its eight-bit style inspired graphics. Taking on the role of the knight, the player fights against the Order of No Quarter. Your main weapon is, as the title implies, a shovel. This can be used for direct attacks on enemies, downward attacks when jumping over someone, or for digging up treasure. As if the enthralling campaign of Shovel Knight was not enough, there is downloadable content and multiplayer modes to keep you entertained.
One of the most essential genres to the development of video games is the platformer. Moving through level after level, working across obstacles and enemies alike, the protagonist embarks on a journey. The simplicity in the basic idea mixed with modern twists and growth have perpetuated platformers as a leading genre in gaming. Even today, this style dating back to the 1980s are still churning out in ambitious fashion. Here’s to the future of side-scrolling in the new wave of current generation consoles.