Top 10 Best Platform Games for the Xbox One

The Xbox One offers tons of fantastic platform games. Here are the ten best platformers.

The Best Platform Games For Xbox One

Note: This list has been updated on November 2017. 

Original article follows:

Platformers are for many of us our first exposure to video games, and we’re living in a real platformer renaissance. Tons of them have come out over the last five years and really reinvigorated the genre. There’s a certain feel to a good platform game that’s just right.

So what are your options if you’re playing on an Xbox One? We looked for the titles that have tight controls, original ideas, and the most interesting environments to come up with this list of the Top Ten Platform Games For Xbox One.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.


Super Time Force Ultra

The pixel-art style in Super Time Force Ultra may put some players off the game, but we think it looks great: the environments all have their own distinct character, weapon effects pop, and the characters themselves all bring a lot of pizzazz to the game. It’s got everything you could want from an ‘80s Saturday morning cartoon, too – dinosaurs on skateboards, explosions, and space ships.

The neatest thing about the game, though, is the team-based rewind mechanic. You’ve only got a short time to make it through each level, and in order to make it through all the enemies and obstacles, you use the “time out” feature to rewind time and insert other characters (or duplicates, even) into the action. What winds up happening is a mind-bending co-op session with yourself

This mechanic sets up all kinds of crazy action-based puzzles, including the boss fights. While they seem impossible to complete in the time limit at first, as you add more and more characters to the fight, you’ll eventually take them down in a couple seconds. Satisfyingly, too, once you’ve completed a level you get to watch the action replayed in real time.


Tembo the Badass Elephant

Tembo is an elephant commando, and his job is to save his town from destruction at the hands of the evil PHANTOM. The game is reminiscent of old Sonic the Hedgehog titles, with some Metal Slug thrown in for good measure: Tembo jumps and buttstomps his way through the PHANTOM forces, collecting golden peanuts and charging (literally) headlong into enemies. You’ll want to break as many PHANTOM tanks, structures, and soldiers as possible, while rescuing hostages scattered throughout each level.

A lot of folks were pretty surprised to see Tembo the Badass Elephant come out of Game Freak, who are known primarily for developing the long-running Pokémon series, but as it turns out this isn’t their first crack at the action-platformer: they also made Drill Dozer for the Game Boy Advance back in 2005.


Trials Fusion

Hey, we know, this looks like a motorcycle game, but at its heart, it’s a speed-focused platform game. If you’re new to Trials, the idea is to drive a dirt bike along a track to the end of a level, shifting your weight forward and back to stay upright throughout all the insane jumps, flips, catapults, and explosions that happen along the way.

Fusion offers a single player story mode to the formula, but it keeps the series addictive time trial elements – it’s always possible to shave another couple tenths of a second off a run, or, maybe just make it to the end without falling off this time. 

There’s also four-player head-to-head racing, plus a fully-featured level editor. Once you’ve played through all the tracks in the game (plus six DLC packs), you can try out homemade tracks handpicked by the Red Lynx team.


Volgarr the Viking

This is a game for those players who pine for the old days of platform games being arcade-tough. Fortunately, Volgarr the Viking doesn’t make you pony up quarters every time you die, which will be often.

While it could be mistaken for a brawler, Volgarr is much more about careful memorization of enemy patterns and trap locations, and about perfect execution. Death is always imminent – getting hit knocks off a piece of equipment or armor, similar to the classic (and brutally difficult) Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

Volgarr has tons of style, too. It’s a very obvious homage to the cabinet games of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and features terrific art, enemy design, and music. Remember, though – this one is definitely aimed at the hardcore crowd.


Guacamelee

One of the best in class in the last couple years, Guacamelee combines the unlockable open-world of the best Metroidvanias with a combo-based combat system from brawlers. As the game progresses, you find new abilities to bring to bear against enemies that deepen the solid fighting system.

And Guacamelee is downright gorgeous. It’s a whimsical, colorful world with masterfully-crafted characters and animations set in a world of Mexican folklore. As Juan, you are resurrected as a magical luchador wrestler, and must save El Presidente’s daughter from an evil skeleton from the Land of the Dead. It manages to treat its subject matter respectfully without ever taking itself seriously at all.


Rogue Legacy

Nothing gets a games website comments section going quite like the improper use of the word “roguelike.” But regardless of how it’s categorized, Rogue Legacy is a great entry for the Xbox One’s catalog of platform games.

Dungeons are procedurally-generated, and are full of increasingly deadly enemies, traps, and gigantic bosses. You’ll pick up coins by defeating baddies and smashing furniture. And here’s where Rogue Legacy gets interesting: You use the loot you pick up on dungeon runs to buy better armor and weapons for your character, who will be the son or daughter of whoever you died as on that run. 

You’ll pick from three random progeny, and they’ll each have a set of quirks that can change the way you play – sometimes they’ll be nearsighted, or prone to cursing, or be abnormally tall or short.

The great part is that even on runs where you fail, you still make some kind of progress by unlocking new equipment or character classes. 


Shovel Knight

When they went looking for inspiration for Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games dumped out the whole cardboard box of old NES titles and said “all of these.” There’s clear inspiration in their action platformer from the likes of Mega Man, Castlevania, Duck Tales, and the original Prince of Persia.

On paper it almost sounds like too much to actually work, but Shovel Knight pulls it off with panache. The retro look and feel is pitch perfect, but without any of the technical limitations the classics of the 1980s faced.

Shovel Knight’s distinctly-themed levels and their respective bosses are very heavily inspired by Mega Man, and the ability to use your shovel as a pogo stick is straight out of Duck Tales. Considered as a whole, though, Shovel Knight is one of the most entertaining games of 2014, and has one of the best chiptunes soundtracks out there.


Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty

The New ‘n’ Tasty edition of 1997’s Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee isn’t your standard “remaster,” it’s a complete rebuild of the original in an entirely new, fully 3D engine. While Oddworld looked quite nice when it launched in the ‘90s, it hasn’t aged well, but the New ‘n’ Tasty version brings the game bursting into the modern era with fantastic, painstakingly modeled environments and characters.

The game’s mechanics definitely hold up: it’s a unique take on the platform genre, where you’ll more often be avoiding enemies than jumping on their heads. Instead, you move forward by sneaking, or by using enemy behaviors and environmental hazards to clear your path. 

And that’s something you definitely want to be doing. As a slave at RuptureFarms, an industrial meat packaging factory, Abe discovers that their next planned product involves an unpleasant ingredient: him, and his fellow workers.


Rayman Legends

What’s not to love about Rayman Legends? While it was originally intended for the Wii U’s proprietary gamepad, the game eventually came out across modern platforms, and we’re all the luckier for that. It’s a beautiful game about timing and momentum, and there are several unique characters to play and team up as.

Your job is to rescue kidnapped “Teensies” hidden in each level, and as you rescue more of them, you’ll unlock new worlds to visit. That’s plenty of game right there, but Rayman Legends has boatloads of more content, including a host of secret levels, daily and weekly global challenge courses, and even remastered versions of levels from previous games in the series.

The constant sense of fun and speed of Rayman Legends makes us wish certain other platform franchises had maintained their sense of focus on the fundamentals… but that’s a story for another list.


Ori and the Blind Forest

A masterclass in platform game design, Ori and the Blind Forest combines fluidity of character movement with brilliant level design in a large Metroidvania style adventure about a tiny, glowing woodland creature who is trying to heal a diseased land.

The controls are Swiss-clock precise, making Ori feel wonderful to control, and each new move you learn gives you new ways to float, flit, and fly around the world, and making new areas accessible in classic Metroidvania fashion. It’s all very carefully designed, and each move, enemy, and hazard fits together into a seamlessly cohesive whole.

It’s also one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful platform games ever made. The environments are richly textured, conjuring up the forest from Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, and the music and story set a somber tone that underscore the blight that’s fallen upon your woodland home. Ori and the Blind Forest is definitely a game that you’ll want to play through multiple times.


Sonic Mania

Sonic the Hedgehog is a staple video game character. Decades have passed and to this day, there are still new Sonic games being pumped out. While some of the more recent releases haven’t fetched the same fame and glory for Sega as the initial releases, there is one title that is really becoming hyped up.

Sonic Mania is an side-scrolling platformer that fans of the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles are eager to get their hands on. This particular Sonic title will return to the original gameplay and visual art styles. However, gamers can expect new boss fights, expanded levels along with new elements new to the franchise.


Little Nightmares

In Little Nightmares players will be taking on the role of a young girl named Six who had been kidnapped from her home and forced to work at a place known as The Maw, an underwater resort.

The resort caters to the powerful elite, forcing Six to serve their needs. One day, Six is presented with a way back to freedom, though during her journey out of the unpredictable world of The Maw, Six catches the glimpse of the corruption of modern happiness.


Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island

Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island resembles past video game titles such as Ratchet & Clank. In this platformer, players take on the role of Skylar, our protagonist that was first kidnapped by the evil CRT and given a powerful mechanical arm with augmentations.

Escaping the clutches of the evil CRT, Skylar teams up with a talkative sidekick, Plux, and sets off to be the islands heroine. Players will battle against the evil CRT in hopes to rid his control over their home of Clover Island.


A Hat in Time

Developers Gears for Breakfast released a platformer that resembles some of the more beloved platform titles released for the Nintendo 64. A Hat in Time, will play out similarly to Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, as there is a heavy emphasis on collecting missing pieces scattered through the game world.

In the overall story, players will take on the role of a young girl named Hat Kid. Hat Kid has the ability to interstellar travel, though during her way home she is intercepted by a Mafia group under control of the evil Mustache Girl.

Stranded, Hat Kid must collect her missing “time pieces” that have been scattered throughout the world before she is able to refuel her ship, but she will be racing against the clock as Mustache Girl and her goons are collecting them as well.


Yooka-Laylee

Development team Playtonic Games contains several former key staff members from studio Rare. As such, the team has opted to make a spiritual successor to one of their previous successful titles, Banjo-Kazooie.

Much like Banjo-Kazooie, there will be plenty of items to collect during your platform adventure. Furthermore, similar to Banjo-Kazooie, there will be two main characters who must stop the evil Dr. Quak from stealing all the world literature and selling it for profit.


Cuphead

Cuphead is a run and gun style platformer by development team Studio MDHR. The story revolves around a character known as Cuphead who loses a bet against the devil and in order to repay that debt, he must take out a series of bosses. Really, Cuphead is gaining all kinds of attention online simply due to its design. Studio MDHR has developed Cuphead in order to look similar to a 1930s cartoon.


Inside

Developed by Playdead, creators of the 2010 video game Limbo, players will receive the same feel of tone with Inside. In the game, players take on the role of a young boy who is forced to go through a harsh and dangerous dystopia.

Much of the same gameplay mechanics are brought over to Inside from Limbo. With that said, gamers can also expect a dark and gloomy artistic view.


Limbo

Speaking of Limbo, we are also adding this title to our list. While it’s been available for years now, if you have yet to enjoy the indie title which features a young boy navigating around an eerie world then you’re missing out.


Unravel

Unravel comes from developers Coldwood Interactive which tells a story of a small yarn figured. Players are tasked with going out to locate memories, but being of yarn, to progress, our protagonist must unravel its yarn to reach new areas.

This is largely a puzzle game as much as it is a platformer. As our yarn figure loses more yarn to reach a new area, gamers must figure out a means to claim more yarn or use what’s available effectively.