PAX Aus: Top 5 Platformers

The whirlwind phenomenon of PAX Aus took over the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre this past weekend, mesmerising video game enthusiasts mind, body and soul. Platformers proved their worth in both 2D and 3D, from the sprawling streetscapes of Super Mario Odyssey to Spryke’s brutal cartoon elegance. We fished out the crème de la crème for your enjoyment.

1. Super Mario Odyssey

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Platform/s: Nintendo Switch
  • Release: Out now

Freshly released, Super Mario Odyssey has followed in Breath of the Wild‘s open-world footsteps by garnering universal acclaim on Metacritic. In just three days, Nintendo’s latest iteration in the Mario franchise has sold a whopping 3 million copies—an impressive feat when compared to Breath of the Wild’s 4.7 million copies sold since its initial launch in March. After just a few minutes exploring New Donk City’s streets, I felt that same overwhelming sense of curiosity from Super Mario 3D Land. Pure bliss ricocheted between each Joy-Con. Mario breezed through parks, bounced up walls, and scooped up power moons and coins in a beautiful evolutionary display of the 3D platformer.

2. Projection

  • Developer: Shadowplay Studios
  • Publisher: NA
  • Platform/s: PC/Mac
  • Release: TBA 2017

Taking something people understand and introducing an additional layer of complexity was the true driving force behind Projection. For Michael Chu, the founder of Shadowplay Studios, the way shadows danced in the glow of low hanging light bulbs became a muse which inspired trips to shadow puppet theatres, and eventually, a fully-fledged game. In Projection, every object comes with strings attached. Players manipulate an orb of light to construct shadowy pathways that help a culturally inquisitive young girl progress on her journey of enlightenment.   

3. Armed With Wings: Rearmed

  • Developer: Sun-Studios
  • Publisher: Sun-Studios
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1
  • Release: Out now

Armed with Wings: Rearmed stands out from a monochromatic sea of platformers thanks to a killer story. Sun-Studios explains that players control a lone warrior (and former leader of a rebel army) who is resurrected through divine intervention to slay the tyrannical King Vandheer. Aside from hacking and slashing monstrous foes, you’ll need to team up with an eagle companion to solve environmental puzzles.

4. Spryke

  • Developer: Volnaiskra
  • Publisher: NA
  • Platform/s: PC
  • Release: 2019

If you’ve got a Super Meat Boy shaped void in your heart, Spryke is here to fill it. Approximately three years in development, this is a checkpoint-free, mercilessly difficult 2D platformer set inside a futuristic realm. It combines the cartoon cuteness of Rayman Legends with short, intense bursts of challenge that will test your reflexes as much as your patience.

5. Damsel

  • Developer: Screwtape Studios
  • Publisher: N/A
  • Platform/s: Windows, Mac, Linux, XB1
  • Release: Q1 2018

Described as Buffy meets Batman, Screwtape Studio’s take on the 2D platformer stars a secret agent who aims to take down an elitist vampire conspiracy. Producer Megan Summers says Damsel‘s female protagonist isn’t about being preachy or reversing a trope, but rather, a way to depict saving the world from a more humorous perspective. Damsel is fun, whimsical, and captures the charm of nineties classiclike Commander Keen and Duke Nukem. It’s also very addictive.

For more PAX Aus coverage, make sure to check out the following:

PAX Aus: Top 4 Puzzle Games

PAX Aus: Top 4 Narrative Games