3 of the Best (Ever) Platform Games
Here at Gaming Impact, we're all about highlighting different games, and platformers give out some of the best experiences. Leaping from one ledge to the next, progressing sideways, upwards, downwards - or backwards - in order to traverse or unlock gateways to the next level: they can unfold surprising and exhilarating level designs. Platform games haven't really survived the leap to mobile or smartphone, maybe because console or PC controllers are still best-suited to playing them.
If you consider platform games to be too quick, too complex or too annoying Super Mario-style coin-collecting experiences which force you to re-play sections in order to progress, you’d be wrong. It’s been an age since early Sonic the Hedgehog days, and since then arthouse or indie console games have breathed fresh life into their platform-bound cousins. Now they can be beautiful, intuitive, ingenious and engrossing. And they’re not as difficult as the original Prince of Persia was, either.
Thanks to glorious processing power, we now enjoy eye-popping graphics and intuitive controllers allowing us to enter relaxing, sofa-bound adventures with various puzzles that unfold or lead us deeper into their worlds. Yes, you may still have to re-play some sections many times, but you won’t mind at all.
The following 3 games are 'masters of the art' of the indie platformer on PS4 etc. and are all essential. They're not really in any order, since they're all equally good in their own right.
1. Planet Alpha
We mentioned this one in a previous post ['best games for lockdown'] and it takes the biscuit maybe just because it’s the most intuitive and least demanding. It might be a single-player game, but anyone can take turns, advise or help out since you’re in for long sessions of exploration: the game is huge. But all through, the lush graphics, generally hostile planetary natives and surroundings of this curiously retro but brilliantly realised - and perilous - planet just keep the mind and eyes thirsty for more. Puzzles arrive in various forms to remind your brain it still works pretty well at working things out. This may involve dragging stones or bits of scenery at various moments. Timing is frequently key to survival. Story-line plays no big part in the game, but that’s ok, although it could expand a little on this if we get to return this way again.
2. Unravel Two
More for all ages this one, your little protagonist Yarny is made out of wool, so unravelling him will create interesting solutions like traversing large chasms or reaching high summits in this beautiful, hyper-real platformer. It (literally) brings an inventive and gorgeously realised twist to the genre. In fact, the detail and lighting are perfect and the characters are fun and cute to navigate through it all.
Taking what was learned in Unravel and expanding on it, you now get the option to play through cooperatively with another player. This adds or explores a really interesting dimension with co-operative gaming, and is just great for siblings. However, you can also play solo, without feeling the experience is lacking a comrade. Both modes are fun and challenging gaming experiences in their own right.
For something darker but equally as stunning as Planet Alpha you must play Inside. It may pre-date it, but it excels on its own terms. In the quality of its puzzles, possibly more so. It’s revolutionised platform console gaming (along with Limbo). However, going Inside is all too spooky for younger players, since you’ll encounter all types of re-arranged bodies and shuffling zombie people. It’s some kind of nightmare journey through an experimental world of science gone awry. So much so you may not emerge on the other side of it, in quite the same way, unfortunately. But that's the whole point: to just keep going and going... You may find yourself missing the green environments of Planet Alpha.
With these 3 titles downloaded, you’ll possess a few of the best ever platform games, and will be wondering what next titles will arrive to this rejuvenated genre of gaming. Despite VR and AR, it may always provide very accessible lightweight puzzling entertainment and exploration.
Stay tuned to our blog page for the next essential shortlist, highlight, review or round-up of essential games.