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Best platformer games on Xbox

14 must-play platformer games on Xbox

Let’s face it: jumping across floating islands and bouncing on enemies’ heads is always a lot of fun. And those two things are, of course, key staples in any good platformer game. While the genre has been around almost as long as videogames themselves, it’s not always easy to find a good one. We’ve done the hard work for you by rounding up the best platformer games on Xbox consoles.

Whether you’re playing on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, there’s a wide selection of platformer games to choose from. We’ve selected our favourites, from retro-inspired 2D gems to modern 3D adventures. We’ve even included a couple of remasters of our favourite platformer games from our childhood — hello, Spyro and Crash.

1. New Super Lucky’s Tale

New Super Lucky's Tale
Image: Playful Corp

Not only is New Super Lucky’s Tale super-adorable, it’s also a heck of a lot of fun to play. It’s a 3D platformer game in the same vein of classics like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, but its gorgeous graphics bring it right into the modern age. Cute fox Lucky started his career in a VR-only game called Lucky’s Tale, but Super Lucky’s Tale completely reimagined the platforming for standard play. Some time later, it was refined even further in New Super Lucky’s Tale.

Confused? We’re not surprised, but all you need to know is that New Super Lucky’s Tale is one of the best platformer games on Xbox. Spread across a myriad of levels over multiple worlds, New Super Lucky’s Tale packs in a mixture of 3D exploring with 2.5D platforming. There are endless secrets to find, coins to collect, and of course enemies and bosses to defeat. It’s hard not to fall in love with this adorable little fox.

Read our review of New Super Lucky’s Tale

2. It Takes Two

It Takes Two
Image: EA

We weren’t sure whether to include It Takes Two in our list. It’s slightly different from the other entries simply because it can’t be played alone: you need a co-op player, either locally or online. It’s made the cut to be one of our favourite couch co-op games, but ultimately, it’s also an incredibly good Xbox platformer game, too. And we’d be rather silly not to include it.

In It Takes Two, you take on the role of Cody and May, a married couple on the brink of divorce. Upon hearing them arguing, their young daughter turns them into a pair of handmade dolls. Huh. And so, in their tiny new forms, Cody and May have to work together to overcome obstacles — like how giant everything in their house suddenly is — and maybe, just maybe, learn to love each other again. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s a riot to play, too. Just be sure you find someone to play with.

Read our review of It Takes Two

3. Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania platform games ps4
Image: SEGA

This wouldn’t be a list of best platformer games if Sonic didn’t appear on it at least once. Sonic Mania isn’t the latest Sonic game, but it is one of our favourites. It’s a 2D entry to the series that wasn’t actually developed by SEGA, but it still somehow manages to capture all the delights of the classic Mega Drive/Genesis titles. Seriously, if you’re a fan of Sonic, or of classic platformer games in general, you can’t get much better than Sonic Mania on Xbox.

Sonic Mania reimagines the zones and levels we all know and love from the original Sonic games but gives them surprising twists. It also introduces new zones that feel as authentic as anything from the 90s would. And of course, getting in on the action with Sonic, Tails and that dastardly Dr. Robotnik is just as good as it ever has been. Without digging out your old Mega Drive console, there’s no better way to enjoy Sonic in the 21st century.

Read our review of Sonic Mania

4. Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy

Crash Bandicoot Trilogy
Image: Activision

We couldn’t have a list of the best platformer games on Xbox without including Crash Bandicoot, could we? We could have included the latest game into the series, the impossibly difficult Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. But we’ve instead opted for the N. Sane Trilogy, a remaster of the original series of games, first released on PlayStation One consoles.

Sure, It’s About Time might be more technically proficient than this original trilogy. But if you’re of a certain age, you’re going to get a huge kick out of revisiting the levels and worlds that you know so well. It looks stunning too, and we love that you can see the old visuals with the touch of a button.

5. Marsupilami Hoobadventure

Marsupilami Hoobadventure
Image: Microids

You’ll quite possibly write Marsupilami Hoobadventure off just because of its ridiculous name, and the fact you’ve never heard of Marsupilami. We hadn’t either, but it’s actually a character that started life in Belgian comic books back in the 1950s. Since then, he’s had TV series, cartoons and more — along with the rather excellent Hoobadventure videogame that first released in 2021.

We played Marsupilami Hoobadventure with no idea what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised. This is a fantastic platformer game that feels old but new, reminding us of classics like Crash Bandicoot. It’s beautiful, colourful and packed with collectibles. So: even if you’ve never heard of Marsupilami before, be sure to give this one a go — if you’re looking for one of the best platformer games on Xbox, you won’t be disappointed.

Read our review of Marsupilami Hoobadventure

6. Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro Reignited-min
Image: Activision

If you like platformer games, chances are you’ll already be very familiar with Spyro the Dragon. The purple fire-breather first saw life on the original PlayStation back in the 90s. But he’s had a complete facelift, and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy packs in the first three games in the series with beautifully redesigned graphics. Side-by-side with the original, it’s a marvel – but it’s also somehow exactly how you remember it.

The three games included in Spyro Reignited Trilogy are Spyro The Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. If you’re not familiar with them, expect lots of collecting gems, defeating enemies and exploring gorgeous environments. And like any good platformer game on Xbox, there are plenty of secrets to uncover too. With three games in one, it offers excellent value for money.

Read our review of Spyro Reignited Trilogy

7. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

ooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Image: Playtonic Games

While its predecessor Yooka-Laylee was a completely 3D platformer, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair takes things a little more old-school by having the majority of the game play out on a 2D plane. Its environments are still beautifully crafted in 3D, mind, and its hub world has you exploring in isometric 3D glory, but the 2D levels leave Impossible Lair feeling altogether more traditional.

Like its name may suggest, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is no cake walk. Its levels start off fairly easy, but there really is an impossible lair. And it really is quite impossible – or at least it starts out that way. You see, you can try to tackle said impossible lair at any time, but by completing other levels you’ll gain extra lives to take in with you. It’s a fun romp that’s reminiscent of 90s classics, but with an altogether adorable and modern veneer. It’s a must-play for anyone looking for one of the best platformer games on Xbox.

Read our review of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

8. Tinykin

Tinykin
Image: Splashteam

Oh, how we love Tinykin! This glorious 3D platformer merges puzzles and adventuring, putting you in charge of a tiny space explorer who has crash-landed in… someone’s living room? The entire game takes place inside a rather ordinary house, but to this tiny little being, it’s a huge wonderland begging to be explored.

To help him get around, your space-faring protagonist can call upon the titular Tinykin to perform certain tasks. Some Tinykin can carry large objects, like keys to unlock doors or CDs to put into a music player, for example. Others can create towers to climb up, while some will explode when they’re thrown at an obstacle, creating a new pathway. It’s extremely clever, and although it’s only around six to eight hours long, it’ll keep you invested from start to finish.

Read our review of Tinykin

9. Kao the Kangaroo

Kao the Kangaroo
Image: Tate Multimedia

Kao the Kangaroo has been around since the year 2000, but he’s perhaps not quite as well-known as other platformer heroes — like our Crash, or our Spyro. It’s a shame, though, because Kao deserves just as much love. Released in 2022, Kao the Kangaroo is a reboot of the original series, putting the kangaroo protagonist into a series of colourful 3D levels filled with collectibles, secrets and obstacles to avoid.

It really feels like it’s come directly from the heyday of classic 3D platforming, but much more polished — and way better-looking than the PS1 and PS2 classics ever were. So, even if you’re not familiar with Kao, he deserves your time. Trust us, it’s one of the best platformer games you can play on Xbox consoles.

Read our review of Kao the Kangaroo

10. Unravel Two

Unravel Two 4-min
Image: EA

Very few games look as stunning as Unravel Two. Even now, some six years since its release, it’s beautiful: its hyper-realistic levels pop to life with incredible detail, beautiful lighting and, of course, two of the cutest protagonists you ever did see. A follow-on from the equally beautiful Unravel, Unravel Two is similar in tone, but this time Yarny has a friend along for the ride.

The adventure will have you traversing across dangerous environments, utilising your skills in order to cross large gaps and navigate impassable heights. Since your characters are made out of wool, you’ll be unravelling them in order to create temporary ropeways, or to lasso faraway objects into reach. It’s as inventive as it is gorgeous. Whether played in single-player or co-op, Unravel Two is undoubtedly one of the best platformer games on Xbox.

Read our review of Unravel Two

11. A Hat in Time

Image: Gears for Breakfast

3D platformer A Hat in Time from developer Gears for Breakfast might not have had a major budget behind it, but that hasn’t stopped it from amassing quite the following. Set in a cute and imaginative world filled with colourful characters and plenty of surprises to interact with, A Hat in Time packs in just about everything you’d expect from a traditional 3D platform game. Puzzles to solve, secrets to find, innovate tools to use: you name it, A Hat in Time has it.

It tells a story of a young top hat-wearing girl, travelling through space and time. The worlds she visits are vastly varied, with a wide range of environments to explore and get lost in. It’s your job to find the Time Pieces, scattered throughout the universe, in order to allow her to continue her journey. If 3D platformer games have a special place in your heart, you won’t find much better on Xbox than A Hat in Time.

Read our review of A Hat in Time

12. Rayman Legends

rayman legends platform games ps4

First released on last-generation consoles way back in 2013, Rayman Legends is getting a little long in the tooth now. But its age doesn’t show, and it certainly doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. In fact, playing Rayman Legends simply reminds us what a travesty it is that no new Rayman games have been developed since.

Rayman Legends’ hand-drawn world is absolutely teeming with life. It’s a game where love and care show in every tiny asset, and that in itself makes it a joy to play. Rayman controls beautifully, and jumping from platform to enemy to swinging rope is delightful – but not quite as delightful as the occasional music levels the game features. Who knew jumping on the heads of your foes to the beat of a rock song would be so damn fun? Platforming on Xbox One doesn’t get much better than this.

13. Celeste

Image: Maddy Makes Games, Inc

It takes a really special type of indie game to take the world by storm, but Celeste managed to be just that. Upon its release in 2018, it was met with overwhelming praise from both the public and the press. And when you give it a go, it’s not hard to see why.

Following the journey of Madeline as she tries to overcome her inner demons, you’ll be accompanying her as she treks to the top of Celeste mountain. Her journey is never easy, and there’ll be numerous obstacles in her way – but Celeste’s effortlessly charming pixelated art style and touching narrative means it’s easy to get invested. If you love 2D platformer games with a retro slant, Celeste is absolutely worth your time.

14. Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight platform games ps4
Image: Yacht Club Games

Like Celeste, Shovel Knight is another example of an indie game that’s captured the hearts and imaginations of legions of gamers. In fact, Shovel Knight himself has become quite the icon: he makes cameos in numerous games from Indivisible to Road Redemption and plenty more in between.

But as a game, Shovel Knight captures the pixelated magic of early platformer games, albeit with a shovelly twist. Forget regular swords: Shovel Knight wields the Shovel Blade, the ultimate weapon for stopping his foes. And with it, there’s no stopping him as he traverses numerous worlds and takes down legions of enemies. With pixel-perfect platforming, retro music and visuals to die for and a wealth of wonderful characters, it’s not hard to see why Shovel Knight makes for one of the best platformer games on Xbox.

Read our review of Shovel Knight

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