The 2D platform games have stood the test of time. From the early 2D games of the 80s to the first 3D games that emerged in the late 90s and early 2000s, jumping from place to place, climbing, grappling, and fighting their way from one level to another never gets boring.
The rising popularity of mobile gaming has motivated developers to come up with even more enthralling 2D adventure games in recent times. 2D platform games are easy-to-play and don’t have heavy narratives. They can be easily played on the go or in-between short breaks.
Five classic 2D platform games to revisit in 2022
1) Badland 2 (2015)
- Developer: Frogmind
- Platforms: iOS, Android
Badland is a beautiful 2D platform puzzle game series praised for its unique artistically designed environment, soothing sounds, and intuitive gameplay elements.
It’s a casual touch and scroll puzzle title perfect for playing on the go. In Badland 2, players fly across a dilapidated forest filled with industrial junk. They must cross the obstacles at each level across chapters distributed in the form of dawn, afternoon, dusk, and night.
2) Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire (2003)
- Developers: Game Freak
- Platforms: Game Boy Advance, Android
This game belongs to an era when Nintendo released one Pokemon title after another for its 32bit Game Boy Advance consoles. Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire takes users across the Hoenn region of the universe. It is the first title that introduces the third generation of Pokemon.
Much of the gameplay is unchanged from previous titles. The linear story also follows a similar trajectory of defeating the Elite Four and becoming the ultimate Pokemon trainer.
Like previous Pokemon editions, the game also has an interesting parallel story about Legendary Pokemon as gamers progress through the storyline. It was also the first Pokemon title to introduce dual battles and contain a PVP and LAN arena.
3) Sonic Mania (2017)
- Developer: Hyperkinetic Studios
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, PlayStation 4
Made in commemoration of the Sonic series’ 25th anniversary, what Sonic Mania was able to do, many modern Sonic titles failed. It was able to bring some of the old-age classic Sonic maneuvers into a 2D platform environment that had a rustic old retro vibe about it.
The game is full of cool bosses to fight, a rolling 2D landscape, and the gameplay of the old Sonic series that everybody fell in love with. Sonic Mania is the perfect platform game to reminisce on the classic Sonic games of the late 90s.
4) Braid (2008)
- Developers: Number One Inc.
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Switch
Braid is an indie puzzle platform game that follows the protagonist, Tim, as he rescues his princess. This simple enough timeless storyline merges fascinating physical puzzles as Tim tries to solve them while killing any monsters coming in the way.
The title’s key element is Tim’s ability to reverse and move time forward. Players must use his supernatural abilities to rescue the princess in this light-hearted and fun 2D platformer.
5) Stardew Valley (2016)
- Developers: ConcernedApe
- Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android
The creators of Stardew Valley have made a farming game of epic proportions. This game offers so much more than just simulating a gamer’s dream farm.
The open world of Stardew Valley, called Pelican Town, is filled with well-made NPC characters. There are interesting side quests to gather resources from caves, dungeons, and creatures to combat.
Stardew Valley is such a well-made title that it feels more like a role-playing adventure than a farm simulation game.
Five 3D platform classics you shouldn’t miss out on
1) Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000)
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Platforms: PlayStation
Spyro: Year of the Dragon is the third major installment of one of the most underrated 3D adventure series, Spyro the Dragon. Featuring advanced environmental and graphical elements from the previous Spyro the Dragon titles, it is by far the most polished title of the old 3D adventure series.
The game also introduces various new playable characters, including Spyro’s firefly friend Sparx. Overall, Spyro: Year of the Dragon is one of the most polished 3D platform games made in the 2000s. It is easy to play, fun, and addictive enough to keep playing one level after another for hours.
2) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)
- Developers: Ubisoft
- Platforms: Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
While many would put Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time into the action-adventure category, considering the game has a lot of grappling, jumping, and acrobatic maneuvers coupled with some of the most memorable and hard-to-solve puzzles in video game history, they can easily put it under the 3D platform category.
It was the first of many Prince of Persia games Ubisoft created, but many still consider it the best in the series. The title follows the journey of a prince in 9th century Persia, as gamers navigate through a grand palace full of traps, puzzles, enemies, and mysteries to solve.
Wall-climbing, grappling, and stealth moves are the core gameplay elements of this evergreen platform game.
3) The Simpsons: Hit and Run (2003)
- Developer: Radical Entertainment
- Platforms: PlayStation 2, Game Cube, Xbox, Windows
Believe it or not, The Simpsons: Hit and Run is the twenty-second installment of the Simpsons video game series. This is yet another underrated but solid 3D platformer that follows the adventures of the popular animated sitcom character Homer Simpson and his family.
The game is heavily inspired by the GTA series and features an open-world 3D environment divided into seven levels and three separate maps. It has five playable characters: Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Apu.
Like the Simpsons television series, The Simpsons: Hit & Run also has an original and compelling storyline. It follows the adventures of Homer Simpson and Apu, who witnessed many strange alien activities happening in the town of Springfield.
The game begins as Homer decides to take matters into his own hands.
4) Spyro Reignited Trilogy (2018)
- Developers: Toys for Bob
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows
Developer Toys for Bob did a fabulous job reigniting the once popular Spyro the Dragon series with much prettier graphics and smoother movement. The playable characters in this title have stunning animations, and the gaming environment has flashier graphics.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy remains faithful to its original gameplay elements. This remastered edition successfully merges all the gameplay mechanics of the original Spyro titles and lays them out into a much more coherent 3D platform game.
5) SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated (2020)
- Developer: Purple Lamp Studios
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, tvOS.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated is a colorful and vibrant 3D platform game where players can control their all-time favorite cartoon characters SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy and go on a journey to save Bikini Bottom.
This platform game’s core mission involves defeating the robot force that has invaded many areas of Bikini Bottom. The gameplay involves:
- Collecting shiny items.
- Dodging various obstacles like spikes and flamethrowers.
- Killing enemies as the characters progress through various levels.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author’s opinion.