Everyone knows about Mario, Sonic, Metroid, and Castlevania. But what about those great games that never got franchise backing. What about the 10 Great Platformers You Never Played? We scoured used bargain bins, swap meets, and the internet to find some hidden platformer gems that you probably never heard of. Whether obscure and indie, or lost to the sands of 8 and 16-bit time, these platformers are rarely played or even talked about. Make sure to give these 10 Great Platformers You Never Played a shot.
And Yet it Moves is not just a sentence fragment, it’s a pretty awesome indie title that does interesting things with stage layout. The primary mechanic is the ability to rotate the stage independently of your character. The catch is that your character keeps his momentum when the stage rotates, independent of the stage as well. This simple mechanic was used to great effect creating interesting situations where you would have to rotate the stage several times in mid-air just to remain safe. This cool mechanic is what got And Yet it Moves onto our list of 10 Great Platformers You Never Played.
Claymates was an interesting little game that many kids accidentally picked up when they wanted to get Clayfighter. It starred a kid who was turned into a little blue ball of clay. You would mix with other balls of colored clay in order to turn into different types of animals with different abilities. There were tons of secret hidden warps in levels, and secrets to uncover on map screens. It’s also one of the most fun games to speed run, especially when you get the rat power-up.
VVVVVV is a great indie platformer with a catch. You can’t jump. You can only invert the influence of gravity and even then you can only do it when you are standing on the ground. The rest of the game comes down to avoidance and usage of different types of stage hazards. The whole game was connected together in a Metroidvania style and exploring the many levels it had to offer was half the fun.
Little Samson is an awesome little platformer for the NES that few people have played, but is widely regarded as a collector’s item simply due to its rarity. You control Samson and his friends, Kikira the Dragon, Gamm the Golem and K.O. the mouse, each with different attacks and traversal abilities. You get to upgrade these characters as you go through the game, and each stage has secrets specifically designed for each of the four characters.
Shantae may be the most well-known unknown platformer out there. This genie has a serious cult following. Her platformer games are renowned for their interesting puzzle-like stages. In fact, she has such a powerful following that she was recently the subject of a successful Kickstarter to keep her otherwise abandoned franchise going.
The reason Bonk’s Adventure got on our list of the 10 Greatest Platformers You Never Played is because it released for the PC Engine, otherwise known as the Turbografx-16, which is possibly the greatest console you never owned. Bonk’s games were awesome. They were oldschool platforming goodness through and through. Besides, who can hate on a game where you defeat a T-Rex by headbutting it to death.
Eversion is a fantastic indie platformer that is just flat out horrifying. It starts as a sunny happy platformer filled with smiling enemies and flowers everywhere. But as you solve puzzles and progress through the game’s many “layers” you unveil something far more dark and sinister. This game managed to convey real fear through a platformer whose only real goal was to collect gems. That’s impressive.
Skyblazer was an awesome game for the SNES that handled level progression very well. The map was completely open, which allowed you to play stages mostly in whatever order you wanted. However, to progress further in some stages you needed to get magical abilities which were found as rewards in other stages. This gave the game a Zelda sort of feel. The game was made by Ukiyotei. Remember those guys? Neither do we.
No Time to Explain was a platformer that required you to both use a controller and a mouse at the same time. Usually, your mouse controlled a gigantic laser gun which was not only a method of attack but also a method of locomotion. The kickback on the gun would make your jumps higher and longer. However, the mouse was also used to cling to walls, rocket jump, paint invisible walls, and more when you were given control of characters like your evil twin or your screwed up lizard clone.
Wario Land for Virtual Boy
Finally, we have #1 on our list of 10 Great Platformers You Never Played, Wario Land for Virtual Boy. This game was really fun, a true sequel to Wario Land for the Gameboy. Wario still had his shoulder charge, a bunch of different hat power ups, and his insatiable lust for treasure. In fact, it was the last “pure” Wario Land style game Nintendo ever made. It should be played by everyone, but it won’t be. You know why? Because it was released on the Virtual Boy and no one owns a Virtual Boy.
Next: 25 Best 2D Platformers