Best Games

Top 25 best platformers for Nintendo Switch

Top 25 best platformers for Nintendo Switch

Left Arrow
0/25
Right Arrow
Updated on: November 22, 2022

You'd kind of expect the Nintendo Switch to be home to some wonderful platformers really, wouldn't you?

Nintendo, after all, is the defining figure in the formation of the platformer genre. From the original Donkey Kong through to Mario's latest 3D opus, it's turned out a number of the very best and most influential platformers in the business.

The following list really doesn't disappoint - unless your own personal favourite is missing. We've had to leave off some absolute classics, such was the level of competition.

What we've gone for, beyond simple quality, is a good representation of the current Switch platformer scene. This is a deeply diverse genre, and not just in terms of 2D and 3D perspectives.

There are roguelikes, Metroidvanias, shooters, RPGs, and much more besides among the following selection. Something for everyone, you could say.

And if indeed we have missed one of your favourites, be sure to share in the comments below. Hop right into the best Switch platformers!

The original list by John Mundy, updated by PocketGamer staff.
Click Here To View The List »

1
Super Mario Odyssey

Some would say that this is the best 3D Switch platformer ever made. Super Mario Odyssey is packed full of wonder, with more ideas and diversion in a single sprawling level than most games manage in their entire length. Super Mario Odyssey is every bit as diverse in its design as its predecessors. Every world feels unique and bursting with things to discover. It's still gorgeous, too, even for an early Switch game.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

2
Celeste

A supreme 2D Switch platformer that somehow marries a series of taut bite-sized acrobatic challenges with a beautifully written narrative. Celeste is a modern classic. From its gorgeous pixel art to its banging soundtrack, this is a game you'll want to replay over and over just to experience it again.

You will have to die a lot and often in Celeste. In this regard, the game is most reminiscent of Super Meat Boy and The End Is Nigh, although the basic mechanics here are not so hardcore. Still, every jump and dash requires precision execution that feels awesome when you pull it off.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

3
Hollow Knight

The Switch isn't short of brilliant Metroidvanias, but Hollow Knight is arguably the finest of them all. Featuring a wonderfully atmospheric bug-themed world, weighty melee combat, and a sprawling interconnected world to explore, Team Cherry nailed the genre first time. Be wary though, this is not your average Switch platformer, it's one of the most challenging games that you can get your hands on.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

4
Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze

An almost-lost Wii U classic gets a second chance on Switch - and what a game it is. This is a 2.5D platformer of the very highest quality, with superb level design and DK's distinctively kinetic movement.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

5
Dead Cells

Dead Cells is one of the greatest action platformers to be launched on any platform in recent years, but this slick roguelite suits Switch best of all. Its fluid and varied 2D combat is even more of a feature than its slick platforming. It might be a bit more challenging, so if you're looking for something light, it shouldn't be your first pick. Be sure to check out our Dead Cells guide for 15 tips to help you emerge victorious.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

6
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

Super Mario 3D World is a 3D Nintendo Switch platformer of breezy, easy-going grace. It's packaged here alongside the bracingly different Bowser's Fury, which places you in a full (if compact) open world and sets you against a towering Bowser. Both are brilliant, in very different ways.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

7
Steamworld Dig 2

Like the first game, Steamworld Dig 2 is a brilliantly vertical Metroidvania, in which you must dig down through dirt and precious rocks in a bid to uncover a lost civilisation. Image & Form's expressive steampunk aesthetic is on point, as ever.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

8
Sonic Mania

After various ill-advised 3D excursions, Sonic returns to his speedy 2D roots in Sonic Mania. The result is arguably the finest Sonic platformer ever made.

The levels in Sonic Mania are huge. And the best that levels in Mania have to offer is non-linearity. Each stage can be completed in several ways, some of which are exclusive to certain characters. And this turns the process of playing for each of the three heroes into almost a separate campaign.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

9
Inside

This spiritual successor to the marvellous Limbo goes even further with its spookily immersive world and engrossing platform-puzzler gameplay. Beautiful, strange and slightly icky. It's great gymnastics for the brain.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

10
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

A wonderful reinvention of the classic adventure-platformer, with beautiful hand-drawn graphics and an orchestral soundtrack. Yes, it's a port with non-optimal virtual controls, but the underlying game is fabulous.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

11
Kaze and the Wild Masks

If you've blasted through Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and find yourself itching for more 2.5D platforming brilliant, Kaze and the Wild Masks is a great next step.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

12
Ori and the Blind Forest

One of the main competitors to Hollow Knight for the title of "best most charmingly gorgeous Metroidvania game," Ori and the Blind Forest sets you loose into a beautifully verdant 2.5D world. In 2021, fans of this game were positively surprised after the sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, came out. You can play them both on Nintendo Switch, and we know you're going to love them, as they are certainly top Switch platformers.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

13
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe doesn't have the progressive feel of Super Mario Odyssey or even Bowser's Fury, but this 2.5D adventure is an absolute hoot - especially in multiplayer.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

14
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Boldly and successfully switching away from the 3D platforming of the original, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is more of a 2.5D Donkey Kong Country-meets-Super Metroid affair - and a rather splendid one at that.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

15
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

The name says it all really: this is a veritable treasure trove of retro platformer goodies, combining the brilliant original with its generous expansions. As comprehensive a 2D Switch platformer package as you're likely to find.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

16
Cave Story+

Cave Story+ is the ultimate iteration of a true indie classic. This is an action platformer that's packed full of memorable levels and a surprising amount of variety.

Cave Story+ is one of the most famous indie games of all time, created by independent designer Daisuke Amaya, known to fans as Pixel. The game tells the story of the protagonist, who finds himself in a dark cave with complete amnesia and who then stumbles upon a village of creatures known as Mimigs.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

17
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

It feels a little weird having the original PlayStation mascot represented so boldly on a Nintendo platform. But Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy makes itself at home with three rich slices of no-fuss 3D platforming action.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

18
Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Your old friend Kirby is in the 3D world now, and you'll run him through from the sunny beaches and tropical environment all the way to the snowy wastes. You'll be able to swallow your opponents, and objects, burrow underground and solve platform challenges.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

19
Fe

Fe is a beautiful and unusual take on the 3D Switch platformer with a serious artistic bent, a beautiful narrative, and an explorative edge.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

20
N++

Another member of indie game royalty, N++ contains a seemingly endless supply of bite-sized platforming challenges, and some of the most tactile platforming mechanics you'll find anywhere.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

21
Yooka-Laylee

Essentially a love letter to Rare's classic Banjo-Kazooie games of the N64 era - and made by some of the key talent behind those games - Yooka-Laylee is an appropriately bright and bouncy 3D collect-a-thon.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

22
The Messenger

A game that takes its inspiration from old school action platformers like Ninja Gaiden, The Messenger's 'cloudstepping' mechanic leads to a series of exhilaratingly balletic aerial battles.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

23
Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition

The ultimate version of one of the finest 2D platformers of the modern era. Rayman combines truly stellar cartoon-level graphics with joyously madcap platforming.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

24
Shinsekai: Into the Depths

It's not the most polished Metroidvania on Switch, but Shinsekai: Into the Depths nails those feelings of exploration and isolation better than anything, and its underwater setting makes for some fascinating platforming mechanics.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

25
GoNNER 2

The original GoNNER was an early indie exclusive for the eShop, with a distinctively gruesome hand-drawn aesthetic and lashings of tough roguelite action-platforming. This sequel offers more of the same, which still makes it pretty darned unique.

yt
Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on
Left Arrow
0/25
Right Arrow