Top 25 best platformers on Nintendo Switch
Updated by Jupiter Hadley on December 18th, 2023 - updated with more games.
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 said genre. From the original Donkey Kong to Mario's 3D opus, Nintendo Switch turned out a number of the very best platformers in the gaming industry.
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!
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 title.
You will find many unique features that bring a lot of new stuff to the regular Mario gameplay. By the way, we've got some tips and tricks to help you learn about new moves and master them even faster. Don't forget that you can enjoy it with a friend. One of you will have to play as Mario, while the other will control Cappy. If you are looking for more detailed information, feel free to read our Super Mario Odyssey review.Download Super Mario Odyssey ($59.99)
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 die a lot and often in Celeste. In this regard, it 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. Therefore, if you love hardcore games, Celeste is your best pick, moreover, we have some tips for Celeste that will definitely help you learn more.Download Celeste ($19.99)
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 the first time. Be wary though, Hollow Knight is far from the average platform games on Switch, it's one of the most challenging titles that you can get your hands on.
The art style is just amazing, and the map here is full of stunning locations and exciting events. The moment you master this fast and dynamic gameplay, you will enjoy every single battle. Since the title is pretty challenging, we have collected a list of the most useful tips and tricks for Hollow Knight to help you get to know the game and your adversaries better.Download Hollow Knight ($15.00)
Donkey Kong Country: 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. Donkey Kong has a two-player co-op, which allows you to enjoy the gameplay together with your friend. If you want to sit back and relax, you should try a funky mode.
But if you are looking for more challenging gameplay, we recommend you start it in the original mode. You'll have to control Donkey Kong and team up with many other characters to defeat frosty enemies. In case you need more information we have a Donkey Kong Country review which will reveal every detail that we couldn't fit here.Download Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ($59.99)
Dead Cells is one of the greatest action platformers to be launched in recent years on both mobiles and other consoles, 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. Dead Cells 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 and get to know what challenges you'll encounter.
After death, you have to start your run from the very beginning. The key to a successful run is to find a weapon that perfectly suits your play style and upgrade it. One of the best things about this title is the different weapons based on other games, such as Hotline Miami, Terraria, and many more. To help you pick the best weapon, we have created a Dead Cells tier list, so you're not on your own.Download Dead Cells ($24.99)
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. For a better experience, you can play in co-op mode with your friend. You can also use Snapshot Mode to create some fantastic pictures.
Together with Mario, you will meet many beloved characters from the Mario universe, such as Luigi, Toad, and others. These playable characters have unique abilities that you will have to use to pass obstacles and collect Green Stars.Download Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury ($59.99)
Steamworld Dig 2
Like the first game, Steamworld Dig 2 is a brilliantly vertical Metroidvania, in which you must dig down through the dirt and precious rocks in a bid to uncover a lost civilisation. Image & Form's expressive steampunk aesthetic is on point, as ever. You will have to face some powerful enemies and upgrade your items to become even stronger. A world full of adventures is waiting for you!
On top of that, Steamworld Dig 2 has a pretty impressive and colorful art style, and each level here is unique and looks completely different from the others. Throughout the game, you need to learn how to manage your resources, health, and even lantern correctly.Download Steamworld Dig 2 ($19.99)
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. We did make a Sonic Mania review for those of you that would love to know how we have rated it.
The levels in Sonic Mania are huge, and most importantly they offer non-linearity. Each stage can be completed in several ways, some of which are exclusive to certain characters. This turns the process of playing for each of the three heroes into almost a separate campaign. Without a doubt, one of the most exciting things about this game is the competition mode, where you can compete with other players.Download Sonic Mania ($19.99)
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 and you will find many puzzles with different levels of complexity. It is a pretty unique title compared to the others on the list, so if you want to experience something new, Inside is one of the best options!
The moody art style here perfectly complements the mysterious atmosphere and constantly keeps you on your toes. The gameplay here is incredible, but you might face problems solving some of the puzzles, so don't expect to get off easily. Moreover, here we have an Inside review for you.Download Inside ($19.99)
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. There are three difficulty levels in Wonder Boy, so it will be a perfect option for those players who want to relax and enjoy the gameplay and those who are looking for a challenge.
You will have to explore many locations and face a lot of dangerous monsters and even dragons. Here you will find plenty of different characters, such as Lion-Man, Lizard-Man, Hawk-Man, and many more, who will help you find secrets using their abilities. If you're still having doubts about whether it is the right one for you, read the full Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap review to learn more.Download Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap ($19.99)
Black and white whirlpool with an emotionless boy roaming through, well, it's clear from the game's name, right? Limbo teaches you that repetition is a must if you want to learn how to overcome obstacles. Failing to jump over an obstacle or run away from the giant menace chasing you will result in gruesome consequences, as the physics of your main character is perfectly done. When he gets impaled on a spike on accident, there's a realistic representation that will get stuck in your head for a while. You will fail time and again, and challenge the same obstacles and adversaries over and over until you move forward. Kind of like life, if you think about it.
You might think that black and white aren't enough to tell a story, especially since there is no real dialogue. Of course, you're wrong, and this puzzle platformer will teach you that you don't need flashy animations and effects to create a masterpiece, all it takes is a bit of creativity.Download Limbo ($9.99)
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 were positively surprised after the sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, came out. You can play them both on Nintendo Switch, and you're probably going to love them, as they are certainly top platformer games.
This is definitely the cutest title on the list, with an unbelievably gorgeous world and characters that you'll remember for a long time. However, the gameplay is pretty challenging; you will have to fight against difficult bosses, as well as go through many complex locations with traps and other obstacles. Upgrade your character and unlock new abilities to enjoy the impressive gameplay full of different unique elements.Download Ori and the Blind Forest ($19.99)
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. The main advantages of an NSMB are new playable characters together with the well-known old ones. You will meet Peachette, Luigi, Bowser, and many other incredible characters. On top of that, there are various fantastic game modes, such as coin battle, boost rush, and challenges.
The controls are easy enough even for the child, but at the same time, the gameplay is exciting enough even for an avid gamer. Perfect balance! In case you're not convinced, and need more information about this fantastic title, make sure to check out our New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe review.Download New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe ($59.99)
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. You'll have to complete many incredible levels, solve various complex puzzles, and collect different items.
The gameplay here is pretty straightforward, you have to roll, run, and jump to solve the puzzles and complete the levels. If you have completed all of the available levels, but want to play more, here you will find the alternate level states feature that generates new landscapes and basically creates even more content for you to enjoy.Download Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair ($29.99)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
The name says it all really: this is a veritable treasure trove of retro platformer games, combining the brilliant original with its generous expansions. As comprehensive a 2D Switch platformer package as you're likely to find. Moreover, you can test all of these together with your friend in the co-op mode. One of the best things about this project is some epic music that perfectly complements the dynamic gameplay.
If you want to test your skills, Shovel Knight has a challenge mode with 50+ complicated levels. On top of that, the title has an impressive pixel art style that brings you back to the good old days. Moreover, you can start a New Game+ to discover all of the secrets of this mysterious world.Download Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove ($39.99)
It Takes Two
If you are looking for a platformer that's best played with your friend or family member, It Takes Two is a wonderful, heartwarming platformer stuffed with puzzles, exploration, and mystery. You and your friend will be able to work through your problems, as two characters who have turned into dolls while fighting because their relationship is dying. Now, you need to explore this wild and wacky world, trying to work together so that you can solve problems! It's a very fun game and does rely on the other player, giving you something to work towards together.Download It Takes Two
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
It feels a little weird having the original PlayStation mascot represented so boldly on a Nintendo Switch. But Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy makes itself at home with three rich slices of no-fuss 3D platforming action. It has some crazy gameplay, colourful graphics, beloved characters, and fantastic music.
Indeed, it is so awesome to experience the gameplay of the old days together with modern graphics. Here you will find everything you loved in the old Crash Bandicoot games. The level design is on point, and this iteration of Crash Bandicoot has many complex challenges and well-hidden secrets.Download Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy ($39.99)
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. Moreover, you can explore this fantastic world full of surprises together with your friend in a co-op mode. You'll be able to collect a plethora of beautiful items that you can use to decorate Kirby’s house.
In other words, Kirby has a cute art style and a dynamic combat system with many interesting features. There are two difficulty modes, so if you are looking for a challenge, you will be satisfied with the complexity of the game, and if you want to relax and enjoy this colorful world, you can just pick a lower difficulty.Download Kirby and the Forgotten Land ($59.99)
Fe is a beautiful and unusual take on the 3D platformer with a serious artistic bent, a beautiful narrative, and an explorative edge. This game will tell you a magnificent story without saying a single word. You have to explore a dark Nordic forest and discover its secrets. It will remind you a bit of the other two games that we have mentioned above - Limbo and Ori. Why? Well, it has that vow of silence that Limbo has, and the artwork will remind you a bit of Ori and the Blind Forest, with the only difference being that this is a 3D title.
If you loved either of those two, you'll probably like the simplicity of Fe, as it's truly meant for players who would like to relax and enjoy their gaming sessions.Download Fe ($19.99)
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. In fact, N++ has more than 4000 interesting levels and many different game modes, such as local co-op mode, hardcore mode, and local competitive mode. There are a lot of hidden secrets that will lure you to uncover them!
The gameplay is not only about completing the level but also about getting the highest possible score. Many robots will do everything they can to eliminate you and make you start from the beginning. There are plenty of epic electronic soundtracks that perfectly complement the gameplay and make the whole gaming process much more enjoyable.Download N++ ($14.99)
The incredible Yooka-Laylee world and plenty of epic adventures are waiting for you! Essentially a love letter to Rare's classic Banjo-Kazooie games of the N64 era - and made by some of the key talents behind those games - Yooka-Laylee is an appropriately bright and bouncy 3D collect-a-thon.
An exciting aspect of Yooka-Laylee is the special abilities of your characters, which you should use correctly to solve many complex puzzles. Your task here is pretty simple: solve the puzzles to get the golden bounty, and use it to unlock many new worlds and tons of new content. Each world consists of plenty of unique challenges, funny bosses, interesting quizzes, and many more.Download Yooka-Laylee ($39.99)
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. You will have to fight many enemies and upgrade your character. The Messenger features dynamic ninja gameplay with many acrobatic moves. There are numerous interesting hidden levels for attentive gamers as well.
It has a decent number of levels, and each differs from the previous one. You will fight your way through jungle, snow, sky, sea, and many other beautiful locations. Of course, those locations will be filled with unique bosses and villains with pretty interesting abilities and stylish designs. Overall, the art style of the title is excellent, and the soundtrack is also on point.Download The Messenger ($19.99)
Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition
The ultimate version of one of the finest platformer games of the modern era. Rayman combines truly stellar cartoon-level graphics with joyously madcap platforming. The gameplay is simple but, at the same time, extremely addictive. You can enjoy it in a co-op mode with up to 4 friends. More than 100 incredible maps are waiting for you.
The story Rayman Legends is also pretty exciting. *Spoilers ahead*. The main characters found a tent full of colourful paintings, and unexpectedly, they got sucked into them. And now, they have to travel from one world to another to uncover the mysteries of these paintings. For those of you who would love to know more, we have prepared Rayman Legends review, where we have shared our opinion about this title.Download Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition ($39.99)
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. In Shinsekai, you will have to explore the underwater world. But be on your guard, and manage your oxygen supply carefully!
Shinsekai has a magnificent art style, and the underwater world here looks amazing, but at the same time, it is a sufficiently dangerous place with plenty of different monsters. You will have various weapons to protect yourself, however, make sure to use them wisely.Download Shinsekai: Into the Depths ($19.99)
If you are looking for a historically challenging platformer, Cuphead can give you a significant challenge! It takes notes from classic video games, and ties in Disney-styled animation, to create a challenging world full of strange characters and levels to beat. I, for one, still cannot master parrying and have trouble with many of the bosses, but you and a friend can work together to fight through levels, destroying strange creatures that feel somewhat familiar, while trying to survive! And, if you cannot get enough of Cuphead, there is even a Netflix series featuring the main characters.
It has a DLC called The Delicious Last Course, which in our opinion is worth getting in case you like the original, test it out and see for yourself. Just don't say that we didn't warn you, this is one of the hardest platform games on Switch!Get Cuphead
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