Best 2D Platform Games Of All Time | TheReviewGeek Recommends

There are a lot of video games out there and in this era of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic?

Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable games through the years.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to 2D platform games. From colorful worlds to familiar settings, you have a lot of games to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!

Donkey Kong Country (Series)

Donkey Kong Country provides platforming junkies with colorful characters, engaging visuals, and beautiful music. The game’s levels can be challenging with its massive jumps and charming boss battles. The series has you following the adventures of Donkey Kong and his friends as they hope to thwart each villain’s scheme.

The original SNES trilogy had foes combatting the Kremlings and their ruler, King K. Rool. Later games would introduce newer opponents for the Kongs to defeat. They’re as charismatic as King K. Rool and his minions, but many will miss the merciless reptilian menace and his cronies. Regardless, you’ll enjoy the game’s diverse level design and explore what Donkey Kong’s homeland holds.

If you’re searching for an incredible 2D platformer with challenging levels and alluring music, give this a shot.

Shovel Knight

If Donkey Kong revolutionized 2D platformers, Shovel Knight brought fans back to that golden era of it. This remarkable, pixelated indie game features the same tone, experience, and feeling as iconic platforming games. It follows a silent protagonist who embarks on a journey through a colorful world to rescue his mistress from an evil sorceress.

It’s a simple premise with enticing gameplay to back it up. You can defeat enemies by attacking them with Shovel Knight’s iconic shovel or by utilizing the magic spells he attains as you advance through the world. The game’s overworld features numerous NPCs with entertaining personalities. The worlds hold special secrets and hidden locales that you’ll find interesting too.

No 2D platformer would be complete without challenging bosses. The game’s difficulty gradually increases over time, but players will be prepared enough to overcome these hurdles. With its heart-pumping soundtrack, gorgeous scenery, and fun gameplay, you’re in for a treat with this 2D adventure.

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a challenging 2D platformer game with Metroivania elements. It has you explore a bug-infested land called Hallownext as an insectoid warrior called The Knight. His mission is to uncover the kingdom’s secrets. He’ll meet many colorful NPCs who’ll share tales with him about Hallownest.

While these individuals will welcome you with open arms, Hallownest features numerous baddies for you to defeat. These bosses are relentless and may push you to your breaking point. However, the game supplies you with the needed abilities to triumph over them. These abilities fit The Knight’s focused demeanor well and will assist in helping you explore the game further.

Hollow Knight has some intricate puzzles for you to solve. These puzzles will make you think and can be a hassle for those inexperienced with Metroidvania-like games. Hollow Knight’s diverse locales add to its melancholic atmosphere and they all look dashing. Fans looking for a 2D platformer with gorgeous visuals and soothing music should look no further than Hollow Knight.

Ori and The Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a brilliant follow-up to Ori and the Blind Forest. It includes more intricate puzzles, challenging platforming levels, and more gorgeous backdrops for players to glare at. The soundtrack is as soothing as the first game and plays a role in helping players stay immersed in the game’s surroundings.

As always, players can expect Ori to endure many cinematic boss fights. These boss fights will get your heart pumping. The game’s environments look marvelous with their vivid colors and beautiful terrain. Some players may not adore the game’s lack of instruction, though. Frustrations aside, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a must-play game for platforming enthusiasts and one that will leave a memorable impression.

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is known for being one of Mario’s best 2D outings. This game has Mario exploring a colorful world and teaming up with Nintendo’s iconic green dinosaur, Yoshi. With Yoshi’s help, Mario vows to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser and the Koopalings. Yoshi adds a layer of depth to the gameplay with his consume and spit-out mechanics.

Exploring the game’s diverse locales also feels incredible with Yoshi’s assistance. Compared to Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3, Super Mario World looks the best visually. The game’s catchy soundtrack is on par with those titles, too. As with prior games, Mario receives some excellent power-ups in Super Mario World to make the Koopa and Goomba stomping better.

The game’s overworld map is immaculate and fun to navigate through, too. If you’re looking for a stellar 2D platforming game from Mario’s catalog, Super Mario World should be high up on your wishlist.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a precision-based platformer that will make you rage and laugh at your failed attempts. It boasts incredible level design, an amusing storyline, and colorful characters. The premise is basic. You must avoid obstacles while gunning for the game’s goalpost. The tale involves the evil Dr. Fetus kidnapping Super Meat Boy’s girlfriend Bandage Girl.

It’s up to you to secure your girlfriend’s safety by overcoming the game’s overabundance of hazards. Super Meat Boy’s animations are equally satisfying and the music is just as great. If you played the Dark Souls franchise, you’ll know how satisfying it feels to overcome a challenging boss fight. You’ll achieve the same feeling after completing Super Meat Boy’s difficult levels. With its enjoyable cartoon-like art style, high difficulty curve, and amusing storytelling, you’ll have a blast playing through Super Meat Boy.

You can read our thoughts on Super Meat Boy in our video game review here!

Sonic Mania Plus

Sonic Mania was a well-loved gem from late 2017. It brought Sonic back into the limelight and recaptured Sonic the Hedgehog’s magic. The game included homages to classic stages like Green Hill Zone. It also incorporates new levels for players to traverse through like Studiopolis Zone. Eventually, Sega capitalized on Sonic Mania’s success and delivered an excellent expansion for fans to enjoy.

Sonic Mania Plus includes all the content from Sonia Mania but features some new and enticing content. In it, fans receive new characters, maps, and music. The game comes equipped with a pinball bonus stage, a four-player competition mode, and remixed levels, too. Other than that, the game remains untouched. If you adored Sonic Mania and how it brought Sonic back to his roots, you’ll love Sonic Mania Plus more.

Rayman Legends

Rayman is a cherished Ubisoft mascot who hasn’t been in a new game for a while now. He’s known for being one of the best platforming mascots and his series warmed the hearts of many people. At one point in time, Rayman was related to a party spin-off series called Rayman Raving Rabbids. This series had a mixed reception from fans since it didn’t bring Rayman back to his roots.

Fortunately, Rayman Legends released and restored fans’ faith in his series. In it, Rayman, Globox, and the Teensies uncover a mysterious tent filled with beautiful paintings and interact with them. By doing so, they get sent to a myriad of worlds. It’s up to them to uncover the mystery behind these mythical realms while fighting many foes.

This game has an impressive 2D art style, fun co-op play, and amusing dialogue. The game’s boss battles are entertaining and challenging. If you’re looking for a fabulous 2D platformer with impressive visuals and fun characters, this is definitely worth checking out.

Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 & 2

Mega Man is a beloved mascot from Capcom. While the studio’s known more for its fighting games, the Mega Man universe contains memorable characters, rich storytelling, and remarkable music that’ll get you pumped. Mega Man X is a sub-series from the Mega Man universe that added new gameplay elements like dashing and climbing walls.

The Mega Man X games gave fans more mobility and making upgrades to his armor was delightful. The difficulty curve wasn’t as high in X as opposed to the original Mega Man games, though. While wall-climbing may not sound interesting on paper, indulging in the activity added to players’ immersion in the world and made traversing levels fun.

Eventually, Capcom released two collections of the Mega Man X games. Obtaining both collections will net you access to Mega Man X to Mega Man X8. With some neat additions and improvements, this is a great way to experience what this sub-series has to offer.


Fun indie games are easy to come by, but magnificent games are a rare sight. Celeste is a precision-platformer game that’s challenging, emotional, and fascinating. It has beautiful storytelling, a likable protagonist, and a slew of mature themes that will strike at anyone’s core. In it, you must help a young girl named Madeline reach Celeste Mountain.

She doesn’t explain why she wants to visit it. However, little details are gradually dropped throughout her adventure which will reveal her reasons. On that note, the game does an excellent job of balancing its storytelling with its platforming sections. The game boasts an incredible atmospheric soundtrack that’ll help you stay immersed in Celeste’s storytelling and setting.

As mentioned before, the game can feel daunting to play. You’ll be making many simple mistakes that will make you rage. Nonetheless, if you find the game’s platforming sections a breeze, the title offers a more challenging option that’ll upscale the difficulty. If you’re looking for another title with a soothing atmosphere and breathtaking visuals, check out Celeste.

So, there we have it, our pick for the best 2D platform video games through the years!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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