There are a lot of video games out there and in this day and age 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 the best 3D Platformers. These games feature breathtaking worlds and intriguing game mechanics! There’s sure to be a good choice 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!
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is an incredible follow-up to Mario’s previous three-dimensional adventures. This game was one of the Nintendo Switch’s flagship titles, next to the well-beloved and award-winning The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It has sold over 10 million copies and is regarded as Mario’s best outing in the field.
In this game, players got to explore multiple vast worlds, each filled with iconic enemies from Goombas to Koopa Troopas. It also features new enemies, each designed to fit within their respective environment’s setting. The worlds are vast and filled with life. It’s not as open as worlds you’d find in adventure titles like Breath of the Wild, but it’s wide enough for fans to jump, run, and roll about.
The gameplay is also a step up with this title. It feels more in line with Banjo-Kazooie in that you no longer get teleported to a hub-world after completing missions. Instead, you can keep the fun going after collecting this game’s equivalent to Mario’s iconic stars. This allows the game to feel fresh and new to those who haven’t played a 3D Mario game since Super Mario 64 (SM 64).
If you’re looking for a game that captures the same magic as SM 64, but expands upon its gameplay with newer ideas, check out Super Mario Odyssey.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Sonic the Hedgehog wasn’t the only mascot with bad blood against Mario. Enter Crash Bandicoot, Sony’s old mascot that served, who was meant to rival Mario in the 3D Platformer space at what time. Despite Crash Bandicoot’s franchise laying dormant for some time, he’s seen a rebirth in the vein of a remade trilogy and fourth instalment.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is the latest instalment in the Crash Bandicoot franchise. This title introduces new story elements and gameplay mechanics that’ll leave most fans happy or enthralled. The character designs are more cartoonish compared to the realistic graphics the N. Sane Trilogy opted for. This allows the characters to come off more expressive and lively.
The game itself is as challenging as its predecessors, as you’ll find yourself dying multiple times to complete levels. However, Crash Bandicoot’s difficulty is what made it a sweeping hit too many, as it feels rewarding whenever you conquer one of its harsher levels.
If you’ve been clamouring to try a 3D platformer with a challenge, check out this Crash Bandicoot title.
Spyro: Reignited Trilogy
Spyro The Dragon was a classic icon from the late 90s’ that many paired up with Crash Bandicoot. Everyone found them to be the greatest platforming tag-team despite the two coming from entirely different worlds. Sony caught wind of this and ended up pairing them together, and Crash and Spyro have been friends since.
Nevertheless, Spyro offered players a similar platforming experience to Mario where Spyro would have to travel to different areas of his world via doorways. The game also had a hub world that harbored these pathways. While later games would expand upon Spyro’s formula a bit, for the good and bad, many enjoyed their time with the purple dragon.
Like Crash, Spyro also ended up going through a pickle. He had been purchased by Activision and remained locked away in the Skylanders franchise. It wasn’t until Crash saw his popularity grow that Activision would try to experiment with Spyro–outside of Skylanders. Then came the Spyro Reignited Trilogy by developers Toys for Bob.
This game remakes all the first-three Spyro games in an advanced game engine. The gameplay is as charming as Spyro’s original trilogy, but this time, it has better graphics, controls, and sound design. Considering the amount of content that was packed inside the first three games, fans will be in for a long but worthwhile treat.
A Hat In Time
A Hat In Time serves as a love letter to classic 3D platformer titles like Banjo Kazooie and Super Mario 64. The game follows a cutesy protagonist full of innocence and naivety. Her reactions to the characters, bad and good, that she encounters lean near the spectrums of awe and delight.
A Hat In Time has many collectibles for players to search for and obtain. These range from different attire to stickers that you can utilize as emotes in the game. Many of these can be unlocked via the game’s gacha machine or by completing its many challenges and levels. The game offers many modes from online and local multiplayer to a speed-running mode.
The game’s world designs are top-notch. There are worlds inspired by spooky forests, dark cities, and even a movie set. The characters that inhabit these worlds all look, sound, and blend well with the environments. The music accompanying each map also fits the theme each is striving for.
“Where are you, Banjo and Kazooie?” is a question I see floating around online a lot. You’d think with the characters making their debut in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s first DLC pack, Microsoft would announce a new title to coincide with their inclusion. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any news regarding a new game for the bird and bear. But never say “never.”
On the other hand, Banjo Kazooie is hailed as the best 3D platformer of all time. Many people raise it above Super Mario 64 because of its unique level designs and approach to gathering collectibles. Unlike Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie didn’t offer a hub world. It offers players open worlds for them to complete missions without interruption.
The game also has better visuals and sound design areas. The visuals in these worlds are breathtaking and full of creativity. There are maps ranging from spooky mansions to a tree that features all four seasons. Banjo and Kazooie’s nemesis Gruntilda feels more grounded in realism thanks to her human-like appearance. She’s also as witty as Kazooie with her puns and dialogue.
Banjo Kazooie is a classic title that seeps in child-like imagery and imagination. If you’ve never experienced the game for yourself, you should!
Sly Cooper Trilogy
Sly Cooper was another mascot that sought his debut after the likes of Crash and Spyro the Dragon. It follows the adventures of three friends, who are all anthropomorphic animals bearing incredible abilities and personalities. This franchise offers a stealthier approach with its gameplay since its theme revolves around thriving and deceiving.
Furthermore, the main characters Sly Cooper, Bentley the Turtle, and Murray the Hippo, all have strengths and weaknesses that make them great. For instance, Sly is very cocky but has great athletic ability while Bentley is the wisest member of the group who lacks physical prowess. Each of them also has unique missions tailored to their personality types that are grand.
Despite their differences, this remarkable trio treats each other with respect and love. If you’ve ever wanted a 3D platforming game that offers different forms of play, check out any of the Sly Cooper games.
Jak and Daxter Trilogy
The Jak and Daxter franchise offers remarkable storylines, compelling and exhilarating gameplay, and a wonderful soundtrack. The gameplay evolves gradually from its first entry to its last. Each game offers a new and incredible foe for Jack and Daxter to take down. But through teamwork, they always manage to come out on top.
The games were developed by Naughty Dog, the same studio that created Crash Bandicoot and went on to make the beloved The Last of Us franchise. The gameplay in Jak and Daxter imitates the harsher level design in Crash Bandicoot while capturing the feel of games like Super Mario 64.
In these games, you’ll play as Jak and slowly gain new abilities and powers that’ll help you defeat the game’s infamous bosses. The bosses are rather difficult to take down and you’ll need to tackle each of them with patience. However, as you play, you’ll start getting the hang of the game, and should breeze on by without worry.
Ape Escape Trilogy
Ape Escape is one of PlayStation’s underrated and unique franchises. It offers a new form of gameplay via its bizarre controls, but themes that echo classic 3D platformer and monster tamer games. It blends both concepts wonderfully, leaving behind a remarkable product.
In Ape Escape you’ll control a human character who is tasked with catching monkeys and transporting them back into their well-established homes. To catch these primates, you’ll receive a highly advanced net and a sword-like weapon to subdue them. Later games introduce fancier equipment like electric hula-hoops, RC cars, and slingshots.
As with other 3D platformers, Ape Escape’s bosses all have unique designs and abilities. They offer a wonderful degree of challenge and build upon the lore of its world. Ape Escape’s main villain, Specter is one of the series’ best bosses as his high intellect and wit serve a mighty challenge.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Although fans argue the Rabbids are Ubisoft’s new favorite mascot, they wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for their collaboration with Rayman. Rayman 2: The Great Escape sought the armless do-gooder battle ruthless pirates to save those closest to him. It was Rayman’s first big endeavour into 3D, and many deem it to be his best.
Rayman 2 offered mesmerizing visuals, diverse worlds, catchy music, and well-polished gameplay mechanics. Unlike the first game, Rayman can now run, jump, fly, and water-ski in 3D. The animations look astonishing, and the worlds are glorious. Each of them packs incredible secrets and details for players to immerse themselves in.
The game takes about 40 hours to complete. So if you can manage to set aside some time and find yourself a copy of Rayman 2, I suggest you do so.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom
SpongeBob SquarePants is a childhood television icon. He and his friends are loved by many children around the world. The antics and adventures they go on are full of laughs and joys. However, imagine what happens if you take that joy and mesh it together in a semi-open video game world. You’ll end up with something like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom.
To most gamers, this is the greatest SpongeBob video game. It offers players many things to do from completing missions, exploring memorable areas from the cartoon, and giving fans the SpongeBob adventure of their fantasies. Like Super Mario 64, this game offers players a hub world connecting to different areas of Bikini Bottom.
It also treats Golden Spatulas as the rare collectible SpongeBob will need to attain to progress through the game. These are earned by completing the game’s main missions, side quests, and hidden challenges. Unlike most 3D Platformers, you can also play as other characters like Patrick and Sandy. Both have their own unique challenges for you to seek your teeth into.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best 3D Platforming video games of all time!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!