10 Best Platform Games For Mario Fans
Nintendo’s Super Mario may be the preeminent platforming franchise, but it’s far from the only series capable of delivering exciting gameplay.
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It can be said that there’s hardly a gamer around who hasn’t been exposed to the fun and phenomenal platforming action of Super Mario Bros. Mario, Bowser, and Princess Peach are more than likely the first video game characters many players are introduced to, and they’ve been a staple of the genre since 1985.
That being said, one can get too comfortable in the Mushroom Kingdom and seek to explore other worlds. Fortunately, Mario was not only a pioneer, but he was an inspiration for many to come, as well. Often imitated but never duplicated, there are legions of games for Mario fans still looking to scratch that platformer itch.
Cuphead might be a run-and-gun platforming title, but this beautiful and difficult gem deserves mentioning for the notes it takes from Nintendo’s flagship franchise. It features two brother protagonists, a bevy of levels that wouldn’t be out of place in the Mushroom Kingdom such as the forest and the funfair, and they even have to save a damsel in distress on occasion.
Although its challenge and art style are far from what might be expected from Nintendo’s plumber, the influence simply cannot be denied. Now if only players could jump on enemies.
9 Sonic Mania
Sega does what Ninten-don’t—or at least that’s how the slogan went. Mario has been in a rivalry with Sonic since the early 90s, and, while the man in red might still wear the crown, the Blue Blur has definitely given him a run for his coins.
Sonic earns a spot on the list for the magnificent Sonic Mania, a return to form for Sega’s blue ball of fun. The game takes everything from the original Genesis titles that made Sonic wonderful, what more can a gamer want?
8 Trine Series
While it might focus on more puzzle elements than Mario might, Trine is an absolutely gorgeous fantasy platformer that’s easy to pick up but hard to master. Instead of one character to get from A to B, players are given a trio of traditional questing heroes to lead on a great adventure.
It has the simple left-to-right platforming mechanics of an early Mario game, but it throws in skills, puzzles, and creative level designs to make it stand out from the standard title. It’s a therapeutic experience, if nothing else.
7 Donkey Kong Country Series
He might have squared up with DK in the past, but Donkey Kong has had more than his fair share of adventures in his career. No longer obsessed with kidnapping Pauline, the big ape is more focused on protecting his banana hoard from the clutches of King-K-Rool.
From bouncing on enemies to finding collectibles in crates and barrels, Mario’s influences still felt in these Adventure titles. But, kudos to Rare for having their character Branch out and even receive assistance from some animal buddies!
Considered by many to be the Mario equivalent in the indie genre, Braid is a strangely familiar experience that takes Mario’s narrative but gives it a surreal twist. Just because the suit-wearing Tim is the protagonist does not mean he’s the hero.
Essentially a combination of Super Mario Bros. and Prince of Persia, Braid offers a familiar platforming formula with a time-stopping twist. It’s definitely a title fans of the genre should pick up and play.
5 Ducktales: Remastered
If there was ever a title on Nintendo that both broke the mold and put it on a pedestal, it’s DuckTales. The original NES title was remade and remastered in 2013 to much love from platforming fans. To say Mario himself would be proud would not be an exaggeration.
As Scrooge McDuck, players can bounce on enemies, collect treasures, and take on bosses to maintain his title as the Richest Duck in the World. Perhaps the plumber could take a few notes to improve his acrobatic style.
4 Rayman Series
If there was any character outside of a Nintendo console that could really give Mario some serious competition, it’s Rayman. Outside the Rabbid-heavy games, Rayman’s 2D-platforming adventures will make any Nintendo fan feel right at home.
Rayman’s wild and wacky world goes beyond the trippy nature of the Mushroom Kingdom, and his abilities far exceed the practiced acrobatic skills of Mario. Simply put, it’s a great alternative for those without Nintendo access.
3 Fox n Forest
This interesting little indie title is like what would happen if Yoshi’s Island and Castlevania met Disney’s Robin Hood. It’s a strange combination, but it’s one platformer fans would be amiss to skip.
This game feels like it was ripped straight out of the SNES era, and, while Rick the fox might be a little more inventive and resourceful than Mario, his adventures feel right at home with the other Nintendo cartridges.
LittleBigPlanet is to PlayStation as Mario is to Nintendo; the world might be more eccentric, the graphics might be more detailed, and the characters might be strange and adorable, but the core elements of an original Mario title are all there. Sackboy runs through the levels left to right, jumps on the heads of enemies, picks up power-ups, and tries to make it to the end of the level to achieve a good score. Why does that sound so familiar?
1 Shovel Knight
To be fair, Shovel Knight takes more from just Mario alone. However, there are certain distinctions between this game and a little title known as Super Mario 3.
The game starts on a giant map area, the player must bounce on the heads of enemies and collect treasures, and, while Shield Knight is no princess, she is the damsel that has one Shovel Knight’s 8-bit heart. It might be a new face with a retro-inspired look, but it certainly checks all the boxes.