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Top 10 Side-Scrolling Platform Games

VO: Dan
Complex and visually impressive video games are great, but sometimes you just gotta kick it old school. Platformers have remained classics because of the challenge, personality and simplicity that separates them from other genres. Platformers also capture our attention with their demand for precise movements while having us collect items, like gold coins or rings. Join as we count down our top 10 favourite side-scrolling platform games.

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Top 10 Side-Scrolling Platform Games

Sometimes you just gotta kick it old school and jump on some dudes head. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite side-scrolling platform games.

#10- Kirby’s Adventure (1993)

Kicking off our list is the massive and stunning NES era game that defined Kirbymania! Its plot is simple- King Dedede split the pieces of the star rod among his friends, preventing the inhabitants of Dreamland from dreaming. So it’s up to Kirby to retrieve the relic from the 7 worlds. Unique from most platformers of the time, this one featured difficult puzzles, a save feature, as well as cool powers that Kirby borrowed from enemies through his signature copy ability.

#9- Super Meat Boy (2010)

Developed by the independent studio Team Meat, this indy game has players controlling a walking piece of meat out to save his Bandage Girl from Dr. Fetus. Sounds disgusting right? Well, this odd and addictive platformer contains over 300 levels filled with deadly obstacles. On top of the airtight controls, the central gimmick of Super Meat Boy is that after you beat a level, you get to watch all your failed attempts play out at once. Juicy.

#8- LittleBigPlanet (2008)

This puzzle platformer has become the most beloved exclusive titles for Sony’s Playstation. A current gen take on the classic tropes, LittleBigPlanet employs a strong physics engine and creative level design to great effect. Cooperative online play and user generated levels means that there’s always something new to discover.

#7- Rayman Origins (2011)

This multiplatform game by Ubisoft did the unthinkable and made a classic character popular again by placing him in an old-school setting. An adventure filled with personality, it focused on Rayman and his pal Globox as they battle evil creatures that have invaded the Glade of Dreams. 4-player coop, new abilities to acquire and a zany art style ensure a fresh adventure from start to finish. Where else can you ride a mosquito?

#6- Ducktales (1989)

This NES gem remains a beloved classic decades after its release. Developed by Capcom and based on the Disney cartoon show, it centers on Scrooge McDuck traveling across the globe and collecting treasure to become the richest duck ever. This involves seeking out five treasures in the most incredible of environments, from African mines, to the amazon, Himalayas, Transylvania and the moon. His only gadget is his trusty cane used for attacks and overcoming obstacles. Players hoping to try this one for the first time can play the modern remake, released in 2013.

#5- Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992)

This series was once a direct Mario competitor for the crown in 16-bit platform gaming. Of all his speedy adventures, the second spin turned out to be the one that truly broke the fun barrier, thanks to pairing Sonic with his own Luigi in the form of his best friend Tails. This time, the story is focused on stopping Dr. Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his inventions, and to free your friends along the way.

#4- Megaman X (1993)

From all of the original Megaman iterations, we’d give the crown to Megaman 2 for best defining the series. However, the installment in the platforming action series that made the most impact on us is its successful attempt to retool for a more mature audience in the form of Megaman X. Non linear level selection, hidden areas and upgrades and astounding amounts detail in the enemies and environments made Megaman X a must have SNES title.

#3- Donkey Kong Country (1994)

While the original Donkey Kong was a true classic in it’s own right, this one took things out of the construction site and made the title character the hero. Developed by Rare, this was hands down the most spectacular platformer for the SNES. Never before seen graphic detail, immense level variety and punishing difficulty gave intrepid gamers days upon days of memorable adventure.

#2- Super Metroid (1994)

In this action adventure platformer, gamers took on the role of bounty hunter Samus Aran as she fights to reclaim a stolen baby Metroid from space pirates on the planet Zebes. This meant navigating a large open-ended world in which power-ups gave her access to new areas. Thankfully with a game this complex and massive, it included a battery save option rather than the cumbersome use of passwords. Perhaps the only game on this list to be truly elevated past the level of simple platformer, Metroid is in a genre all on its own.

#1- Super Mario World (1990)

Taking the top spot in out list is a choice we finally agreed upon after many workplace argument and a fair amount of soul searching. While Super Mario 3 was essentially tied in our minds, it just didn’t have Yoshi! Taking place in Dinosaur Land, its story features the timeless McGuffin of the princess getting captured, with the brothers traveling to defeat Bowser and his malevolent offspring. Pitch perfect gameplay and delightful design coupled with stunning 16 bit graphics make this a winner.

Agree with our list? Which side-scrolling platformer is your all-time favorite? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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