Mario’s 35th anniversary is upon us. To celebrate, Nintendo is releasing Mario 3D All-Stars, a collection of three classic 3D Mario platformers on the Switch. But while Mario is often regarded as king when it comes to platformers, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any competitors. We’ve seen a small resurgence in 3D platformers over the past few years, so let’s go over the games that made that happen.
Charming Missions: A Hat in Time (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)
Let’s start with a game that takes some pretty clear inspiration from Super Mario Sunshine. In A Hat in Time, you play as Hat Kid going around to various worlds collecting Time Pieces. It’s a simple premise that’s never really expanded upon, but the real story in A Hat in Time is what happens in the worlds you explore.
From aiding rival movie studios to solving a murder mystery on a train, A Hat in Time holds no punches when it comes to throwing you into new scenarios. There’s even a horror-styled level in case you felt too safe in this charming platforming adventure.
But platforming fans shouldn’t worry—while a lot of time is spent in these more story-based missions, there’s also plenty of pure platforming challenges to overcome. Each level also has multiple collectibles that are used for cosmetic customization and crafting “Badges” (items that grant various perks).
A Fun Romp: New Super Lucky’s Tale (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)
New Super Lucky’s Tale is a sort of remake of 2017’s Super Lucky’s Tale. While it seems strange to remake a game only three years later, New Super Lucky’s Tale irons out a lot of the problems the original game had, which results in a more polished experience.
Much like Mario, Lucky feels great to control and the levels are built as massive playgrounds for you to explore. The game is aimed at younger players and as such never gets too difficult, but even for older fans of the genre, this should be a good time.
Locked and Loaded: Ratchet and Clank (PS4)
The classic Ratchet and Clank games are beloved 3D platformers, and now you can experience their iconic Jump N’ Gun gameplay through a modern lens in 2016’s Ratchet and Clank. This is a remake of the first game in the series, with changes made to the story and tone. And while not everyone was happy about those changes, the core gameplay is still great as ever, and messing around with the creative weapons in the game is always a blast.
Ratchet and Clank is also getting a sequel on PS5: Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (no release date yet).
Spin to Win: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)
It’s another remake, but the N. Sane Trilogy is much more one-for-one than something like Ratchet and Clank. This is the classic PS1 trilogy of Crash Bandicoot games with modern visuals and some slight gameplay tweaks.
Regardless, the games remade here are still great, and the fresh coat of paint is a great way for new players to experience these titles for the first time. The levels in Crash are linear obstacle courses that scale up in difficult pretty quickly—this one may result in a broken controller or two.
There’s also going to be a brand-new Crash game coming out later this year on October 2nd: Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time—keep your eye out for that one.
Fire Up!: Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)
After the N’Sane Trilogy, a Spyro remake felt inevitable, and it was finally delivered in late 2018. The Reignited Trilogy is a great visual update of the classic PS1 games, and there’s not much to add to that. Spyro focuses less on tight platforming sequences and more on having tons of collectibles for you to find and, well, collect. With the shiny new visuals, you’re sure to have a great time exploring the world of Spyro.
A Believable World: Jak and Daxter Trilogy (PS4)
We have one more classic Playstation trilogy to cover, except this time it’s just a straight-up port instead of a remake. The Jak and Daxter trilogy were revolutionary games in the PS2 era for their cohesive believable worlds and impressive visuals. But this isn’t just a pretty face, all three games in the series feature satisfying movement and platforming challenges scattered throughout the world. The latter two entries also place a larger emphasis on combat and are generally darker in tone.
You can purchase all three games in the trilogy, combined the kart-racer Jak X: Combat Racing, on the PS4 in the Jak and Daxter Bundle. All of the games are available for purchase separately as well, but the bundle is ultimately cheaper.
Competitive Jumping: Fall Guys (PC/PS4)
You might have heard of Fall Guys since it was just released on August 4th of this year; it blew up in popularity rather quickly and unexpectedly. But it’s easy to see why—Fall Guys is basically a competitive 3D platformer.
In Fall Guys, you play a randomly selected group of minigames that mostly have to do with platforming (although there are a few more general minigames, like the soccer game). Your goal is to reach to final round without getting eliminated and ultimately beat the 59 other players in the match with you. It’s filled with bright colors, fun gameplay, and, if you’re in a party with friends, true betrayal—it’s a pretty great time.
What Nintendon’t: Spark the Electric Jester 2 (PC/Xbox One)
For the final entry on this list, we’re going to take a step away from the Mario-inspired games and talk about one that was inspired by his classic rival Sonic the Hedgehog. Spark the Electric Jester 2 takes a lot of cues from Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 right down to the edgy vocal themes.
You’ll blast through stages full of twists and turns at high speed while also making use of various power-ups that change how you move and fight. It’s surprisingly polished, and if you’ve been itching for a new 3D Sonic game (one that’s actually good), Spark is a great alternative.
This is a sequel to 2017’s Spark the Electric Jester which was a Sonic-inspired 2D platformer. The series is getting a new 3D entry as recently announced by the developer: Spark the Electric Jester 3—according to the developer though, it’s still a few years out.