When it comes to platformers, most tend to think of mustached plumbers, speedy hedgehogs, and genetically-engineered bandicoots. Yet, an increasing number of great platformers are leaping and dashing onto the stage from the indie scene. In fact, it seems to be indie studiosin particularwhich are spearheading some of the more inventive and artistically creative efforts today.
Often times it's the technical limitations along with soaring imaginations of these studios that force them to think outside the box and craft an innovative game that stands out.
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Therefore, let's jump into the action and explore the 10 most innovative and creatively interesting platformers to emerge from the indie scene.
Despite theclout ofpublishing giant EA,this musical romp by Zoink! largely fell under the radar. It's a shame, given its terrific sense of atmosphere and innovative, melody-laden concepts.
This stylistic adventure emphasizes both exploration and a slew of song-based attacks. Yes that is correct. The crux of the gameplay lies in the mysterious critter hero's ability to hum various melodies. This array of songs range from area-of-effect attacks to triggers that can open new pathways and unearth ancient secrets.Feis a majestic, semi open-world experience that serenades with its rich soundtrack while invoking a sense of wonder.
On the surface,Joggernautsmay look like a run-of-the-mill cartoony sidescroller. but there's more to this colorful platformer than meets the eye. This 2018 game by Space Mace hinges on coordination, synchronization and swift decision-making with other players. The name of the game is to match the color of one's avatar to that of incoming platforms, obstacles, and enemies as they scurry forward.
The kicker is that only thefrontlineplayer affects this andeach player embodies a different color, so communication is critical. Players with a knack for multitasking can venture out alone, though the 2-4 player co-op is whereJugguarnautsreally shines.
This exhilarating sidescroller can be described both as an atmospheric journey and a frantic,Sonic-style runner. The game stresses the simple, yet thrilling mechanics of physics, speed, and momentum-based platforming.
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The King's Birdforcesplayers to think fast and plot out the trajectory of their soaring avatar. At the same time, there's ample time to soak in the stylistic visuals that fuse dream-like surrealism with the influence of real ancient cultures. Players will coast and fly through a diversity of rich settings that include Mayan, Roman, and Southeast Asian cultures.
Remember the unique 5-player multiplayer feature of New Super Mario Bros. U? No? Well, in essence, it allowed for a 5th player to either help or troll the other 4 by dropping makeshift platformsvia touching the Gamepad. Bishop Games takes this platform-conjuring concept one step further with this celestial sidescroller.
Light Fallradiates visual charm and enjoyment throughout its 4-hour journey; balancing arcade-style precision, inventive puzzles, and an exhilarating sense of speed. The ability to summon one's own platform at the drop of a hat adds a unique dynamic to the gameplay, setting the stage for various puzzles and swift venturing through the World of Numbra.
There had been much hype revolving around this anticipated indie from Polytron Corporation and designer Phil Fish. The game took center stage during the gripping documentary,Indie Game: The Moviein 2012, showing promise and further spurring anticipation.
To the delight of its fans,Fezdelivered with its uniquely amusinggameplay that oscillates between 2D and 3D platforming. The unique perspective shifts set the stage for many fun and intriguing puzzles that encourage exploration, while further adding to the charming, detailed pixel art.
This rotational retro-style platformeris truly one of a kind.
Online play can really open the door to fun and innovative gameplay, especially whensaid gameplay can accommodate a whopping60players.
Case in point? Thesmash-hit by Mediatonic known asFall Guys;a delightful 3D platforming romp that seemingly came out of nowhere. It capitalizes on the excitement and increasingly-popular concept of battle royale gameplay, forcing players to scramble acrossobstacle courses wrought with hazards and objects to maneuver through.
Just as indie hits likeMinecraftandTerrariaproved, games don't need to be flashy or even all-too interesting stylistically to be inventive or entertaining.
Despite dating back to a time before the rise of indies, Number None'sBraidremains one of the greatest examples of the inventiveness coming from this scene. Part trippy puzzler and part retro-esque platformer,Braidfeels akin toMario stumbling into theTwilight Zone. Indeed, this mind-bending, time-manipulating trip will make the Mushroom Kingdom feel normal by comparison.
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Braid's lush worlds containtheir own feel, along with a unique set of time-bending concepts that must be worked through to complete the clever, rewarding puzzles. In terms of its creative gameplay and interwoven emotional plot,Braidis a memorable experience from start to finish.
It seemed like a tough task for Moon Studios to live up to the breakout hit that was 2015'sOri and the Blind Forest. Yet, the studio delivered with an even more robust and majestic sequel 5 years later.
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Just like the first game,Will of the Wispsentices the player with its serenading atmosphere, fluid mechanics, and satisfying abilities. Given its vibrant visual style and rich soundtrack, this is really a work of art as much as it's an enjoyable Metroidvania. The game builds on the solid foundation of its predecessor while fleshing things out with a deeper, more diverse platformingexperience than ever.
Like their famed puzzler Limbo, the narrative of this darkly-tinged romp from Playdeadproves just as inventive and interesting as its gameplay; perhaps more so. In terms of the grim presentation and concepts,Insidefeels like playing through a twisted Orwellian dystopia. The game has players trekking through dark, eerie settings dripping with malice as well as mystery.
The creative worldbuilding and plot are all conveyed visually, granting a sense of wonder and immersion as the player's left to make sense of it all. The puzzle-based platforming also proves innovative, thanks to the unique mechanic of controlling other beings, which is cleverly interwoven into the story.
Not unlikeInside,this renowned indie draws from its emotional, relevant premise for much of its intrigue, as it's quite literallyan exploration of depression and finding peace. And with its uplifting message and rewarding sense of triumph, Celestemanages to bring joy in more ways than one.
But that's not to say the gameplay isn't similarly thrilling or interesting; far from it. Madeline will dash, hop, and run through eight unique chapters thatprovide roughly eight hours of grueling-but-satisfying platforming. The colorful stages are cleverly designed and rife with plenty of intense hazards, which keep you on the edge of your seat and sighing in relief when completed.
NEXT: The 10 Best Platformer Games Released In 2019 So Far (According To Metacritic)
Next 5 Original PlayStation RPGs That Were Too Short (& 5 That Were Too Long)
Stephen is an avid Nintendo, Indie, and retro gamer who dabbles in Xbox on occasion, mainly in the form of binge sessions of Overwatch. He's a history buff, an aspiring writer of short fiction, and a devout metalhead who enjoys poorly drumming along to Black Sabbath on his cheap drum set. When his beloved Chicago Cubs or Bulls are not playing, he typically likes to watch random documentaries or campy horror films.
10 Most Innovative Indie Platformers | Game Rant - GameRant
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