10 Platformers That Are Better Than Their Metascore | Game Rant

Platformers may not be the oldest video games type, but it has been around for a long time. In fact, it was in the middle of many revolutions within the industry, from Super Mario Bros. selling the original NES almost singlehandedly, to Sonic taking it to the next gear, to Mario coming back again to showcase the 3D revolution. It’s a storied genre, but it has taken a backseat to shooters, open worlds, and other trendy games.

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Our love of platformers has pushed us to create this list of underappreciated gems. Everyone knows about the latest Super Mario or the newest indie sensation, so we focused on games with reviews that caused them to go under the radar. These are not perfect, but they all have something unexpected and rewarding to offer.

10 Mischief Makers (Score: 70)

At a time when Nintendo, and the gaming world at large, was shifting to the third dimension, Mischief Makers stuck with a tried and true formula. It is one of the few 2D platformers on the N64, and as such, it suffered from some prejudice at the time of its release. It was seen as outdated and obsolete, even though the game brought new mechanics to a genre that was still thriving despite its age. Mischief Makers eventually became a cult classic, but its score remains.

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9 Kao The Kangaroo Round 2 (Score: 58)

First impressions are important, and it has to be said that Kao The Kangaroo: Round 2 fails in that regard. It looks like a rip-off of more successful franchises, a weird cross between Crash Bandicoot and Banjo-Kazooie. The truth is a bit different: yes, Kao borrows from other platformers, but it feels more like a lovingly-crafted continuation of the genre. It is short, but every level packs as much action as possible. By the time you are done, the game barely gave you time to breathe, and that expected drop or slow down never happened.

8 Jazz Jackrabbit GBA (Score: 68)

The character of Jazz Jackrabbit should have been a bigger deal than it is. The franchise started strong on PC, in 1994, as one of Epic Games’ very early titles. The sequel, released in 1998, came in too late; despite solid reviews, the PC world had firmly moved to 3D. The next title was supposed to be a 3D platformer, but was cancelled after multiple delays. The final release in the series was thus moved to the Game Boy Advance, and retained the fun run & gun gameplay, but any fame the series might have possessed had evaporated by then.

7 Creavures (Score: 55)

As the lowest-rated game on our list, this PC exclusive did not receive a lot of love. It is indeed a bit short, but it packs so much in the few hours it takes to complete. The characters are beautifully designed and all use different mechanics to manoeuvre through the levels. This creates stages that are more like puzzles, and stopping to think of a solution also gives you time to admire the superbly-crafted backgrounds and environments. Released almost a decade ago, it probably would have been received better these days, with indie games being encouraged to take risks and expose their quirks.

6 Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (Score: 67)

Mystical Ninja is a 3D upgrade to a cult SNES side-scrolling adventure, and it mixes genres with interesting results to become a quirky 3D platformer with lots of action. It was even successful enough to warrant a sequel the next year. So why did critics fail to get hooked? Many of them mentioned the game’s localizations. Most songs on the soundtrack retain their Japanese lyrics, and the dialogue is translated in such a way that it either becomes extremely funny, or very confusing. The gameplay, however, is top notch and worth sticking with it.

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5 Yoshi’s Story (Score: 65)

After the instant classic known as Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, the green mascot had big expectations to fulfill. Yoshi’s Story was still a platforming game with an emphasis on exploration, but differed from its predecessor in every other ways. Most reviews focused on the game’s perceived shortness and childish difficulty, but it was also selling it short. Yes, you can beat Baby Bowser after only six stages, but there are many more available, encouraging multiple replays. Plus, getting the best score and paths to the end required careful navigation and thinking. Scratching the surface reveals a game much deeper than what first impressions would show.

4 Yoshi’s Woolly World (Score: 78)

Yoshi’s games often seem to be misunderstood – except for Yoshi’s New Island, which is truly mediocre. Yoshi’s Woolly World might look like an easy romp, but it’s anything but. Just running towards the ending is indeed a breeze, but it’s the extra levels that take this game over the top, and these are only accessible if you have carefully worked your way through the previous stages, collecting flowers and gems. Let’s not forget the soundtrack, which is without a doubt one of the best ones made in the last decade, both in terms of variety and quality.

3 Wario World (Score: 71)

Wario World’s scoreis barely above the average because of how divided the critics were. Those who hated it cited its short length and the perceived repetitiveness of the battles. On the other hand, it also received a perfect score from Play Magazine. In our opinion, you should trust the positive reviews: Wario World is funny, inventive, and restless. It’s designed like a platformer, but plays like a brawler. Plus, it was developed by Treasure, the same company that brought us Sin & Punishment and Ikaruga. So you know that even if it’s not entirely your cup of tea, you’ll never be bored.

RELATED: Every Mario Platformer Ranked From Worst To Best (According To Metacritic)

2 Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom (Score: 71)

Licensed games do not have a good reputation, but Battle For Bikini Bottom is one of the few games that completely leans on its license and never loses the flavour that made the original product so popular. It only received average reviews, but with the Spongebob fandom being what it is, it soon gained a cult following. The game will even get a soon-to-be-released remake, which will hopefully preserve the game’s precise controls and mechanics. It is worth checking out, even if you are not a fan of the show. It has enough variety to keep any gamer interested.

1 Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (Score: 71)

Produced by Yuji Naka, Billy Hatcher is full of the same magic that is found in his other games. It’s a great game that forces you to roll eggs around the world to hatch all kinds of different creatures that can help you during your journey. It’s kind of like a mix between the platforming of Super Mario 64 and the collecting of Pokémon. So why did it fail so badly commercially? Critics seemed to dislike the camera controls as well as the story, but it’s not like a thin plot has even stopped Mario from being a success. A game this stylish and fun deserved so much better.

NEXT: The 10 Best Platformer Games (According To Metacritic)

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