Platformer games are arguably the most popular type of video game genre ever created. At one point in time, they actually represented one-third of all console games on the market. This is because platformers can easily be mixed with aspects from other gaming genres to create incredibly fun crossbreeds. (Platformer + Shooter = Contra). With there being so many of these games on the market it can be hard to know if you missed out on some of the best games this genre has to offer. To cure your curiosity, and help you sleep at night, we put together this list of the top 10 retro platformer games with pixel graphics.
Top 10 Retro Platformer Games with Pixel Graphics
#10 – Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure
Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure is probably the least popular game on the list. Despite this, it has always been a favorite of mine. Long before he became popular in Shrek, Puss ‘n Boots was the trademark character of Toei Animation and the leading character of his own game entitled Pero’s Great Adventure. The game follows the basic rules of platformer games with the exception of special levels in which Pero can use a vehicle. The basic plot of the game is a mixture of “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “The Time Machine”. Pero was sent back into the past and must circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon while traveling through time. If you are one of the many people that have never tried this game and are a fan of platformer games, then you absolutely have to give this game a shot.
#9 – Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind
Busby in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind is just another run of the mill side-scrolling platformer game where you have to collect yarn ball power-ups to increase your score while traveling across the level. The game’s plot revolves around a cat named Busby and his attempts to save Earth’s yarn ball collection from a league of alien invaders called Woolies. This was fun to play but received negative reviews from the public due to its similarities to Sonic the HedgeHog. Despite these negative reviews, we added Bubsy to our list of the top 10 retro platformer games because of Bubsy’s wicked attitude and it’s colorful backgrounds.
#8 – The Lost Vikings
The Lost Vikings is one of the most innovative games on our list of the top 10 platformer games. Aside from traditional platformer gameplay it also includes elements from the puzzle genre. In The Lost Vikings, the player must control three different characters simultaneously. Each has unique skills needed for the player to make it to the end of the level. Controlling more than one character required the player to think about what they were doing before they did it. Like many games on the list, The Lost Viking’s eventually created a sequel so you could further their adventure.
#7 – Donkey Kong Country
Honestly, I have never been a fan of the Donkey Kong Country franchise. But with it massing over 17 titles and countless spin-offs, I can accept that I am wrong. Donkey Kong Country was one of the first Super Nintendo titles to utilize realistic 3D sprites in a way that was still visually appealing to kids. The basic story of the game follows Donkey Kong and his nephew Diddy Kong as they attempt to recover their stolen bananas from the evil lizard King K. Rool. During gameplay, the player can remove enemies from the stage by using simple attacks like jumping on their heads or pushing large objects into them. Besides Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong is probably the most popular video game character of all time. Despite my feelings towards the game, you should give it a shot if you’re a fan of the platformer genre.
#6 – DuckTales
DuckTales is one of Disney’s most lucrative platformer games of all time. This lead to a sequel being made and it being re-released in 2013 with updated graphics. Nintendo Power magazine rated DuckTales as the 13th best game for the Nintendo Entertainment System ever created. The game itself follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck as he attempts to increase his fortune. He does this by exploring the world and finding hidden treasure. The player guides McDuck through the game levels while avoiding or eliminating enemies using his cane as a pogo stick. DuckTales is different from other licensed games because it is actually well made and fun to play. Most of the time games based on movies are derivative and just another way for companies to cash in.
#5 – Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim is a cartoony, run and gun platformer game that was released on the Sega Genesis in 1994. The game’s sense of humor is its main selling point. It has been described as a parody of other platform video games like Super Mario or Super Metroid. Most of the game comprises of basic platformer gameplay like side-scrolling across the level while avoiding obstacles and killing enemies. There are a few levels that require special controls to break up the monotonousness of the game. An entertaining story, funny jokes, cartoonish graphics all put Earthworm Jim on our list.
#4 – Super Metroid
Super Metroid is an action-adventure platformer game with RPG like elements. You play as a bounty hunter named Samus Aran on a mission to retrieve a Metroid larva stolen by Space Pirates. Unlike other platformer games, Metroid focuses on exploration and allows the player to complete the game in their own order. If you want to fight Ridley, then go fight Ridley. If you want to face Kraid, you can go fight Kraid. Super Metroid is the best game of the series that used pixel graphics because of its intense boss fights, interesting story-line, and awesome main character power-ups. (Morph Ball…What the Freak?)
#3 – Mega Man 3
Mega Man 3 is not only one of the best platformer games ever made, but also one of the hardest. Like ‘Super Metroid’, the player must use his blaster to defeat enemies along his path and make it to the end of the stage. At the end of each of these stages, there is a ‘Robot Master’ in which the player must defeat. All of the different Robot Masters from Mega Man have their own rememberable signature gimmick. And each of their weaponry that is defined by their name( i.e Magnet Man uses magnets, Snake Man uses snakes). The fun bosses, nifty weapons, and interesting stages make Mega Man 3 one of the greatest platformer games of all time, with or without pixel graphics.
#2 – Sonic the Hedgehog
Aside from the Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog is the most recognized video game character ever created. This is largely due to the quality and popularity of his games during the 1990s. Under the surface, Sonic the Hedgehog plays like any other platformer game where the player must jump over holes and travel across the level without being killed. What makes Sonic original is the high speeds at which the game must be completed. Sonic contains all sorts of obstacles that can only be passed by using his speed. You would have to gain a lot of momentum to pass them by moving for a long enough period of time without stopping.
#1 – Super Mario World
Without question, the greatest platformer game with pixel graphics ever made is Super Mario World. This game is so good that it has been played by pretty much everyone over the age of 6 even though it was released over 25 years ago. Unlike previous games in the ‘Super Mario’ franchise, Super Mario World allowed the player to ride different kinds of Yoshi and perform special moves to unlock secret locations. Anyone that enjoys retro platformer games will love Super Mario World.
Did we list one of your favorites games? Do you think we missed a great game on our list of the Top 10 Platformer Games with Pixel Graphics? If you answered YES to either of these questions please let us know in the comments.
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