Games come and games go but one genre that’s persevered through the ages – thanks in no small part to a legendary plumber – is the platformer. There’s just something about the genre that appeals to everyone, even as it challenges our timing, coordination and reflexes. Let’s take a look at the nominees for best platformer of 2016.
Ratchet and Clank
Insomniac goes back to where it all began with Ratchet and Clank. Essentially a brand new re-telling of the first game, Ratchet and Clank mixes the same action platforming we’ve come to love about the series with amazing visuals, detailed worlds and a hilariously charming plot.
Getting tired of the world praising Owlboy? It’s not going to end anytime soon. D-Pad Studio’s platformer combines so many fun elements – Metroid-vania exploration, platforming, shooting, memorable NPCs and so on – around such an engaging plot that it’s simply impossible to resist.
Though Inside‘s impact was pretty understated within the first two months of its release, it still stands as one of the most affecting video games ever made. The gameplay itself is rock solid, eschewing drawn out segments for a brisk pace and varied sequences. And don’t worry – there’s plenty of challenge for you Limbo veterans out there.
Coldwood Interactive’s breakout platformer combines physics and puzzle-solving to help determine Yarny’s traversal through stages. Despite the tangled nature of the gameplay, Unravel‘s storyline keeps things simple and to the point. It’s simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming at points and definitely calls back to simpler times in one’s life.
Seasons After Fall
Seasons After Fall is an interesting platformer, having released under the shadow of bigger games in September. The sheer artistry of the visuals combined with the ability to change seasons at will and a generous difficulty make Seasons After Fall the other side of the surreal platforming coin from Ori and the Blind Forest. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
Kirby: Planet Robobot
Though not particularly difficult, Kirby: Planet Robobot how well the franchise innovates while staying true to the Kirby platforming formula. The puzzles themselves are interesting and present a unique 3D perspective while the robot and overall visual style make this one of the more enjoyable Kirby titles in recent memory.
How much praise is too much praise for Owlboy? Once again, it’s very well earned as Owlboy takes many of the conventions that define a platformer and twists them on their head. Otus, the game’s protagonist, isn’t your typical action platforming hero – despite his courage, he isn’t a cold-blooded fighter. Instead, Otus takes the aid of various companions to provide different functions, like shooting past obstacles, when he’s not using his unique abilities to turn the tables on foes. The Metroid-vania formula expands even further when you consider the fresh options available to you. It’s also amazing to note how despite its large world, well-paced story and memorable sequences, Owlboy comes in a great 9 to 10 hours of intricately plotted gameplay. With its visual fidelity and the sheer heart it possess throughout its running time, Owlboy feels like so much more than the length of its gameplay parts.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.