The Best Platformers on Xbox Game Pass is not a headline you probably thought you'd see a decade ago. The brand is known for its first-person shooters and racing games, and both Nintendo and Sony have more of a grasp of the genre. However, as time has passed, we've seen some platforming hits like Ori and the Blind Forest, New Super Lucky's Tale, and most recently, Psychonauts 2 impress fans of the genre. Here's a breakdown of the 10 Best Platformers on Xbox Game Pass you can play right now.
10 - I Am Fish
I Am Fish is a unique puzzle-platformer, which has you try to escape from your tank into the great open sea. However, in order to succeed at breaking out each of the fish in the group, you must triumph over some challenging platforming segments. You'll have to jump, swim, and, in the goldfish's case, roll to safety, going across hazardous crossings. The goldfish must overcome a city environment with road vehicles all over and a mighty fall down from the cable line. The game is designed well with all manner of intriguing obstacles in your way. While this is pretty much an indie game, the graphics do stand out with some bright visuals that would be perfect for kids who love platformers.
9 - Unravel series
One of the prettiest and best platformers on Xbox Game Pass is the Unravel series. This little knitted creature uses its material to proceed through tough ledges and environmental obstacles that block the way. The way the game works around the yarn is fascinating as you have to grip onto certain objects or need to escape the rising water of a river in quick fashion. It will test your noggin at many occasions, and in the sequel, you'll have a partner to help you out in local co-op.
"The game is visually breathtaking, still retaining the enchanting, folk-style soundtrack," Robert Grosso said in his TechRaptor review for Unravel Two. "It builds upon its predecessor with plenty of gameplay to satisfy fans of the original title."
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8 - Mirror's Edge
Mirror's Edge is a unique game on this list as it's the only one that takes place in first person. It's one of the best platformers on Xbox Game Pass because it is so exhilarating to jump off buildings and then roll at the other side to stick the landing. You'll be running on walls, hopping from place to place as you traverse the near-future city landscape. You may be confused where to go in parts, but the moments when you know the direct path and you're blitzing through the stage, that's when Mirror's Edge feels incredible. The sequel is on Xbox Game Pass, but we recommend skipping that one.
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7 - Inside
From the developer of Limbo comes Inside, a dark platformer that revolves around a boy running through darkness in what is called a dark project. You'll be seeing creepy imagery, an eerie atmosphere, and challenging puzzles to outwit. You'll be sneaking through security and pushing crates to get further into the game. The core essence is more focused on its storytelling, but this platformer would certainly fit a playthrough on Halloween. It's exciting for others to watch alongside you with some impressive set pieces, and you can work alongside them to solve puzzles.
"I can think of only a few games that have immersed me into something so readily and easily as Inside, something of which the art style and graphical design surely aided," Andrew Otton said in his TechRaptor review. "Many scenes are layered, which creates this incredible depth that is often used to great effect."
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6 - Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Kazooie has definitely gone past its expiration date as the controls are rigid. However, if you can deal with some awkward moments, especially while swimming underwater, this game is a magnificent platformer from the Nintendo 64 era. The levels are imaginative as you fly across the sky in Treasure Trove Cove and explore its pirate-themed setting. While the controls haven't aged as well as you'd like, the platforming challenges themselves are worthy of your time, and collectothons like this encourage deep exploration. Grant Kirkhope's soundtrack for Banjo-Kazooie is characteristic and vibrant as well. Maybe one day we'll finally get a remake or a completely new game.
5 - Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is an emotionally gripping adventure that so happens to be a wonderful platformer as well. Acting as a metroidvania, you'll gain new abilities as you progress, and you'll be able to find new areas by visiting a past section of the map. The visuals are absolutely mesmerizing with some gorgeous lighting, beautiful artistic backgrounds, and charming animation that will likely make you a fan of the world Moon Studios has created. Since the game's 2015 debut, it has received a sequel (which is also on Xbox Game Pass), so you can play both back to back.
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4 - Hollow Knight
Want something more creepy and desolate? Hollow Knight would do the trick. It's a blend of a platformer and Soulslike experience that tests your skills to the limit. In the platforming segments, you'll be using the bounce of your sword and other tools to get around some sinister obstacles along the way. You'll need to be precise while traversing this world, so if you want more of a challenge, Hollow Knight is a good way to go. The bosses are compelling to figure out and defeat with your skills in combat and abilities that you grow along the way.
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3 - New Super Lucky's Tale
If you're on the hunt for something adorable and fuzzy, then New Super Lucky's Tale is the game for you. Slightly underrated, this game has some wonderfully crafted levels that are bright and colorful. The fox/squirrel-like protagonist will melt your heart with how cute he is as he looks at the camera and tells you to start exploring.
There are some delightful light puzzle solving as you scurry your way into the dirt and pop back out. He can also use his tail to swipe away at enemies. There is a good variety of bosses and creatures you'll come across as well while you're trying to find every collectible in each level. If you haven't already, dig your way through the Xbox Game Pass app to find New Super Lucky's Tale.
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2 - Psychonauts 2
Double Fine is a veteran studio that finally made a sequel to one of its most beloved games with Psychonauts 2 in 2021. If you're a fan of the genre, you should know this game is one of the best Xbox Game Pass platformers. It's filled with personality, and we can guarantee you that you haven't seen a game like it (except for maybe the first title). Next to Mario and Ratchet, Psychonauts 2 might be the prettiest platformer out there.
In addition, the main character Raz gets a ton of abilities throughout the course of the game like being able to ignite objects or shifting time around objects to make everything move slower. Double Fine truly shows its personality through the script as well with plenty of charming character moments and a thoughtful (pun intended) story. If you haven't played the first title, don't worry, as there's a wrap-up of the events at the beginning of Psychonauts 2 to keep you up to speed. You should know that the original Xbox game is also on Game Pass too.
Read more about Psychonauts:
- Psychonauts 2 Review
- Psychonauts Helped Fulfill My Childhood Dreams
- The Mindful Compassion of Psychonauts 2
- Difficulty in Games: Psychonauts 2's Invincibility Experiment
1 - It Takes Two
Last but certainly not least is It Takes Two, a co-op platformer with mind-blowing game mechanics and surprises throughout its 10 or so hour campaign. You play as a married couple, who are having problems in their relationship. Through a series of events, their daughter wishes for them to be together and eventually turns them into toys. Now, it's up to the couple to get back to their house and ask for their daughter to dispel what she has wished for.
Throughout the experience, there are some clever platforming segments that utilize different tools for each level. This results in an extremely refreshing title in the genre that masterfully knows how to make co-op experiences fun. Also, if one has a copy of the game, the other person can download the game for free with the Friend's Pass version. It won The Game Awards' Game of the Year, and it got third place in TechRaptor's 2021 Game of the Year Awards. It's just a shame that the ending of It Takes Two falls a bit flat. Regardless, it's one of the best platformers on Xbox Game Pass.
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Those are the best platformers on Xbox Game Pass we're falling over for. Are there any that we've missed? Let us know in the comments below.