In video game genres, platformers are some of the most beloved games — and with good reason. Using their jumping abilities and the environments around them, platforming heroes can accomplish just about anything, from rescuing fair maidens to saving the world from evil masterminds.
Whether you’re talking about classic 8-bit characters like Mario and Sonic or modern stars like Crash Bandicoot and Donkey Kong, there’s something about watching an agile little character run and jump around that never gets old — especially with the advent of HD graphics.
Platformers were one of the biggest genres on the original Xbox, and they’ve stuck around even as developers have abandoned Microsoft’s new-ish console platform. With platformers like Super Meat Boy showing that there’s still life in the old dog, it’s clear that this genre isn’t ready to be put down just yet.
This list will showcase some of the best Xbox 360 platformers ever made, including some lesser-known titles that you should definitely check out if you get the chance.
#10: BattleBlock Theater
- Free your friends from the clutches of evil, technologically advanced cats
- Battle through a mysterious theater with hundreds of levels
- Puppet theater cutscenes
- Easy-to-learn controls
- Single-player or co-op mode
BattleBlock Theater is an arcade-style action-puzzle game where players control a prisoner whose life is at stake. You will have to use your brain and arm strength to get through each level, which is made up of floating platforms and chasms.
At each level, you will face a different kind of challenge: from simple puzzles like moving platforms to reach your destination to more complex ones, such as navigating a path through a labyrinth.
The game is a creative and beautiful take on the classic platformer, focusing on co-op play that makes it even more fun. You’ll have to work together as you solve puzzles and fight baddies, and the stage selection is varied enough that you’ll never feel like your playing through the same level twice.
The platformer has different worlds, each with its unique set of enemies. You’ll have to beat each world in order to get all the blocks. Each world also has its main boss, and completing that boss unlocks a new world.
Please Note: As of July 16, 2023, the BattleBlock Theater game is currently unavailable on Amazon. If you cannot find the product elsewhere, please check back later.
The Spelunky franchise is one of the best platformers on the Xbox 360. The original Spelunky was released in 2009 and is still a great game to play today. You play as a cave explorer exploring a dangerous cavern system filled with traps, monsters, and other hazards.
You have to use your wits and reflexes to navigate each level. Sometimes, it may be easier to go back and try again than to try to scrounge up enough rope to escape a new set of obstacles.
In the gameplay, you navigate a world full of traps and enemies by jumping on their heads. You can collect treasure chests to buy new weapons, but they’re also vulnerable to traps. You’ll die if you don’t jump far enough or too much. It’s a puzzle platformer that’s as easy to pick up as it is difficult to master — but once you’ve mastered it, it’s almost impossible to put down.
The graphics are simple but beautiful. There aren’t many textures or effects, so everything feels very bright and clean. The music is also fantastic. It gives off a chill vibe that works perfectly with the platformer’s tone and atmosphere.
#8: Rayman Origins
- 4-Player, Jump-In/Jump-Out, Co-op Gameplay - Play on the same screen as Rayman in the solo campaign, or have up to three friends jump in at any time to play as Globox or as one of the two Teensies.
- A Massive Universe to Explore - Rayman Origins includes over 100 characters, 12 unique worlds and over 60 levels of 2D platforming gameplay designed for all ages and playing styles.
- Crazy Moves & Gameplay: Rayman, Globox and the Teensies gain unique abilities as they progress through the adventure, including swimming, diving, slapping and the sensational "HairlyCopter."
- Epic Boss Fights: A giant pink monster with hundreds of eyes A possessed, mountainous golem. An evil daisy-cum-carnivorous plant. Rayman Origins will put players to the test with these and many more...
- Rebirth of a Platforming Legend - Discover the roots of Rayman by encountering classic characters & collecting and assembling pieces of the Glade's history to reveal the truth behind Rayman's origins.
Rayman Origins is the first game in the Rayman series to feature the titular character. The player controls Rayman through a number of levels set in worlds that can be changed with each play-through.
In each level, multiple collectible items can be found and collected throughout levels, such as coins, and Red Lums, allowing Rayman to reach new areas and unlock new areas of the map.
Rayman also has two special abilities: he can shoot at enemies using his finger gun and dash across certain objects or surfaces at high speed. The game is a 2D platformer that features traditional gameplay reminiscent of classic platformers.
The player’s objective is to rescue as many Electoons as possible. Rayman Origins has received praise for its graphics, level design, soundtrack, and gameplay mechanics. The characters are memorable and fun to interact with. It has incredible difficulty levels (even the easiest is still hard) and can save anywhere you want. It’s a fantastic platformer that keeps you entertained for hours.
Fez is a 2D puzzle-platformer set in a 3D world. The player controls Gomez as he collects Fez cubes scattered throughout the world to restore order to the universe. The player can rotate their perspective in 3D space, resulting in environmental changes and allowing Gomez to reach new areas.
It’s got some unique gameplay mechanics that make it stand out from other games in the genre. The graphics are gorgeous, and many treasures are hidden throughout.
Fez is a platformer that’s more about atmosphere than action, and it’s a game where you have to pay attention to the details to get by. It’s not for someone who wants to plow through levels and collect coins; it demands that you spend time with its charming world rather than rushing through it.
You’ll want to play this one again and again because there are so many things you can discover within its weird and wonderful world — and each time, you’ll see something new.
#6: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Symphony of the Night is a platformer that takes the classic side-scrolling action from the original Castlevania and gives it a new spin. Instead of just running, jumping, and swinging your way around obstacles, you can also use special abilities to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
It’s an approach that works well for this series but also opens up new possibilities for gameplay. The platformer is set in Dracula’s castle, making for some interesting puzzles that require you to consider how you want to approach them.
The combat system is also great, with a wide range of weapons and abilities that give you lots of options for fighting your enemies. The game’s main character is Richter Belmont, a member of the Belmont family who uses his whip to fight back against Dracula’s minions.
The platformer has many collectible items to find as you fight through Dracula’s castle; you can use those items to upgrade your weapons and abilities. The level design is excellent, and there are plenty of secrets to be found throughout the castle if you look hard enough. The game has some very memorable levels.
They’re ones that you’ll probably want to play again and again and there are plenty of secrets hidden throughout them as well. You’ll also find plenty of unlockable items and weapons in your quest to save Maria Renard.
#5: Rayman Legends
- Four-Player Co-op: Once again you and 3 friends can save the Glade of Dreams in online or offline co-op. Jump in and jump out at any time during the 80 plus levels of gameplay
- 3D Boss Battles: The bosses have a big advantage over Rayman's gang-- an extra dimension! Dragons and other epic creatures can attack from all angles, so you'll have to be on top of your game to...
- Rayman Rocks: See if you have what it takes to be a Platforming Hero-- jump to the beat of a drum, punch to the bass line, even zip-line during a guitar sustain. Timing and rhythm are the key to...
- New Online Challenge Mode: Connect with your friends through a variety of challenges that will test your skill and speed. Check the leaderboards to see where you rank around the world.
Rayman Legends is a sequel to Rayman Origins and has everything that a great platformer should have: a vibrant color palette, great music, and clever level design. It also has an addictive gameplay loop that keeps you returning for more. In addition to platforming, the player must find new ways to traverse obstacles, such as mudflaps and ladders.
The game follows the adventures of Rayman and his two friends, Globox and Teensie, as they try to find their way out of a land called Glade of Dreams. As Rayman, you must use your new powers to defeat various enemies and collect Lums (the in-game currency).
The biggest draw of Rayman Legends is its brilliant level design. Each world is unique and challenging, with tons of hidden areas and puzzles waiting to be discovered by players who take their time exploring each level’s nooks and crannies.
Rayman Legends offers a variety of ways to play the game, including solo mode or multiplayer with up to four players. This makes it ideal for parties where everyone can get their hands on this amazing platformer.
#4: Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is a platformer that has been around since 2010, and it’s still just as good today as it was when it came out. Super Meat Boy is a tough game, but it’s also really fun and challenging. The platformer has over 300 levels, and each level is unique in its way.
You will have to think about the best way to complete each level without dying. But don’t worry; if you die too many times in one level, you can restart from where you last saved your progress with just one button press.
You can play as Meat Boy, who has to rescue his girlfriend (called Bandage Girl) from an evil Dr. Fetus. Along the way, many obstacles will test your skills in many ways.
You’ll need quick reflexes and precise timing if you want to succeed. You must navigate Meat Boy through a series of stages while avoiding obstacles, collecting power-ups and keys, and defeating every boss in every stage.
#3: Mark of the Ninja
This stealth-action game takes the best parts from all the other great platformer games and puts them together in one cohesive package. The combat is great, with various ninja weaponry that you can use to take out your enemies. The level design is fantastic, and each area has something new to offer, whether it’s a new type of enemy or a new gameplay mechanic.
You must navigate dark and light-filled areas as you try to avoid guards and Skeletons. Mark of the Ninja has no HUD, so your health and money are stored in your inventory.
There are multiple types of guards with different characteristics and behaviors, making for a fun challenge as you try to make it to the end without dying or being caught. You’ll find yourself replaying levels to find all the secrets they contain, and there are plenty.
Some light puzzles are also thrown in for good measure, making this one of the few platformers where thinking ahead is encouraged. If you’re looking for an amazing platformer and happen to have an Xbox 360 lying around, look no further than Mark of the Ninja.
Limbo is an independent platformer developed by Playdead. It is one of the most visually stunning games on the Xbox 360. The platformer features a unique camera system that allows players to explore and solve puzzles in multiple ways. Limbo also has an innovative art style that will draw you into its world.
The player controls a young boy who wakes up in the middle of the forest without knowing how he got there. He then sets off to find a way out, but it will not be easy.
The environment is dark and creepy and features many puzzles to solve along the way. The platformer also has a chilling atmosphere, which you can’t help but be immersed in as you explore the world.
The gameplay is perfect for gamers who want something challenging but not overly difficult, and the story is compelling enough that you won’t want to put it down once you start playing. The puzzles are inventive and fun, with plenty of variety so that each one feels fresh instead of just getting harder as you progress through the levels.
Braid is an indie game made by Jonathan Blow that was released in 2008. It is a puzzle platformer with a heavy emphasis on storytelling. To progress, the player has to solve puzzles and complete levels to collect puzzle pieces.
One interesting thing about Braid is the ability to go back and make changes in earlier levels to change how they play out. The story follows Tim, a man trying to rescue the princess he loves. He travels through time with a magical key that allows him to go back and forth between the present day and other times throughout history, past lives included.
This means there are plenty of awesome platforming sections packed into each level. The player learns more about Tim as he goes through the levels and discovers parts of his past. There are six worlds, each representing one stage of his life. At the end of the game, you find that Tim was the monster the princess was running from all along.
Now that the Xbox 360 has been out for seventeen years, and given that it is one of the most popular places to play video games, here’s a brief look at the best platformers you can get your hands on. They range from old-school classics to innovative newer titles, so there will surely be something here for everyone.
And with hundreds of games available across various genres, this list features just a small fraction of the great platformers you can find on Microsoft’s system. Every platformer is fun in its own way, but certain styles and specific titles stand out from the others. For instance, if you want to go back to basics and relive what made old-school 2D platforming great, games like Super Meat boy or Braid should provide a good challenge.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©dennizn/Shutterstock.com.