Celeste

Madeline’s choice to answer her inexplicable urge to climb Celeste Mountain, then, amounts to a massive and unexpected classic of the platformer genre. Her journey is one that matches simple yet effectively charming pixel art visuals with a spectacular soundtrack, and that pulses life into them by creating challenging levels with the precision of a craftsman and writing a storyline arch with the certainty that the message contained within will be valuable to a significant amount of people. Like all sensible lunatics that follow their wishes regardless of whether or not they can explain the reason behind those cravings, Madeline ends up unearthing joys that are both temporary and long-lasting. In the former category, there are the numerous instances when players will sit in awe at the unlikely platforming tricks they succeeded in performing; and, in the latter, there will be the everlasting knowledge, which will probably come right after the summit is touched, that they have just experienced a game for the ages.

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Super Mario Odyssey

Thanks to the impressive quantity of items to acquire in each kingdom (the dozens of moons and regional coins), Super Mario Odyssey often feels like a collectathon, but one that merges the exploration aspect that reigned over Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine with the linear goodness found in the most recent 3-D outings of the plumber. The meticulous design of its kingdoms, the cleverness of the capture mechanic and the doors of gameplay possibility that are blasted open due to it, and the fact secrets and new objectives are uncovered with every passing minute make Super Mario Odyssey an utter joy to play through, whether it is to those who will just clear its fifteen-hour adventure or to the daring gamers that will sink more than fifty hours into the experience to seek full completion. Super Mario Odyssey’s ridiculous abundance of ideas more than justifies the spectacular size of the quest Nintendo has put together.

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Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

If it were a game from a brand new franchise Shantae: Half-Genie Hero could be easily called great. It is not overly lengthy, clocking in at about eight hours if players go for full completion, but it has a satisfying duration nevertheless; it is beautiful to look at; it packs a solid soundtrack; and it has charm, humor, and level-design prowess. However, as the fourth installment in a series that has always excelled in the way it borrowed elements from Metroid and Zelda, and stuck them in the shoes of a platformer, it ends up falling short of that status. Newcomers are far more likely to thoroughly enjoy it than longtime fans, for while the former will see it as a truly delightful action-platformer with some notable quirks, the latter are bound to view it as not just a missed opportunity, but a step back, one that apparently fails to materialize half of what made its prequels so beloved in the first place.

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Super Mario Bros. 3

To a whole lot of people, then, Super Mario Bros. 3 had the sound of a door being blasted open right inside their brains and revealing the vast, colorful, and enchanting universe that lied within the realm of gaming. It rises so far above its predecessors, which were great games in their own right, and surpasses pretty much everything else that called the NES its home, that it is hard to even imagine they came out for the same console. It is one of those rare instances when a game can be called both an evolution and a revolution; Super Mario Bros. 3 has served as the basis upon which all Mario sidescrollers have been built, and the fact they remain undeniably successful and astonishingly fun should give anyone that was either not alive or not playing games back in 1988 an idea of how gigantic it was, and it still is.

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Donkey Kong 64

It is hard to deny the greatness of Donkey Kong 64. As a game that, even before release, wore on its sleeve the intention to be as big as technologically possible, it delivers in every single way. Given games of its kind would sadly fall out of favor during the generations that followed, it has remained as the largest and most demanding collection-based platformer ever since then, with no palpable contestants in sight. It is a game that may occasionally go overboard in its quest for scope and challenge, an exaggeration that will alienate many souls that will drown in backtracking and frustration. But the bottom-line is that it is fun. It does not aim for immensity for the sake of being big; it does so to make room for the insurmountable amount of ideas it sports. It is not a hollow behemoth, but a juggernaut exploding with spectacular moments.

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Yarn And Needles

The cloth-related mechanics are better integrated to the aura of the Yoshi franchise. They do not drastically alter the series’ gameplay like they had done – to the dismay of many fans – to Kirby, which was stripped of his signature sucking and power-hijacking skills. Instead, they add fuel to the mechanics that were already set in place.

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Klonoa

When it is all said and done, the remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile reaffirms game’s status as one of the best platformers of its generation – a generation that included Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Rayman 2 – and shows its structure is as timeless as that of any great classic, because even many years after its release, it still manages to be quite impressive.

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Want To Break Free

More than a need or a wish, having another major Nintendo platformer focus on huge worlds and exploration would shake things a little bit and get the attention of both gamers and critics. Will any of the characters step up to the challenge? Will a brand new franchise be created to fill that empty space?

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