Top 10 Indie Platformers – Decade’s Best
As the 2010s come to a close, we here at SipReadRepeat wanted to look back at the past decade of indie games and give you the Top 10 Indie games in each genre from January 2010 to December 2019. As always, these lists are purely subjective, but my hope is for a trip down memory lane. My name is Jason from The Sip, and here are my Top 10 Indie Platformers of the past decade.
These are my honorable mentions for best indie platformers of the last ten years.
Limbo: A dark and beautiful game about a young boy escaping danger and death at every corner.
Trine 2: A fantastic puzzle platformer where you play as three characters simultaneously to progress.
Human Fall Flat: A silly platformer with some surprisingly difficult platforming and loads of fun.
Hue: A wonderful game about a young boy living in a monochromatic grey world, and manipulating colors is how you will find your mother.
Now on to my Top 10!
10. Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone is a game made by Mike Bithell that released in June 2012. It is critically acclaimed for its minimalist approach and simple focus on friendship. You play as a group of sentient quadrilaterals, and you work together to solve puzzles and reach goals.
The story is amazing, and it is narrated by Danny Wallace to perfection. It is so easy to get caught up in the often-times hilarious dialog that you forget what you are doing. On top of that, the soundtrack is top tier!
9. Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is a brutally tough platformer by Team Meat that released on October 20, 2010. In many ways, Super Meat Boy was one of the games that served as the catalyst for the major indie push on Xbox LIVE. And it is easily recognized as one of the cornerstones of today’s indie gaming scene.
The game will push you to the limit, but its quick reset system helps alleviate the pain of death. Boss fights are unique and tons of fun, and the satisfaction received from clearing difficult areas is unmatched. Truly one of the most iconic indie games out there.
8. BattleBlock Theater
BattleBlock Theater is a hilarious game released by The Behemoth on April 3, 2013. After a terrible storm, the SS Friendship is shipwrecked on a strange and abandoned island. Our bizarre hero(s) then encounter a series of silly yet difficult challenges within a dilapidated theater.
The game is a riot and will keep you entertained from start to finish. On top of the comedy, the platforming is actually solid and quite creative. The various amount of items you unlock also vary the experience. To me, this makes BattleBlock Theater feel like the forgotten gem of this past decade. It is absolutely awesome!
Cuphead is a tought-as-nails action platformer by STUDIO MDHR that released on September 29, 2017. The game follows Cuphead and Mugman as they made a poor betting decision and lost their souls to the devil. To earn them back, they must collect the souls of numerous baddies in their world. And boy o’ boy, are some of the baddies tough.
Cuphead shines in its classic visuals and unbelievably amazing soundtrack. It looks and sounds like it was transported straight from the early 1900s. It is a masterpiece in this sense alone.
Fez is a dimensional-beaking platformer made by Phil Fish and released on April 13, 2012. There is so much about this game that is great. It looks amazing, plays perfectly, and sounds fantastic. It is a masterclass in game design.
Fez is about changing the perception of a level by spinning it around on its axis. Secrets can be revealed, items come within reach, jumps are possible, and so much more because of this mechanic. It works so well, and it blows me away at how great the levels are put together. Truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
VVVVVV is actually the oldest game on this list. Released on January 11, 2010, VVVVVV is a lovely platformer by Terry Cavanaugh. You and your crew run into some technical problems, and everyone is teleported to different areas. It is up to you to traverse through the hazardous world and save your friends.
The controls are simple. You move left and right, and you can switch gravity. The lack of a jump button makes you depend on this gravity switching mechanic, which is the cornerstone of the gameplay. The fantastically challenging puzzles will entertain for hours, and the music will be in your head for days. VVVVVV is a wonderful little indie game that helped kick off this past decade.
GRIS is a gorgeous platformer made by Nomada Studio and released on December 13, 2018. It is a game about dealing with grief and facing that pain head-on. It is a game about discovering light when darkness is all around and building strength and confidence when there is no hope.
GRIS is an experience unlike any other. It is simply beautiful. The artwork is striking, fluid, and something that will drop your jaw over and over. The platforming is great for what it is, but the journey through pain and hardship is the selling point. It is a refreshing take on how we should face these demons, and a game that everyone should play.
3. Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy is a platformer with rogue-like elements created by Teddy Lee and released on June 27, 2013. It is a game that I constantly go back to. It is easy to pick up and loads of fun, and it will make you laugh more than you expect.
In Rogue Legacy, generation after generation keeps diving into a procedurally-generated castle that presents unique challenges each and every time. With each passing generation, the new hero acquires some traits of the parent, and that includes the bad traits. One game you have IBS, and the next you are colorblind. All of these traits affect the gameplay and create unique and wonderful experiences.
It is truly a brilliant idea that works way too well.
2. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Shovel Knight was created by Yacht Club Games, and the Treasure Trove just completed itself in early December 2019. The original Shovel Knight campaign released on June 26, 2014, and it has seen consistent updates since then. The total package includes four unique campaigns and a Smash Bros-like fighting game called Showdown.
All of the games in Treasure Trove are amazing. The platforming is equal to the best of the genre. The chiptunes are some of the best songs in gaming history. And the stories are so fluid and well put together. Any one game is a great platformer on its own, but the entire Treasure Trove together? This is a package that every gamer should own.
Celeste is a perfect platformer made by Matt Makes Games and released on January 25, 2018. I cannot stress this enough, but Celeste is one of the best games I have ever played. Not just in the platforming genre, but across all games. It tells a story about anxiety and stress in a brilliant way through both its narrative and gameplay.
You play as a young girl named Madeline looking to prove herself by climbing the treacherous Mount Celeste. It is a harsh journey that will test both you and Madeline, and a unique gaming experience where you truly connect with the protagonist. Content-wise, Celeste offers tons of levels, varying difficulties, and it just released its last free DLC.
It is a complete package, and it is one of the best pure platformers in gaming history.
Those Were My Top 10!
So what did you think of this list? Do you agree? Or do you violently disagree? Either way, let me know in the comments below, and we will have a healthy conversation!
The 2010s were an awesome decade of gaming, but I hope the 2020s have more to offer. Here is to the future! Happy gaming, everyone.
My name is Jason Capp. Originally from the US, I currently live in Tokyo, Japan. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to knock the smile off this bro’s face.