Skip to main content

Best Xbox One Platformers in 2022

Ori
Ori (Image credit: Moon Studios)

From retro 8-bit classics to the latest indie releases, platformers are one of the biggest genres in video game history. With an established presence on the Xbox One, a wide range of memorable platforming experiences are now available on the console. These are the top titles available in 2018.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest delivers a moving narrative and gorgeous art style, wrapped around its platforming gameplay. You'll come to learn that even with Ori's abilities, the game's forest is as brutal as it is breathtaking, while responsive controls make every second feel worthwhile. A successor is also on the horizon, meaning there's no better time to pick up the game. Ori and the Blind Forest is an unmissable experience, priced at $20 (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Celeste

Celeste is among Xbox One's latest platformers to receive widespread acclaim, with a streamlined, lightweight take on the genre. Despite its simple trio of jumping, dashing, and climbing, fast reflexes are essential to overcome its complex puzzles. Intertwined is a gripping narrative, raising the bar for the genre, establishing it among the best of this generation. Celeste is available via the Microsoft Store for $20 (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Cuphead

Cuphead (Image credit: Studio MDHR)

StudioMDHR's Cuphead pays homage to simpler times, from its hand-drawn 1930s aesthetic to sleek run-and-gun gameplay. Although centered around high-stakes boss battles, the side-scroller also features brutal platforming levels. It's not for the faint-hearted but packs appealing traits for platforming junkies. Cuphead is available digitally via the Microsoft Store, and it costs $20 (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania (Image credit: Sega)

After a long string of Sonic games with subpar critical response, Sonic Mania marks a huge turning point for the series. Regarded by many as one of the best Sonic games to date, the game calls back to series' golden era, with retro 2D side scrolling gameplay. Sonic Mania is available now via Amazon, priced at $20. (opens in new tab)

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

INSIDE

Named our favorite puzzle game of 2016, INSIDE is a mind-blowing, unmissable platforming experience for the Xbox One. Taking control of an unnamed boy, players will uncover the secrets of the game's monochromatic dystopia through a range of atmospheric puzzles.

With finely tuned gameplay, an effective art style and an ending that'll render you speechless, INSIDE is a must-buy platformer for any Xbox One owner. INSIDE is best purchased for $16 (opens in new tab), via a double pack featuring LIMBO.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Unravel

Unravel is yet another platformer with a touching narrative, following a yarn-based figure through the countryside in search of lost memories. As its title suggests, "Yarny" unravels his body over time, in order to solve puzzles and climb across the landscape. With only a limited amount of yarn on his body, players must make sure to collect spare balls of yarn to prevent him from unraveling entirely. Unravel is another unforgettable Xbox One tale, priced at $20 (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Hue

Hue is a heart-warming adventure-based platformer, which uses color and ingenious environmental design to generate its puzzles. Given the ability to change the color of the game' backdrop, players must use this to navigate the world, phasing objects in and out of existence. As more colors are collected, puzzles will becoming increasingly complex, but never stray too far away from the game's principal values. Hue is available for $15 via Microsoft (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Limbo

Limbo is a puzzle platformer from Playdead, met with acclaim for its polished graphical and audio presentation, and intuitive gameplay mechanics. There's an eerie vibe, from the moment you wake up in a forest, to the first time you encounter one of the game's creatures. Although a few years old, it's an iconic release of the previous console generation. Limbo is best purchased alongside 2016's INSIDE, via a $16 double pack on Amazon (opens in new tab).

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight has received it fair share of praise since its debut back in 2014, which led to a port of the game on the Xbox One. The retro-style platformer is an amazing nostalgia trip for many gamers, with side-scrolling platform and combat. Solely using a shovel, players must fight their way through the world's creatures, digging up treasure along the way. For any fan of 8-bit platformers, Shovel Knight is an essential purchase, priced at $25 via Microsoft (opens in new tab).

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Your call

Which other platformers should have a place on this list? Let us know in the comments, and we may include your suggestions in our next update.

Updated December 6, 2018: Added Celeste and Cuphead in the latest refresh.

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

68 Comments
  • I wouldn't call Child of Light a platformer, but it is a very good game. Great suggestions, Max is also a good one.
  • Yeah where's Max and the Curse of Brotherhood? I remember that game from 2013. It was quite awesome.
  • You are right. It was easily the best platformer of 2013 and should be on any list of Top 10 platformers for Xbox One, as should Press Play's follow-up the next year, Kalimba, which was easily the best platformer of 2014. Here's how the Top 3 should go: 1. Ori and the Blind Forest 2. Kalimba 3. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
  • i dont know never finnished kalimba. maybe one day i will
  • Agreed. That and The Swapper are the 2 platforming games that got me back into the genre when I hadn't played it in AGES--since Sonic on the Dreamcast, really.
  • Another vote for Max. That game is fantastic.
  • Calmly waiting for Mighty No. 9, delays are killing my excitement for this megaman like game.
  • What is it with tech blogs and terrible puns? Ah well, I suppose people would find ways to complain if there weren't puns everywhere, so.
  • LIMBO was alright. I kinda hated the fact that to progress in the game you had to die countless times to learn the puzzles and repeat the sequences over and over until you did it correctly. It got tedious and annoying.
  • I thought it was great!
  • You are right: LIMBO was all right. The hype made it sound like the greatest platformer ever made. Then I played it and thought, "That was a good game, but it's overrated".
  • Sounds like the anime Re:Zero
  • Thomas Was Alone sounds really interesting!
  • Bought that for a few £ with the swapper and another game. Keep your eye out, it will likely come again. As will ori, been on sale many times.
  • Ori and The Blind Forest is absolutely gorgeous. Remember that part in Bambi?
    Remember that one scene in Lion King?
    Remember when halfway through The Fox and The Hound..? Multiply by 9000 feels, pour into a bowl of Princess Mononoke
    Add a dash of Spirited Away
    Mix until a tidal wave of feels makes you cry like a little girl And thats just the main menu Now I get teary every time I see an apple. The music in this game is phenomenal, think Trine just 10 times more beautiful with added vocals. Controls and physics feel perfect, fluid and interesting.
    You really do feel like a little cat spirit gliding through the forest, climbing walls and trees. Visually the game is beyond stunning, hands down the prettiest game I've ever seen. Storytelling is amazingly done through game mechanics and not just "passive" cutscenes. Next time someone tells you video games is not art, show them Ori.
  • Haha I love how emotionally attached you are to the game. I loved it as well but ended up stuck at the end at one part and never went back to it unfortunately.
  • I agree that the escape sequences were particularly frustrating since there is absolutely zero guidance from the game about it.
  • I found them frustrating, but eventually you get the hang of it, it's a lot of trial and error though, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the game. The environments during the chase scenes more than make up for a little frustration though, it's such a beautiful game.
  • This!
  • You should write for Netflix's marketing team
  • This! Looking forward to the Definitive Edition this year... it's more gorgeous! Yay!
  • Any idea as to when Ori will go on sale again? It was 50% off last month around Christmas.
  • Ori is regularly on sale, you should be good.
  • I'd say Child of Light is more a turn based rpg first and platformer second. I really need to try more of these though.
  • Rayman Legends IS NOT FREE
    It was Game of the month almost a year ago
  • Yeah I was looking for this. Copy paste?
  • Can't wait for Unravel. The trailer looks absolutely gorgeous already. Just waiting it for PC tho. But I believe it will come to XOne someday.
  • Same day as PC. Feb 06 I think. Bing it.
  • EA Access.
  • But no Ratchet & Clank for Xbox. Main reason im going to get Ps4. :P and all other games im interest are there... Except Halo :/
  • Xbox One is good but gobsmacked that you cant install videos/music on the hard drive. Got 1tb for nothing :-(
  • You'll thank yourself later. Space fills up quick, especially if you get every month's free games.
  • Lol, I hope you're right. I bought it to have a combination of games, music and film like i did with the PS3, but bizarrely the Xbox One doesn't allow that as they did with the 360. Anyway, hopefully Microsoft will improve it...
  • If you have another PC on the network, just install plex.  It doesn't cost anything.
  • That boggles my mind.... why fill your already limited space with music and movies? it you MUST have it on the system, then get a flash drive and plug it into the back of the system. If not, go the plex route as mentioned or get a NAS. Yes, the NAS may be an expensive option, but serving all your media that was is just awesome. And if your NAS supports transcoding, either through it's own media server or plex, then it'll transcode video on the fly, meaning 1 video file is compatible with every device. Add in DDNS and you can access your media from anywhere in the world!
  • Get a nas drive bro, keep your os disk clean
  • Thanks for the tip. I bought the WD Ultra 2tb but the Xbox doesn't read the film or music files. Apparently u have to format it for games only. U can use a normal usb though, but that has limitations. I was thinking about returning until I played Battlefront and Forza, which are amazing!
  • Use OneDrive, it's what I do.
  • Seems to only allow pictures
  • Well the whole point is streaking
  • Don't look Ethel!
  • Max and the Curse of the Brotherhood should be included. Fun little game.
  • Yes, this!!!! ^^ ...This game is the only free "Games with Gold" title that I actually finished all the way through (despite some really good titles having been offered).
  • Megaman is fun, hard as hell but fun
  • It's strange how we sometimes enjoy battling against incredibly difficult games.
  • I own most of those already. Need to play a few of them though which have been collecting digital dust.
  • Guacamelee!!! And also, another vote for Max and the curse of brotherhood.
  • Ori and the blind forest! Need that for W10 as well.
  • What do you mean? Ori and the Blind Forest is in the Windows 10 Store already. I definitely agree with Inside and Ori on this list. I'd add Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba, though.
  • I think he talks about phone version ;)
  • Well, if you don't mind of (approx.) 8GB of data inside your phone :) but surely, if Ori and the Blind Forest is going to W10M, it's surely interesting!
  • I have sunk a ridiculous amount of hours into rogue legacy over the past week, it is such a moreish game. Although I don't think I will ever beat the secret bosses.
  • What about Rayman Legends ? Or even xbox 360's Rayman Origins ? Ton of a fun, looks great, sounds great, has local multiplayer, it's easy to play, hard to master and it will be free in few days.
  • Owl boy deserves a mention ;)
  • This is for Xbox One, Owlboy isn't available on Xbox One.
  • some good games there. 2 are on ea access. just get ea access :D
  • Ori and the Blind Forest ... just perfect 👌!!!!!
  • Ori and the bling forest, and Child of Light were both great, and must haves.  ReCore was horribly boring and annoying. I wish I never bought that game.
  • Ori and Blind Forrest
    Inside
    Unravel Three top picks for Xbox One. Mirrors Edge a platformer? Seriously?
  • -
  • I think Shantae 1/2 genie hero and Hyper Light drifter deserve a place in this list.
  • No Rayman Legends?????? You cant be serious. That game is amazing. 1st Ori. 2nd Rayman.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest - Such a great game... Nice side player, nice soundtrack...  Easy in the top 2 best games on this list.
  • Thanks for the article. I've had a number of these downloaded but never played. Finally started Ori and ended up putting in a couple hours on it, great game so far.
  • Ori and the blind forest definitive edition off course, it's perfect! Me finished it twice and still wanted to play it some other time.
  • Shovel Knight... why isn't this game a Play Anywhere title?
    Otherwise I can then game on Surface Pro / Alienware during coffee break / on plane... I might also be able to game on a 5" / 6" win10.arm docking on my gamepad on the train... sad...
    (I mainly game on console) Do people really buy game twice? Why 2 SKU?
  • No Hallow Knight? That game is amazing.
  • The last platformer I ever played was Space Quest 4. Once I got into FPS games I never looked back. I just don't find anything enjoyable about non-FPS games, regardless of whether they're console or PC.