Nintendo consoles have always been home to some of the best platformers on the market, and that holds true with the Switch. Some of the best entries in multiple Nintendo platforming franchises are on Switch, including Super Mario Odyssey and Kirby and the Forgotten Land. But the Switch is also home to a bunch of wonderful third-party platformers. If you’re a platformer fan, you have a ridiculous number of good games to choose. We’ve rounded up the best platforming games on Nintendo Switch in 2022.
There’s also a deep catalog of retro platformers available through Switch Online, including Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and more. For this list, we’ve limited entries to those that launched specifically on Switch (otherwise, we’d have a list half-filled with twenty-year-old games). Whether you’re looking for a challenge or something lighthearted, one of these titles is bound to be a good fit. This list contains a wide variety of platformers, including precision-platformers focused entirely on jumping, action-platformers with tough combat, puzzle-platformers with clever problems to solve, metroidvanias with labyrinthine maps, and even platformers with a roguelike structure.
For more Nintendo Switch game recommendations, check out these roundups, too!
Our list of the 27 best Switch platformers is organized in alphabetical order. We’ll continue to add to this list as more great platformers land on Nintendo Switch.
Its gorgeous pixel graphics might be the reason you dive into Celeste, but its emotional narrative and memorable characters will keep you around until the credits roll. Throw in some challenging platforming action and dozens of unlockable challenges, and it’s easy to see why Celeste is such an iconic indie game. Even after you scale the mountain, there’s plenty left to do. And for those who want to experience the story without too much stress, Celeste has wonderful difficulty sliders to tailor the experience to your skill level.
Dead Cells isn’t easy. As you navigate its 2D corridors and explore a mysterious island, you’ll come across no shortage of deadly foes that can quickly send you to an early grave. Death results in the loss of most of your progress–although you’ll be able to hold onto a few key skills that make each subsequent run a bit less daunting. Though it may be more of an action game than a pure platformer, Dead Cells’ fast-paced combat and movement rely on platforming skills.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This is the first of several Nintendo exclusive games you’ll find on this list. And while newer releases like Super Mario Odyssey and Kirby and the Forgotten Land might garner more attention, this delightful 2D platformer remains one of the best on Switch. You’ll play as Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and more as you fight to save the realm from invaders. Each character has their own set of skills that alter how you approach the challenging platforming sequences. Tropical Freeze originally appeared on Wii U, but the Switch gave it new life and a wider audience.
Guacamelee 2 has more than an awesome name. It also boasts some of the most stylish graphics in the Switch catalog, along with frantic gameplay that is bound to get your adrenaline flowing. Beyond nimble platforming, you’ll be able to unlock a bunch of powerful moves to help wrestle your way past opponents, dive into four-player co-op, and listen to a catchy Electro-Mexican soundtrack. Structured like a metroidvania, Guacamelee 2 has a sprawling world filled with great platforming sequences and interesting characters.
Hollow Knight is one of the metroidvanias in recent memory. You’ll explore a haunting, insect-inspired world that’s filled with secrets around every corner. New skills are unlocked regularly, which help you both defeat challenging bosses and access previously restricted areas. Combat is fluid and fast-paced, although it’s not for the faint of heart. Combat and platforming meld perfectly together here and keep you invested throughout its lengthy runtime. Seriously, Hollow Knight’s world is staggeringly big.
This haunting, narrative-driven puzzle-platformer follows a young boy as he explores a terrifying and mysterious world. You’ll be forced to solve a variety of mind-bending puzzles, although it’s the well-written storyline that really drives the action. Most of the platforming challenges make you think, as you have to solve puzzles in order to make progress due to the protagonist’s minimalistic abilities.
Kaze and the Wild Masks
Inspired by platformers from another era–namely Donkey Kong Country–Kaze and the Wild Masks offers a classic side-scrolling experience. You’ll run and jump across more than 30 levels, using unique Wild Mask abilities to defeat foes and save your friend from an evil curse. Kaze and the Wild Masks is very much a Donkey Kong Country clone, but it’s an extremely good one.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby’s jump to three dimensions was a runaway success. You’ll explore a sprawling world, making generous use of Kirby’s Copy ability to steal enemy skills and complete each mission. With upgradeable Copy abilities and the brand-new (and hilarious) Mouthful mode, there’s more platforming variety here than ever before. You’ll also find Kirby’s charming sense of humor throughout the game, along with eye-catching graphics that make each new area a joy to experience.
Retro graphics and a dynamic combat system are the highlights of The Messenger. The story follows a young ninja as they battle against a demonic army to save their village, although things quickly become more complicated. Upgradeable and unlockable skills help even the odds, but you’ll need to rely on fast reflexes if you want to make it to the game’s end. Fans of old-school platformers from the NES era will find lots to love in The Messenger.
Metroid Dread is one of the newest releases on this list, and it’s also one of the best. Follow Samus as she once again fights off an alien threat–along with deadly robots known as E.M.M.I. Your skillset is more developed than ever before, with Samus able to clamber over or slide under just about any obstacle. Late-game bosses will test your fortitude and skills, but it’s always a balanced experience that feels fair. And if you want to see and collect everything in the game, you’ll need to master Samus’ suite of abilities to solve intricate platforming puzzles.
As far as platformers are concerned, you’d be hard-pressed to find one with more content than N++. With more than 4,000 (no, that’s not a typo) levels, the fluid platforming game should keep you busy for quite some time. If you get bored of all those levels, there’s also an editor that lets you make your own, along with the option for three other players to join you in both competitive and cooperative modes.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Its name is a bit of a mouthful, but New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is among the best 2D Mario experiences on Switch. Vibrant graphics, more than 100 levels, multiple game modes, and cooperative multiplayer make it easy to sink hundreds of hours into the game. This version also includes the New Super Luigi U titles, which give you some challenging content to play through if the standard game becomes a bit too easy.
The original Ori and the Blind Forest introduced players to a mystical land filled with adorable (and deadly) creatures and gave them an emotional story that stayed with them long after putting the game down. Ori and the Will of the Wisps continued that tradition, this time giving you more puzzles, more enemies, and more eye-catching environments to explore. You can purchase a physical edition that contains both Ori games. We highly recommend playing The Blind Forest first before diving into the more complex Will of the Wisps.
Owlboy sends you on a quirky journey that follows Otus–a young owlboy that’s struggling in his young owlhood. When Sky Pirates invade his world, life becomes even more challenging. Platformers don’t get much more bizarre than this, but fans of gorgeous pixelated graphics and retro vibes will find a lot to love about Owlboy.
Colorful, humorous, and a blast to play, Rayman Legends is another stellar 2D outing for the iconic hero. The oil painting-inspired visuals mesh with its unique narrative, which has Rayman and crew diving into magical paintings as they discover secrets and slay a bunch of gigantic beasts. The game’s even more fun when playing with a few friends, as Rayman Legends supports co-op for up to four players.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
Shantae has had a few adventures on Switch, but we’re highlighting the Seven Sirens here (we’d recommend all of them, though). This time around, Shantae can make use of Fusion Magic–which allows her to change forms and learn new abilities. Beyond the new mechanic, you’ll find the usual assortment of cartoony graphics, fun characters, and well-designed levels.
Dive into a procedurally generated world in which no two runs are ever alike. Its graphics and presentation might be simplistic, but hiding underneath you’ll find a challenging platformer with a ridiculous amount of depth. Once you wrap up Spelunky, be sure to check out Spelunky 2–which offers more platforming goodness.
SteamWorld Dig 2
Running and jumping are just as important as mining in SteamWorld Dig 2. This unique Metroidvania has you digging deep underground to discover why earthquakes keep destroying a local trading town. The further down you go, the more challenging the game becomes, with new monsters and hazards making themselves known. Your trusty Hookshot makes it a breeze to navigate your labyrinth of tunnels, and upgradeable skills give you a reason to keep on mining. Though SteamWorld Dig 2 is better than its predecessor, the original is still worth playing.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Shovel Knight draws heavy inspiration from retro, 8-bit platformers. Instead of having a sword, gun, or whip to vanquish foes, however, you’re given a trusty shovel. Gameplay is just as challenging as the platformers that it’s based on, although modern luxuries such as sleek animations, improved sound design, and a staggering amount of content make it a nostalgic trip worth taking–multiple times, in fact. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove includes four single-player campaigns, each of which stars a different character and drastically alters the platforming gameplay. It also has a local multiplayer mode called Showdown that’s fun to play alongside fellow Shovel Knight fans.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
This bundle is essentially two games in one. First, work your way through an excellent collection of 3D platforming levels solo or with a few friends in Super Mario 3D World. You’ll have a bunch of power-ups at your disposal to help overcome the odds, including the Super Bell–which gives you catlike powers and the ability to climb walls. Then, hop over to Bowser’s Fury, which offers a free-roaming world for you to explore and the option for a second player to join in the chaos as Bowser Jr. Together, this package offers incredible value, as both games are truly stellar.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 might be the most elaborate Mario game to date. The game comes with 100 prebuilt levels for you to work through, but the game really shines when you jump online to try out one of the thousands of player-made masterpieces. There’s practically an endless amount of enjoyable content to keep you playing for quite some time. You can also try your hand at its powerful editor, which lets you build and share your own side-scrolling levels with players around the world. You can create the Super Mario platformer you’ve always dreamed about.
Super Mario Odyssey
When you think of great platformers on Switch (or one of the best games, in general), many will think of Super Mario Odyssey–and for good reason. The game does just about everything right, from its fluid platforming mechanics and the constant introduction of new gameplay mechanics to its impressive graphics and awesome cast of characters. Cappy adds a fun twist to the action too, giving Mario a set of skills not seen in his other outings. A second player can take control of Cappy in co-op mode, which is a particularly nice inclusion for those who want to introduce their kids to Super Mario.
Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy remains the king of precision-platformers. Each level will likely take you dozens of attempts before finding success, and the game is kind enough to replay all your failed runs when you finally reach the goal line. Super Meat Boy has perfectcontrols, so even though it’s a tough test, it never feels unfair. It’s more than decade old at this point, but Super Meat Boy still feels as great to play today as it did in 2010. Those who enjoy the loop can try their hand at even harder levels once the main story wraps.
Gravity is your friend in VVVVVV. There’s no jump button in this minimalistic game, although the ability to manipulate gravity helps you slingshot to incredible heights. The action takes place across six open-world locations, with 20 collectibles up for grabs throughout the adventure. Checkpoints are littered throughout the map as well, which makes it easy to explore without the need to backtrack.
Will You Snail?
Don’t be fooled–this snail is anything but slow. Will You Snail? is a quirky platformer that offers a neon-soaked atmosphere and fast-paced action. It’s all built around a fiendishly smart AI, which predicts your movements and tries to kill you. Seriously. It’s a challenging game that also happens to be one of the most inventive platformers you can play on Switch.
Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is a charming game that follows the eponymous Yoku, the island’s new mail carrier. It has a rather novel gameplay structure, as the large world is littered with natural pinball boards that you have to navigate with flippers and springs. It’s one of the most unique metroidvanias to release in recent years.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Yoshi’s Crafted World oozes charm. From its hand-crafted art style to its enchanting soundtrack, it’s hard to play this game without a smile on your face. Backing up the charm is some fun and family-friendly 2D platforming action that supports local co-op for you and a friend. And if you really need to relax, you can turn on Mellow Mode to make the game even easier. Wonderful level design, cool boss battles, and classic Yoshi platforming come together to create one of the best games starring the beloved dinosaurs.