Well, here we have it, the best Platformers of 2018! It was a pretty solid year for Platformers and one that saw some fantastic indies as well. All our picks were decided via either community poll or staff poll and all writers had to have experience with each of these games. After careful deliberation and many hours of playthroughs and deliberation, here are our Two Best Platformers of 2018!
Winner – Celeste
For the longest time, I was fooled into thinking that Platformers weren’t “mature” enough to contain tear-jerking narratives. Oh, how Celeste shattered that notion into itty-bitty pieces.
Madeline’s crippling anxiety and self-doubt shines ever-presently in her weak disposition and raw dialogue. The magic of Mount Celeste brings inner turmoil to life in the form of Madeline’s alter-ego, Badeline. Every step Madeline makes towards the top, Badeline is there to impede and resist. She echoes the same familiar lines that anyone who’s been through anxiety and depression will know all too well: “You’re not good enough.” “No one will ever care.” “Just give up.”
By the end, Madeline comes to peace with Badeline, signifying her triumph over her mental illness. She conquers and comes to terms with the issue that unfortunately plagues so many of us. Frankly, I’ve never seen the issue portrayed so accurately.
I haven’t even touched on Celeste’s actual gameplay, but rest assured, it’s unreservedly one of the best-designed, most satisfying Platformers since the original Super Mario games. There are only three functions: jump, climb, and air-dash. But the level design plays with those three mechanics to no end, requiring you to gain absolute mastery of Madeline’s movement. If you die, you only restart at the beginning of a screen, and the respawn time is nearly instant, encouraging you to hop right back into the fray.
Celeste is undoubtedly one of the best Platformers in recent years, and it has quickly become my favorite game of the genre. It completely deserves its spot as our favorite Platformer of 2018.
Written By: Ethan Braun
Runner-Up – Sonic Mania Plus
Sonic the Hedgehog has been hit or a miss throughout the years. There have been masterpieces such as Sonic Generations, and failures such as Sonic Boom. The thing that fans have been missing is the return to form in two dimensions. We’ve gotten a small taste of what it could be like with Christian Whitehead’s Sonic 1, 2, and CD ports. However, in 2017, Classic Sonic returned with Sonic Mania. This past year, we got an updated version of Mania known as Sonic Mania Plus, which includes new characters and a physical release.
Sonic Mania is a love letter to old Genesis games. It’s a mixture of classic levels, new layouts, and brand-new levels. Sonic and his friends control perfectly in this game. They may even control better than the Genesis games. The number of throwbacks in this game is insane. The highlight for me was the Chemical Plant Zone boss where you play Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. I laughed and smiled throughout the entire boss fight.
Sonic Mania includes my new favorite Sonic soundtrack of all time. Tee Lopes is a fantastic artist, and faithfully recreates the style of the Japanese Sonic CD soundtrack with his original songs.
In the new Plus version, the throwback switch has been activated again, since it also includes two characters; Ray the Fighting Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo. These characters haven’t been seen in over two decades, so I’m happy they are back once again.
This is easily the best Sonic game I’ve ever played. This game was made by very talented ROM hackers that SEGA decided to hire. They ended up making the best Sonic game ever made. Sonic Mania Plus is well deserving runner-up for the title of Best Platformer.
Written By: Sean Scalise