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Rayman Origins, Jetpack Joyride And More: The Top Platformers Of 2011

MolotovCupcake
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Posted December 12, 2011 - By Brittany Vincent






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Who says platformers are a dying genre? This year saw the rise of several epic installments to the library of platforming greats – some new face, some familiar, but all of them every bit of fun, like a great game should be. Below we've got a sampling of what we think are five of the year's best. Whether you’re simply curling up with a cozy old franchise or taking a chance on a newcomer, you can’t go wrong with these fantastic platformers of 2011.

Jetpack Joyride

Jetpack Joyride

There have been so many addictive mobile titles released this year, it’s hard to choose only one to represent them all (like Lord of the Rings of the mobile game world). But if hard-pressed to make a decision, we gravitated toward Jetpack Joyride, which isn’t a traditional platformer per se, but a delicious morsel of blue-sized fun perfect for that long commute to work. Your only real concern is keeping protagonist Barry Steakfries from harm as he hurtles through a seemingly neverending laboratory avoiding laser deathtraps and other malevolent speedbumps. This is all accomplished via touching and holding a spot on the screen to propel Barry upward or letting him fall to the ground, avoiding the hazards that would otherwise befall him. It’s insanely fun and the coins collected along the way work to make this 99 cent gem as rewarding as any triple-A title. It's a testament to the fact that spectacular graphics and explosions don't mean a thing if you don't have a solid premise, and Joyride has it.

Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins

For a good time, cal 1-800-Rabbids, but for a Rayman adventure that gets back to the series' roots, Rayman Origins is a smash hit. In this origin story, everyone's favorite limbless hero is on a mission to save the Glade of Dreams from the dreaded Darktoons. Vivid environments, hilarious 2D animation, and surprisingly challenging levels await the smart buyers who were swift to pick up this fantastic reimagining of the classic franchise. Sixty levels of lush greenery, astounding hand-drawn aesthetics via Ubisoft's UbiArt Framework, and four-player co-op are just a few of the reasons Rayman Origins deserves a spot on this list. Check it out, especially if you've followed good ol' Rayman since the PlayStation days.

Sonic Generations

Sonic Generations

You've got to hand it to everyone's favorite blue scapegoat – Sonic Generations was actually a decent outing for the hedgehog's 20th anniversary. Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic finally meet (with Modern Sonic wondering how he was ever such a chubby little butterball) in this love letter to both old-school and new-school (no matter how eyeroll-inducing that may be) sensibilities. While still riddled with some of the same, familiar issues from Sonic's tumultuous past, Sonic Generations is the best we've been given in the past few years, aside from the brilliant DS rendition of Sonic Colors. Experience the Green Hill Zone in 3D and thrill in the all-new updated soundtracks. Pick up the 3DS edition and revisit the Casino Zone. It's all back, baby, and with a fresh coat of paint. You might be hesitant to give Sonic the benefit of the doubt, but Generations is certainly proving that things may finally be on the up-and-up.

Shinobi 3DS

Shinobi 3DS

Who would have guessed a simple 3DS rehash could have delivered so much? Sega's popular side-scrolling ninja adventure retains its gleefully over-the-top boss battles and nonstop action but seamlessly ties in a brand new combat system and crushing difficulty that'll have you cursing your 3DS and your weak, worthless human fingers. Griptonite Games' offering is another prequel (that makes two from this year alone) that will put you through its paces, much like the 1987 original, but coming out of the ordeal victorious is worth the purchase price alone. Select one of the other mentions on our list if you want to enjoy yourself, but choose Shinobi 3DS if you want a challenge...or if you need a new hole in your wall, because we guarantee that handheld will be going through it.

Super Mario 3D Land

Super Mario 3D Land

Ah, Mario, the king of platforming himself. What kind of year in gaming would it be if the diminutive plumber didn't make at least one appearance? The very first leap to 3D the franchise makes is neither bold nor brash, but more of a celebration of all things Mario, taking your favorite aspects of some of your favorite Mario outings (Galaxy for sure) and making them into something newer, something fresher, by way of the 3DS. It's plenty of the old mixed in with a gracious helping of the new. For example, the Fire Flower, Starman, and other Mario mainstays remain in circulation, but creative additions like the Boomerang Flower keep things interesting. It may not be the dazzling new Mario we were all clamoring for, but it's cozy and comfortable, and the same old song you love to sing.

Brittany Vincent is a freelance writer who routinely eviscerates virtual opponents and tempts fate by approaching wayward Zoloms. A connoisseur of all things bloody and bizarre, she's available to chat via Twitter @MolotovCupcake, and is always ready to take on new projects. You can peruse her archived work at PfhortheWin.com.

Rayman Origins, Jetpack Joyride And More: The Top Platformers Of 2011
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