3D Platformer Watchlist

Last month, I decided to create an archive of almost every 3D platformer ever released. That’s no easy feat — classification can be very subjective, and a fresh crop of 3D platformers is in active development. But based on previous trends, and the fabulous year that was 2017, I think it’s safe to say the 3D thunder is back [x].

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3D Platformers released between 1990 to 2018

The revival of a genre once considered dead and outdated has been a team effort between AAA’s like Super Mario Odyssey and a powerful indie brigade that doesn’t appear to be slowing down — and boy am I glad that’s the case. This is a watchlist tracking newer 3D platformers, and will be continuously updated. Thank you, developers, for not forgetting us. — K.K.Atlas

A *huge* thanks to all the people who have shared this page and are helping the list grow!

Games released/releasing in 2018:

1. Astro Bot Rescue Mission

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Release: October 2 | Developer: SIE Japan Studio | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

2. Fe

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Release: February 16 | Developer: Zoink | Publisher: Electronic Arts

3. Flynn & Freckles

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Release: May 16 | Developer: Rookie Hero Games | Publisher: Rookie Hero Games

4. Newt One

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Release: October 16 | Developer: DevNAri | Publisher: DevNAri                                  Mini review: Vibrant, psychedelic hues and a literal musical touch make Newt One one of the more harmonious platformers on the market, but repetitive level structure and unembellished character animations lower the joy-o-meter

5. Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Release: November 13 | Developer: Toys for Bob | Publisher: Activision

6. Suzy Cube

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Release: June 20 | Developer: NorthernBytes Software | Publisher: Noodlecake Studios Inc.

7. Tiny Hands Adventure

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Release: August 10 | Developer: Blue Sunset Games, Funware | Publisher: Blue Sunset Games

8. Tyler: Model 005

Release: August 21 | Developer: Reversed Interactive | Publisher: Maximum Games

Mini projects:

1. Wellfrogy

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In development:

1. A Long Forgotten Story

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2. Azzy Battles the Darkness

3. Billie Bust Up

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4. Captain’s Tail

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5. CardBound

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Mini review: An impossibly cute trek through hand-crafted environments with a cozy soundtrack to match. Once the prominent, movement halting glitches and slippery edge detection (particularly on icy platforms) issues are weeded out, Cardbound will earn its seal of approval.

6. Choconoa

7. Clive ‘N’ Wrench [Interview] [x]

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Mini review: Even in its early alpha stages back in 2015, Clive ‘N’ Wrench featured impressive animation work and generally tight controls. Character art has since been given a massive cute injection – a definite change for the better – but the world-building is consistently top notch. Rounds it all out with a pretty superb little suite of original themed compositions.

8. Dot’s Galaxy Adventure

Mini review: Jetpacking your way around a blocky archipelago to retrieve missing energy orbs is actually loads of fun. Dot’s Galaxy Adventure has a cool layout that’s stitched together by simple puzzles and a solitary objective that could be applied to multiple subsequent levels: repair your ship. Initially plagued by lag issues which have since been ironed out. Bonus points for mystery floating cubes.

9. Dragon Step

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Mini review: This is a graphics card guzzlingly beautiful adventure that dips heavily into a well of inspiration called Spyro the Dragon. Running animations need to look less robotic when changing direction, and UI needs to be prettier, but flight and glide moves are well integrated and holy moly is the grass good looking.

10. Eat All The Things

11. Fading Skies

12. Fireborn: Primordials

13. Firewing 64

Mini review: Firewing 64‘s stretched polygons are an unmistakable siren call of the late nineties, and while they’re not as photorealistic as other Unity-bound projects, they do carry a certain charm. In combination with clean, memorable level design, excellent camera angles, gameplay surprises and a stack of secret areas, it’s got the same great building blocks of the classics. 

14. Floppy & the Sleepy Planet (via ResetEra)

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15. Funk Unplugged

16. Griff the Winged Lion (via ResetEra)

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17. Happy Hell

18. Heart Chain Kitty

19. KeeperGame

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20. Longtail

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21. Olivia & Spike: Dimension Jumpers

Oliver stealing some Waba Soup

22. Olympian

23. Nytro

Mini review: Simplistic yet elegant expedition starring an android cat. Screws and cogs are the main currency, and are cleverly arranged to fish out curiosity. Good collectathon allure plus hints at controller-breaking challenges with turbo snails. Further visual polish will only make an already solid draft go pop.

24. Power up Drill Boy!

25. Psychonauts 2

26. Rad

27. Scarf

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28. Teddy and Bo: Search for the Dream Catcher

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29. The Legend of Lobodestroyo

30. Untitled Hawaiian Lion Game

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General observations

There’s a slight tendency for recent 3D platformers to opt for either a ‘robot’ style protagonist (Scrap GardenAstro Bot Rescue MissionTyler: Model 005DotGalaxy Adventure), cartoonish cubes (Suzy CubeFunk Unplugged) or dragons (Dragon StepFirewing 64Spyro Reignited Trilogy). I think the techy makeover is reflective of the times, whilst players are already well acquainted with reptillian mascots which makes them a smart choice. That said, I am very intrigued by the alt wave of animal mascots and stylised human/undefinable adventurers that have been concocted so far.

Chrono.svg 3D Platformer history 

  • 1990 – Alpha Waves
  • 1994 – Geograph Seal 
  • 1995 – Jumping Flash!
  • 1995 – Bug!
  • 1996 – Super Mario 64
  • 1996 – Crash Bandicoot
  • 1996 – Bubsy 3D
  • 1996 – Bug Too!
  • 1996 – Floating Runner: Quest for the 7 Crystals 
  • 1997 – Doraemon: Nobita to Mittsu no Seireiseki 
  • 1997 – Croc: Legend of the Gobbos 
  • 1997 – Crash Bandicoot: Cortex Strikes Back
  • 1997 – Chameleon Twist 
  • 1997 – Jersey Devil
  • 1998 – Gex: Enter the Gecko
  • 1998 – Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle 
  • 1998 – Rascal 
  • 1998 – Banjo-Kazooie
  • 1998 – Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped 
  • 1998 – Spyro the Dragon
  • 1998 – Glover 
  • 1998 – A Bug’s Life 
  • 1998 – Starshot: Space Circus Fever
  • 1998 – Sonic Adventure
  • 1998 – Chameleon Twist 2 
  • 1999 – Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
  • 1999 – Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time
  • 1999 – Croc 2
  • 1999 – Tonic Trouble
  • 1999 – Kingsley’s Adventure
  • 1999 – Pac-Man World 
  • 1999 – Rayman 2: The Great Escape
  • 1999 – Earthworm Jim 3D 
  • 1999 – Rocket: Robot on Wheels 
  • 1999 – Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
  • 1999 – 40 Winks
  • 1999 – Donkey Kong 64
  • 1999 – Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue
  • 2000 – Super Magnetic Neo 
  • 2000 – Doraemon 3: Nobita no Machi SOS! 
  • 2000 – Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters
  • 2000 – Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck 
  • 2000 – M&M’s The Lost Formulas 
  • 2000 – Blues Brothers 2000
  • 2000 – Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers
  • 2000 – Muppet Monster Adventure
  • 2000 – Spyro: Year of the Dragon
  • 2000 – 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue
  • 2000 – Chicken Run
  • 2000 – Banjo-Tooie
  • 2000 – Disney’s Aladdin in Nasira’s Revenge
  • 2000 – Kao the Kangaroo
  • 2001 – Conker’s Bad Fur Day 
  • 2001 – Sonic Adventure 2 
  • 2001 – M&M’s Shell Shocked
  • 2001 – Evil Twin: Cyprien’s Chronicles
  • 2001 – Monsters, Inc.
  • 2001 – Crash Bandicoot 4: The Wrath of Cortex
  • 2001 – Monsters, Inc. Scream Team
  • 2001 – Frogger: The Great Quest
  • 2001 – Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy 
  • 2002 – Pac-Man World 2 
  • 2002 – Super Mario Sunshine
  • 2002 – SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman 
  • 2002 – Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
  • 2002 – Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus
  • 2002 – PK: Out of the Shadows 
  • 2002 – Blinx: The Time Sweeper
  • 2002 – Zapper: One Wicked Cricket
  • 2002 – ToeJam & Earl III: Mission to Earth
  • 2002 – Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension
  • 2002 – Ratchet & Clank (Original)
  • 2002 – Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
  • 2002 – Treasure Planet
  • 2002 – Dr. Muto 
  • 2002 – Castleween
  • 2003 – Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
  • 2003 – Jinx
  • 2003 – Vexx
  • 2003 – Wario World
  • 2003 – I-Ninja
  • 2003 – The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Jet Fusion
  • 2003 – Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
  • 2003 – Voodoo Vince
  • 2003 – Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo
  • 2003 – SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
  • 2003 – Jak II
  • 2003 – Tak and the Power of Juju
  • 2003 – Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
  • 2003 – Kya: Dark Lineage 
  • 2004 – Malice
  • 2004 – Sly 2: Band of Thieves 
  • 2004 – Crash Twinsanity
  • 2004 – Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 
  • 2004 – Scaler 
  • 2004 – Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue
  • 2004 – The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Video Game  
  • 2004 – Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
  • 2004 – Spyro: A Hero’s Tail
  • 2004 – Jak 3
  • 2004 – Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space
  • 2005 – Tork: Prehistoric Punk
  • 2005 – Psychonauts
  • 2005 – Ninjabread Man 
  • 2005 – Anubis II
  • 2005 – Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland 
  • 2005 – Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
  • 2005 – Codename: Kids Next Door – Operation: V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E.
  • 2005 – Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan
  • 2005 – Pac-Man World 3 
  • 2006 – Daxter
  • 2006 – Over the Hedge 
  • 2006 – Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy
  • 2006 – Over the Hedge: Hammy Goes Nuts!
  • 2006 – The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning 
  • 2006 – SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
  • 2006 – Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island
  • 2006 – Sonic the Hedgehog
  • 2006 – Kao the Kangaroo: Mystery of the Volcano
  • 2007 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures 
  • 2007 – The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night
  • 2007 – Crash of the Titans
  • 2007 – Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
  • 2007 – Super Mario Galaxy
  • 2008 – Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty 
  • 2008 – Crash: Mind over Mutant
  • 2008 – Tak and the Guardians of Gross
  • 2008 – The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
  • 2008 – M&M’s Adventure
  • 2009 – Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
  • 2009 – Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier
  • 2010 – Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • 2010 – Jett Rocket
  • 2010 – The Kore Gang
  • 2010 – Epic Mickey
  • 2011 – Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
  • 2011 – Sonic Generations
  • 2011 – Super Mario 3D Land 
  • 2012 – Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two 
  • 2013 – Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
  • 2013 – Sonic Lost World 
  • 2013 – Pac-Man & the Ghostly Adventures
  • 2013 – Tearaway
  • 2013 – Super Mario 3D World 
  • 2014 – The Last Tinker: City of Colors [ReviewWalkthrough] [xy]
  • 2014 – Woodle Tree Adventures
  • 2014 – Kiwi 64
  • 2014 – Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2
  • 2015 – SpongeBob HeroPants 
  • 2015 – Tearaway Unfolded
  • 2015 – Ben and Ed (via ResetEra)
  • 2015 – FreezeME
  • 2016 – Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth
  • 2016 – Ratchet & Clank (Remastered)
  • 2016 – Lucky’s Tale 
  • 2016 – Scrap Garden [Review] [x]
  • 2016 – Bound
  • 2016 – Ginger: Beyond the Crystal
  • 2017 – Poi
  • 2017 – Macbat 64
  • 2017 – Snake Pass
  • 2017 – Yooka-Laylee [Analysis] [x]
  • 2017 – Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island
  • 2017 – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • 2017 – Super Lucky’s Tale [Review] [x]
  • 2017 – A Hat in Time [Review] [x]
  • 2017 – Super Mario Odyssey

What is a 3D Platformer?

Definitions are important, and game genres are no exception. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, three dimensional video games have become extremely commonplace, but of course, not all of them are 3D platformers. Platforming, as described by Wikipedia, refers specifically to the action of jumping onto, between, or across (suspended) ledges one of the core ingredients in the 3D platformer recipe. Here are nine basic criteria a game should typically fulfil in order to be classified accordingly.

1. Primarily occurs in three dimensions (x, y and z axes)
2. Uses polygonal/3D graphics for both environments and characters
3. General movement and jumping are player controlled
4. Almost always designed in third-person perspective
5. Collectibles are fundamental to gameplay
6. Platforming is at the forefront and isn’t overshadowed by other elements/genres
7. Playable environment is open-world, organised into levels/structured courses
8. There is an end point
9. Mascot or stylised cartoon character is the protagonist

Protagonist Catalogue

[1990-1999]

1
3

*In progress

(Archive)

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