I don’t know if it’s the case for everyone, but I’d imagine most gamer’s would have like me spent numerous hours playing platformer games back in the day. PlayStation 1 boasting Crash, Spyro, Croc, Gex and N64 showcasing Donkey Kong, Mario & Banjo Kazooie. The onslaught continued with PlayStation 2, Gamecube and Xbox with Ratchet, Jak, Sonic Adventure, Blinx. The genre has always been very strong and some of gaming’s biggest and best know faces emerged from the genre.
It’s fair to say that despite Sonic not giving up, that the genre had slowed down a little. Ratchet did make numerous appearances on PS3 and Mario’s gonna Mario, but even Nintendo started releasing 2D Mario games with updated visuals rather than free roam 3D platforming.
It looks like 2017 though is going to rekindle that love of platformers. The lineup this year is looking incredibly strong and creates a heck of a sense of nostalgia. It’s odd to say, but it’s a year where most of the games I buy end up being of platform genre. Look at this lineup and feel the nostalgia flowing.
Super Mario Odyssey
The King has returned. Well it sure looks like he’s returned. It’ll be 4 years since Mario’s last true 3D platforming outing occurred in Super Mario 3D World for the WiiU. I unfortunately haven’t picked this title up, but everything I’ve seen from it looks fun. It’s got incredibly positive reviews and would appear to be a very solid entry into the Mario platformer series. Every Nintendo console needs a true to form Mario game. And the Nintendo Switch will be getting just that. Unfortunately it won’t be accompanying the console on launch day (But Zelda should suffice), but will be releasing in 2017. This time round the series returns to a much more open world style of play last properly seen in Mario Sunshine. The classic platforming techniques will remain, but an additional mechanic being added see’s the player using Mario’s famous red hat as a spring which he can throw around at will, the spring will aid Mario in reaching higher platforms and clearing larger gaps. From the teaser’s we’ve seen from the Switch reveal, visually it looks incredible and the departure from Mushroom Kingdom to what looks like a more real world adds to the intrigue in the game. Looking like a must buy for platformer fans and Nintendo fans.
The thirst for a Banjo Kazooie revival on Xbox is pretty real. That along with Conker are some of Rare’s finest characters that gamer’s are keen to see again. In a generation where nostalgia is running wild, A group of Banjo’s former developers banded together to create Playtonic Games. They announced that they were going to create a spiritual successor to Banjo titled Yooka-Laylee. The game was crowdfunded via kick starter reaching it’s initial highest target of £1m in 21 hours. The game is intended as a resurrection and modernization of the “collectathon” 3D platforming game genre of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with an emphasis on progression by collecting various different items. You play as the two titular characters Yooka a male chameleon and Laylee a female bat. Visually the game is looking spot on in terms of capturing the same bright and colourful scenes from the Banjo series. All things so far are pointing to this spiritual successor to Banjo being as good and recapturing the platforming fun from that era. It’s coming out on practically every current generation format so no excuses to not check it out.
Project Sonic 2017
SEGA are going all out in 2017 trying to revive their famous mascot. As well as the sensational looking Sonic Mania which is a new 2D sprite Sonic game coming out in 2017 (It features in my anticipated 2017 titles post here), We’re also getting treated to another 3D Sonic game. Okay, I know that this could fall pretty flat. Sonic’s not had the best luck with the 3D iterations over the past couple of generations. The last 3D Sonic title I’ve played is Sonic: The Lost World. It unfortunately was not that great, had some enjoyable moments, but definitely not Sonic at his finest. This next Sonic Project is following suit from one last generations titles aptly named ‘Sonic Generations’ featuring both an old school model Sonic and current style Sonic. Aside from this there isn’t an awful lot more known about this one. But even from the brief trailer and screens we’ve seen it’s looking pretty interesting and it’ll be nice to see Sonic back with 2 great games this year. It’s weird isn’t in, in 2017 we’re seeing Mario and Sonic return. If only one more iconic platformer was making a return in 2017.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Oh here he is, Crash Bandicoot will be back on our consoles in 2017. It became a bit of an ongoing joke around E3’s much like Shenmue 3, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Last Guardian, when oh when would we see Crash Bandicoot again. Well that answer was delivered at E3 2016 on the stage at Sony’s press conference with Shawn Layden announcing that a remaster of the original trilogy is going to be coming to PlayStation. This followed up at PS Experience in December with our first look at the game. Honestly there was a little worry to how the remaster would turn out. It seemed a bit of a whimpered announcement at E3, it didn’t get the big reveal the original holy trinity did the year before. But all worries were cast away as the teaser we got at PSX looked incredible. I’m pretty confident in saying that this game is going to be big. People who aren’t particularly up to date with computer game news have been vocal and active on Facebook about their excitement of this remake. If marketed right Sony could be onto a huge game launch here. Nostalgia really does sell, and we’ve been eating up all the remakes, remasters and revivals that have been announced during this generation.
Nope, not a joke, this happened. Knack got a sequel announced at PlayStation Experience 2016. An ongoing joke in the PlayStation community, Knack is revered as PlayStation 4’s greatest game. When arguments break on forums on what games does PS4 have?, the answer is often thrown into the face of XboxOne fans “WE’VE GOT KNACK!!”. Jokes aside though Knack 1 wasn’t that terrible, it outsold Mario 3D world which while shocking, take into account the number of WiiU’s sold doesn’t result in promising return for any Nintendo titles last gen. Genuinely though I wouldn’t have expected a sequel. The mechanics to the game are pretty clever, growing Knack larger and smaller from scraps. It was a clever game and visually between this and Killzone a great showcase of what the PS4 could do on launch day. However much like Project Sonic, it’s another game we’re a little sparse on details for. You can expect it to look very good in motion as we’ve come to expect from Sony Japan Studio and PS4 titles. Here’s hoping we get some more details soon and that this title sees the light of day in 2017 to feature as part of the great 3D Platformer resurgence we’re seeing.
This game only came to my attention recently. Snake Pass is developed by Sumo Digital who are based in Sheffield. They’ve worked on a heck of a good list of games when you look back through their catalogue and Snake Pass looks like it could be another winner for them. In Snake Pass you play as Noodle the snake joined by his best friend Doodle the humming bird. The object of the game is to make your way to the top of “Haven Tor” and rid their paradise home of nefarious “Gate Crasher” once and for all. You make you way through the world using what Sumo Digital describe as ‘Snake Physics’ completing various different obstacles on your path to the top of Haven Tor.
The game instantly strikes me as another colourful platformer similar to Yooka-Laylee and nostalgic games of the past. Recently audio legend David Wise was confirmed to be behind the soundtrack for the game. If you aren’t aware of his work he’s created the soundtrack s for classics such as Donkey Kong Country, Starfox Adventures and Battletoads. Aside from this information there isn’t much more we know on this game other than that it’ll be releasing on Switch, PS4, XboxOne and Steam.
Wow, looking back on this and these games we’re getting just makes me remember the hours put into the original Crash trilogy on PS1. Wonder how likely we’d be to getting a Gex revival, or Spyro trilogy remaster. Enough of Skylanders Activision, set Spyro free and let him soar!
What are you’re thoughts on the platformer’s we’re getting this year? Will any be making there way to your collection? Perhaps all of them? I for one am really liking Yooka-Laylee’s look. Very intrigued in Project Sonic as Mania as I previously mentioned is looking great. Mario need I say more? My only problem there is needing to buy a Switch to play it. And Crash… give it to me now! And then of course, don’t forget the PS4’s next best game ever Knack 2!