Best Xbox One Platformers to Play On Xbox Series X

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Just got an Xbox Series X for Christmas? No doubt you're looking for some sweet new games to play on your new console. 

One genre that's stuck with gaming since the beginning is platforming and the genre resurgence over the past few years and the Xbox brand is home to many iconic heroes, some of which are exclusive to the system.

From fast paced 2D platformers to open-world 3D platformers with worlds begging to be explored, each of these games manages to balance something new and old to create a truly special experience. 

So without further ado, check out this list of 15 platformers available on the Xbox Series X. Most are Xbox One titles, but some Xbox 360 and even Xbox titles made the list.

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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

It’s no surprise that the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is difficult, brutally difficult intact. Yet, there’s something compelling about its loop that keeps you coming back for more. Containing the original three games, the whole package is here before, with a brand new coat of paint.

While it doesn’t bring anything entirely new to the table, it manages to capture the sense of nostalgia whilst also feeling modernized. It would only be later another game would build upon it…

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

It’s unfortunate that Crash Bandicoot 4 was met with poor sales, as the game is actually a phenomenal step up for the original trilogy. Building on every facet possible, the pitch perfect controls, vibrant worlds and fantastic level design come together in one lengthy package.

With an array of mirrored levels, gauntlets designed for genre veterans and a plethora of unlocks led, it’s the gift that keeps on giving and one that deserves more attention.

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Psychonauts

With the sequel making its way to the Xbox family next year, there’s never been a better time to dive into the weird and wonderful original version of Psychonauts, which is available via backwards compatibility.

Even now its unique art style makes it an absolutely charming experience, blending classic platformer influences with an essence of Tim Burton. Not only that, but it’s emotionally charged story is an absolute treat. Check it out ahead of the sequel.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Speaking of classic platforming heroes returning, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a perfect example of another franchise being given a new lease of life.

Massively easier than the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, each game builds upon the previous with new mechanics, finer level design and more collectibles than you can imagine.

Those with a 4K TV will also love the use of Auto HDR from the Xbox Series X, which makes each frame absolute ooze with detail.

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Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Following on from the absolutely wonderful Ori and the Blind Forest, the sequel manages to create something truly special. It was always going to be hard following on from the original, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps does it with ease, with a breakneck pace that gives you more toys to play with at a faster rate.

Accompanied by a beautiful art style and emotional storyline, it’s hard not be enamored the moment the game starts.

Banjo-Tooie

Not only one of the greatest platformers to play on the Xbox Series X, but one of the greatest of all time. Banjo-Tooie builds upon its predecessor with a vast, open-ended way of tackling its various, colorful worlds.

Each corner is brimming with personality and it’s collect-a-thon gameplay is addictive till the very end. Hopefully one day we receive another entry, until then, check out one of the original entries that defined the genre.

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A Hat In Time

Invoking inspirations from industry titans such as Super Mario 64, A Hat In Time quickly manages to be so much more. The genre shifting adventure at one minute can be a fantastical platforming adventure, before turning into a murder mystery.

Running throughout all of this is an enormously fun platforming adventure that you won’t want end, even after you’ve collected all of the collectibles

Conker Live & Reloaded

Another classic platformer by Rare, the loud mouthed squirrel offers something more adult for those who are fans of the genre.

Live & Reloaded is an updated version of the original Nintendo 64 version and while some of the content was cut, it’s spirit remains intact.

The Xbox Series X does a wonderful job of bolstering it to the point that it could pass as a modern day release. Enjoy its crude humor and inventive ways it works with the platforming genre.

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Celeste

Not many Platformers come accompanied with an emotionally charged story, but Celeste not only manages to do that, but also manages to embed it into its gameplay.

Exploring themes such mental health and anxiety, the trial and error gameplay lends itself beautifully to the narrative situations it puts the players through. For once, a game being brutally hard has an actual connotation and creates one of the best platformers ever made.

Cuphead

Speaking of brutally hard, Cuphead is one of the top contenders. Don’t be fooled by its 1930s animated style as each level is infused with a devilishly hard boss to tackle.

Despite the difficulty, discovering each boss, learning their patterns and eventually overcoming them is an immensely rewarding experience, making getting to the end a satisfying adventure.

Rayman Legends

When Rayman Origins released, it delivered a fantastic 2D platforming experience than none of us knew we wanted. With the sequel, everything is improved.

Rayman Origins was already fantastic, but Legends adds more inventive platforming challenges, excellent co-operative play and immensely impressive music based stages. It’s a wonderful game and one that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

If Banjo-Tooie and Conker Live & Reloaded weren’t enough Rare goodness then Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible acts as a 2D spiritual successor to the developers previous games. As a chameleon, you’ll utilize an array of powers and venture out into worlds inspired by platformers of yesteryear.

What makes the Impossible Lair so different is the ability to attempt the final level at any time, using the other levels as a means to power up your character. It’s a great mechanic and one that works extremely well for both newcomers and hardcore players.

New Super Lucky’s Tale

Super Lucky’s Tale was already a fun little platformer, but the re-imagining does so much new it may as well act as a sequel. With brand new level variants, improvements on the original formula and tighter controls, New Super Lucky’s Tale feels like the game that was originally intended and a great inclusion into the Xbox Series X’s library of platformers.

Hollow Knight

Often heralded as a masterpiece, Hollow Knight earns that title. With swift responsiveness that works well with the simplistic combat, exploring its labyrinthine world is full of mystery and wonder.

It’s certainly a challenging game, but like many others on this list is insanely rewarding once the challenges have been overcome. With a sequel on the horizon, now is the perfect time to dive into the iconic game.

Shovel Knight

Another knight to feature on this list is Shovel Knight, an 8-bit adventure featuring a knight with nothing but, you guessed it, a shovel. Digging his way to victory and using the gardening tool to vanquish enemies, it’s a delightful little adventure.

Not only that, but the Treasure Trove edition also comes with various new modes, including a multiplayer brawler. It’s a fantastic package and one that undoubtedly deserves your time.

These are all fantastic platformers you can play on the Xbox Series X today thanks to the platform's backwards compatibility. What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

Published Dec. 30th 2020

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