There are currently dozens of 2D platformers for Switch and I recently played through a handful of them. Let's get to the reviews!
Celeste Review Switch ★★★★☆
When it comes to contemporary indie games, many gamers can't stop talking about Celeste and for good reason. It's challenging, charming, and more importantly, fun! Put on your mountain climbing gear and let's start the journey.
Celeste was created by the makers of TowerFall, a fantastic multiplayer archery game and it features similar visuals and gameplay. However, Celeste is about progressing through massive stages room-by-room as opposed to battling friends and monsters. The basic controls are super-tight and involve jumping from walls and dashing in mid-air to dodge hazards and safely navigate to the next room. If you're good enough, you'll collect strawberries and discover plenty of secret content such as the incredibly tough B-side levels and even the Celeste Classic prototype mini-game. With its satisfying gameplay, oodles of unlockable content, sharp pixel graphics, and awesome soundtrack; you're bound to love Celeste if you're into 2D platformers. My primary complaint is that there isn't much to alleviate the intense albeit varied core gameplay. I also wish there was a multiplayer component, especially a cooperative one.
As most indie-keen gamers already know, Celeste is a phenomenal 2D platformer. Almost everything about it comes together to make a satisfying and challenging game that'll thoroughly put your skills to the test.Celeste gameplay video → Celeste: 1.25 Years and 125 Broken Controllers Later
Flat Heroes Review Switch ★★★★☆
Single-screen gaming experiences are always interesting to play. Flat Heroes has you avoiding hazards within its bite-sized stages and it contains an impressively enjoyable campaign to boot.
Flat Heroes is definitely a minimalistic game yet its use of distinct colour palettes, smooth animations, dramatic camera movements, and top-notch soundtrack make it a thoroughly exciting game to both watch and play. You basically play through a series of challenge rooms within its 10 world campaign. Each room has various hazards such as projectiles coming from walls and homing missiles so figuring out where to hop to avoid all the incoming dangers is the key to victory. Thankfully, the controls are very tight and simply involve sliding and jumping around. You can also dash in mid-air and cling to walls which is very helpful.
Besides the campaign, there's an unlockable survival mode and a multiplayer component. You can play the campaign cooperatively with up to four players which is very cool but I found that playing with others made progressing much easier because only one player needs to survive the entire stage. The competitive versus mode is mildly disappointing as well because the available modes (zones, battle, runner, and catch) don't have very much longevity. Therefore, the multiplayer is best played in short bursts between other games.
Flat Heroes is a surprisingly addictive hazard-dodging platformer but don't expect its multiplayer component to provide any more enjoyment than playing solo. If you're looking to test your 2D gaming skills then Flat Heroes surely won't disappoint.Flat Heroes gameplay video →
Miles & Kilo Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Seeing how indie developers interpret classic games can be interesting to say the least. Miles & Kilo looks like it belongs on NES but are its 8-bits full of good times or are you better off sticking to the classics?
Miles & Kilo looks and plays a lot like Adventure Island which is great because that's one of my favourite NES games. You control a little boy with a classy cap named Miles through stages full of naughty animals and tricky platforms while collecting fruit that you can chuck at animals so they leave you alone. Some stages have Kilo the dog join Miles but he's not a very domesticated canine as he runs ahead and has Miles drag behind as he latches onto his leash. These segments play kind of like an endless runner although you have to hop and dash past obstacles as well as attack enemies. There's a nifty ranking system, too, that evaluates your performance after each stage.
Although Miles & Kilo sounds great, its lack of challenge and variety takes a lot away from its overall appeal. Most stages can be completed on your first attempt and you'll find yourself doing the same things throughout the campaign which is fairly repetitive. The bosses help mix things up but most of them are pretty easy with a couple being fairly frustrating as they take a while to figure out.
I enjoyed my time with Miles & Kilo and it gave me flashbacks to playing Adventure Island as a kid. If that sounds like it could be fun to you then you definitely won't regret giving it a try.Miles & Kilo gameplay video →
Shio Review Switch ★★☆☆☆
Platformers that have you soaring through the air while juggling jumps can be a refreshing change of pace. The question is: does Shio offer satisfying gameplay? Grab your favourite lantern and let's find out.
Shio has you play as a mysterious masked man whose story is told through strange scenes that commence after you discover them in hidden rooms. But, if you're reading a collection of reviews about 2D platformers then I'm going to guess that you probably don't care much for vague stories that require interpretation on the player's behalf so I'll get to the gameplay.
You basically control the unnamed protagonist to jump between platforms within Shio's massive hazard-filled scrolling world. The standout gimmick here is that you can use lanterns as leverage which allows you to perform endless mid-air jumps. Doing so is pretty fun at first but once the repetition starts to sink in, it becomes quite a tedious adventure. The entire campaign can be beat in a little over an hour which is very short and when you consider the fact that it's one of those games that features repetitive segments to add artificial challenge; you're left with a disappointing experience. Performing 10 or so similar jumps in a row just isn't fun. With such thin gameplay, you'd think the stage designs would be a lot less repetitive. Some parts are memorable but they're too few and far between.
Shio would be a lot more enjoyable if it didn't rely on its only gimmick and repetitive stage designs throughout its entire campaign. As it is, it's a tough game to recommend as there are many more challenging, varied, and rewarding platformers out there.Shio gameplay video →
HackyZack Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Platformers that have you control two things at once can be rather mind-bending. HackyZack is definitely a unique take on single-screen platforming challenges so let's kick it!
HackyZack has you control a little guy named Zack who kicks a hacky sack. It's your mission to kick that sack into each stage's goal. If that's not hard enough, you can also try and collect each stage's sticker which unlocks a Target Mode level where you must break a bunch of diamonds with the sack. Anyway, the gameplay has you running, jumping, and double-jumping within its stages while aiming and kicking the sack. Once either you or the sack falls off the stage, you have to start it over from the beginning again, even if you collected the sticker which is annoying. There's a multiplayer mode, too, where a second player can control a girl named Mym so you and a friend can cooperate to beat the stages and there are six worlds total which provides a decent amount of replay value.
All of that being said, HackyZack tends to be an incredibly frustrating game. The additional mechanics that get added as you progress turn the already difficult gameplay into an infuriating exercise in tedium. I usually love challenging games but HackyZack simply goes too far. Controlling and keeping track of both Zack and his sack is difficult enough on its own but when you factor in timed doors, instant-death surfaces, and different balls that are inherently annoying; you're looking at a game that you'll likely end up deleting in anger.
HackyZack can be fun if you enjoy intensely challenging 2D games but for everyone else, it's simply too irritating to recommend.HackyZack gameplay video →