2D Platformers on Switch (Part 2) thumbnail

2D Platformers on Switch (Part 2)

5 more reasons to jump around

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

2D platformers have been around forever and they're still great fun to play so let's check out 5 recent ones for Nintendo Switch.

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2023. 🐻

Skybolt Zack Review Switch ★★★★☆

It takes a lot for a 2D platformer to stand out in the genre but here's Skybolt Zack which proves that originality goes a long way. v1d30chumz 3-236-138-35

Skybolt Zack screenshot
Maintaining a chain while zipping through levels is so much fun

Skybolt Zack is a 2D platformer where you jump and dash around complex stages. Although this sounds simple, the main gameplay element that sets it apart is the fact that stages are littered with coloured nodes that Zack can zip to by tapping the corresponding button. Speaking of which, there are 3 button colour layouts that match the Super NES, PlayStation, and Xbox controllers so you can choose whichever you're most comfortable with or customize your own layout if you prefer. Zipping through the branching campaign's 48 levels while ripping through enemies and increasing your combo with lightning-fast reflexes simply feels awesome. Plus, the fact that there are online leaderboards as well as score and time attack modes makes mastering the often tricky levels even more rewarding.

Unique and high quality indie games like Skybolt Zack don't come around often so if you enjoy 2D action games then give it a try.

Skybolt Zack gameplay video →

Polyroll Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Many modern 2D platformers are clearly inspired by the classics so here's one that's very similar to Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog.

Polyroll screenshot
Polyroll looks and plays like Sonic the Hedgehog but that's not necessarily a bad thing

Polyroll has you play as an armadillo-like fellow who's on a mission to rescue his friends from a dastardly ruler known as Kaiser Kiwi. When I first started playing it, I was rather put off by the fact that it's mostly just a Sonic the Hedgehog clone but Freedom Planet is and that game's incredible. Anyway, after playing it for a while, I noticed many aspects that help set it apart from its 16-bit ancestor. For starters, I like the fact that you start with only 1 heart and have to collect crystals in order to earn more because that adds some challenge. Next, being able to jump up into enemies feels like cheating as you can merely keep jumping in many situations and remain invincible as long as a projectile doesn't hit you. Anyway, the 36 levels are well-designed, finding all the collectible gems adds replay value, and the gameplay is certainly tight but as I played it, I couldn't help but want to replay the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games instead.

When it comes to Sonic-inspired indies, Polyroll is a solid 2D platformer but it simply doesn't fill the iconic hedgehog's oversized sneakers.

Polyroll gameplay video →

Bloo Kid 2 Review Switch ★★★★☆

Sometimes, winding down with a simplistic retro platformer is all you want to do and in that case, here's Bloo Kid 2.

Bloo Kid 2 screenshot
Bloo Kid is so awesome that he's literally on fire!

We're going from Sonic the Hedgehog to Super Mario as Bloo Kid 2 plays a lot like Nintendo's classic 2D platformer. You basically run through levels while jumping on enemies' heads and collecting the odd power-up. What makes it stand out is its wealth of challenges and collectibles to master as you beat each stage. Namely, you'll earn badges after collecting all of the stars, finding 3 special stars, defeating a certain number of enemies, popping a balloon before it flies away, and beating a level in under its par time as well as with full health. Considering there are 60 levels to master, you're looking at a ton of replay value for completionists. The gameplay is tight, the bosses are quite fun to battle, and I love the quirky retro visuals. Overall, it's a surprisingly great game considering how back-to-basics it is.

Those who want a simple platformer with oodles of replay value will get a lot of fun out of Bloo Kid 2 and its charming world.

Bloo Kid 2 gameplay video →

Haunted: Halloween '86 Review Switch ★★★☆☆

2D platformers often blend elements from other genres and Haunted: Halloween '86 offers just that with its beat 'em up special moves.

Haunted: Halloween '86 screenshot
Donny carefully calculates his next move against this hulking boss

Haunted: Halloween '86 is one of those modern indies that was actually released for a retro console. That's right; it originally debuted for NES and this is a port. You play as Donny and Tami who are on a mission to save their town of Possum Hollow. The core gameplay has you running and jumping as well as pulling off special attacks by using button combinations. You can also swap between the 2 characters at any time and whenever one turns all the way green after getting hit too much, it's game over. Although this is neat, I'm kind of disappointed that there is no multiplayer component but that's not all I'm disappointed about. My main issue is that the graphics are very difficult to decipher so it's hard to tell what's in the foreground or background. Also, the controls can be quite finicky as there's simply too much to keep in mind and pulling off some of the moves is more complicated than it needs to be but it's still a rather solid game.

It may be rough around its 8-bit edges but Haunted: Halloween '86 can be quite enjoyable after you get used to its shortcomings.

Haunted: Halloween '86 gameplay video →

Blindy Review Switch ★☆☆☆☆

Indie developers are constantly thinking of fresh ideas. However, not every idea actually provides fun gameplay so here's Blindy.

Blindy screenshot
I can't see a darn thing! I guess that's the point...

Blindy is the most basic of 2D platformers as all you do is run and jump in order to reach each stage's end star. However, you can't actually see the stage layout so instead, you have to tread carefully and perish in order to memorize a safe path to the goal. At first, I thought that this couldn't possibly be all there is to it but alas, it is. I'm not sure about you but dying over and over again just to try and remember the exact spots where hazards are located is not my idea of fun. In fact, it's not enjoyable in the slightest. The frustration factor elevates to a whole new level when you realise that the hazards will kill you even if you're in their general vicinity. For example, if you carefully shimmy over the edge of a platform but a saw is floating just below off the edge, you'll die even though you didn't actually touch it. Temporarily being able to see your blood splatters whenever you perish is kind of helpful but it's still far from fun.

I can't think of a reason why anyone would want to play Blindy. From its irritating concept to its annoying gameplay, it's one bad game.

Blindy gameplay video →
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Gameplay video playlist for 2D Platformers on Switch (Part 2)
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