A lot of you probably remember the heyday of the platformer. Whether it was Super Mario Bros or even classic Metroid, this style of game has been around a long time and it has aged incredibly well. We still see awesome platformer games like Trine and Hollow Knight to this day. The point, however, is that "platformer" isn't really all that definitive. All it does is describe how the game in question plays. All of that being said, this style of game translates extremely well to mobile and you'll find that any one of the entries in this list are wonderfully fun additions to your Play library.
And once you're finished up here, feel free to visit our roundup of the best Android games.
Bubble Tale: Bunny Quest is a delightful platformer reminiscent of the old Kirby games. But with a candy color palette, soothing soundtrack, and cute characters, you might underestimate how challenging the game actually is. As a whimsical lil' bean of a player character, you traverse the world around you using only your jump and bubbles abilities. Jumping on top of a bubble gives you an extra high jump, so a lot of the game's mobility—and secrets—are tied to your bubble powers.
Your bubbles are also your only form of defense against the world's foes, serving as a one-shot kill once they absorb an unlucky baddy. There are, of course, coins that you can collect throughout each level, along with a few marks of pride like hidden treasure chests and special stars. Treasure chests help you unlock more characters, but they all function the same way so this feature is purely for aesthetics.
Bubble Tale's virtual controls are surprisingly tight (and adjustable), so as long as you're not missing inputs you should be able to execute some precise platforming. Gameplay is fairly unforgiving, so you may find yourself having to give levels a few solid tries before you finally make it to the end. All in all, Bubble Tale is great quality platforming in a super cute package that almost anyone can enjoy. It's only two bucks to own or Play Pass subscribers can snag it for free.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The mobile platform has given many older games a chance to shine once more thanks to their low processing requirements. There are many classic titles on the Play Store, like KOTOR and some of Sega's stuff, but one I really want to highlight is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It's my latest favorite to play on my phone.
Symphony of the Night was an important game in its day and its influence is still felt in the aptly named metroidvania genre. It shaped subsequent Castlevania games and inspired many other greats that followed it. The mobile version has been updated with touchscreen controls, achievements through Google Play Games, and it features all of the latest content additions and fixes. It's not only a great game, but also an excellent value.
For just $3, you can experience a fantastic piece of gaming history that will keep you entertained for many, many hours. It sure is awesome to see this game be available to a whole new audience.
"Bring Your Kid to Work Day" can be a real pain, as Dadish 2 well knows. Taking the pixelated 2D side-scroller to stunning new heights, this painfully cute platformer continues the adventures of our titular dad radish as he rescues his missing children from all kinds of shenanigans.
The color-scheme and hilarious themes of Dadish 2 are big selling points, with sassy radish children and fast-food themed baddies galore. You even get to ride on a sunglasses-wearing hamburger, for crying out loud. There are 50 levels to traverse with controller support for those who want it, although the native controls are good enough that you might not need one.
There are collectibles to suss out and unlockables to discover to keep you coming back for more. Dadish 2 may not do anything revolutionary with its established gameplay style, but if you enjoyed the first Dadish, there's no way you won't get a kick out of this new installment in the series! It's free to play with ads, but you can also pay $2.99 to remove ads.
Yet another beautiful game, Dandara is an excellent metroidvania platformer. What makes Dandara unique is that you manipulate gravity to leap off walls and ceilings. It features all the classic signs of a metroidvania and it was quite well-received on the PC and console releases.
Dandara is a very fast-paced game where you work to save the world of Salt. The citizens are critically oppressed, so it's up to you save them. The game just received an update called the Trials of Fear, which adds three new areas, another boss, power-ups, and more.
For $6, you get one of the best modern metroidvanias on Android. I think you'll enjoy this gem of a game.
Dan the Man
Dan the Man is a throwback to classic platforming beat-em-ups. You can play as the titular Dan the Man and you embark on an adventure that's funny and witty. Run and jump your way across obstacles, bash enemies with your combo abilities and picked up weapons, and battle epic bosses.
Though extremely fun, Dan the Man does suffer from the usual freemium nonsense. Ads play at the end of each level and you can buy additional gold to level up your character's abilities faster. It's not surprising, but you should be warned before you head into this game. It's kind of a bummer, really, because I enjoy the game.
Dead Cells is a 2D metroidvania platformer that's intensely difficult and extremely popular. Some have even likened some of its elements to the Soulsborne franchise, though it's definitely more of a rogue-like metroidvania than Souls-like. I digress. It is one of the best indie games of the last decade and it was big news when it came to Android.
It's hard to find anything truly wrong with either the game itself or the Android port. You get to choose between touchscreen controls or a Bluetooth controller, and then you're off to the races. You will die, and death is permanent, so when you do get beaten down, you'll have to start all over again. It can be brutal, but that's part of the fun.
If you're looking for hours upon hours of fun, Dead Cells is a great game to pick up. You may want to bang your head against the wall sometimes, but the sense of accomplishment when you conquer something is delightful.
Downwell is a retro-styled roguelike that is extremely challenging. It features a steep learning curve as you learn how to defeat the enemies and figure out which weapon upgrades work best for your play style. The goal is to survive as you fall deeper and deeper down the well. There are no in-app purchases, save points, or continues, so when you die you must start at the entrance of the well again.
Since your character is falling, enemies and shops come from the bottom-up, so you need to be strategic in your freefall do you don't accidentally land on an enemy and lose a heart. There are several different styles you unlock through repeated play, which give you certain numbers of hearts at the start, change the way end of level upgrades work, and slightly alter the way your sprite falls down the well.
At this point, I feel like I've talked up Grimvalor a lot. It's my favorite game on Android right now and it's a great platformer. It sports excellent combat, slick movement, and both onscreen controls and gamepad support. Being an RPG, you get progressively more powerful as you go along. Good thing, too, because your enemies will also be improving.
I also enjoy the serviceable story. If you ever played Demon's Souls, it reminds me of that a bit. All told, the world is hellbent on seeing you fail, but take up your sword and fight on anyway. Most of the time, the odds are against you and it's up to your skill to see yourself through.
The Grimvalor developers give you the first Act for free, which is about 1-2 hours for most people. After that, it's $7 to unlock the full game. It's definitely worth it.
An exceptional homage to the 80s in look, sound, and straight-up style, Huntdown is a wild action-arcade platformer reminiscent of legendary titles like Contra. Choose to walk in the shoes of one of three bounty hunters—Mow Man, Anna Conda, or John Sawyer—as you blast, hack, and smash your way through a city terrorized by powerful gangs.
Each bounty hunter has a jump, dash, and shoot button, in addition to one special weapon of choice (kunai for Mow Man, throwing axes for Anna Conda, etc). You maneuver through the levels using a virtual d-pad and virtual buttons for each action. The touch screen controls aren't perfect, and the game does support bluetooth controller connectivity, but it's still serviceable without the aid of a controller. Each level is relatively short, but the difficulty level will likely keep you in place for a little longer than you might expect. At the end of each level is a boss and taking them down unlocks the next level, rinse and repeat.
There are 20 bosses in Huntdown, each with their own gang and signature style. There are mohawks, leather, motorcycles, and neon galore in this nostalgia-chasing title, and man does it feel good. The synthwave soundtrack is A+ and the cheesy one-liners from enemies and protagonists alike make it that much more memorable. This premium game's first two levels are free and the full game costs $8.99 after that. The high quality and addicting gameplay make this purchase easily worth the cost and you're bound to have a raucous good time with Huntdown.
Alright, so what if you wanted to train delivery robots on navigating different "real life" circumstances they might come across in their delivery duties? Cool, then you have Levelhead. There's a nice campaign of 90+ levels for you to enjoy, a speedrunning mode, and unlockables. It's fun, quirky, cute, and a great game for the asking price.
But wait, there's one more thing that makes Levelhead even more of a standout platformer and that's the level creator. You can create your own grueling gauntlets full of traps and hilarity for others to try, or you can download the things other people have made to try to torture you. You'll even come across some really creative levels, too!
Levelhead is a ton of fun and worth the several dollars it costs. Think of it like the Android version of Mario Maker that Nintendo will never make. Oh, and it feature cross-platform sync if you buy it on other platforms, too.
Ah, Limbo. A wonderfully creepy and sometimes horrifying game, Limbo had to be on this list of the best platformers. Just based on its uniqueness alone, it is worth picking up, assuming you can handle its quirks. If you've played it before, you know what I'm talking about.
The art style is utterly amazing in its minimalism. The shadowy look makes everything feel alien and creepy, especially once you come face to face with some of the monstrosities. It made the hair raise on my arms more than once — I do not in any way like spiders.
It's a disturbing game, but in the right way. It certainly leaves an impression and one you won't soon forget. Limbo is definitely a masterpiece in its own right and it's an excellent experience on Android. There's also a free demo if you want to try it out first.
Though many platformers require skill, Ninja Arashi turns things up a notch and pushes you really hard. It's a challenging game, full of traps and enemies who want nothing more than to see you fail. The gameplay itself is smooth and super fun, with a nice skill ceiling.
It's no secret I love challenging games, so when I found Ninja Arashi, I was thrilled. It killed me a lot when I was working on learning it, but once I got the hang of it, I had a blast. Much like difficult games on consoles or PC, this one gives you an intense feeling of satisfaction when you conquer what it throws at you.
To add more fuel to the fire, Ninja Arashi also features some light RPG elements that make it even more interesting. It's a great game and it's free-to-play. If you like a challenge, try it out.
One of the most beautiful games on this list, Oddmar is an absolute treat. The level of detail is incredible and gorgeous, even more considering it's a mobile game. I haven't been this blown away since I first played Ori and the Blind Forest. While they're different presentations, Oddmar is just that great.
As a game, Oddmar is a fairly typical 2D platforming adventure. Levels are fairly linear, but there's a nice variety of enemies, puzzles, and obstacles to keep you entertained. There are even bonus levels to mix things up.
Oddmar, like Grimvalor, sports a free demo before you pay the $5 asking price to unlock the full game. Touchscreen controls are superb, but there's also gamepad support if you would prefer that route. Oddmar is definitely up there as one of the best games on my phone right now.
Ordia is a vertical-scrolling platformer where you play as a green and gooey life form that needs your help making its way through a hazardous new environment. You start out each level in a green pool and must slingshot your little buddy towards other friendly green launch points which it will automatically glom onto if your aim is true.
The game's control scheme feels a bit like Angry Birds, especially since you're slingshotting your character. The levels are cleverly designed to require precise aim to avoid getting destroyed by the world's deadly red flora and fauna. New elements are introduced as you progress through the 30 levels set across three unique worlds.
Like the Sega Forever titles and Symphony of the Night, Rayman is a long-standing franchise, one I kind of remember playing years ago. I always thought the protagonist was a bit odd, so the much younger me wasn't that interested. Still, it's a series loved by many, so Ubisoft brought it to Android.
Rayman Adventures has been around for a little while, but it deserves a spot on our list here. It's a fun sidescrolling platformer that hearkens back to its roots. Available for free, Adventures features lots to do, multiple playable characters, and plenty of action.
Controls aren't super tight, which is a bummer when it comes to a platformer. Once you get used to them, though, they're fine. Rayman Adventures, being a free-to-play game, has in-app purchases for some game items. Sad to see Rayman monetized like that, but it's a fun game nonetheless.
Sega Forever (platformers)
Sega has an impressive catalog of games available on Android, but not all are platformers, so we'll be focusing on the ones that are. Of course, my personal bias is to point you toward the Sonic the Hedgehog titles (especially Sonic CD), which are hours upon hours of fun — seriously, Sega, where's my Sonic the Hedgehog 3? Bah, I digress.
Among the best Sega Forever games, there are plenty of classic non-Sonic platformers like Kid Chamelon, The Revenge of Shinobi, and Super Monkey Ball. While Sega Forever didn't start off the best, each of the games I've since tried in recent months have been varying levels of pretty great.
Another wave of nostalgia, Sega sure knew how to cash in on our childhoods (or younger years, depending). And if you never got to play these games on their respective platforms, or in the arcade, now's a great time. Sega used to be a huge name in the gaming landscape and though it's diminished nowadays, its catalogue is still an excellent way to spend some time and to experience gaming history.
Super Cat Tales 2
Cats are ubiquitous across the internet. As an owner of two myself, I know that it's rarely a boring moment with feline friends around — unless they're sleeping, that is. Anyway, probably the cutest platformer on our list, Super Cat Tales 2 is an epic adventure starring Alex the cat and his pals. Seriously, I really like this one.
Though simple in appearance, Super Cat Tales 2 offers a lot of adventure and platforming to keep you entertained. There's also achievements, leaderboards, hidden items, and great pixel art and retro-style music. You can unlock new playable cats and take them on this wild ride of an adventure to save Cat Land.
It's all fun and it doesn't take itself seriously at all. It's a great game for fans of platforming, cats, and/or both. It's also free-to-play, so you don't have to worry about diving in on the cat craziness.
If you liked Grimvalor, one of our earlier suggestions, then you'll definitely want to check out Swordigo. They're very similar games, which is totally fine with me. Though Swordigo is new to me, I'm having a blast with it. It features fun platforming, enjoyable combat, and RPG mechanics to improve your character as you go along.
You'll have to find more powerful weapons to take down your enemies. The more dangerous the area and enemies, the better the weapons you'll find. There are also spells to discover, bolstering your arsenal to take on new challenges. One thing that won't hinder you is the touchscreen controls, which are excellent and customizable.
Swordigo presents a nice challenge, though not nearly as much as Grimvalor. It's still worth your time and it's free to start it out with ads, but a mere $1.49 to remove those ads. There are also other support options for a few cents more.
Sword of Xolan
Despite its rough English, Sword of Xolan is a fantastic platformer. Its pixel art is on point and it plays quite well. There's plenty to do here and the game is completely free and ad-supported. You can pay a very small fee and remove the ads, though. Otherwise, you have one of the best games on this list.
You play as Xolan, a young hero who stands against this game's big bad guy. You'll be asked to slay devilish enemies, save captured citizens, and find hidden treasure chests. You can expect 30 levels, some time challenges, and a few bosses. You can also chase cards to improve Xolan's skills as well as achievements.
Sword of Xolan is great. The touchscreen controls are decent, but they're also customizable. Better yet, there's gamepad support. A mere $0.99 will remove the ads and that's a small price to pay a developer who put out a great game.
Another popular game that made its way to mobile, Terraria is an open sandbox platformer with a focus on exploration. Think Minecraft in 2D. It's more on the relaxing side of things, though there is some combat involved. Otherwise, you'll be spending your time wandering, crafting, and building.
The world is procedurally-generated, so you'll have a different adventure every time. You get three basic tools to start, one for digging, combat, and cutting up wood. Otherwise, you'll explore and try to find resources, which can either be discovered in caves or dropped by enemies.
Much like Minecraft, you make your own way in Terraria. It's a great game to sit back and relax with. It's not for everyone, but it's still deserving of a place on this list. You can pick it up for $5 with no ads or other IAPs.
Update September 2021: Added Bubble Tale to our list!