Going into 2017, I’ve realized something important about our culture; we’re in a time of re-innovation and nostalgia. Creating this top 5 list further proves the point, as all of them seem to harken back to an older age in time, yet bring something new to the table for everyone to enjoy. With platformers being such a classic genre and style for older video games, it’s no wonder that this list is filled to the brim with franchises that have seemingly disappeared. I’m extremely thankful that all of these games are showing tons of promise rather than the usual display of mediocrity that litters the old and forgotten. It’s fascinating and truly remarkable what you can do with an idea that has aged for a few years, and it’s even more fascinating that it can turn out to be so good.
Without further ado, here are the top five games to look forward to in 2017.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: 2017
Crash is back and better than ever! Next year, Crash Bandicoot will be returning for his first debut in years as a remake of the first three games in the series, originally on the first Playstation home console. As one of the most popular mascots of the 90s, I can imagine how many people must be excited to see the return of such a beloved icon. The modern graphics help Crash and the gang look fresh and new, all the while it’s still the same three games we’ve loved for years. Jumping, dashing, and bouncing on boxes could never be better in HD, so it’s finally time to relive our childhood with the Playstation 4 in 2017. Oh, and let’s not forget those crazy boulders.
Developer: Playtonic Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 4/11/2017
Hey 90s kids, remember Banjo-Kazooie? Coming from members of the very same team that worked on one of our favorite 3D platformers of all time comes Yooka-Laylee, a brand new take on the legacy that Banjo had left behind on the Nintendo 64. If anything, I’m more excited to play Yooka-Laylee now than ever given that some time has passed for a total makeover of the 3D platforming genre. The music is also composed by Grant Kirkhope, the same man who worked on the Banjo-Kazooie games, and I’m sure we all remember how catchy those tunes were. So, if running around and jumping all over bright, vibrant 3D environments while collecting different items in order to progress through the story sounds like fun, don’t hesitate to pick this one up early next year.
Developer: Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: Spring 2017
It looks like Sonic finally has finally remembered what made him so wonderful back in the day. It’s easy to say that Sonic Mania truly is what Sonic fans have been wanting for the past 10 years. It has a memorable classic style, fast-paced gameplay, and none of the technical and visual atrocities that have been plaguing Sonic titles since 2006. I’m very excited to see what direction they will take with Sonic Mania and all future titles in the franchise. Hopefully, this title will be the one to win back all of the fans who have been disappointed with Sonic games recently. Either way, the spring is looking to be fast and speedy with the welcome addition of a certain blue hedgehog that we all know and love.
Publisher: Studio MDHR
Developer: Studio MDHR
Platforms: Xbox One, Windows 10
Release Date: Mid-2017
Cuphead is a love letter to the classic cartoons from way back in the day. It features an art style reminiscent of the 1930’s hits such as Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Tom and Jerry. You can play the game as a traditional platformer or jump into the boss-rush mode for some fast paced action with a friend. I love the idea of running through a game, boss after boss, with a friend by my side, not to mention the awesome platforming segments. The art direction and general design also really speaks to me, and I hope that it can live up to the hype it has created despite the delay in the release schedule. Thankfully, everything is looking great, so definitely keep an eye–or rather a cup–out for Cuphead.
A Hat in Time
Publisher: Gears for Breakfast
Developer: Gears for Breakfast
Release Date: 2017
This decade is truly the decade of re-innovation and nostalgia; development team Gears for Breakfast truly shows their appreciation for classics like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie with their latest project. It’s no coincidence that The Hat in Time looks so amazing, though, with the legendary Grant Kirkhope once again working on a musical score that always seems to bring back memories of the good old days. There are tons of things to collect, places to explore, and adventure to be had next year. Thankfully, if you’ve already supported the game, you can get access to the game in its beta stages, meaning you can have some fun with it right now before the game’s official release. It seems to me that 3D platformers are making a comeback, and I’m hoping the quality can be better than ever.