The best platformers with RPG elements

The best platformers with RPG elements

Platformers and RPGs couldn’t be more different when it comes to gameplay. The former is designed to be fast-paced and engaging, while the latter tends to be slower and more immersive. Even with this in mind, there are designers who have had ideas of combining these two genres in one game.

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It may take some time to adjust, but once you do, it’s easy to see how elements of both of these genres can be mixed well. It’s still a combination that needs further exploration, but some titles have managed to hit the sweet spot of having a platformer player base with RPG mechanics.


10/10 Cave history

Title of the cave story

There are titles that clearly show all the time and effort that went into creating a unique experience. Cave Story presents a powerful journey about a robot who wakes up in a cave without remembering how or why. Armed with only a gun, he must traverse the various caves, fight hostile creatures and try to save the various inhabitants inside.

The RPG side of things comes into play when it comes to the missions and the open elements of the story. You can also collect a variety of weapons that gain strength as they earn XP. Additionally, there are items to improve how you navigate, get through missions, and improve your stats.

9/10 Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario title

The Paper Mario series gained attention for being a series of Mario games that are almost exclusively RPG-focused. It wasn’t until the release of the Wii that Nintendo decided to make it more like the main Mario games. Super Paper Mario was mainly supposed to showcase the visually appealing mechanics of switching between a 3D and 2D plane.

This allowed you to experience two different types of platforming, but that’s not all. Mario and his enemies still had HP, and he could equip badges as well as change his pixel sprite follower to gain new abilities. Mario also got to team up with several other companions who all brought their own skills to the table.

8/10 Undertaker

Sub-heroic title

The classic game story follows a chosen hero to kill a great evil and kill the world. This involves killing so many minions, and so little thought is given to them. Underhero takes advantage of that by putting you in the role of one of the main villain’s minions. Their fate changes when they receive an item meant to be used by the hero.

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They then proceed to complete the hero’s quest through exploration and platforming. In addition to this, they participate in turn-based battles complete with consumables that they can collect and equipment that they can equip as they increase their stats.

7/10 Dust: An Elysian Tale

Dust An Elysian Tale Title

Sometimes a game has a lot of elements of a drama-fantasy anime without even trying. Dust: An Elysian Tale is one of those games, and it makes it work. As the amnesiac hero known only as Dust, you’re quickly joined by a talking sword and the sword’s even more talkative guardian. With their help, you embark on a platforming adventure to end a coming war and save a dying race.

As you hack and slash your way through enemies and bosses, you gain XP to level up and improve your stats. You’ll also find tons of consumables you can use in a pinch, magical attacks with different forms, and equipment to boost your attacks and provide extra protection.

6/10 SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist title

A breakout series ended up being SteamWorld, a universe centered around steam-powered robots. Started as a platform game involving digging and mining, it expanded into other genres, including RPGs. While SteamWorld Quest is almost pure RPG, SteamWorld Heist includes a platforming aspect.

As the captain of a spaceship crew, you can visit different areas and explore them through running and jumping. When it comes to battles, however, it’s still a 2D platforming environment with a turn-based RPG system. You can take multiple companions into battle, each with their own stats to improve, skills to learn, and weapons to use.

5/10 Monster Sanctuary

Monster Sanctuary Title

Thanks to Pokémon, monster catching and training have become popular game concepts. While not all receive glowing praise, there are those who provide an interesting and refreshing alternative. One of them is Monster Sanctuary, where you play as a monster trainer and navigate a vast fantasy world.

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While you can do a lot on your own, you won’t get very far unless you have a wide variety of monsters on your team. The role-playing game comes in when you need to fight and tame monsters while making sure they have everything they need to be the strongest and most effective.

4/10 Children of Light

Child Of Light Title

Some games are so artistic that it’s normal to be distracted by the visuals. A game of such beauty is Child of Light, which looks like you’re playing through a wonderful children’s book with painted art. The game follows the story of Aurora, a princess transported to a magical land where she needs to gather enough power to save this world and her own.

She can run, jump, climb and finally fly across the realms to complete the goal. As she does so, she will encounter a large group of companions who will fight alongside her as she fights. Enemies and bosses will be a turn-based affair, and you’ll need to gain enough experience and useful items to successfully reach and win the final battle.

3/10 Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy title

When the roguelike and roguelite genres first appeared, they shook the world. They started with titles like The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky, only to be followed by other fun games like Rogue Legacy. Your goal is to explore an ever-changing castle to reach the riches within and the power of the inner chamber.

You have to jump around, avoid traps, use your skills and swing your weapon to dispatch the enemies you encounter. The role play comes as you set up between races. You get to choose the heir that determines your starting class, traits and stats. After that, you can talk to the various NPCs outside the castle to buy items and improve your weapons and armor.

2/10 Whoops

Wuppo title

Some games seem so strange on the surface that the only way to understand them is to play. Such is the case with Wuppo, a strange epic adventure. The game follows a nameless ball of legs called a Wum after they are kicked out of the hotel where they live. The game follows their journey to find a new place to live and ends up getting involved in an even bigger story.

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Platforming is how you get around, but RPGs are at the heart of progression. Your stats are determined by the items you use and the hats you wear. The turret you carry is your main weapon and there are several variations and ways to change your shots. On top of that, you have to visit many important NPCs and collect more quest items and equipment to progress.

1/10 Sundered: Eldritch Edition

Reduced title

The Eldretch theme will never be scary, which is why you hope for a reliable way to defend against it. Fortunately, Sundered gives you a lot to work with as you wander a maze and fight disturbing monsters and bosses. The goal is to cover as much ground as possible so you can unlock new routes and progress.

Your character is quite agile, but she also has to cope with the dangers ahead. By fighting and collecting, you will be able to return to the RPG hub of the game. There you can buy new abilities, equip Charms you’ve found, and increase your stats to make your character more resilient and powerful in battle.

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