Five Non-Nintendo Alternatives to Super Mario Odyssey

I’m not going to tell porkies; Super Mario Odyssey is fantastic. In fact, it’s so good and I’ve invested so much time into it that I’ve not been able to talk about any of my progress in case of potential spoiling it for others. Super Mario Odyssey may be a marvel in platforming games due to its ambitious game design and level structure, but it’s not the only platformer out there that’s worthy of some praise. Last year, we began seeing a resurgence in the genre with Ratchet & Clank being released for PS4, and this has been followed by a number of others – for now though, we’ll start with our furry Lombax friend and his robotic companion.

Ratchet & Clank – PS4

Originally being advertised as “the game, that’s based on the film which is based on the game,” Ratchet & Clank is a retelling of its first entry from its PS2 days which ties into its mediocre film adaptation. The game itself tries to tie in familiar themes like Ratchet’s search to find his own race known as the Lombaxes, while staying true to first game’s story by discovering how Captain Qwark ended up in jail after Ratchet saved the galaxy from Chairman Drek.

The slightly shorter remake of Ratchet & Clank amounts to about 8 hours of explosive gameplay, which is fine considering how incredibly beautiful the game’s Disney-Pixar quality animation is. The attention to detail in particle effects and draw distance are stunning and is still a game that offers enough of its own originality to be genuinely fun. Whether it’s collecting gadgets, completing puzzles or discovering all the hidden gold bolts and R.Y.N.O parts, you’ll be in for a hell of a ride.

Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy – PS4

Crash Bandicoot is a slightly different 3D platformer to Mario, as it takes elements such as hitting boxes, finding secrets and bonuses and incorporates these objectives into more structured levels. The only issue I have with Crash is that it’s not a true 3D platformer with explorable areas but rather has linear levels, and as such it isn’t nearly as immersive as some of the others on this list, but it certainly is fun. It’ll provide hours of frustrating tightly-knitted platforming sequences that have had many screaming at their TVs for hours – I’m looking at you High Road – but despite the game’s unforgiving nature it will keep you hooked. The obvious bonus with this recommendation would be that you’re getting three iterations of 90’s platforming at a steal of a price, and it also looks great in both 1080p and 4K due to the game’s revamped art style.

Skylar & Plux – PS4, Xbox One and PC

A surprising 3D platforming gem you can play is Skylar & Plux. I actually got to review this game back in May and I beat it in one sitting if you’re looking for a shorter platforming fix between the larger games being released this year. Clocking my first initial playthrough at around three and a half hours, the game offers four beautiful explorable areas, with one of those being the central hub world. The game involves saving Clover Island from the clutches of the villainous CRT. Skylar & Plux’s design follows the 3D platforming formula and pays homage to Jak & Daxter, but there is a hint of Banjo Kazooie in the mix too. This one may not stand the test of time, but it does offer a fun and enjoyable initial playthrough.

A Hat in Time – PS4, Xbox One and PC

This a game inspired by 90’s platforming and takes the essence of games like Mario 64 and reshapes its format mechanics into a familiar but modern gameplay experience. A Hat in Time is a slightly shorter game, but it’s a good example of platforming done correctly.

In a Hat in Time, you play as Hat Kid who must gather all the Time Pieces, among other collectibles, scattered across Hat Kid’s world to stop the evil Mustache Girl from taking control of the world. The time pieces must be gathered to return the world to normal. The game offers learnable skills and abilities that Hat Kid can master. There are also timed events and beautifully varied locations. The game offers enough of a new platforming experience to keep new players invested. This game’s only available on PC at present but will be coming to consoles in the winter.

Yooka-Laylee – PS4, Xbox One, PC and soon Switch

If you’d asked me at launch whether I’d be recommending this game, I’d be saying no. Designed as a Banjo Kazooie spiritual successor, it received criticisms for sticking rigidly to outdated 90’s mechanics and thought it would get by on its nostalgia factor. For a start you’d be surprised by just how horrendous the camera was when doing large platforming sequences. However, Yooka-Laylee’s Spit-N-Polish patch fixes every one of the issues and refines the game into a much more fun and less confusing game to play. The added signs to the hub world allow players to discover more areas and the UI has been tweaked to have actual image tutorials much like Mario.

Yooka-Laylee is probably the closest things to a Nintendo platforming experience that you’ll get on other systems as it closely follows the Japanese giant’s platforming format from the 90s. The game itself features various gorgeous environments with beautifully composed tracks from Grant Kirkhope and David Wise, who also did the music for Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing and more recently for things like Snake Pass and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. You’ll be humming these tracks forever, probably. The game is a collectathon, so if you’ve played Banjo Kazooie, you know the drill.

Written by
I am a gamer with a passion of all things relating to it. I co-develop a ROM Hacking project called Pokémon Liquid Crystal with a team of experienced developers and also have written for gaming and tech news outlets such as Neowin and Dashhacks. In my spare time, I wreck scrubs at Destiny and trophy hunt.


  1. Jak & Daxter too! In fact I prefered J&D to the other 3 in your list that I’ve played (R&C, CB & YL). None even come remotely close to Mario though.

    • The Jak franchise is actually my favorite Naughty Dog IP and I’ve wanted Jak 4 to happen for years now :(. I didn’t include Jak & Daxter simply because the games are all over a decade old and wanted to compare more recent games.

      • I’d never played any J&D games before, but got a free remastered version with Uncharted Lost Legacy a couple of months ago.

  2. If R&C is premier league, Skylar & Plux is some other really low division (I don’t do football, sorry). But I still enjoyed S&P more than Yooka-Laylee, which I had to play on mute. Crash Remake was pretty good. I hadn’t played the third game before, so I was grateful for the chance. Can’t comment on the hat game.

    The R&C Remake is the best game on the list (almost out of place with the other low budget offerings) but it was my least favourite R&C game in the franchise. Mainly because they cut out half of the original game and shoehorned in the most annoying villain from the whole series, who wasn’t even in the original.

    The original three R&C games are the best (R&C2 being the best overall). A Crack In Time / Into the Nexus were pretty solid too on the PS3.

    As for the Jak games, I thought they were pretty awful tbh. I’d heard such great things about them but thought the first one was a very average platformer and the second was just bizarre. The third was pretty decent though. It’s almost like they had two experiments that went horribly wrong but they got it on the third attempt. I couldn’t believe they were made by ND. They’ve certainly come a long way.

    • My favorite R&C game was Future Tools of Destruction, I think. It was still an old school Ratchet & Clank game at heart. I’m hoping the PS3 trilogy gets remastered, actually. I’d love to play through them all again.

      Jak & Daxter is a great franchise. The story expands so well but I’d like to see one last hurrah! I liked the whole idea of Jak becoming more than just an orphan raised by an old man. Even the open world areas were cool in the later games. Didn’t think it was possible to swing the game in that direction after the first game was so playful and light hearted.

      I’m not sure if you bought Yooka at launch, but it is much better nowadays for sure. Music thing is subjective because I like it all, but I can see why others wouldn’t.

      While it’s not on the list, I recommend Trine 3 and Tearaway on PS4 as well. Super Lucky on Xbox One is pretty good too!

      I tried to feature the most relevant games to compare to Mario Odyssey’s quality and gameplay. It was surprisingly so difficult to do.

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