Platformers offer some of the most visually pleasing games out there, flaunting bold, heroic characters and beautiful pixel-art environments. The genre also harbors challenging puzzle mechanics and combat, alongside more modern titles that bring their artistic style to the category, like Little Nightmares.

In the age of open-world superhero games and overwhelming Final Fantasy entities, it’s often refreshing to take gameplay back to basics and indulge in some level-based sessions. Here are 10 of the best platformer games available to play right now for under $15.

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Platformer Classics

10. Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy
Steam, PS4, Xbox One
$3.74 $14.99 Save $11.25

Combine a cube of meat, his girlfriend made of bandages, and a tux-wearing fetus as the villain and you've got Super Meat Boy - one of the most challenging platformers within a damsel-in-distress story. Both the PlayStation Store and the Xbox Games Store have the title for under $15, but Steam is cutting costs even more with its cheap $3.74 price tag.

PS4 , PS Vita , Xbox 360 , Switch , Wii U , PC
October 20, 2010
Team Meat

Combining the difficulty of classic NES titles like Mega Man 2 and Ghosts 'n Goblins with engaging environments including haunted hospitals and even Hell, Super Meat Boy has over 300 levels and 33 achievements to conquer. The platformer is iconic for its silly premise, but many gamers find SMB to be one of the most satisfying titles to complete because of its hardship, making it notorious in the genre.

9. Sonic Adventure 2

2000x3000 tag image for Sonic Adventure 2 with Sonic and Shadow behind the logo.
Steam, Xbox

This 3D platformer in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise offers gameplay as the heroes or villains, pitting Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles against Shadow, Dr. Eggman, and Rouge in a bid to find the Chaos Emeralds and save the world - or overpower it. Both Steam and the Xbox Games Store are selling this entry for under $10, and you can also indulge in the former's Ultimate Bundle that collects 15 Sonic games together.

PlayStation 3 , Xbox 360 , PC
November 19, 2012

In addition to the fate of the world being in your hands within the main narrative, Sonic Adventure 2 also features two-player kart racing alongside other competitive modes to try with a friend. With over 150 missions and 30 stages to beat, you can also level up your pet Chao and enter them in mini-games. GameCube owners are bound to find this port nostalgic, and reliving the experience for under $15 is a bargain find.

8. Mega Man Legacy Collection

2000x3000 tag image for Megaman Legacy Collection with different characters in battle poses under the logo
Steam, PS4, Xbox One

This Capcom Legacy Collection compiles the original six Mega Man games in one product with the added Museum Mode and Challenge Mode. Using Eclipse Engine, these faithful reproductions retain the classic 8-bit style in HD with new content to bring these titles into the modern age. Steam, the PlayStation Store, and the Xbox Games Store are selling this compilation for only $14.99.

August 25, 2015

This platformer collection will be another blast of nostalgia for fans of the Blue Bomber, and these six games have enough content to supply a lifetime of enjoyment. The new Challenge Mode remixes serve up difficult trials for veteran players while easing newcomers into the gameplay style, so there’s something for everyone in this compilation. If you want even more Mega Man in your life, consider taking advantage of Steam’s 17% discount on the Legacy Collection 1 & 2 Combo Pack for under $30.

7. Brawlhalla

Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

This free-to-play platform fighter offers contests between up to 8 players online or local, where you can play ranked matches or brawl in a private room with over 50 characters to choose from. Fight as characters from Adventuretime, The Walking Dead, Castlevania, and much more, available to play on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

PC , PS4 , Switch , Xbox One , Android , iOS
October 17, 2017
Blue Mammoth Games

Updated features, bug fixes, balance changes, and new playable Legends like Mordex the werewolf and Bodvar the half-bear Viking, are added to Brawlhalla every 2–3 weeks and the game has a lot to offer free of charge. Praised for being an energetic and entertaining platformer with punchy combat and vibrant, modern visuals, it’s worth giving this easy-to-master title a chance, and you can also pick up several additional packs from your chosen platform for a small price, including the Collector’s Pack, the Autumn Championship Pack, and the BCX 2023 Pack.

Best Sci-Fi Platformers

6. Portal 2


The sequel's self-titled predecessor earned a cult following after establishing its award-winning combination of inventive gameplay, engaging story, and unique music. Portal 2 welcomes two new playable characters and a new gameplay mode that tests players' strategies. Steam has the sequel available to play for under $10 and you can also purchase the Portal Bundle that gets you both games for under $15.

PS3 , Xbox 360 , Switch , PC
April 18, 2011

We awarded Portal 2 a 10/10 rating in our review when the team covered the pioneering title over ten years ago, applauding the puzzle-platformer’s clever writing and labeling it “the perfect game.” Valve has become one of the developers to watch, especially after the success of its Half-Life franchise. In addition to the engaging puzzles and immersive environments, Portal 2 also adds humor to gameplay and there’s no doubt in any gamer's mind that it’s 100% replayable.

5. Sanabi

2000x3000 tag image for Sanabi showing a caped protagonist flying over a purple and blue city.
Steam, Nintendo Switch

Winner of Best Game and Best Indie Game in 2022, Sanabi flaunts the dystopian style while you play as a legendary veteran who uses a prosthetic arm as a grappling hook to swing between skyscrapers on the hunt for the mysterious, titular entity. Both Steam and the Nintendo eShop have this futuristic platformer on offer for under $15.

PC , Nintendo Switch
November 9, 2023

The prosthetic-armed protagonist won’t be tracking down Sanabi alone in this endeavor, as the ingenious hacker, Mari, will also be along for the ride and a keen ally in this cyberpunk expanse. Being compared to Katana Zero and Hotline Miami, this platformer is easily one of the best in the category and the most modern title on this list, proving the genre continues to thrive. If you fancy adding two top-tier platformers to your cart, Steam is offering the “S”-Tier Action Bundle pairing Sanabi with Skul: The Hero Slayer - a game we included in our 15 Best Roguelikes For Under $20 list.

4. Hollow Knight

hollow knight
Steam, PS4, Xbox One

The 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania unites you with insectoid warrior, The Knight, navigating the fallen kingdom of Hallownest that's tainted by a supernatural disease. Encounter friendly and hostile insectoids in this side-scroller placed within a beautifully dense atmosphere, and you can pick up your copy today for only $14.99 on Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox.

PC , Switch , PS4 , Xbox One , macOS , Linux
February 24, 2017
Team Cherry

This atmospheric journey defeating hostile insectoids within a map of subterranean locations can be yours for under $15, and you can also get the official Hollow Knight soundtrack and the Gods & Nightmares DLC for under $10 each. If you've completed Hollow Knight, and you’re waiting until the next Metroidvania, you may not have to wait long, as Hollow Knight: Silksong is expected to release this year.

Best Horror Platformers

3. Blasphemous

Cover image for Blasphemous showing an armoured protagonist
Steam, Nintendo Switch
$6.24 $24.99 Save $18.75

The Game Kitchen honed addictive gameplay in the Souls-like Blasphemous, enough to make it a staple entry in the genre. Players control a silent knight called the Penitent One who battles a host of enemies in a fictional region with his sword, Mea Culpa. This gothic, religious adventure full of bloody battles, beautiful graphics, and a haunting score is available for only $6.24 marked down from $24.99 on Steam and the Nintendo Switch e-Shop.

September 10, 2019
The Game Kitchen

If this is your first time undertaking Blasphemous, welcome to Cvstodia, and prepare for a beautiful bout of hardship on a gothic ride through the blood-soaked region. To keep up to date with the game's horrific lore, it’s recommended to play the original 2019 game first before its sequel, Blasphemous 2, which we gave fifth place to in our list of the Best Indie Souls-Like Games for its beautiful animation, smooth gameplay, and mechanical feats in the genre.

2. Little Nightmares 1 & 2 Bundle

2000x3000 tag image for Little Nightmares I & II Bundle PS4 & PS5 showing the yellow-jacket protagonist and bag-headed main character from both games.
PS4, PS5
$14.99 $49.99 Save $35

Little Nightmares is one of the most popular platformer series of this gaming generation, and despite its cute aesthetic, there are some nightmarish bosses to battle inspired by childhood fears. This exclusive offer from the PlayStation Store serves both Little Nightmares 1 and 2 with a 70% discount reducing the price tag to just $14.99.

February 10, 2021
Tarsier Studios

If you’re a fan of the Tim Burton style and enjoy eerie gameplay fueled by heart-racing chases, the Little Nightmares franchise is something you need to check out. Aside from the haunting aesthetic that sets this platformer apart from others, there are well-crafted stories and challenging puzzles with terrific music and ambient sounds to make this franchise an immersive, worthwhile experience. Thanks to the PlayStation Store, you can buy both games for under $15, and playing them now should bide your time until Little Nightmares 3 releases sometime this year.

1. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope

2000x3000 tag image for Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope showing the titular knight under the game's logo.
Steam, Nintendo Switch

One of the faces of platformers is Shovel Knight and Shovel of Hope continues the colorful, 8-bit style, light-hearted narrative, and stunning musical accompaniment by Jake Kaufman. You can grab this title for under $15 on Steam or the Nintendo eShop and you can also purchase more Shovel Knight games through Steam by way of the Standalone Bundle that collects four games for $32.81.

June 26, 2014
Yacht Club Games

Even if you’ve never played a Shovel Knight game, the eponymous warrior is instantly recognizable among gamers, and the hero has the grueling task of thwarting the evil Enchantress while searching for his beloved. With around 40 hours of gameplay in store, Shovel of Hope delivers tough combat alongside a wholesome, fantasy story, but most importantly, it’s guaranteed to be a fun journey for fans of the series and novices.

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