Platform games boast a fair range of alternative universes, legendary heroes, and overpowered skills – but sometimes, one might crave something more realistic.

And the answer to this need is cinematic platform games! This unique subgenre came to life in 1989 with the release of the Prince of Persia title. Realistic anatomy, life-like skills, and the laws of physics made it a great alternative to the often too cartoonish titles like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. But can cinematic platform games still appeal to the modern audience?

Although the entire genre is no longer as popular as in the 80s, it still represents one of the most vital gaming industry foundations. If you miss that classic spark of platform excitement and gameplay with the most realistic mechanics, make yourself at home and choose something nice to play.

Prince of Persia (1989)

Release date:1989
Genre:Platform
Developer:Brøderbund Software

This 1989 game is a recommendation for all enthusiasts of traps, puzzles, and retro vibes. Play as a courageous prince, defeat the evil Jaffar, and save the love of your life!

Prince of Persia made this list for a reason. This gameplay is the essence of the cinematic genre, providing only one hour to complete the entire mission. Meanwhile, the prince must avoid obstacles, sneak, acquire weapons, defeat enemies, and save the princess – all while moving at an acceptably slow pace. That’s quite a lot for such a short time!

Key features
  • Play the game that inspired an entire genre
  • Solve puzzles to unlock the following stages
  • Complete the adventure in one hour
  • Save the princess and defeat the evil Jaffar

Little Nightmares (2017)

Release date:2017-04-27
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Tarsier Studios

This indie platformer combines horror with adventure to grant you a satisfying mix of chills and excitement!

A little girl finds herself in The Maw – a spooky place ruled by her nightmares. And it’s your job to help her escape by jumping on platforms, solving puzzles, and sneaking around, avoiding the most terrifying enemies!

Key features
  • Enjoy an indie horror game
  • Help Six escape the nightmare dimension
  • Explore, solve puzzles, sneak, and pretend to be invisible
  • Lose yourself in the terrifying yet beautiful audiovisual setting

Heart of Darkness (1998)

Release date:1998-07-04
Genre:Platformer
Developer:Amazing Studio

It is your best choice if you seek video games similar to Another World, as this title came from the same developers. Embark on an adventure and save your precious dog!

During the walk, Andy’s dog disappears under pretty unexplained circumstances. A young boy embarks on a treacherous journey to the Darkworld to overcome risky challenges and save his best friend. Give him the courage to witness the end of this extraordinary story!

Key features
  • Explore eight levels in 2D
  • Avoid traps, fight enemies, and plan your attacks
  • Collect equipment to complete increasingly challenging tasks
  • Save your best friend

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (1997)

Release date:1997-12-12
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Oddworld Inhabitants

It is a legendary side-scroll platformer about a lone hero trying to save his people from a cruel fate in a meat grinder.

Play as the friendly Abe and lead all Mudokons to their dream freedom. Jump, climb, solve puzzles, and use your supernatural abilities to escape the factory. It’s a challenging game, full of realistic mechanics!

Key features
  • Free all Mudokons from their longtime oppressors
  • Travel through challenging levels and save as many companions as you can
  • Solve puzzles and avoid dangerous traps
  • Enjoy the disturbing vibe of the omnipresent danger

Inside (2016)

Release date:2016-07-07
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Playdead

Coming from the creators of the iconic Limbo, Inside tells the story of a desperate boy fleeing the most dystopian reality.

Prepare for a creepy forest, abandoned factories, mysterious experiments, and an endless sense of sinister company. Explore gloomy locations and solve puzzles to help a little boy learn the meaning of free will and autonomy. This game is a must-have for fans of mature stories set in disturbing surroundings.

Key features
  • Play a game from the makers of Limbo
  • Explore gloomy locations and find the ultimate way out
  • Solve puzzles to continue your journey
  • Have fun with challenging interactive environments

Cinematic platformers are still incredibly popular in the indie genre. They provide a fantastic base for bizarre or disturbing stories with surprising outcomes. Glad to see this subgenre flourish with each passing year! Enjoy recommendations on this brief list, and let’s keep our fingers crossed that the future holds many more similar titles.