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System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: May 26, 2016
Developer: Arcane Four Studios
Publisher Arcane Four Studios


One criticism that’s tough to lob at the Wii U is to say that it’s lacking in good 2D platformers. From its best such as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze to the more run-of-the-mill New Super Mario Bros. U, there’s consistently solid base-level mechanics and there’s fun to be had in just running and jumping. Unfortunately, I found even the simple act of controlling the character in Rynn’s Adventure miserable. It’s a reminder of how important it is to get basic movement to feel right in a platformer. When other issues are compounded on this basic failure, then the whole of the design feels anything but compelling.

System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: May 5, 2016
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher Nintendo


You’re playing solitaire, managing RPG stats, strategically maneuvering an adorable little stumpy-leg horse. As disparate as these elements seem, they manage to meld into a single cohesive experience with every little initially convoluted wrinkle feeding into another system, looping around and creating a uniquely addictive experience. I haven’t ever wanted to play a racehorse management sim governed by the rules of solitaire, but I’m sure glad I did. I guess what’s most surprising is that some madman somehow crafted these distinct gameplay elements into one of the more engaging 3DS games.

System: Wii U / 3DS (eShop)
Release date: March 17, 2016
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher Renegade Kid


Immediately upon playing the first level of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, I was reminded about how much I loved Renegade Kid’s original 2D platformer. When it released in 2012, it was one of the first great 3DS eShop titles. Super Challenge feels largely like a continuation of the first game’s later levels. It’s telling that it hasn’t been named Mutant Mudds 2 since there isn’t too much new here, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: February 25, 2016
Developer: Seaven Studio
Publisher Seaven Studio


Inside My Radio is equal parts a 2D platformer and a rhythm game, and both aspects are very well executed. Unlike what is often the case with similar titles, this eShop release doesn’t auto-scroll, but instead gives you free movement while syncing your actions to the beat. If you don’t execute your typical movements of jumping, dashing and stomping on the beat, then it doesn’t happen at all.

System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: January 28, 2016
Developer: Sarepta Studio
Publisher Snow Cannon Games


The premise of Shadow Puppeteer is simple: one night, a boy and his shadow are separated by a strange man playing a music box. From there, the journey consists of chasing him down throughout gloomy Tim Burton-esque levels. The game has you controlling the boy and his shadow individually with the controller being split by its left and right sides – each analogue stick controls a character with the buttons on their respective sides being used for jumping and other interactions. If you played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, the concept should seem familiar. Where this differs is that you control the boy in a 3D space and his shadow along the surfaces of the environment, interacting with other shadows as a 2D platformer. The two ideas on their own aren’t exactly unique, but fusing them together provides plenty of puzzling levels.