G’day, mate! The Kao the Kangaroo reboot is coming soon this year to a platform near you, and many old-time fans and lovers of the 3D platforming genre are undoubtedly eagerly waiting to get their hands on the upcoming “marsuperior” adventure. Yet without a definite release date, the best we can do is to “keep our bounce in check” by playing some of the great third-person 3D platformers presently available to us. Without further ado, here are ten terrific 3D Platformers to keep you occupied before the new Kao the Kangaroo comes out.
10. Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2
Of course, what’s looking forward to a reboot without playing at least one of the older entries? The 2019 re-release of Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 allows players to re-experience bouncy boxing kangaroo in all his vintage glory. The classic 3D action-adventure platformer features old-school gameplay complete with the arcade kangaroo action of running, jumping, and fighting heaps of enemies. The game can feel pretty clunky and janky because of its dated nature, but Kao the Kangaroo Round 2 still offers an enjoyable experience for a casual playthrough.
This cult classic is an absolute must-play for any 3D connoisseur. “A Psychic Odyssey Through the Minds of Misfits, Monsters, and Madmen,” Psychonauts is a timeless masterpiece developed by the renowned studio Double Fine. Psychonauts is a 3D platformer that has its wacky quirkiness “bass-boosted” to the max. Taking place in a summer camp for psychic children, the narrative is a wacky, supernatural escapade filled with mind-warping mischief, clairvoyant secret agents, and a little childish romance. While the gameplay is firmly rooted in the kinds of 3D platforming mechanics we’re familiar with, the psychic theme in Psychonauts builds upon the gameplay to add some unique “thought-provoking” puzzle-solving into its mix. The long-awaited sequel, Psychonauts 2, should be seeing its release around the corner this year.
8. TY the Tasmanian Tiger
TY the Tasmanian Tiger is another brilliant title set in the wild outback of Australia. The classic platformer features an exceptional adventure, chock full of rich exploration, thrilling arcade gameplay, and tons of boomerang action. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger boldly takes gameplay inspiration from Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Sunshine, yet it does so in a way that compliments the source material remarkably well. Controlling Ty feels slick and responsive, and you never have second thoughts about what you’re doing on screen. The game features basic item collecting, a hub world connecting several elemental-based levels, and many various characters brimming with sass and personality. What adds to its charm is that the Aussie aesthetic and humorous cultural references are spot-on. A treasure trove for cultured 3D platforming enthusiasts, the entire remastered trilogy is available on Steam.
While it certainly had its fair share of issues, Yooka-Laylee was an undeniably noble attempt by Playtonic veteran developers to create an original and eye-catching open-world platformer. The game featured vibrant worlds, each with its own unique dynamic environment. There are tons of activities to keep you occupied, including platforming challenges, peculiar puzzles, hidden secrets, and collectible hunting. Sadly, Yooka-Laylee‘s central problem was cosmetically looking like an updated platformer but still playing like something akin to a clunky classic from the bygone era of 3D platforming. As a result, this modern 3D collect-a-thon wasn’t able to meet the high expectations of many hopeful fans. However, it was a respectably unique and memorable adventure that the gaming community still recognizes to this day.
6. New Super Lucky’s Tale
The best 3D platformers like Kao the Kangaroo will often feature a memorable “signature move” that serves as a distinctive trademark in its gameplay. That being said, New Super Lucky’s Tale does an excellent job organically implementing Lucky’s unique burrow ability into its design, creating innovative levels that are bound to impress any lover of the genre. Lucky’s Tale makes sure to never oversteps its boundaries in gameplay difficulty, character quirkiness, or environmental layouts. It’s 3D platforming simplicity at its finest. The limitation of what a Lucky’s Tale‘s playthrough offers could be considered a disadvantage. But for those looking for the ultimate casual experience with no strings attached, this cuddly fox is a bundle of joy and family-friendly fun. Although it’s far from being a masterpiece, it is a lovely gem that’s definitely worth a try.
5. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
If you’re craving a bit of rage-inducing gameplay in your 3D platforming mix, look no further than Crash Bandicoot 4. As one of the most well-known series in the genre, the latest entry to the bandicoot adventures will surely not disappoint. The challenging cartoony platformer still breathes classic Crash Bandicoot, but with some welcome quality of life improvements and spectacular visuals. Crash Bandicoot 4 also features a “modern mode” where the player doesn’t have to worry about the outdated arcade-style “limited lives” mechanic. Instead, you can indefinitely return to the last checkpoint every time Crash dies. Not to mention, gems are now easily earnable by collecting just a set number of Wumpa fruit in a level, smashing all the crates, completing a stage with three deaths or less, and finding a secret gem hidden within the level. Those who wish for a more hardcore, traditional experience are free to do so through Crash Bandicoot 4‘s “retro mode.” This addition of a selectable preference in gameplay accessibility is a fantastic improvement for the series’ leap into the modern gaming era. However, if you’re unable to get your hands on a copy, the previous Crash Bandicoot™ N. Sane Trilogy will do just as well to tickle your 3D platforming fancy.
4. Spyro™ Reignited Trilogy
Toys for Bob certainly has a knack for creating ageless 3D platforming classics. Everyone’s favorite lovable dragon is playable in beautiful HD graphics and stunning textures. Spyro has received the overdue makeover he deserves; the unsightly sharp polygonal lines have been replaced with soft and glossy designs like in a Dreamworks cartoon. Every creature in Reignited, be it friend or foe, is brimming with life and character. From characters’ movement, idle and death animations, facial expressions, and even overall demeanor, you’ll never come across someone who isn’t radiating a genuine sense of personality. Gameplay-wise, Reignited features fluid controls and top-quality level design. Old-timers and newcomers will find Spyro’s reimagined journey to be an absolute treat. The Spyro™ Reignited Trilogy offers a magical, breathtaking adventure where Spyro can once again save the day from the whimsical evil that disturbs the expansive fantasy realms.
3. Pumpkin Jack
Another “spooktacular” addition to the modern 3D platforming family is Pumpkin Jack. In this Halloween-style action-adventure, you play as a pumpkin-headed protagonist who’s on an anti-hero mission to annihilate the Good. While Pumpkin Jack as a whole serves as more of a shallow thrill than anything, the game’s mischievous charm and fresh gameplay offer way more than you’d expect. Pumpkin Jack isn’t the most innovative in its genre, but it is a wholesomely enjoyable experience that features solid controls, satisfying combat and platforming, a fantastic soundtrack, and an appealing narrative.
2. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated
Although critics of 3D platformers generally saw the faithful remake of the SpongeBob SquarePants platformer as a mediocre experience, fans old and young regard this overhauled version of one of their favorite childhood titles as a godsend for the 3D platforming community. A beloved and iconic character in the entertainment industry, SpongeBob and his friends brings all the lovable vibes and family-friendly humor into SpongeBob: Rehydrated. The game is a throwback to the collect-a-thon genre’s golden era. Featuring a bright and lively world, comical characters, and tons of variety in its gameplay, it is a solid 3D platforming experience that goes beyond just relying on its namesake alone to carry it.
1. A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time perfectly embodies the sense of creating a unique identity in its genre. What Psychonauts had in zaniness, A Hat in Time has in adorable charm. As a hat-loving alien who assumes the appearance of a small child, you explore enormous worlds, meet all sorts of wacky, memorable characters, and experience some of the slickest and most challenging gameplay that a 3D platformer has to offer. The game was community-funded and continues its vision as a community-focused title, with an astonishing amount of user-generated content in its Steam Workshop. A Hat in Time isn’t just your average 3D platformer. Rather, it is the fruition of incredible design, programming, and personality, creating one of the most unforgettable experiences in the modern era of 3D platforming.
Details surrounding Kao the Kangaroo are still somewhat vague, but many 3D platformer enthusiasts (myself included) are “hoptimistic” of its upcoming launch. Keep in mind, Tate Multimedia has stated that this title will be a completely new adventure under the Kao the Kangaroo IP. Fingers crossed, we happily hope that this will turn out to be a fabulous new addition to the modern 3D platforming genre.
Are you looking forward to the release of the Kao the Kangaroo reboot? Have you played any of 3D platformers featured in this list? What would you say is one of your all-time favorite 3D platformers? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below!