The Best Side-scrolling Games

Update : Reef Escape added at rank #29.
1

The Legend of Tianding (2021)

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89
Review score
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IOS iPhone PC Windows

The Legend of Tian Ding takes you on a journey into the depths of Taiwanese history and culture, through fast-paced combat and platforming. This game puts its own spin on the legend of Liao Tian Ding, a Taiwanese Robin Hood-like character, while remaining true to his character. With its mix of kung fu combat and platforming, this game is sure to satisfy any itch for an action-packed adventure set in Taiwan's past.


What we like:
  • Fast-paced combat and platforming
  • Rich story based on real events
  • Charming manhua aesthetic
  • Atmospheric soundtrack
  • Freedom to chain abilities in combat & movement
  • Variety of secrets hidden throughout levels
What could be improved:
  • Cutscenes can be too long & unskippable at times
  • Uneven progression with upgrades only available later in the game
  • Difficulty spikes during some boss battles

  • historical
  • platform
  • spectacle
  • fight
  • side-scrolling
  • comic
  • boss
  • martial
  • boss-fight
  • beat-em-up
  • combat
  • scroller
  • action
  • hack-and-slash
  • book

2

Streets of Rage 4 (2020)

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90
Review score
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Android Linux Mac OS PC Windows Xbox One IOS iPhone

Streets of Rage 4 is the long awaited fourth entry into the classic Sega franchise. It features a blend of old and new, with classic characters such as Axel and Adam Hunter returning alongside a new main character, Cherry. All characters have unique playstyles, from Axel's powerful punches to Cherry's speedy strikes. There are tons of unlockables to discover and it has an amazing soundtrack.


What we like:
  • Satisfying combat
  • Incredible music and visuals
  • Tons to unlock
  • Simple yet rewarding combat mechanics
What could be improved:
  • Lack of 4 player online
  • Occasionally too easy to get cornered

  • brawler
  • boss
  • cooperative
  • beat-em-up
  • combo
  • retro
  • classic
  • side-scrolling
  • fight
  • old-school
  • arcade
  • online
  • hand-drawn
  • crime
  • combat

3

Trek to Yomi (2022)

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72
Review score
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PC Windows Xbox One Playstation 4 Xbox Series X/s Playstation 5 Xbox Series X Nintendo Switch

Trek to Yomi is a stunningly beautiful black and white game with smooth combat, multiple story paths and endings, and an engaging storyline. You'll be immersed in the mysterious world of Yomi as you battle through a variety of settings, learning more about the characters and their motivations along your journey.


What we like:
  • Smooth combat system
  • Breathtaking art style
  • Three story paths with multiple endings
  • Engaging storyline
What could be improved:
  • Short playthrough time on normal difficulty
  • Limited attack options in combat

  • side-scrolling
  • combat
  • fight
  • combo
  • boss
  • narrative
  • mythology
  • exploration
  • swordplay
  • classic
  • puzzle
  • kurosawa
  • action-adventure
  • supernatural
  • action

4

The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (2019)

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79
Review score
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Nintendo Switch PC Windows Playstation 4

Alluring audio! Pixel art perfection! Beat-em up beauty! Discover how hard a 32,000kg ninja hits with The Ninja Saviours!


  • ninja
  • brawler
  • arcade
  • side-scrolling
  • cooperative
  • remake
  • two-player
  • robots
  • boss
  • classic
  • dystopian
  • retro
  • action
  • online
  • local

5

Dawn of the Monsters (2022)

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80
Review score
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stadia Playstation 4 Xbox One Xbox Series X PC Windows Playstation 5 Nintendo Switch

Dawn of the Monsters is an action-packed kaiju game that puts you in control of powerful fighters to battle a horde of giant monsters known as Nephilim. Customize your fighter with Augments and unlock devastating Rage Attacks and Cataclysm attacks. Face off against challenging bosses, appreciate beautiful visuals and captivating music, and embark on a riveting story with interesting characters.


What we like:
  • Complex combat system
  • Unique characters with different playstyles
  • Rich story with interesting characters
  • Beautiful visuals and captivating music
What could be improved:
  • Stages start to feel similar after a while
  • Lack of clarity in the ranking system
  • Training room could use more options

  • cooperative
  • 2-player
  • beat-em-up
  • side-scrolling
  • two-player
  • action
  • scroller
  • fight
  • beat'em
  • brawler
  • boss
  • action-adventure
  • combo
  • local
  • 2d

6

Soda Crisis (2022)

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84
Review score
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PC Windows

Soda Crisis is a fast-paced platform shooter game with stunning visuals and excellent ratings on Steam. You play as a mysterious character outfitted with high-tech gadgets and combat skills, using them to get rid of enemies. The game combines hellish gunplay with action-packed platforming, creating an enjoyable and unique experience.

Buy

What we like:
  • Fast-paced gameplay
  • Enjoyable combat
  • Unique art style
  • Powerful electronic soundtrack
  • Variety of tools to overcome difficulties
  • Mini-games for added fun.
What could be improved:
  • Difficulty can be overwhelming for some players
  • Story is somewhat lacking in comparison to visuals and gameplay.

  • side-scrolling
  • scroller
  • platform
  • shoot-em-up
  • runner
  • shooter
  • gun
  • parkour
  • 3d
  • hard-hitting
  • training
  • colourful
  • combat
  • customization
  • action-adventure

7

Kingdom: Two Crowns (2018)

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93
Review score
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Nintendo Switch PC Windows Mac OS Playstation 4 Xbox One IOS iPhone Linux Android

In Kingdom Two Crowns, players must work in the brand-new solo or co-op campaign mode to build their kingdom and secure it from the threat of the Greed. Experience new technology, units, enemies, mounts, and secrets in the next evolution of the award-winning micro strategy franchise!


  • micro
  • medieval
  • pixel
  • colony
  • strategy
  • side-scrolling
  • cooperative
  • base-building
  • tower-defense
  • city-building
  • simulation
  • building
  • scroller
  • survival
  • 2d

8

Broforce (2015)

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95
Review score
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PC Windows Playstation 4 Linux Mac OS

Broforce is an action-packed game that challenges you to battle terrorism with up to four players in cooperative mode or face each other in bombastic competitive modes. Unleash unique weapons and explosives in destructible terrain and a robust level editor to design your own playground of destruction. Play Broforce now and deliver your own brand of shock and awe.


What we like:
  • Fun and entertaining gameplay
  • Hilarious visuals and art style
  • Varied gameplay with different characters to play as
  • Co-op mode is very enjoyable
  • Good soundtrack and sound effects
What could be improved:
  • Generic story
  • Occasional bugs and glitches

  • cooperative
  • side-scrolling
  • platform
  • shooter
  • action
  • america
  • pixel
  • aliens
  • boss
  • run-and-gun
  • tongue-in-cheek
  • gore
  • parody
  • boss-fight
  • multiplayer

9

Fight'N Rage (2017)

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90
Review score
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Xbox One Nintendo Switch Playstation 4 PC Windows Playstation 5 Xbox Series X

Fight'N Rage is a classic beat 'em up game with satisfying punches, varied, intelligent enemies, an array of characters with unique playstyles, and reams of fun unlockables. Every hit feels satisfying and the game offers a variety of music styles to keep players entertained.


What we like:
  • Satisfying punches
  • Varied and intelligent enemies
  • Array of characters with unique playstyles
  • Reams of fun unlockables
  • Variety of music styles
What could be improved:
  • Spamming special moves can be too easy if not monitored carefully
  • SP gauge can be difficult to check during intense fights
  • Some tutorial elements are confusing

  • side-scrolling
  • cooperative
  • local
  • classic
  • beat-em-up
  • arcade
  • combo
  • old-school
  • retro
  • martial
  • multiple-endings
  • brawler
  • 2d
  • ninja
  • fight

10

Actraiser Renaissance (2021)

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76
Review score
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Android PC Windows IOS iPhone

ActRaiser Renaissance is a video game where you play as God rebuilding human civilization destroyed by evil. With two main parts, simulation and sidescrolling action, guiding and defending your village against monsters is incredibly fun. The challenge ramps up gradually with time, making it addicting. The combat system is competent, with various enemy types, hidden power-ups, and expanded controls. The game is meticulously crafted, genuinely improves on the original game, and maintains the spirit of what made it special. ActRaiser Renaissance is a dark horse to become game of the year and is suitable for players who love simulation and sidescrolling games.


What we like:
  • Fun tower-defense style missions
  • Meticulously crafted simulation and sidescrolling parts
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Great combat system
  • Gradual difficulty ramp-up
What could be improved:
  • The game can be overly easy on normal mode
  • Hard mode is brutally difficult
  • Magic can be overused during boss fights

  • platform
  • city-building
  • remake
  • simulation
  • side-scrolling
  • action
  • boss
  • tower-defense
  • strategy
  • hack-and-slash
  • 2d
  • classic
  • real-time
  • tower
  • rpg

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