The Best Free Platformer Games for the PC

While away the hours with these free titles inspired by classic platform games.

A lot of the classic platform games never quite made the leap from console or arcade PC, but that doesn't mean there isn't a plethora of PC titles inspired by them. From original home-brews to full-scale remakes, the PC is every bit as vibrant a platform for platformers. Here's our list of the 14 best free platform games for PC.

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Spelunky screenshot

Spelunky is a free action-adventure platform game that was released for PC in 2009. Players assume the role of a cave spelunker, winding their way through underground caverns, collecting treasures, encountering enemies, and rescuing damsels in distress. Starting the game with a whip, players can find a bunch of items to improve their stats, including ropes, bombs, guns, and artifacts.

Spelunky features 16 cave levels in 4 different areas. The freeware version of the game has been renamed to Spelunky Classic. A retail version called Spelunky HD was released in 2012, and includes a special bonus area not found in the free version.

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You Have to Win the Game

You Have To Win The Game screenshot

You Have to Win the Game is an exploration platformer available for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Players run and jump through the ruins of a lost world, avoiding enemies and traps as they search for treasure and ancient artifacts. Released in 2012, the game features an option to display the game in nostalgic four color CGA graphics with old-time PC speaker sounds, or you can go high-tech with beautiful 16 color EGA graphics. You Have to Win the Game is available for free through Steam or the developer's website.

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Super Mario 3: Mario Forever

Super Mario 3: Mario Forever screenshot

Super Mario 3: Mario Forever is a PC remake of the NES classic. There are dozens of Super Mario remakes out there, but this one is easily the best. Graphics and gameplay are top-notch and virtually identical to the original. The gameplay is excellent and reminiscent of the original. Even the storyline, as goofy as it may be, stays true to the classic NES game. If you're looking for more Mario fun then you'll want to give this one a try.

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Eternum screenshot

Eternum is a free plaformer game inspired by the arcade classic Ghosts 'n Goblins. There are two games in the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Goblins. Eternum is set after the events of those games. Sir Arthur is now old and sets out on one final quest into the underground world of Samarnath, searching for eternal youth. Eternum was released in 2015 and is a worthy tribute to the series with all the classic 16-bit graphics and gameplay that made the arcade games popular. It contains 25 levels, each with different challenges, enemies, and boss fights.

Eternum can be downloaded for free from the developer's website.

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Bio Menace

Bio Menace screenshot

Originally released in 1993, Bio Menace is a side-scrolling action game that puts you in the role of CIA agent, Snake Logan. Mutants have overrun Metro City and it's your job to find out where they've come from. The game features old EGA graphics that look great considering how old the game is. The controls are pretty basic but not tiresome, and they include support for PC gamepads.

With plenty of levels, power-ups, and over 30 different mutants to destroy, Bio Menace offers plenty of gameplay.

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N screenshot

N is a slick looking (and award-winning) side-scrolling platormer inspired by the 1983 classic Lode Runner. Released in 2005, N puts players in control of a ninja, exploring a number of levels, each with different platforms, springs, curved walls and obstacles. Players use to make their way through, collecting as much gold as possible.

The latest version (v2.0) includes 100 episodes, each with five levels. 50 of these levels are user-created, selected by the game's developer Metanet.

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The Desolate Hope

The Desolate Hope screenshot

The Desolate Hope is a free PC game that mixes a variety of gameplay styles and designs. Set in an unmanned station on an unknown planet, The Desolate Hope puts players in control of a coffee-making robot named Coffee. There are four huge computers know as Derelicts. It's Coffee's task to keep the Derelicts running smoothly.

The gameplay is a mix of four different styles, one for each Derelict simulation. There are also arcade-style sub-games, including an 8-bit overhead dungeon crawler mode. Each level is completed with a boss fight against a virus.

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The Expendabros

The Expendabros screenshot

The Expendabros is a crossover game featuring the gameplay of Broforce with characters from the movie The Expendables 3. It was released in 2014 as a free download. The game features ten missions, putting players in the role of one of seven soldiers from The Expendables. The main objective is to take down the notorious arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks. Each character is given a unique set of abilities that allows them to defeat a host of enemies and bosses. The game includes a single-player campaign mode that can be played in co-operative mode with up to four players.

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Super Mario XP

Super Mario XP screenshot

Super Mario XP is a fan-made freeware game based on the Super Mario series. Released in 2003, it combines elements of the original Super Mario with other element from Castlevania. You play as either Mario or Luigi, and are armed with hammers and boomerangs to fight your way through a bunch of unique levels and bosses. Super Mario XP is available for free download from a number of different sites.

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Stick Soldiers 1 and 2

Stick Soldiers 2 screenshot

Stick Soldiers is a series of free PC games with side-scrolling death-match-style gameplay. There are two games in the series, with players controlling a stick-drawn soldier as they blast their way around levels, firing a bunch of different weapons against other stick soldiers. The primary goal is to hit a specific number of kills. The first Stick Soldiers was a huge hit, and the sequel, Stick Soldiers 2, expands on the first with animated movement, more weaponry, and a full level editor for fan-made content.

Both games are available for free.

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Jetpack screenshot

Jetpack is a free platformer game that was released for PC in 1993. Players fly characters around using jetpacks, collecting green emeralds that are scattered around level. You need to collect all the emeralds to advance to the next level. While the goal sounds easy, the variety of obstacles and challenges standing in your way can prove quite challenging.

The game includes a number of power-ups and special abilities, like a phase shifter that allows you to pass through walls. Jetpacks will also run out of fuel so it's vital for players to collect fuel whenever possible. In addition to the basic single player mode, there is also a local multiplayer mode with support for up to eight players on the same PC.

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Happyland Adventures

Happyland Adventures screenshot

Happyland Adventures is a side-scrolling platformer game from the developers of Icy Tower. Players control a dog tasked with jumping over pits, collecting hearts and fruits, and recruiting companions to follow you. Released in 2000, the game resembles the Super Mario Bros. universe, and enjoys a devoted fanbase to this day. There are a number of third-party websites that offer the freeware version of Happyland Adventures.

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Icy Tower

Icy Tower screenshot

As a highly addictive arcade-style platformer, Icy Tower has a fairly simple objective: Jump from one floor to the next, accumulating points as you go. Bonus points are awarded when Harold the Homeboy skips one or more floors with a combo jump that include bouncing off the walls. The more consecutive combo jumps you perform, the more bonus points you're awarded. After you finish, you can upload your score to the fan site to compare with others.

Icy Tower was developed by game designer Johan Peitz back in 2001. It proved extremely popular and has since been downloaded millions of times. The game has also been enhanced to include a browser and mobile versions, as well as the sequels Icy Tower 2, Icy Tower 2: Zombie Jump, and Icy Tower 2: Temple Jump. These later versions include the same basic gameplay but also have in-app purchases and better graphics.

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Cave Story

Cave Story screenshot

Cave Story is a side-scrolling game released for the PC in 2004. Developed by Japanese developer Daisuke Amaya (aka Pixel), the game combines classic platform games like Metroid, Castlevania, and MegaMan. Players control a character with no memory as he attempts to escape a cave within a floating island.

Since its release, the game has been ported to the Nintendo Wii, DSi, 3DS, OSx and Linux operating systems. There was also an enhanced PC version released called Cave Story+, which is a commercial game available for purchase on Steam. This version contains all the game modes that were included in the WiiWare port. Cave Story 3D is a separate version released for Nintendo 3DS. The original free version of Cave Story is still available to download for free.

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