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Best Side-Scroller Games on PC

These are our picks for the best side-scroller games on PC. The genre was popular back in the day, and these modern games prove the genre is still alive. The appeal of side-scrollers can’t be found in any other genre. It’s a simple yet very effective type of game that keeps the player glued to the screen. After getting used to the controls and going with the flow, these games become really addictive.

I’ll focus on including modern titles that are available on PC on this list. It’s in no particular order.

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Best Side-Scroller Games on PC

Blasphemous is a game that I really wanted to talk about on this list. It was a surprise hit and I was honestly surprised by the depth of its lore and the quaint nature of its story. It seems to draw inspiration from gothic literature works like The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis. The art style is pixelated but it doesn’t stop the game from being very unsettling at times. The combat system is well-made and satisfying. It’s simple yet difficult; the game is a Soulslike, after all. There are multiple endings and the game world is also very well-made. The soundtrack also deserves a mention here. It’s part of why the game is so good. A sequel to Blasphemous will release in 2023.


Best Side-Scroller Games on PC

This must be a very obvious pick for this list. Cuphead is an insanely popular side-scroller game that’s known for its unforgiving difficulty. The art style of the game is one of the best parts of the game. It resembles the cartoony look of old cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Mickey Mouse. There are a lot of boss fights throughout the game and each of them is quite difficult to overcome, but the combat is fun and engaging.

Ori and the Blind Forest / Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Best Side-Scroller Games on PC

The Ori games are quite possibly the most beautiful games on this list. Its art style is best described as magical. The smooth-looking and detailed textures and the color palette really suit the game’s premise and each mission is so memorable. Also, the story of the games is very beautiful, just like the visuals. There are many people that consider these games to be masterpieces, and that should clue you in on how great these games are.


Limbo is a dark and unsettling horror game that doesn’t take time to explain things. You just go with the game and in the end, you realize that there was a twisted story. There is a lot of puzzle-solving in the game and combat is nonexistent. As you can see from the picture above, the game’s appearance is gloomy and it’s black and white at all times. The ending and the event that take place in the game are all up for interpretation, and that’s part of why it’s so good.


Inside is something of a spiritual successor to Limbo, and there are theories that both games are set in the same universe. Like Limbo, this game is also twisted and really disturbing at times. There aren’t jumpscares or conventional methods of scaring the player. Instead, it’s unnerving and bizarre and hard to explain. There is no combat and the gameplay focuses on traversal and puzzle-solving. This is a game I highly recommend to anyone, gamer or non-gamer. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.


Deadlight is a flawed game, but it looked great for its time and the story is just wonderful. I didn’t expect a story this good from an underappreciated and often criticized zombie platformer. The Player’s attention to detail and understanding of the character is rewarding in Deadlight’s case. Collectables are optional but they play a major part in the story. There are odd and bizarre things all throughout the game and the ending is just mind-blowing.

Hollow Knight

This action-focused Soulslike platformer is one of the most beloved ones in the genre. Almost every player who experienced this gem holds it in such a high place. Its atmosphere and world-building are often praised as parts of the game that make it so special. And its unique art style also deserves a mention here; it’s cartoony and somewhat dark but still so beautiful.

My Friend Pedro

This side-scroller action shooter is reminiscent of the John Wick movies and the Max Payne games. The music hypes the player up and matches the chaotic and destructive combat of the game. The aforementioned combat system is what drew me to the game at first, but as I progressed through the story, I understood that the game is also superb in terms of storytelling. It’s quite replayable thanks to its addictive combat system, too.

Rayman Origins

A list like this would be incomplete without a mention of Rayman Origins. After a foray into 3D platforming, Ubisoft returned the Rayman franchise to its 2D side-scroller roots with Rayman Origins. The game is simply beautiful and plays very well too.

What do you think are the best side-scroller games on PC? Let us know on the forums!