Let's not beat around the pixelated bush: The games industry has a pro-Nintendo bias.
That's the only reason games like Breath of the Wild can get perfect scores, and why aggressively mediocre games like Kirby Star Allies have a 73% on Metacritic. Nintendo simply gets a pass despite being stuck in the past, rarely crafting exciting new IP.
The best possible example of said bias is the company's mascot, Mario. To be clear, almost all of the Super Mario games are great, they're just nowhere near as good as youre led to believe. In fact, there are many better platformers out there, and many on the Switch alone that are better than any of Mario's.
This isn't some lame attempt at a hot-take to ruffle feathers, it's simple fact based on pure gameplay experiences, as well as games that offer so much more as a whole package.
Mario is great, but once we take our Nintendo-coloured glasses off, we can see he's just another cog in the platforming genre wheel. So what games are better than our favourite plumber?
10. Ori And The Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest was Cuphead before Cuphead. Which is to say, it was the difficult indie darling that everyone loved and touted as one of Xbox's best titles.
And Ori remains a bright spot in the Xbox's library of exclusive titles. It's a challenging, MetroidVania-style platformer with a gorgeous art style and a story that will test the resolve of your tear ducts. Like any great MetroidVania, the world of Ori is designed to give you "aha" moments as you uncover new abilities, alongside how they can help you reach new areas.
And if the art style and world design wasn't enough, platforming itself is extremely solid; leaping across ridges, attacking enemies, and floating between thorny vines is tricky but not punishingly so. And perhaps best of all, the MetroidVania aspect of exploration ends up feeling like training for some incredible escape sections that really test your might.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a testament to combining excellent game design with gorgeous hand-drawn backdrops, music that makes your heart soar (and plummet), and a story that kicks you right in the gut. It all ties together in a package that is far more rewarding and exciting than any Mario.