6. Ape Escape
Many of the great platformers have a collection mechanic at their core. Mario has to collect stars, Crash had crystals and gems, Sonic had a penchant for Chaos Emeralds and the best iteration of Spyro was geared around finding and completing challenges to acquire dragon eggs. Ape Escape took a similar approach, tasking players with the pursuit and capture of a host of rogue simians.
Notably the first game on the PlayStation to require use of the analogue sticks to play (it's easy to forget that there were controllers with only a D-pad for about half of the console’s lifespan), Ape Escape stood out in a crowded market for being immersive and humourous. Its variety of weird and wacky weapons was a precursor of sorts to Ratchet & Clank’s arsenal and its success gave Sony another exclusive property (alongside the aforementioned Lombax and robot combo) to utilise on the PS2 after Crash and Spyro both went multiplatform.
Whilst Ape Escape 3 and its wealth of collectibles wasn’t a failure, it has never been followed up outside of a host of spin-off games exclusive to Japan, where the franchise enjoyed a greater degree of popularity than in the West. The likes of Ape Academy 2, Ape Escape Racing and RPG title Ape Quest all paled in comparison to Mario’s equivalents, however, and the series has now sat dormant for over a decade.