The 5 best climbing games ever

Because nothing quite beats dodging a fireball with a well-timed ladder grab…

Every person has, at some point in their life, looked at a tall thing and thought, "I wonder if I could climb that." Swiftly followed by a visit to A&E.

Not to worry, though; these games let you scale the heights in complete safety, blessed with the superhuman athletic prowess that only a games console can provide.

5. Shadow of the Colossus (2006)

Sony's eerie, affecting adventure is a true original, quite unlike many other games out there. You're a humble little man, wandering alone and confused for ages until you happen across an enormous and seriously colossal monster. Which you then climb up and attempt to kill with a sword. The colossi are landscapes in themselves, lumbering behemoths that you have to scrabble across, antlike – and while the mechanics are simple and the plot stripped back to bare essentials, it delivers a killer twist later in the game.

4. Prince of Persia (1989)

Introduced sword fighting to the world of the platform game, with the player navigating those spiky death pit things and pulling off difficult leaps of faith – only to get run through with a sword on the other side should you survive. The game was notable for its fluid animation style; creator Jordan Mechner used a technique called rotoscoping, tracing video frames of his brother leaping about to create his sprite animations.

More after the break...

3. Tomb Raider (1995)

Before it became more about shooting and pressing buttons quickly, there was actual adventuring in Tomb Raider. It was an exploration puzzler, involving jumping, climbing, hanging off things and general Triple-A athleticism. As well as gracing the world with Lara Croft, the First Lady of video games, Tomb Raider's cinematic action would inspire later 3D platform puzzlers like Uncharted.

2. Assassin's Creed II (2009)

Every entry in Ubisoft's stab-'em-up series has you scrambling over rooftops and up trees – but Assassin's Creed II really made the most of the extra dimension opened up by its free-running hero. As Ezio Auditore, you could fling yourself gaily across the skyline of the Renaissance Italian city-states, like Batman with an even more swish cape. Assassin's Creed III, with its boring forests, wasn't quite the same.

 

1. Donkey Kong (1980)

Nintendo's Jurassic-era gaming smash marked the first time its platforming challenge play would captivate the world. You had to scale a single screen's worth of traps and platforms, in pursuit of a big monkey and your lady love – only for the ape to climb to the next screen when you made it to the top. It was all about timing, precision, precise timing and being very… accurate. And precise. 

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