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Platform Picks: The Very Best Platformers On Antstream Arcade

Since the 1980 arcade game Space Panic, platform games have proved popular with gamers. Cemented with classics such as Miner 2049er, Donkey Kong and Mario Bros., the genre continues to entertain to this day. Join us as we celebrate platformer games with some of the brilliant retro platform games available to play, for free, on Antstream Arcade.

This 1983 legend from teenage coder Matthew Smith is one of our most famous platform games on Antstream Arcade – if not THE most famous! When Miner Willy discovers a mysterious, long-forgotten mine shaft, it prompts a bizarre adventure that will encompass strange robotic creatures, lethal caverns and a valuable cache of treasure that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. For many gamers, Manic Miner is the pinnacle of not just platform games but retro gaming in general.

Did You Know?

Liverpool software house Bug Byte originally published Manic Miner. However, when creator Matthew Smith left to help form Software Projects, he exploited a loophole in his freelance contract and was able to re-publish the game with his new company.

Let’s move into the Nineties for our next elite retro platformer on Antstream Arcade, the Bitmap Brothers’ Gods. Four guardians have invaded the home of the Gods. Step forward a brave hero who asks for just one thing in return for defeating the trespassers – ascension to a heavenly status alongside the other Gods! Gods is another true platform marvel on Antstream Arcade with detailed graphics, brilliant music, and challenging gameplay.

Did You Know?

Gods’ cover was painted by famed comic artist Simon Bisley. Bisley rose to fame creating the art for the 2000AD characters Slaine and Judge Dredd. You can check out his work at his official fansite,

We jet back to the Eighties with this Commodore 64 game from English Software. Musical notes are escaping throughout the record-pressing plant – guide the jet-powered Jack through each hazardous screen of the factory, ducking under low ceilings, dodging enemies and disabling laser beams. But don’t be fooled by Jet-Boot Jack’s unsophisticated gameplay – this is one tricky and thought-provoking platform game!

Did You Know?

Jet-Boot Jack originated on the Atari 8-bit family of computers. It became English Software’s first major hit outside of Atari, eventually spawning a Commodore 64-only sequel, Legend Of The Knucker-Hole – also available on Antstream Arcade.

It’s homebrew time! This smooth and playable platformer for the MSX computer has been around for a while (2016), and we’re proud to be hosting it on Antstream Arcade. Unfortunately, Earth has lost contact with its colony on Mars. As a lone soldier sent to investigate, you’ll soon encounter alien creatures hell-bent on your eradication. Life On Mars is an atmospheric and fun game for fans of the genre, featuring screen after screen of sci-fi platform action.

Did You Know?

Life On Mars was one of the first games from Spanish homebrew developers Kai Magazine Software. Its latest game, the Sega Mega Drive arcade shooter Metal Dragon, is also available on Antstream Arcade.

Zool is the fast and madcap ninja of the Nth dimension, forced to crash land on Earth and zip across seven lands to escape. With collectables, mini-games, and a furious pace that evokes the spirit of Sonic The Hedgehog, Zool and its sequel are two of the fastest platformers you’ll ever play, and both are waiting for you on Antstream Arcade!

Did You Know?

Creator George Allan based Zool’s dextrous climbing and jumping abilities on one of his favourite arcade games, Capcom’s Strider.

Next is another brace of fun nineties platform gaming. Released by French publisher Titus in 1991 and 1993, both the Prehistorik games star a cute caveman out to club dinosaurs and grab something to keep his family fed. For zany and uncomplicated Jurassic hijinks, you can’t go far wrong with Prehistorik and Prehistorik 2.

Did You Know?

The early-mid nineties was a good time for fans of caveman-related videogames: we also got Core Design’s Chuck Rock (and a sequel, Chuck Rock II: Son Of Chuck) and the arcade game Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, which – again! – received a sequel, Joe & Mac Returns.

Lee is a martial arts hero, determined to best a devious wizard who guards the secret of infinite wealth and immortality. In each chamber, Lee faces off against the Sumo warrior Green Yamo and The Ninja, a deadly combatant armed with a sturdy stick. This mystical eastern platform romp also has countless traps and deadly falls – tread carefully grasshopper!

Did You Know?

In contrast to most platformers (especially during the 8-bit era), Lee’s gameplay is notably more accessible than its peers. It has also spawned two unofficial homebrew sequels.

Time for an annelid-related adventure with that cute and crazy hero Earthworm Jim. Jim’s on a quest to rescue the lovely Princess What’s-her-name from the clutches of the evil Psy-Crow. Thanks to his super space cyber suit and blaster, he might just succeed in this frantic and highly amusing platform game from Interplay.

Did You Know?

Earthworm Jim contains possibly the most extended joke in videogame history. Early in the first stage, New Junk City, Jim springs a trap and launches a poor innocent cow into the atmosphere. It’s seen in the background of various later levels before a dramatic re-appearance at the game’s conclusion.

Taito’s Bubble Bobble is our penultimate champion platform game. Released in 1986, this delightful arcade game has consistently charmed gamers since, as they become Bub and Bob, a pair of brothers transformed into adorable dragons by the mischievous Baron Von Blubba. There are platforms galore within Bubble Bobble’s century of levels, and each one contains Von Blubba’s minions. Can you defeat them all and rescue your girlfriends?

Did You Know?

In a 1988 interview, Bubble Bobble’s designer (the late Fukio Mitsuji) revealed that his first idea was to create a game that girls and women would also like. After sketching over a hundred concepts, he settled on the subject of bubbles. The idea of dragons came later: Bub and Bob were initially robots with spikes on their heads!

Finally, we have this marvellous homebrew homage to the 8-bit platform games of the Eighties. Written for the Amstrad by YB Soft, AKA Yellow Belly, Bug’s Quest For Tapes is a fun and comical take on the genre. Across a series of increasingly-devious screens, Bug must collect the tapes before heading for the exit. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but there’s a great tune to keep you going.

Did You Know?

Watch out for many retro references during Bug’s quest, including joysticks, Ewoks, Dizzy the egg and a demented Commodore logo.

These are just some of the retro platform greats available to stream, for free, on Antstream Arcade. Not enough platforming action for you? Then we heartily recommend you try these: Dizzy, Elevator Action, Blue’s Journey, Sir Lancelot, Nebulus and Monty On The Run.

To discuss all these games and more, head over to the Antstream Arcade Discord server:


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