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All Of The Prince Of Persia Games, Ranked

Highlights

  • Prince of Persia is an iconic but inconsistent platformer franchise that has had its ups and downs throughout its three-decade history.
  • Some low points in the franchise include Battles of Prince of Persia, Prince of Persia 3D, and the Wii version of The Forgotten Sands.
  • The most highly regarded entries in the series include Prince of Persia (1989), The Sands of Time, and Warrior Within, each offering unique gameplay experiences and contributing to the franchise’s success.

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Debuting in 1989, Prince of Persia tends to show up every decade or so to remind everyone why it is one of the greatest but also most inconsistent platformer franchises of all time. Whether during the ’90s or 2000s, this iconic series has a habit of squandering its momentum; however, when Prince of Persia is at its best, few properties come close to matching it.

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Currently owned by Ubisoft, Prince of Persia had been on the bench since 2010 until the series came back in a big way with The Lost Crown. With games spanning three decades, Prince of Persia has gone through plenty of highs and lows. Which title ranks as its best?

Disclaimer: Remakes, ports, and mobile games will not be included. There is an exception made for certain handheld versions because of how different they play. It was an especially important distinction at the time, especially for those who only gamed on handheld platforms.

Updated On February 6, 2024, by Jason Wojnar: It is hard to believe any old series will be gone forever, but people were worried about Prince of Persia for a while. More than a decade passed between The Forgotten Sands in 2010 and The Lost Crown in 2024. With the series’ resurgence as a Metroidvania taking the best parts of the debut entry and infusing them with modern sensibilities, we thought it a good time to revisit this list and see where the Lost Crown places among the other entries in the series.

14 Battles Of Prince Of Persia

Metacritic Score: 64

Battles of Prince of Persia

  • Release: December 6, 2005
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS

Set between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within, Battles of Prince of Persia substitutes the license’s trademark platforming for grid-based combat and a whole lot of cards. Ubisoft Montreal deserves credit for trying something new with the series, but Battles of Prince of Persia’s novelty wears off rather quickly.

The Nintendo DS has its fair share of respectable strategy games, many of which make Battles of Prince of Persia’s uninspired presentation and obtuse card system, which is crucial to the gameplay but irrelevant to the story, seem pedestrian.

13 The Forgotten Sands (Nintendo DS)

Metacritic Score: 57

The Forgotten Sands DS

  • Release: May 2010
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

In a confusing move, Ubisoft created four different versions of The Forgotten Sands. While the iterations found on home consoles and PC are decent, the same cannot be said about the one released on the Nintendo DS.

A 2D side-scroller with forgettable levels and visuals that leave a lot to be desired, the DS’s Forgotten Sands caters to its system’s gimmicks by revolving its controls entirely around the stylus. The game suffers because of it.

12 Prince Of Persia 3D

No Metacritic Score Available

Prince of Persia 3D

  • Release: September 17, 1999
  • Developer: Mindscape
  • Platforms: PC, Dreamcast

In 1999, Prince of Persia took its first stab at a 3D adventure and, for the most part, missed. Even if comparisons to the franchise’s later adventures are ignored, Prince of Persia 3D still falls short when measured alongside other games released during this era.

To the game’s credit, its environments are lavish and nice; unfortunately, the gameplay is frustrating even by 1999 standards. For a series renowned for its tight controls and fluid movement, Prince of Persia 3D is stiff and clunky. The Dreamcast port is better than the PC version, but not by much.

11 The Forgotten Sands (PSP)

Metacritic Score: 65

Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands (PSP) gameplay

  • Release Date: May 2010
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PSP

Striking a middle ground between the home console and DS versions, the PSP’s Forgotten Sands is a 2.5D platformer. The game tries to blend the 3D console experience with a side-scroller, an exercise that produces some positive results but is not wholly satisfying.

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Ultimately, the PSP version is playable but forgettable, be it as a Prince of Persia title or a platformer on Sony’s handheld system.

10 The Fallen King

Metacritic Score: 64

Prince of Persia The Fallen King

  • Release: September 2, 2008
  • Developer: Ubisoft Casablanca
  • Platforms: Nintendo DS

Launched concurrently with 2008’s Prince of Persia reboot, The Fallen King is a serviceable handheld platformer held back by its stylus-centric controls. Results may vary regarding the spin-off’s redesigns of the characters, but the same cannot be said about the impressive backdrops. The Fallen King is a beautiful game that makes good use of the Nintendo DS’s hardware.

Unfortunately, the controls hinder rather than elevate the experience. That said, The Fallen King is at least better than the DS’s Forgotten Sands.

9 The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

Metacritic Score: 77

Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands wii

  • Release: May 2010
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Platform: Wii

Despite sharing the same name, the Wii version of The Forgotten Sands is a different game from the one found on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Although not quite as visually pleasing as the other version, the Wii’s Forgotten Sands takes full advantage of the system’s motion controls and stands out because of it.

The Forgotten Sands is generally a solid game on any home console, even if it never quite manages to be anything more.

8 The Forgotten Sands (Home Console And PC Version)

Metacritic Score: 75

Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands

  • Release: May 2010
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

After Prince of Persia’s attempt at a reboot in 2008 did not quite land, Ubisoft tried to steady the ship by bringing back The Sands of Time’s protagonist and aesthetic. Out of all the different versions stamped with The Forgotten Sands title, the one released on PC, the PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 is the best.

The Forgotten Sands is a mechanically sound game that delivers an archetypal modern Prince of Persia experience, albeit one with a bit too much combat for its own good. It also feels like a reactionary title rather than an organic progression for the franchise.

7 The Two Thrones

Metacritic Score: 85

Prince of Persia The Two Thrones fighting an enemy.

  • Release: December 1, 2005
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, PC, Mobile Phones

The Sands of Time trilogy originally came to a close with its safest entry. While Warrior Within’s aggressive tone, bloody combat, and anachronistic music demanded attention, The Two Thrones opted to just deliver a breezy adventure filled with solid platforming and beautiful environments.

The Two Thrones is the most refined entry in the Prince’s trilogy and does almost nothing wrong. However, it lacks a bit of personality compared to both of its predecessors and successor.

6 Prince Of Persia (2008)

Metacritic: 81

Prince Of Persia (2008) image of the prince traversing the land

  • Release: December 2, 2008
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

After a string of (mostly) successful entries, Prince of Persia hit the reset button with a game that was well-received by critics but divided fans. 2008’s reboot introduces a new protagonist and frames his story around Elika, a secondary character who brings out the best in the game’s hero.

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Prince of Persia’s art style is vibrant and timeless; visually, this entry has aged better than any other. Things get a little dicier when it comes to the gameplay, as Prince of Persia is unwilling to offer up anything resembling a challenge. Despite functioning well, the platforming and combat sections lack much in the way of tension or excitement.

5 Prince Of Persia (1989)

Metacritic Score Unavailable

Prince Of Persia (1989)

  • Release: October 3, 1989
  • Developer: Broderbund
  • Platforms: Apple II

When it comes to the most influential platformers ever, the original Prince of Persia is almost up there with Nintendo’s top-tier titles and Sonic the Hedgehog. Created by Jordan Mechner, Prince of Persia’s realistic (for the time) visuals and smooth animations instantly set it aside from the likes of Super Mario.

A difficult game that rarely feels unfair, Prince of Persia has aged better than most of its contemporaries. As newcomers might be put off from trying this masterpiece due to its age, 2007’s Prince of Persia Classic does a respectable job of modernizing the 1989 title.

4 Warrior Within

Metacritic Score: 83

Prince of Persia Warrior Within prince fighting warriors

  • Release: November 30, 2004
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, PSP, Mobile

After The Sands of Time, nobody expected Warrior Within. Somewhat aping the trajectory of the original 2D games, Warrior Within ramps up the combat while still retaining the creative platforming sections that define the franchise.

The Prince’s movement has seldom felt more responsive than it does in Warrior Within; furthermore, the sequel’s combat system is the most complex and satisfying in the series. As the Prince can now pick up a second weapon from enemies, battles are a constantly evolving dance and match the free-flowing nature of the platforming. Warrior Within is let down by its disappointing story, unlikeable characters, and faux adult tone.

3 The Shadow And The Flame

Metacritic Score: Unavailable

Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame

  • Release: May 1993
  • Developer: Broderbund
  • Platforms: Apple II, SNES

A sequel to the original Prince of Persia, The Shadow and the Flame takes almost everything done by its predecessor and makes it better. Once again, the goal is to complete the levels within a strict timeframe while running through excellent areas littered with enemies and traps.

The Shadow and the Flame is even less forgiving than 1989’s Prince of Persia, and it can sometimes be a touch overwhelming. However, that is a small criticism in the grand scheme of things.

2 The Sands Of Time

Metacritic Score: 92

Prince of Persia The Sands Of Time using powers

  • November 11, 2003
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, Game Boy Advance

The Sands of Time put Prince of Persia back on the map following a long dry spell. Published by Ubisoft, 2003’s reboot is a perfectly paced adventure overflowing with innovation and personality. The combat takes some getting used to and would be improved upon in its sequels, but The Sands of Time’s setting and parkour are untouchable.

The Sands of Time came out at the perfect time and demonstrated that Prince of Persia had a place in modern gaming. It might be hard to believe by now, its contemporaries did not have movement that felt this good and smooth. It would take a few years for games like Tomb Raider: Legend and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune to have similar traversal mechanics.

It’s not easy to get your hands on this game and its two sequels. There is an HD collection on PS3, but it’s impossible to play on modern consoles at the moment.

1 Prince Of Persia: The Lost Crown

Gravity Wings Time Power in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Released
January 18, 2024

Developer(s)
Ubisoft Montpellier

Few expected the series to come back as a Metroidvania, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, the series started as a 2D puzzle game that forced players to become familiar with the map and deal with some intense challenges. The Lost Crown brings back some of the old conventions of the series while also feeling incredibly rewarding.

There is a surprising focus on platforming. It makes sense since it comes from Ubisoft Montpellier, the same developer who gave us Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, two of the best modern 2D platformers.

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