If you were a fan of the classic PlayStation 2 title Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, then you were no doubt excited for the 2021 remake that was supposed to be coming out this year—but unfortunately, that remake was delayed indefinitely. But no need to fret, as there are plenty of games out there that can help fill the void.
What makes a game similar to Sands of Time? At its core, the original was a 3D puzzle-platformer with a focus on time manipulation and parkour mechanics. Those are the main elements we’ll be looking for, and while you won’t find anything that perfectly matches Sands of Time’s tone and gameplay, there are plenty that strikes similar beats.
Note: A few games on this list were originally released during the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 era. While modern Xbox systems support a lot of 360 games, the same can’t be said for either the PlayStation 4 or 5 when it comes to PlayStation 3 games. Due to this, we won’t be mentioning PlayStation 3 releases of games unless they are also available on modern PlayStation consoles.
Assassin’s Creed (PC/Xbox)
When it comes to games that call Sands of Time to mind, the original Assassin’s Creed is one of the closest. While the series has gone on to see and do a lot, the first game, released in 2007, focuses more on the aspects of the series which harken back to Prince of Persia—makes sense since it started life as a spin-off to those games. The simple parkour mechanics, combat, and world design will all feel familiar to fans of the Prince of Persia series, while still delivering on some unique mechanics like the large open-world and assassination missions.
Of course, this isn’t where the Assassin’s Creed series ends—far from it. There are 12 other mainline entries in the series that visit different time periods. Such as the swashbuckling pirate adventure in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag or the most recent release, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which takes place in the era of Vikings. They’re all good supplements for Prince of Persia, though none quite as true as the original.
Titanfall 2 (PC/Xbox/PS)
While there may not have been any guns or futuristic technology in Prince of Persia, Titanfall 2 has always been heavily praised for its great movement and parkour mechanics. This is the most agile you’ll ever feel in a first-person-shooter, and because of that devotion to movement, we felt it was a fitting blend of the parkour roots of Sands of Time and modern FPS games. The story even includes some time travel elements for good measure, even if it doesn’t affect gameplay that much.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PC/Xbox/PS)
The Tomb Raider series feels like it’s cut from the same cloth as the original Prince of Persia games, as both are action-adventure games with platforming and puzzle-solving elements. And the most recent entry in the Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, keeps that idea alive. In this game, Lara Croft must explore the legendary city of Paititi to solve the mystery of the Dagger of Chak Chel. It’s a grand adventure full of exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat which is right in line with what made Sands of Time so great.
Mirror’s Edge (PC/Xbox/PS)
When it comes to parkour games, there’s hardly one more well-known or well-regarded as Mirror’s Edge. This minimalist masterpiece gives you a freeing movement system to navigate the game’s expertly designed stages. Mirror’s Edge rewards mastery of its mechanics as there’s always room for improvement on your times in each stage, leading to a very active speedrunning scene if you’re into that. But even if you only want to run through the game once and be done with it, you’ll still have a great time learning the mechanics and enjoying the story.
SUPERHOT is one of the most unique FPS games you’ll ever play, and it’s all thanks to a shared gameplay mechanic with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time—time manipulation. Because in SUPERHOT, time only moves when you do; whether you’re walking across the room or dodging an attack, time will suddenly speed up from its normally frozen state. This allows you to string actions together unlike any other game. You can punch an enemy, steal its gun, and then shoot its friend all while feeling like the coolest person alive, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg—there is a lot going on in SUPERHOT.
SUPERHOT is available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and the Nintendo Switch. There’s also the fantastic VR version of SUPERHOT available and SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE, which delivers on even more of the same great gameplay as the original.
Sunset Overdrive (PC/Xbox)
In this colorful and bombastic third-person shooter, you’re expected to make full use of the free movement it grants to rack up combos, navigate the map, and, y’know, not die. Sunset Overdrive is one of the most unique games you’ll ever play, but underneath all that style lies some similar parkour mechanics to Sands of Time. If you love action-packed games but want a touch of simple parkour to enhance the experience, Sunset Overdrive is a great blend that is sure to deliver on a lot of fun.
Turning over to a completely different genre, Timespinner is a 2D, pixelated Metroidvania (a genre of games based around exploration and using various abilities to unlock new parts of the map) which, as you might guess from the name, grants you control over time.
Whether it’s for exploration, combat, or puzzle solving, time manipulation is a core element of it all, making this game feel like an unofficial 2D spin-off of Sands of Time—although, it has plenty of unique ideas on display as well. If you’re a fan of Metroidvanias or sidescrollers in general, Timespinner is the game on this list for you.
Hot Lava (PC)
If your favorite part of Sands of Time is the platforming mechanics and you just want more of that, Hot Lava is happy to deliver. This game is chock-full of excellent levels that test your understanding of the game’s movement system all wrapped up in a great visual style. And even if you manage to burn through all the content in the game, the support for community-made stages is fantastic and will keep you playing for many more hours.
Dying Light (PC/Xbox/PS)
Dying Light is yet another first-person parkour game, and while the parkour mechanics feel fantastic to use as you navigate the game’s post-apocalyptic world, there’s much more than a desire for a better time keeping you going—because Dying Light introduces survival mechanics into the equation. What does this mean? That there are hordes of zombies chasing you down as you navigate the map and that you need to scavenge materials to craft weapons. This gives you plenty to keep track of and think about while also ensuring that you’re going to get good at the game’s parkour—because if not, you die, simple as that.
Dying Light is available on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5. There was also supposed to be a sequel coming out last year, but it also got delayed and we haven’t received a new release window yet.
Time manipulation has great potential when it comes to puzzle-solving, and Timelie aims to act on that potential. This top-down puzzler blends elements of stealth and strategy into the mix to create a thoroughly unique experience. Plan out your moves with the foresight time travel brings so you can be sure you finish each stage without a scratch. You even have a cat companion whose integral to many of the puzzles—what’s not to love?
Braid is one of the most iconic indie games of all time, but more importantly for this list, it is one of the best examples of time manipulation in video games. This sidescroller sees you constantly adjust the flow of time for platforming, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles to reach the end of each stage. The visuals are unique, the music is fantastic, and the game is oozing with creative level design.
Braid was originally released for PC, the Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and it can be played on modern Xbox systems. However, sometime this year a remastered version of Braid titled Braid, Anniversary Edition will be released with improved visuals on PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.