A hop, a skip and a jump.
The platform game genre is one of the oldest there is. Mario and Sonic may have championed platform games back in the 90s, but the genre had been around way before they became household names.
Perhaps platform games aren’t quite as popular as they once were, having been around the block a few times, but that’s not to say the genre is going anywhere. The occasional title still does resonate with audiences, and now platform games come in all kinds of shapes and sizes: 2D, 3D – even 2.5D.
However many dimensions you prefer, we’ve rounded up the best platform games on PS4 right here. Take a gander at our list, and you might just find your next favourite platformer.
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1Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
While its predecessor Yooka-Laylee was a completely 3D platformer, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair takes things a little more old-school by having the majority of the game play out on a 2D plane. Its environments are still beautifully crafted in 3D, mind, and its hub world has you exploring in isometric 3D glory, but the 2D levels leave Impossible Lair feeling altogether more traditional.
Like its name may suggest, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is no cake walk. Its levels start off fairly easy, but there really is an impossible lair. And it really is quite impossible – or at least it starts out that way. You see, you can try to tackle said impossible lair at any time, but by completing other levels you’ll gain extra lives to take in with you. It’s a fun romp that’s reminiscent of 90s classics, but with an altogether adorable and modern veneer. It’s a must-play for anyone looking for a great platform game on PS4.
2Spyro Reignited Trilogy
If you like platform games, chances are you’ll already be very familiar with Spyro the Dragon. The purple fire-breather first saw life on the original PlayStation back in the 90s. But he’s had a complete facelift, and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy packs in the first three games in the series with beautifully redesigned graphics. Side-by-side with the original, it’s a marvel – but it’s also exactly how you remember it.
The three games included in Spyro Reignited Trilogy are Spyro The Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. If you’re not familiar with them, expect lots of collecting gems, defeating enemies and exploring gorgeous environments. And like any good platform game on PS4, there are plenty of secrets to uncover too. With three games in one, it offers excellent value for money.
3A Hat in Time
3D platformer A Hat in Time from developer Gears for Breakfast might not have had a major budget behind it, but that hasn’t stopped it from amassing quite the following. Set in a cute and imaginative world filled with colourful characters and plenty of surprises to interact with, A Hat in Time packs in just about everything you’d expect from a traditional 3D platform game. Puzzles to solve, secrets to find, innovate tools to use: you name it, A Hat in Time has it.
It tells a story of a young top hat-wearing girl, travelling through space and time. The worlds she visits are vastly varied, with a wide range of environments to explore and get lost in. It’s your job to find the Time Pieces, scattered throughout the universe, in order to allow her to continue her journey. If 3D platform games have a special place in your heart, you won’t find much better on PS4 than A Hat in Time.
It’s true that Tearaway Unfolded feels a bit like a tech demo designed to show off the functionality of the PS4’s DualShock controller. It’s one of only a handful of games that makes use of all of its features: you’ll be shaking it, using the touchpad and making use of its motion controls while making your way through this truly delightful platform game. And sure, those functions are a bit gimmicky now, but they certainly don’t take anything away from how charming Tearaway Unfolded really is.
A follow-up to 2013’s Vita exclusive Tearaway, Tearaway Unfolded is an adventure set completely in a papercraft land. Everything from the platforms you walk on to the characters themselves appear to be made out of paper and card. It’s truly adorable. Throw in some ingenious use of the PlayStation 4’s tech, some excellent puzzles and plenty of hidden collectibles. Its uniqueness alone makes this one of the best platform games on PS4.
Very few games look as stunning as Unravel Two. That’s not an overstatement; it’s hyper-realistic levels pop to life with incredible detail, beautiful lighting and, of course, two of the cutest protagonists you ever did see. A follow-on from the equally beautiful Unravel, Unravel Two is similar in tone, but this time Yarny has a friend along for the ride.
The adventure will have you traversing across dangerous environments, utilising your skills in order to cross large gaps and navigate impassable heights. Since your characters are made out of wool, you’ll be unravelling them in order to create temporary ropeways, or to lasso faraway objects into reach. It’s as inventive as it is gorgeous. Whether played in single-player or co-op, Unravel Two is undoubtedly one of the best platform games on PS4 to date.
It takes a really special type of indie game to take the world by storm, but Celeste managed to be just that. Upon its release in 2018, it was met with overwhelming praise from both the public and the press. And when you give it a go, it’s not hard to see why.
Following the journey of Madeline as she tries to overcome her inner demons, you’ll be accompanying her as she treks to the top of Celeste mountain. Her journey is never easy, and there’ll be numerous obstacles in her way – but Celeste‘s effortlessly charming pixelated artstyle and touching narrative means it’s easy to get invested. If you love 2D platform games with a retro slant, Celeste is absolutely worth your time.
This wouldn’t be a list of best platform games if Sonic didn’t appear on it at least once. While Sonic had a 3D outing in the form of Sonic Forces, it… well, it wasn’t very good. But Sonic Mania, a 2D entry to the series that wasn’t actually developed by SEGA, manages to capture all the delights of the classic Mega Drive/Genesis titles, but with a brand new twist. Seriously, if you’re a fan of Sonic, or of classic platform games in general, you can’t get much better than Sonic Mania on PS4.
Sonic Mania reimagines the zones and levels we all know and love from the original Sonic games but gives them surprising twists, and introduces new zones that feel as authentic as anything from the 90s would. And of course, getting in on the action with Sonic, Tails and that dastardly Dr. Robotnik is just as good as it ever has been. Without digging out your old Mega Drive console, there’s no better way to enjoy Sonic in the 21st century.
First released on last-generation consoles way back in 2013, Rayman Legends is getting a little long in the tooth now. But its age doesn’t show, and it certainly doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. In fact, playing Rayman Legends simply reminds us what a travesty it is that no new Rayman games have come to consoles or PC since. There are some great mobile titles, but they’re just not the same.
Rayman Legends‘ hand-drawn world is absolutely teeming with life. It’s a game where love and care show in every tiny asset, and that in itself makes it a joy to play. Rayman controls beautifully, and jumping from platform to enemy to swinging rope is delightful – but not quite as delightful as the occasional music levels the game features. Who knew jumping on the heads of your foes to the beat of a rock song would be so damn fun? Platforming on PS4 doesn’t get much better than this.
9Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Like Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot started life as a PS One classic. The N. Sane Trilogy combines the first three games in one package – Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot Warped – all with a new and shiny face lift. It means the games have never looked better, but play exactly as you remember them from your childhood.
That means they’re just as fiendish as they ever were, too; the Crash games have never been a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean we don’t still love them. That furry, crazy-eyed bandicoot will always have a place in our hearts, and the N. Sane Trilogy ensures these platform games remain as relevant as ever.
Like Celeste, Shovel Knight is another example of an indie game that’s captured the hearts and imaginations of legions of gamers. In fact, Shovel Knight himself has become quite the icon: he makes cameos in numerous games from Indivisible to Road Redemption and plenty more inbetween.
But as a game, Shovel Knight captures the pixelated magic of early platform games, albeit with a shovelly twist. Forget regular swords; Shovel Knight wields the Shovel Blade, the ultimate weapon for stopping his foes. And with it, there’s no stopping him as he traverses numerous worlds and takes down legions of enemies. With pixel-perfect platforming, retro music and visuals to die for and a wealth of wonderful characters, it’s not hard to see why Shovel Knight makes for one of the best platform games on PS4.