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The Best Platformers For PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 has a huge library full of games for players of any kind. Yet, the one genre to consistently make its way to both hardcore and casual users is the platformer. With simple controls, but brutal difficulty, the platformer is a mainstay in every era of gaming, and the current generation is no different.

With indie developers creating new experiences and AAA studios trying to catch up, the PlayStation 4 has become a haven for any kind of run and jump style game, and we compiled a list of the best on the system.

Updated July 4 2022, by Peter Voight: As the PlayStation 4 is put out to pasture by its newer, prettier sibling, the PlayStation 5, it’s important to take a look back on the incredible offerings the former gave us. As we continue to experience a renaissance for platformers both 2D and 3D, the PS4 is a fantastic place to broaden your horizons. Remasters of old classics, fresh takes on timeless formulas, or entirely new concepts altogether came together on the console to offer quite the suite of platformers. With many games on this list recently getting sequels, prequels, or spin-offs, there’s no better time to check them out. You might just find the next classic game that everyone will rave about for decades to come!

11 Hollow Knight

Developer: Team Cherry

Publisher: Team Cherry

Release Year: 2017

Released in 2017, Hollow Knight represents modern platforming as well as any other game on the PS4. As you navigate the world of Hallownest as the adorable bug-like Knight, you’ll meet friendly NPCs that expand the game’s rich lore and help you on your quest to cure Hallownest of its deadly disease, The Infection. Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania, meaning you will upgrade your sword and gain new abilities to help you overcome obstacles you’ve previously encountered.

There is a LOT of depth here and platforming fans can expect to spend hours finding new paths and load-outs by way of the game’s charm system, which gives Knight effects such as faster movement or more health. Your patience will be tested but once you’re finished, you can join the legions of fans looking forward to the much-anticipated sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong.

10 Shovel Knight

Developer: Yacht Club Games

Publisher: Yacht Club Games

Release Year: 2014

Shovel Knight is nothing short of a sensation. First released in 2014 on PC, Wii U, and 3DS, the side-scrolling platformer struck a chord thanks to its NES-era-inspired graphics and gameplay. Plenty of DLC and spin-off games have only increased fervor for the title. While relics can be purchased to give the titular character new abilities and weapon types, your main form of combat is with, well, a shovel.

Thrusting down upon enemies and bosses throughout the game world never gets old due to a satisfying upgrade system for both the weapon and your armor. Plus, fans of God of War will be ecstatic to learn that Kratos appears as a boss in the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions of the game.

9 Dead Cells

Developer: Motion Twin

Publisher: Motion Twin

Release Year: 2018

One of the finest platformers on PS4, and any console it comes to, is Dead Cells. Rogue-likes and rogue-lites have taken over the gaming landscape in recent years, thanks to incredible ambassadors for the genre like Dead Cells. The platformer is known for its challenge, as you take the role of Prisoner on a quest to escape an island and slay its King. Simple enough! But Dead Cells’ depth shines through in its gorgeous, procedurally generated levels and punishing permadeath system.

Taking inspiration from Dark Souls, death in Dead Cells is always a lesson. Provided you don’t lose all your collected cells upon dying, they can be used to buy new weapons and permanent items. You’ll do your fair share of exploring as you find new ways to traverse the world and mutations, which gives the Prisoner special temporary bonuses and abilities.

8 Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New N’ Tasty

Developer: Just Add Water

Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants

Release Year: 2014

Alright kids, listen up. Back when the PlayStation was making a name for itself, one 2D platformer stood above the rest – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Years later, the entire franchise fell into obscurity, but the power of nostalgia has brought this game back with a whole new paint job.

If you missed out on the game the first time, you now have the chance to experience a truly amazing platformer based in a one of a kind world with some memorable characters in an unusually dark story. Don’t pass this up.

7 Ratchet & Clank

Developer: Insomniac Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Year: 2016

The Ratchet & Clank series was huge on the PlayStation 2 back in the early 2000s. Then, during the PlayStation 3 era, it took a bit of a back seat with the Future Saga between 2006 and 2013 without Insomniac Games’ hand in development.

Yet, with a movie on the horizon, Sony decided it was time to bring the original developers back to reimagine the first entry in the series and the result was great, with updated graphics and a few other changes. While the movie was pretty forgettable, the game is worth a playthrough!

6 Yooka-Laylee

Developer: Playtonic Games

Publisher: Team 17

Release Year: 2017

For anyone missing some good old-fashioned N64 era platforming, Yooka-Laylee should be right up your alley. Developed by former Rare employees, the game shares a lot of similarities to the Banjo Kazooie franchise we all know and love.

Swapping out a bear with a chameleon and a bird with a bat, gamers have the chance to get their hands on what is the spiritual successor to Rare’s famous series. Oh, and they brought in David Wise (known for his musical work on the Donkey Kong Country franchise) to make the soundtrack here. Go play it now!

5 Tearaway: Unfolded

Developer: Media Molecule, Tarsier Studios

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Release Year: 2015

Reimagining the original title on the PlayStation Vita, Tearaway: Unfolded is a stylish platformer where you play as Iota or Atoi as they carry a message to a strange portal that opened up in the sky that actually features the player, or “The You”. Along the way, they run into some dangerous enemies looking to harm their paper world.

While you can make an argument that the game was better on Sony’s handheld console, we think it’s almost always better to play games on a bigger screen and from a visual standpoint alone, players won’t be disappointed.

4 Mega Man 11

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Release Year: 2018

Offering up a good old-fashioned challenge, Mega Man 11offers some truly amazing visuals, rewarding gameplay, and a lot of replayability as players face off against eight new robot masters on the way to defeating Dr. Wily.

While that sounds like familiar ground for many gamers, it’s hardly that with the addition of the Double Gear system that allows players to slow down time and offer up more powerful attacks. This should be a must-have in any platforming fans’ library.

3 Sonic Mania

Developer: PagodaWest Games, Headcannon

Publisher: Sega

Release Year: 2017

Remixing the best 2D levels in the franchise while adding some truly amazing new ones, this love letter to the blue blur's Genesis days is almost a perfect experience.

The base game itself is enough to scratch that platforming itch with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, but for an extra cost, fans can purchase the DLC to get Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. We won’t tell you what to do with your money, but that extra bit of money is well worth the price. If you decide to pass on that, however, there are still hours of fun packed in those 16-bit walls.

2 Little Big Planet 3

Developer: Sumo Digital

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Year: 2014

While this isn’t technically the best-received game on this list, we’re ranking it pretty high for two reasons. The first is that it’s a console exclusive and a fully new experience on the PlayStation 4. The second reason that it features user-friendly concepts.

If you’ve played any of the past games in the Little Big Planet series, you’ll be pleased to know that all of your DLC from those titles are backward compatible with this game. Not only that, but there’s a pretty vibrant online community making new content consistently, meaning players can jump back anytime and find something new. Mix that together with the new characters in the game and you have yourself a winner.

1 Celeste

Developer: Matt Makes Games

Publisher: Matt Makes Games

Release Year: 2018

Celeste might not just be the best platformer in the PlayStation 4 library, it may be the best game of 2018. You take control of Madeline, a woman who, against her elder’s wishes climbs up the dangerous Celeste Mountain. While the plot sounds pretty simple, the result is a deep and gripping narrative that you really don’t see in platformers these days.

While the journey is personal, it’s also really fun. The run and jump nature of the genre is flipped on its head with the addition of multi-jumps, and wall jumping, creating precision-based gameplay that’s equal parts difficult and rewarding.

We could write novels about how great Celeste is, but we recommend just taking a dive and trying it out. You won’t regret it.

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