The best platformers on PS5 and PS4 that you should play in 2023

By Lee Brady,

The best PS5 platformers and best PS4 platformers that you should play in 2023 overlap quite a lot, so we've combined the lot into one handy list. Here are our recommendations for the best PlayStation platformers available now.

PlayStation platformers were once among the biggest sellers on Sony's consoles — or, at least, they briefly were before shooting things in video games started to feel decent in the PS2 era. Now the genre is more of a niche, which is a shame because in 2023, platformers on PS5 and PS4 have never been better. If you miss jumping on things in games and don't mind some of the best PlayStation indie games sneaking into the list, then we have plenty of PlayStation platformers to recommend you for 2023.

best PlayStation platformers 2023The best platformers on PS5 and PS4.

As with seemingly every game genre, the actual term "platformer" can mean a lot of things to a lot of people — for some people the first thing to come to mind is Crash Bandicoot, whereas for others it's Ratchet and Clank. To limit ourselves, we've stripped out games that fall more generally under the "action platformer" genre, like metroidvanias and Ratchet games, to focus on games that put the onus more on jumping, collecting, and movement as action. With that vague outline made, let's get to the list!

The Best Platform Games on PlayStation

PS5 platformers

Sonic Mania — PS4

Lee: Sure, Sonic Frontiers — the latest 3D Sonic platformer — is a pretty good game. When it comes to the best Sonic games on PlayStation, however, there’s one title on everyone’s lips: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Sonic Mania. More than a return to 2D platforming glory for Sega’s mascot, Sonic Mania legitimately builds upon the legacy of Sonic’s classic level design. The result is a flavour of platformer all of its own and an easy recommendation for players seeking a pure platforming experience on PS5 and PS4.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time — PS5, PS4

Lee: While PlayStation is home to three superb remakes of Naughty Dog’s classic Crash Bandicoot games via the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, chances are if you’re a PlayStation fan at all you’ve already played these three games to the death. If so, you owe it to yourself to play Crash Bandicoot 4 It’s About Time — a Crash game designed to give fans what they had been wanting all these years and to be so brimming with challenging content to ensure they never once sincerely uttered the words Crash Bandicoot 5.

best PlayStation platformers 2023

Spyro Reignited Trilogy — PS4

Lee: Unlike the generosity that was shown Crash Bandicoot fans in getting a brand new fourth game, Spyro 4 stills remains but a wish in every classic PlayStation fan's heart. No need to mess with success, though: the Spyro Reignited Trilogy updates the visual presentation of some of the original PlayStation’s finest platformers, combines them into one perfect package, and lets you collect some breezy platinum Spyro the Dragon trophies.

Celeste — PS4

Lee: Platformers are often so concerned with the ground beneath your feet — what about walls? When Kat from Gravity Rush stands on a wall: action-RPG. When Spider-Man stands on a wall: open-world action-adventure. When Madeline from Celeste hugs a sheer-cliff wall before performing a pixel-perfect zip-dashing trial-and-error dive just to make it to the next wall: platformer. When will walls get their due?

Fez — PS4

Lee: Puzzle platformers worm their way onto this list simply because we’re not entirely clear on just how they differ from regular platformers. It’s all mental maths at the end of the day, right? Calculating the distance to land a jump on a foe’s head is roughly the same equation you use to slowly navigate a shifting 2.5D diorama to ensure you’re not jumping into negative space. So welcome to the list Fez — thank your lucky stars Polytron never gave you a gun.

Tearaway Unfolded — PS4, PS Plus Extra

Lee: Platformers are some of the best games to introduce kids to gaming with — after all, the concepts of standing, running, jumping, and falling into a death pit are all fairly tangible at a young age. That’s why we recommend Tearaway Unfolded for this noble teaching task. Not only is this game remarkably charming and inventive, but it’s also rather chill. It’s a low-stakes adventure, meaning your kid won’t fail constantly and quickly pick up cursing from Crash Bandicoot like us 90s kids.

PS5 platformers

Oddworld Soulstorm — PS5, PS4, PS Plus Extra

Lee: Another puzzle platformer to sneak onto our list, Oddworld Soulstorm reimagines the brutal strategic challenge of Abe’s Exoddus to be bigger, slicker, and in many ways just as challenging as the 90s original. To keep all the Mudokon brethren alive in this world of saw blades and missile-launching freaks, you’ll need to remember to tell them to stop following you when you’re sneaking into danger. That’s usually the solution, actually, so just remember that one and you’ll be fine.

A Hat in Time — PS4

Lee: Do you know who also makes really good platformers? Nintendo. Unfortunately, your Marios and your Donkey Kongs are all tied up on some other console — but that doesn’t mean the PS5 and PS4 lack alternatives. In fact, A Hat in Time has something that many a Nintendo-produced platformer lacks today; namely, a soul. Indies benefit from a lack of overheads to account for, and that helps free up A Hat in Time to take its levels and ideas somewhere genuinely new and, most importantly, fun.

PS5 platformers

Astro’s Playroom — PS5

Kes: Astro's Playroom is a love letter to all things PlayStation. The game might ship with your fancy new PS5, but don't let that fool you into thinking this is a game uninterested in the past. Instead, it utilises every inch of present-day hardware to give you one of the slickest PS2-inspired platformers you could imagine. It feels like a classic to play, except for the very modern sensations rippling through your hands via the DualSense's features — yet it still isn't governed by anything it 'should' be; it's the perfection of the classic.

You leap into frog suits, put on ice skates, and control a rocket. It's creative and gorgeous, yet still full of life and vigour. It's the perfect length, too. In addition, the DualSense rumbles and shudders depending on the surface your cute mascot Astro Bot tippers or tappers around on. It makes it feel like the game is talking to you, and in many respects, it remains the best use of the unique triggers and rumbles to this day. Throw in statues of PlayStation Peripherals and references to classic game series, and you are onto a winner. Astro's Playroom should be everyone's first must-play PS5 game, and that alone makes it one of the best platformers of all time.

Psychonauts 2 — PS4

Lee: Craving some of the energy that you used to see in 3D platformers of old? Released sixteen years after the original, Psychonauts 2 accomplishes recapturing the heights of creativity, comedy, and joy offered by the original, even after all this time. Raz’s Psychonaut training picks up as if nothing ever happened, with the only distinct difference you’ll notice being 16 years' worth of ground-breaking visual fidelity now being poured into bringing back this PS2-era cult classic.

That's our list! Did your favourite PS4 or PS5 platformer fail to make the cut? Let us know in the comments — we'll be updating this regularly, so the more suggestions the merrier.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee loves writing about the game design of classic PS Plus Premium games and upcoming PS5 games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI. He's a big proponent of video games as an evolving artistic medium, though he's also a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, so the medium might want to keep looking for a better spokesperson.
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