ESSENTIAL BUYER'S GUIDE

Best platform games on PS4

From rock-hard romps to laid-back adventures, this rundown of unmissable PlayStation platformers has something for everyone

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

ESRB EVERYONE: Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Lyrics

Developer: Sumo Digital
The pitch: Save Craftworld as the Knitted Knight
Difficulty: 3/5

PlayStation's iconic threaded hero returns once more in a visually-sumptuous, characterful adventure from the creator of LittleBigPlanet 3. 

Go it alone or with a band of brave companions (online or offline) as you embark on a whirlwind adventure filled with dozens of unique locations, ingenious puzzles and - naturally enough - all manner of colourful outfits to collect.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, Language

Developer: Toys for Bob
The pitch: It's Crash! He's been away, but he's back and better than ever.
Difficulty: 4/5

The long-awaited return of '90s platform mascot Crash Bandicoot sees the irrepressible marsupial crashing through a time-twisting adventure surrounded by some of the series' most beloved characters and popular villains.

Go head to head with N-Tropy and Dr. Neo Cortex in an all new outing filled with brand new worlds to explore, new fiendish platforming puzzles to conquer and hundreds of collectibles to hunt down.

Oddworld: Soulstorm

ESRB TEEN: Violence, Blood and Gore, Language

Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants
The pitch: A unique evolution of a PlayStation classic
Difficulty: 4/5

An ambitious and transformative reimagining of 1999's Oddworld: Abe's Exodus, Oddworld: Soulstorm evolves the game's classic look and feel for modern hardware, adding a myriad of interesting new tools and systems to experiment with and thousands of fellow Mudokons to save.

Hollow Knight Voidheart Edition

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood

Developer: Team Cherry
The pitch: Exquisite exploration adventure in the Metroid mold
Difficulty: 4/5

A labour of love crafted by a tiny team, Hollow Knight was heralded as a new genre classic upon release in 2018. And for good reason. Its beguiling, melancholy world of warrior bugs is a delight to unpick, while its breathless boss fights and platforming challenges offer a real workout for the thumbs.

It Takes Two

ESRB TEEN: Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Language

Developer: Hazelight
The pitch: A heartfelt adventure built for co-op
Difficulty: 2/5

A story-driven, genre-bending platform adventure created purely for co-operative play, It Takes Two combines a huge variety of gleefully varied gameplay challenges wherein you and a trusty friend must work together to help an embattled couple rescue their floundering relationship.

Pixel-art platform perfection

Drawing on the retro aesthetics of one of platforming's most prolific periods, these modern titles bring together the best of old and new.

Celeste

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Alcohol Reference

Developer: Matt Makes Games
The pitch: Precision platforming with a big heart
Difficulty: 4/5

Don't be deceived by the retro aesthetic; Celeste is a thoroughly modern experience. Creator Matt Thorson marries a moving story with expertly-crafted platforming challenges, gently layering mechanics and amping up the difficulty until you’re pulling off extraordinary feats of manual dexterity. 

Shovel Knight

ESRB EVERYONE: Mild Fantasy Violence

Developer: Yacht Club Games
The pitch: Retro-fabulous run 'n' jump action
Difficulty: 3/5

Tailormade to tweak the nostalgia nodes of anyone who fondly remembers platforming classics of the 8-bit era, Shovel Knight is a masterclass in old-school game design. Yacht Club's debut release has charm in spades and is absolutely packed with content—the Treasure Trove edition bundles together five expansions alongside the base game.

The Messenger

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Crude Humour, Fantasy Violence, Language

Developer: Sabotage Studio
The pitch: Vintage aesthetics with a 21st-century sheen
Difficulty: 4/5

From Shinobi to Ninja Gaiden, the humble ninja has been a platforming staple since the dawn of digital entertainment. The Messenger stealth-drops from the ceiling to steal their crown for a new generation, offering a series of fiendish gauntlets to navigate, and a cavalcade of smart gimmicks to delight the player. 

N++

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Mild Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

Developer: Metanet Software
The pitch: Minimalist action for the nimble-thumbed
Difficulty: 4/5

Don't be deceived by its primitive visuals—N++ is one of the most absorbing platformers on PS4. Packing in literally thousands of unique 'micro' levels, it’s a lightning-fast test of the reflexes that will have you muttering "just one more go" after every slip-up. 

Dead Cells

ESRB TEEN: Violence, Blood and Gore, Language

Developer: Motion Twin
The pitch: Punishing roguelike with a glint in its eye
Difficulty: 5/5

This no-nonsense 2018 smash hit demands resilience, a calm head, and lightning-fast reflexes, but rich rewards lie in wait. With no two runs ever the same, French developer Motion Twin's finely tuned action adventure is endlessly replayable.

Sonic Mania

ESRB EVERYONE: Mild Cartoon Violence

Developer: Sega
The pitch: A platforming icon returns to his roots
Difficulty: 3/5

Sega goes back to basics, delivering a proudly retrograde Sonic experience which sees the blue burr dashing from point A to point B as fast as possible—while grabbing those gold rings on route, of course. It's a simple formula, refined to perfection by a young, passionate team of Sonic superfans.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

ESRB EVERYONE: Mild Cartoon Violence 

Developer: Playtonic
The pitch: A colourful and light-hearted throwback to '90s classics
Difficulty: 3/5

Channelling the spirit of some of yesteryear's best-loved platforming duos, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair builds on the break-out success of Playtonic's debut title with a brand-new side-scrolling adventure. Traps, puzzles, secrets and over-the-top action await as you build toward conquering Capital B's 'Impossible Lair'.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

ESRB TEEN: Violence, Blood, Partial Nudity / Users Interact

Developer: ArtPlay
The pitch: Former Castlevania designer Koji Igarashi returns
Difficulty: 4/5

The fiendish mind behind classic Castlevania titles including Symphony of the Night finally returns to the RPG/platformer genre which he helped create - and he's not lost his touch. Bloodstained ticks all the boxes: supernatural setting, back-and-forth exploration, spectacular boss battles, crunchy combat and deep character customization. 

Spelunky 2

ESRB TEEN: Blood, Simulated Gambling, Violence

Developer: Mossmouth
The pitch: A cuddly-but-killer cult roguelike
Difficulty: 4/5

The hotly anticipated sequel to underground roguelike hit Spelunky takes the addictive replayability of its progenitor and adds in a whole raft of new features. Explore a series of ever changing dungeons buried beneath the surface of the moon, each more devious than the last, gathering loot, dodging traps and helping lost souls to safety.

INSIDE

ESRB MATURE 17+: Violence, Blood and Gore

Developer: Playdead
The pitch: A deliciously twisted tale of the unexpected
Difficulty: 3/5

Playdead's ghoulish debut, Limbo, was one of the most memorable experiences of the PS3 era, and its spiritual successor is every bit the worthy follow-up. To give anything away about its extraordinary set-up would be doing you a disservice - just set aside a rainy afternoon and dive in.

Steamworld Dig 2

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Fantasy Violence

Developer: Image & Form
The pitch: Delightful subterranean romp
Difficulty: 3/5

Most platformers are all about verticality, tasking you with leaping between platforms to reach otherwise unscalable heights. Not so the two Steamworld Dig games. Pick up your shovel and start digging in search of loot, monsters and adventure, chiselling out your own platforms as you descend into the earth. A charming twist on the genre.

Little Nightmares / Little Nightmares II

ESRB TEEN: Violence, Blood

Developer: Tarsier Studios
The pitch: A dark fairytale from a talented team
Difficulty: 3/5

A memorable Tim Burton-esque adventure that delicately tiptoes the line between cute and creepy. 

Play as Six, a young girl trapped in a dark, dangerous vessel called the Maw. To escape, you'll need to evade its gruesome inhabitants while solving all manner of fiendish environmental puzzles. 

In the sequel, take on the role of a new character, accompanied by Six as you uncover the sinister secrets of an all-new nightmare landscape called The Signal Tower.

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Fantasy Violence, Use of Alcohol

Developer: Game Atelier
The pitch: An stylish spiritual successor to an 80s classic
Difficulty: 4/5

Inspired by the classic Wonder Boy series, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a stunning revival of the classic action-platformers of yesteryear. With all the excitement and adventure of a Saturday-morning cartoon, Monster Boy thoroughly modernises the formula with gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, a clever series of interlocking mechanics and a huge range of secrets to discover.

Mega Man 11

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Cartoon Violence

Developer: Capcom
The pitch: The blue bomber is back
Difficulty: 5/5

Eight levels to navigate, eight bosses to beat, eight unique abilities to unlock - the same as it ever was. As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - and that rings true here, in the 11th outing for Capcom’s platfoming icon. A handful of new mechanics add a contemporary flavour to proceedings, but otherwise this is an expertly-crafted old-school romp.

Salt and Sanctuary

ESRB MATURE 17+: Violence, Blood and Gore

Developer: Ska Studios
The pitch: A fiendish 2D tribute to Dark Souls
Difficulty: 5/5

Salt and Sanctuary wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, expertly transposing Dark Souls' moreish 'die and retry' formula into left-to-right 2D, complete with oblique lore, grisly enemy design and—let's not beat around the bush—fearsome difficulty. If you're up for the challenge though, this is a smart, engaging spin on its source material.

Guacamelee! 2

ESRB EVERYONE 10+: Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Alcohol Reference

Developer: Drinkbox Studios
The pitch: Tongue-in-cheek platformer/brawler mash-up
Difficulty: 3/5

Drinkbox Studios' cheerful luchador romp was a surprise hit on PS3, and its follow-up did not disappoint, dishing up a perfect blend of exploration, brawling, precision platforming, and knockabout comedy. And it lets you transform into a superpowered chicken. What's not to like? 

Unravel / Unravel Two

ESRB EVERYONE: Mild Fantasy Violence

Developer: Coldwood Interactive
The pitch: An adventure that tugs at the heartstrings
Difficulty: 3/5

This charming adventure from a talented Swedish team puts you in the shoes of diminutive hero Yarny, whose body is made up entirely of string. As you explore the world, you'll need to use said yarn to solve puzzles by lassoing objects, forming bridges, swinging from platform to platform, and so on. Its excellent sequel adds cooperative play.

Discover more great games

Explore expertly curated guides to the genres you love.

Indie games
Couch multiplayer
Free-to-play
Kids and families
Platformers
Roguelikes
Superheroes
Wellbeing
Sports
Racing
Strategy
Survival
Team shooters
Horror
Creative