From rock-hard romps to laid-back adventures, this rundown of unmissable PlayStation platformers has something for everyone
All ages: Violence
Developer: Sumo Digital
The pitch: Save Craftworld as the Knitted Knight
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.
Developer: Toys for Bob
The pitch: It's Crash! He's been away, but he's back and better than ever.
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.
15+: Alcohol and Tobacco, Objectionable Language, Violence
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants
The pitch: A unique evolution of a PlayStation classic
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.
Developer: Team Cherry
The pitch: Exquisite exploration adventure in the Metroid mold
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.
The pitch: A heartfelt adventure built for co-op
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.
Drawing on the retro aesthetics of one of platforming's most prolific periods, these modern titles bring together the best of old and new.
Developer: Motion Twin
The pitch: Punishing roguelike with a glint in its eye
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.
The pitch: A platforming icon returns to his roots
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.
The pitch: A colourful and light-hearted throwback to '90s classics
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'.
12+: Horror, Violence
The pitch: Former Castlevania designer Koji Igarashi returns
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.
15+: Violence, Antisocial
The pitch: A cuddly-but-killer cult roguelike
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.
18+: Horror, Violence
The pitch: A deliciously twisted tale of the unexpected
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.
15+: Antisocial, Horror, Violence
Developer: Tarsier Studios
The pitch: A dark fairytale from a talented team
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.
Developer: Game Atelier
The pitch: An stylish spiritual successor to an 80s classic
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.
The pitch: The blue bomber is back
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.
Developer: Ska Studios
The pitch: A fiendish 2D tribute to Dark Souls
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.
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
The pitch: Tongue-in-cheek platformer/brawler mash-up
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?
Developer: Coldwood Interactive
The pitch: An adventure that tugs at the heartstrings
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.