Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation

Top 10 Best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation

Last Updated on March 7, 2024

The PlayStation has an impressive amount of platformers in its library. While many iconic games are in the genre, there are also plenty of stinkers. I’ve played my fair share of both, so here are my top 10 Sony PlayStation platformers.

10 of the best platformers on the PS1

I’ve ordered these games with my favorites at the top, but I would happily recommend any titles on this list to retro gamers and platforming fans.

#10 Disney’s Hercules

Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Everyone needs a hero, and my pick is Disney’s Hercules, a stylish 2D platformer by Eurocom Entertainment.

Hercules looks and sounds the part with its toe-tapping soundtrack full of bangers from the movie. The visuals emulate the style of the film, and it’s a treat to see how key scenes translate into gameplay.

I’ve got a soft spot for this game, but it does have problems. Hit detection is sometimes a bit wonky, and some bosses feel incredibly cheap. Sadly, throwing the perfect punch and hitting thin air is an all-too-common occurrence. Still, the good outweighs the bad, and Disney’s Hercules doesn’t overstay its welcome.

#9 Croc 2

Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Both Croc games suffer from awkward controls and an unruly camera, but it’s hard not to find them charming. Croc is adorable, and the 3D levels are vibrant and colorful. Croc 2 improves on the original with slightly better controls, less linear levels, and the addition of NPCs.

Despite the cutesy vibe and visuals, Croc 2 is surprisingly difficult. Some of this is down to the controls, but I can’t use them as an excuse for everything. There’s a great platformer here, with a decent mix of enemies and environmental hazards. Both of Croc’s adventures on the PS1 are decent, but the sequel adds to the formula in all the right ways.

#8 Pandemonium 2

Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation
Screnenshot: RetroGamerBase

While the main characters in Pandemonium aren’t the most charismatic, there’s no denying the quality of their 2.5D games.

In Pandemonium 2, you play as either a Jester (Fargus) or Nikki. Each character has unique abilities, and the protagonists are different enough to warrant multiple playthroughs.

The controls are perfect, and there’s a solid platformer to enjoy here. The locales are bizarre at times, and it’s a real shame we never got to see a Pandemonium 3. 

#7 Rayman 

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

I adore Rayman 2, and it’s a superb 3D platformer, but the original beats it for me. The original Rayman is a brutally tough 2D platformer and is likely the cause of many broken controllers. The whimsical Pink Plant Woods lulls players into a false sense of security before the rest of the game tears them apart.

While Rayman is a challenging game, it mostly plays by the rules. The controls are tight and responsive, and Rayman is given all the tools he needs to succeed. 

The lack of infinite continues makes the game far harder than it needs to be, but the levels are creative, and the soundtrack perfectly complements the varied locales.

#6 Wild 9

Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Back when demo disks were a thing, I played a ton of Wild 9 until I finally got a copy. I wasn’t disappointed. Wild 9 is made by Shiny Entertainment, the folks responsible for Earthworm Jim, and it’s easy to see the similarities.

You play as Wex Major, with a gun that can pick up enemies. Hazards include rollers that will turn you into paste if you get close. How do you beat them? Feed them your enemies, of course! Wild 9 is sometimes surprisingly gory and downright gross, but it’s part of the charm.

Levels are fun, and the difficulty quickly ramps up. Wild 9 isn’t for the faint-hearted, but this is a title I always come back to.

#5 Tombi!

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Tombi! (or Tomba! as it’s known outside of Europe) is a gorgeous 2D platformer with a generous helping of puzzles and stunning cutscenes. 

You play as Tombi, a feral child with bright pink hair, on his quest to defeat a band of evil pigs. The story is ridiculous, but this title really shines in the gameplay. Tombi has a unique skill set. He’s acrobatic and can bite his opponents into submission. There are dozens of quests to complete, from collectathons to learning new languages, and your puzzle-solving and platforming skills are constantly tested.

As a side note, Tombi! is easily the most expensive game on this list and commands ridiculous amounts on the preowned market.

#4 Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Top 10 best Platformers on the Sony PlayStation
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Any Crash Bandicoot games could be on this list, but I’ve got to go with 2. Cortex Strikes Back looks and feels like a straight upgrade from the original. 

Controls feel supremely responsive, and the introduction of sliding and the belly flop give Crash countless ways to approach obstacles. As expected from Naughty Dog, the graphics are superb, Crash is detailed, and the music is sublime.

Even the stage designs feel better, and they were already excellent in the original. The Crash Bandicoot formula was further improved with 3, but I don’t particularly appreciate how vehicle stages are so prevalent, hence my choice.

#3 Spyro the Dragon

Screenshot: PC Invasion

Like Crash Bandicoot, any games from the Spyro Trilogy could have glided into this list, but the original is my favorite. 

Compared to so many 3D platformers on the PlayStation, Spyro is a joy to control, and the camera behaves itself most of the time. There’s a decent selection of bosses, and the difficulty is firm but fair.

Spyro is a beloved platforming hero, and it’s not hard to see why. Dragons you rescue on your journey often have funny quips, and the gem and egg collectathons are fun.

#2 Oddworld: Abe’s Exodus

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Oddworld: Abe’s Exodus is the sequel to Abe’s Oddysee and improves every aspect of its predecessor. Exodus is a 2D platformer with a twist. Abe can’t punch or shoot, but he can possess the minds of his enemies given the opportunity. 

There’s a simple but hilarious speech system that ties in nicely to the game’s intricate puzzles. You’ll die often, but the blow is softened by the detailed locales and the addition of a quick save feature.

Oddworld is as strange as the name implies and a truly unique game in the PS1 library. The inhabitants range from arachnid horrors to armless corporate suits. Oh, and there’s even a dedicated fart button.

#1 Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile isn’t just a superb platformer; it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

Namco’s Klonoa is a 2.5D platformer with unique combat mechanics and light puzzle-solving. Klonoa can grab enemies and use them as a midair platform to double jump or throw them as a projectile. Combined with the 2.5D camera, Klonoa can interact with obstacles in the background, and each location looks and feels entirely different.

I could sing Klonoa’s praises for an entire article, but it’s a master-crafted experience. The difficulty curve is perfect, the bosses are creative, and the story is touching. If you’ve not played, you owe it to yourself to change that either with the original or the Phantasy Reverie Series remakes.

Those are my picks for the best platformers on the Sony PlayStation. If you want to flex your PlayStation knowledge, why not check out our list of great PS1 games you’ve probably never played?

About the author

Anthony is a freelance writer and has worked in the industry for four years. He's furiously competitive and is always looking for the next big multiplayer hit. Anthony is a passionate PS1 collector and firmly believes in playing his retro games rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf. He also loves speedrunning and always looks forward to the next GDQ and ESA events.

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