Have you ever experienced the sheer joy of playing a brilliantly designed platformer? The satisfaction of pulling off a pixel-perfect jump or overcoming a tough boss through skill alone? Ever get sucked into a platformer‘s world and not want to leave? Well, you‘ve come to the right place.
In this post, I‘ll countdown the absolute best platforming games available on PlayStation 4. From iconic mascots to indie darlings, these PS4 platformers represent the peak of the genre. Each brilliantly combines tight controls, smart level design, creative art, and pure platforming fun.
Let‘s jump in and explore the top platforming experiences you need to play on your PS4!
Shovel Knight intentionally channels platformers from the 8-bit NES era like DuckTales and Mega Man. Its authentic NES-style presentation hides brilliant modern design. With precise platforming, varied level theming, and strong boss battles, Shovel Knight is a retro love letter done right.
As the titular Shovel Knight, you run, jump, and shovel slash through levels themed around Shovel Knight‘s Order of No Quarter. Using your trusty shovel blade to dig up gems, bounce on enemies, and reach new areas, the platforming feels pixel-perfect. Boss fights like King Knight and Specter Knight provide enjoyable challenge.
With over 300k copies sold on PS4, Shovel Knight succeeds at evoking NES nostalgia while improving on the formula. Backwards wall jumps, buying relics, cool armor upgrades, and the responsive shovel pogo maneuver make platforming a joy. The 8-bit pixel art is wonderfully authentic with amusing animations. And the chiptune soundtrack by Jake Kaufman fits the retro aesthetic perfectly.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove includes the full Shovel of Hope campaign and three expansions letting you play as Plague Knight, Specter Knight, King Knight, and more. With tons of content and options for local 4-player co-op, it‘s a must-play for platformer fans.
On the surface, Celeste may look like a cute retro platformer. But beneath its pixelated facade lies one of the most flawlessly designed and emotionally impactful games you may ever play.
In Celeste, you play as Madeline climbing the daunting Celeste Mountain. Along the way, you‘ll dash, air-dash, and wall-jump through hundreds of challenging 2D platforming levels. The controls feel pinpoint precise, and each level flawlessly balances difficulty with fairness.
But Celeste isn‘t just brutally tough platforming trials. It also tells a meaningful story about anxiety and self-doubt. Madeline‘s journey up the mountain parallels her struggle to overcome the inner demons telling her she‘ll fail. Beautiful pixel art cinematics and exceptional writing bring Madeline‘s personal emotional arc to life.
Set to a chill synth soundtrack, Celeste masterfully fuses tight platforming mechanics with a powerful narrative. Over 190k PS4 owners experienced something special. Celeste poignantly reminds us that the most important mountain is the one inside ourselves.
Rayman Origins revitalized the limbless hero in incredible 2D form. But its follow-up Rayman Legends polished the formula to platforming perfection. Vibrant visuals, quirky music, and varied level concepts exemplify platforming bliss.
Here, Rayman and friends journey through mythical painting worlds of fairies and monsters. Rayman‘s new hair engine adds flair while running, punching, and hovering through environments inspired by medieval and magical realms. Each themed world pops with joyful colors and character thanks to the gorgeous hand-drawn art style.
On PS4, Rayman Legends shines via intuitive controls and smart level concepts. Rhythm stages sync platforming to music, while persistent tricks and power-ups like fireflies keep gameplay fresh. Local 4-player co-op is a blast, andchallenges unlock quirky creatures. For platforming purists, Rayman Legends is utter nirvana.
Critics agree, giving Rayman Legends a 90 on Metacritic. Destructoid said it "floats gracefully with the pristine skill of a champion platformer." Rayman Legends still stands as one of the most creative and fun platformers on PS4.
Inside comes from indie studio Playdead, creators of the eerie platformer Limbo. Their follow-up Inside perfects Playdead‘s signature brand of atmospheric, physics-based platforming coupled with an unsettling dystopian setting.
You control a young boy through monochromatic forests and facilities brimming with mystery. You‘ll swim, run, and platform your way through environmental puzzles and stealthy evasion sequences. The boy‘s movement feels tactile thanks to smooth animation and realistic physics.
Inside‘s cryptic narrative slowly materializes purely through visual environmental cues and puzzles. There‘s no combat or spoken exposition. The deeper you travel, the more sinister the world becomes. Weird human experiments and strange societies lurk around every corner.
Everything from the chilling sound design to the bold storytelling instills an unshakable sense of unease and intrigue. Inside‘s refined platforming, surreal world, and shocking ending make it a standout PS4 title. Playdead masterfully creates an experience quite unlike anything else in gaming.
When it launched in 2017, Hollow Knight quickly became the poster child for the Metroidvania renaissance happening on PS4. With a melancholy bug kingdom to explore, tight combat mechanics, and minimalist storytelling, Hollow Knight pulls you into its world better than any Metroidvania before it.
In the ruins of Hallownest, you‘ll slash through insectoid foes and daunting bosses using your trusty Nail. Combat proves challenging but fair, rewarding pattern recognition and quick reflexes. You‘ll gradually gain abilities like wall jumping or dashing to access new areas in classic Metroidvania fashion.
But it‘s the sheer atmosphere that makes Hollow Knight so special. Haunting tunes and hand-drawn scenery bring decrepit mines and monstrous forests to life. Small environmental details enrich exploration and worldbuilding, with lore and secrets awaiting players who look closely. It‘s a haunting adventure every Metroidvania fan deserves.
According to MetaCritic, Hollow Knight is the 2nd highest rated PS4 platformer with a whopping 91 score. The Telegraph calls it "One of the best Metroidvania games of all time." For open-ended 2D action, Hollow Knight is easily an all-time great.
After years of lackluster 3D Sonic games, fans had almost lost hope. But in 2017, Sonic Mania finally gave the blue blur the triumphant pixel-perfect 2D return he deserved. The work of programmer Christian Whitehead, Mania remixed the best of Sonics 1-3 into an authentic and clever homage.
With exquisite physics and controls, you‘ll boost through loops, blast through badniks, and discover hidden routes with that magic Genesis-era Sonic feel. Chasing ring trails and uncovering inventive bonus stages brings back all the nostalgic thrills. The new Studiopolis and Press Garden zones fit perfectly alongside re-imagined classics like Chemical Plant and Green Hill.
Sonic Mania Plus adds characters like Mighty and Ray from obscure past Sonic games, making this the definitive classic Sonic collection. For anyone who enjoys the early Sonic games, or 2D platformers in general, Sonic Mania Plus is a must-have PS4 title. Welcome back, old friend!
The #1 spot for best PS4 platformer goes to Guacamelee! from DrinkBox Studios. These two action-packed Metroidvanias blend thrilling 2D combat and platforming with a vibrant Mexican art style to create a fiesta for the senses.
In the original Guacamelee!, the agile luchador Juan fends off skeletons on a journey through magical caves and towns inspired by real Mexican locales. The sequel Guacamelee! 2 raises the stakes with more abilities, expansive levels, challenging platforming, and goofy humor.
Both games feature memorable boss battles, Mexican guitar music, and fun brawler combat focused on grapples and juggle combos. Their Metroidvania level designs reward backtracking too.
Critics and fans praised the games, with both earning an aggregated review score of 88 on Metacritic. Destructoid called it “an intrepid new IP that speaks to all camps.” For outstanding action-platforming, Guacamelee! can‘t be beat.