The platformer genre has been around since the early days of gaming, and some of the most beloved titles have appeared on handheld systems as well as consoles. In the past decade or so, some of the best handheld games have come from Sony.
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a portable game console that was launched in late 2005. In its ten-year lifespan, the PSP has played host to quite a few excellent platformer games, many of which you may not have been aware of if you aren’t actually that big of a fan of the genre.
Whether you own one yourself or are just looking to entertain friends who happen to have one, there are plenty of great titles you can play on the PSP. Let’s talk about them!
What is a Platform Game?
A platform game is a video game in which the player can wander around and jump, usually controlling their character with the analog stick of a video game controller. It’s a genre that has been around since the 1980s, and while it may not be as popular as it once was, there are still a lot of great platformers out there to play. Platformers are often characterized by extreme difficulty, with many levels requiring the player to use various abilities to solve puzzles and progress through the level.
Was the PlayStation Portable Known for Platform Games?
Platformers were huge when the PSP was first released and continued to be popular well into its lifespan, even after the release of more advanced consoles. Platformer games are especially well-suited for the PlayStation Portable’s specific features. The level-based gameplay so typical in platformers complements the PSP’s portability. Its big screen is great for getting a good look at the levels and organizing your moves accordingly. While the PSP may not be known for its massive catalog of platform games, it did have some gems.
Here are the absolute best PSP platformers ever released, based on Metacritic scores and user reviews.
- Side-scrolling action game
- More than 10 stages plus hidden areas
- New soundtrack
- Freely explore completed levels to learn new secrets
- Also includes Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night optimized for PSP
emCastlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles/em is among the best PlayStation Portable platformers.
It’s a remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood with elements from Symphony of the Night. In this game, you play as Richter Belmont, who is trying to stop Dracula from destroying his family and taking over the world. You’ll journey across multiple levels filled with deadly traps, puzzles, and monsters. You can also equip different weapons that help you in your quest for revenge on Dracula.
The game has nine levels where the player must ensure he saves Annette and Iris. However, some stages from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood have been altered, and new characters have been introduced. There is also an introduction to boss rush mode, which adds a different perspective to the boss fight. The game is easy to pick up and play because it’s designed so anyone can play it without prior knowledge of how Castlevania games work. There’s also a lot of replay value because each level has multiple paths that lead you differently depending on what weapon (or combination) you choose to equip at the start of each level.
Check it out on Amazon here.
#9. The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character
The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character is a game that takes you through a world full of strange characters and challenging puzzles. The game was released in 2011 by Dakko Dakko and was one of the best platformers on the PlayStation Portable.
Your character, the Octopus, moves between two dimensions and can attack enemies with his tentacles. The game features an innovative control scheme that allows players to rotate their character’s heads and arms independently of one another. You only use reverse and jump buttons to control the Rotating Octopus as she traverses the world to collect little octopi scattered all over.
This allows for unique gameplay experiences, including shooting through walls or swinging around poles by rotating your head. The graphics are simple and beautiful, and the music is also great. It’s a fast-paced game since the Octopus won’t stop spinning, so you need good timing to ensure the Octopus remains alive.
#8. Where is My Heart?
Released in 2011, Where is My Heart? is a narrative-driven RPG that follows the story of a monster family that gets lost in the forest.
They then navigate their way through the forest in an attempt to locate their home. In this 2D platformer game, you control any of the three monsters and explore beautifully rendered 3D worlds with simple controls.
With a great soundtrack and some cool puzzles, this game makes you feel like you’re exploring mysterious locations as if they were real places. As players progress through levels, they encounter various enemies and obstacles that must be overcome using specific strategies. If you’re looking for a solid game with good replayability without being too challenging, look no further than Where is my Heart?
emMega Man Powered Up/em is one of the best PlayStation Portable platformers. It was released in 2006 and was developed by Capcom.
It was also a remake of the original 1987 game with enhanced graphics and new content. The player controls Mega Man as he fights through stages filled with robots and other enemies while trying to collect items to help him defeat Dr. Wily and his army of robots.
The game features excellent graphics, control options, and gameplay balance. The gameplay is very similar to that of the NES classic, but there are more than 11 playable characters and three difficulty modes. The controls are responsive and polished enough for veterans while still being simple enough for newcomers. There is a level editor where players can create a custom stage. The challenge mode introduces more than 100 challenges, so you’ll be sure to have a long playing time.
emMega Man Powered Up/em is also packed with many fun gameplay elements — there are many different weapons and abilities to find, and each stage has its unique challenge. The game feels like a throwback to classic Mega Man games but with modern enhancements like HD graphics, online leaderboards, and more.
You can find it on Amazon right here.
- Unique "Crush" mechanic allows players to change between 2D and 3D environments.
- Story driven puzzler featuring a unique main character with a lifetime of unresolved issues for you to unravel.
- Mind bending puzzles will provide hours of entertainment for gamers of all levels.
- Surreal environments and engaging storyline provide a unique gaming experience that blurs the line between puzzle and platform play.
- 1 player.
emCrush/em is one of the best PlayStation Portable platformers ever made. It’s a mix of puzzle and exploration with some pretty cool physics-based gameplay, and it’s so much fun that you’ll want to play it repeatedly.
The game takes place in a 3D setup, and players must simplify it by transforming it into a 2D environment. This enables you to solve puzzles and access objects you couldn’t get in 3D. Players can also change to a 3D setup whenever needed. The game tells the story of Danny, a man with a haunted childhood and unresolved emotional issues. It has ten levels, set in four locations, all of which tell a story of Danny‘s past life.
There are tons of different levels to explore, marbles to collect, and challenges to complete, which helps keep things fresh even after you’ve played through each level several times before. The controls are easy to learn but hard to master since there are so many things for you to interact with on each level.
Check it out on Amazon here.
- Simple yet intuitive gameplay as you bump the LocoRoco into the air, tilt the landscape or break and assemble the LocoRoco to squeeze through narrow passages
- Guide the LocoRoco through more than 40 stages of addictive platform gaming
- Features six different types of LocoRoco, each with unique voices and actions
- Captivating, light-hearted music communicates the joyous world of the LocoRoco
- Vibrant, thriving, and lush 2-D world filled with slippery slopes, swing ropes and more
emLocoRoco/em is best known for its bright colors and its ability to have the player interact with the world by tilting the PSP.
The player traverses through stages, often populated with enemies and obstacles, to advance to the next stage. It’s a fantastic game that combines platforming with puzzle-solving and collectible card game elements.
In emLocoRoco/em, the player tilts the environment using the PSP’s shoulder buttons to guide the multicolored jelly-like LocoRoco characters through each level while dodging dangers and the deadly Moja Troop. You’ll need to use your wits to avoid traps and enemies while collecting all of the LocoRocos scattered across each level to find your way out of each one unscathed. The goal is to conquer the Moja Troop and restore peace for the LocoRoco.
The game has multiple playable characters, each with unique abilities. You can switch between them at any time by pressing the L button. The LocoRoco can also combine into different forms that allow them to access new areas of the planet. These forms can be used to solve puzzles or defeat enemies on your way through the game’s levels.
LocoRoco features great music and graphics that make you want to replay it repeatedly. The controls are also very easy to pick up and play with, making this one of the best PlayStation Portable platformers today.
Grab your own copy on Amazon here.
#4. emLocoRoco 2/em
- 25 colorful new stags, including hidden challenges
- Enhance LocoRoco by collecting music notes
- Play six exciting new mini games
- Ad-hoc four player battle
- New LocoRoco Actions
A more challenging sequel, emLocoRoco 2/em takes a few steps away from the first game’s formula.
emLocoRoco 2/em is a fun, brainy platformer that’s easy to pick up and play. It’s got an awesome art style and great music; you may find yourself humming the tunes from this game all day long. The controls are also simple enough that you don’t have to worry about losing track of them when jumping around. There are hidden challenges and six exciting mini-games to choose from, so you can be sure to have exciting gameplay.
After the LocoRoco returns to peaceful life in the previous game, the Moja Troop does not accept defeat. Their boss restrategizes and comes up with an evil song that sucks the life out of creatures. To beat this tactic, the LocoRoco must come up with lots of sweet music to neutralize the evil song. There are 25 additional stages to explore and new features such as swimming underwater, gaining new abilities, and squeezing through crevices.
You can find it on Amazon right here.
- The game takes place during the 2-year time jump in the opening cutscene of Jak II
- Learn Daxter's back story in Haven City
- Help Daxter explore the city to find Jak
- Compete in multiplayer combat arena challenges
- Unlock 5 "Dream Sequence" bonus games
emDaxter/em is an adventure game with puzzles, exploration, and platforming. It’s a charming, fun game that will please any fan of classic platformers.
As an “ottsel” (an otter and weasel combined) named emDaxter/em, you start your adventure looking for your friend Jak who is imprisoned by Krimzon Guard. The game takes place in various locations with unique puzzles that require you to use your wit and quick thinking. You’ll need to think fast and move fast as you try to progress through each level while ensuring you don’t fall off of any edges or get hit by enemies nearby.
emDaxter/em accepts a job as a pest exterminator to help eradicate a mystery metal bug infestation, giving him the freedom to go about Haven City in search of the signs that will lead him to Jak. emDaxter/em offers a unique set of actions with agile skills that enable players to climb walls, sneak up on foes, fit in tight spaces, and control vehicles.
The controls are simple enough so that you can easily jump or climb up ledges without having trouble figuring out what button does what — but it still feels like there’s a bit more depth than just pressing one button over and over again until something happens. There are also some physics puzzles where you’ll have to manipulate objects so they land where they should instead of hitting an obstacle or falling into an abyss below them (which could result in death). The environments are varied and engaging — at one point, you’re crawling through sewers while at another point exploring a haunted lighthouse. And the music changes appropriately depending on where you’re at too. It can be upbeat or sinister, depending on what’s happening around you.
emPatapon/em is a 2007 platformer developed by SCE Japan Studio. It is one of the PlayStation Portable’s most critically acclaimed titles.
The gameplay of emPatapon/em revolves around controlling a group of Patapons, who are anthropomorphic animals that can be used as weapons by players. The Patapons each have unique characteristics, such as different stats or abilities that can be used in the battle against enemies.
The player controls a tribe of Patapons, who set out to conquer their rivals to bring peace back to their world. The game is based on a rhythm-based combat system, and it’s all about getting your little Patapons to work together to defeat the evil enemies threatening their village. Players can only use six different drum beats as weapons, but they can also make songs and control their warriors through various chants.
It’s not hard to learn how to play because all you need is one button press at a time. Players must guide their army through levels filled with enemies, traps, and obstacles to progress and reach the final boss at the end of each. The levels are divided into multiple sections with different terrain and obstacles, and you must use your Patapon‘s unique abilities to get past them.
You can get your hands on a copy on Amazon here.
- Community-based game in which players meet on a planet scattered with individual plots
- Design, shape, and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play
- Full of places to discover, creative resources to collect, and puzzles to solve
- Explore the massive single-player game or go online to find user-generated content
- Customizable characters, landscape, and more; online and offline multiplayer modes
In the pantheon of PlayStation Portable platformers, emLittleBigPlanet/em is the undisputed king. It was released in 2008 and has since become one of the most popular games on the platform and one of the best-selling games ever released for it.
emLittleBigPlanet/em is a game that takes you into the creative mind of a child. You play as Sackboy, a little brown fabric humanoid creature with a zip fastening and button eyes. He can be customized to the player’s liking by using costumes that are either unlocked in the game or purchased. The game challenges players to use their creativity to complete puzzles, defeat enemies, and collect objects. You’ll need to know how to make your levels and play levels created by other players if you want to get the most out of LBP PSP.
emLittleBigPlanet/em is about creating your video games — and then playing them with other people online. You can make levels and enemies and even complete whole games using only the tools provided in the game. The community element of emLittleBigPlanet/em makes it extremely replayable, as there are many different ways to play through each level (and if you want some extra motivation, there’s even a level editor where you can design your levels).
The PlayStation Portable is a fantastic platformer system. The library of games for it is vast, and their quality is truly impressive. PSP platformers aren’t just games — they’re worlds you get to explore and expand through dozens of hours of game time. If you’re looking for an old-school game that will never get old, look no further than these platformers — they’re guaranteed to have you hooked from start to finish.
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