15 Best Platformers on PSP: The Ultimate RankingThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Platformer-type games seem especially suited for the PlayStation Portable’s unique characteristics.
The wide screen is ideal for getting a good look at the levels and planning your actions accordingly, and the level-based approach so common in platformers matches the PSP’s on-the-go qualities.
Still, the roster of platformers on the PSP is vast, and none of us has time (or money) to waste on mediocre games – so, what should you be playing on the best portable console ever made?
Here’s a list of platformers that have stood the test of time & remain fantastic PSP gaming experiences.
15. Death Jr. II: Root of Evil (2006)
If you liked Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, you’ll quickly fall in love with Death Jr. II: Root of Evil.
This action-platformer puts you in control of the Grim Reaper’s teenage son as he explores his identity as death incarnate by hacking and slashing enemies to pieces.
Other characters include malformed babies suspended in formaldehyde and big-brain conjoined twins, adding to the game’s bizarre and slightly disturbing aesthetic.
Death Jr. balances light platforming with hardcore combat. This sequel introduces more third-person shooter elements, with weapons like Tommy Guns, Cherry Bomb Launchers, Flame Throwers, and so on.
14. LittleBigPlanet (2009)
The PSP port of the original LittleBigPlanet is a top-notch platforming experience that faithfully reproduces the original’s beautiful graphics and creative gameplay.
Its bite-sized platforming segments and environmental puzzles are just as fun on the PSP. Over 30 unique levels make it worth a look even if you already played the original.
With realistic lighting and graphics contrasting the game’s whimsical concept, LittleBigPlanet is one of the most visually pleasing offers on the PSP.
13. Tokobot (2005)
Fans of Nintendo’s Pikmin series will find a somewhat familiar experience in Tokobot.
Young hero Bolt leads a squad of Tokobots – advanced multipurpose robots – who’ll assume different formations to help you clear diverse obstacles.
They can surround you to form a shield, stand in rows to your sides to serve as your wings, or make a straight line that you can use like a ladder or a massive blunt weapon.
The graphics, music, and storyline are decent, but the puzzles and platforming are the reason to pick this up.
12. GripShift (2005)
If I had to describe GripShift simply, I’d say it’s Super Monkey Ball on wheels – without bananas, monkeys, or balls.
You’ll need precise motor skills and a good head on your shoulders to figure out how to jump from platform to platform and solve the environmental puzzles of this puzzle/action/platformer.
Like Super Monkey Ball, it features fun, fast-paced mini-games, including a soccer mode that foreshadowed Rocket League ten years earlier.
Extensive car customization is also a highlight.
11. N+ (2008)
I love challenging games that make it easy to get back in the saddle after a miss.
N+ stars a stick-figure ninja who’ll have to jump, climb, and rebound from walls to reach the finish line.
It drives up the difficulty by populating each level with an array of hazards like missile turrets, lasers, and timed mines – all of which will kill you on contact.
Still, you get infinite retries, and restarting the level takes less than five seconds.
It’s a game based on trial and error that demands the skills to pull off difficult jumps and the brains to figure out the puzzle-like obstacles in your way.
10. Secret Agent Clank (2008)
Fans of cute little robots will love Secret Agent Clank – a unique action-platformer with some TPS elements where Ratchet’s sidekick Clank pretends to be James Bond.
This beautiful game shines for its top-notch humor and attractive graphics. Clank’s arsenal of spy-themed weapons and gadgets like cuff link bombs and a bowtie-boomerang are fun to use, and a steady stream of new items keeps gameplay fresh.
It doesn’t reinvent the genre or push too many boundaries, but it’s a competent 3D platformer with a distinctive personality.
9. Exit (2005)
For something more experimental, try Exit.
This action-platformer tasks you – Mr. ESC – with escaping diverse locations like apartment buildings or underground facilities during disasters like fires, floods, and earthquakes.
Things get even more interesting when you start rescuing people in the middle of your escape.
Some of them can help you advance further, while others – like patients in a hospital – need to be carried around. You’ll have to cooperate with the able-bodied companions to rescue the rest, adding a whole new dimension of strategy to your getaway.
With 100 different levels designed for short bursts of gaming, Exit is a must-play on the PSP.
8. Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins (2006)
Here’s one for the hardcore gamers out there.
Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins updates this classic platformer with shiny new graphics and some gameplay additions designed to make the game more palatable to modern audiences.
Some of these additions include new RPG elements and a wealth of new tools, such as new weapons, spells, and armor-stacking mechanics, making facing the armies of evil a little easier.
Don’t worry – you’re not forced to use these boons if you want the classic hard-as-nails experience.
The game features Novice, Standard, and Ultimate modes, ranging from “baby’s first Ghosts ‘n Goblins” to “I can’t believe this isn’t a coin-op.”
7. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (2007)
The PSP was famous for its home console-quality games – especially from big franchises like God of War or, in this case, Ratchet & Clank.
Size Matters follows our heroes after their vacation in Planet Pokitaru is interrupted by mysterious robots, and they’re roped into an adventure involving a lost alien race.
Gameplay is just what you’d expect from R&C: exciting and atmospheric locations to explore, tons of fun weapons to try out, and puzzles galore. Space combat also makes a comeback, except you’ll be piloting a giant Clank instead of a spaceship.
Ironically, Size Matters proved that a console’s size doesn’t relate to the quality of the experience.
6. Daxter (2006)
Another famous franchise that’s well-represented on the PSP is Jak and Daxter.
Just as Jak II, Jak 3, and Jak X: Combat Racing decided to take Daxter’s name off the title, this game did Daxter justice and removed Jak entirely.
Daxter recounts the events that led to Jak’s rescue at the beginning of Jak II. You’ll see the beloved Ottsel take on a job as an exterminator as a way to gain clues as to Jak’s location without raising suspicion.
The graphics and animations are sublime for a portable title – and the renewed focus on platforming in huge stages makes this a real gem for fans of the genre.
5. Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (2006)
I’m a big proponent of modern gamers going back in time and trying out landmark games like the original Mega Man X (1994) on the SNES – but graphics have always been a big obstacle.
Our modern minds are too attached to high-detail, 21st-century graphics, and getting over that seems impossible to the average gamer.
Enter Mega Man Maverick Hunter X.
This fantastic title is to Mega Man X what New Super Mario Bros. is to SMB. It brings the classic gameplay to the PSP in a beautiful 2.5D presentation anyone can enjoy.
It features a game mode where you play as the mercenary Vile, and many updated level arrangements, so even old-time fans have something new to try out.
4. Mega Man Powered Up (2006)
Mega Man X is cooler than the original Mega Man – but when it comes to remakes, Mega Man Powered Up takes the cake.
This remake of the original Mega Man (1987) overhauls its visual identity with a bright “chibi” art style that makes every character – including the villains – adorable.
Level layouts are all new – though they follow the original’s design philosophy – and there are even two new Robot Masters working for Dr. Willy: Time Man and Oil Man.
Did I mention you can unlock the Robot Masters as playable characters along with Mega Man, Roll, and Protoman? It’s a big treat for fans of the blue bomber.
3. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (2007)
We’ll open the top three with yet another remake, this time of the previously Japan-only Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (1993).
The Dracula X Chronicles is a value pack of fantastic gaming experiences featuring a 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood, an English translation of the original Rondo of Blood, and a glorious port of the best Castlevania ever made: Symphony of the Night (1997).
Just Symphony of the Night alone would be enough to earn this UMD a place on the ranking, but the core game is also top-notch. It features revamped graphics, a rearranged and remastered soundtrack, and a new Boss Rush mode.
2. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! (2011)
If you’re looking for the biggest challenge on the PSP, you must check out Prinny 2.
Much like the original Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? (2008), this title follows the penguin-like mascot of the Disgaea series on a hard-as-nails quest to… well, no need to spoil a good joke.
Prinny 2 combines appealing graphics and Disgaea’s signature zany humor with a difficulty level that made me replace the phrase “Nintendo Hard” with “Prinny Hard.”
You get 1000 lives to clear the game, and it’s not enough. You’re a beast if you get halfway through the game on your first playthrough!
1. LocoRoco (2006)
LocoRoco is a beautiful and unique platformer anyone from a three-year-old to a septuagenarian with mild Parkinson’s can enjoy.
It follows a race of amorphous yellow blobs – the LocoRoco – on a quest to save their whimsical pastel-colored world where everything has a happy face from an alien invasion.
The game expands the concept of a platformer with unique controls that make you tilt the screen to move your character and six different LocoRoco species with unique qualities.
While the game can be enjoyed by anyone, mastering it is another story. Like Super Monkey Ball, clearing a stage is easy, but getting 100% completion requires real skill.
It’ll give you something to chew on for a long time.