The 5 Best Platformers for the PlayStation 1

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The ’90s saw incredible innovation within the platforming genre, with the PlayStation 1 being home to several genre-defining titles and franchises.

First landing in Japan in December 1994, the PlayStation 1 was an ambitious console, with Sony plunging into the video game landscape in an audacious manner. In order to stand out and succeed, the console needed a library of popular and critically acclaimed titles. Sony assembled just that, and a number of those exceptional releases came from the platformer genre.

This generation of games was a hotbed of innovation and pioneers. In terms of platformers, Super Mario 64 changed the game over on the Nintendo 64 in 1996, then acting as the measuring stick for what a modern platformer looked and played like. While some have been lost in Sony’s shuffle, this selection of PlayStation 1 platformers matched and surpassed those expectations, still standing as super enjoyable experiences for gamers even to this day.


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Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee


Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee launched in late 1997 as an extremely unique entry into the PS1’s growing catalog. Where most games might look to empower the player, Abe’s Oddysee strips things back, putting players in the shoes of the titular Abe, a weak Mudokon runt on a quest to liberate his people. Abe’s Oddysee found acclaim from its compelling narrative and art direction, but the gameplay is what secured it as a legend of the PS1. The game is known for being notoriously difficult, with a complex and sophisticated approach taken to the puzzles. Abe’s Oddysee challenges the player, requiring them to put more thought than ever into a platformer. After all, they are trying to liberate an entire enslaved people.

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile


Originally released in 1998, Klonoa: Door to Phatomile saw players take on the role of Klonoa, an adorable, fuzzy character going on an adventure to save the world from the evil forces of nightmares. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was an early adopter of the 2.5D perspective in platformers. While the action takes place on a side-scrolling 2D plane, the environments framing it are all rendered in 3D — seen in more recent hits like the LittleBigPlanet series. Whilst seemingly simplistic to begin with, Door to Phantomile‘s puzzles continually developed as the game progressed, compelling players to build upon tactics and using a combination of methods to reach the next stage of their quest.

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Spyro: Year of the Dragon


After releasing two back-to-back hits with Spyro the Dragon and Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!, Insomniac Games built upon their foundations for the threequel, Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Spyro had become an icon of the PS1 after his first two titles, but Year of the Dragon hammered that point home. The series had already improved upon the 3D platforming genre, tasking characters with exploring hub worlds and using various abilities to complete tasks, but Year of the Dragon took all the best aspects of the previous two to new heights. This third installment in the series introduced the ability to play as a range of characters to assist Spyro on his quest, an ambitious feature to include and pull off well, even today.

Rayman 2: The Great Escape


Like Mario before him, Rayman also took the bold step from side-scroller to open 3D platformer with the release of 1999’s Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Developed by Ubisoft, Rayman 2 received universal praise for near enough every aspect of its creation and won the hearts of many PS1 owners. The game was lauded for its near limitless appeal and accessibility, acting as a welcome entry for young audiences and hitting the spot for seasoned gamers. Slick gameplay, impressive visuals and an inviting world made Rayman 2 an exemplar…

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