Published on February 11, 2022    Updated on August 6, 2022

19 Best PlayStation 2 Platformer Games

The PS2 library is rich when it comes to platformers, so we're taking a look at the best platforming games it has to offer!

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Back in the fifth generation of consoles, the platforming genre was the dominant factor in the industry. And while it would flourish during its transition to the PS2, it would also falter to the point where the genre stopped being the main king of the game. However, the sixth generation of consoles as a whole proved that the platforming genre is capable of mixing ideas from different genres and introducing memorable fun-to-play experiences.

A fine example is the evolution of the Jak and Daxter series. The first entry started with collecting precursors and gazing at the spectacular sceneries, to blasting guards and being edgy.

We take a look at the best platformers on the PlayStation 2, including popular titles and lesser-known as well as obscure ones. Hopefully, you discover something new here.

Vexx


2003

About
Release Date
February 10, 2003
Developer & Publisher
Acclaim Entertainment
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-02-10
2003-04-04

Vexx is a 3D platformer that is slightly similar to Banjo-Kazooie, and Super Mario 64, but it still manages to carve a personality of its own. Vexx can climb on certain walls, attack enemies using his gauntlets, swim deep into the water and utilize special abilities that will help him reach new places. It is extremely painful that the game ends up with a cliffhanger which means the story is not yet finished. We can only hope that a remaster will happen in the distant future.

The PS2 was home to a myriad of underappreciated platformers, and Vexx is one of them. Developed and published by Acclaim back in 2003, the game puts you in the shoes of our little angry hero Vexx seeking out revenge on the Shadowraith, Dark Yabu who murdered his grandfather. After stumbling across the Astani Battle-Gauntlets, he now possesses all the power to take on Dark Yabu and his minions.

Ape Escape 3


2005 サルゲッチュ3 (Saru Getchu Suri)

About
Release Date
July 14, 2005
Developer
Japan Studio
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2005-07-14
2006-01-17
2006-05-05
2006-05-18

Ape Escape 3 is considered the last main game to hit the stores, and fans of the series have yet to see the fourth game in the foreseeable future. Thankfully, unlike the spin-offs, you can still obtain the main games on eBay or emulate them using PCSX2.

The Ape Escape franchise made its debut on the original PlayStation and was one of the first games to make use of what is known as Dualshock these days. Similar to its predecessors, you are on the hunt to catch as many apes as you can. These apes may look cute but looks can be deceiving. Unlike Ape Escape 2 where you only had one playable character, in this entry players had the ability to choose between two characters: Kei and Yumi. The game is mostly played through stages where the goal is to catch monkeys, and as you progress, you collect new gadgets that will help you further.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy


2003

About
Release Date
November 10, 2003
Developer
Eurocom
Publisher
THQ
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2003-11-10
2004-02-20

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy’s story centres around two heroes: Sphinx and his mummy friend, Tutankhamen. They must cooperate together in order to defeat the evil Seth and restore peace to the land. The gameplay is mostly open world with Sphinx going from one city to another, conversing with NPCs, fighting monsters and collecting items. Meanwhile, the mummy’s job is to go through a series of puzzles which always ends up with obtaining a certain artefact that will help Sphinx in his journey. Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy isn’t a Legend of Zelda clone as many like to boast about, it’s far from it, and one that is worth your time.

The release and success of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sparked a huge impact on developers who wanted to capitalize on its success by following in its footsteps. However, titles such as Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, while borrowing influence from the former, manages to cement an identity of their own.

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil


2001 風のクロノア2 〜世界が望んだ忘れもの〜 (Kaze no Klonoa Tsu - The Forgotten One the World Wanted)

About
Release Date
March 22, 2001
Developer & Publisher
Namco
Genre
2D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2001-03-21
2001-03-22
2001-07-25
2001-11-09

Klonoa 2: Lunatea Veil or also known as Kaze no Klonoa 2 in Japan, is a 2.5D platformer that is pretty unknown these days. Klonoa 2 was made with love and passion. It manages to absorb you into its world instantly, and you’ll find yourself stuck in your seat playing for hours.

The best aspects of Klonoa games are the music and the fun yet simple level design that caters to every type of gamer out there. The voice acting ( in English) is also cute and unique for a game like this. The graphics are charming and suits the game philosophy quite well. The only complaint you’ll be having with Klonoa 2 is the short length of the game as it’s easy to lose yourself in. Klonoa 2 is a recommended 2.5D platformer, and you shouldn’t miss it.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves


2004

About
Release Date
September 14, 2004
Developer
Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Franchise
Sly Cooper
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-09-14
2004-10-29
2005-06-16

Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves is a 3D platformer that puts you in the shoes of a group of three thieves: Murray, Bently, and Sly. Three thieves whose goal in life is to steal from other thieves and sabotage their plans while inspector Carmelita Fox is always on the hunt for them. The story is pretty similar to that of Lupin the 3rd if you ask me, as both of these games feature non-stop action and a funny sense of humour.

Before its success with Ghost of Tsushima and the Infamous series, Sucker Punch had a promising debut with the Sly Cooper series. The first game was released back in 2002 and the sequel would go on to be released two years after. The sequel improved almost everything that made the first game frustrating to some. Featuring an improved cel-shaded style, better controls, larger open levels, three playable characters and most importantly, a health meter. You no longer need to worry about being killed with a single hit which was quite great, at least for me.

Pitfall: The Lost Expedition


2004

About
Release Date
February 18, 2004
Developer
Edge of Reality
Publisher
Activision
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-02-18
2004-02-20
2004-02-20

Pitfall: The Lost Expedition puts you on a beautiful island brimming with nature, crazy monkeys, crazy villagers, and crazy momma gorillas. Your mission is to uncover the mysteries of the island, and as you progress, you obtain new power-ups and abilities that will help you reach new places. Pitfall: The Lost Expedition is a nice and fun game to play if you like to hunt down obscure titles.

The sixth game and last entry in the Pitfall franchise before the series would go on to be forgotten among other similar platformers. This last entry revamped many aspects fans of the series loved about previous titles, and instead gave it the 3D treatment. I personally liked what the developers did with this one. It may suffer from some frustrating experiences such as the dreadful penguins in the ice levels, and especially the angry momma gorillas, but overall, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition did a great job at imagining the world of Pitfall through the 3D lens.

Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer


2005

About
Release Date
September 02, 2005
Developer
VIS Entertainment
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2005-09-02
2007-04-03

Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer was the last game to be developed by VIS Entertainment before they were shut down. The former is an average 3D platformer that puts you in the shoes of Brave whom the prophecy says is the awaited warrior who will save his tribe from the evil Wendigo.

The gameplay mostly revolves around platforming and fighting a bunch of enemies ranging from bad wolves to several creatures using an axe or a bow. Brave can also mimic animal sounds which will help him solve simple puzzles, not only that but you can also fish in the game, and even ride a giant eagle. Although these moments are short-lived as the further you progress, you’ll notice that the game will put a huge emphasis mostly on the action. That is not to say Brave is a bad game, but if you’re expecting something of the likes of Vexx or Crash Bandicoot, you should lower your expectations with this one. Still, it is fun to play if you enjoy hunting obscure titles.

Crash Twinsanity


2004

About
Release Date
September 28, 2004
Developer
Traveller's Tales
Publisher
Vivendi Games
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-09-28
2004-10-08
2004-10-26
2004-12-09

Crash: Twinsanity is considered to be one of the best entries in the franchise. This new entry moved away from the claustrophobic level designs of previous titles to pursue a fully interactive 3D world.  In addition, the game featured Cortex as a playable character which was unheard of in previous titles. The music was one of the major points that drew attention to Crash Twinsanity as well as the cartoon-like visuals that looked vibrant and colourful.

With all the positivity aside, the camera can prove to be annoying at times along with other hurdles such as the distance between each checkpoint, as well as, the occasionally frustrating platforming levels where the controls may feel a bit robotic and unresponsive. Still, if you are a fan of 3D platformers, you should definitely play this one. If Crash: Twinsanity wasn’t enough, you can give Whiplash a shot as well.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal


2004

About
Release Date
November 12, 2004
Developer
Insomniac Games
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-11-02
2004-11-12
2004-11-24

Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal takes the 3D platforming to new heights by incorporating a blend of over-the-top action third-person shooting and platforming sequences. At the time of the release of Up Your Arsenal, having guns in a 3D platformer wasn’t that common. In the game, you’ll be blasting waves of enemies using an array of guns at your disposal while jumping from one corner to another.

Jak 3


2004

About
Release Date
November 09, 2004
Developer
Naughty Dog
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Franchise
Jak and Daxter
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-11-09
2004-11-26
2004-11-28
2005-08-23

Jak 3 is a unique blend of different ideas (platforming, open-world, and shooting) that were pretty uncommon at the time. The game takes inspiration from several titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Mad Max, and Smuggler’s Run while staying true to what made the Jak and Daxter trilogy fun to play.

While Naughty Dog owes all its thanks to the Crash Bandicoot trilogy for making it the popular company it is nowadays, the company has had an incredible foray into the PS2 with the Jak and Daxter series. The first entry was a typical 3D platformer, meanwhile, the second and the third games featured guns, the ability to drive futuristic cars and most importantly, transform into Dark Jak.

Maximo vs Army of Zin


2003 魔界英雄記 マキシモ ~マシンモンスターの野望 (Makai Eiyūki Makishimo: Mashin Monsutā no Yabō)

About
Release Date
September 18, 2003
Developer & Publisher
Capcom
Franchise
Ghosts 'n Goblins
Genre
Hack & Slash
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2003-09-18
2003-11-27
2004-01-20
2004-02-13

Maximo vs Army of Zin is the direct sequel to Maximo: Ghosts to Glory and is a spin-off of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise. Maximo vs Army of Zin takes off from where Ghosts to Glory left off. Achille is defeated, but Queen Sophia is sadly still missing. Maximo embarks on a journey to find her only to be distracted by the menace that is the army of Zin. Our brave king is tasked to protect an entire nation from Zin who is threatening to wreak havoc on earth if not stopped.

While heavily focusing on hacking and slashing most of the time, the game features many platforming levels where Maximo has to jump from one corner to another, unlock doors, defeat enemies and so forth. It is quite shocking that a third game will never happen as even Capcom pretends the game never existed in the first place.

Rayman 2: The Great Escape


1999

About
Release Date
October 01, 1999
Developer
Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher
Ubisoft
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
France
PS2 Releases
2000-12-22
2001-01-30
2001-05-31

Known as Rayman 2: Revolution on the PS2, the game is an enhanced edition of the original PS1, N64, PC and Sega Dreamcast version. Unlike the original which focused on a linear experience, Revolution features open-world levels, new cutscenes, powers, dialogues and more. While many prefer Revolution over The Great Escape, according to the creator Michel Ancel, in his opinion, Rayman 2: The Great Escape on the Dreamcast remains the best version.

The story has you controlling Rayman who has to stop the pirate Razorbeard after he invaded the Glade of Dreams along with his minions. Rayman will encounter several characters who will lend him help in this beautiful adventure.

Ōkami


2006 大神 (Great God)

About
Release Date
April 20, 2006
Developer
Clover Studio
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2006-04-20
2006-09-19
2007-02-09
2007-02-14

Okami is one of the best things that happened in the history of games. It is a blend of platforming, open-world exploring, fighting, puzzles and mini-games. And thanks to its cel-shaded art style, Okami takes the experience to a whole new level.

Despite all these years, the game still manages to stand the test of time, both on the visual and the gameplay side. The story sees you controlling Amaterasu, a mystical God wolf who is awakened from his slumber to rescue the world from the darkness. You will converse with mortals as you progress, and gain new mystical powers from other Gods. Okami is an experience that you won’t forget about once you dive deep into it.

Kya: Dark Lineage


2003

About
Release Date
November 18, 2003
Developer
Eden Games
Publisher
Atari
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-11-18
2004-02-02
2005-05-28

Kya: Dark Lineage is an interesting blend of beat ’em ups and platforming which surprisingly works well. The game also features a gameplay system similar to that of Gravity Rush in which Kya must fly in the air to reach new places. The game was developed by a French developer known as Eden Games which is mostly known for Alone in the Dark. Kya was the company’s attempt to breach into new genres, but sadly the game didn’t perform quite well on the commercial side.

Still, if you’re into an interesting 3D platformer with a mixture of different ideas sandwiched together, Kya: Dark Lineage is worthy.

Sonic Heroes


2003 ソニック ヒーローズ (Sonikku Hīrōzu)

About
Release Date
December 30, 2003
Developer
Sonic Team
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2003-12-30
2004-01-27
2004-02-02
2004-02-06

Sonic Heroes still remains a recommended entry in the franchise despite all these years. This particular entry was developed to appeal to casuals and those unfamiliar with previous Sonic games as it broke free of the formula used in games such as Sonic Adventures. The game focuses on 3D platforming and features linear levels that Sonic and his two buddies Knuckles and Tails have to tackle in order to reach their objectives.

Spyro: A Hero’s Tail


2004

About
Release Date
November 09, 2004
Developer
Eurocom
Publisher
Vivendi Games
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-11-09
2004-11-09
2004-11-12

Spyro: A Hero’s Tail, similar to Crash: Twinsanity, attempted to test different ideas altogether. Such as the addition of new powers, several playable characters, the addition of ledge-gripping and more. However, much like Crash Twinsanity, the game sadly suffered from some frustrating platforming levels that may turn off many gamers.

Still, a die-hard fan of Spyro games, or even someone new to the franchise will enjoy this one. It is still considered a better game than Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly but sadly suffered from the same fate as Crash: Wrath of Cortex.

Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch?


2006

About
Release Date
October 19, 2006
Developer
Behaviour Interactive
Publisher
Buena Vista Games
Genre
2D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2006-10-19
2006-11-17
2007-02-19

Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch is a hidden gem 2.5D platformer that was unknown even upon its release. The plot follows Kim on her pursuit to stop Dr Drakken and Shego from stealing a magical Monkey Idol. Amidst their fight over the Monkey idol, Kim’s friend, Ron gets his mind switched with Dr Drakken. Kim’s attempt to bring Ron’s mind to his original body fails when another villain known as Professor Dementor appears and steals the Idol from their hands. Kim takes off to retrieve the Monkey idol to save her friend, but she is unaware that Shego has the same goal. Ultimately, their path crosses to team up against Dementor and take him down.

I-Ninja


2003

About
Release Date
November 04, 2003
Developer
Argonaut Games
Publisher
Namco
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-11-18
2004-02-11

The I-Ninja game was one of Argonaut Games’ latest works before they shut down back in 2004. I-Ninja puts you in the sandals of an angry little ninja who has accidentally touched a Rage Stone only to end up taking the life of his sensei. Feeling guilty about what he committed, his sensei raises from the dead as a ghost to inform him that other Rage Stones can be found across the land, and using them will grant him the power to defeat O-Dor, the main villain of the game.

While the game may seem to cater to kids, the later levels in the game are challenging, and will even put a grown-up man’s skills to the test. Additionally, I-Ninja features a mixture of action hacking and slashing and platforming. Visually speaking, the game is colourful and stunning to look at, making each corner of the game diverse and unique. The action is entertaining, and the level design of each level makes the game stand out from other platformers. It is a shame that Argonaut Games no longer exists because the company had the potential to grow.

Legend of Kay


2005

About
Release Date
March 04, 2005
Developer
Neon Studios
Publisher
JoWooD
Genre
3D Platformer
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Germany
PS2 Releases
2005-03-04
2005-09-20

The Legend of Kay is one of the best 3D platformers that many weren’t aware of upon its release. And while the game would go on to receive a remaster on modern consoles and PC, it would sadly still remain obscure amidst all other platforming games.

The Legend of Kay has you playing as a brave cat warrior known as Kay. Growing tired of the tyranny, Kay leaves his village in order to stop the dictator rats and gorillas who have been using their power to exploit every innocent life.  The game has you meeting different kinds of species such as Pandas, Cats, Frogs, Wolves and more.

That’s it for the list, thank you for reading.

FreeckyCake

Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but is still open to any game in the industry if you ask him. His love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and whenever he meets a new friend, he can't help himself but recommend it to him.

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