The PlayStation 2 (PS2) was home to a plethora of incredible platformer games. These games offered players a unique blend of challenging gameplay, captivating stories, and memorable characters.
In this article, we will explore some of the best PS2 platformers that left a lasting impact on gamers.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
Let’s kick things off with a beloved game based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. In “SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom,” players take on the role of SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy as they aim to defeat the evil Plankton and save Bikini Bottom from destruction.
The game’s colorful visuals and charming humor drew players in, while the tight controls and varied levels provided a satisfying gameplay experience. Whether you were traversing Jellyfish Fields or exploring the spooky depths of Rock Bottom, “SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom” offered hours of platforming fun.
One of the standout features of the game was its faithful recreation of the beloved SpongeBob SquarePants universe. From the iconic pineapple house where SpongeBob lives to the bustling streets of Bikini Bottom, every location was meticulously designed to capture the essence of the cartoon series. Players could even interact with familiar characters like Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and Gary the snail, adding an extra layer of immersion.
“SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom” was a delightful gaming experience that captured the essence of the beloved cartoon series. With its charming visuals, tight controls, and engaging gameplay, it offered hours of fun for fans of all ages. So grab your spatula and get ready to save Bikini Bottom in this unforgettable adventure!
In “I-Ninja,” players step into the shoes of a small ninja on a mission to defeat an evil warlord. With its fast-paced gameplay and fluid combat mechanics, this game offered a refreshing take on the platforming genre.
What set “I-Ninja” apart from other platformers was its unique combination of platforming challenges and intense combat sequences. Players were able to execute acrobatic moves and unleash powerful attacks, making every encounter a thrilling experience. With its vibrant visuals and engaging gameplay mechanics, “I-Ninja” easily secured its place as one of the best PS2 platformers.
As players embarked on their journey as the small but mighty ninja, they would find themselves traversing through various vibrant and visually stunning environments. From lush forests to treacherous mountain peaks, each level was meticulously designed to immerse players in a world filled with danger and excitement.
The combat mechanics in “I-Ninja” were nothing short of exhilarating. Players had a wide range of attacks at their disposal, from lightning-fast sword strikes to devastating special moves. The fluidity of the combat system allowed players to chain together combos effortlessly, creating a visually stunning display of ninja prowess.
With its innovative gameplay mechanics, stunning visuals, and captivating story, “I-Ninja” quickly became a fan favorite among PS2 platformer enthusiasts.
Contra: Shattered Soldier
Next up, we have a platformer game that needs no introduction – “Contra: Shattered Soldier.” This legendary series has been synonymous with intense shooting action, and “Shattered Soldier” delivered that and more.
The game’s challenging levels and colossal bosses kept players on their toes. With its tight controls and adrenaline-pumping gameplay, “Contra: Shattered Soldier” provided an exhilarating experience for gamers craving a platformer with an added dose of intense gunplay.
“Contra: Shattered Soldier” is a must-play for fans of the platformer genre. Its intense shooting action, stunning visuals, and memorable soundtrack make it a standout entry in the legendary “Contra” series.
Ape Escape 3
If you were a fan of monkey-catching escapades, then “Ape Escape 3” was the perfect platformer for you. In this delightful game, players were tasked with capturing mischievous monkeys using a variety of wacky gadgets.
The game featured colorful and imaginative levels, each with its own set of challenges. From snowy mountains to bustling cities, “Ape Escape 3” took players on a wild adventure. With its charming characters and creative gameplay mechanics, this platformer was a standout title on the PS2.
“Ape Escape 3” was a platformer that excelled in every aspect. Its engaging gameplay, stunning visuals, memorable characters, and multiplayer mode made it a must-play title for fans of the genre. Whether you were a seasoned gamer or new to the world of monkey-catching escapades, this game provided hours of fun and entertainment that would keep you hooked from start to finish.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
“Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc” brought the iconic limbless hero, Rayman, back for another exciting adventure. This time, Rayman found himself facing off against an army of mischievous Hoodlums.
The game’s gorgeous visuals and colorful environments breathed life into the platforming genre. Players navigated through a variety of imaginative levels, battling enemies and collecting collectibles along the way. With its whimsical charm and engaging gameplay, “Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc” was a standout platformer on the PS2.
Ape Escape 2
Continuing the monkey-catching fun, “Ape Escape 2” took everything that made the original game great and made it even better. In this sequel, players once again embarked on a mission to capture monkeys, but this time they had an expanded arsenal of gadgets at their disposal.
“Ape Escape 2” built upon the successful formula of its predecessor, offering challenging levels, clever puzzles, and memorable encounters with mischievous monkeys. With its humorous tone and addictive gameplay, “Ape Escape 2” solidified its place as a must-play PS2 platformer.
Maximo vs Army of Zin
Prepare for a dark and challenging platforming experience in “Maximo vs Army of Zin.” In this game, players assumed the role of Maximo, a heroic knight on a quest to defeat an army of mechanical monsters known as Zin.
The game’s Gothic-inspired visuals and atmospheric levels created a sense of dread and excitement. “Maximo vs Army of Zin” tested players’ skills with its tough enemies and intricate level design. With its satisfying combat mechanics and haunting atmosphere, this platformer offered a unique experience on the PS2.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
Get ready for a thrilling heist adventure with “Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.” In this game, players joined the crafty raccoon thief, Sly Cooper, and his gang as they pulled off daring robberies and outsmarted their enemies.
“Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves” combined platforming gameplay with stealth mechanics, creating a dynamic and engaging experience. Players tackled a variety of challenges and utilized each character’s unique abilities to overcome obstacles. With its intricate heist missions and charming characters, this platformer stood out as one of the best on the PS2.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
Last but certainly not least, we have “Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil,” a whimsical journey through dreamlike realms. Players took on the role of Klonoa, a cat-like creature with the ability to capture and use enemies to aid in his platforming adventures.
The game’s beautiful visuals and enchanting music transported players to a world filled with wonder and imagination. “Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil” offered inventive level design and clever puzzles, ensuring there was never a dull moment. With its captivating charm and inventive gameplay mechanics, this platformer was an absolute gem on the PS2.
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
Finishing off our list is “Maximo: Ghosts to Glory.” In this game, players embarked on a challenging quest to rescue the princess from the clutches of evil forces. Inspired by classic hack-and-slash platformers, “Maximo: Ghosts to Glory” offered a refreshing blend of action, platforming, and puzzle-solving.
The game’s dark and immersive world, along with its tight controls and satisfying combat, created an engaging experience. Players explored treacherous levels filled with deadly traps and formidable enemies. With its challenging gameplay and nostalgic appeal, “Maximo: Ghosts to Glory” deserves a spot among the best PS2 platformers.
Rayman 2 Revolution
One of the first titles to grab gamers’ attention was “Rayman 2 Revolution.” Developed by Ubisoft, this game took the platforming genre to new heights with its captivating story and vibrant world.
Playing as the lovable limbless hero, Rayman, players would navigate through various environments, battling enemies and collecting Lums to save the Glade of Dreams.
With its stunning visuals and creative level design, “Rayman 2 Revolution” was an absolute gem for platformer enthusiasts.
“Rayman 2 Revolution” left a lasting impression on gamers. It became a beloved classic and a shining example of the platforming genre’s potential. Even years after its release, the game continues to be remembered as a masterpiece that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the world of video games.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
Another platformer that captured the hearts of PS2 players was “Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.” Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, this game followed the adventures of the sneaky raccoon thief, Sly Cooper, and his trusty gang.
Taking inspiration from heist movies, “Sly Cooper” brought a unique blend of stealth, platforming, and puzzle-solving to the table.
“Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus” became an instant hit in the platforming genre, thanks to its charming art style, memorable characters, well-designed levels, and captivating soundtrack.
It was a game that appealed to both young and old, offering a delightful blend of stealth, platforming, and puzzle-solving.
The “Jak and Daxter” series became a staple in the PS2 library, and “Jak 3” proved to be its crowning achievement. Developed by Naughty Dog, this platformer transported players to a post-apocalyptic world filled with futuristic cities, dangerous wastelands, and captivating lore. As Jak, players went on a mission to save the world from impending doom, encountering numerous challenges and unexpected allies along the way.
What made “Jak 3” stand out was its seamless blend of platforming, shooting, and vehicular combat. Players could explore the vast open-world environment on foot or traverse it using various vehicles, adding a sense of freedom and adventure to the gameplay.
The game also introduced new gameplay mechanics, such as Jak’s Light Jak and Dark Jak forms, which added depth and variety to combat encounters. With its breathtaking visuals, immersive storyline, and a world full of secrets waiting to be discovered, “Jak 3” became a true masterpiece in the platforming genre.
When it comes to unique and mind-bending experiences, “Psychonauts” stands in a league of its own. Developed by Double Fine Productions, this platformer took players on a journey inside the minds of different characters, exploring their deepest fears, memories, and desires.
Playing as Raz, a young psychic, players embarked on a quest to uncover a sinister plot threatening the Psychonauts organization.
“Psychonauts” was known for its imaginative level design, each one representing a different mental landscape. From the vibrant and cheerful minds of campers to the twisted nightmares of troubled individuals, every level presented a new challenge and an opportunity for players to exercise their platforming skills.
The game’s witty dialogue, memorable characters, and clever puzzles contributed to its cult following. “Psychonauts” was truly a platformer like no other, pushing boundaries and taking players on a rollercoaster ride through the human mind.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Continuing the adventures of the lovable raccoon thief, “Sly Cooper,” “Sly 2: Band of Thieves” built upon the success of its predecessor. Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, this platformer introduced a new level of complexity and depth to the series’ gameplay and narrative.
Players were now tasked with assembling a team and pulling off complex heists across various locations around the world.
The game’s open-world structure allowed players to plan their heists, choose their approach, and utilize the unique abilities of each character in their gang. From the agile Bentley to the nimble Murray, each member played a crucial role in the success of the missions.
Adding to the excitement were the intense boss battles and the cleverly designed missions that challenged players’ wits and platforming skills. With its engaging story, dynamic gameplay mechanics, and a wide range of characters to love, “Sly 2: Band of Thieves” became a standout title in the PS2 platformer library.
Building upon the success of the original “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy,” “Jak II” took the series in a darker and more mature direction. Developed by Naughty Dog, this platformer introduced players to a dystopian city filled with crime, corruption, and advanced technology.
As Jak, players embarked on a mission to uncover the truth behind their mysterious transformation and bring justice to the city.
What made “Jak II” stand out was its seamless integration of platforming, shooting, and open-world exploration. The city of Haven became a living, breathing environment, filled with various districts, each offering a unique set of challenges and quests.
The game’s time manipulation mechanic, granting Jak the ability to slow down time and unleash devastating attacks, added a strategic element to combat encounters. With its gripping storyline, intense action sequences, and a world ripe for exploration, “Jak II” solidified its position as one of the best platformers on the PS2.
Ratchet & Clank
No list of PS2 platformers would be complete without mentioning the iconic duo, Ratchet and Clank. Developed by Insomniac Games, the first installment in the “Ratchet & Clank” series introduced players to a universe filled with bizarre creatures, high-tech gadgets, and thrilling space battles.
Playing as Ratchet, a Lombax mechanic, and Clank, a small and highly intelligent robot, players embarked on an intergalactic adventure to stop the evil Chairman Drek from destroying entire planets.
“Ratchet & Clank” offered a perfect blend of platforming, shooting, and exploration. The game’s upgradeable weapons and gadgets allowed players to approach combat encounters in their style, whether it be blasting enemies with explosive firepower or using stealth to outmaneuver them.
The game’s humorous writing, lively characters, and stunning visuals made it an instant hit among PS2 owners. “Ratchet & Clank” set the standard for future installments in the series, showcasing the true potential of platformers on the PS2.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Before the dystopian cities and advanced technology, there was “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.” Developed by Naughty Dog, this platformer kickstarted the beloved “Jak and Daxter” series and set the stage for its subsequent installments.
Players witnessed the origin of the duo’s adventures as they traversed a colorful and vibrant world in search of a way to transform Daxter back into his human form.
“Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” captured the essence of classic platforming, offering players a seamless and enjoyable experience. From navigating treacherous platforms to battling quirky enemies, every aspect of the game felt meticulously crafted.
The game’s charming characters, breathtaking visuals, and memorable soundtrack created a captivating atmosphere that drew players in from the start. It’s no wonder that this game became a fan-favorite and laid the foundation for the beloved franchise.
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
The success of the first game paved the way for the highly anticipated sequel, “Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando.” Once again, players embarked on an epic adventure with Ratchet and Clank as they faced a new threat to the galaxy.
This time, players were introduced to a wide array of imaginative planets, each offering unique challenges and hidden secrets.
“Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando” expanded upon the gameplay mechanics of its predecessor, introducing new weapons, gadgets, and gameplay elements.
The game’s focus on customization and the upgrade system allowed players to tailor their playstyle and experiment with different strategies. The witty writing, stunning visuals, and fast-paced action made this installment an unforgettable experience for platformer enthusiasts.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
The third entry in the “Ratchet & Clank” series, “Up Your Arsenal,” elevated the franchise to new heights. Developed by Insomniac Games, this platformer continued the intergalactic adventures of Ratchet and Clank as they faced off against the evil alien dictator, Emperor Tachyon.
“Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal” introduced a multiplayer component, allowing players to compete against each other in various modes. This addition brought a new level of excitement and replayability to the game, making it a popular choice for multiplayer enthusiasts.
Alongside its engaging storyline, the game featured improved gameplay mechanics, a vast arsenal of weapons, and challenging boss battles. “Up Your Arsenal” cemented the “Ratchet & Clank” series as a powerhouse in the platforming genre.
The PlayStation 2 was undoubtedly a golden era for platformers, and the titles mentioned above represent the very best the console had to offer.
Whether you prefer the whimsical adventures of Rayman, the stealthy exploits of Sly Cooper, or the epic journeys of Jak and Ratchet, these platformers delivered unforgettable gameplay experiences that continue to be cherished by gamers to this day.
So dust off your PS2, grab a controller, and dive into the wonderful world of platforming excellence – you won’t be disappointed.