What are the best PS5, PS4 games like Super Mario? No matter whether you're a hardcore gaming fanatic or just dipping your toe into video games, Mario is almost unanimously regarded as the king of platformers. However, you can't play Mario games just anywhere. They're exclusive to Nintendo's consoles, meaning those playing on PS5 and PS4 will have to settle for something else.
Fortunately, there are lots of fantastic platformers you can play instead. From small indie efforts to large scale platforming greats, the absence of Mario on PS5 and PS4 doesn't mean you're starved of options for some running, jumping, enemy-stomping fun. As part of our ongoing quest to bring you the best PS5 games and best PS4 games, we've compiled some of our favourite platformers, reminiscent of the plumber's 3D and 2D outings.
If you need a Mario-style fix on your PS5 or PS4, check out our recommendations for the best PS5, PS4 games like Super Mario below.
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If you grew up during the iconic era of collectathon N64 platformers like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, then A Hat in Time scratches a similar itch. You’ll spend large chunks of this vibrant and varied campaign double-jumping through 3D environments, gathering up floating orbs. Just like the releases it’s inspired by, the gameplay is inventive throughout, and it even features music by veteran Scottish composer Grant Kirkhope, who’s famous for collaborating with Rare on several legendary N64 soundtracks.
Released during the peak period of N64 platformers, Ape Escape was one of many attempts from Sony to capture the interest of Nintendo’s core audience. While its gameplay deviates fairly drastically from the main games of the era, arming you with a net you can use to capture the titular primates, its vivid Japanese aesthetic attracted comparisons to Super Mario 64, and went on to spawn a successful series in its own right. Key to this game’s historical impact is how it introduced the DualShock controller to the world, using the pad’s dual analogue sticks to enable independent control of protagonist Spike and his aforementioned net.
The biggest compliment you can pay 3D platformer Astro's Playroom is that it feels like a contemporary Super Mario game. Controlling the titular robot instils a similar kind of joy to Nintendo's mascot, and is elevated here through imaginative use of the PS5's uber-innovative DualSense controller. The best news is that if you own Sony's new-gen console, then you’re entitled to download and play this for free.
This pixelated, side-scrolling platformer harkens back to Mario's NES days, but establishes a rhythm and challenge all of its own. Ascending the titular mountain, each screen offers some intense, twitchy platforming, with optional collectibles to find and secrets hidden away. With wall jumps, air dashes, and other techniques at your disposal — not to mention all kinds of tricky obstacles in your path — Celeste is a brilliant 2D excursion with an impactful story to boot.
Developer Toys for Bob brought back a platforming legend in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, a direct sequel to Naughty Dog's original trilogy. Like your favourite Mario games, this jolly adventure has you running, jumping, and spinning through a series of increasingly difficult stages, on the hunt for Wumpa fruit, gems, and other hidden collectibles. With a gorgeous art style and even multiplayer options, It's About Time is up there with the bandicoot's best.
Back when developers were still figuring out how 3D games should look and feel, Naughty Dog established its own standard with Crash Bandicoot, which would quickly become an iconic PlayStation character. Although it plays fairly differently from Mario, the N. Sane Trilogy offers up some fun (and pretty tough) platforming as you explore all three of the character's classic games. Gathering Wumpa fruits through jungle paths, ancient ruins, and metallic fortresses, this cartoonish, colourful trio is well worth checking out for any platforming fan.
Don't let the unusual art style fool you — Demon Turf has a lot in common with the likes of Super Mario 64. A hub world leads to numerous crazy levels full of intricate platforming goodness, and your character has all the moves to navigate them. Gradually unlocking all sorts of extra abilities, you'll eventually have an expressive moveset that lets you pull off some crazy manoeuvres in your quest for best times, collectibles, and more.
It’s unlikely there’ll ever be another PlayStation game that sticks so closely to the Super Mario 64 blueprint like Jak & Daxter. This colourful PS2 debut from Crash Bandicoot developer Naughty Dog borrowed liberally from Nintendo’s iconic 3D platformer, whisking you to various different biomes to complete small gameplay challenges in reward for Precursor Orbs. The big innovation here was how each zone could be accessed from the main map, without any loading screens or segmentation. It was, in effect, an early PS2 example of an open world.
Like Mario games but wish they were a bit more Star Wars-y? LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an enormous platforming action game for all ages, letting you relive the entire nine-movie story in one package. With a ridiculous number of playable characters sporting various unique abilities, tracking down collectibles and working through puzzles is lots of fun whether playing solo or with a buddy in co-op.
If New Super Mario Bros. is more your speed, we can heartily recommend Rayman Legends. This side-scrolling platformer is bursting with whimsical charm, but more than that, it's a slick and endlessly fun adventure. Playing alone or with up to three others in co-op, this gorgeous game is a wall-jumping, enemy-splatting delight from start to finish, and that's to say nothing of the brilliant rhythm-based levels. Bursting with content and imagination alike, any Mario fan should have a blast with this.
While many of the other games on this list are directly inspired by Super Mario 64, the development team at Sumo Digital looked to Super Mario 3D World for inspiration in Sackboy’s big comeback campaign, Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Doing away with the user generated content of predecessor LittleBigPlanet, this co-op release puts all its energy into fun papercraft platforming sequences, presented from an isometric perspective. Its musical levels are a particular highlight, using licensed songs and integrating them into the level design to make for some truly memorable set piece moments.
Shovel Knight is a throwback to the NES era, reminiscent of those older Mario adventures. With big chunky sprites and a shovel at hand, it is a little different, but odds are if you like one, you'll like the other. Responsive controls, imaginative level design, and some unique abilities mean Shovel Knight is an entertaining ride all the way, and it's packed with extras that'll keep you playing for hours. If you want a taste of the old school, this will serve you well.
Mario's greatest rival is Sonic, and while fans go back and forth on which games are better, there's no doubt that Sonic Mania is among the hedgehog's best. Remixing retro favourites like Green Hill and Chemical Plant, then adding some all-new zones on top, this 2D platformer shows SEGA's mascot at his peak. Vibrant stages full of alternate paths make for one of the most consistent Sonic games ever, one that platforming fans should definitely play.
The collectathon formula established by Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie lives on in PS2-era platformers, and this remake of a fan favourite is still a blast today. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated is a great 3D platformer that makes great use of its licence for some simple underwater fun. Gather golden spatulas, fend off the robots, and save Bikini Bottom as SpongeBob and his pals. Unless you're not a fan of the cartoon, you should have a great time with this.
From the same studio that brought us the above remake, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is an all-new 3D platformer starring Nickelodeon's enduring icon. Again bringing back memories of late 90s / early 00s platformers, this colourful adventure has you rescuing Bikini Bottom's residents from a series of obscure dimensions, sending you through space and time to various themed worlds.
Another game partially inspired by Super Mario 64, Insomniac Games' Spyro series came back in style with Spyro: Reignited Trilogy. Revamping the original trilogy with modern visuals and improved controls, these are wonderful, light-hearted platformers with wide-open levels and plenty of stuff to collect. Dragon eggs, keys, gems — you'll be gathering all kinds of stuff as you jump, glide, charge, and breathe fire through a trio of beloved titles.
Yooka-Laylee was crowdfunded almost entirely on the back of a demand for N64 era platformers, specifically Banjo-Kazooie, as many ex-Rare employees assembled to form developer Playtonic just for this game. While it could be argued the title sticks a little too closely to the blueprints established in the mid-90s, you can’t argue with the nostalgia on offer here, as this plays almost exactly like it was originally made for Nintendo's third home console – warts and all. There are more polished platformers on PlayStation, but this captures a very specific era, and is undeniably entertaining if you grew up on a diet of 3D collectathons.
This departure from the previous Yooka-Laylee game puts the focus on some classic, challenging, side-scrolling platforming. If you like 2D Mario's more difficult obstacle courses, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair comes recommended. We particularly like its interactive, expanding overworld map, evolving levels, and jolly art style.
And that does it for our list of the best PS5, PS4 games like Super Mario. What do you think? Are there any other top notch platformers you would recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.