Benefiting from the merits of low cost, ultrahigh-energy densities, and environmentally friendliness, metal–sulfur batteries (M–S batteries) have drawn massive attention recently. However, their practical utilization is impeded by the shuttle effect and slow redox process of polysulfide. To solve these problems, enormous creative approaches have been employed to engineer new electrocatalytic materials to relieve the shuttle effect and promote the catalytic kinetics of polysulfides. In this review, recent advances on designing principles and active centers for polysulfide catalytic materials are systematically summarized. At first, the currently reported chemistries and mechanisms for the catalytic conversion of polysulfides are presented in detail. Subsequently, the rational design of polysulfide catalytic materials from catalytic polymers and frameworks to active sites loaded carbons for polysulfide catalysis to accelerate the reaction kinetics is comprehensively discussed. Current breakthroughs are highlighted and directions to guide future primary challenges, perspectives, and innovations are identified. Computational methods serve an ever-increasing part in pushing forward the active center design. In summary, a cutting-edge understanding to engineer different polysulfide catalysts is provided, and both experimental and theoretical guidance for optimizing future M–S batteries and many related battery systems are offered.