It’s impossible to argue that the Sony PlayStation Vita has potential. The successor to the PlayStation Portable has all the right features, but lacks the first party support that would have pushed it past its rival, the Nintendo 3DS.
While Sony isn’t spending time developing games for its own platform, other developers are releasing excellent games. If you’ve been thinking about picking one up, there are still plenty of great games to choose from.
One thing you should know is that many PS Vita games are cross-buy, meaning games you purchase for one platform (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, or PlayStation Vita) gets you a copy for another PlayStation console. Some games even offer cross-platform saves so you can continue where you left off.
Here’s a list of my picks for the best PlayStation Vita games.
Puzzle and platform games work really well on the PS Vita. Sound Shapes is a cross between platformer and music game. You traverse levels collecting song samples to recreate the track as you move throughout the stage. Even after you finish the game, there are tons of user created songs you can download and play. Sound Shapes was one of the first games released for the Vita but is still worth the download.
The Walking Dead Seasons 1 and 2
Telltale Games has been crafting its iconic gameplay style for years but it wasn’t until The Walking Dead series that the developer jumped into the spotlight. The Walking Dead forces you to make difficult decisions in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. If you finished the first season, you can import your save into Season 2 and continue with all your previous choices added to the game. While Telltale is working on other properties, The Walking Dead is still among the developer’s best games to date.
Guacamelee! is an action platformer that combines a hilarious story with addictive gameplay. Using a mystical luchador mask, you try to save El Presidente’s Daughter from Carlos Calaca, an evil skeleton that can navigate both worlds of the living and the dead. The game’s style and polished gameplay are among the best for Vita games and one of the best showcases for platformers on the console.
Developed by Vanillaware and originally released for the Nintendo Wii, Muramasa Rebirth is a port of that game onto the Vita. The game is an action/slash RPG and features detailed graphics and simple but complex gameplay. The two branching storylines give you a reason to play the game more than once. If you’re a collector, attempting to forge every sword in the game is a challenge in itself. Muramasa Rebirth’s DLC adds four extra characters and stories to extend the life of the title even further.
Persona 4 Golden
Originally released on PlayStation 2, this PS Vita remake adds a lot of new content. like new characters, animated cutscenes and additional Personas. The Vita is home to many localized Japanese role playing games but Persona 4 Golden is one of the “must-play” classics. The gameplay hasn’t changed so you still get to experience the challenging turn-based combat of the original along with the strange story the series is known for.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
If you’re looking for a difficult dungeon crawler, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is the perfect game for you. It’s a remake of the original Flash game but has been updated with 16-bit graphics and a new engine. The visuals of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth can be a little disturbing, as each character in the game is designed with adult themes and is definitely not a game for children. The gameplay is challenging and addictive; expect to fail a lot in the beginning before you start figuring out the right way to play and complete the dungeons your first time.
Retro City Rampage DX
Retro City Rampage DX is a remaster of the original Retro City Rampage. Drawing inspiration from Grand Theft Auto, the game includes a lot of tributes to ’80s franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Metal Gear. The 8-bit style fits the Nintendo Entertainment System days and includes a big story mode along with other mini-missions for you discover. You can also switch between the original RCR or RCR DX in the settings. Even though it has a simple graphic style, the depth of Retro City Rampage DX is staggering.
When it was first released on the PlayStation 4, Resogun offered impressive graphics and challenging gameplay. A port of the game was released for the Vita a year later and while it doesn’t run at 60 frames per second like the PS4, its 30 FPS actually makes the game a little easier. Its simple controls and addictive gameplay makes Resogun highly replayable. Like mobile games for Android or iOS, Resogun can be a quick game to play on your commute.
Where as Skate is the perfect skateboarding game, OliiOlli is the perfect arcade skateboarding game. While its simple graphics make OlliOlli look dated, the gameplay is still amazing. Use the analog stick to perform tricks, the shoulder buttons to rotate, and the X button to land perfectly. Completing massive combos in OlliOlli requires precision and skill. It’s also frustratingly difficult since you die instantly. If you trip and fall, your run is over and you have to start over. With OlliOlli 2 on the way, OlliOlli is will help you hone your skills before playing the sequel.
The tagline for Metrico is “a game about infographics and free will” but what it really is is an extremely difficult puzzle platformer. While it looks graphically simple, the stylish visuals add to the tone of the game. Your goal is to get through the level by using the different obstacles to your advantage. Metrico is a game of trial and error. You will have to think before acting because one wrong choice will force you to start from the beginning. The basic gameplay is easy to understand but it won’t take long before you’re staring at one point and trying to figure out how to get past it.
Third party developers are helping breathe life to the PlayStation Vita. Sony may see the Vita as an extension of the PlayStation 4, but it’s an underutilized platform that continues display potential. While there hasn’t been much news about the console, there are more games coming in 2015. Stay tuned for news about upcoming games for the Vita.
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