Sony’s Playstation Vita is somewhat of a peculiarity, amidst all the smartphones, low-cost game apps, and touchscreen controls; the Vita is hefty handheld option. Regardless, we are fond of this pricy, portable, powerful gaming console and the wide variety of unique games you can play on it.
With a lot of buttons, sticks, touch panels, and many online features, the Vita provides graphical horsepower unlike any we’ve seen before in handheld gaming. You can also remotely stream PS4 games, which, under the right conditions, can really work well. Additionally, you have the option to download and play certain PSP games, of which, the best can stand side-by-side with the higher-resolution Vita games.
Having said that, what games are must-plays on the Vita? Here are 7 of the best games out there.
Tearaway is bursting with imagination and makes the most of the Vita’s portable platform. At its essence, this 3D platformer is a basic game, that takes place in a world made completely out of construction paper. However, what makes it special is the population of this world seems to be aware of your presence. Due to the front-facing camera that streams a feed into their environment, they see your face as their sun. They can also feel the effects when your fingers tap the back of the system, which pokes a hole through their landscape.
Recommended For: Instagram fans and anyone who likes LittleBigPlanet from Media Molecule.
Not Recommended For: Cranky people who don’t enjoy cute things.
2. Gravity Rush
An adventure game featuring an open world, Gravity Rush is delightful, and is designed around a mechanic that truly feels new. Kat, the protagonist, can fall in every direction, thanks to her ability to influence the laws of gravity. This creates a sensation that’s a combination between flying and falling, and makes for a distinctively disorienting, but extremely fun experience. The smart mechanics, combined with a superbly imaginative, enjoyable story, striking art design, rich visuals, and a wonderful soundtrack, makes the game a real winner.
Recommended For: Fans of Infamous and Crackdown, jazz-heads, and those who prefer games that play and look differently.
Not Recommended For: People who want mechanics that are familiar, or combat that’s involved and deep.
Danganronpa serves up a big helping of high school drama with murder on the side. This murder mystery/social simulator combines features from Persona, Clue, Battle Royale, and Phoenix Wright into a juicy mix of blood-spattered entertainment. Technically, this is a two-game recommendation, but since both the Trigger Happy Havoc game and Goodbye Despair game were released in the same year, and each comprise half of a full story, we think it’s okay.
Recommended For: Fans of any of the movies/manga/games mentioned above and people who want a fun story to keep them occupied for approximately 30-40 hours.
Not Recommended For: Anyone who likes gameplay to be challenging – both games have strange minigames that occur at a variety of places in the story, but overall, they’re just visual novels that you progress through in a slow, linear way.
4. Trails of Cold Steel
To truly enjoy, Trails of Cold Steel, you’ll need to enjoy verbosity. This is a game that’s described best as Persona meets Suikoden, which makes it special. Cold Steel has almost everything you could want in a turn-based RPG: combat that’s strategy-heavy, dialogue that’s well-written, environments that are great, a twisty and fun story, and characters that fell stereotypical at first, but as the game continues, display a variety of other dimensions. While the game develops slowly, and the quests can sometimes feel tedious, the payoffs are worth waiting for.
Recommended For: Anyone who will enjoy spending many hours captivated with a complex world full of interesting people, relationships, and politics.
Not Recommended For: People who are impatient or who don’t like to read.
5. Persona 4 Golden
A reboot of the critically-acclaimed role-playing game on PlayStation 2, Persona 4 Golden, combines a hardcore RPG with a social simulator, resulting in startlingly addictive gameplay. While attending high school in Japan, you’ll take morning midterms, eat a steak lunch with your girlfriend on the roof, then after school, head over to the mall to battle shadow monsters in a hazardous world that’s inside TV’s. This is just a regular Japanese day in Persona 4 Golden.
Recommended For: Fans of RPG who are looking for something outside the usual sci-fi or fantasy fare, or fans of Persona who need an excuse to replay the fourth game.
Not Recommended For: Someone who wants something short. You’ll spend 70-80 hrs beating Persona 4 Golden, prior to beginning New Game Plus.
6. Virtue’s Last Reward
As a visual novel, Virtue’s Last Reward is mainly text, but don’t let that give you pause. The narrative branches of the game allow you to do certain things you can only do in a video game, and you’ll uncover a story that only a video game could tell. Trapped in a facility, nine people are forced to take part in a twisted kind of prisoner’s dilemma…but you can discover the rest.
Recommended For: Fans of a good story, particularly if you like grisly ones.
Not Recommended For: Anyone who doesn’t like to read, or who can’t deal with characters and voices that are anime-ish.
7. Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2
The remastered versions of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 are at home on the Vita. They’re perfect for anyone who played the games before and want to experience them again. Both games are well suited for on-the-go play, and due to the lengthy nature of both, you’ll be occupied while commuting for months. And what better way to relive FFX’s charmingly awful voice acting except on a bus wearing head phones?
Recommended For: Blitzball, Final Fantasy and JRPG fans.
Not Recommended For: Haters of JRPG and Final Fantasy.