It’s no secret that the PlayStation Vita isn’t a hot-selling piece of hardware. It’s too bad, because it’s arguably the greatest handheld ever built from a purely technical standpoint. Much of that probably has to do with Sony’s current unwillingness to cut the price of of the machine, or at the very least price the memory cards reasonably, but I digress.
What’s certain is that the Vita’s supposed “lack of games” is a tired myth. If you don’t believe that, consider that gems such as Soul Sacrifice, Rayman Origins, Super Stardust Delta, LittleBigPlanet Vita, and several others barely missed the cut here. Indeed, what we’ve got here is a murderer’s row of excellent games that you can buy for your Vita right this second.
These five titles represent the cream of the Vita’s crop, in no particular order. Of course, feel free to share your own favorites below.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Launch titles for any system are usually hit-or-miss, but this portable Uncharted prequel showed people what the Vita was capable of right from the jump. While there were a few more motion and camera elements than we cared for, Bend Studio’s Golden Abyss featured the same graphical flair and tight gameplay that we’ve come to expect from Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed series.
An open-world game that plays a bit like the orb-chasing Crackdown with visuals reminiscent of Valkyria Chronicles is always fine by me, but the fact that Gravity Rush featured a fun story with a likable protagonist in Kat is icing on the cake. The combat could have used a bit of polish, but the motion controls work reasonably well. Despite its obvious influences, they all meld into something unlike anything you’ll find on Vita, even a year later.
While no game is a better Metroidvania romp than the two titles that inspired the term, Guacamelee! makes a strong case for itself with crisp and colorful visuals, a tremendous sense of humor, and the best use of The Day of the Dead since Grim Fandango. Most importantly, it plays great — it’s melee-focused combat and dimensional switching make it one of the most distinguishable games in its storied genre.