With Sony finally pulling the plug on several PlayStation stores, it seems only right that we delve into the history of the fractured few. It seems only right because come August 27th, the PS Vita (as well as the PSP and PS3) will flatline and cease to exist under the Sony domain. Of course, that won’t stop physical copies from being passed around, but it does mean that the digital front will be stripped of all its convenience. With that in mind, any new player hungering for a bit of nostalgia might just struggle to access games at the touch of a button.
Sadly, when we picture the Vita, we don’t necessarily associate it with a healthy lifespan that homed thousands of triple-A exclusives. Instead, what we see is a crooked mess with only half the heart as the portable predecessor. Even still, despite the lack of devotion to the hardware, the Vita definitely had its fair share of instant classics in its time. While not anywhere near as many as the PSP or PS3, there was still plenty to keep players occupied on the move. From underdog indie-platformers to best-selling console ports — these five definitely made a lasting impression over the Vita’s short-lived legacy.
Ah yes — Tearaway. What better way to kickstart our list of essential Vita titles than to praise the beloved paper and puzzle platformer? Of course, any game that manages to snag a BAFTA or two for excellence is always welcome in our spotlight, to be fair. Although it’s not quite the fleshed-out remake that booted to PlayStation 4 in 2015, the Vita original did provide an excellent amount of gameplay for users of all ages. And what’s more — it managed to utilize the Vita’s many features in order to create a memorable journey.
Sure, the concept is simple: to deliver messages all over the globe. But with that in mind, it’s the very simplicity that pushes the little platform gem to succeed. It’s family-orientated and most definitely a charming little collection of joyous tales that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a bundle of harmless fun crunched down into a well-compressed stash of levels. All in all, it’s humorous, it’s loveable, and it’s most definitely worthy of a few hours of your time. That is, if you can still get your hands on a copy, of course.
4. Persona 4 Golden
Although Persona 4 was originally produced for PlayStation 2, the Vita did return to the lengthy instalment in later years to help give it a new light. So, while it’s not exactly an exclusive as such — it is a generous repackage of a true fan favourite. Plus, with added visual enhancements, difficulty settings, cutscenes, playable areas and music — this meaty little port rests as one of the absolute essentials on the PS Vita platform.
As per the Persona norm, the Vita segment boasts well over seventy hours of story-rich content. With another high school collective to explore and another series of obstacles weighing down on the shoulders of the students, the player can once again immerse in the exaggerated world that stems from the award-winning Japanese studio. And hey, for a few dollars a copy, you’d be crazy to pass up the chance to cash in on the handheld Persona experience with the amount it has to offer. But that’s just our opinion. More bang for your buck, plain and simple.
3. Killzone: Mercenary
While the PS Vita homed an endless spool of indie games and unknown spin-off titles, it did also cater to the odd triple-A shooter here or there. Sure, Call of Duty: Declassified was a great little entry for the device — but it wasn’t quite the first-person shooter we came to expect from the war kingpin. Luckily for us, however, Guerrilla stepped up to the plate and ramped up the carnage with a solid Killzone sequence that blew other rivals out of the water.
Boasting a whole ocean of replayability, Killzone: Mercenary packs in enough mouth-watering content to keep idle hands playing for weeks on end. With everything you’d usually find in a fully-fledged console version, the Vita port stands as one of the best titles in the catalogue. Plus, with online servers still hosting a boatload of players even after eight years since launch, it’s evident that there is still a whole lot of love surrounding the handheld chapter.
2. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
Seeing as Sackboy and friends are one of Sony’s most esteemed collectives, it seemed only right that the PS Vita would go on to have its own game to boot. LittleBigPlanet, which we’ve seen soar over the years with its addictive selection of mini-games, puzzles and unique platforming, finally made its debut on the smaller screen in 2012. As the fourth main entry to the series, the PS Vita exclusive was able to cram in a dash of joy from its sibling releases and form one juicy ensemble of entertainment.
Packed full of original material and a whole lot of familiar friends, this portable special homed some truly remarkable little moments that embraced the LittleBigPlanet charm beautifully. Plus, with the addition of the Vita’s multi-touch system and the ability to pass and play with a friend, the Sackboy adventure was able to stand out as a must-buy for any Vita user, both at home and on the move.
1. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Ever since Crash Bandicoot established the Naughty Dog brand back in ’96, the renowned developer has only gone on to create outstanding worlds on the PlayStation front. And while The Last of Us is clearly harvesting the lions share of the revenue these days, it still doesn’t draw our eyes away from the much-loved Uncharted series. Thanks to the complete and utter devotion to the Sony domain, Naughty Dog has gone on to sprinkle a touch of Nathan Drake on multiple platforms over the years. And we couldn’t be happier about that.
Although it’s been a few years since we’ve seen the fortune hunter rise to a new expedition, his exploits still remain fresh in our minds from previous entries. Golden Abyss, although one of the lesser-played titles in the franchise, was just one of the many explosive adventures that graced our devices. And, as far as notable prequels go — this portable journey ticks all of the boxes that you’d expect from the celebrated series. Adventure, check. Mystery, check. Nathan Drake — check.
Not quite finished? You could always take a look at these lists: