Here at PlayStation Enthusiast, we love the PS Vita. It is the perfect handheld; fits comfortably in the hands, has a vast library of games, and don’t get us started on that beautiful OLED screen. After some deliberation, we put together our very best picks for the cream of the crop on what the PS Vita has to offer. Without further ado, here are PSE’s top 10 best PS Vita games of all time!
10. Towerfall Ascension
TowerFall Ascension is the superior version of the original Towerfall title. Inspired by couch multiplayer classics, it’s a local party game that focuses on archery and crazy level-hazards. The core mechanics are easy to understand but tough to master. TowerFall Ascension is best played competitively with friends. However, while the multiplayer is a blast, the single-player challenges are a rage-inducing joy to play. And that is where the Vita version shines the brightest. TowerFall Ascension launched late on PS Vita but finally made it to our favorite handheld a year after it launched on PS4. The game was available on PlayStation Plus when it was only available on PS4, so if you nabbed it during that time, then you probably own the Vita version as well and might not have realized.
9. Killzone: Mercenary
After the disappointed reaction to the release of Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified in 2012, first-person shooter fans were anxious to get their hands on something decent in the genre. Fortunately for them, Guerilla Cambridge delivered high and above that mark the very next year with Killzone: Mercenary. This new title in the franchise branched out from familiar territory with resounding results. This game features a robust campaign with difficulty settings, and an online multiplayer that was never topped on the Vita. Mercenary really felt like a AAA FPS on the go, and any owner of a Vita should play it.
8. Shovel Knight
Yacht Club games developed one of the most loved indie titles of all time with Shovel Knight. This indie classic is inspired in aesthetic and gameplay by NES titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man, and Ducktales. Navigate an overworld of levels and boss fights with Shovel Knight’s weaponized yard instrument. This is side-scrolling nostalgia gameplay perfected, and it’s a fantastic fit on the Vita.
7. Muramasa Rebirth
Muramasa: Rebirth is arguably the most visually impressive game on the PS Vita. It doesn’t push the hardware like Killzone: Mercenary, but rather showcases a gorgeous 2D art-style that will have you in awe from start to finish. Graphics aside, Muramasa: Rebirth is equipped with an action-packed adventure, tons of areas to explore, and thousands of baddies to kill. The breathtaking art-style, extra content and top-notch gameplay make Muramasa: Rebirth one of the best PS Vita games to date.
Coming from one of the most prolific Vita developers, Drinkbox, Guacamelee is a metroidvania style game that deserves your attention. Playing the role of Juan, it is your mission to return from the dead and rescue your beloved. The unique graphical style and environment set this game apart from others of the genre. Building combos with different attacks, changing to “Pollo mode,” and shifting dimensions to attack enemies on either side is a blast. Platforming is also a key aspect of Guacamelee, so get those luchador skills ready! This is the best metroidvania you can play on the Vita.
5. Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc
Visual novel style games have a reputation of being low on the interactivity side of gaming. With Danganronpa, that description doesn’t fit. The cast of high school students wake up in a strange building with no memory of how they got there or where they are. The only way to escape, as told by maniacal teddy bear headmaster, Monokuma, is to kill a classmate and get away with it. After a murder is carried out, it’s up to the rest of the class to look for clues and figure out who the killer is at the class trial. This title boasts a colorful cast of characters with excellent voice acting and one of the most intriguing stories on the Vita.
4. Hotline Miami
The team at Dennaton really cranked out a truly unique and captivating indie experience with Hotline Miami. It is one of those rare indie games that rises to the top above its peers. The top-down twin-stick shooter style played perfectly. Weapons in the game were numerous and unlocked as progress was made. Different masks worn would alter the abilities and characteristics of the protagonist, which allowed for a change in play style. Story-wise, Hotline Miami excels as well. Playing the part of “Jacket,” you maneuver your way through over a dozen chapters of intrigue and brutality. By the end, you may find yourself questioning some things about yourself even. There is a truly deep story to uncover under the fast action and relentless combat.
3. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
The only Uncharted game not developed by Naughty Dog was released on the Vita in 2011. Fans of the franchise were no doubt skeptical, but Sony Bend delivered on a true to form Uncharted experience on the handheld. The graphics were amazing for a handheld device. The gameplay remained the same as its console cousins, with added touch controls for discovering treasures. Nathan Drake could also be controlled while climbing by sliding a finger across the path you wanted him to navigate. Unlike many Vita games, the touch controls felt right at home and avoided the “gimmicky,” feel. This title is not only a great Vita exclusive, it’s a fantastic Uncharted game, period.
2. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
This title is a remake of a classic PS2 game, Odin Sphere. The story plays out from multiple perspectives and is told in beautiful graphics that look like a painting. The gameplay itself is one of the best features, side-scrolling action. Each and every character plays differently than the last. This alleviates the fear of the game feeling repetitive and boring. Combing combos and special abilities are satisfying in this Vanillaware masterpiece. This RPG will keep you busy, and is well worth the ride.
1. Persona 4 Golden
This is probably not a surprise to the Vita fans, but Persona 4 Golden is a true gaming masterpiece. It cannot be overstated how great this JRPG is. This is the installment in the franchise that started to turn heads in its direction, and for good reason. The story is dark, interesting, and mysterious. The cast of characters are unforgettable with top-notch voice acting to boot. Plunging into the TV world to rescue classmates and battle enemies combined with the fleshed out character arcs and side missions were a treat. The social link system was improved upon from Persona 3, and provided extra content on top of helping with progress in the game. Everything about this title is full of enjoyment and there is nothing I can say negative about it. If you are a JRPG fan and have somehow not played this gem yet, you need to. It’s even worth picking up a Vita specifically to play it.