Portable handheld gaming seems to be losing momentum with the ability to play games on mobile phones now. And with announcements from Sony that they will no longer be developing games for the PS Vita people believe that means the handheld console’s life is coming to an end. Sony is focusing on their home console the PS4 and their PlayStation VR which will be releasing later this year. Ironically Nintendo is finding success with their handheld the 3DS while their home console the Wii U is much less successful. So with this bleak news your would think the Vita must not be a good handheld. I mean if Nintendo could find success with a handheld even when their home console is floundering why wouldn’t a handheld from the makers of the most popular home console also be successful? While I don’t have the answer to that question I do know that the Vita is not a bad system with a decent battery life, better controls, and an arguably better screen than the 3DS. It also has a lot of great games including games that we are excited about that haven’t even been released yet.
Just because Sony doesn’t want to invest in new game development doesn’t the Vita is dead or even dying. There are a ton of independent and third party developers that are still making great games for the system. Let’s go over a few of the options available.
Muramasa Rebirth is a great example of how a side scrolling action action RPG is the perfect matchup for the Vita. Beautiful graphics, fast action, and addictive gameplay all make this one worth the purchase. This also has some of the best DLC available. In the form of individual episodes or as a complete pack you get 4 new campaigns each with a unique main character that has a unique story, moves, and skill tree. You could purchase a complete edition of the game on the PSN store for $34.99 (at time of writing this) which gives you both of the main campaigns along with all 4 of the DLC campaigns.
Shovel Knight is one of many new games that are a throw back to the classic 8-bit era of gaming. Taking inspiration from NES games, like Mega Man and Duck Tales, they made a highly addictive platformer which takes advantage of modern capabilities by packing a lot of content into the game. This game is also a “cross buy” title so if you have the PS4 you could play it on either console. You can also share your save data between the two.
Guacamelee is one of the best “metroidvania” style games to come out in recent years. It is a fast paced action platformer with a sense of humor. You play as a luchador who uses his crazy wrestling skills to combat the forces of an evil charro skeleton named Carlos Calaca who kidnaped El Presidente’s Daughter. As you gain new skills you get to access new areas and take on some pretty epic boss fights. There are a lot of secret areas and items to find as well making it worth playing through more than once. Again this is a “cross buy” title so purchasing it on the Vita gets you the PS4 version as well.
Retro City Rampage DX
Retro City Rampage DX is another great game that takes inspiration from the 8-bit era. It’s basically an 8-bit Grand Theft Auto clone with tons of 80’s pop culture references. There are multiple modes and like many other games on this list it’s “cross buy” so you can play it on your PS4 too.
Velocity 2X is one of my favorite games on the Vita right now. It’s a hybrid top down shooter and high speed puzzle platformer. You control a ship and fly and teleport your away around a map solving puzzles while killing enemies as fast as you can and hop out to enter a side scrolling stage. The name of the game is Velocity for a reason. You want to finish the stages as quickly as possible as the game is tailored for speed runs. Daily and weekly challenge stages and online leader boards add some replay value to this great game.
Final Fantasy X/X2 HD Remaster
Final Fantasy X is arguably one of the best Final Fantasy game. The Vita version is an updated version of the international release including the additional bosses and optional “pro” sphere grid. It also includes the sequel FFX2 and a digital movie that fills in the blanks connecting the two games. This is the perfect time to revisit this classic or experience it for the first time.
There are a ton of other great games on the Vita as well. The system is especially good for JRPGs and there are too many of them available to list. Along with almost the entire library from the PSP and remote play with the PS4; the Vita has a ton of options for gaming. And if you somehow exhaust the over a thousand games available in the PS store you could always use it to access PS now and play games from the PS3 library as well.