The 10 Best Games For The PlayStation Vita

The 10 Best Games For The PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita is the $350 handheld that either the world desperately needed or needed not at all. It could go either way in this era of rampant cell phone gaming, where many games are played with nary the press of a button or flick of a stick.

The Vita (reviewed here) gives us a handheld machine with sticks, touch panels, lots of buttons, a fully downloadable game library (optional; you can buy many of the games in physical stores), lots of online features and, oh yeah, graphical horsepower like we’ve never seen before in a gaming handheld.

Cool. So what must you play on this thing? Start with these seven games.


Escape Plan

Fat guy. Little guy. Locked in room after room. Tap the front of the Vita to direct them. Tap the back to manipulate the rooms. It’s all in black and white, as if the developers thought this game was so cool it didn’t need colour. How right they are. (This game is download-only.)

A Good Match for: Puzzle game fans.

Not for Those Who Want: Colour. (See: Rayman)

Here’s how it looks in action.


FIFA Soccer

Soccer. Football. Whatever you want to call it. It’s the console-style FIFA game that people love, with the added feature of the best implementation of the Vita’s rear touch panel.

A Good Match for: Sports fans, fans of sports games, whose other options at Vita launch are this, golf (see below) or a forthcoming baseball game.

Not for Those Who Want: Sports games that sync with their home games. This one does not.

Here’s how it looks in action.


Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush is a delight — an open-world adventure game built around a truly new-feeling mechanic. The protagonist Kat is able to re-orient gravity, letting her fall in any direction. It’s something of a mix between falling and flying, and it makes the game a uniquely disorienting, highly enjoyable experience. Combine those mechanical smarts with a wonderfully imaginative, fun story, lush visuals, gorgeous art design and a dizzy, grand soundtrack and you’ve got a real winner for the PSVita.

A good match for: Crackdown and Infamous fans, people who like their games to look and play differently, jazz-heads.

Not for those who want: familiar mechanics, deep and involved combat.

Here’s how it looks in action:


Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational

It’s golf with cartoon characters and some of the coolest uses of the Vita as a gyro-enabled camera. Check out this preview we shot.

A Good Match for: People who like golf games, obviously!

Not for Those Who Want: Real golfers and real courses. This isn’t crazy Mario Golf fantasy, but it’s not Tiger Woods-sim-authentic either.

Here’s how it looks in action.


Lumines: Electronic Symphony

Tetris goes to a rave. That’s what this is. This is as much a falling-block puzzle game as it is an interactive electronica concert. Either aspect is cool enough in this game that you can hate the other and still have a pretty good time.

A Good Match for: The legions of people whose good taste caused them to declare the first Lumines as the best launch game for Sony’s previous handheld.

Not for Those Who Want: …their games to be more tough than meditative, who need their game sessions to terminate before they get to their bus stop.

Here’s how it looks in action.


Mutant Blob Attacks!

A smart and funny physics puzzler that’s packed with interesting ideas. You control a grumpy blob who’s gone on a goofy version of a 1950s horror movie rampage. You must navigate through a series of short but jam-packed levels, dodging lasers, rockets and farm animals to survive.

Mutant Blobs Attack is welcomely difficult but never feels punishing about it. It uses the both the Vita’s touchscreen and gyroscope effectively, and is consistently impressive in how far it’ll push you to creatively use the blob’s limited but versatile skill-set. Read our review for a more in-depth look at the game.

A Good Match for: People who like puzzles, zany humour and a bit of a challenge.

Not for Those Who Want: To just relax and coast. This game isn’t easy, and in a few places, its difficulty can be frustrating. Also, the humour probably isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Here’s how it looks in action.


Rayman: Origins

We loved this cartoony, musically-amazing side-scroller on the PlayStation 3 so of course we love this shot-for-shot port on the Vita. We can take this one with it. And hug it. So maybe we love it even more.

A Good Match for: People who enjoy running from left to right while sometimes hopping, i.e. fans of Super Mario, Sonic and all good side-scrollers. This one is fun and a beauty.

Not for Those Who Want: Black and white. (See: Escape Plan.)

Here’s how it looks in action.


Super Stardust Delta

It’s a twin-stick arcade shooter. On a portable gaming system. That has twin sticks. This is a descendant of Asteroids, Space Invaders and so many other games that were just about shooting down space enemies to earn a high score. But this one has the visual fireworks to make it one of the most dazzling handheld games ever. (This game is download-only.)

A Good Match for: People with two thumbs.

Not for Those Who Want: …a storyline, an adventure or anything else you wouldn’t expect from an arcade game.

Here’s how it looks in action.


Where Is My Heart

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that Where Is My Heart? re-invents almost every convention of the platformer genre. There’s still running and jumping in this adventure where a family of three monsters tries to track down their lost home. But those actions happen in a fractured landscape where going right can put you on the top of the screen. WIMH blends the sense of displacement created by its 2D Escher-ism with a clever mechanic that lets you rotate the panelled blocks of the gameworld around an axis. It’s funny, intriguing and disorienting all at once, just like life.

A good match for: genealogists. You literally can’t get anywhere worthwhile in the game without plopping one monster relative on top of another’s head and sometimes, you’ll transform a monster or three into a ancestor with special abilities. Danish developer Bernie Schulenburg made a game that serves as touching metaphor for family ties and players will probably think about the loved ones who helped them jump to life’s next level as they journey deeper into the experience.

Not for those who want: stomping onto enemies’ heads. Where Is My Heart? is gentler than most other Mario-style games and the thrill comes from cracking the environmental puzzles of each level.

Here’s how it looks in action:


WipEout 2048

Futuristic race car driving, for the umpteenth time. WipEout games are about racing across high tech roadways in a future when tires are retired and it is fair to shoot a missile at your opponents on the track. This launch game gives us online play, blazingly fast racing, and a promised connection to a PlayStation 3 game of the same name, which will enable owners of the portable or console game to race each other.

A Good Match for: Anyone looking for a terrific racing game on the Vita and/or a visual showpiece.

Not for Those Who Want: …to blink. Or people who want more customisable content (try the Vita’s ModNation Racers)

Here’s how it looks in action.

NOTE: This list will be updated if and when we discover better games. We will only ever list 12 games, at the most. And, in the case of the Vita, we will give this list another pass this week to incorporate some of the best downloadable PSP games


  • Wow, those are the top 7? A rerelease of Wipeout. A rerelease of Lumines. A rerelease of Stardust. A port of Rayman Origins. Two sports games (because if you can’t play FIFA on it it must not be electronic) and a puzzle game that will probably get tiresome after an hour.


    • While your sarcasm is duely noted, for a launch lineup it’s pretty good.

      If anything it was stupid of Kotaku US to do a “best PS Vita” list when the system has only just launched – you’re only going to have a small pool of games anyway.

      Still, the launch lineup is a lot better than what the 3DS managed.

      But yeah, pointless list is pointless. The sytem will still be well worth your money points.

      • I’m sure it’s a good system but I’m just not seeing the appeal of any of the games that are coming out for it. I get that handhelds are for portable gaming, I just think that dedicated handhelds are becoming more and more redundant every time smartphones become a little more powerful. For a ‘full game’ experience people are going to stick with their consoles and PCs. On the move, I feel like the majority of people want something they can pick up/put down at a moment’s notice.

        I have a one hour commute each way to and from work and I still don’t see me using that time to sink into Final Fantasy or a game of soccer – but I might play a shitload of angry Birds.

        • It’s all about personal preference, really.

          I have a HTC and plenty of games to go with it.. but they just can’t keep my attention for any longer than a few minutes after a couple of weeks.
          If i have spare time and no access to a TV, yet feel the urge to game, i would much rather a handheld like, like the Vita and others, over a far inferior iOS or Android game. The controls on most of them are just horrible too.

          But, as i said, it’s personal preference. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, i have every ounce of faith that the Vita will back itself with some absolutely amazing games, just like the PSP did. I do hope it reaches a much more mainstream success than the PSP, however. A vastly underrated system, with some notable flaws, obviously. But still, brilliant.

          Personally, i don’t want to think of a world where handhelds die out and mobile games are the only option for portable entertainment. There are only a scant few gems amongst a torrid sea of sameness and average-to-horrible.

      • “…the system has only just launched”

        Almost out 12 months. I wouldn’t say it has only just launched.

        The reality is it doesn’t have many games, and a lot of them are poor.

    • Wipeout 2048 is not a re-release. Its a prequel to the original Wipeout.

      But as much as I love Wipeout, I won’t be forking out for a Vita for any of these games.

      • How can it be a Prequel when the Sequel to WipeOut 1 is called… WipeOut 2097? If anything, it would fit into the timeline between WipeOut 2097 and Wip3out.

        Cheers, WipeOut Freak 😉

  • The more I read about the Vita the less I want it. I’m sure it’s a nice bit of hardware but the games seem a bit lacklustre. I’ll wait a few months because it’s a given the price will drop before the years end.

    • Thats funny because the more I read about it the more im keen to get it, But I will wait for a price drop, its priced way to high for now

      • This is Sony hatred. You don’t need to know anything about anything. Just strap your sarcasm hat on and have at it!

        The PSV has the second largest launch line-up of any system ever released. But never mind that, Sony could cure HIV and still the haters would hate.

  • I know people like to cry “REMAKE! REHASH!” a lot, but would people really expect and prefer that a new system, launches with entirely new IPs and games that are untested?

    That’s the absolute worst thing anyone could do ever.

    Golf looks fun and easily accessible. UMvC3 is good if you like fighters – surprised it’s not listed here. Escape Plan is completely new – how is that a rehash or shovelware?

    Rayman looks fun. Uncharted looks fun. Who cares if it’s another iteration of the same series?

    To look at the flip side, or the only other handheld on the market, is Mario not a rehash? Zelda? Mariokart? What about Luigi’s Mansion 2 – that’s totally a rehash, right, because it has a 2 in the title?

    Here’s the point: it doesn’t matter if it’s a “rehash” or “release in the same IP” – all that matters is that the game is good, and the game is fun. If it’s only a release, it’s not likely to hit that “fun” requirement.

    There’s a lot of launch day awesome games available for this thing, which should be supported even if you’re stricken by fanboism – ALL consoles should launch with a large catalogue of games from day one, and to think otherwise is silly.

    • the answer to that would be whichever company has decided that it does not want to do business with sony anymore, because breaking the street date of a games system is far worse than doing it for a game.

  • Man, they are pushing the touch features so much that it makes me want to grab my iPad and download a few new games, saving hundreds of dollars. Most of those videos showed the touch screen being used in ways that the duel sticks would be better. Hopefully you get a choice because there is no way im buying a Vita just to use it as a smart phone.

  • I quite liked Uncharted Golden Abyss…I think the constant comparisons to the Console Uncharted’s are a little unfair…I felt that Golden Abyss was closer to the original Drakes Fortune…which almost makes me wonder what the hell Sony Bend will do next if they continue on making more Uncharted games.

    I liked the Collecting aspect to that game…I thought it looked great (especially for a launch title)…and I felt it was a bit of a breath of fresh air…sure it has some of the Uncharted flavour to it…but the Collecting aspect was what made the game stand apart from its Console Brothers.

    So I think the comparisons have been a little unfair…It is after all a handheld and you do have to remember that it is a handheld…I thought Golden Abyss was a fine launch title.

  • Bring on Thursday!! Much stronger line up of titles than the DS and 3DS launch but I did think the same about the PSP way back when..
    Regardless – new tech!!!!!

  • Woot! Tomorrow!!!! Very very excited about getting my Vita. It looks like a kick ass system. I am very excited about seeing what games come out on PSN and PS Mini’s – that’s where it’s going to be at.
    Developing for a touch screen and knowing those thumbs are going to be covering the small screen space is very annoying – you can’t get into much work on the gameplay controls lest people don’t like that there are too many virtual buttons.
    As soon as they get the PSDev suite out of Beta and released in Australia I know I’ll be jumping on board.

      • Depends on tastes. Kirk reviewed it for Kotaku US and he said it was too much like first uncharted and that was apparently a bad thing.

        Every single time Kotaku US comes up with one of these “Top 7” lists they’re pretty horrible lists, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

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