Long before the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck set the standard for high-powered portable gaming, Sony had been doing it for years, first with the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and then with the PlayStation Vita. The PS Vita was introduced in 2011 with a price tag of $250 and was meant to compete with Nintendo’s 3DS.
Though the PS Vita didn’t sell well in North America, the system took off in Japan and had a lifespan that lasted for nearly a decade. During that time, more than 1,700 games were released, but which ones were the best? Here are the five best games for the PS Vita.
One of the rare games released only for the PS Vita, “Tearaway” was a gorgeous game by Media Molecule that took the world of papercraft and brought it to life. “Tearaway” used the touch panel on the back of the PS Vita to make it a unique experience for players, which in turn created some amazing visuals.
“Tearaway” was a very family-friendly game that was beloved by critics. The game won several awards for its design, including Edge Magazine’s 2013 award. At the BAFTA Video Game Awards the following year, “Tearaway” was nominated for several awards, winning Best Family Game, Best Mobile/Handheld Game, and Best Artistic Achievement.
4. Gravity Rush
Originally intended to be on the PlayStation 3 as “Gravite”, “Gravity Rush” was then repurposed to be one of the cornerstones of the PS Vita upon its release in early 2012. A game that gives the player a lot of freedom, “Gravity Rush” allows you to utilize the PS VIta’s handheld capabilities to alter the in-game world to advance.
When released, critics were pretty torn on “Gravity Rush” with some calling it mediocre while others called it an instant classic. As time has gone on, “Gravity Rush” has become more beloved to become one of the best PS Vita games during its run.
3. Rayman Origins
By the time 2011 and the PS Vita came around, Rayman was already an established character in video games. Making a game for the handheld system was a safe bet for Sony, though “Rayman Origins” would also release on several other consoles including the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The platformer didn’t lose any quality on the handheld version, marking another great entry in the Rayman series.
“Rayman Origins” was what fans of the series had been hoping for when the game was released, and critics agreed that it didn’t disappoint. While the Nintendo 3DS version lost some features that didn’t make it a fan favorite, the PS Vita version was just about perfect, receiving a 9.5 out of 10 score from IGN.
A game that was originally created for Microsoft Windows, “Spelunky” was released on both standalone and handheld consoles in 2012, four years after it was initially made. The roguelike platformer by Mossmouth, LLC became an instant cult classic for a lot of fans across all platforms. The PSVita version wasn’t any different than the other consoles, meaning that no quality was lost in the shrink-down from consoles.
An easy game for players to pick up and easily get enthralled with, “Spelunky” is an addictive romp that many consider being one of the best indie games ever. Many critics have called it their personal favorite game, including Eurogamer giving the game a perfect 10/10 score.
1. Persona 4 Golden
Considered one of the best games that Sony systems have ever had, “Persona 4” was originally released in 2008 on the PlayStation 2 and received new versions throughout the life of the game. Among them was “Persona 4 Golden”, which was originally meant to be on the PSP, but would’ve needed to be stripped down from its console version. With the release of the PS Vita, though, players were able to get the full experience of “Persona 4”.
“Persona 4 Golden” received rave reviews almost entirely across the board, including its highest ratings coming from the PS Vita version. “Persona 4 Golden” sold 1 million copies, making it among the best-selling portable games of all time.