The PlayStation Vita (simply called PS Vita) is the successor of the PSP, the most legendary gaming handheld.
The PS Vita is much more powerful than the PSP, and it’s also accompanied by AAA titles, such as the Persona series, Atelier series, and many other JRPG games.
If you have this powerful handheld, I know that you want to know the best PS Vita games of all time.
Most of you will recognize some of the games mentioned on this list.
#100. Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space occurs two years after the 2017 war of Monster Attack, with the Ravagers defeated.
The introduction describes the founding of the Earth Defense Force after the first war with the Ravagers and states that the re-emergence of the Ravager threat has forced the Earth Defense Force to take drastic measures to combat a returned foe.
The three different play styles on offer for the player, Ranger, a military soldier type of combat, Pale Wing, offering a jet-pack equipped avatar armed with energy weapons, or the new to this edition Air Raider, which allows players to fight indirectly through the placement of mines, sentries, and air strikes.
Playing alone or with friends, the game tasks players with defending the mission area from invading enemies.
This version of Earth Defense Force is considered by many to be the definitive edition of the game.
And it’s not hard to see why – with frenetic, fast-paced action and a cohesive execution of all elements to boot, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space is one heck of a game.
#99. Touch My Katamari
This game is kicked off with a question, “Who is more awesome, the King of All Cosmos or the principal of a high school?” to which the answer “they are both equally awesome” causes the King of All Cosmos to lose his bearing, becoming distraught at the thought of being a peer in awesomeness with another.
Goro, a teenage slacker who loves video games, hears about the King of All Cosmos distress and decides now is the time to prove himself by helping the King reclaim his crown as the most awesome.
This game was not as well received as other games in the series but is nonetheless worth a look for people who like games that are a bit off kilter.
Rolling a sticky ball around 3D environments is insanely addicting and oddly compelling – you’ll be hard pressed to find a game that is so unique and accessible at the same time.
The PS Vita game takes advantage of some of the more unique features that come along with the PS Vita hardware.
These include the addition of touch controls, allowing the player to stretch and manipulate the ball as it rolls through the environment.
The graphics are fun and cheerful, in keeping with other games in the Katamari lineage, and there are few reasons to not give it a shot.
#98. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation
The Deity of Sin is defeated and all is well in the land of Gameindustri until Neptune, of the CPU Planeptune, is mysteriously transported to an alternative dimension that looks similar to her home but with a distinctly 1980s aesthetic.
She learns upon her arrival that a mysterious group known as the “Seven Sages” have cast a curse over this iteration of Gameindustri so she sets out on a dual quest to return to her home as well as liberate this new realm.
This Japanese role-playing game, developed by Compile Heart and Felistella and released in 2015, is a continuation of the gameplay introduced in previous Hyperdimension Neptunia games with slight tweaks here and there that make it a little more fast paced.
To differentiate this game from the original version upon which it is based the developers eliminated the AP bar so that players could customize their combos as well as adding the EXE Drive Gauge that goes up as combos are unleashed.
This game is perfect for people who love JRPGs but particularly fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. Heavily influenced by Japanese anime and manga, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation will capture gamers’ hearts with its story and gameplay.
You are an acrobatic janitor taking on the dust and disorder of the world hoping to restore chaos to a land gone mad.
This indie game has made its way to nearly every platform available and the PS Vita version is one of the best, especially for gamers that need a portable solution.
The graphics are reminiscent of the 16-bit era but the gameplay is every bit a modern game.
As a janitor, you have various acrobatic moves at your disposal, such as double jumping and wall jumping, that can help get your character through the filth-filled arenas.
Sweeping up trash is an automatic process so the focus really is on platforming jumps and perfect timing.
For gamers that like Super Mario Bros. but appreciate something a little out there, Dustforce is one of the best games on the Vita in this regard.
#96. Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype
You return to Gota IV as a member of the Soldner-X defense force to protect mankind from mysterious new invaders in the sky.
The shoot ‘em up genre is a mainstay of gaming in Japan and Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype continues all of the great traditions known and respected in that genre.
In one of the most solid portable shoot ‘em ups around, Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype offers spectacularly crisp graphics and sound that makes you feel like you’re right in the heart of the action.
There are seven action-filled stages in this game but don’t be deterred by that number – it’s hard as heck, but worth every minute.
#95. Demon Gaze
As Oz, a young man with a magic eye capable of sealing demons, you set about defeating foes and saving the day in the world of Mythrid.
Very much a western-influenced RPG, Demon Gaze splits the game up between dungeon crawling and interacting with NPCs.
As the protagonist Oz, a man with the power to seal demons using his eye, you journey into dungeons to earn loot which can be used for equipment upgrades and pay rent at your home, the Dragon Princess Inn.
This game is deep and offers hours of fun for fans of RPGs. The graphical style and soundtrack fit perfectly with the theme and complement the game throughout.
Overall a unique portable experience that sticks with you.
#94. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1
The world of Gameindustri is a land protected by four goddesses called CPUs that are battling one another for world domination that would come to be known as the Console War.
One CPU, Neptune, lost the Console War and now must wander between worlds, ultimately charged with protecting the human realm.
Fans of JRPGs are well aware of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is not only an awesome remake but it is a must-play JRPG on the Vita.
This game has a great story and isn’t for the faint of heart when it comes to reading.
That said, it offers plenty of traditional JRPG action in the form of dungeon crawling sequences.
One thing of note for gamers that are interested in such trivia: The series takes its name from the cancelled Sega console project, the Neptune, a purported combination of a Sega Genesis and 32X.
#93. Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed
Even though the CPUs of Gameindustri and the humans defeated the monsters they have grown quite bored with the peace so they came together to form a new conflict to keep themselves occupied.
Like other Hyperdimension Neptunia games, you’re going to do a lot of slashing and slaying.
Taking place long after the Console Wars, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed lets you build a party and hone their skills, earning fame and money as they do.
The upgrade process is much more opaque than necessary but that’s part of the challenge with most JRPGs.
But this isn’t a JRPG, and it is this dual identity that Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed struggles with throughout.
Again, can’t recommend it enough for fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games.
#92. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
Taking place in Louisiana after being turned over to the Spanish following their defeat of the French, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation follows the uncovering of the truth behind Assassin Aveline de Grandpré and his actions long ago in the area.
The ages-old conflict between Assassins and Templars comes to a head in this battle to control New Orleans.
This is the series first female protagonist in an Assassin’s Creed game and takes place between 1765 and 1777 in New Orleans.
With gameplay much the same as other Assassin’s Creed games, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation’s biggest draw on Vita is its portability.
Ubisoft did not sacrifice anything in the translation and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation’s gameplay is not only really fun but also tight and well done in terms of control and interaction.
Often in games that combine stealth and action sequences the controls can make or break the experience, but, thankfully, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is consistent throughout.
#91. Toukiden: The Age of Demons
Welcome to Nakatsu Kuni, a samurai land defended from demon invasion by “Slayers” (“Mononofu”), elite teams of demon hunters that have kept the kingdom safe for years.
After a cataclysmic event weakens the boundaries between the realms of the demons and men, the slayers face endless waves of demons and a ruined world in need of rebuilding.
This game not only has an amazing samurai theme but also is filled to the brim with Japanese mythology and demonology.
The action sequences are mainly determined by what kind of player you are with different styles available depending on your preference.
As one of the final lines of defense against the invading demons, the player and his team really feel consequential to the game’s story, making the world one that is intriguing in its own right.
Toukiden: The Age of Demons is illustrative of the Vita’s ability to offer mature experiences in a portable format.
#90. Unit 13
Take espionage and stealth action to the next level as you play through over 40 missions in this SOCOM-esque thriller that pits you against other teams of special forces.
Like games in Sony’s SOCOM series, the action takes place from an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective.
You have various mission objectives to achieve in each stage and usually a couple of ways to do it.
Unit 13’s missions also feature cooperative multiplayer.
For those that master the game, Unit 13 also offers a “dynamic mode” that changes each mission’s objectives and layout to make previously player scenarios more challenging.
#89. Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
In this prequel to the NES classic games, Ryu Hayabusa is killed and brought back to life after his clan’s Black Dragon Blade is stolen by an emissary of the Vigoor Empire and now finds himself facing down the collected forces of the Emperor’s armies.
The developer Team Ninja calls Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus a more upgraded version of their earlier game, Ninja Gaiden Black.
One thing that differentiates it from that game is that the heroine, Rachel, is playable but other than that the game largely sticks to the script established by Ninja Gaiden Black.
Ryu Hayabusa does sport new weapons and maneuvers to keep things fresh and the graphics are attuned to the portable’s smaller screen.
#88. Ray Gigant
Set in Tokyo after a devastating alien invasion, Ichiya Amakaze has the power of the “Yorigami” that allows him to defeat the Gigant invaders.
The only catch is the power is hard to control and capable of wiping out an entire city – who said being a hero wasn’t without its pitfalls?
You and your compatriots not only have to learn how to control Ichiya’s power but also overcome the mysterious invaders.
Set in a future version of the Japanese capital of Tokyo, Ray Gigant feature turn-based battles in which characters are allotted action points that they can spend either gradually or all at once.
Though the game is very compelling it takes a while to warm up and it might be tough for some gamers to make it through the first two hours.
But for those who can the game really offers a great RPG experience.
#87. Smart as…
Take on a host of logic, language, and observation games to test your brains and hone your cognitive abilities with narration from John Cleese.
This game is intended for daily use and purports to improve your brain power as a result.
The game does this by focusing on four primary areas Arithmetic, Logic, Observation and Language.
After completing tasks in these areas the user is given a score that represents their brain score for that day.
#86. Tokyo Xanadu
Ten years after a major earthquake devastated Tokyo, high school student Kou Tokisaka who becomes involved in a conspiracy involving parallel dimensions after he attempts to save his classmate from some thugs.
This game takes place in an alternate reality Tokyo in the aftermath of an earthquake.
The story is heavily inspired by anime and manga, sporting many of the tropes common to that media.
Where it shines is in its unabashed love for old school JRPGs like Ys.
Players that are looking for more of a classical JRPG experience will love Tokyo Xanadu.
#85. Flame Over
Battle fires as the world’s most acrobatic fire fighter in procedurally generated levels that never let the flames die.
This game is completely unique and that’s its biggest advantage and its biggest detraction.
Fans of shoot ‘em ups will find a lot of things to love with Flame Over and the added Rogue-like RPG elements definitely changes things up a bit.
For those that don’t know, Rogue-like games describe those adventures in which a character builds stats and acquires loot with one avatar until that character dies in game. When that happens, it is back to square one.
The real challenge of Flame Over is in mastering its gameplay while also staying on the treadmill that the challenge can become.
#84. Lost Dimension
With the world in ruin, 18 year-old Sho Kasugai, a member of S.E.A.L.E.D. (an elite team of psychics), has the ability of “Vision” enabling him to see events in the future which he must use to combat a mysterious terrorist known only as “The End.”
The PS Vita is an RPG powerhouse and Lost Dimension joins the legions of other quality RPGs on the system.
The protagonist is part of a group tasked with saving the world, of course, and the combat is what you would expect.
One of the cooler elements of the game is that the player’s choices in game have a huge impact on the course of the narrative which is very involved.
#83. Stranger of Sword City
As the sole survivor of a plane crash, you find yourself in the mysterious land of Escario, populated by trolls, dragons, and broken television sets with someone pulling things from our realm into this one.
To return home, you have to partner with this world’s inhabitants to defeat the monsters that overrun it.
This game was originally an Xbox 360 classic that is enhanced on the PS Vita.
The dungeons are really challenging and the game really sets itself apart through the use of clever layouts and challenges.
That said, the game might be a little tough for most people but for those gamers that love a good challenge this game will deliver in spades.
#82. Open Me!
Conquer puzzles in augmented reality that will have you playing for hours and testing your wits all the while.
Open as many different devices as possible using the touch controls on the PS Vita.
Critics were largely mixed on Open Me! but many praised its attempt at making a unique puzzle game.
Some have cited the game’s awkward controls for making it that much more challenging but the game’s attempt at doing something unique is to be applauded.
#81. La-Mulana EX
La-Mulana is the supposed birthplace of all civilizations and, as such, is a huge draw for Lemeza Kosugi, a professor of archaeology.
After receiving word of its discovery, Lemeza plumbs the depths of La-Mulana and discovers a story of an object known as mother that fell to the Earth long ago and how the objects inhabitants have struggled to return to the stars from whence they came ever since.
An action adventure game along the lines of Castlevania and Metroid, La-Mulana EX wears its retro heart on its sleeve.
Beloved for how well it apes the style of MSX games of the day, La-Mulana EX should not confuse people with its appearance – it is a modern game.
The charm aside, La-Mulana EX is challenging without delving into maddening frustration.
Fans of Metroidvania games really shouldn’t pass up La-Mulana EX.
#80. Freedom Wars
In the year 102014 the Earth is in ruins and the surface cannot support life.
Humans now live in cities called “panopticons” where they research how to rebuild their once thriving world.
The player must make their way through this world of rival city states and conspiracy to unravel the true nature of the struggles between the cities.
With both local and online multiplayer functionality, Freedom Wars cooperative and competitive elements are what makes it so compelling.
Waging war against rival panopticons is a satisfying experience, but equally compelling is the multiplayer with friends.
Not only that, but the computer AI that controls the android bots that assist you on the battlefield is pretty competent as well.
The graphics and sound are pretty spectacular, adding to the epic vibe the game emanates.
#79. Norn9: Var Commons
Elementary-school student Sorata Suzuhara is sent through a time warp to a Japanese town that looks like it is from the Meiji or Taisho period where he meets three heroines and nine heroes and joins them for a journey on the globe-ship Norn.
This game might be alienating for people unfamiliar with the PSP original.
That said, the graphics and presentation are top notch and the story is compelling and interesting throughout.
It will offer more than enough twists and turns for even the most jaded fan of visual novels.
Highly recommended though players should be warned it is heavy on the narrative and light on the action.
#78. Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal
The Kingdom of Romulea is overrun with monsters and the people are becoming desperate.
An alchemist has created a substance that can seal the monsters and it is up to adventurer Fried Einhard to save the day.
This game wants players to build the most effective party possible for entering and clearing out dungeons to obtain their loot.
As in other games of this ilk, upgrading your character is pretty central to the experience and that means players will need to place an extra emphasis on how they construct their dungeon crawling team.
There are a ton of main classes but also 33 sub-classes that players can customize to their preferences.
#77. God of War Collection
As Kratos you will battle the Olympic pantheon to achieve revenge and primary above the gods, even your Zeus himself.
Take on the hordes of ancient Greece and defeat the beasts of mythology in epic battles.
This is a PlayStation Vita compilation of a collection of God of War games put together for a disc released on the PlayStation 3.
God of War is known for its intense action and this translates to the PS Vita version one hundred percent.
A bit violent and over the top, God of War is also a quintessential game for its time and, in many ways, is a time capsule of the PlayStation 2 era.
We recommend these games on whatever platform you find them.
#76. Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls
Play through the eras of Sega’s console years as Neptune battles in the realms of IF, a place where history can change.
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls will have you hooked within moments of booting it up, we promise.
This game drips with quality and craft. Everything seems well placed and nothing is too frustrating.
It may not be for everyone, but fans of JRPGs will enjoy Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls’ quirky take on the genre.
#75. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
Komaru Naegi, unaware of the events in the first game, is attacked in her apartment in Towa City, forcing her to flee the Monokuma robots chasing her.
She is given a gun by Future Foundation member Byakuya Togami and joins a group of elementary school students known as the “Warriors of Hope,” a group tasked with saving the world.
This is one cool game with elements of a JRPG and a Silent Hill game at the same time.
Like traditional JRPGs, defeating enemies and acquiring loot helps you level up your character but unlike a JRPG the emphasis is more on action than equipment.
One of the cooler elements in the game is the ability to use enemies to your own advantage.
Definitely a change of pace from other Danganronpa games, this spin off is sure to please fans and newcomers alike.
#74. Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
Join a cursed bloodline that must fight demons in this epic dungeon crawling game.
The graphical style is most reminiscent of Okami and other games inspired by Japanese art.
But the gameplay is quite unique: Sporting a fusion of strategy and RPG, this game has dungeon crawling and lets players up their stats but also has stuff common to Persona like taking control of demons.
There are 8 character classes in total to choose from and each has its own unique class development and skill tree.
#73. Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
Escha and Logy, two new members of the R&D division, gather friends and work together to unlock the secrets of a nearby ruin to help the world recover from a catastrophic event known only as “The Dusk.”
While the game offers the choice of two different protagonists, it is disappointing that this choice has no impact on the storyline.
That said, the new synthesis system allows players the option to combine different equipment for new effects and each of the main characters uses different tools to do this.
#72. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Sly Cooper is faking amnesia to be with his girlfriend when the past starts to disappear, forcing Sly to get back together with his gang to set history aright.
This game is one of those that combines infinite charm with near flawless gameplay.
Platforming games by themselves are not rare, but combined with a stealth game then you have an admixture that is unheard of but desperately needed.
The challenge in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is not found in overly difficult jumps and perfect timing but rather in how you approach puzzle solving in the game.
Sly Cooper’s crew gives you a bunch of different options but it is up to you how you use them.
#71. Yomawari: Night Alone
After nearly getting killed in an accident while walking her dog Poro, who vanishes afterward.
The protagonist’s elder sister leaves to search for the dog and, when she doesn’t return, you wander after her only to discover that the world around you is vastly changed and inhabited by demons.
This game bases its horror on tension and suspense so be warned.
On that note, it does this quite masterfully. You see, you can’t actually attack or otherwise take aggressive actions against the enemies in this game.
You use a shovel to dig up items and you pay attention to your character’s heartbeat to alert you to the presence of monsters nearby.
When they come too close you can hide in what is easily gaming’s most terrifying version of hide-and-go-seek on the PS Vita.
#70. Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition
Take your tennis career to the next level as you play through matches and win titles to build your reputation and skills.
If you love tennis, then you’ll love Virtua Tennis 4 from Sega on the PS Vita.
In terms of graphics and sound the game doesn’t disappoint and it truly shines in the control department which is crisp and on point.
This game will surely bring out your competitive side with its varied options and nearly endless replayability.
Easily one of the most solid sports titles on the system.
#69. Tales of Hearts R
Taking place on the worlds of Organica and Minera, this space epic pits rival factions against one another in a world dominated by the Maximus Empire.
You might be thinking this is just another action RPG on the PS Vita, and you’d be wrong.
Tales of Hearts R really shines in its unique combat system which combines a traditional RPG system with a fighting game’s style.
Not only can characters be leveled up but also their weapons change as you level with pathways opening up depending on your character’s specialization.
#68. When Vikings Attack!
An arena melee brawler with throwing projectiles as the one and only weapon, When Vikings Attack! pits villagers against invading vikings in a tower defense game for the ages.
Receiving largely mixed reviews upon release, When Vikings Attack! is reminiscent of classic PC strategy games like Lemmings and also has elements of tower defense games so popular on iOS devices.
The objective is basic, pick up objects and toss them at enemies, but the strategy behind this grows as the games goes along with later levels offering a real challenge.
#67. Soul Sacrifice
Enslaved by a powerful and cruel sorcerer who uses human sacrifices to remain immortal, the protagonist gains the ability to fight the sorcerer by reading through a book of the evil man’s prior battles, thus giving the protagonist the insight necessary to defeat him.
Keiji Inafune’s work on this is perhaps some of his best and most innovative, but it can be a bit obscure at times as to what that point is.
While the game features classes sometimes this isn’t completely apparent as to how they function in certain parts of the game.
Overall the gameplay and questing is compelling and offers hours of fun for fans action RPGs.
#66. Retro City Rampage
Blast your way through this urban apocalypse as you run and gun your way to higher points and success.
The game’s retro style is charming and immediately endearing.
Even if you’re killing a bunch of pixels, the whole experience is so stylish you can’t help but notice.
Fans of old school Grand Theft Auto will find a lot to love here but fans of retro video games might be the real winners.
For those of us who miss the glory days but enjoy the technological advances of today, Retro City Rampage is right up your alley.
The open world is fun and the gameplay is addicting. Do you need anything more?
#65. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken
As Hardboiled Chicken you have one mission—kill penguin dictator Putzki and free the citizens of Albatropolis.
This game balances platforming, puzzle solving, and shooter elements.
It intermittently switches up these styles to keep the player on their toes.
Basically it is a unique experience at its heart that is also very beholden to retro games and puzzlers of the past.
#64. A Rose in the Twilight
A young girl named Rose finds herself in an old, monochromatic castle frozen in time.
Around her waist is a rose capable of absorbing the color red.
As Rose proceeds through the castle she finds a giant and bonds with him.
Together, the two of them set out to discover the mystery of the rose and the castle.
This game is a masterpiece in terms of graphics and sound.
Upon booting it up players can’t help but be taken in by its beauty.
That said, it isn’t without challenge and, indeed, its beauty may belie its challenge.
But players should definitely check this one out – if nothing but for the experience.
When people talk about games as art, they are often talking about games like A Rose in the Twilight, which is the complete package in every way.
#63. Killzone: Mercenary
Taking place on the planets of Vekta and Helghan, Killzone: Mercenary continues the saga of the interplanetary war between the Vektans and Helghast.
The fifth game in the Killzone series and the second handheld game, Killzone: Mercenary allows players to fight alongside the series heroes or the Helghast, the antagonists, choosing whatever loadout they want in order to complete mercenary missions.
The graphics and sound are amazing and really fool you into thinking you’re playing a full home console release.
And really the only downside is the game’s length – it’s so good it will definitely leave you wanting for more.
Break the princess out of the castle in this gothic platformer.
Dokuro is a skeleton knight for the dark lord.
One day, the skeleton knight has a pang of conscience and decides to free the princess that the dark lord has forcibly married.
Escaping the castle is no easy feat but it remains engaging until the bitter end.
The graphics are unique and are inspired by children’s novels according to creator Nonaki Kazama.
Featuring an atmosphere that is second-to-none and gameplay that is evocative of classic titles like Abe’s Odyssey, Dokuro is a charming title on the PS Vita and deserves a place on every discerning gamer’s shelf.
#61. Hustle Kings
Tear up the table like a veteran pool shark in this billiards game for the PS Vita.
It’s basically pool on the PS Vita, and that’s all you need but the game goes out of its way to offer you little bit more than that.
The best feature is competing against other players over the PlayStation Network.
If you’ve ever wanted a quality billiards game for your on-the-go lifestyle, Hustle Kings has got the hook up for you.
#60. MLB 12: The Show
Rise to the stratospheric heights of super stardom in the world of baseball as you play through MLB 12: The Show.
When sports games get it right, they really do it well and MLB 12: The Show is no exception.
This game is perfect for fans of baseball but also gamers that enjoy a good portable game.
While there aren’t many sports games that we can recommend without reservation for the PS Vita, MLB 12: The Show is one of them. Fans of the MLB should add this game to their collection today.
#59. Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
Shiren and Koppa, the talking ferret, are climbing the Tower of Fortune in hopes that the god at the top can changes their fates as is rumored.
Rogue-likes on the PS Vita are some of the best games in the system’s pantheon.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is perhaps one of the best available.
This is a game in which death matters and skill is paramount.
You get one chance to work your way through the dungeon, and you better make it good.
But don’t be dismayed – you can always try again, and again, and again…and again.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is perfect for gamers that love RPGs, dungeon crawlers, and a serious challenge.
#58. Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk
After her sister goes missing, Ayesha must learn the art of alchemy to save her.
Watch as Ayesha develops her skills and teams up with allies to save her from an unknown fate.
Beautiful is one word to say about this game’s artwork and inventive is the word to describe its gameplay.
Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk combines the best of a JRPG and a simulation game.
You basically have to master the art of alchemy, an in-game crafting system, to win, elevating what is normally a secondary JRPG feature to a central position in the gameplay.
#57. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Topple your competition on the links in this golfing game that gives you the opportunity to play as a golf star.
When Hot Shots Golf originally debuted on the original PlayStation it became an instant cult classic.
No one expected the bobble-headed golfers of that game to go on to spawn a series but it did and we are ever the better because of it.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational doesn’t mess with the traditional formula too much and that’s a good thing because there wasn’t anything wrong with it to begin.
If you crave some golf action on your PS Vita, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is probably your best bet.
What really makes Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational compelling, however, is its refusal to take itself too seriously.
Golf is a staid sport, and Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational does its best to make it accessible and fun to a mass audience.
#56. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
Set after Trails in the Sky, you play as Rean Schwarzer and follow him and his fellow “Class VII” at Thors Military Academy as they journey throughout Erebonia to get a sense of the current state of affairs within the Empire.
Unlike other games in the series, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is more action heavy than gamers might expect.
Combining attacks for devastating effect figures in prominently to the strategy and the game rewards players who really explore the in-game combat system to its fullest.
The story is also compelling and really intriguing, if a bit cliche by anime standards.
#55. MotorStorm RC
Tear through dirt tracks with 8 styles of vehicles, 4 returning areas from previous MotorStorm games, and 16 tracks spun off of them.
Racing games are few and far between on handheld systems but MotorStorm RC is a quality effort that is amazing fun and a necessity for every PS Vita library.
Evocative of Excite Bike for the NES and RC Pro Am, MotorStorm RC lets you slalom through the mud with the best of them and offers players an intense if all-too-brief racing experience on the PS Vita.
#54. Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Shine your dance shoes with the cast of Persona 4 as this rhythm game has you mashing fingers and bobbing your head along to its tunes.
Persona 4 was huge when it came out and it spawned a fighting game and a rhythm dance game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
Fans of Persona 4 will be instantly familiar with the cast of this game but others might be left wondering what all the fuss is about.
And, while Teddie by himself is quite cute and iconic, is there really anything here for non-fans of Persona 4?
What about fans of JRPGs? After all, this is definitely not a JRPG.
But it is a competent rhythm game with beautiful graphics and amazing sound.
We recommend it whether or not you are familiar with the source material and that alone speaks volumes about its gameplay.
#53. Surge Deluxe
Match blocks in this electrically charged puzzle game that delivers pulse-pounding action and nonstop fun.
In the vein of Tetris, Surge Deluxe pressures you to match up blocks all while bombarding you with lights and sound.
The graphics are actually really good for a puzzle game and stand out in the genre. Same goes for the sound.
Where Surge Deluxe dominates your life, however, is in how compelling its simple premise is.
You’ll be matching blocks for days with the best of them.
#52. Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea
Water sources are disappearing and people and animals are going hungry.
Two alchemists will solve this puzzle and their quest to do so will reveal truths and uncover the mysteries of the series.
Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea offers a surprisingly deep RPG system for a portable game.
But mastering it will take more than a little bit of time and this steep learning curve might be a turn off for many players.
Hardcore JRPG fans, however, will find little to complain about with Atelier Shallie Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea.
#51. Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
A tactical RPG without peer, Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention places you in a world torn by conflict with you at the center of its mysteries and essential to its resolution.
Similar to games like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention is a deep and addictive game.
The game is so complex and compelling it is almost awkward on the Vita as the portable format isn’t conducive to playing for hours on end (and some battles will take forever).
This game is one of the rare examples, on any system, of a complete package and should thrill fans and newcomers alike.
Like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater only with a retro 8-bit look, OlliOlli is a skateboarding trickster game that rewards you for pulling off awesome stunts while skating along a fixed track through a pixel city.
If you grew up with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, then you know what OlliOlli is all about and that should have you excited.
This game combines the fun of racking up a high score while doing tricks with the intensity of maze runner type games so popular on mobile phones.
OlliOlli has an awesome retro aesthetic that will transport you right back to the classic days of gaming.
Somewhat barebones in terms of art detail, the game relies heavily on its addictive gameplay and near-flawless execution.
A true must-play for fans of skateboarding games on the PS Vita.
#49. SUPERBEAT: XONiC
A psychedelic rhythm game with flashing neon lights and off-the-wall music, SUPERBEAT: XONiC is an acid trip of a game that combines audio and visual elements in a roller coaster of sound.
Rhythm games can be some of the toughest out there, and SUPERBEAT: XONiC is no different.
With songs like Kitty from Hell, you know you’re getting into something weird.
And the bouncing lights and bright flashes that accompany each track only help to amp up the distinctly club atmosphere of this game.
If you like rhythm games that are intense and a little off-kilter, like Persona 4’s Dancing All Night, then SUPERBEAT: XONiC is the game for you.
#48. Street Fighter X Tekken
The World Warriors meet the Iron Fist Tournament fighters in this mashup of Capcom’s classic roster and Namco’s iconic lineup from Street Fighter and Tekken respectively, two of the biggest names in the fighting game genre ever to hit.
Fans of fighting games have a lot to love with this port of Street Fighter X Tekken to the PlayStation Vita.
Sporting a standout comic book look to its aesthetic, Street Fighter X Tekken combines the disparate game styles of Capcom’s and Namco’s series into a complete package that turns the conventions of both on their heads without alienating longtime fans.
The music is intense and the sound is great.
You wouldn’t think Street Fighter and Tekken would go well together from a stylistic standpoint, but Capcom’s 2012 release disproves those naysayers.
A perfect game for fans of both and fans of fighting games in general, Street Fighter X Tekken is an amazingly engaging experience on-the-go and should entertain players for hours.
#47. Wipeout 2048
Pulse-pounding techno tracks and super-fast anti-gravity ships flossing down narrow elevated corridors in futuristic cities with a distinctly Euro-future look to it all is just one way to describe Wipeout 2048, the amazingly addictive hovercraft racing game that continues the legacy established by its forebear Wipeout on the original PSX.
If you never had the chance to play the original on the Sony PlayStation back in the day, then 2012’s PS Vita iteration of the popular Wipeout series, Wipeout 2048, is a great place to start.
Think F-Zero but in 3D. You remember F-Zero, right?
The hyper-fast racing game for the SNES that debuted with the console and was like Super Mario Kart sans the weapons and cartoon characters?
F-Zero was serious stuff, and so is Wipeout 2048.
A challenging racer that is dripping with style, Wipeout 2048 continues the traditions established by its namesake and others that came before it.
The only real downside to the intense racing action are the load times that intermittently interrupt this flow but, sometimes, the break can be a much needed pause – the races can get that intense!
#46. FIFA Soccer
It’s football, or what Americans call soccer, on your PS Vita – need we say more?
Play as any one of your favorites in FIFA’s standard bearer for fans of global football.
It’s FIFA, just portable.
A lot has changed since 2012, but one thing that has remained the same is that EA’s FIFA on the PlayStation Vita is probably the best football game you’re going to get on the system.
A bit dated, natch, but still how much do the fundamentals of football change? Very little.
The game’s graphics are serviceable and the sound is quite good – where FIFA shines is in its tight gameplay.
Some effort was made to take advantage of the PS Vita’s innovative touch controls but it’s not obtrusive and doesn’t interfere with the game.
Really, this is home console FIFA on your Vita, and for most diehard football fans, that’s all you need.
One thing that is incredibly fun and really tailor-made for the portable format are the game’s simulation elements.
Turning FIFA into a pick up and play type of experience definitely has its drawbacks, but then again there are so many benefits to having such a game on call.
#45. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Nathan Drake and Marisa Chase journey to the lost city of Quivira in this Indiana Jones-light epic on the PlayStation Vita, the Uncharted series’ first portable game.
Taking place before Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted: Golden Abyss offers all of the action platforming you’d expect from an Uncharted game all in a portable iteration that is the series first portable game ever.
Two things Uncharted: Golden Abyss has going for it that most portable games do not: An epic sense of story and narrative coupled with a cinematic score that uses a full orchestra.
Few games are the “complete package,” but in many ways Uncharted: Golden Abyss is just that.
Oozing with quality and over achievement as a portable game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is one of Nathan Drake’s finest games.
Much of the home console gameplay is intact and there really isn’t much deviation from its forebears in this arena.
Again, where it shines is that the game doesn’t take its home on PS Vita to mean it can cut corners, and it doesn’t.
#44. Muramasa Rebirth
The Shogun seeks the Demon Blades to further his power in this epic action role playing game set during Japan’s genro period and featuring samurai, ninja, and characters from Japanese mythology and folklore.
What players will immediately notice about Muramasa Rebirth are its beautiful graphics and animation.
This game is styled like a classical Japanese artwork and it shows in every frame.
Running from scene to scene alone is an experience, but thankfully Muramasa Rebirth also shows up in the gameplay department.
Touting all the conventions of a typical RPG, Muramasa Rebirth features potions, cooking, and upgrades.
You level your character by taking place in random encounters as well as in scripted events to move the story along.
In that regard, Muramasa Rebirth has a great narrative that is filled to bursting with Japanese lore and myth.
Fans of samurai anime and the like will find a lot to enjoy with this game.
Based on a home console experience, Muramasa Rebirth on the PS Vita retains all its beauty and charm and sacrifices none of its excellent gameplay in the process.
#43. The Sly Collection
A combo pack of all four released Sly Cooper games, The Sly Collection brings the platforming stealth action of everyone’s favorite animal thieves slash treasure hunters in a package on the PS Vita that is an amazing deal.
The Sly Cooper series is one of the best on the PlayStation, and The Sly Collection brings all of those games together in one place for an experience that rewards well beyond its budget price.
In terms of gameplay, Sly Cooper has always been an interesting mix of Mario-style platformer and stealth action.
This collection shows that off in spades and keeps the critically tight controls largely intact.
There are points when the PS Vita’s smaller form factor will get in the way but those are few and far between.
Graphically speaking, The Sly Collection doesn’t do much to change the classics it collates but those didn’t need much help to begin and the music is retained in all its glory along with the zany sound effects that have become part and parcel with the series.
#42. Plants vs. Zombies
A tower defense game in which you defend your base from invading zombies by using plants that each have unique special abilities.
PopCap’s iconic Plants vs. Zombies on the PS Vita is one of those games you don’t expect to love but can’t help but adoring anyway.
It’s basically a tower defense game, and if you don’t know what that is well it’s basically a genre in which the player is tasked with defending his base from an oncoming horde by using strategically placed weapons, traps, and characters to prevent the oncoming army from taking over.
In this game you use plants…versus…zombies. Hence the title.
The funny thing is watching it all unfold. Plants have different talents that make them good at different things and zombies are zombies.
What initially may seem like an unfair match turns into a hilarious slugfest as these mindless zombies attempt to overcome your garden of terror.
#41. Ratchet & Clank Collection
Take on the entire Ratchet and Clank pantheon of enemies in this collection of games for the PS Vita that brings together all of the best platforming action from the classic series where you have to make use of all sorts of different gadgets to overcome puzzles and world obstacles.
Easily some of the best platforming on the PS Vita, Ratchet & Clank Collection is a value proposition that gamers shouldn’t pass up lightly.
The platformer action is tight and the puzzles are tricky without being tedious.
Ratchet & Clank is known for its use of different weapons and gadgets and, as you play through the games, you see how creative the developers at Insomniac Games were iterating on this feature as the games progressed.
#40. Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland
Atelier Rorona Plus stars Rorolina Frixell, one the most popular characters starring in the Arland trilogy of Atelier style games.
It’s all about JRPG action, visual novel narrative, item synthesis, and anime inspired graphics.
If you enjoyed the other Atelier games, there is little reason to believe that you won’t enjoy Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland for the Vita.
Continuing the traditions of the other Atelier games, this title is all about item synthesis and mastering the involved combat system.
Of course, you have a dense narrative on top of all of this which is conveyed primarily through a visual novel style.
Tough without being impossible, Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland is a JRPG fan’s JRPG.
Almost intimidating complex for a Vita title, it nonetheless brings everything it needs to the table and delivers on its promise of an epic story and experience.
#39. Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited
In Disgaea 4 you play as the vampire lord Valvatorez who has fallen from grace in Hades and now works a menial job transforming the souls of dead people into Prinnies.
When the government orders the genocide of the Prinnies, Valvatorez leads a rebellion.
Infused with politics from the very start, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is different from other titles in the Disgaea series because it removes the story from the typical high school setting.
And what a change Hades is!
Aside from that, the gameplay of Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is largely unchanged from its forebears.
By this we mean you can expect turn-based combat common to many JRPGs as well as upgradeable stats, equipment, and party members.
Where the Disgaea series has always excelled, story, is no different here with the change of pace almost enough in itself to make it interesting.
While the politics and setting are different from other games, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited is also laden with a lot of the anomie and angst common to protagonists in other games.
Don’t be surprised to find it here!
#38. Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut
A 2D-style post-apocalyptic survival game following an anonymous protagonist whose apartment serves as a hub for a world guided by hallucination and the will to survive.
When we talk about video games that are a little different from the rest, games like Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut come to mind.
Ostensibly a survival horror game with a slightly SNES look to it, Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut is anything but your typical Resident Evil clone.
You guide the nameless character through hallucination, gathering items as you explore the world.
These, in turn, help you solve puzzles which leads you further towards solving the mystery of what has happened to the world around you.
#37. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
The Marvel universe meets the video game titans of Capcom’s classic games in this portable version of the home console fighting game that brings together superheroes of page and screen.
If you enjoy the Marvel vs. Capcom games, then Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the PS Vita will probably be something you will want to experience.
It is definitely a competent fighting game and probably one of the best on the system.
Of course, coming from good stock to begin with probably helps, and that is for sure the case here.
Although, with that said, one can’t help but feel like they might be missing out on a more robust experience and, indeed, they may just be.
But for those gamers who enjoy gaming on the go, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will scratch that fighting game itch every time.
#36. Gravity Rush
As an amnesiac named Kat waking up in Hekseville you find yourself in a city floating around a world pillar and accompanied by a cat named Dusty that has the ability to manipulate gravity.
One of the weirder platforming games we’ve ever played, Gravity Rush is nonetheless one of the most innovative.
With your cat Dusty, who can change gravity at will, you make your way as Kat through the various puzzles and platforms of your brave new world.
Proceeding through the game, the player will eventually unravel the mysteries behind this world and why Kat is there to begin.
The graphics are indie heavy but charming nonetheless and the sound and music never disappoint.
In all, Gravity Rush shows what interesting things can be done both narratively and in terms of gameplay with the platformer genre.
#35. Super Stardust Delta
A twin-stick shooter that has you piloting a starship orbiting a planet charged with blowing everything away that comes along.
A shoot ‘em up that uses both sticks on the PS Vita is a rare thing but a game that pushes you to the brink time and time again with each level is a masterpiece.
Super Stardust Delta is one of the best shoot ‘em ups ever made and it fits in perfectly with the Vita’s portability.
You pilot a ship orbiting one of six different planets, clearing out everything that comes your way as you head towards an end-stage boss.
The game is an admixture of classic arcade shooter with modern pulse-pounding graphics, sound, and gameplay.
Think a nightclub in a spaceship.
#34. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
Set immediately after BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, Continuum Shift Extend follows the story of the aftermath of a raid by Ragna the Bloodedge and a mysterious bombing rocks the city all while the mystery surrounding these calamitous events deepens, leading to a crisis.
Featuring eight new characters over its predecessor, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend continues the fighting series iconic art style and off the wall gameplay in a game that isn’t for everyone but probably enjoyable by most people.
There are multiple levels to moves and only some can be pulled off when certain gauges are filled.
Pulling off a finishing move, for example, requires a 35% health with one free burst.
It’s really a fighting game for people that also have strategy game leanings.
That said, for many the artwork alone might be worth the price of admission – it’s amazing.
#33. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma
This visual novel that takes place between Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue’s Last Reward and features a plot in which you play as one of nine people who were kidnapped by a mysterious person known only as Zero.
The game is played out in chapters which consist of puzzles, moral dilemmas, as well as narrative segments.
Some people are really into visual novels, and other people wonder what all the fuss is about.
If you were looking for a reason to get started with the visual novel genre, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma might be the starting point for you.
Taking place between the other two games in the series, this installment may remind older players of the old PC adventure games like Myst and Return to Zork.
For newer players the visual novel format is probably most reminiscent of an RPG sans the intermittent combat.
An engaging story, art and sound that help set the mood, and a lore that keeps on giving the more you look into it, Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is one heckuva ride.
The gamer is plunged into a mysterious world filled with odd things as Sasha, a teenage girl who has lost her family and her arm.
Employing an aesthetic influenced by Mexican culture, Sasha is an action slasher game that takes full advantage of the PS Vita’s controls.
Another beautiful, different game, Severed is one hand a horror game and on the other an intense action set piece.
Some have described it as having a Silent Hill in Mexico vibe and that definitely holds true for the general tone and look of the game.
The action, however, reminds you more of a Castlevania or Metroid type game than a plodding survival horror.
Indeed, much of Severed is spent fending off hordes of grotesque monsters, something the Silent Hill protagonists would have struggled with at a minimum.
Called a “score attack dog-fighting” game by developer Vlambeer, Luftrausers is a shoot ‘em up with World War II themes.
This game is all about a high score.
It’s a throwback to earlier arcade titles from the Atari era in that way.
If you enjoy no-frills shoot ‘em ups that vary between intense and impossible, Luftrausers will offer you hours of fun.
It is definitely a bit of an indie effort but don’t let its deceiving appearance fool you – it’s a full release in every sense of the concept.
#30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
Rean has escaped from the Divine Knight Valimar and is on his way back to his hometown of Ymir in hopes of reuniting his compatriots to stop the civil war destroying the land.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel and, if the player has completed that game, follows shortly after the conclusion – one week to be exact.
Your prior actions in the game before impact the sequel’s narrative somewhat, but you don’t need to be familiar with Trails of Cold Steel in order to play the sequel.
The gameplay is a traditional JRPG layout with a focus on building up your party and equipment.
Unlike the first game which revolved around the daily schedule of a student’s life, this sequel has you globetrotting to assemble a team to quell the forces of unrest that are ripping your country apart.
An epic story with solid gameplay make The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II an excellent JRPG.
#29. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Welcome to elite high school Hope’s Peak Academy where students enroll but never leave unless they murder a classmate and avoid getting caught in this adventure visual novel from Spike Chunsoft.
This game is intense for a visual novel.
Everything looks like your normal Japanese high school anime until you lose consciousness only to awake, trapped inside of this school and being held prisoner by a demonic bear that demands either you or one of your classmates murders one another to escape or you all die.
While still a visual novel, this game integrates a lot of JRPG elements that make it more interactive and add to the replayability immensely.
The art style and sound are all typical manga fare so don’t expect anything to blow your socks off in that department.
#28. Soul Sacrifice Delta
A powerful and evil sorcerer by the name of Magusar has enslaved you and many others in endless sacrifices to secure immortality.
Shortly before it is your time, a book called Libron appears before you and takes you through time to show you how to defeat the evil sorcerer once and for all.
Soul Sacrifice Delta is an action RPG that emphasizes building up stats and abilities through a unique sacrifice system.
This gives the player the incentive to learn the game’s mechanics which is always a plus but at the same time the gameplay can be a bit clunky and often esoteric.
A strong storyline and awesome presentation help save the day with this game and its definitely a different type of RPG in that realm.
Set in 2010 after the events of Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate is based upon the concept of time travel and the impact choices have on the future.
As you make your way through this visual novel, you’ll notice that your choices really impact the narrative.
Cause and effect are huge components of the Steins;Gate experience, and this game really makes you think about what you’re doing.
Compared with other visual novels, Steins;Gate really prides itself on reward players who pay attention to details.
#26. Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
You only have your stealth goggles to help you survive these 80 levels of platforming hell where you sneak around avoiding detection in order to escape alive.
Platformers typically conjure up images of a Mario clone but sometimes there are games like Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark which change up the staid formula in ways you wouldn’t have considered.
There are traps and hazards but all you have is a trusty pair of stealth goggles to help you navigate through this game.
With 80 levels to complete, you’ll be working at it for quite a while too.
Amazing levels of replayability coupled with challenging gameplay make this a game to own.
#25. Dead or Alive 5 Plus
Off-the-wall action and boob physics make this fighter stand out in a sea of wannabes as you take control of one of the iconic DOA cast and battle your way through the tournament.
There are games like Virtua Fighter that take themselves seriously and then there are games like Dead or Alive 5 Plus which abandons maturity for a zany presentation that emphasizes arcade-style action.
Combos come naturally in this game and even the most novice player will find enjoyment in this game.
There is a story, but it is nonsense. The game’s sound and graphics are very much indebted to the arcade but come across just as strong on the Vita handheld.
Probably one of the best fighting games for the Vita for fans of 3D fighters like Tekken.
#24. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Journey through the history of Metal Gear Solid as Solid Snake in this compilation of Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3, a trio of games that spanned the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 and brought such characters as Revolver Ocelot and Raiden to the gaming world.
The name in stealth action games, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the PS Vita is one of the best deals on the system.
These are triple-A home console releases and they don’t lose a thing in their transition to the Vita’s small screen.
Story, gameplay, and huge doses of what-in-the-hell make the Metal Gear Solid series one of gaming’s best no matter for what system it is made.
#23. Frozen Synapse Prime
Welcome to a cyberpunk dystopian hell where you and your small squad of soldiers have to eliminate the other team or get eliminated themselves in a unique turn based strategy game.
The setting of this game and the general presentation aside, Frozen Synapse Prime is a solid, no luxuries turn-based strategy game.
Mastery isn’t everything, there’s a huge amount of luck involved, too.
Thankfully the objective always remains the same – eliminate the other side.
Unique to this game is the “simultaneous real time” strategy element in which every player’s choices are executed at the same time, resulting in a fanfare of chaos and destruction.
#22. Ys: Memories of Celceta
Welcome to Celceta where, as Adol Christin, an amnesiac, has to recover his memories by completing quests around the town of Casnan and abroad.
The Ys games are a well-established franchise in the JRPG space.
Ys: Memories of Celceta builds upon this legacy but really doesn’t change much about previous games.
You have attacks and skills that you use to defeat foes as Adol and you’re accompanied in this adventure by a man named Duren.
This is a change from other Ys games that were largely solo affairs.
Where Ys surmounts its competition is in its quaint, almost dated approach to the genre with a storyline, score, and art style that evoke older JRPGs.
#21. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
This time a student is murdered on a tropical island in this murder mystery where you have to implicate one of your classmates or spend eternity in the grips of Hope Peak’s Academy.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, like the other Danganronpa games on this list, emphasizes narrative and choice.
If you like visual novels, you need these games.
That said, the conceit can start to wear thin after a while if you’re not into murder mysteries.
The characters are always unique and distinguishable from one another, but there is a certain “been here, done that” quality to it all.
#20. Lumines: Electronic Symphony
A symphony of neon lights meets Tetris in this super-addictive puzzle game from Ubisoft that is a feast for the eyes and a teaser for the brain.
Like many popular foundational games, Tetris has its fair share of clones, Lumines being among the better clones.
This game emphasizes sound and neon lights in addition to its intense action for an all-around crazy multimedia experience for a puzzle game.
This game is easy to get into but tough as nails to master.
Fans of puzzle games will like it while people who may not have tried the genre will be lured in by its bright lights and intense action.
#19. PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD
Tower defense meets insanity in this real-time strategy game that combines cartoon graphics with a deep strategy game.
This game is a trip and in the Looney Tunes type of way.
Tower defense games are a staple of video gaming and PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD is perhaps the peak of that genre’s expression.
You won’t find a better package than this, nor a tougher challenge.
While everything is pretty tight, the music is nuts.
As in you will be in a padded cell after listening to this soundtrack.
We recommend turning it down and staying focused on defending yourself from the pixel junk coming your way.
2D Minecraft comes to the PS Vita in this indie smash hit that lets you build, craft, and explore your way through a pseudo 16-bit world.
Terraria is an amazing game.
While it hasn’t garnered quite the attention that its voxel-based friend Minecraft has, Terraria has nonetheless captured the hearts of many, especially those that enjoy 2D pixel games.
A lot of the conceits in this game are the same as Minecraft – you build, mine, explore, craft, repeat – but one thing that sets it apart is that Terraria has a much more developed storyline.
This means combat is way more important in Terraria than in Minecraft and, while things have changed considerably, the number of weapons and possible ways to attack enemies in this game is mind-boggling.
We totally recommend this game to people who loved classic SNES titles as well as fans of the aforementioned Minecraft.
#17. Sine Mora
You’re a father waging war against an empire that executed your conscientious objector son for refusing to drop a nuclear bomb on a group called the Enkies and you also play as the Enkies seeking revenge against the empire for its genocide.
A side-scrolling shoot ‘em up game with a diesel punk aesthetic, Sine Mora separates itself from the pack with an emphasis on narrative where other shmups avoid this area entirely.
And it’s a deepy, heady narrative at that – asking questions about war, personal responsibility, and what it means to apply morality to situations devoid of rational choices.
To top all of that, the game is absolutely gorgeous, with an art style that looks as close to a painting as you can get in a video game shooter.
Get your Tempest 2000 fix with TxK, the game that prompted Atari to sue the pants off of Llamasoft to prevent the game from landing anywhere other than the Vita.
Have you ever played the Atari classic Tempest 2000?
It is a vector graphics action shooter that really made waves in arcades when it first released way back when.
TxK is the spiritual successor that game, featuring similar graphics and a stereo-busting soundtrack.
This caught the attention of the aforementioned Atari who has sued to block this game on nearly every other system so if you want it, you gotta get the Vita version.
#15. Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
You’re a trouble making blob that is busting out of prison in this puzzle-based action platformer that looks like a retro 50’s sci-fi movie on acid.
You’re probably noticing from this list that the PS Vita has some of the most amazing puzzle games around.
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is one of those games, and it’s on just enough drugs to make you wonder who the dealer is.
You’re a blob and you’re up to no good.
You bust out of jail and you need to consume everything around you as you ooze through 1950s America causing chaos and terror.
A simple idea, it increasingly becomes more difficult as you play through the game solving puzzles and doing the typical platformer stuff until you realize you’re a blob, and that makes the game all the more special.
#14. Code:Realize – Guardian of Rebirth
You play as Cardia, a woman cursed with skin that poisons and melts anything that touches it.
Your father has kept you shielded away from a society that doesn’t understand you and even fears you.
When he disappears one day, you have to join forces with the thief Lupin to escape capture from the Royal Guard in this amazing visual novel adventure.
A classical fairytale in form, Code:Realize – Guardian of Rebirth is a visual novel that puts you in the role of Cardia who wants to find her father while escaping from people who have ill intentions.
You’ll almost think you’re watching some kind of Tim Burton flick or a really dark Disney movie, but you’re playing one of the best visual novels on the PS Vita.
#13. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
Nine main characters have been captured by the mysterious Zero and must make their way out of a puzzle-filled, trap-laden warehouse.
Escaping from a mad man that wants you to solve puzzles in an abandoned warehouse never gets old.
Just think of this game as the movie Saw without the body dismemberment.
The real magic of these visual novel games is in how they wrap you up in the story.
This game is no exception and bit on the disturbing side at points.
#12. Grim Fandango Remastered
Star Wars house Lucas Arts produced this groundbreaking adventure game for the PC way back in 1998.
This Day of the Dead themed adventure game was a flop when it initially released on PCs back in 1998 but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a critical darling.
Easily combining some of the best of games like Zork and Myst, Grim Fandango Remastered is also brimming with personality.
This in combination with its great story make it a winner even now.
#11. Sound Shapes
A side-scrolling platformer with a musical bent, Sound Shapes features music from artists like Beck and remains one of the PS Vita’s standout titles for its innovation.
It’s not often that a platformer combines elements of the rhythm genre into it but Sound Shapes is just that game.
Perfect for people that want a change to the Mario formula, Sound Shapes production values are extremely high. Plus it features music by artist Beck.
Juan comes back from the Land of the Dead to save El Presidente’s daughter from the evil charro skeleton Carlos.
#9. Mortal Kombat
In some ways a reboot of the series, thunder god Raiden and protector of Earth realm has to go back in the past to change the future.
Mortal Kombat is Mortal Kombat and this game brings it back to its roots, ditching the fully 3D fighting introduced in its first polygonal installments for a style that more closely resembles in the older games in form and function.
The combos, fatalities, and characters are all here in what is truly a complete fighting game for the handheld Vita.
An open-source platformer originally created for Windows PCs, Spelunky puts you in the role of the spelunker who explores vast undergound caverns and tunnels in search of treasure.
A platformer adventure game that takes advantage of every ounce of the Vita’s hardware as players navigate a world constructed entirely out of paper.
#6. Velocity Ultra
Your main objective is to rescue stranded ships in your teleporting Quarp Jet that also has to fend off endless waves of enemies.
The PS Vita and shoot ‘em ups go together like sugar and spice, and Velocity Ultra is a prime example of this.
Unlike other shmups this one tasks you with rescuing other ships – something easier said than done when nearly everything on the screen can end you.
This game really shines for its creativity more than anything and its unique features make it both more challenging and more fun at the same time.
#5. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
Sony’s version of Minecraft with sock dolls and endless game types to explore.
LittleBigPlanet on the PS Vita is just like its home console namesake except for in portable format.
If you loved the charming sock puppets of the PS3 game, then you’ll be equally enthralled with this edition.
The challenge comes from what you make of it.
Indeed, with so many sandbox elements open to you as a player, you might wonder if there is any game outside of your interpretation of it.
Whether or not you’re a creative person, LittleBigPlanet will give you hours of enjoyment.
#4. Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster
Blitzball player Tidus is whisked away from his world to a realm devastated by massive flooding and terrorized by a gigantic sea beast called Sin.
Bringing these two games together in one package gives Vita players perhaps the greatest opportunity at spending over 200 hours in front of the system for $30 or less.
Whether it is FFX’s epic storyline or FFX-2’s inventive combat system, this compilation has enough for even the most jaded JRPG player and should keep you entertained for hours.
#3. Hotline Miami
Grand Theft Auto meets the Nintendo Entertainment System in this violent, loud, neon explosion of fun.
Indie games really had their change to shine on the PS Vita and Hotline Miami tops them all as the must-play indie game on the Vita.
Inspired by GTA’s overhead 2D days, Hotline Miami never lets up in the action department and bombards players with sound and carnage as they make their way through a fictional city filled to the brim with chaos and fun.
#2. Rayman Origins
Rayman Origins is like watching a gloriously detailed interactive Saturday morning cartoon that is part Mario, part Sonic, and totally beautiful.
Rayman Origins doesn’t do anything majorly innovative in the action platformer department and that’s okay.
It shouldn’t have to break the mold when it fills it out so exquisitely well.
Rayman Origins combines the tried-and-true platforming we know and love with a little dash of the ‘tude you’d expect from a Sonic game.
What you get in the result is a charming game that never stops being awesome and endearing.
It’s not hard to see why Rayman made people re-analyze their assessment of the 3DO back in the day.
#1. Persona 4 Golden
A JRPG par excellence, Persona 4 Golden is the ultimate edition of the game that tasks you with solving a murder mystery as a group of angsty teens that shuttle between our world and the world of shadows populated by their inner demons.
Persona 4 Golden is the definitive edition of the game.
As Yu Narukami, unnamed in the game because YOU are the protagonist, you assemble a team of your fellow classmates to solve the mystery of the murders occurring in your tiny Japanese town.
At night you view the midnight channel and journey to the realm of shadows, an alternative mirror reality that is distorted in its reflection of our world.
The cast of this game is stellar.
There’s really nothing negative you can say about any of them.
Whether it’s the totally cute though sometimes creepy Teddy, or one of the angsty dudes with sexual repression issues, there is just so much humanity here that it shines through from minute one until the very end.
Tack on top notch artwork and an amazing soundtrack and you have what is easily one of the best games not only on the Vita but of all time.
Are your favorite games on the list? Leave a comment below!
If you think there are games that should OR shouldn’t be on this list, let us know by leaving a comment below.
Deciding which PS Vita game is the best is absolutely a never ending topic (mostly because new games are still being released), but it’s fun to do!