The PS Vita may have failed commercially, but we can’t deny the system features some of the best games of all time. Though the system didn’t last long, it was a portable powerhouse for PlayStation. It was the successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP), which left an indelible mark on those who played it. Unfortunately, due to the fierce competition from Nintendo’s 3DS, the PS Vita was discontinued in 2015, after three years on the market. But it did a lot in that time, and these are the Top 10 best PS Vita games of all time.
Top 10 Best PS Vita Games of All Time
The Sly Cooper Collection
Starting off our Top 10 best PS Vita games of all time is The Sly Cooper Collection. This collects the excellent original trilogy made by Sucker Punch and remastered by Sanzaru Games, who went on to work on Sly 4. The original trilogy has a fantastic story that closes perfectly, and its wrapped in great gameplay. Characters come alive through the art and design created by Sucker Punch, and Sanzaru keeps true to that while adding a cleaner look. This is a must-play title.
One of Ubisoft’s most popular platformers returns with another 2-D adventure that performs almost as well as Rayman Origins. Rayman Legends comes with a lot of added content compared to Origins and even has touchscreen levels featuring Murphy. However, even if the Murphy stages aren’t for you, this game lets you relive stages from Origins when you unlock them. On top of that, the music levels with intricate jumps that match the flow of various tune are incredibly fun, rightly remembered well by many. It originally came out on the Wii-U but runs great on the Vita.
If you’re looking for a brutal but fun platformer, Spelunky is right up your alley. Runs are randomized with every attempt, and its rogue-lite elements are some of the best in the subgenre. Similar to other games like Crypt of the Necrodancer, enemies follow the same pattern, but the levels are different each time. Learning their moves is imperative to success, but so is staying on your toes to not fall into many of the game’s death traps. After traversing the steep learning curve, Spelunky is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Another great platforming experience comes by way of the Shovel Knight himself. With comfortable, eye-popping graphics, nostalgic 8-bit sprites, and a great story (with lore that’s earned its own spinoff games focused on bosses), this adventure is essential. The journey isn’t for the weak, though. There are some truly challenging stages that push your skills to the max, rivaling Spelunky and Rayman, but the life of a knight is filled with strife, so you must overcome. It’s one I love to play on the go, letting me get in short bursts that feel rewarding and demanding.
Rayman Origins was released before the Vita, but it still earned its place near the peak of platformers that are on the system. Ubisoft crafted a wonderful port with this fun, quirky game. Although it lacks a bit of content compared to Rayman Legends, the pacing and gameplay aren’t quite as good, which is why it’s lower on the list. Though it doesn’t support multiplayer of any kind (bummer), it brings the familiar and wacky platforming of classic Rayman games to Sony’s portable. Sure, I’ve put two Rayman games on this list, but they’re both well worth playing — and must-haves for the Vita.
Persona 4 Golden
With hundreds of hours of gameplay and some extra content not found in its console counterparts, this version of Persona 4 packs a punch on the Vita. In classic Atlus fashion, the additions to the story, music, and gameplay round out the experience and rival those on console. Though it’s now available on other platforms (thank goodness), P4 stands as a testament to the Vita’s power and untapped potential. A great game to play on the go that’s bound to keep you entertained on long bus rides, P4 has earned its place as one of the best JRPGs available on the Vita.
A pseudo rival of Monster Hunter, Freedom Wars has you fighting large beasts to harvest their resources. As a prisoner with a sentence of about a million years, you make your way through the levels of a prison by being a useful resource to the city. You can complete missions alone, with NPCs, with your friends, or with a group of randoms, so teamwork is a key feature of gameplay. Freedom Wars was a very popular seller and became a defacto posterboy for the system.
AloneWithYou is a pick that might surprise some. It wasn’t well known, coming out near the tail end of PS Vita’s life cycle. However, the story-driven adventure game has left a mark on many hearts. It puts you in the shoes of a lonely astronaut that’s tasked with learning about a failed mission to build a society on another planet. With only your AI chaperone to talk to, you slowly build a connection to it and the world around you — even more so when it generates simulations to connect with other captains and leaders of the society before its ultimate demise.
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Final Fantasy X and FFX-2 had already earned a special place with PlayStation fans when they released on Playstation 2 in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Now the adventure is put together in one game and available on the go with updated graphics. What really stands out is that this remaster is more akin to the international releases. This means that those who didn’t play the Japanese versions originally (like myself) had access to some content that originally couldn’t be found in the West Square Enix has always created memorable games when it comes to the Final Fantasy series, and these are some of the best.
The number one spot on our Top 10 Best Vita games of all time has to go to Gravity Rush. This PS Vita exclusive is well worth having and puts you in the shoes of Kat. The gameplay uses the Vita to the max, letting Kat pull off some amazing feats with her gravity abilities. It’s a slight learning curve, but figuring out the moves and watching as you free fall and fly around the city brings a sense of freedom that I fondly look back on. With great music, memorable NPCs, and fun mechanics, you can feel the love the developers had for this title.
Those are the Top 10 best Vita games of all time. The ill-fated Sony handheld had impressive games catalog during its short time, and there are many more titles that stand out beyond this round-up. There would have been even more — if it wasn’t discontinued so soon. Perhaps Project Q, the current working name for Sony’s next handheld, will release sooner rather than later.