Just because Sony has put off the PlayStation Store shutdown this time doesn’t mean you should count on it being around forever. We’ve compiled a list of the best Vita games to download before it’s too late!
Here are our criteria:
- It must still be available for purchase on the PlayStation Store in North America.
- No comparable version of the game is available on an active platform.
- If the game’s only available digitally, that’s a plus.
- It offers something great or special to today’s players.
Onto the games!
DJMax Technika Tune
The PlayStation Vita was a great platform for rhythm games, and Technika Tune was a standout exclusive in the genre. With a solid song list and an intuitive, fun control scheme, it’s definitely one of the best Vita games to play today. And there’s a physical release, but like a lot of Vita games, it’s not common!
Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 Plus
While there are versions of Civ Rev 2 on mobile platforms, this particular variety is Vita-exclusive! 2K did some strange ports to the platform late in its life (like XCOM!), but this one offers the most distinctly Vita take. It does scrap the mobile edition’s multiplayer, but it replaces it with some exclusive characters and scenarios for the game’s Asian factions.
Shouldn’t there be more games like WarioWare? We think so, and so did the developers behind Frobisher Says!, an early Vita game that does a lot to show off the hardware. It’s got a lot going for it, too. A charming tone! An interesting, unifying animation style! A distinctly British sensibility! If you want a game in your Vita library that makes you really get the entire Vita experience, this is the one.
Tales of Hearts R
Is it one of the best Tales games? No, honestly. But Tales of Hearts R is a Vita-exclusive JRPG, and one that sticks to the franchise formula in a way that a lot of players will find comforting. It does require a bit of patience and understanding, as it’s a low-budget reworking of a game originally made for the Nintendo DS. But it gets the combat system right, and that really goes a long way.
Do you remember the Vita’s augmented reality capabilities? (It’s okay if you don’t.) Open Me! lets you solve puzzle boxes by moving around in physical space and interacting with the “box” on your touch screen. It sports way more puzzles than you’d expect, and there’s enough variety between them to make it worth trying ’em all. It’s one of the best Vita games at, well, being a Vita game! Just know: it’s way better at calibration if you use one of those Vita AR cards.
Soul Sacrifice Delta
Sony’s handhelds really built a following in the wake of Monster Hunter‘s success, creating a genre out of its style of co-op gameplay. Soul Sacrifice, the brainchild of Keiji Inafune, adds its own twist: using limited resources. Everything can be “sacrificed,” from body parts to allies, to unleash devastating effects. The digital-only Delta expands on the base game’s content, and is definitely the version to play if you have the option.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
Oreshika is all about time. Schedules. Deadlines. The ephemeral nature of life. The base of the game — its combat and dungeons — is rather traditional. But surrounding it? Your characters have very short lives and have to work to continue the bloodline and bequeath stronger equipment. Difficulty options let you decide how intense and long you find your quest, but any of them will have you unlocking and grinding at a satisfying pace. (Oh, and the art style is great, too.)
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
This is a thoroughly weird Silent Hill game. Developed by WayForward, it’s a dungeon-crawling RPG with short gameplay segments and even online multiplayer. But it uses the IP to make this feel distinct. It’s sort of creepy! It uses “bookworm” and “jock” as character classes! Though it doesn’t always achieve what it tries, it tries a lot, and that can make it one of the best Vita games to play.
Jeff Minter’s Vita-exclusive TxK is probably most known for… well, why it’s Vita-exclusive. Legal disputes with Atari kept the game from releasing on other platforms. Though Minter and Llamasoft were able to resolve that and make Tempest 4000, TxK is worth a look on its own. Minter has a distinctive style, with a psychedelic reimagining of games like Tempest. TxK is hard. It’s arcade hard. But it’s also rewarding in the way those games could often be.