By the way, don't think you need a PSP Go to buy the cheaper downloadable versions. A lot of these are under 1GB in size, so you can get more than a couple on a decent-sized Memory Stick Pro Duo in a regular PSP. Longer battery life, faster load times, superlative gameplay... what's not to love?
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower
This 2D fighter is seldom mentioned these days, which is frankly criminal. Featuring game mechanics from Darkstalkers, Night Warriors and Darkstalkers 3, you're basically getting the three classic games in one. The animation and art style are equally beautiful and the characters are unforgettable. There's also a superb Chaos Tower mode for PSP, which sees you picking three characters and seeing how many fights you can get through.
Resting characters regain health with every fight, but if they're KO'd, they're out for good. Better yet, PSP Go's D-Pad is nowhere near as painful for playing the game as the PSP Fat was when it was first released on UMD. So you get faster load times, no pain and a fraction of the original price. Win, win and win.
Above: The art style of Darkstalkers is timeless and PSP handles all the animation with aplomb
The first WipEout game on PSP was decent enough, but it was blown away by its sequel, WipEout Pulse. With a grid campaign system like WipEout HD and many of the tracks found in that game, it's easy to pretend this is a portable version of a PS3 game. With a sweet photo mode, plenty of tracks and special effects to enjoy plus Zone mode, there's no reason to pass this one up.
Above: Weapon pads and speed boosts in the track, ludicrous banking, vertical drops - WipEout is ace
This may 'only' be the original which was a launch game back in 2004, but it's aged very well indeed. Smooth graphics, charming characters and finely-honed gameplay come together to create not only one of the best golf games of all time, but one of the best handheld games of all time. Play a few holes when you've got a spare 5 minutes, or spend an entire holiday like one GR staffer completing the single-player mode. At £6.99, this is an absolute steal.
Above: Looks simple... childish, even. But Everybody's Golf is one of the best games you can buy on PSP
Who doesn't love LocoRoco? The smiling little (big) yellow blob bounces around colourful environments to the happiest music in any game ever and everything is right with the world. The controls are so simple anyone can grasp them. Simply tilt the world by pressing the corresponsing shoulder button, or hold them both and release to jump. Each LocoRoco you collect is added to the ball, but you can break apark to solve simple puzzles. Like singing to a tree to wake it up. As the name implies, this 'Essential' is essential.
Above: Don't worry - it may look horribly garish here, but it just 'works' on the PSP's LCD screen
Ratchet %26amp; Clank: Size Matters
It was a hard choice, picking one last game for the five. Power Stone Collection, Burnout Legends, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and Daxter are all worthy of a place on this list. But we've gone with Ratchet and his robot chum because it complements the other games here perfectly. The high-quality 3D platform adventure is every bit as good looking and playable as its PS2 brothers, and the scripting is as sharp as ever. A lot of people have passed it by because it's on PSP, but this is full-fat Ratchet and Clank action - and that means awesome.
Above: It's not just a space shooter, but this was too pretty a screenshot to leave out
So there we have it - for the price of one chart game, you can have five brilliant games with you wherever you go. There will be more added to the list very soon, and if the quality stays as high as it is here (and the unit price itself comes down), PSP may finally be an 'essential' purchase too.
19 Jul, 2010