5. Patapon 3
What you do in this bizarre, PSP-exclusive series is hard to describe without using the word Patapon itself. It's a game that marches to the beat of its own drum, borrowing notes of the rhythm game genre to compose a unique tune all its own. It's like Lemmings meets Elite Beat Agents. Or LocoRoco meets Donkey Konga. See? Hard.
With Patapon 3, developer Pyramid perfects its formula. Once again, the game challenges you to lead an army of Patapons to victory against the Seven Evil Archfiends by tapping out drum beats to control their actions. The controls are more intuitive, the visuals are more varied, and the multiplayer adds a whole new dimension to the Patapons' quest. It's a sequel that layers improvements on top of nearly every aspect of the game without missing a beat.
Daxter is the spin-off to the Jak & Daxter PS2 series you never realised was possible. Taking place at the beginning of Jak 2, Ready at Dawn's offbeat open-world platformer/shooter chronicles the adventures of wisecracking ocelot Daxter as he attempts to save his buddy Jak from the clutches of Baron Praxis. If you've never played a Jak & Daxter game before (shame on you), then that sentence might as well be jibberish to your ears, making this an experience catered to franchise fans above all else.
Still, the visual and gameplay fidelity of Daxter on such a teensy, portable console was mega impressive at the time, and the title still holds up today as a big, premium action-adventure with a tonally consistent story deserving of the Jak & Daxter branding. There's action, drama, laughs, boss fights, LAN multiplayer, mini-games, collectables and much more to be enjoyed in Daxter, making it an absolute must-play for the PSP enthusiast.
3. God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio captured Zeus' lightning in a bottle when they crammed the God of War series into Sony's handheld. God of War: Chains of Olympus was an impressive achievement, but Ghost of Sparta surpassed it with an adventure that is slick and gorgeous.
Following Kratos' search for his brother Deimos, Ghost of Sparta is essential for followers of the series' canon. And while it doesn't rise to the same scale as its console siblings, it comes damn close while showing off a few new moves along the way. By the time you plumb the depths of Atlantis, swim the River of Lament, and tear a swath through the Domain of Death, you'll feel as if you've survived an authentic Greek myth.
2. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker captures the blockbuster feel of its console comrades in way that make us wonder if Hideo Kojima secretly upgraded our PSPs. The insane plot, mounds of bonus content, and the obsessive army building later used in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain keeps you rapt the entire 30-hour runtime. Yes, thirty.
The action mixes classic Snake asskickery with deep squad management that sees you tweaking the ins and outs of Mother Base while training Militaires Sans Frontires for deployment in missions. Combined with the multiplayer co-ops and versus ops modes, these elements make Peace Walker feel like its about to burst out of its UMD at any moment. But then, Snake is never one for staying within bounds to begin with.
Lumines is timeless. Tetsuya Mizuguchi's psychedelic puzzler scratches our synesthesia itch by using light and sound in ways that make every round feel as fresh and exciting as the last even more than a decade after its release. Lumines turns block-matching into an art, changing the landscape with every skin and evolving a well-worn concept into a trippy, tub-thumping, zen-like vacation for the senses.
It says a lot that a PSP launch title remains its crowning achievement, but it only takes a few rounds with this musical prodigy to understand why. While it's had sequels on PS3, PS Vita, even iOS and Android, the PSP original is still the best.
That's all for the PSP. What a console! If you're looking for something more modern, check out our guide to the best PS4 bundle deals available right now.