PlayStation Vita Buyer's Guide

Five Essential Games

Lumines: Electronic Symphony

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Electronic Symphony reinvents Lumines for a new console. No, that doesn’t mean that Q? Entertainment throws the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, it’s a game that makes smart refinements that give the trademark puzzle/music combo new dynamics and challenges. It’s simultaneously the best and worst game you can play on public transportation.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

MSRP: $49.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: The Uncharted series has become the PlayStation’s flagship series. While Golden Abyss can’t capture Naughty Dog’s level of cinematic detail, Sony Bend does a more-than-capable job of translating the tense shooting action to a smaller platform. The team that reinvented Syphon Filter as a handheld action title have brought a fun and intense Nathan Drake adventure to the new system.

Super Stardust Delta

MSRP: $9.99, or $14.99 with bonus content (US PlayStation Store)

Why It’s Essential: Super Stardust Delta translates the gorgeous visuals of the PS3 game into a stellar handheld experience that truly takes advantage of the Vita’s hardware capabilities. You’ll need all of the system’s bells and whistles—from tilts for a better view of enemies around the corner to touchscreen missile onslaughts—to survive the waves of galactic nemeses coming at you. It’s arguably the best-tailored game for the portable experience in the Vita’s launch lineup.

Wipeout 2048

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Wipeout Pure was an amazing PSP launch title that effectively revived the series. Wipeout 2048 masterfully builds upon Pure and 2008's Pulse and delivers a handheld game that makes some sacrifices—the framerate runs at 30 frames per second as opposed to the fluid 60 frames seen in other Wipeouts—but makes up for it with excellent multiplayer.

Rayman Origins

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Rayman Origins is among the best titles you’ll find on any gaming platform, whether that’s PS3 or PS Vita. And the Vita version takes the best elements of the PS3 game and adapts them wonderfully to the new platform. From well-designed stages to a gorgeous art style that pops on the Vita’s display, it’s a game that scratches your itch for platforming fun in your palms.

Sales and deals

Buy Two, Get One Free deals seem to be ruling online retailers in the US during launch week.

GameStop, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Amazon are all offering Buy Two, Get One Free deals on select Vita games. From perusing each deal, first-party titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 are included in the deal, then third party games depend on the retailer.

For example, you can find Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 included in the deal at Best Buy, but not at Target, GameStop, or Amazon. Amazon has included Lumines in the deal, but you won’t be able to include it in any other deals at other retailers.

Another deal we spotted: Target is selling a Wi-Fi system with Vita Starter Kit (carrying case, cleaning cloth, screen protector film, headphones, 4GB memory card) for $285, but exclusively online.

We hope our buyer’s guide will help you go into the store better informed and ready to shop. And be sure to stay tuned in the coming months as we reevaluate the best games, favorite accessories, and more for PlayStation Vita!