While Sony’s second handheld failed to capitalize on the 82 million units sold by the PSP, it’s far from a failure. 18 million units isn’t a shabby figure by any standards and it remains one of the most technically impressive handhelds of all time, with an OLED screen that makes the Nintendo Switch look washed out in comparison. Those 18 million sales weren’t enough to convince Sony of the machine’s future however and it’s looking highly likely that the Vita will be Sony’s last entry in the handheld market.
Of course, the flip side to this is that if you are the owner of Sony’s handheld, you’ll already know just how versatile the console’s library is, and we've got the best PS Vita games ranked below that prove it. You’ll also know quite a few of its games are now becoming highly desirable on the collector’s market. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best games on the system so that you can fill out your collection before prices get even higher.
25. Killzone: Mercenary
Considering its capabilities, the Vita was decidedly short-served when it came to excellent first-person shooters. Fortunately, Guerilla Cambridge was able to fill the void with a superb effort that made its peers look laughable in comparison. While the frame rate can take a hit at times and it’s a little on the short side, it looks tremendous, has great shooting mechanics, and offers you the opportunity to play as both sides of the conflict. Sadly, its excellent online multiplayer is no longer up and running, so you’ll have to make do with the single-player campaign which clocks in at a brief but action-packed five hours.
24. Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition
The accessibility of Mojang’s world builder means it’s perfect for gaming on the go. While some will be disappointed with its lack of story or instruction, the real beauty of Minecraft is the sheer freedom that it offers. Pretty much anything you can think of can be built (providing you have the right resources or are playing in Creation mode) and you’re only really limited by your own imagination. While it lacks the huge playing areas of the PC original, the Vita version still manages to impress on its own terms and looks fantastic too.
23. Soul Sacrifice Delta
With Nintendo locking up Monster Hunter for the 3DS, numerous other developers rushed to plug the gaping hole on Vita. Soul Sacrifice Delta is easily the most ambitious of these clones, and it’s the brainchild of Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune. Sacrifice plays a big part in Delta’s mechanics as you’ll have to not only sacrifice fallen enemies to boost your stats but using certain powers will directly debilitate you, meaning there’s a little strategy to go alongside the combat. Delta is an enhanced update of Soul Sacrifice, rather than a proper sequel, and didn’t get a physical release in the west, although an expensive Asian English language version is available.
22. WipEout 2048
There was no shortage of great games for the PS Vita’s launch and WipEout remains one of the best racing experiences you can have on the console. Yes, it’s hampered by some slow loading times and the weight and speed of the craft take a little while to get used to, but once the new handling does click you’ll discover the racing and combat to be just as satisfying as earlier games in the series (which are actually set many years after this prequel). While its online multiplayer is a thing of the past, there remains plenty of cart-based content to keep you busy.
21. Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours
Few Vita shoot-’em-ups are as ambitious as this gargantuan game. While many balked at its high digital asking price, it makes perfect sense when you realize just how much content Taito’s magnificent shooter actually contains. In addition to featuring all the extras from the numerous arcade versions, including the 3,000 stage variations of Chronicles mode, Saviours also adds the brand-new Chronicle Saviours mode which gives you over 180 more stages to tackle and all sorts of delicious goodies to unlock, from new ships to bosses and audio tracks. Just be mindful that the nature of the arcade games means Arcade and EX mode are severely letterboxed, which can make it tough to tackle the water-themed bosses.
20. Mortal Kombat
The PS Vita is blessed with a wealth of great fighters, but few can compete with the insane amount of content that Mortal Kombat offers. While its online servers have long since shut it features virtually all the content from the PS3’s Komplete Edition, meaning there’s a genuinely excellent story mode to battle through, sickening X-Ray Moves to enjoy and a gargantuan Challenge Tower to climb. Amazingly, the PS Vita version improves on this by retaining all the excellent gameplay and adding new costumes, touch-based finishing moves, and a brand-new Challenge Tower with 150 new missions to complete.
19. Lumines Electronic Symphony
Q Entertainment’s sound-based puzzle game made its debut on the PSP and this new Vita iteration keeps the same base mechanics while adding in a few clever wrinkles of its own. Touch-based controls are usable as well as a more traditional set-up, while musical skins are now unlocked via a new experience system. Two brand-new blocks are introduced allowing you to shuffle on-screen blocks or chain together blocks and there’s a new Voyage mode where you must continually create colored squares, which is easier said than done. Coupled with a stunning soundtrack and the PS Vita’s OLED display it makes for a beautiful fusion of sight and sound.
18. Dragon Quest Builders
As great as Minecraft is, its freeform gameplay certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re like us and need a little more structure with your digging and building, you’ll find Dragon Quest Builders to be the perfect tonic. It takes the core concept of Mojang's phenomenally successful game, but marries it to the popular Dragon Quest universe and fills it with likable characters, lite RPG mechanics, and an engaging story. It’s clever with its structure too, slowly giving you simple tasks to complete that rarely tax you, but as the game reaches its conclusion you’ll be overseeing objectives that will be beyond your wildest dreams.
17. The Walking Dead: Season One
It’s possible to purchase several TellTale Games titles on PS Vita, but its first entry in the popular Walking Dead series remains its strongest. While the game doesn’t give anywhere near as much agency over events as it would like you to believe, there’s no denying the weight of each choice you make as every decision seemingly dictates the future of protagonist Lee Everett and his young charge, Clementine. Yes, it’s built on a flimsy game engine that would become ever more problematic with later games, but the distinctive-looking visuals, magnificently written episodes, and numerous tense situations mean your Vita will rarely leave your hands.
16. Rogue Legacy
This charming roguelike is one of several PS Vita games that didn’t receive a physical release, meaning you should pick it up sooner rather than later. The clever mechanics at the base of Cellar Door Games’ adventure is that dying lets you carry on playing with a direct descendant of your character and they’ll often have abilities that can enhance or hinder your progress, from shortsightedness to smashing anything they blunder through. You soon realize that every trait can be exploited in some way meaning there are always new ways to explore the procedurally generated castle. It’s certainly not an easy game, but an excellent skill tree and perfectly balanced combat mechanics make each new run that little bit easier.
Click 'Next Page' to see titles 15-6 in our countdown of the best PS Vita games.