News Article

Game of the Year: Best PlayStation Vita Games of 2013

Posted by Push Square Staff

Viva la Vita

The past twelve months have proved mixed for Sony's miniscule machine. While the platform holder managed to put an end to the disappointing software droughts that plagued the PlayStation Vita in 2012, the portable powerhouse failed to really realise its sales potential yet again – despite a sizeable price drop and some stellar software. While the Japanese giant pins its hopes on Remote Play resurrecting the flagging format's commercial fortunes, though, we reckon that these titles were system sellers all on their own.

Bronze Trophy: Tearaway

With the outrageously imaginative studio behind LittleBigPlanet at the helm, it's no real surprise that Media Molecule's adorable Tearaway was one of the most anticipated first-party projects in production for Sony's slimline system at the start of the year. Sadly, an unfortunate delay meant that Iota and Atoi's creative excursion got crumpled by the stampede of excitement surrounding the arrival of Sony's next generation system. However, that didn't prevent a percentage of sharp Vita owners from prodding and poking their way through one of the most adorable adventures of 2013. A slender running time prevented the title from taking home top marks, but its carefully considered controls and effortless charm forced it to flutter to the front of our poll like a perfectly crafted paper plane.

Silver Trophy: Killzone: Mercenary

A masterful achievement in visual engineering, Killzone: Mercenary was assembled with a single objective in mind: to produce the best looking handheld game that has ever been made. And from that perspective, the gun-heavy experience was an explosive success. With character models, textures, and even set-pieces that would give the PlayStation 3 a run for its blood money, 2013's other big daytrip to the Alpha Centauri System was just as impressive as its next generation co-conspirator. As is customary for the sci-fi series, the shady black market storyline was about as memorable as a sherry-fuelled sing-song – but the varied level design and unexpectedly impressive multiplayer gave this game's graphics a reason to shine.

Gold Trophy: Persona 4 Golden

[ Editor's note: No, we haven't gone mad – we know that Persona 4 Golden launched last year in North America. However, for the purposes of this poll we employed European dates, making Atlus' JRPG eligible for this award. ]

If you had told us that our favourite Vita game of 2013 was going to be a conversion of a PlayStation 2 title, we probably would have believed you – after all, the joke that Sony's handheld 'has no games' is still doing the rounds almost two years after its initial release. Thankfully, Persona 4 Golden is everything that a port should be, and more. Hours of additional content and several new gameplay features coupled with an already incredible JRPG means that it's one of the best titles available on the portable system. Who needs original releases?

Persona 4 Golden really is the complete package. It has an amazing story, charming characters, intense combat, and huge amounts of gameplay. Indeed, you'll be hard pressed to find an RPG as polished and well designed as this one – and whether you're new to the genre or an expert in the field, this is the very definition of a must play.Push Square

Robert Ramsey's Thoughts:
"Between diving into a television to rough up some shadows and roaming around the innocent little town of Inaba to make friends with complete strangers, Persona 4 Golden weaves a contrasting but incredibly engaging mix of gameplay. For me, it's not only the jewel in the Vita's crown, but one of the best JRPGs ever made – its sense of style and overall quality is almost unmatched."

Clearly our writers don't, as Atlus' masterpiece ran rampant in our staff vote. And who can blame us? It's difficult to think of any particular flaw when it comes to this mind-blowingly stylish, high school-based, shadow-slaying romp. From the brilliantly produced musical score to the eye-catching artwork and even the menu design, Persona 4 Golden oozes polish. Over the 70-hour adventure, we've come to know the game's cast like real-life friends, learning of their troubles, hopes, and dreams – and then when we think that the adventure is over, that New Game Plus manages to tempt us back all over again.

What was your favourite Vita game of 2013? Do you agree with our winners, or would you have selected something else? Cast your vote and share your thoughts in the comments section and poll below.

What was your favourite Vita game of 2013? (54 votes)

Dragon's Crown




Hotline Miami


Hungry Giraffe


Killzone: Mercenary


OMG HD Zombies


Persona 4 Golden


PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD


Rainbow Moon


Soul Sacrifice




Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark




Thomas Was Alone


Velocity Ultra




Please login to vote in this poll.

[ Words: Sammy Barker, Robert Ramsey; Video Editing and Script: Ben Potter ]

Game Screenshots

User Comments (38)



ferrers405 said:

Serious, Killzone over Tearaway? A common shooter over a beautiful, creative and especially a game that use all of Vita features very well, i'm disappointed, that's why we no longer see more games like, Tearaway, Puppeteer, Rayman Legends (not even mentioned)...



get2sammyb said:

@ferrers405 I think Tearaway released at an extremely bad time. The way that we conduct these lists is that we get everyone on the team to vote for their favourites, and while we all endeavour to play as much as possible, obviously things slip through the net.

Having said that, I do think Killzone earned its place, purely because it's an absolute spectacle on the handheld, and plays really great to boot. As for Rayman - that did feature on the PS3 and Overal GotY list. The reason it's not here is because I personally feel it makes sense to have as much variety in each shortlist as possible. Of course, if you don't agree feel free to let us know and we will have a re-think for next year.



ferrers405 said:

@get2sammyb hum, i think Rayman Legends deserves its place in vote poll at least, because is the top 3 of 2013 for Vita for sure, but like you said, not everyone agree and it's yours list, but i couldn't let the game not be mentioned...



Bliquid said:

Mmmh...OF COURSE P4G is the first one, of course...
Something's missing from this list....
OH, yes!
You naughty, naughty boys at Pushsquare, you.



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

I've only had my vita for a couple of months so of recent titles I've only played batman, I am though playing my vita more than my ps3 and ps4 combined.



get2sammyb said:

@Bliquid Soul Sacrifice was my first choice. Absolutely can't wait for Delta.

@RyoHazuki I've found myself playing my Vita tons this year, too. People complain about the software lineup, but I always find there's plenty to play. Making my way through Muramasa and EDF at the moment.



CanisWolfred said:

I have no issue with these awards.

I guess I'll throw a vote at Dragon's Crown, since the updates are turning it into one of the meatiest games on the system.
I am surprised Muramasa isn't on the list to vote. Not that it's my GOTY or anything, but still.



InsertNameHere said:

Hey look, the first 3 games I plan on buying for my Vita in February. Seriously though, the Vita has tons of games that I want to play, so between it and my PS4, my social life is screwed - especially when Soul Sacrifice Delta and Freedom Wars arrive on the scene.



rastamadeus said:

Hotline Miami for me (game of the year on any console). Everything about it is perfect. I can't find a single fault with it.

Virtue's Last Reward would be my silver prize, gripped me from the off and I didn't play any other game, watch TV, a film or even read anything once I started it. Just had to play it and finish it.

Bronze goes to Tearaway. Was far too short, ran out of ideas quite early on and almost every single part of it was predictable by miles but it was just joyous fun.



Cowboysfan-22 said:

I think you guys nailed it. P4G is the undisputed champ. To be honest it's the only game that I've found that truly grips me on the vita



divinelite said:

Well kinda subpar for this year. Last year I'm super stocked because of person 4g and virtue last reward. This year no software drought but I can't think much of a great game like those two last year.

For this year the top three for me is Shin Gundam musou, tearaway, and killzone. Ys would be better if the graphic is similar with origins. Heck origins is 2008 and is better than 2013 ys? Something is wrong here...



moomoo said:

As I live in North America, my list would be a bit different (although if P4G came out this year, then of course that would be #1). Mine would be:
3. Killzone: Mercenary
2. Ys: Memories of Celceta
1. Tearaway

Solid top 3 regardless.



naruball said:

Ok, I haven't played quite a few games from the ones listed but for me it is:

1. Tearaway (masterpiece and for its price, I don't mind that it's a bit short)
2. Rayman Legends (best platformer I've ever played, but ruined a bit because of Murphy).
3. Soul Sacrifice (addictive as hell)
4. PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD (only 4th because I beat it before)
5. Guacamelee (everything works perfectly)
6. Thomas was Alone (charming and simple game; the narration makes all the difference)
7. Velocity Ultra ( don't like the genre, but it's definitely a good game)
8. Hotline Miami (surprisingly good and... infuriating)
9. Rainbow Moon (I've played it for about 4 hours now and still don't get the high score it got here)



MadchesterManc said:

What a surprise. P4G Can't see a mention of Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable anywhere. It's easily one of the most highly playable games out there. I guess because it's niche it wasn't gonna make the cut



Gamer83 said:

Great year for the Vita, even if most of the games I enjoyed are mutliplat and in some cases can be played on home consoles.
My top 5:
Vita Game of the Year- Killzone: Mercenary
Runner-up- Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
3. MLB 13 The Show
4. Dragon's Crown
5. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate



JaxonH said:

Definitely not a great year for the Vita. Fortunately, it looks like 2014 is going to be much better. I love ports, as long as they're of really great games. Final Fantasy X/X-2, Borderlands 2, Ratchet & Clank Into the Nexus all come in March if I remember correctly. That's a decent start imo, and I've already pre ordered each one of them.



Gamer83 said:


Yes, it's a solid port. Downgrade in graphics but not nearly as severe as it was in Mortal Kombat and I still like playing that game on Vita. If you're a fan of DC, check it out.



Gamer83 said:


I'll have to disagree with you, Vita had a lot of great games, imo on both the retail and especially digital side but none of them are system sellers unfortunately. Anyway, when was Ratchet & Clank for Vita made official? I've heard rumors only, tried to pre-order and was told it's not available. I was told the same about Smash for 3DS though and we all know that game is happening. So I don't really know what's going on there. I'd figure Gamestop would be on top of this, they're missing out on a lot of pre-orders.



Weskerb said:

I voted for PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate HD. That game has really suited my mobile gaming needs. So engaging yet relaxing.



JaxonH said:


I saw it listed on Newegg with a release date of March 18th, 2014. Don't think it's been officially announced but I google searched it and found alot of signs pointing to a release other than this recent listing, like PEGI ratings and the like. But the fact Newegg has it listed internally (not by 3rd party marketplace sellers) with a solid date of release tells me it's a go. Newegg is usually first to have box arts, release dates, and listings.

I already pre ordered it, and the listing is still there if you like. It's tax-free and with free shipping.



Gamer83 said:


Interesting. I've never actually bought anything from Newegg, but maybe this is a time to start. I'll look into it.



JaxonH said:


Newegg is a solid source for online game shopping, and they offer new promo codes in their "Latest eMail Deals" tab every 24-48 hours. Usually you can find a few pre order games with discount promo codes. For instance, you can pre order Mario Kart 8 on Wii U right now and get $8 off. But I pre ordered that game through Newegg a month ago when they listed it for $49.99. I check their site every couple days or so for their Latest eMail Deals, and scroll down to see which new games they have listed for discounts.

The tax-free thing is huge for me since Amazon just started taxing Wisconsin (building a warehouse here so they must charge tax in the state now). The only time I would recommend avoiding Newegg is for Limited Edition games if you like your LE's in perfect condition. Sometimes the cardboard boxes get a few wrinkles in them during shipping. So games like Bravely Default Limited Edition I just pay the tax and order through Amazon, even if it costs more. That game is listed for pre order for $5 off right now as well on Newegg (standard edition, not the limited edition)



Gamer83 said:


I do buy Collector's Editions if there is one for a game that I'm really looking forward to. But thanks for the info, newegg seems like it might be as good a place to make online purchases as Amazon.



Jairo_MC said:

Persona 4 Golden, obviously. I loved every second of it and it`s my overall game of the year (I bought it this year as well). It`s perfect and I really wish ATLUS would make a remake like that for Persona 3.



GamerZack87 said:

Considering Tearaway was the only Vita game I played this year (a treat through and through; one later section still haunts me), it automatically gets my vote by default.



Realportugeezer said:

Out of the games I played this year (not necessarily released this year):
(1) Persona 4 Golden (not even that far in yet but completely gripped)
(2) Littlebigplanet Vita (2012 release but absolutely superb and never stopped smiling)
(3) Little King's Story (pleasant story if slow to get going)
(4) LEGO Lord of the Rings (a port but still very fun although admittedly lacking use of any of the Vita's unique features)

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