For a format that's struggled in an age of smartphones and tablet games, the PlayStation Vita has carved out a committed niche of core gamers who love the handheld to death. We get a lot of requests here at Push Square, but number one with a bullet is more coverage for the Japanese giant's miniscule machine – and it's hardly a surprise, when you consider the console's outstanding hardware and console-esque controls. A petite install base means that the diminutive device sadly didn't play host to too many blockbusters this year – but there were more than enough high achievers to keep fans occupied.
Bronze Trophy: Luftrausers
While many Vita owners are forever peppering Sony with requests regarding bigger releases, we reckon that the handheld is at its absolute best when it's hosting pick-up-and-play experiences such as Luftrausers. The simple, sepia dogfighting simulation may not be a looker, but superb controls and a moreish challenge system have made it a mainstay on our overpriced memory cards. Plus, if nothing else, it's allowed us to use “You sunk my battleship" as a sub-headline more times than we dare to count.
Silver Trophy: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
One of the Vita's most engrossing games, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair had us hooked from start to finish with its harrowing narrative that's full of twists and turns. When a group of students find themselves stranded on an unknown island, and a maniacal mechanical bear proceeds to goad the teens into murdering each other, the only winner here is you, as you pick apart the lies and motives of the killers in some ridiculous courtroom minigames.
Gold Trophy: Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy on the Vita was the definitive edition of this stellar indie platformer, with its bite sized gameplay making it a perfect title for Sony's handheld. It kept us coming back time and time again for 'just one more go', as we sent generation after generation of our ever growing bloodline into Castle Hamson to face certain death within its randomly shifting walls. By the time that we'd finally managed to complete our quest, we knew that it would be a contender for a spot in our top Vita games of the year.
Platinum Trophy: Freedom Wars
Freedom Wars always looked like a shoo-in for Vita's coveted Game of the Year gong. From the second that Sony teased the colourful, incarcerated outing, handheld owners were doing cartwheels over the prospect of another first-party hunting game. Unlike its portable peers, though, Japan Studio's original escapade ditches the emphasis on fisticuffs, and introduces firearms into the mix. This fusion of melee and machine guns gives the futuristic foray a frenetic pace, which is only complemented further by the thorn – a part-tactical, part-platforming implement that adds a layer of verticality to the title's bubbling broth.
The storytelling may be a bit ham-fisted – and the controls not always consistent with comparable console games – but the penitentiary-inspired premise gives the package a moreish appeal, as you antagonise oodles of abductors in order to bring your sentence down. With glossy graphics, outstanding audio, and bags of content to beat, this is undoubtedly the type of title that portable players have been yearning for all year. And while it doesn't look like we'll be getting too many more first-party products on this scale, it's a reminder that the Japanese giant's slender system can pack a real punch when the platform holder puts in the effort.
What was your favourite Vita game of 2014? Do you agree with our winners, or would you have selected something else? Cast your vote in our poll, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
What was your favourite Vita game of 2014? (48 votes)
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Football Manager Classic 2014
Frozen Synapse Prime
No Heroes Allowed: No Puzzles Either
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus
Soul Sacrifice Delta
Tales of Hearts R
Toukiden: Age of Demons
Ys: Memories of Celceta
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