Best PS Vita Games 1
Image: Push Square

What are the best PS Vita games? First released on 15th February, 2012 in the United States, with a European launch following on 22nd February, 2012, the PS Vita represented Sony's second attempt at a portable PlayStation platform, following the success of the PSP, which sold over 80 million units worldwide. Billed as a home console on the go, the manufacturer packed the machine with cutting-edge features, including a 5-inch OLED multi-touch capacitive screen.

At launch, Sony paired the platform with a number of key franchises, with the tentpole title being Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a full-scale adaptation of Naughty Dog's buccaneering brand, developed by Bend Studio. In addition to eye-popping visuals, this spin-off leaned into all of the system’s key features, including its twin thumb sticks,rear touchpad, camera, and motion sensors. But it was just one of several major franchises available on day one, with the likes of Modnation Racers and Super Stardust Delta also getting adaptations.

Best PS Vita Games 2
Image: Push Square

With production budgets soaring and third-party developers hesitant to invest in such a small install base, Sony started to tap up the emerging indie scene to keep PS Vita's software slate active, and introduced the cross-buy initiative – allowing games purchased on the PS3 to be playable on the portable as well. Many titles even adopted cross-save functionality, perhaps planting the seed for Nintendo Switch's hybrid approach.

Despite being well-liked among enthusiasts, however, the PS Vita sold fewer than 15 million units worldwide, and Sony's first-party output dried up as it turned its attention to the more popular PS4. Some feel that the manufacturer pulled the plug too early, and bone-headed decisions like using expensive proprietary memory cards killed the console before it even had a chance. Of course, smartphones had become more established by 2012, and the system faced stiff competition throughout its lifespan from the Nintendo 3DS.

Best PS Vita Games 3
Image: Push Square

Nevertheless, the PS Vita remains something of a cult classic among PlayStation enthusiasts. Its slick form factor and cutting-edge display made it an exceptional host for a number of top titles, and on this page we’ve included the best PS Vita games you can buy today. Whether you picked up the portable at launch or are looking to jump in long after it first deployed, we’ve got you covered with this list of must-haves – as determined by you, the reader.

If you disagree with the order, then it's up to you to do something about it: you'll find a search panel above, which allows you to find your favourite games and rate them accordingly. The list will automatically adjust based on your decisions, so vote carefully. Please do keep in mind, however, that a game will need at least 30 individual ratings before appearing on this list, so if your obscure favourites are missing – well, that may be why.

With all that out of the way, scroll down for our definitive list of the best PS Vita games, as determined by you...

50. Hitman Go: Definitive Edition (PS Vita)

Hitman GO is an ingenious adaptation of IO Interactive's assassination sandbox, shrinking down the stealth action into a turn-based puzzler. With a lovely tilt-shift art style that miniaturises Agent 47 and his targets, you need to play carefully to avoid suspicion and take down your foes in each stage. It's a minimalist, methodical puzzle game with that addictive one-more-level quality — and it's perfect for on-the-go play.

49. Unit 13 (PS Vita)

A valiant attempt from the underappreciated Zipper Interactive to transform SOCOM’s strategic combat into short-form gauntlets that could be played in five to ten minute sessions, either solo or in co-op. Unit 13 understood the PS Vita, and blended console-style gameplay with missions designed specifically for portability. While its poor commercial performance rounded out a disappointing run for the developer and ultimately culminated in its closure, this was an entertaining outing that arguably deserved a lot more love.

48. Soul Sacrifice (PS Vita)

When Sony lost Monster Hunter to Nintendo, it was devastating for the PS Vita. Capcom’s co-op franchise had played a pivotal role in pushing the PSP domestically in Japan, and its absence left a gaping chasm in the handheld’s library. The company worked tirelessly to plug that gap, and Soul Sacrifice was one of its efforts: a dark fantasy action RPG with a strong emphasis on coordination and impossible odds. It was a great and successful attempt, and it spawned an enhanced re-release, named Soul Sacrifice Delta.

47. Freedom Wars (PS Vita)

Sony’s desperation for a Monster Hunter alternative saw it fling a lot of ideas at the wall, and Freedom Wars came with such an intense marketing campaign that it’s a surprise it only received a single instalment. This anime-inspired co-op title was the posterboy for the PS Vita TV, and saw you assume the role of a prisoner who must complete various quests in order to reduce their sentence. It played great: it was a third-person shooter with grappling systems that made for some entertaining traversal and coordinated attack mechanics. Unfortunately, despite becoming one of the best-selling PS Vita games in Japan, the manufacturer eventually ceased first-party development for the format, and it was never ported to the PS4.

46. The Unfinished Swan (PS Vita)

Originally released for the PS3 and later ported to the PS Vita, The Unfinished Swan is a Santa Monica Studio incubated debut effort from developer Giant Sparrow, which would later go on to release games like What Remains of Edith Finch. This walking simulator-esque experience toys with a number of gameplay ideas, including one system in which you’re required to navigate an “invisible” environment by throwing paint around it to reveal its secrets. It’s perhaps a little inconsistent in hindsight, but its inventiveness remains as impactful even today.

45. Thomas Was Alone (PS Vita)

How do you make a game effectively about geometric shapes resonant and impactful? To be honest, we’re still not entirely sure, but Thomas Was Alone goes above and beyond the traditional puzzle platformer. It works within the confines of its own obvious boundaries to create an experience where simple silhouettes have actual personality, and like so many other indie experiences, it feels perfectly tailored for portable play sessions.

44. MotorStorm RC (PS Vita)

MotorStorm was one of the best new franchises Sony introduced during the PS3 era, but while it was best known for its larger-than-life action, its radio-controlled alternative was excellent too. MotorStorm RC was a Micro Machines-esque racer with instant restarts and slippy handling. It looked and felt fantastic on the PS Vita, and with some smart online integration, it was really addictive challenging your friends for the best times and score. While it wasn’t the full-blown MotorStorm experience that fans had hoped for on the handheld after the PSP’s Arctic Edge, we’d argue it was actually better.

43. Fez (PS Vita)

Much like Bastion, Fez was one of the poster childs of the Xbox Live Arcade era. This game presented itself as a fairly rudimentary puzzle platformer, but players quickly discovered it harboured many more secrets. Designed a little like an ARG, the original launch of this vibrant adventure is one of the most memorable in modern gaming history, as fans all around the world worked together to uncover its many secrets. While all of those were exposed by the time it was ported to the PS Vita, it’s hard not to appreciate the sheer genius of this release.

42. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS Vita)

Sony sold the PS Vita on the basis of it being a handheld console you could take on the go, but it couldn’t convince third-party publishers to support the system in the same way as the PSP. Of the few home console ports that did make the transition, Need for Speed: Most Wanted was superb. Criterion managed to cram its entire open world racer onto the handheld, and while there were obvious visual compromises compared to the PS3 version, this was far-and-away one of the best racers released for the portable, alongside Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

41. Undertale (PS Vita)

Undertale may look like a fairly non-descript 8-bit adventure on the surface, but it subverts expectations in interesting ways. While it has the appearance of a traditional role-playing release, the game will ultimately judge you on the actions you take, altering the outcome in unexpected ways. To delve deeper would be to spoil a magical and unexpected experience, so we’ll recommend you play it for yourself and leave our description at that.