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 Sony Bend. In addition to eye-popping visuals, this spin-off leaned into all of the system’s key features, including its 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.
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.
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 a decade 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 below which will allow 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 preferred visual novel is missing – well, that may be why.
Best PlayStation Games by Platform
With all that out of the way, scroll down for our definitive list of the best PS Vita games, as determined by you...
Originally released alongside Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation is an often forgotten instalment in Ubisoft's series. The game puts you in the shoes of Aveline de Grandpré, the franchise's first female lead. She scours the city of New Orleans for the members of Templar Order, who have all kinds of nefarious plans in place. The game also features a unique mechanic, in that Aveline can wear different disguises to go undercover during specific missions.
Squeezing Borderlands 2 onto the PS Vita meant that Sony had to make some serious sacrifices, but there was an appetite for full-fledged console games on the format at the time, and this impossible port certainly delivered. While it has some choppy performance and obvious graphical cutbacks, this is still Gearbox’s irreverent looter-shooter in full, playable entirely on the loo.
Poor old Nihilistic Software became the fall guy for many of the PS Vita’s woes, but the team was tasked with making two first-person shooter for the format in a quick succession. Resistance: Burning Skies was one of those games – a spin-off featuring a fireman named Tom Riley that just didn’t have the scope or polish to do Insomniac Games’ alternate history series justice. The best thing that can be said about this throwaway campaign is that it had a particularly easy Platinum Trophy to unlock.
While ports were pretty common on PS Vita, some developers saw the device as an opportunity to reimagine some of their biggest brands. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate was not a low-resolution port of its PS3 peer, then, but an entirely new title set within Rocksteady’s overarching universe. It failed to hit the highs of the mainline games, but this is still an entertaining enough side-scroller inspired by DC’s dark detective.
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.
Sony’s mascot brawler PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was supposed to rival Nintendo’s iconic Super Smash Bros, but developer SuperBot Entertainment was handicapped by a lack of budget and reluctant third-parties who failed to entrust the studio with their valuable intellectual property. It resulted in a roster including Big Daddy instead of Crash Bandicoot and the endearingly named Donte instead of Dante. Nevertheless, there were some neat ideas in this brawler, from the transitioning backdrops that brought Buzz into Craftworld to the robust team-based online play. It looked and played beautifully on the PS Vita to boot, and its short skirmishes were perfectly suited to portable play.
The game that put developer Image & Form on the map, Steamworld Dig may not be as ambitious as the titles that followed it, but there's still lots to love about this charming platformer. There's a puzzle-like feel to Dig's mining mechanics, as you navigate increasingly treacherous underground terrain, grabbing all-important loot as you progress. Addictive stuff.
Mortal Kombat has a long and storied history on handheld platforms, dating all the way back to the Game Boy and Game Gear. But this conversion of NetherRealm’s ninth instalment in the legendary fighting franchise really sparkled on the PS Vita. While it made a lot of concessions visually, resulting in some fairly gnarly presentation on par with its finishers, the gameplay was practically identical to its home console counterpart – and it even bundled in some fun touchscreen minigames as a bonus for players on the move.
A little less impactful than its iconic PS Vita predecessor, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a direct continuation of Dennaton’s intensely challenging overhead shooter. With the shock factor of the original removed, this sequel doesn’t hit quite as hard, but if you enjoyed pulsating action of the first Hotline Miami game, then you’ll feel right at home here.
Before it turned into a PS5 powerhouse with its exceptional roguelike release Returnal, Housemarque was churning out dependable downloadable arcade hits for a decade. Dead Nation was one such title: a release which took the team’s penchant for dual-joystick action and transformed it into a survival horror undead-‘em-up. This occasionally slow shooter presented a different change of pace to the likes of Super Stardust Delta, but it was a perfect accompaniment to the PS Vita’s portable form factor and felt great on the format’s dinky sticks.