Mario Kart is in a league of its own when it comes to party racers, but Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed comes very close. In addition to being extremely entertaining, this release also has reverence for SEGA’s back catalogue, which means there’s even Burning Rangers representation here. But even if you can’t tell Ryo Hazuki from Reala, its multi-disciplined courses – spanning aerial and aquatic action, as well as the ordinary asphalt – make this one of the best racing games on the PS Vita by far.
Vanillaware's gorgeous action RPG is a throwback to side-scrolling arcade brawlers, taking heavy inspiration from classic Western fantasy. With or without friends, Dragon's Crown is a deeply addictive experience, complete with memorable levels, engaging character progression, and a randomised loot system that's always tempting you with upgrades. A brilliantly crafted video game.
It’s rare you get a game so earnest in its execution as Child of Light. This gorgeous UbiArt RPG is clearly inspired by the titans of the genre, like Final Fantasy, and achieves its aims so effortlessly that it’s easy to recommend. While its story and gameplay systems could be accused of being rote, this is an easy-going experience that pops beautifully on the PS Vita’s dazzling display.
Despite being a brand-new, natively developed adventure in the Sly Cooper series, Sanzaru Games’ stealth platformer felt a lot like a long-lost PS2 game. So closely did the studio stick to Sucker Punch’s blueprint that this game could be criticised for being overly familiar, but its mix of clandestine action, brisk buccaneering, and madcap minigames (including belly dancing!) made for an entertaining romp all the same. While Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was also available for the PS3, it felt much more at home on Sony’s handheld, and is worth seeking out if you’re in the market for an old-school adventure.
As expected of developer Vanillaware, Muramasa Rebirth is absolutely dripping with style and flavour. A side-scrolling action RPG set against a mythical Japanese backdrop, it's simply a joy to behold — and it feels pretty darn good to play, as well. Combat is frantic but rewarding, with loads of different blades offering new moves and abilities. What's more, the overarching story is split across two protagonists, making Rebirth a highly replayable jaunt.
The PS Vita port of Resogun isn’t half as eye-popping as its PS4 older sibling, and yet there’s an unquestionable appeal to saving the last human on the move. While the pared back framerate means the cylindrical shooter never feels as fast and fluid as it should, the core gameplay systems still shine, even on a much smaller screen.
Unlike the PSP, the PS Vita was never treated to a brand new, natively developed God of War game. Sony, instead, ported the original two PS2 releases to the handheld in the form of the God of War Collection. Fortunately, these are two of the greatest character action games ever made, and seeing the opening salvo of God of War 2 rendered natively on the PS Vita’s five-inch screen was a sight to behold. While Kratos has since moved on to an entirely different mythology, his original Greek adventures still come highly recommended.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, or Everybody’s Golf as it’s known outside of the United States, tees up a refined take on Clap Hanz’s tried-and-trusted triple-click arcade golf. With a colourful cast of characters and a half-dozen deceptively difficult courses to master, there are few surprises from this entry in an ever-dependable franchise. You could say Sony served up a Links to the past.
A fully-fledged entry in Media Molecule’s whimsical DIY platforming property, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita bounded with just as much creativity as its console counterparts. With long-time partner Tarsier Studios taking the reins, the Swedish team crammed this portable adaptation with as much creative potential as possible, once again allowing players to build out Sackboy’s world with levels and minigames of their own design. It’s here that the handheld’s unique features like its touch interface truly thrive, allowing for tactile new gameplay opportunities that allow you to reach into the release’s colourful, makeshift world and interact with it directly.
21. Limbo (PS Vita)
One of the founding fathers of the indie boom on consoles, Limbo paved the way for short puzzle platformers. With its foreboding atmosphere and inventive puzzles, this macabre adventure put developer Playdead on the map. The PS Vita port is largely identical to other versions, although its greyscale colour palette makes the most out of the handheld’s OLED screen, and its grim atmosphere make it perfect for playing under the sheets.