Between the Sly Collection, Jak & Daxter Collection, and the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy, there’s an argument to be made that the PS Vita is the best place to play Sony’s classic PS2 era platformers. All three of the original Ratchet & Clank titles share the same penchant for sprawling sci-fi vistas and over-the-top artillery, but you can see the series progress over the course of a single cartridge here, as developer Insomniac Games layers in RPG mechanics and more exciting gadgets. This is a brilliant compilation featuring a trio of rock-solid titles.
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.
A game which introduced an entire genre, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series was a Game of the Year winner in some prestigious circles. Originally released episodically, but compiled onto one cartridge here, it was seen as the evolution of point-and-click titles, focusing heavily on narrative and player choice. The poignant story involving convict Lee and orphan Clementine captured hearts, and while this PS Vita port struggled with performance issues, it still delivered an engrossing narrative featuring a band of survivors against impossible odds.
A somewhat cynical attempt to plug the chasm left behind by Monster Hunter’s exclusivity elsewhere, Soul Sacrifice Delta was a re-release of Sony’s dark fantasy demon slayer, with full online co-op and some fascinating character builds. This artistically impressive alternative saw players having to choose between saving and sacrificing allies – as alluded to in the name – in order to overcome impossible odds against grotesque, magical creatures. In the world of Monster Hunter clones, this was unquestionably one of the more creative efforts, and the expanded version added a significant array of content, including brand new boss fights and builds.
Quietly one of the best platformers of modern times. Rayman Legends was originally intended to be a Nintendo Wii U exclusive, but once the fortunes of that particular format came into focus, Ubisoft decided to port it everywhere. And what a treat it was, particularly for fans of the PS Vita, where its UbiArt Engine shined particularly brightly on the handheld format’s OLED screen. The touchscreen controls meant the game lost none of its intended functionality during the transition either, so this remains one of the better versions of a highly recommended game.
Hotline Miami’s dance of death was a huge hit for Swedish studio Dennaton Games. The game had built-up buzz at various consumer conventions as an indie PC game with a scorching soundtrack and an 80s aesthetic, but the release exploded in popularity on PS Vita due to its short-form gameplay sessions and ridiculously responsive controls. With puzzle-like combat encounters, this masochistic murder-‘em-up was darkly addictive, forcing you to approach each gauntlet with bloodthirsty precision, and it’s still just as absorbing today as it was when it first released.
All the way back in 2013, Killzone Mercenary was the game that Sony used to prove it was making console-like investments in the PS Vita. Developed by Guerrilla Games – albeit its since shuttered Cambridge-based satellite office – this was a AAA first-person shooter with staggering production values. Despite offering a full-length campaign, missions were smartly segmented to make them more digestible during portable play. The plot also introduced some interesting elements, as you worked as a gun-for-hire with little regard for the wider morality of the bloody Helghan war. With a popular online multiplayer mode and tons of replayability, this was a true shooter on the go.
Is Sly Cooper the most underrated PlayStation mascot of the PS2 era? Sucker Punch’s light-pawed raccoon never quite got the same acclaim as its sixth-gen siblings, with Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter taking all the plaudits. But with its mixture of stealth, platforming, and micro-games, this series is secretly one of Sony’s greatest achievements. And playing all three titles from the original PS2 trilogy on the potty felt fantastic when The Sly Collection launched in 2014.
A lot of the PS Vita’s best games, particularly in the portable’s later years, overlooked its unique features – but Media Molecule’s charming platformer Tearaway was built with every input in mind. The release takes advantage of everything, from the front and back cameras to the rear touchpad, to create a tactile papercraft environment that genuinely feels like it exists within the palm of your hands. The sheer boundless imagination of this outing is not to be overlooked, with the title constantly reinventing itself rather than recycling its ideas over and over.
FuturLab expanded on the original PS Mini Velocity by honing its expert eye for slick arcade gameplay. This rhythmic shmup replicates the balletic battles of its predecessor, allowing you to dance in and out of combat using your craft’s teleportation augment. However, it builds on the entire idea by adding slick side-scrolling platforming segments, significantly adding to the variety. With a vibrant visual style and a scorching soundtrack, Velocity 2X is a pulsating experience that’s impossible to put down.