The quality of the content available from the PlayStation Network has been growing faster than a lawn dressed in Miracle-Gro – but no year emphasised that better than 2012. Sony’s digital storefront was practically bursting with blockbuster titles this year, many of them pushing the boundaries of the medium itself. With so much expansion in such a short span of time, we can’t help but feel sorry for the person responsible for mowing the lawn.

Best PlayStation Network Game of 2012: Journey

Take the high road

We’ve never been on a pilgrimage, but we imagine it’s a lot like playing Journey. The spiritual successor to the sublime flower, thatgamecompany’s ambiguous adventure ushered us on a voyage of self discovery and intrigue. Armed with an attractive art style and an unforgettable soundtrack, the PlayStation Network exclusive ran away with our hearts when it released in early March.

An exceptional experience in single-player, it was the co-operative component that really cemented our acclaim. Proving that online anonymity doesn’t necessarily need to nurture insults and expletives, the game delivered on its pie-in-the-sky promise and provided a sandbox for strangers to connect over a common goal.

Journey ushered us on a voyage of self discovery and intrigue

That small, seemingly minor mechanic was enough to push the title high above its nearest peers. Few experiences – irrespective of medium – are able to convey the essence of companionship quite as effectively as Journey. And it’s for that reason – in addition to its bold presentation and perfect pacing – that the title clambered straight to the summit of our poll.

“Experiences like Journey don’t come around very often in any form of media,” we reflected in our review. “It’s a game that demands your involvement on a spiritual level, rather than a purely mechanical one, and while it’s never preachy in its philosophical intentions, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the divine nature of Journey’s tale.”

Runner Up: The Unfinished Swan

Hidden details

We’re not afraid of the dark, but even we could appreciate the anxiety associated with the unknown when we finally laid our anticipant finger tips on Giant Sparrow’s inaugural interactive adventure The Unfinished Swan in late October.

Armed with little more than black ink in a whitewash world, the whimsical first-person shooter added a creative twist to the typically destructive genre. And while the title may have ultimately had ambitions far beyond its maiden mechanics – it was those memorable first few minutes that painted the release a place in our countdown.

Honourable Mentions: Double Dragon: Neon, Rainbow Moon, Sound Shapes, The Walking Dead, Tokyo Jungle, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown.

What was your favourite PlayStation Vita game of 2012? Do you agree with our winners? Let us know in the comments section below.