The PlayStation Vita had a great lineup of video games for a handheld system that only lasted 10 years. Due to its short life span, it’s easy for fans to forget some of the best games the console had to offer when discussing their favorites.
Maybe it’s because the successor to the PSP was lacking in PlayStation originals. Maybe it’s because most of the catalogue was already available somewhere else. Whatever the reason, no one can dispute when you include all ports, originals, and PlayStation backward compatible titles that the PS Vita really had an amazing collection of games on offer.
Here are the 10 most underrated games that were available on the PS Vita.
Velocity 2X is an arcade-style shooter that is absolutely fantastic and a brilliant addition to the PS Vita’s catalogue. Velocity (the first game in the series) is also available on the PS Vita, but the sequel improves upon the first game in more ways than one. The object of the game is to go through levels in your spaceship while rescuing other ships and collecting power-ups as well as collectibles. There are also timed rewards on each level, making incorrect movements very costly, especially in later levels.
To fully complete the game, you would need to hone your skills, be extremely quick, and be extremely familiar with the layouts of each level. The story is strong, especially for an arcade-style game, and the soundtrack works so well with the futuristic art style that it really makes you want to push through those timed runs.
Lumines Electronic Symphony
Lumines Electronic Symphony is a puzzle game developed by Q Entertainment. The game has essentially the same premise as Tetris, for better or worse. Opting for more of a horizontal playing field, the game was ideal for the PS Vita and pretty addictive on it as well. There is no plot, opting for long arcade runs, the CPU as competition, and challenging puzzles. The game’s core mechanic is simple and easy to execute, but the game itself gets more challenging as you progress. Get at least four blocks of one color into a cube to clear and progress while trying to get multipliers and special color bonuses.
What absolutely makes this game special is that the music alters the speed and vibe of the game. The cubes you control fall at a rate equal to the music playing at the time, which in turn changes the color and the theme of the level or stage. The constant adaptation of speed throws you off of your game, going from oddly slow to extremely fast, but when you’re in the zone, it’s bliss.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Making a game that’s a spinoff of the Batman Arkham games and contains pretty much none of the systems that make the series special was risky, but somehow when Armature Studio developed Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, they pulled it off and made a really good side-scroller for the PS Vita. The art in the game is beautiful, and the designers really took advantage of the side-scrolling style to make Batman pop off the screen. The story is simple and would have been even more interesting if it had been integrated with the mainline Batman games a little more. The combat is interesting, opting for more of a sightline-based predator system and a rebuild of the free-flow combat system.
It is a Batman game, so the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Bane all appear in it, with some side villains as well. Overall, it’s pretty well done for a spin-off and the designers certainly didn’t phone it in, which is why Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate made the list.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD came to the PS Vita in 2012 and was a more-than-welcome addition to its lineup. The Xbox original game was developed by Oddworld Inhabitants and the PS3 version that came later was developed by Just Add Water. The PS Vita version was released after that and is one of the better but most overlooked games on the system. You play as Stranger, a bounty hunter who goes from town to town collecting bounties. The bounties can be collected dead or alive and they always come in the form of a boss battle with a unique environment to take advantage of so you can take down your enemy.
The game takes place in both the first and third person as you shoot enemies with bugs you find around the world. These bugs are unique; for example, a Bolamite can web enemies up and incapacitate them, whereas a Boombat can act as a rocket, blasting enemies. You can also lay these out as traps and plan out your attack. The game is suited to handheld play, especially when planning out attacks, which is another reason why it’s so enjoyable.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale may be a Super Smash Bros. ripoff, but it’s truly more than just that. The Vita version of the game was developed by Bluepoint Games and was a great representation of the icons in PlayStation’s catalogue, featuring Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet & Clank. Also including Big Daddy from Bioshock, it was a celebration of all things PlayStation.
The characters have their own maps and moves, including a satisfying final move that was emblematic of each character, and the fights were satisfying for anyone who was a fan of the characters. It was more than a cheap clone ⏤ you could tell that the effort to stay true to the roots of what made PlayStation special were there and that’s what made the game great ⏤ but no one talks about it highly enough, which is why it’s on this list.
Hitman Go! has not gotten the love it deserves. Released before the World of Assassination Trilogy, Hitman Go! was not a mainline Hitman game and was ported to the PlayStation Vita in 2016, the same year Hitman (2016) was released. Severely underrated and often dismissed as just a mobile game, Hitman Go! was remarkable because it took the Hitman franchise and its main idea ⏤ a man hunting down his targets, disguised, hiding in plain sight, and leaving unseen ⏤ and transferred it to a different gameplay style. The turn-based gameplay suited the series well as you tried to complete the levels in the fewest moves possible, defeating your targets as if you were playing a game of chess. On top of that, the difficulty was there and scaled well, with the later levels being a real challenge to perfect.
Titan Souls was developed by Acid Nerve in 2015, the developer of one of the best games of 2021, Death’s Door. The brilliance of this game lies in one fact: the enemy, like yourself, can be defeated in one hit, you just have to find out how to defeat them. The game is made up of 19 different bosses, all with different weak points.
Armed with one arrow, you must travel around the top-down open world and defeat your enemies. This game was the best on Vita because of how often players die. The handheld nature of the system made it much easier to pick up and play, which you need since players die incredibly often. While the brilliance of the game lies in its simplicity, it also makes it severely underrated.
This brilliant little game was developed by Drinkbox Studios. Severed is the story of a girl who is missing her family and who has lost her arm. You then have to go from place to place to try and reclaim pieces of what she lost. The main mechanic involves the player utilizing the touch screen to swipe at enemies, to overcome their blocks, attacks and eventually to overcome them. As you sever your enemies, you collect their organs to purchase much-needed upgrades.
The story is brilliant, simple, and short, so you can easily finish it within a few sittings. It seems to get overlooked because Drinkbox also made Guacamelee! and it is far more popular than Severed. However, this does not take away from how amazing of a game Severed is, making it a welcome addition to this list.
Ratchet & Clank Collection
The Ratchet & Clank Collection was a bundle of the three original Ratchet & Clank games that were released on the PlayStation 2: Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando, and Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal. The games were developed by Insomniac Games and the Vita port was developed by Mass Media. This collection was released on both PS3 and PS Vita and was one of a few collections to do so, like Sly Raccoon and Jak and Daxter.
It might be because High Impact Games developed Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters that it was such an excellent spin-off of the mainline games on the PlayStation Portable, but this collection felt at home on the Vita. The games were stunning upgrades compared to their PlayStation 2 versions, graphically and with better frame rates. The games themselves follow the same formula as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, in which Ratchet and Clank travel through space, venturing to different planets, collecting bolts, and kicking alien butt with all sorts of cool weapons.
LittleBigPlanet Vita was developed by Double Eleven, Tarsier Studios, and XDev Studio Europe. The reason the game is underrated is because the LittleBigPlanet series is underrated as a whole. This game does more than most in showing the power of the PlayStation Vita and its controls, however. You can play through the vibrant story levels of the game as Sackboy or dutifully create levels yourself, with many different combinations of stickers and gameplay ideas to choose from.
Sadly, the servers have recently been taken offline, so you cannot play any of the user-generated content. But in its time, the dedicated players really churned out some great levels for Sackboy to venture into. They made platformers and art pieces, stuff that really made the game great. For that, it earns its place on this list.
And with that, we bid adieu to the underrated games of the PS Vita, knowing that they were at least discussed before the PS Vita’s legacy fades into obscurity.