The redesigned PlayStation Vita launched in North America on May 6th, and with its slimmer size and more consumer friendly sub $200 price tag, it’s positioned to introduce a new wave of gamers to Sony’s pocket entertainment powerhouse.
Are you ready to get a Vita? Read on to discover its must-have games at every price – even free!
If You Get Nothing Else…
Do you have $50 to spare? Don’t just grab a new release from the shelf! Rather, get yourself a one year subscription to PlayStation Plus. There’s no better value for your money on every PlayStation platform. You’ll get access to at least six games on your Vita immediately. Make sure to add them to your Sony Entertainment Network account, because over time, some of those games will rotate out of freebie status, but as long as you remain a PlayStation Plus member in good standing, you’ll be able to redownload and play any games you added while they were free. Your game collection will grow each month, and you’ll be surprised to find that your favorite games are often the ones you never would have bought on your own.
The Biggest Hits
Major releases on the Vita typically cost about $30-$40, and you have some great options at this price point. If you want a Japanese RPG that will last you dozens of hours, help an endearing team of demon-summoning high school students hunt down malevolent monsters in Persona 4 Golden. See why it’s the Vita’s best game ! For a first-person shooter you can stick in your pocket, Killzone: Mercenary has you covered with both a single-player sci-fi campaign, and fast-paced competitive multiplayer. Need a more family friendly title? Get the critically acclaimed Tearaway! It’s a charming adventure that uses the Vita’s cameras and touch interfaces to let you reach into the papery world to rip, poke, and tug obstacles that get in your character’s way.
If you have around $20 to spend on your first game, you can’t go wrong with Guacamelee. It’s like Metroid, if Metroid had luchadores, skeletons, and suplexes. The quirky script is good for laughs, so if you’re looking for funny video games for your Vita, definitely grab it. The complete first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is available too, and the second season of this gut wrenching zombie adventure is in progress, so you’ll be able to play all of it on the go. Lastly, if you’re in the mood for something really off the wall, nab Touch My Katamari. This bizarre, long-running franchise tasks you with rolling up all the random junk on Earth into giant balls that the King of All Cosmos plans to cast into the sky to replace the stars. It sounds confusing, but once you go from rolling up paperclips and baseballs all the way to absorbing monuments and islands, you’ll be hooked.
Plenty of great options still remain below the $10 mark. Frantic arcade-style shooter Luftrausers fills the skies with bullets and biplanes, and tasks you with fighting back in a plane that you don’t fly so much as you hurl through the sky and flip wildly to fire at your foes. Steamworld Dig sends you into a wild west mine full of traps and foes as a steampunk robot prospector. Dig up the minerals you need on randomly generated floors to get upgrades and improve your mining and fighting talents. And don’t forget that there’s a huge back catalog of PS1 classics under $10 too. Franchises from the fondly remembered 32-bit era of gaming like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Syphon Filter, and more are bargain priced, and most won’t take up too much space on your memory card.
If you don’t have another dime to spend in your entertainment budget after you pick up your new Vita, you still have some free-to-play options. Frobisher Says! is a rapid fire minigame collection in the spirit of Nintendo’s WarioWare that challenges you to make sense of Frobisher’s directions with each baffling screen the game presents. Follow your instincts and act quickly to get high scores. The Vita also has a version of the addictive browser based classic Jetpack Joyride. Navigate an obstacle filled science facility with your jetpack and your reflexes while collecting as many coins as you can. If you’re the more nurturing sort, Ecolibrium is a fun, casual game that lets you build an ecological preserve for alien animals. You’ll need to balance the needs of predators, herbivores, and plants to make your preserve flourish, but as the game advances based on real world time, you only need to peek in on your critters about twice a day to make sure their needs are met.
Sony has done a great job of populating the Vita’s library with worthwhile titles at every price. Whether you’re ready to spend big money on premium experiences, or you only have enough for the hardware at the moment, you’ll find something to love on this powerful, dedicated gaming handheld.
Are you in for a slim Vita, or have you been on board since day one? Share your Vita feedback with our community in the comments.
Want to check out the Vita’s competition? Take a look at what the 3DS has to offer in 2014 .