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Original post by Kotaku Staff

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita is the handheld that the world either desperately needed or needed not at all. It could go either way in this era of rampant cell phone gaming, where many games are played with nary the press of a button or flick of a stick.

The Vita (reviewed here) gives us a $200 handheld machine with sticks, touch panels, lots of buttons, a fully-downloadable game library (optional; you can buy many of the games in physical stores), lots of online features and, oh yeah, graphical horsepower like we've never seen before in a gaming handheld.

Cool. So what must you play on this thing? Start with these games.

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Unimaginable on any other platform and busting with imagination, Tearaway is a Vita dream come true. At its most basic, the game is a basic 3D platformer set in a world that appears to be made of construction paper. The trick is that the people of this world appear to be aware of you. They can see you, thanks to the Vita's front-facing camera streaming a feed of your face into their world as their sun. They can feel the impact of your fingers as your forefinger and middle finger can tap the rear of the system to poke through their terrain. This game is wonderfully like nothing else.

A Good Match For: Fans of development studio Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet games and for fans of Instagram. This game basically has its own in-game version of the popular photo-modifying app.

Not a Good Match For: Grumpy people who don't like cute stuff.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation VitaGravity Rush is a delight, an open-world adventure game built around a truly new-feeling mechanic. The protagonist Kat is able to re-orient gravity, letting her fall in any direction. It's something of a mix between falling and flying, and it makes the game a uniquely disorienting, highly enjoyable experience. Combine those mechanical smarts with a wonderfully imaginative, fun story, lush visuals, gorgeous art design and a dizzy, grand soundtrack and you've got a real winner for the PSVita.

A Good Match For: Crackdown and Infamous fans, people who like their games to look and play differently, jazz-heads.

Not a Good Match For: Those who want familiar mechanics, deep and involved combat.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from the PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

If you took a Tony Hawk game and stripped it down to its core, you'd have OlliOlli. Hop on your board and ride forward in a straight line, busting as many sick jumps and nasty grinds as you can. It starts out easy and gradually gets incredibly complicated—as you flick the thumbsticks in time with the kicky soundtrack, you'll quickly find yourself hypnotized. And unlike real skateboarding, when you wipe out down a 200-foot flight of concrete stairs, you can just start over again, no muss no fuss.

A Good Match For: Fans of runners like Canabalt and Time Surfer, Tony Hawk buffs, anyone who likes chill electronic music.

Not a Good Match For: People who need a lot of big, exploding graphics in their games.

Read our thoughts on the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available online at the PlayStation Store.

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation VitaRymdkapsel is a real-time-strategy base-building game with a Tetris twist. It's also all touch-screen, but don't let that worry you. It's still superb on Vita. The game's Swedish developers call it “meditative space strategy.” It’s simple. Place odd-shaped floors of different colors on a plane in outer space. Command little rectangular men to farm on or work in these spaces to generate resources to build more spaces and feed more workers. Rally the little men to defend the base against alien invaders every so often. Survive and repeat.

This is a minimalist game, a stripping down of the real-time-strategy genre that went baroque with the visually and technically complex top franchises StarCraft and Company of Heroes. Rymdkapsel makes its more ornate competitors feel needlessly garnished.

A Good Match For: Gamers looking for a portable real-time-strategy game. There ain't much to choose from, and this one has the bonus advantage of being good.

Not a Good Match For: Those who want a lot of action or complexity. This is a mellow game with a single unit-type and a handful of rooms to create. Players won't be progressing through complex skill trees.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation VitaLittleBigPlanet has found a great fit in the touchable, tiltable PSVita—while the game's platforming is as goofy yet imprecise as ever, the level creation tools get a new life on Sony's handheld. It's easier than ever to get creative thanks to the Vita's touch screen, and with the number of tools made available to players, your only limit is your imagination. This one deserves a spot in any Vita library.

A Good Match For: People who like to make things, people who like messing around with things others have made.

Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a precise, challenging platformer, or a game with a lengthy single-player story.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

It should not feel this cool to brutally murder people, but that may well be Hotline Miami's entire point. The top-down killfest would be fun with the sound turned off, but the astoundingly good soundtrack elevates things to a different, more disturbingly stylish level.

The game made a big splash on PC, and for a while, mouse-control seemed like the only worthwhile fit for its brand of extremely fast, unforgiving action. But Hotline Miami works surprisingly well with the Vita's controls, thanks in part to the ability to tag enemies for locked-on shots, which lets you plan each room-assault with a bit more precision. Groovy, disturbing, disgusting, and worryingly satisfying, Hotline Miami is one of the Vita's most potent, darkly enjoyable games.

A Good Match For: Fans of exploitation cinema, old-school twitchy action fans, perfectionists, sociopaths.

Not A Good Match For: The weak-stomached, those who don't like violence, people who want a forgiving game and/or hate electronic music.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from: PlayStation Store | Wal-Mart

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Possibly the best modern roguelike around, Spelunky is a platformer where you take a whip, a lasso, bombs, and whatever you find along the way in an attempt to go as deep as possible into randomly-generated ancient caves. The reason? Treasure, of course. Think of yourself as a cute version of Indiana Jones. While the game has appeared on other platforms, it feels at home on the Vita—Spelunky is devilishly hard and holds many secrets about the way its world and creatures work. Players can expect to die countless times as they learn how to get around. One run might last 30 seconds, the next might last 15 minutes, and both might be completely different from one other—you'll play in bursts, which is perfect for on-the-go gaming. With its randomly generated levels and new daily challenges, Spelunky is a game that will likely stay on your Vita for a good long while to come.

A Good Match For: Anyway with tenacity and a sense of wonder. The game is difficult, but it's also fascinating—there are a ton of rules and mysteries to uncover, which is compounded by the fact that most of the game is procedurally generated.

Not a Good Match For: Players looking for a relaxed experience: Spelunky demands that you learn how to play well, else you're not going to get very far.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Japanese high school never seemed so much fun. Persona 4 Golden, a remake of the critically-acclaimed PlayStation 2 role-playing game, combines a social simulator and a hardcore RPG with surprisingly addictive results. Take midterms in the morning, eat steak with your girlfriend on the roof for lunch, then head to the mall after school to fight off shadow monsters in a dangerous world that exists inside televisions. Just another day in Persona 4's Japan.

A Good Match For: RPG fans who want something different than the standard fantasy or sci-fi fare, or Persona fans looking for a good excuse to replay the fourth one.

Not a Good Match For: Something short. Persona 4 Golden will take you something like 70-80 hours to beat—and that's before you start New Game Plus.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Virtue's Last Reward is a visual novel—in other words, it's mostly text—but don't hold that against it. As you weave through the game's narrative branches, you'll do some things you could only do in a video game, and you'll discover a story that could only be told in a video game. The hook: Nine people are trapped in a facility where they're forced to participate in a twisted version of the prisoner's dilemma, and... well, the less I tell you, the better.

A Good Match For: Anyone who likes good stories—particularly grisly ones.

Not a Good Match For: People who don't like to read, or can't stand anime-ish characters and voices.

Read our thoughts.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Best Buy | Gamestop

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Is it a game? Or is it a musical instrument? This side-scrolling platformer mixes art, music and level design into something more than just a game, but does it matter? It's awesome, and that's what counts. As players make their way through the levels, the "coins" they'd be collecting in a Mario game instead cause musical sounds to begin to trigger, and the more of them they collect, the more complete the backing track becomes. With levels creatively designed around tunes from Beck, Deadmau5 and Jim Guthrie, the music never gets old, and the levels never do either. Pack that in with a level-creator that works well with the Vita's touch screen and lets you build your own compositions, cloud-saving that allows cloud saves to the PS3 version, and you've got a musical game that's not like anything else out there.

A Good Match For: People who love platformers, music fans, anyone who is into indie games, people who like creating things.

Not a Good Match For: Those who want a story in their game, complicated mechanics, a game they can play on the bus without headphones.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from the PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

It's a twin-stick arcade shooter. On a portable gaming system. That has twin sticks. This is a descendant of Asteroids, Space Invaders and so many other games that were just about shooting down space enemies to earn a high score. But this one has the visual fireworks to make it one of the most dazzling handheld games ever.

A Good Match For: People with two thumbs.

Not a Good Match For: Those who want a storyline, an adventure or anything else you wouldn't expect from an arcade game.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from the PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Remember back when people thought a game needed realistic graphics with flashy characters to successfully convey a story with real heart and soul? Thomas Was Alone is proof that we were incredibly stupid back then. Using nothing more than colored quadrilaterals, indie developer Mike Bithell created a challenging puzzle platformer that tells a story much larger than what you see on your Vita screen. Through clever narration and intelligent level design that's one part obstacle course, one part character development, Thomas Was Alone has a warmth and depth that adds gentle curves to the sharp edges of its four-sided heroes.

A Good Match For: Platformer and puzzles fans with a healthy imagination, folks who think they're so clever.

Not a Good Match For: Those who can't relate to a platforming hero unless it has eyes, sunglasses and a sassy attitude.

Read our review of the PC version.

Watch it in action.

Purchase from the PlayStation Store

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

Update 3-5-2014: We've wrestled with a number of good recent Vita games, but only one has made it all the way to the list: The rail-grinding OlliOlli, which bumps off Assassin's Creed: Liberation.

Update 12-10-13: With a new design overhaul for The Bests come a few new games: Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Rayman: Origins and FIFA Soccer leave to make room for Tearaway, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward and Spelunky.

Update 8-21-2013: Vita price drop officially announced! Sony dropped the news at Gamescom yesterday, to the welcoming arms and ears of probably many gamers. If you were waiting for just this kind of news to hit before making your handheld hardware purchase, now is the time to check out what games you'll want to get started with. We've made a few adjustments in light of the recent events, swapping in Hotline Miami, Rymdkapsel and Thomas Was Alone in place of Hot Shots Golf, Lumines and Where Is My Heart. Take a look at our new list below.

Update 11-12-2012: The quality of titles available for Sony's handheld keeps getting better so we're refreshing the list of what we think are the best games for the PlayStation Vita. New to the Bests for Vita are: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Persona 4 Golden. Games that fell off the list include Mutant Blobs Attack, Wipeout 2048 and Escape Plan. They're still good but their replacements are just a wee bit more impressive.

The 12 Best Games For the PlayStation Vita

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac GamesThe Best Browser GamesThe Best PC Mods

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