DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential PlayStation Vita Games

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential PlayStation Vita Games

DualShockers ranks the Top 10 essential games for every PlayStation Vita owner in the DualShockers Definitive series. Did your favorite make it?

Welcome to the official PlayStation Vita DualShockers Definitives list! This week has been a hard one for DualShockers staff, thanks to much arguing and nit-picking over which games in the amazing Vita library make the Top 10.

If you missed the original post, here is a quick TLDR on what this is all about:

The DualShockers Definitives series is a living list, updated seasonally, where we hash out which ten essential games are must-buys for each platform — the ones we would put in a time capsule today if we were making one. The list is intended to grow over time as new releases take the spotlight or older games age like fine wine.

With all of the introduction out of the way, here are the Top 10 Essential games for the PlayStation Vita:

10. Spelunky


Mossmouth’s Spelunky is a game that came out of nowhere, starting as an open-source video game on PC before being ported to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. But arguably nowhere is the game better-enjoyed then on PlayStation Vita.

Ushering in what was a rogue-like genre renaissance, Spelunky captured the market in hitting an audience of fans into tough 2D platformers and endless replayability. Even better, the pick up and play nature of the gameplay loop is impossible to ignore, making sessions on the toilet or in transit easy, addictive, and dynamic.

9. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection


It isn’t a Top 10 PlayStation console list without the inclusion of Hideo Kojima, and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection earns its place. Offering a mobile version of two of the greatest stealth games in gaming history—Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater—there are a ton of reasons why the Vita version is the definitive edition.

Aside from the obvious boost of mobility, the Vita version focuses on an optimized control scheme that simply feels better than playing it on a DualShock 3. There is no question that Metal Gear Solid HD Collection is one of the best (if not the best) way to play through the iconic series.

You can grab Metal Gear Solid HD Collection via Amazon.

8. Guacamelee!


If you were making a list of the best Metroid-vania games within the last genereation, there is no doubt that Guacamelee! would make the list. Filled with puns, a relatively unexplored setting, and tight controls, Guacamelee! is a game that only gets better with age. While the game has come out on every modern console at this point, developer DrinkBox Studios originally launched the title on Vita making the game feel inherently attached to the platform.

Apart from that association, the Metroidvania lends itself to the mobility and high fidelity screen that PlayStation Vita provides. If you are one of the few who haven’t picked up the game, you owe it to yourself to explore the adventure of Juan Aguacate.

7. Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight is the Holy Grail of Kickstarter projects; not only did it meet the absurdly high expectations, but it surpassed them – still delivering on extra content to this day. Built as a love letter to classic platformers like Duck Tales and Mega Man, Shovel Knight nails the entire concept and elevates it to something else entirely. No handheld console would be complete without the inclusion of Shovel Knight in its library.

Check out the DualShockers review of Shovel Knight; you can grab the game via Amazon, albeit the now overpriced Limited Print edition.

6. Gravity Rush


Originally a PlayStation Vita exclusive, Gravity Rush by SCE Japan Studio and Keiichiro Toyama was a veritable masterpiece of its time. Thanks to a lovable protagonist, impeccable setting, and freedom of control, that really drives the game forward. Even better, the control scheme (that focuses on shifting perspective and gravity) uses the Vita’s gyro motion in incredibly inventive ways.

You can grab Gravity Rush for PlayStation Vita via Amazon.

5. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc


There is just so much to love about Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Even if you aren’t a fan of visual novels, the original Danganronpa is a must play thanks to an over-the-top style, crazy setting, and a mystery that begs you to keep playing. Filled to the brim with unforgettable characters and a pseudo-trial based gameplay, Danganronpa is an amazing title that demands your attention as an introduction into a phenomenal series.

You can check out the DualShockers review of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc or grab the game via Amazon.

4. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair


Right alongside the original Danganronpa, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is all of the passion and energy of the first but doubled. The plot remains an emotional rollercoaster and, thanks to the success of the original, developer Spike Chunsoft is able to go outside of the boundaries that the original game set for itself. Obviously you need to play the first game to get into Goodbye Despair, but in our mind there is never too much Danganronpa.

You can check out the DualShockers review of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair or grab the game via Amazon.

3. Freedom Wars


Another inclusion of this list from developers SCE Japan Studio, Shifts and Dimps, Freedom Wars is one of the largest and most-prominent AAA games for the PlayStation Vita. A co-operative third-person battle game at heart, the title tells the story of your protagonist endlessly working off a debt to the government by killing monsters and completing quests. Although the game may have a dwindling online scene compared to the more bustling days, it is still a title absolutely packed with content and can easily take you hundreds upon hundreds of hours to free yourself from debt. And you will love every minute of it.

You can check out the DualShockers review of Freedom Wars or grab the game via Amazon.

2. Hotline Miami


While Housemarque may ultimately be the king of top-down shooters, developers Dennaton Games and Abstraction Games struck gold with the PlayStation Vita version of Hotline Miami. The game has everything you would want in an arcade title: stealth, high-octane combat, a neo-noir setting, and a story that will legitimately keep you guessing until the very end. The title is simply unforgettable, and best played on PlayStation Vita thanks to the mobility and how perfect the controls are for the handheld platform.

You can grab Hotline Miami for PlayStation Vita via Amazon.

1. Persona 4: Golden

Persona 4 Golden

Even if you’ve never touched a PlayStation Vita before, there is no question what would top this list. Persona 4: Golden, a handheld masterpiece that is arguably the best of an already amazing series. Very few games are able to match the iconic style, the heart in the storytelling, and the compelling mix of JRPG and slice-of-life gameplay that holds up Persona 4: Golden.

Every other game on the list is a must buy for the PlayStation Vita; the PlayStation Vita is a must buy to play Persona 4: Golden.

You can check out the DualShockers review of Persona 4: Golden or grab the game via Amazon.

As it stands, that is our final DualShockers Definitives ranking of the Top 10 games for PlayStation Vita; for an extended rankings chart, make sure to check out our dedicated page.

Next week, check out our list for the Top 10 Nintendo Switch games.

This post contains affiliate links where DualShockers gets a small commission on sales. Any and all support helps keep DualShockers as a standalone, independent platform for less-mainstream opinions and news coverage.