Hottest PlayStation Vita games for launch and beyond

Sony's latest entry into the handheld console market, the PlayStation Vita, arrives in the UK and the US on 22 February. And Sony has brought to the table a console capable of making some pretty big waves (check out our full review here).

It boasts a gorgeous 5-inch qHD OLED touchscreen, is powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and the graphics engine is hefty, to say the least; again quad-core in the SGX543MP4+. Throw in a rear touchpad for an altogether different experience, Sixaxis motion sensing, a three-axis electronic compass and, crucially, a D-Pad and buttons; something that almost all tablets and smartphones are missing.

It's all well and good the hardware looking the part, but it's going to be the quality of the games that ultimately decides the Vita's fate. So Pocket-lint thought it only right to give the launch titles the once-over, to let you guys know what's in store.

 

Arcade

Okay, so we'll admit that the arcade genre is a bit vague, but "Everything Else" looked sloppy, so here you are. These are the titles that don't fall into a set category without argument. They involve puzzle solving, gesture and observational skills. And, most awesomely, one of them involves toe-tapping to the King of Pop's best tunes...

Little Deviants

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Little Deviants nicely shows off what the PlayStation Vita is capable of above and beyond the traditional control methods; including mini-games that use augmented reality, the rear touchpad and much more But, from a quick play, we couldn't help but think it was all a bit gimmicky. Kids will probably love it though, and there's plenty of variation so they shouldn't get too bored.

Michael Jackson: The Experience

Publisher
Ubisoft
Release date
22 February

Nothing new here in terms of gameplay, we've seen this type of music rhythm game a million times before (including on the iPad and iPhone). But that doesn't mean that it's not ruddy good fun - because it is. And we defy anyone to not toe-tap along to some of Jacko's best tunes.

Gravity Rush

Publisher
SCE
Release date
TBA

On the face of it, Gravity Rush is a third-person adventure with gorgeous comic book-style graphics, but it too uses some of the additional control properties of the Vita. The shoulder buttons enact an anti-gravity mode and you can then use the motion sensors inside the handheld to twist the world around, so that you can flip it entirely upside down and walk on the floor or walls. Freaky and will take a while to get used to.

Touch My Katamari

Publisher
Namco Bandai
Release date
22 February

Featuring the same bonkers gameplay as its similarly named forebears, Touch My Katamari requires you to grow a ball of junk from objects littered around the different landscapes. However, the Vita version also utilises the rear touchpad in order to stretch your Katamari. It also uses the front touch screen to roll around the expanding ball.

Escape Plan

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

As an aesthetically distinct puzzling adventure game, it will be interesting to see how Sony markets this one and, most importantly, how it prices it. There are plenty of puzzle-solving-type games available in the App Store and the Android Market, some of which won't cost you a penny. Sure, it's slick and it works well on the PS Vita, using the multiple control methods along the way, but we would hope that it's competitively priced, especially as it will be one of those available to buy directly from the PlayStation Store as a digital download.

 

Beat 'em up

Beat 'em up is such a loose term. After all, even in the most straightforward one-on-one fighting game you've usually got the option of blowing up your opponent, decapitating them or, at the very least, maiming them. In fact, the only thing that really gets beaten up during these games is gamer's thumbs as they struggle to adapt to the new title's special moves and revert to trying any button combo that worked on Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat back in the day.

Reality Fighters

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Great fun, if not the best beat 'em up that you've ever played. It's no Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat or Tekken, that's for sure - but in none of those games can you stick your ugly mug on a skinny, pant-wearing rake and pitch yourself against Mr Miyagi on your living room floor. Thanks to its extensive use of the front and rear cameras, you can in Reality Fighters.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Publisher
Capcom
Release date
22 February

Mayhemic tag-team fighting action that fans of both franchises are likely to love. We really thought we were reliving our Street Fighter II glory days as well, pulling Hadoukens and Dragon Punches out all over the place. Then we realised we had it set on "easy" so the special moves and combos came at the tap of a button. We didn't tell anyone mind.

 

Platform

The platform genre is probably the most universal, and yet most multifarious mix of titles in the gaming world. Whereas 2D side-on platfomers featuring little plumbers, hedgehogs, treasure hunters or Willys dominated in the 80s, 90s and the early part of this century, the extra oomph that the latest gen consoles provide has meant a move into a more open 3D world. Characters are now faced with pitfalls from all directions. The Vita, with its AR capabilities and extra control functions, should see the humble platform game evolve further but, for now, it's much of the same...

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz

Publisher
Sega
Release date
TBA

A classic title that works well with the PS Vita's gyroscope and accelerometer running the show. There's not a lot of originality to strike any great excitement to anyone who has played a previous version of the game before, but it's great fun nonetheless.

Rayman Origins

Publisher
Ubisoft
Release date
22 February

Platformers seem to work well on the little screen and Rayman is no excpetion. Fans of older Rayman titles will be well away. Essentially the same as the PS3 version, one thing the Vita edition does add is the ability to get up close and personal with the gorgeous artwork.

LittleBigPlanet

Publisher
SCE
Release date
TBA

To be honest, it's next to impossible to see how LittleBigPlanet will shape up on the PS Vita from our brief initial play. But the fact that the content on offer was of radically different mini-games - one Tron lightcycle-esque, one a sort-of shooting game - gives us great hope that it will be a cornucopia of invention by the amateur games designing community.

Sound Shapes

Publisher
SCE
Release date
TBA

Another title that will be exclusive to the PlayStation Network, Sound Shapes is the sort of puzzling platformer that can take a firm grip on you and never let go until you've finished it. Even beyond its progressive indie gameplay, it offers a simple level editor that should, like LittleBigPlanet, excite those with a creative bent.

 

Racing

The racing game genre is one which spreads its love far and wide, from the streets of London to the outer reaches of the galaxy, and has been ubiquitous with every major console through the ages. Looking back to the launch of the original PlayStation in the mid 90s, a couple of the most popular titles back then were racing games; Ridge Racer and WipEout. And you know the old saying, "you never change a winning team"...

Ridge Racer

Publisher
Namco Bandai
Release date
22 February

Another big console launch and another version of Ridge Racer to support it on launch day. This time around a customisable drift system has been added to the mix, plus network support for multiplayer gaming, but the same arcade racing mechanics we all know and love make up the meat of this latest addition to the franchise.

WipEout 2048

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

What can you say about WipEout 2048 that hasn't been said about the perennial future racer before? One thing that strikes us about this latest version, however, is that it's possibly more simple than some of its former iterations. And it offers eight-player network racing, including cross-platform play, where it doesn't matter whether you're playing on PS Vita or PS3.

ModNation Racers: Road Trip

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Another that's compatible across both PS Vita and PS3, ModNation Racers: Road Trip is a decent karting game at heart, but with the creative nous of LittleBigPlanet or its older brother. The Vita version also adds an ability to earn ModMiles (in-game currency) by using social networking to spread the word.

F1 2011

Publisher
Codemasters
Release date
22 February

Hopefully not as fiendishly difficult as its home console counterpart, F1 2011 looks stunning on our first brief lap. It's more simulation than arcade racer, and clearly based on last season's drivers and teams. But for fans of the motorsport, it'll be a no-brainer. Especially with its four-player modes.

 

Shooter

First person, third person - it doesn't matter what person; Pocket-lint was always going to lump any games involving guns and weapons into this category (and have done so in the third person, you may have noticed). So, if you love blowing off people or alien's heads (virtually, of course) or just shooting up some carnage then you've come to the right place.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

The priciest of Sony's launch titles by far (RRP of £45), Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the one we've been waiting for the most. Not only is it a new chapter in Nathan Drake's treasure hunting life, but it feature the same stunning graphical talents as its PS3 cousins. This time around, the front and rear touchpads offer up interesting new ways to interact with play, although we suspect you'll default to the thumbsticks, like us.

Unit 13

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Unit 13 has a touch of the Rainbow Six about it, as you control "an elite team of intelligence operatives recruited from the very best military outfits across the USA and Europe". Basically, it's a mission-based third-person shooter with plenty of evil terrorists to blow away, and nefarious plots to scupper using high grade weaponry. Yum.

Resistance Burning Skies

Publisher
SCE
Release date
TBA

A unique first-person shooter set in the Resistance world, this is essentially the most obvious FPS in Sony's initial line-up. We didn't get to see much in our brief play, but you can be assured that there will be plenty of hardcore weaponry and some keen melee combat as we wielded an axe in the first five minutes or so.

Super Stardust Delta

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Super Stardust Delta on the Vita is as fast and furious as its PS3 equivalent, except it also uses the touchscreen to create black holes and the motion sensors to trigger power ups. If you're into your simple but crazy shoot 'em up action, this could be the download for you - it'll be available on the PlayStation Store solely.

 

Sport

Kids are often encouraged to get up off of their backsides, to go outside and play some sports. But have you ever seen the outside? It's a horrible place full of rain, cold, awful people and white dog poo. At least it was last time we looked (we've heard that the white dog poo is no more, but we suspect it's a ruse to get us to step outside). And why bother going outside when you can play sports, inside, on your shiny new PS Vita? In theory, you could take it outside but why would you, eh?

Hustle Kings

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

Another game to offer cross-platform play, Hustle Kings is pretty much your standard 3D pool game, albeit one that uses the touchscreen and rear touchpad to great effect. There are also other network play features, such as an online leaderboard.

Everybody's Golf

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

With some of the familiar holes from the PS3 version of Everybody's Golf 5, and the usual golf-sim controls on board - we were well away. One nice touch though, literally, is the inclusion of the rear touch controls, allowing you to select your swing type and get a more accurate aim from your lie. 

Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition

Publisher
Sega
Release date
22 February

A title that doesn't really add to numerous Virtua Tennis titles that you've played in the past, but it's still nice to see it make its way to the Vita. It uses all kinds of touch shenanigans to make shots more precise, while there's a bizarre Touch Versus mode that lets two players play on the same handheld console. You can even add your own mugshot onto your created tennis star.

Top Darts

Publisher
SCE
Release date
22 February

It's darts... on the PS Vita. Er, that's it really. However, you can play eight-player events on the same console with turn-based gameplay where you pass the device around like a touch controllable parcel at a children's party.

FIFA Football

Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release date
22 February

And so we end with one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time, and we're willing to bet that this Vita version will sell in the sack loads. All of the officially licensed teams make an appearance, along with 11 versus 11 online play and Be a Pro modes, but it is the use of the front and rear touch controls that will determine whether it really is a step forward for EA Sports.

Don't forget to check out our full PlayStation Vita review...



>