What are the ten best Vita games to own forever?

August 27, 2014


The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. In this installment, we check out the best that the Vita has to offer (so far).

Persona 4 Golden

If you’ve played Persona 4, you know it’s easily one of the best PS2 games around, and introduced a whole slew of people to the wonderful world of this bizarre series. Golden doesn’t do a lot to change things up from the original, but it’s a fantastic enhanced version of an RPG many consider a classic. The added content and portability of P4G makes it a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of RPGs, and one that will hold up for many years to comes. – Andrew Passafiume


Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

The Vita launch library was… odd, but Mutant Blobs Attack really stood out as a slick, original game that made use of the Vita’s functions in ways that felt organic. The malleable blob character’s abilities were all familiar, but worked together with a fluidity that distracted from the derivative. Blobs looked great, felt great and was great fun. – Lucas White

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The point-and-click adventure genre has undergone a rather fascinating evolution over the past decade, with both Western and Eastern studios’ takes on the genre coming to the forefront once more. Danganronpa is at the forefront of this movement’s latter interpretation, giving a tense, engaging experience full of colorful characters. Building on the extravagant sensationalism of titles such as 999, Danganronpa shows us what the adventure game can look like in a new era. – Chris Dominowski



Tempest 2000 and 3000 creator Jeff Minter has managed to make two excellent versions of one of the best arcade games around, but he didn’t stop there. TxK, a Tempest game in all but title, is essentially a handheld remake/reimagining of Tempest 2000. The core of the experience is still exactly what you would expect from a Tempest game, but what makes TxK (and most of Minter’s work as a whole) so impressive is its use of music and visuals. This is the perhaps the best version of Tempest around, and a perfect fit for Sony’s handheld. – Andrew Passafiume

Frobisher Says!

Minigame collections are good at showing off a system’s hardware without dragging down an experience by using too many features at once. Frobisher Says! is certainly the marquee entry in the genre for the Vita, taking the WarioWare formula just a bit further into crazy-town with developer Honeyslug’s trademark humor. It may be overlooked by many for various reasons, but those who know its joys are better off. – Graham Russell



It is always heartening to see a game that uses a system’s feature set to such a great extent. The Vita certainly is a handheld with a lot of gadgets and sensors, and Tearaway is a game that makes use of nearly all of them. Adding that dedication to a lush, vibrant art direction and clever twists on platforming mechanics, Tearaway really feels like a game that could not have been done on any other platform, which is exactly what the Vita needs. – Chris Dominowski

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward

Since the surprise success of 999, visual novels became a thing that fringe audiences wanted to play. By that, I mean pay for and then play. A sequel was inevitable, despite weaker sales in Japan, and VLR did things with the mechanics of a visual novel nobody has ever seen before. I’m not even exaggerating. Saying much more would spoil things, but you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you encounter it and it’ll blow your mind. The Vita version stands over the 3DS version with its stronger tech and slight edge in functionality. – Lucas White


Sound Shapes

Combining the system’s touch-screen creation tools, sharp visuals and immersive headphone-wielding nature, Sound Shapes was built for the Vita, and while it’s playable on other systems, it’s here where it finds its true home. The infusion of music and rhythm into platforming, done in a way that doesn’t (always) seem like the gauntlet of taxing trials we’ve seen in games like Bit.Trip Runner, makes for a game you can get lost in for hours. (Just don’t miss your bus stop.) – Graham Russell


Spelunky is one of those breakout indie games that is available on, like, a million devices. However, there’s something to be said for playing these kinds of quick, arcade-style experiences on a handheld. Less of you is invested when you’re using a portable system, which relieves some stress and lets you play at your own leisure. Plus, you get the cross-connectivity features anyway, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. You also can’t forget about the brilliance of that OLED screen. – Lucas White


Lumines: Electronic Symphony

The Lumines series has always felt right at home on handhelds, and Electronic Symphony is the easily the best of the bunch. It retains much of what makes the series so amazing, including the catchy music and addictive gameplay. Electronic Symphony’s soundtrack is the best in the series, and its gameplay is the most refined. It’s not a dramatic shift in the formula, yet it does just enough to keep this brilliant puzzle series from feeling stale. Plus, it just looks gorgeous on the Vita’s screen. Download this to your system and you’ll find yourself unable to stop coming back. – Andrew Passafiume