7 PS Vita Games Still Worth Playing Today which were as good or better than they were yesterday

There are amazing games on the PlayStation Vita. Some may be fleeting, riding on the novelty of the amazing tech of its time. But here are seven of the most everlasting Vita games that are still worth playing today. 

PS vita Games still worth playing today

7. La Mulana Ex

The scarcity of triple-A titles for the PlayStation Vita during its lifetime was offset by a wealth of independent games, many of which cater to a nostalgic niche willing to embrace tough challenges. La-Mulana EX brings a complex 8-bit style side-scrolling platformer to Sony's last dedicated gaming handheld. 

Short history, La-Mulana, an independent project by Nigoro, debuted in 2005 exclusively for the Japanese PC market. A remake followed in 2011 for WiiWare and PC, eventually reaching Western audiences. In 2013, Rising Star Games brought La-Mulana EX to the PS Vita, enhancing the original with improved translation, controls, and graphics. The game follows Lemeza Kosugi, a young archaeologist inspired by Indiana Jones, on his journey to the legendary land of La-Mulana.

La-Mulana EX is rich in secrets and challenges, offering a plethora of trophies—55 in total—that players can strive to collect. Most trophies are tied to in-game events and tasks, with a few reserved for hard mode. There's even a trophy for completing the game within 20 hours. The game retains the content of its PC and WiiWare versions, featuring limited resources and minimal guidance, making exploration and memory essential. Players must remember where they've been and use basic reference points to navigate the game's interconnected world. Lemeza receives help from a wise old man who provides essential tips. Patience is key, as enemies constantly respawn, and certain items, like the Sacred Grail for village teleportation or the stone tablet decryption tool, are crucial for progress.

The gameplay of La-Mulana EX is deep and varied, reminiscent of classic 2D games like Metroid and Rick Dangerous. The game is filled with puzzles and treasures that require careful observation and deduction. This is one of the most difficult games of all time, and yet, it still playable as ever and even today still worth the pain. 

6. Hotline Miami

Another indie darling that is extremely fitting to play on the Vita. Yes, there are a ton of options nowadays for handheld PCs or Android / Linux consoles to play this game, but the Vita version of this chaotic game is a match made in heaven and hell.

Hotline Miami begins with a man with an owl head entering an arcade and immediately knocking an enemy off his feet as he enters. He then brutally bashes the enemy's head into the ground until blood pools around them. This intense and violent scene sets the tone for the game. 

The protagonist, who remains unnamed, frequently encounters three masked figures—a horse, an owl, and a rooster—who ask him cryptic questions and foreshadow events. These surreal encounters grow stranger as the game progresses. The protagonist receives voicemails at his apartment, supposedly assigning mundane tasks that turn out to be instructions to massacre everyone at a designated location.

Before each mission, the player selects an animal mask that grants a specific ability, which can either help or hinder the protagonist during his brutal escapades. The levels are filled with guards that must be killed using a variety of weapons, from knives and drills to shotguns and revolvers. The violence is extreme yet stylized, reminiscent of 1980s arcade games. The game’s controls are precise, allowing for fast-paced action that demands quick reflexes. Mistakes are met with swift deaths, but the game quickly restarts at the beginning of the floor, encouraging players to learn and adapt to the challenges.

5. Dead Nation

This intense arcade action game, after its success on PlayStation 3 and PS4, was ported to its death at Sony's handheld console with good results. The port integrates well with the Vita's hardware despite the console's limitations, although the graphical downgrade and occasional difficulty in spotting enemies in dark environments are nothing but little issues that anybody can endure. 

Dead Nation’s gameplay revolves around progressing through levels and shooting zombies, maintaining constant tension with increasing challenges and a variety of undead enemies. The isometric perspective presents players with linear scenarios filled with visible and hidden zombies that can surprise players at any moment. The growing variety of enemies ensures that no two playthroughs are the same, offering moments of relative calm and intense, overwhelming waves of zombies that force players to either fight or flee. This necessitates strategic use of the wide arsenal of weapons, from machine guns to flamethrowers, and secondary weapons like grenades and flares, which add layers of strategy and fun as they distract and eliminate zombies.

The game’s weapon upgrade system is another highlight, allowing players to invest money earned in-game to buy new weapons, ammunition, and upgrades at safe zones. This customization includes improving weapon stats and enhancing secondary weapons' effectiveness. Additionally, hidden chests with defensive gear further enhance the player's abilities, encouraging exploration despite the primary focus on combat. The variety of zombie types and the tension-filled scenarios, such as defending fixed positions or navigating dark areas with only a flashlight, prevent the game from becoming repetitive. 

4. Super Stardust Delta

The Super Stardust series, known for its vibrant colors and explosive action, made a dazzling entry on the PlayStation Vita with Super Stardust Delta. This dual-stick shooter was a pixel-perfect launch game for the Vita's download store, offering solid gameplay and impressive visual spectacle. The bright and colorful explosions that fill the screen make for an entrancing experience, showcasing the Vita's exceptional display.

In Super Stardust Delta, players maneuver a ship with the left stick and fire with the right, navigating the spherical surfaces of five planets while blasting asteroids and dodging enemy fire. The gameplay keeps you engaged by requiring frequent switches between ice and fire weapons to effectively clear obstacles. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the moment-to-moment action, keeping players absorbed in the game. The explosive visuals, complemented by pulsating music, create an immersive atmosphere that feels akin to a dance-club or a good trip through drugs. 

3. TxK

For those with fond memories of Tempest 2000 or the original Tempest, TxK will likely resonate even more. TxK captures the spirit of its predecessors, with the Vita enhancing its visual appeal. Whether TxK is better than the previous titles is of no moment, it’s a visually and soulfully appealing game that fits perfectly on the PS Vita.

Jeff Minter, the acclaimed Welsh developer, has a deep love for the 1981 Atari arcade game Tempest. Since reworking the tunnel shooter for the Jaguar in 1994 as Tempest 2000, Minter and his company Llamasoft have created several sequels and tributes to Dave Theurer's original classic, continually refining the concept. After the polarizing release of Space Giraffe in 2007, Minter has returned to the genre with TxK, a title that adheres more closely to the Tempest formula.

TxK challenges players to navigate a craft through 100 neon-lit tunnels, each filled with luminous enemies and power-ups, growing increasingly complex and visually overwhelming. The game boasts a superb soundtrack reminiscent of early '90s UK rave culture, complementing its vivid, explosive gameplay. 

2. Disgaea 3

Seasoned Strategy RPG players familiar with titles like Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Gungnir, and Fire Emblem will scoff at the Disgaea franchise for its balls to the wall approach to the genre. However, actually playing Disgaea 3 would have completely changed their minds. Despite its heavy reliance on humor, which sometimes overshadows the story's seriousness, the narrative does have depth. Almaz's transformation from a supposed Hero to a full-fledged Demon is particularly enjoyable.

The music in Disgaea 3 is excellent and complements the game's atmosphere well, with fitting battle themes, classroom themes, and overworld themes. The graphics are reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics, featuring 2D sprites on 3D maps, but Disgaea's visuals are more polished, especially on the Vita, with well-done 3D environments that look impressive overall.

Disgaea 3's gameplay is iconic, offering the classic SRPG mechanics of movement and action per turn, combined with flashy and satisfying attack animations. The unique class system, extensive weapon and armor customization, and the innovative "Item World" for leveling up equipment add depth to the gameplay. The game's removal of the level 99 cap, replaced with a cap of level 9999, indicates a game rich with grinding opportunities, appealing to those who enjoy extended playtime and character development. 

1. Lumines: Electronic Symphony

The best game among Sony's PlayStation Vita’s launch titles  is Lumines: Electronic Symphony, an updated version of the block-matching puzzle game that debuted on the PSP in 2004. In Lumines: Electronic Symphony, players arrange falling multi-colored blocks to create solid-colored squares, syncing their moves to the beats of house music. This version surpasses previous updates with its exceptional tracklist and visual style, capturing the exhilarating blend of puzzle-solving and rave-like euphoria.

The game's music is to die for, featuring over 40 tracks that range from soothing to chaotic. The soundtrack, including tracks by Benny Benassi, becomes infinitely replayable within the context of the game. The music isn't just background; it’s integral to gameplay, with a vertical line representing the beat. Timing block matches to this beat allows for larger combos.

Mastering Lumines: Electronic Symphony feels incredibly rewarding as players start to manipulate the music through their gameplay. The thrill of achieving high scores is matched by the sensory spectacle of light and sound, making players feel like they're part of the music production. Each track brings unique visual elements to the blocks and background. A notable new feature is the ability to create playlists of favorite tracks or loop a single favorite, allowing for endless enjoyment of the game's mesmerizing blend of music and puzzle-solving.