GIFT GUIDE: Video Games of 2013 – PlayStation Vita

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PS Vita

While the future remains uncertain for the PlayStation Vita, developers gave it their all throughout 2013. It has become apparent that the Vita likely won’t be the home of AAA home-console games, as originally promised, but still some amazing independent and blockbuster titles hit the system this year. So here is the cream of the crop, perfect for that loved one with a PlayStation Vita.

PlayStation Network $30 or $50 card

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.29.47 amSome of the Vita’s finest games have been delivered through the PlayStation Store, not your local EB Games. So what better way to complete the circle of life than to buy a PlayStation Network prepaid card from your selected gaming retailer? Personally I’d recommend Spelunky. As my game of the year, Spelunky is a rogue-like dungeon-craller which challenges and teaches you the rules of its world through Super Meat Boy style deaths. It’s hard, sometimes punishing, but the most rewarding game I’ve ever played. And it just bursts to life on the Vita’s hardware. Other great choices include, LIMBO, Sound Shapes, Hotline Miami or Super Stardust Delta, but I just can’t turn my Vita off when Spelunky shines on my homescreen.

Killzone: Mercenary (Guerrilla Cambridge)

Killzone-Merc-screen-1It might not be the best shooter in the world, but if you’re itching to use that second analog-stick, Killzone is where it’s at. As the title suggests, you play as Arran Danner, a mercenary fighting with the Helghast forces for the money rather than the glory. It’s a fairly typical shooter, and while it won’t replace your home console, it’s a great little scratch for that shooter itch.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA)

need-for-speed-most-wanted-vita-01Probably the most underrated Vita game, Criterion’s Need For Speed title for the portable is a fairly direct port from the home console version. While it isn’t the most graphically impressive Vita title, it really does bring with it the feeling of speed and a precise control scheme from the regular game, with few compromises. Impressive, and daring, it’s a great outing from the studio, with the scent of a Burnout game remixed into a Need For Speed title wafting through my heart. Must buy if you have the – wait for it – need for speed on the go.

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

the-walking-dead-game-telltaleI’ve never really understood the hype for this game, but critics love Telltale’s point-and-click affair through the unique world of The Walking Dead. With a different story to the TV series, Telltale truly created one of last years best downloadable game, so the Vita port might just force you to keep this in your backpack at all times. It’s out on plenty of platforms, so you might just prefer picking this up for your iPhone or tablet, but for an engrossing, story-driven experience, The Walking Dead overdelivers. Just don’t count on much traditional gameplay.

Tearaway (Media Molecule)

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.35.27 amJust released last month, Tearaway, from LittleBigPlanet creators Media Molecule, carries their trademark charm through a paper world. With an oragami influence, the delightful 3D-platformer has shown that the developer isn’t just a one-hit wonder, delivering a similar, yet fresh take on the genre, while utilising the Vita’s unique capabilities. It’s a work of art, while still being a joy to play. This is the game to own this holiday season if you love a good platforming adventure, with a cute art-style.

Rayman Legends (Ubisoft)

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Built originally for the Wii U only, Rayman Legends was destined to complement the PS Vita’s touchscreen too. A 2D-platformer with beautiful, hand-made visuals, Rayman Legends builds upon the impressive Rayman Origins, living as its own refined masterpiece in platforming. The controls are tight, but I’ve found the characters to be a little floaty compared to a Mario game, a mild annoyance in an otherwise superb game. Again, like Tearaway, it’s not for everyone, but it’s one of the best ports of the game and shows the continued potential and improvements upon a formula that’s almost 30 years old. A brilliant game.

Nintendo 2DS

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I’m just asking for trouble I guess, but Nintendo’s new 2D portable, the Nintendo 2DS, is seriously cheap, at a price where you can hopefully justify owning two portable consoles. And there’s good reason to do just that, with some brilliant titles coming from Nintendo, including Pokemon X and Y, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Animal Crossing and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Forget the flame-wars, the Vita and 3DS are both so damn good. And look at how happy they are up there.