Just bought a PlayStation Vita and want to know which games you should buy? You've come to the right place. This comprehensive list of PS Vita games tells you which ones are unmissable, and which ones you should leave on the shelf. We've highlighted the games we've already reviewed, so just click on a name if you want to read more. Below the list, Team USG talk about their own personal favorites and explain why they're recommending them.
The Very Best - Rated 5 Stars
LIMBO: If you've played this game before, the PS Vita version offers nothing new. If you haven't, however, then prepare yourself for a treat. This visually stunning, disturbing platformer will keep you glued to your screen until your batteries die.
Hotline Miami: Hotline Miami is the same great game you've probably already played, but it's portable now! The new control scheme is vastly superior to the keyboard and mouse, and purchasing the game on PSN gets you the Vita and PS3 versions. Win, win, win. Pick it up.
Tearaway: Tearaway has squirrels. Fat, papercraft squirrels who are periodically rather cruel to passing gophers. It also has charm, cleverness and enough heart to make up for five Call of Duty iterations. Tearaway is a 3D platformer mashed together with a creative craft class for adult kids, an adventure that is as close to sandbox-y as a non-sandbox game can get.
LittleBigPlanet: Vita's flagship launch title still stands proud as one of the best games the system has to offer. Imaginative gameplay, finely-tuned controls and some of the craziest platforming action around can all be found here.
Persona 4 Golden: If you've ever wanted to experience a JRPG, this is the one that'll either make you a fan, or send you away screaming with your arms in the air. It's an absolutely superb example of the genre, with a gripping, thought-provoking, and surprisingly deep storyline, excellent combat mechanics, and a vast gaming environment to explore. Some say this is the finest Vita game to date. That's something we wouldn't necessarily disagree with.
Gravity Rush: Gravity Rush was really meant as a means of showing off the potential of Sony's new hardware with its huge 3D environments and wild, gravity-flipping mechanics. No lesser handheld could have handled such a demanding action game! Still brilliant.
Highly Recommended - Rated 4.5 Stars
TxK: TxK is a phenomenal shooter with eye-popping graphics and a soundtrack that'll have you reaching for your glowsticks. A perfect example of how to remake a classic arcade game - and a PS Vita essential.
Spelunky: Essentially the same game as last year's Xbox 360 rendition, Spelunky takes on a new and better life on Vita. Its tragically brief play sessions fit perfectly in a portable format. Just don't throw your system in anger, OK?
Dragon's Crown: Look beyond the cleavage, assuming you are able, and you'll find a terrific retro-modern arcade game that looks absolutely stunning, and packs a good old fashioned arcade challenge. Some might find it a little too hard and unforgiving, but if you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, here's where you can test your mettle.
Guacamelee: Mixing Mexican style with a metroidvania-esque platform-brawler, Guacamelee is a cheap and extremely cheerful downloadable game. Just be warned: it plays like an oldschool game, and will happily kick your ass if you don't concentrate and persevere. But if you can bring your A-game and rise to the challenge, there's plenty of fun to be had here.
Surge Deluxe: FuturLab demonstrates a fine understanding of what once made puzzle games so great. If you own a Vita, you should buy this -- particularly at such a generous price point.
Fez: A novel exploration of the underpinnings of game graphics, Fez at once pays tribute to classic 2D platformers while revealing the shenanigans that went into their design. Borderline inscrutable at times, Fez is a puzzle on many levels. Yet its mysteries, clever as they are, deserve to be unravelled.
Demon Gaze: Demon Gaze is an enjoyable and enormously addictive title that strikes a good balance between endearing JRPG-style narrative and compelling dungeon-crawling exploration, let down only slightly by somewhat repetitive combat.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f: A perfect fit for Vita, Project Diva f is a sprawling, complete-feeling package that will be of particular interest to Vocaloid enthusiasts, but which also remains accessible and enjoyable to newcomers.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition: Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition is a Game of the Year-style version of the DC Universe fighter released earlier this year. The DLC now included in this release costs nearly $60, so the new release is a great bargain for new players. However, the PlayStation Vita version is only for diehard fans, because the detailed characters models and levels did not survive the transition to the portable platform. It's still 60 fps, but it's a muddy 60 fps mess. The Vita controls are workable, but unreliable at times. It's a nice try by Armature, but it's just not good enough. (Link is to PS4 review. The PS Vita version is fundamentally similar, but nowhere near as well executed)
Velocity Ultra: Velocity is an essential purchase for all Vita owners, particularly those who never played the Minis original; a prime example of the creativity and innovation independent developers bring to the platform, and a solid, addictive game to boot.
Danganronpa 2: While it doesn't have quite the impact as the series' debut, Danganronpa 2 continues the tradition of elaborate murder mysteries featuring appealing characters, and won't let you put it down until the bloody end. If you've been pondering the visual novel genre and don't know where to start, NIS America's answer to the courtroom antics of Phoenix Wright is an excellent place to start.
Rayman Origins: If you want to see just how good a game can look on the Vita's OLED screen, Rayman Origins is what you need. Just be prepared to catch your jaw when it drops. Gameplay-wise, it's almost identical to the console versions - which isn't a bad thing if you haven't experienced its challenging, but highly entertaining platform action before.
Recommended - Rated 4 Stars
Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster: Mixing oldschool JRPG style with newschool presentation and looks, this enhanced edition of the FFX/X-2 is absolutely terrific.
Soul Sacrifice: Although it's an original franchise, Soul Sacrifice follows the standard formula for a successful sequel. It's one-third same old stuff, one-third tweaked and improved, and one-third brand new. It's like a more approachable take on Monster Hunter with a sense of style to distinguish itself from the pack.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection: While light on what we'd traditionally call "gameplay" and aimed at an even more specific audience than your typical modern Japanese games, Producing Perfection is a solid, character-driven experience that is a lot of fun.
Brandish: The Dark Revenant: Brandish may be among the most niche of RPGs, but it doesn't suffer any illusions to the contrary. It's comfortable in its own skin and happy to commit to its own rules and limitations. Most people will find themselves indifferent to its focused, idiosyncratic design — but those who get it will love it.
Aqua Kitty DX: Taking its inspiration from 80's and 90's shooters, Aqua Kitty DX is simple, frenetic and fun. What it sets out to do, it does very well, and the end result is charming, challenging, and purrfectly addictive.
Tokyo Jungle Mobile: It's Tokyo Jungle on the go. Like its predecessor, it's not a perfect game; but also like its predecessor, it's a surprisingly addictive experience in small doses.
Mortal Kombat: When it comes to Vita fighting games, this reboot of the classic series is the one that pummels all the others and stands tall as the champion. It offers plenty to keep you entertained - especially its surprisingly deep story mode.
Sine Mora: This side-scrolling shoot 'em up looks absolutely lovely, but be warned: it's tough. Best suited to arcade veterans who like a challenge.
Sound Shapes: Almost, nearly, but not quite painfully indie cool, Sound Shapes delivers a simple, stylish and highly enjoyable platforming experience that packs some seriously good tunes. (Link is to PS4 review, but the Vita version is the same)
PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD: If Tower Defense games are your thing, this will likely have high appeal. It takes all of the content from the PS3/PSP versions and wraps them up in improved looks and controls. Definitely worth a shot - as long as you haven't already played it.
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is a great package if you love the series. New characters, streamlined mechanics, and the same animated fighting action you've been playing since 2008. DLC brings things down a bit, but if you want to play a console fighting game on the go, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is a perfect candidate.
Minutes: A clever, abstract take on a bullet hell shooter that breaks the action up into very short bursts. It's challenging, fun to play and very addictive. A great indie game to play between AAA titles.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection: It's hard not to be a little disappointed that this "collection" of two games lacks the third that came with the PS3 version - Peace Walker. But even so, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater have plenty enough to get your teeth into.
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God: Are you in the mood for a roguelike-like that is also nauseatingly cute? Want a reason to condition yourself to crave curry for days on end? Need something new to tide you over till Bravely Default floats onto your 3DS? Look no further. Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God is excellent albeit not terribly inspired. It keeps to traditional motifs, eschewing more grandiose ideas in favor of a more familiar flavor. Think comfort food except more cerebral.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend: Taking second place in PS Vita's fighting game tourney, BlazBlu Continuum Shift Extend is a deep, but surprisingly accessible fighting game presented in classic 2D style. Its only disappointment is that it offers nothing new over previous versions of the game - but if that doesn't bother you, you're in for a treat.
Dead or Alive 5 Plus: It's getting boring writing this, but DoA 5 Plus is yet another PS Vita port that features no enhancements. But while fans of the series might be disappointed in that, those new to it will no doubt enjoy this great-looking and fun-playing fighter that offers its own very distinct fighting action.
Street Fighter X Tekken: This takes fourth place - but only just - in the PS VIta tourney of fighting game champions, but it's still a worthy contender. It's different enough from DoA, BBCSE, and MK to be worth buying even if you already have the other too.
MLB 15: The Show: MLB 15: The Show doesn't bring a lot of really impressive upgrades to the table, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still a really good baseball sim. I'm consistently impressed by its strong physics engine, the attention to detail afforded the stadiums, and the tight design of Road to the Show. If you have even a passing interest in baseball, you owe it to yourself to play MLB: The Show at least once. (Link is to PS4 review. The PS Vita version is fundamentally similar)
So that's the official USgamer score sheet. If a game seems to be missing, it's probably because it scored less than 4 stars - or we haven't played it yet. But what about personal recommendations? Over to Team USG to tell you which games they've been playing the most - and why.