This week to celebrate the two year anniversary of the launch of the Playstation Vita, Sony is having a fairly large sale. Considering that I own every single game on it (except for one, which I rented) I figured why not do some quick analysis of the games and the price what’s worth it and what isn’t.
Castlestorm ($4.83 PS+/6.99 – usually $9.99) – Castlestorm is a very fun defense game with a few RTS wrinkles and even some side scrolling combat. Flipping back and forth between firing your ballista at the opposing forts, sending out troops, and taking control of your hero can be hectic but very satisfying. I personally would recommend getting the complete edition for $6.99 as the two DLC packs are pretty lengthy and mix up the formula further. The game is crossbuy with the ps3 version.
Escape Plan ($7.34 PS+/10.49 – usually $15) – When it was just a Vita game the price was actually lower during certain sales but now that the game is Cross-buy with the PS4 version the sale price isn’t as impressive. Furthermore I found the game to be an inferior experience on the PS4 despite the increased screen size and fidelity. All in all it’s a clunky puzzler with amazing art and a good amount of charm. The latter can carry the game… but, still, this sale price isn’t mindblowing.
Flow ($2.79 PS+/$3.99 – usually $5.99) – I find it hard to believe that anyone doesn’t own flow at this point. The game is crossbuy for the PS3/PS4/Vita. The controls are motion based which in my opinion makes the Vita version the worst platform for it because you moving the screen around which is far from ideal. But at $2.79, it’s worth a look, definitely if you own a ps3 or ps4 to get the superior experience. This is the first game ThatGameCompany released on a Sony console so it’s interesting to see the voyage from here to Flower to Journey.
Flower ($3.49 PS+/$4.99 – usually $5.99) – You can basically cut and paste what I said about Flow to here. The game suffers because it’s tilt controls so on the vita that means you are tilting the screen as well. The game is wonderful though and is crossbuy with the ps3/ps4 as well, so if you haven’t played it yet it’s easy to recommend.
Hotline Miami ($2.50 PS+/$4.99 – usually $9.99) – Everyone should own this game, except for my podcast co-host Rich Grisham. The music is amazing. The gameplay is kinetic and violent. The story is confusing and intriguing in a very David Lynch type of way. Unless you abhor violence this is a no brainer if you don’t already own it. $2.50? What is this, Steam? Also, it is a crossbuy with the PS3 version. The Vita version is better though in my opinion as it just fits the platform and being able to use the touch screen to aim (if you want) is a welcome addition.
Killzone Mercenary ($17.49 PS+/$24.99 – usually $35.99) – Killzone Mercenary not only has the best single player campaign in the series… it’s also the best Killzone game to come out last year. The online is serviceable though a bit underwhelming. Personally, however, I don’t really look to handheld games for online play unless it’s asynchronous. The visuals in the game will make you wonder what kind of sorcery is happening at Guerrilla Caimbridge because a system that is noticeably less powerful than the PS3 shouldn’t be putting out a game that looks this good that holds a fairly steady framerate to boot. Highly recommended unless you just hate first person shooters.
Machinarium ($1.75 PS+/$3.49 – usually $6.99) – Machinarium is a beautifully drawn puzzle adventure (think point and click-ish). The puzzles are over my head and I derive no enjoyment out of the game, but I know many people who loved it. If this is the type of game you can get into I don’t know how you can ignore the $1.75 price. Hell, even as much as I suck at it I would buy it for $1.75 just to see some of the gorgeous art.
Malicious Rebirth ($7.34 PS+/$10.49 – usually $14.99) – As a somewhat recent release I believe this is the first time the game has gone on sale so it only being 50% off is reasonable. The question is whether the game is worth your $7.34? The answer is maybe. If you like over the top japanese action games and can deal with some slowdown from time to time you’ll find a fun arena-based boss-fight-athon. The movement and action is fluid. If you want to do things like explore, or have a story that makes any sense, look elsewhere. This game is about getting in and fighting 1000 grunts and different bosses.
Open Me! ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – Like most AR games Open Me! makes a solid first impression but after the wonder of seeing a game play out on your carpet wears off what you’re left with is a pretty mediocre puzzler. Not worth it IMO, though I do think there is a demo if AR games interest you more than they do me.
Orgarhythm ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – I bought this game at launch last year for $19.99 and haven’t regretted it. The game is definitely an extremely niche title. The basics are that you are a giant god walking around and you need to tap to the beat of the song. Along the way you pick up followers of different colors/classes and you need to send them out to defeat enemies, all while staying in rhythm with the music. So, yeah, it’s basically a rhythm-strategy game. Probably the only one that will ever exist. If the concept sounds interesting to you give it a go. I’m glad I did.
Proteus ($4.19 PS+/$6.99 – usually $13.99) – Another extremely niche title. The type of game that people argue whether it’s a game or not. I find the exploring to be relaxing but I’m not even going to attempt to sell anyone on this game. The price is right if the concept interests you.
Ragnarok Odyssey ($14.69 PS+/$20.90 – usually $29.99) – One of a million Monster Hunter clones. The combat in it is among my favorite in the genre. The loot and crafting and missions are fun as well. It’s a slightly high price considering the pseudo-sequel is coming soon (which should drop the normal price of this down, making future sale prices even lower). If you get sucked into the game it will be the best $15 you’ve ever spent as you can drop hundreds of hours into it. If Monster Hunter type games don’t do it for you this game likely won’t change that.
Stick it to the Man ($6.29 PS+/8.99 – usually $12.99) – A very charming and sometime funny puzzle platformer. The game came out recently and as such the sale price isn’t mindblowing. The game is worth every penny, however, if you have even a remote interest in the genre. I suck at the puzzle part of puzzle platformers but the graphical style keeps me coming back (though, I do feel the need to say I don’t like the character designs… the world itself makes up for them). If you’ve been eying this, now is the time. If not I’m sure the price will dip lower at a later sale.
Sumioni: Demon Arts ($4.89 PS+/$6.99 – usually $9.99) – I bought this game at $19.99 which was a ripoff. The game is very much a one trick pony. Each stage consists of you moving left to right, killing a few guys, drawing platforms with your fingers (think: Max and the Magic marker) and then at the end you fight a building. Getting to each building is actually more fun than these “boss” battles. Unfortunately the trips are short and the fights with the buildings are a slog. I did have fun with the game and $5 seems reasonable… but even if you enjoy it and get your money’s worth out of it I think you will agree that the game could have been so much more if they gave the concept a bit more time to simmer.
Valhalla Knights 3 ($14.69 PS+/$20.99 – usually $29.99) – One of the bigger releases of the fall in the B-tier (aka not Killzone or Tearaway) VK3 is an interesting game and well worth your time if you can put up with the repetition. The game is basically setup like an MMO that you play single player. You have your main town, you go out and do quests, you level up, you get better stats, you get loot drops, etc. You know the drill. It’s pretty much by the numbers except for this weird and somewhat uncomfortable mechanic in town where certain shopkeepers are also hookers (I think?) and the more attention you give them the better prices you get. Luckily this entire section of the game can be avoided as there are normal merchants on the lower floor that don’t want to have sex with you. VK3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel but sometimes it’s fun to turn on your vita, bang out a few quests, get a new sword, and then turn off your vita. If that’s an itch you want to scratch, this game will do it for you.
Velocity Ultra ($2.09 PS+/$3.49 – usually $7.49) – One of the best exclusive indies on the platform. It’s a horizontal shootem-up with a twist. You can warp to different parts of the screen, and there are many humans to save. So while you are fighting off enemy hordes figuring out where everyone is to save while constantly moving forward becomes frantic mayhem. I love it. For $2 you should have to sell your vita if you skip this game.
Also of note, Ubisoft is having a sale this week. So here’s my take on their Vita offerings…
Rayman Origins ($6.49) – If you even slightly like 2d platformers and you don’t own this yet, you need to. The art is amazing, the controls are tight, there’s a ton of content. This is an absolute steal for those who somehow haven’t played it yet. It’s even worth the double dip for those who did play it on another platform.
Asphalt: Injection ($6.49) – When the Vita launched this port of an iOS game priced at $40 was an insult. The driving model is decent and there is a lengthy career. The game is actually pretty decent. It was just the price that was offensive. $6.50 isn’t offensive. Download the demo just to see if you like the driving model (it’s a bit like a simple Burnout).
Dungeon Hunter Alliance ($6.49) – Just like Asphalt, this was another launch port of an iOS game that they charged $40 for. At $6.50, though, you are left with a by the numbers but fun action rpg. I actually put more time into this game than I did Diablo 3.
Lumines Electronic Symphony ($6.49) – Also overpriced at launch, this seminal music puzzler is an easy buy at this price. I just wish the ramp up to when the game gets hectic didn’t take 30+ minutes each time.
If you have a Vita there are some can’t miss deals in there.
Also, if you have any money left over, why not check out the Dodd Scientifics indiegogo?