Welcome to our cheap games guide where we’ll break down the best video games for the best price. Today we’ll be focusing on Sony’s handheld Playstation Vita console. This is part four of five.
Gaming, much like college, can get expensive. Consoles and PCs cost hundreds of dollars, games can be upwards of $60 and replacing controllers and keyboards from repeated use (or rage) can be costly as well.
Most college students are lucky if they can afford one new release a month. But some of the best experiences can be found with indie titles, hidden gems and even those games you might have passed up years ago when they were asking full price.
We fully recognize that pre-owned games, flash sales and humble bundles can offer heavily discounted copies of games. For the purpose of these lists, we’ll be focusing on games that are $20 or under in new condition physically or via digital download.
Being broke college students ourselves, we haven’t been able to play every game for every system. But trust me when I say, we’ve played games a lot more than most people should.
Continuing with our cheap games is the under-appreciated Playstation Vita, an indie game platform and still a powerful piece of tech.
1. Killzone: Mercenary ($19.99 Playstation Store)
A truly viable shooter on a handheld, Killzone: Mercenary deserves praise for its graphics and gameplay, along with offering one of the best local and online play experiences on Vita. It’s not just a great FPS on a portable console, it’s a great FPS period. –Logan Ansteatt
2. Persona 4: Golden ($19.99 Walmart)
This JRPG will swallow your free time faster than a fat kid swallows cake. But seriously, Persona 4: Golden takes an amazing game for the Playstation 2 and ports it to a handheld, allowing you to hit the video game equivalent of cocaine. You’ll be itching for another bump the moment you first press play. –LA
3. Uncharted: Golden Abyss ($14.99 Playstation Store)
The Playstation Vita set out to be the console experience on the go and Uncharted: Golden Abyss was the launch title that achieved that goal. Gameplay mechanics exclusive to the Vita are uniquely introduced, if not the funniest gimmick to watch someone play through ever. So go rub the back touch pad furiously as you decode glyphs and feel slightly ridiculous while doing it. –LA
4. Tearaway ($19.99 Playstation Store)
Media Molecule followed up the smash hit Little Big Planet with this underappreciated gem. It’s cute, clever and showcases what the Playstation Vita could have been. The journey of a character literally trying to reach the player is unlike anything I’ve ever played. –LA
5. Sound Shapes ($9.99)
Games like Guitar Hero and Rockband may not be as popular as ever, but great music games still exist. Take Sound Shapes, a side-scroller tailored for the Vita where you play as a sticky blob, rolling and jumping through levels built around an excellent soundtrack. Sound Shapes also has an easy-to-use level and music creator, giving it virtually infinite content. The game is only $9.99 and buying it on Vita grants you a free copy on PS3 and PS4. -Pierce Turner
6. Freedom Wars ($14.99 Playstation Store)
What would you do to diminish your 1,000,000 year prison sentence? Freedom Wars has you fighting giant murderous monsters to trickle down your incarceration time. A challenging and flashy JRPG, this first-party Vita title is a great experience alone or online in friendly co-op. Best of luck pleasing the warden. –LA
7. Shovel Knight ($14.99 Playstation Store)
Shovel Knight is a love letter to fans of classic 8-bit NES franchises. Taking the best from Duck Tails, Super Mario Bros. 3, The Legend of Zelda and especially Mega Man, Shovel Knight is one of the best side-scrollers in recent years. It perfectly captures the soul of late ‘80s gaming, while adding in enough modern devices (like saving instead of passwords) that keep it contemporary. If you are a returning fan of those classics, or a newcomer to the 8-bit world, Shovel Knight is where to start. –PT
8. Gravity Rush ($13.49 Playstation Store)
Have you ever wanted to be a superhero who uses gravity slams to vanquish their foes? No? Well, Gravity Rush is a fantastic game anyway. With its sequel slated for early 2017, the time is now to fly and slam your across a city to free it of darkness. –LA
9. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number ($14.99 Playstation Store)
One of the most absurdly violent games ever made, this top-down Tarantino movie simulator is also brutally difficult. It’s one hit, one kill for both you and your opponents in a game that will have you pushing yourself for one one attempt after each death. And die you will, as this series is notorious for its trophy for reaching 1000 deaths. –LA
10. Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut ($9.99 Playstation Store)
It’s spooky and an interesting play to say the least. Lone Survivor gives me the same uneasy feeling that watching a found footage horror film grants. If you’re not afraid of the dark now, you will be after playing this. –LA
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