It seems ironic that the term Vita is Latin for life. Just less than four years into its life cycle, Sony announced that they would no longer support the console with first-party titles. This announcement was probably the consoles death knell in terms of its place in the market. Console production officially ended in 2019, but a lack of first-party support made the Vita an unviable system for many developers. Sony’s main focus had turned to the PS4, and the Vita became nothing more than an expensive PS4 peripheral.
How did my Vita story begin?
In 2016, while on holiday in sunny South Wales, I spotted a second hand, PS Vita, on sale for £60. The system (which remains the only PS Vita I’ve owned) was a PS1000 3G model, with the original OLED type screen. I snapped the system up, knowing next to nothing about it, anticipating access to an additional console library of software. To my surprise, upon reaching home, I discovered the system came with no internal memory. The next day, I managed to order a second hand 16GB Vita memory card. The cost of the card was almost half that of what I paid for the system itself.
Very soon, I started to download and play recommendations from my internet friends. Yvonne recommended Tearaway, which to this day remains my favourite Vita title. I also purchased other titles such as Little Big Planet and Capcom Classics Reloaded. Back in 2016, the Vita was the closest I came to experiencing high budget home console type gaming in the palm of my end.
Of course, nothing could replace my love for Nintendo systems, and my enthusiasm for the system eventually dwindled. The lack of new content, the high price point of memory cards, and the fact that my memory card started to produce errors played a part in my disappointment with the system.
It’s 2021, and Sony is about to announce PS3, PSP, and PS Vita Digital store closures. I had no idea of what the full ramifications of this would be, and so I launched Project Vita. My goal was to download every single purchased title from the digital store and back them up using Sony’s content manager. This procedure took a long time due to the numbers of titles I had purchased in previous sales. My re-downloads included collections such as the remastered Sly, Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet and Clank Trilogies. Other titles comprised of games like Final Fantasy X2 and World of Final Fantasy.
In all, I downloaded more than 64GB of software. And since then, I’ve been playing classic 3D platformer titles such as ‘Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus’, as well as Tetris Ultimate. I’ve also been surprised to find that the PS Store is home to classics like Buster Bros.
Buster Bros (Pang)
I have precious memories of Buster Bros, for, in my younger days, I used to play it co-operatively with my Father. I originally played the game published by Ocean Software for the Commodore Amiga.
Buster Bros is available for Vita via the Capcom Puzzle World. The aim of the game to rid famous places throughout the world of murderous bouncy balloons. Think War of the Worlds, but replace Martians will floating bouncing killers.
There are numerous collectable weapons and items available to help you as you travel, seeking to wipe out your inflatable foes. Each time you shoot a balloon, it splits, getting smaller each time. Eventually, the balloons will disappear but beware, for the smaller they get, the more dangerous they are. Also, be wary of little critters creeping on and off the screen. It’s essential to concentrate on every part of the screen if you’re going to survive the terrors of this onslaught. Trust me, play this, and the dangers that balloons pose escalate to a whole new level. If you enjoy the original Buster Bros, then the Capcom Puzzle collection includes additional Buster Bros titles for your enjoyment.
You simply can’t go wrong with Tetris! Well, you can, but the game itself is perfection. Simply line up and rotate falling tetrominoes to make lines and score points! The more lines you complete, the higher your score gets, and the game progresses you onto the next stage. Each stage gets harder, faster, and, depending on your skill level, potentially overwhelming. But the more you play, the more you adapt and become used to playing a little faster each time. Your scores will soon multiply, your ability to obtain combos will increase, and you’ll begin to think 1 or 2 moves ahead.
Tetris Ultimate is just another version of Tetris. Ubisoft developed this version, and even though it lacks the charm of previous versions, it’s still Tetris. The game has multiple modes; it records players stats and offers incentives to play in the form of challenges and trophies.
Sadly, the game doesn’t have the best rendition of the Tetris soundtrack and lacks four unlockable modes which are exclusive to the 3DS version. If you’re looking to play Tetris on PS Vita then this is worth a purchase.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus’
Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus is a remastered version of the PS2 original. In the game, you play as Sly Cooper, whose mission is to avenge his Father’s murder and steal back the Thievius Raccoonus from the Fiendius Five. The game is a classic 3D platformer, and even though it doesn’t run or look as smooth on Vita as the PS3 version, the game is an excellent fit for Sony’s handheld.
As you progress through the game, Sly’s move set increases as he obtains pages of the Thievous Raccoonus. If you’re a completist, you can search each stage for a set number of clues, which your partner Bentley can decipher to unlock special vaults.
The game has a good story, very enjoyable stages, but sadly, the sound has been excessively compressed. Granted, I understand compromises were needed to fit both Sly 1 and 2 on one cart, but it’s a shame the sound had to suffer as much as it did. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus’ can be purchased as part of the Sly Trilogy.
That’s it for now.
I’m hoping to write more about the PS Vita in the coming weeks. There are lots of games in my Vita backlog, and I’m always looking for good game recommendations. If you have any questions or comments about Sony’s Handheld or certain PS Vita titles then please use the comment section below.
This is Jonah signing off.