We're suckers for music puzzlers, aren't we? The first Lumines blew us away, though we weren't all that sure how to say the name. The music and the frenetic pace of the puzzle action kept us manically mashing our fingers in an effort to up our scores. When Lumines 2 came out, it was no surprise that we glued our eyes back onto our PSP screens. This wonderful mix of Connect Four, Tetris, and amazing music was one of the best reasons to own a PSP.
In that one song, Madonna and Justin Timberlake say you only have four minutes to save the world. Well, Half-Minute Hero only gives you thirty seconds. This retro-styled RPG dilutes the entire experience into half a minute, although the clock is stopped while you're in towns, so you can thankfully extend the experience. We thought Link had it rough when he had to stop the moon from falling in three days, but the Hero in this game has to be a master of time management. Another cool part of the game is that there are different game modes that allow you to play as the villain, the princess, and a knight. For a game that only gives you thirty seconds to complete the task of saving the world, it certainly was beefy.
Dark Resurrection was one of the most solid ports of a fighting game ever to hit the PSP. Jin, Yoshimitsu, King, and the gang were all there and played just the way they did in the arcade and console versions. It may have taken a bit of work trying to get used to the PSP's analog "nub", but once you got the hang of it, you'd be linking combos in no time. There were plenty of modes and bonus games for you to check out, like the Tekken Dojo and Tekken Bowl, so you could keep yourself entertained while you weren't fighting to become the King of Iron Fist.
The Dracula X Chronicles was a sort of two-fer in that it contained a remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and, more importantly, a port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, one of the best titles in the series. And really, who wouldn't want that as part of their PSP library of games? Even if you're not of a fan of Rondo, you can still play through Symphony as Alucard and get your demon-slaying fix that way!
So this next game is another port, but also happens to be one of the most dizzying titles in our list. We tried to comprehend the plot and all of the goofiness that abounds in the game, but we've given up and decided to just enjoy the strategic gameplay. As the demonic prince, Laharl, you must prove yourself as the Overlord of the Netherworld while using all of your underlings to battle on tiled maps. The PSP version has a bonus Etna Mode, in which Etna, one of Laharl's servants, accidentally kills him in the intro and becomes the main character. Yeah, it's one of those really weird games, but we love it anyway.
We dare you to say an unkind word about Sackboy and his friends. That's right, you can't! This was quite possibly one of the best games on the PSP and was responsible for a lot of people sinking their time into crafting levels. Just think of it as a portable Minecraft before the age of Minecraft. The graphics were just as good as the PS3's, with Sackboy's material looking good enough to grab and turn into a hacky-sack. Even if you got sick of the platforming aspects of the game, you could always try your hand at creating your own Final Fantasy 7 themed levels!
The prequel to the hit God of War series, Chains of Olympus, was Kratos’ debut on the PSP. Though the action was on a smaller screen, that didn’t mean that it was scaled down as well. All of the epic set pieces and combat sequences fans had come to love about the series was present in the portable version, complete with all of the brutality that only Kratos can provide. It was also cool to see what the rage-fueled god was up to before the events of the main trilogy, because as we all know, people play God of War for the story.
It might have seemed like a strange move to bring the sequel to the PlayStation 3 hit, Valkyria Chronicles, to the PSP, but strategy RPG fans were happy to get it anyway. What made this game cool was all of the real-time strategy action that let you move your character, aim as if you were in a first-person shooter, and then fire off shots. This style of play was a welcome change over isometric, grid-based strategy RPGs in which you'd travel from tile to tile. The romanticized European setting was also a refreshing change and offered a cool backdrop for this tactical war game.
Judging by the past few games in this list, the PSP was a haven for strategy RPGs, huh? But this game in particular is probably one of the most beloved titles in the whole genre. War of the Lions is an enhanced remake of the original Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation, rocking all new cel-shaded cutscenes and voice-acting. If you've never played through the storied history between Ramza and Delita, then you should definitely give this isometric tactical adventure a try.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable. Say that ten times fast. We’re just kidding. If you tried it, you’d probably end up passing out on the floor. P3P, as it’s lovingly called, is another fantastic remake that not only translates the whole experience to the PSP, but also enhances it with new content. After you live out your dual life as a student and dungeon crawler, you can take on the role of a new female protagonist, complete with her own story and Social Links. If you dig around deep enough, you can also find a cameo from Catherine’s own Vincent Brooks! This game provided one of the deepest RPG experience on the PSP and also had one kick-ass soundtrack. The fact that Persona 4: Golden is now on the PlayStation Vita is even better!